How Long Can Meat Sit Out Before Cooking?

How Long Can Meat Sit Out Before Cooking?

Most people find it hilariously shocking when someone says to let them sit the raw meat at room temperature for some time before starting cooking. But there is no need to shock on; it’s necessary to allow the meat to sit right after taking it out from the freezer and cook when the meat reaches room temperature. It won’t hurt you to let a piece of protein sit on your kitchen counter for a while; additionally, there are numerous benefits if you do the same. One of the benefits is that the cooked meat would be juicier and delicious. In this article, we will share how long can meat sit out before cooking and the benefits of letting the meat sit. So, it is advised to read the whole article with complete focus and discover how long can raw meat sit out before cooking.

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How Long Can Meat Sit Out Before Cooking?

It is not good to let the raw and cooked meat sit for more than two continuous hours. It is not only applicable to meat; also same goes for other perishable items. However, it also depends on the room temperature where your meat is letting sit. Similarly, if the room is quite warm, it’s not adequate to keep the meat there for even 2 hours. The meat can get spoiled and poisonous. Bacteria grow ideally at temperatures between 40 degrees Fahrenheit and 140 degrees Fahrenheit.

Likewise, if the room temperature is the same, then bacteria can grow accordingly, and your meat can get spoiled. So, if you take out the meat from the freezer for cooking purposes, let it sit for no more than 2 hours. Therefore, it can safely come to room temperature, and you can start cooking then. However, cooked meat can stay fresh for more than three days if kept in the coolest place.

Read the next heading for a better understanding of how long can raw meat sit out before cooking. Check out:

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How Long Can Raw Meat Sit Out Before Cooking?

Numerous dangerous health issues cause when you eat raw meats that sit out for a long time. Because raw meat serves the best environment for bacteria to grow faster, all need to understand the ideal time to let the piece of protein sit before cooking. Also, don’t sit the meat for hours if your room temperature is above 40 degrees Fahrenheit since it can grow bacteria and get spoiled accordingly.

Follow 2 Hour Rule

Consider letting sit your meat for a maximum of 2 hours, no matter what type of meat it is. After that, it is safe to keep the raw meat outside of your freezer for the next 2 hours. Similarly, when you complete 2 hours of sitting time, it’s essential to start cooking or keep the meat in the freezer again to save meat from spoiling. Otherwise, right after 2 hours, bacteria on meat can start growing faster, and your meat can get wasted.


When you directly get back home after purchasing raw meat from the market, it is mandatory to keep it as soon as possible in the refrigerator. Letting the newly purchased raw meat sit at room temperature is also not appreciable and, in fact, a bad idea. If you want to cook something urgently, then start cooking right after shopping. Or keep the meat in the refrigerator for some hours, then take it out from the freezer, let it sit, and start cooking. Whereas, if you don’t have a fridge, try keeping the meat in a cold place to prevent bacterial growth.


After purchasing, keeping the raw meat in the refrigerator can store your meat for long days without getting bacterial growth. Additionally, it is also good to keep considering the frozen meat for cooking purposes; the freshly purchased meat has more chance of fast bacterial growth than the frozen meat has. However, letting sit the raw meat before cooking is crucial. Therefore, freezing meat can last up to more numerous months, and you can easily store a lot of meat in your freezer and get rid of constant sopping.

Safe Thawing of Meat

Firstly, as mentioned above, the safer thawing is to take out the meat from the freezer 2 hours before you start cooking. Additionally, if the room temperature is cold, then you can keep the meat outside overnight. The second best way to thaw meat is to keep the meat in an airtight box and keep the container in a bowl full of cold water. You can keep the water bowl in the sink to avoid mess. Then, you must keep changing the cold water every half hour until you realize the raw meal thaws. The last safer way of meat thawing is to microwave it for few minutes. But keep in mind, when thawing with microwave or cold water, it is essential to start cooking the meat as soon as possible. Otherwise, the meat can allow bacterial growth when it reaches 40 degrees Fahrenheit accordingly.

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How Long Can Cooked Meat Sit Out Before Spoiling?

As a fact, the danger zone for your cooked food is when it’s placed at the room temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature is hazardous for cooked food because it allows bacteria to multiply and makes food unsafe. So, it’s safe to let sit the cooked meat for a maximum of 2 hours. But, more than this amount of time, the cooked meat can get spoiled and harmful to one’s health.

Our Verdict

Hence, I hope you understand how crucial it is to sit the raw meat before cooking, but time plays an important role. Similarly, if you don’t follow the time deadlines strictly, then you can end up having unsafe and poisonous meat.

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