How Long Can Feta Cheese Sit Out? (Explained!)

Feta is a kind of cheese that originated in Greece; however, nowadays, it is popular throughout the whole world. It can be used in many different dishes, and it is also an excellent choice for platters. But precisely because of that, it is crucial to know the answer to this question:

How long can feta cheese sit out? According to the USDA, no perishable food, including feta cheese, should ever be left out at room temperature for more than two hours. However, it is generally agreed that feta cheese can sit out for six hours before actually being dangerous to eat.

But this is hardly anything to be said about feta cheese sitting out, so we’ll have to take a closer look.

What are we waiting for then? Let’s just get started!

How Long Can Feta Cheese Sit Out

Does feta cheese need to be refrigerated?

Yes, feta cheese needs to be refrigerated if you’re not about to eat it immediately. The reason is that bacteria proliferate at temperatures between 40 °F and 140 °F, resulting in perishable food like feta cheese spoiling very fast at room temperature.

Though, on the other hand, when you put it into the fridge, you can expect the feta cheese to last at least a month.

Will feta cheese go bad if not refrigerated?

Yes, feta cheese will go bad if not refrigerated because bacteria proliferate at room temperatures. According to the USDA, if not refrigerated, feta cheese can turn bad in a matter of two hours.

With that being said, though, it is more than fair to point out that it’s generally thought feta cheese is good to use as long as it hasn’t been left out for more than six hours. If you want to be entirely safe, though, the smartest thing is to stick to the USDA’s recommendations.

How long can feta cheese be left out?

According to what the United States Department of Agriculture says, feta cheese can be left out for only two hours. However, it seems like this limit is a bit too strict – it is widely agreed that feta cheese is still safe to eat until it has been sitting out of the fridge for more than six hours.

How long can feta cheese sit out in the heat?

However, sticking to the recommendation from the USDA is needed when we’re talking about feta cheese left out in the heat – feta cheese can sit out in the heat indeed for no more than two hours before being dangerous to eat.

Can feta cheese be left out overnight?

No, feta cheese cannot be left out overnight because, as the USDA says, it is dangerous to eat it just after two hours without refrigeration. And although it is widely agreed feta cheese is still good to go until it sits out for more than six hours, leaving it out overnight is just far too long, so just throw that cheese away as soon as possible.

What happens if you leave feta cheese out overnight?

If you leave your feta cheese out overnight, you can expect it to get spoiled – since feta cheese cannot sit out for any more than six hours (and, for instance, the USDA says only two!), leaving it out of the fridge throughout the whole night is assured to make it dangerous to eat.

How can you tell if feta cheese is bad?

Just like with pretty much every other food, telling bad feta cheese from a good one isn’t anything hard – to tell if feta cheese is bad, check out its color and structure. If it is too dark and dry, throw it out as soon as possible, but if you don’t notice anything (not even a weird smell), the feta cheese should be safe to eat.

How do you keep feta cheese fresh?

Since feta cheese is very prone to drying (even when in the fridge), storing it is a bit more complicated than usual with cheese. To keep feta cheese fresh, you have to put it into brine/salted milk. That way, it can’t dry out and will stay in excellent shape for a few weeks!

What happens if I eat bad feta cheese?

Nothing bad will happen when you eat bad feta cheese, provided it has been pasteurized. When talking about unpasteurized feta, though, chances are you’re going to get sick from eating a bad piece of it, meaning you may vomit or have a stomach ache.

Can you get food poisoning from feta?

Yes, you can get food poisoning from feta; however, only from the unpasteurized kind. When it is pasteurized, feta cheese isn’t harmful, not even after its expiration date – it will probably taste hideous, but as long as your feta cheese has been pasteurized, eating it won’t cause food poisoning.


Even though the United States Department of Agriculture says no perishable food is safe to eat after more than two hours without refrigeration, this isn’t the case with feta cheese. As most food experts agree, feta cheese can be left out for six hours before being dangerous to eat.

After that amount of time, you should just rather throw it away as soon as possible, though, because bacteria multiply very fast at room temperature. And that’s also the reason why it is still wise to stick to the USDA’s recommendation if you want to be entirely sure your feta cheese is safe to eat.



Image credits – Canva

You May Also Like