is it safe to eat cooked broccoli left out overnight

Is it safe to eat cooked broccoli left out overnight? Broccoli is a vegetable with a limited shelf life.

So, In this article, we talk about how to store broccoli, how long it will last, and how to tell if it's gone bad. 

Read on if that’s what you want to know.

In terms of food safety, cooked broccoli left out at room temperature for more than two hours should not be consumed owing to the possibility of bacteria growth.

Is It Safe to Eat Cooked Broccoli Left Out Overnight?

is safe to eat cooked broccoli

Yes, however, how long the cooked broccoli sits out depends on the method it was cooked.

Also it depends on the ingredients used, and its storage conditions, as well as its thawing method, as explained below:

1. The Way The Broccoli Was Cooked

Cooking broccoli in a certain manner may also affect how long it will be left out overnight. Take, for instance:

Broccoli that has been steamed or roasted will be kept longer than broccoli that has been boiled.

This is because boiling causes damage to the cells of the broccoli, making them more prone to going bad.

Compared to boiling, steaming, and roasting broccoli cause less cell damage to the vegetable, allowing it to maintain its nutritional value for longer.

2. Ingredients Used to Prepare Broccoli

Adding certain ingredients to your broccoli may shorten or lengthen the amount of time the meal may be stored.

When stored in the refrigerator, for instance, adding acidic fruits or dairy items to your broccoli will go bad more quickly.

This is because these components have the potential to hasten the process of becoming bad.

3. How It is Stored

how broccoli stored

Broccoli is often regarded as a superfood due to its high vitamin content.

Unfortunately, it is humidity-sensitive and spoils quickly.

As a result, determining whether it is safe to consume cooked broccoli left out overnight is dependent on how it was stored, for example:

In the Room Temperature

When stored at room temperature, cooked broccoli lasts around 2 hours.

Broccoli left out for more than two hours is unsafe to eat and should be discarded.

This is because bacterial development occurs quicker between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit.

Therefore, there is a larger probability that the cooked broccoli is already contaminated with germs when left out for more than 2 hours.

Furthermore, suppose the surrounding temperature is about 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

In that case, the rotting process accelerates.

Hence, it is suggested to discard cooked broccoli that has been kept out in the open for more than an hour at 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

In the Fridge

in a fridge

Cooked broccoli may be kept properly in the fridge at or below 45 degrees Fahrenheit in a plastic zipper bag or an airtight container for approximately 3-5 days.

As a result, the cool temperature of the fridge slows the pace of bacterial development, extending the shelf life of your cooked broccoli.

Once the cooked broccoli has cooled completely at room temperature, place it in an airtight container or zip lock bag and store it in the refrigerator.

It is recommended to refrigerate leftover cooked broccoli within 2 hours after cooking.

In the Freezer

Cooked broccoli may be stored in an airtight container or airtight bag in the freezer for 10-12 months if properly stored.

Thus, storing cooked broccoli in the freezer significantly extends its shelf life due to its low temperature, inhibiting bacterial development in cooked broccoli.

It is worth noting that the following values reflect the predicted shelf life of cooked broccoli.

How to Thaw Cooked Broccoli Left Out Overnight

how thaw cooked broccoli

Now that you’ve learned how to freeze broccoli, here’s how to thaw it:

Refrigerate Overnight

This is the best option if you want to prepare it the following day.


Place the broccoli in a glass container or on a platter. Start it on low to defrost it, then turn it up to warm it up.

In Ice-Cold Water:

If you don’t have a microwave and need the broccoli to thaw quickly without cooking it, place it in a dish of cold water.

an ice cold water

Of course, this method works considerably quicker if the veggie is in a frozen bag rather than a container.

Using a Nonstick Skillet

Begin on low heat to defrost, then raise to warm it up. Add more if there isn’t much water left, but the broccoli is still cold.

Cook It While it is Frozen

If you’re using the broccoli in a soup, there’s no need to thaw it.

Cooking time should be increased to accommodate for the thawing of the veggie.

Tips On How To Store Cooked Broccoli Properly Overnight

tips in storing cooked broccli

Cooked broccoli should always be stored at 45°F or below.

Bacterial development occurs quicker between 45 °F and 140°F; thus, keeping your cooked broccoli at a lower temperature is always best.

1. Allow Your Broccoli to Cool

Remember to allow your cooked broccoli to cool completely before placing it in the container or zip-lock bag.

If you place steaming hot cooked broccoli in these sealed bags or containers, moisture will accumulate inside, providing ideal circumstances for bacteria to flourish.

2. Refrigerate

It is best to keep cooked broccoli on one of the refrigerator’s shelves rather than the door.

This is because temperature fluctuations near the fridge’s door might degrade the quality of cooked broccoli.

3. Thaw the Frozen Broccoli Well Before Reheating

If you defrost your cooked broccoli in the refrigerator, it may be reheated and used within 3-4 days.

However, if you thaw and reheat it in the microwave, it is best to consume it immediately.

How to Tell If Your Cooked Broccoli Is Bad?

tell cooked broccoli is bad

You may be able to tell whether cooked broccoli left out overnight has gone bad by looking for a few telltale signs.


If the container gets contaminated, a white mold forms on the top.

When there is white mold on the broccoli package, the product is unsafe to consume.

Bring out the food container from the refrigerator to see whether it has molded or not.

Open the package and look at the container's top. Molds will almost certainly be present if the food has gone bad.

Odd Smell

If there is no mold, examine for discolorations and smell it thoroughly.

If it seems in good condition and does not smell terrible, and smells like rotten eggs or sulfur, it is most likely safe to eat.

Get rid of it if there’s anything wrong with it.

Visible Maggots

Another sign is if your broccoli has gone rotten. Throw any maggots that you discover in your cooked broccoli.

Maggots may spread hazardous pathogens that can make you sick.

Tip: Also, if you've had the cooked broccoli in the fridge for more than a week, it's best to toss it away, even if it seems to be OK. Better to be cautious than sorry.

What Are the Consequences of Consuming Spoiled Broccoli?

what consequence consuming spoiled broccoli

You may get sick if you do not pay attention to the spoiling symptoms or if you have a specific ailment and consume it after it has gone bad.

Food Poisoning

It is possible to get food poisoning by eating spoiled broccoli, with symptoms including the following: Vomiting, diarrhea, fever, and chills are all potential symptoms.

Broccoli can get tainted with germs that are harmful to humans and may cause severe disease if consumed.

As the broccoli deteriorates, it absorbs more bacteria, such as E. Coli, which may cause serious illness.

When broccoli becomes infected, the following symptoms appear:

  • Diarrhea
  • Stomachache
  • Cramps
  • Fever
  • Vomiting

Allergen Reactions

Some people may experience adverse responses after eating infected broccoli.

Eating contaminated broccoli may cause wheezing, rashes, swelling, nausea, sneezing, vomiting, and coughing.

Unspoiled Broccoli May Also Pose Certain Dangers.

unspoiled broccoli pose danger

The high fiber content might cause intestinal discomfort, and the thiocyanate content can induce thyroid problems.

As a consequence, you may have hypothyroidism and weight gain.

Finally, broccoli is abundant in vitamin K. If you use blood thinners, you should restrict your intake and avoid it regularly.

Final Verdict

Is it safe to eat cooked broccoli left out overnight? Yes, however, ensure your cooked broccoli is always stored in a tightly sealed plastic container.

This might be a zip lock bag or a Tupperware container.

It’s also a good idea to store it in the fridge and limit its exposure to light and open air.

Bacteria freely float in the air; thus, covering it will reduce their exposure to it.

Another key technique for extending the life of broccoli is to keep it dry. Thanks for reading!