Cheesecake is one of the most popular and delicious desserts in the country.
It’s a staple in many restaurant menus as well as being something that many cooks love to make at home. This can lead to many home cooks wondering how long can cheesecake sit out?
There are many different varieties of cheesecake and you can use an even larger number of flavorings and toppings.
However, the vast majority of cheesecakes use the same basic ingredients and many of these are dairy-based.
This means that you have to be careful when it comes to cheesecake and ensure that it is stored correctly.
In this article, we will look at how long cheesecake can safely sit out.
Why Does Cheesecake Spoil When It Isn’t Refrigerated?
Before we look at how long cheesecake can sit out, we should look at why there is a limit to this.
No matter what type of cheesecake you make, you will probably need to use milk and eggs. This is also the case with any store-bought cheesecake, too.
Unfortunately, milk and eggs are two of the ingredients that will spoil the quickest.
Dairy products such as milk are well known for spoiling and can quickly turn if they’re not stored in the refrigerator. Adding eggs to this recipe makes this spoiling process even quicker.
It isn’t always easy to tell if your cheesecake has spoiled, however. Unlike bread and some other foods, there aren’t telltale signs of mold or deterioration.
Your cheesecake might look fine on the outside, but it can still be a breeding ground for several varieties of bacteria that can make people very sick.
It only takes a couple of hours for dangerous bacteria to grow.
Refrigeration can greatly slow down the process of bacteria growth but it doesn’t eliminate it. The cheesecake will continue to deteriorate but it will last longer.
If you’ve stored milk or cheese in your refrigerator you should be familiar with this process. Refrigeration can prevent milk from going sour quickly, but it will still turn. Cheesecake is the same.
How Long Can Cheesecake Sit Out?
As we just discussed, it’s always best to put your cheesecake in the fridge as this will slow down bacterial growth and keep it fresh and safe for longer.
However, you can still leave cheesecake out of the fridge for a little while without any worry.
The exact amount of time you can leave your cheesecake sitting out will depend on several factors.
These include the temperature and humidity in your kitchen and the ingredients that you’ve used in the cheesecake,
As a general rule, your cheesecake should be fine if left out of the fridge for a couple of hours.
If your kitchen is especially cool, then you can leave it out for longer than this. We wouldn’t recommend this if your kitchen is warmer than 40 degrees Fahrenheit, however.
You shouldn’t leave a cheesecake unrefrigerated for more than six hours in any circumstances, however.
If you leave your cheesecake for this length of time, enough dangerous bacteria can grow to make the cheesecake taste spoiled or cause digestive issues to anyone that eats it.
How Should Cheesecake Be Stored To Avoid Any Bacterial Growth?
The best practice when it comes to cheesecake is to immediately refrigerate it as soon as it has cooled from baking or a slice has been cut.
Cheesecake tastes great when it’s cold so there’s no reason not to put it back in the fridge straight away.
The best way to ensure that your cheesecake is safe and won’t spoil is to be consistent and always put it back in the fridge.
When you put your cheesecake in the fridge, it is best to store it in a sealable container.
If your cheesecake is store-bought and it doesn’t come in a container that can be easily resealed, you should transfer it to one that can.
Sealing the container ensures that the cheesecake is protected from any airborne contaminants and can remain cool.
The main ingredients in a cheesecake that can cause digestive problems are eggs and dairy products such as milk and cheese.
Both of these need to be refrigerated at a temperature of around 40 degrees or lower according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
Make sure that your fridge is set to this temperature. Many fridges have adjustable temperature levels and if you’re not sure about your fridge, you should check the instructions laid out in the user manual.
How Long Can Cheesecake Be Refrigerated For?
We noted before that refrigerating cheesecake will slow down the process of bacteria growth but won’t completely stop it from occurring.
This leaves the question of how long a cheesecake can be safely refrigerated for.
This will be affected by how cool your fridge is, the ingredients used, whether you take the cheesecake out of the fridge, and if so for how long.
As a general guideline, however, your cheesecake should remain safe to consume for a week or two. Make sure it is kept in an airtight container and that your fridge is cool enough.
We find that any cheesecake in our fridge is eaten far in advance of one to two weeks!
Can You Freeze Cheesecake?
The good news is that yes, you can freeze cheesecake. Many store-bought cheesecakes are purchased frozen after all and this is a great way to store cheesecake for a longer period.
There are some cheesecakes that don’t freeze as well as others and how well a specific cheesecake will freeze depends on the toppings and the ingredients used.
If you are making a cheesecake at home with the express intention of freezing it for use at a later date, then we would recommend leaving it plain and not adding any toppings.
Just freeze the cheesecake itself and add the toppings when it is thawed and ready for consumption.
How To Thaw Cheesecake
Although cheesecake is delicious when served chilled, it is not a frozen dessert and will need to be thoroughly thawed before it is served to your family or friends.
The best way to thaw a cheesecake is to remove it from the freezer and place it in the fridge the night before it is due to be served.
This allows the cheesecake to slowly thaw and gives it enough time to thaw completely.
What Are The Common Symptoms Of Foodborne Illnesses?
If you have left your cheesecake out for too long and are worried that you’ve eaten something that has spoiled, there are some symptoms you can look out for.
Foodborne illnesses, or food poisoning, can range in severity and symptoms but some of the most common symptoms include:
- Abdominal cramping
- Body aches
Suffering from any of these symptoms after eating any food that is potentially spoiled can be a sign that you have a foodborne illness.
Some foodborne illnesses can be over in a few hours whereas others can last for up to seven days, depending on the severity and how much has been eaten.
Unfortunately, there are no real cures for common food poisoning or foodborne illnesses. The best treatments are usually rest and plenty of hydration.
The symptoms should resolve themselves but if they haven’t passed or lessened in severity after a few days, you should consult a medical professional.
Frequently Asked Questions
I Ate Some Cheesecake That Was Left Out Of The Fridge For Too Long. What Should I Do?
The first thing you should do is stay calm and not panic. Although cheesecake should be refrigerated, it’s not a guarantee that you will become ill if it hasn’t been.
Keep a close eye on the symptoms of yourself and anyone else that may have consumed the cheesecake. If you start to feel ill and feel any of the symptoms listed above, consult a doctor.
Remember to keep your liquids up and remain hydrated as this will help the foodborne illness pass more quickly.
How Do I Travel With A Cheesecake?
Traveling with a cheesecake can be tricky as it’s very likely that your cheesecake will remain out of the fridge for longer than it should.
Thankfully, there are ways to keep your cheesecake cool even when you don’t have a fridge to hand.
Coolers are wonderful for keeping food items cool and it’s worth investing in a high-quality one if you are likely to travel with food often.
A cooler can keep your food chilled for several hours and prevent dangerous bacteria from growing.
Coolers are also great for camping, beach parties, and picnics.
Can A Cheesecake Be Made Without Dairy Products?
Yes, it can! Many people don’t eat eggs or dairy so dairy-free cheesecakes have become increasingly common.
Many people are either lactose intolerant or vegan so you can find many recipes for cheesecakes that fit these diets.
If you take the eggs and dairy out of the cheesecake recipe, this will make it safer to leave them out of the fridge.
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