can you eat spaghetti sauce that was left out

Can you eat spaghetti sauce that was left out? Are you guilty of accidentally leaving food on your kitchen counter overnight? You are not alone!

Spaghetti with a tasty sauce—who does not appreciate that? It is traditional comfort food for a reason: warm, satisfying, and delectable. Plus, it is a hit with the little ones.

The thing is that harmful germs may multiply at an alarming rate in temperatures between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit.

So, what about your spaghetti sauce? Should you eat your spaghetti sauce left out overnight?

No, you should not eat spaghetti sauce if it stays at room temperature for longer than two hours.

Tip: Spaghetti sauce is what adds flavor to your dish so it is better to make it more flavorful than you usually like.

Can You Eat Spaghetti Sauce That Was Left Out or Not?

spaghetti sauce left overnight

Some foods may be left out at room temperature for longer periods of time without spoiling or becoming dangerous to eat.

For example, bread is one item that should never be kept in the refrigerator.

Generally speaking, condiments containing veggies, dairy, or fruits should go in the refrigerator.

And those containing sugar, vinegar, alcohol, or salt can still stay good even when left out and not refrigerated for a long time. 

But is that also true for spaghetti sauce?

Typically, you should not leave spaghetti sauce out for longer than a couple of hours at room temperature.

B. cereus, Salmonella, and Listeria, among others, can proliferate and make some people sick.

Thus, it is prudent to err on the side of caution and dispose of spaghetti sauce that has been left out for more than two hours.

Can You Heat and Use Spaghetti Sauce Left Out Overnight?

heating spaghetti sauce

You should not take any chances with spaghetti sauce that has been out at room temperature for a whole night.

Letting it stay at room temperature for several hours can cause harmful bacteria to grow in it.

There is no guarantee that heating will save your spaghetti sauce. You may still develop an infection even if you cook the spaghetti sauce and then leave it out to cool.

Tip: Be sure to make tomato-based sauce early and leave it aside for a day before using it to make your spaghetti sauce for better flavors.

How Long Does Spaghetti Sauce Take to Go Bad If Left Out?

spaghetti sauce go bad

It usually depends on its ingredients.

Spaghetti sauce may be made in the home kitchen using many different components.

Meat, tomatoes, and vegetables are common ingredients in traditional red sauce, whereas alfredo sauce is often made with a combination of cheese and heavy cream.

Each of these ingredients has a significant risk of fostering bacterial development.

Therefore, having perishable items out for more than two hours is not recommended.

The recommended storage time for spaghetti sauce is one hour at room temperature.

But you should refrigerate it as soon as it is remembered to be out of the fridge. 


The time it takes to spoil spaghetti sauce is even shorter if your home is warm and the temperature is above 90 degrees. 

How Long Can Spaghetti Sauce Survive at Room Temperature?

spaghetti survive room temperature

If exposed to temperatures between 40 and 140 degrees, your spaghetti sauce is likely to go bad.

The USDA has designated a temperature range of 68°F to 72°F as the “danger zone” for storing perishable foods.

Therefore, your spaghetti sauce is not going to last longer than an hour when left out at room temperature.

To avoid any issues, make sure the spaghetti sauce is stored in the fridge.

The temperature is below 40 degrees, which is ideal for storing perishable goods. 

How Do You Store Spaghetti Sauce to Prolong Its Life?

Canned spaghetti sauce may stay good for 12-18 months, but a lot depends on how closely you follow all storage guidelines. 

How to Store in the Refrigerator?

The shelf life of freshly produced spaghetti sauce is around 3-4 days in the fridge.

If you plan on keeping it out for longer than two hours, put it in the fridge.

packed spaghetti sauce

Spaghetti sauce should not be stored in an opened metal can; instead, it should be refrigerated in a sealed plastic or glass container to preserve its quality.

Store-bought spaghetti sauce in a jar can be refrigerated for three to five days after opening. 

How to Store in the Freezer?

Simply putting the sauce in the freezer will make it last much longer.

The right way to store it is in Ziploc freezer bags or other sealed, shallow containers.

When keeping items in Ziploc bags, it is important to remove any extra air.

store in freezer

Leaving it in the freezer will extend its shelf life to between four and six months.

In addition, it probably will not make you sick, but you might wish to use it before 6 months if the quality is important to you. 

How Do You Identify Spaghetti Sauce that Has Gone Bad?

Bad aromas or an “off” flavor indicate that spaghetti sauce has gone bad.

The spaghetti sauce should be thrown out if it has changed color or has mold growing on it.

Tip: Make use of a homemade stock instead of water to make your homemade spaghetti sauce a lot more delicious. 

What Besides Spaghetti Sauce Won’t Go Bad If Left Out?

food that won't go bad

You may have gathered the idea that leaving spaghetti sauce out is not the right thing to do.

But, you do not have to be so meticulous with every food.

You can Leave Pies Out

So long as you cover them properly, fruit pies can be left out at room temperature for two days before being refrigerated.

After that, you have two more days in the fridge before they spoil.

Pies with cream or custard fillings should always be in the refrigerator.

The same is true for pies prepared with eggs, like pecan pie or pumpkin pie.   

You can Leave Salted Butter Out

salted butter at room temperature

Most dairy products need to be kept at or below 40 degrees F to prevent going bad. But that is not the case with salted butter.

Thanks to its high fat content, you can leave pasteurized, salted butter at room temperature.

It is okay to leave the butter out for anywhere between two and ten days. With butter, refrigeration is not essential but does help it stay longer.


Remember to always refrigerate butter that you prepared yourself or that was not pasteurized. 

You can Leave Condiments at Room Temperature

Some condiments, such as honey and spicy sauces made with vinegar, should not be chilled.

On the other hand, mustard and ketchup should be stored in the refrigerator once opened, but can safely be out at room temperature for a night. 

condiments room temperature

Yellow mustard, unlike its horseradish-based counterparts, does not include any perishable components.

Therefore, you can leave it out at room temperature, although its flavor may diminish with time.

Ketchup can be left out of the refrigerator for up to a month after opening; however, this practice has been the subject of much dispute. 

You can Leave Cheese Out at Room Temperature

According to studies, cheese may remain safe for consumption for up to six hours when exposed to temperatures of 70 degrees or less.

Parmesan and other hard cheeses may even be left out for up to 24 hours without spoiling.

However, leaving the cheese out for an extended time may dry out and lose some of their visual attractiveness. 

You can Leave Raw Veggies at Room Temperature

raw vegetables

There is no need to refrigerate tomatoes, onions, and potatoes. The same holds for peppers, garlic, eggplant, cucumbers, or ginger.

Refrigerators promote the growth of mildew on tomatoes and onions, and they cause the starch in potatoes to break down, leaving them gritty.

Tip: Be generous with mix-ins and add more olives, bacon, etc., to make your spaghetti sauce as spicy and irresistible as possible. 


You have to educate yourself about what you can or cannot leave at room temperature to prolong the life of different food items.

Can you eat spaghetti sauce that was left out? Now you know you cannot, and that is mainly because of a high risk of contamination.

But, fear not, you do not have to be so careful with everything, as many foods can stay just fine even when left out at room temperature for an extended time.