How Long Can Ice Cream Sit Out? (Explained!)

There probably isn’t a better choice for snacks throughout the summer than ice cream – it’s tasty, it’s relatively cheap, and most importantly, it’s refreshingly cold! But precisely because of the last thing, many of us have at least once in our life been wondering:

How long can ice cream sit out? According to the USDA, ice cream cannot sit out for more than two hours to be safe to eat. But besides that, there’s also the fact that ice cream melts very quickly, even after 10 minutes. Hence, you should always try to eat it as soon as possible.

This is just an extremely brief answer, though, and taking a more in-depth is needed to understand this topic.

So why are we wasting any more time? Let’s just jump right into it!

How Long Can Ice Cream Sit Out

How long can ice cream sit out at room temperature?

As the United States Department of Agriculture says, ice cream can sit out at room temperature for no more than two hours, just like any other perishable food. After that time passes, the ice cream is not safe to be eaten.

Unopened ice cream

According to the safety guides by the USDA, an unopened pack of ice cream can sit out at room temperature for two hours before it is dangerous to eat it. But this covers only the health hazards connected to eating the food and goes for basically all perishable food, and that’s not all that matters.

Opened ice cream

That’s because, with ice cream, there’s one particularity – as you all probably know, ice cream starts to melt when left out at room temperature. Hence, after already opening the ice cream and putting it on the plate, we highly recommend you eat it in no more than twenty minutes.

Otherwise, you wouldn’t be having the ice cream you were looking to, but rather a bit flavored whipped cream. So although even an opened ice cream can sit out for two hours at room temperature, it’s smart to eat it much quicker.

Can ice cream be left out overnight?

No, ice cream definitely cannot be left out overnight because ice cream is safe to eat only if it wasn’t left out for more than two hours. Additionally, ice cream also starts to melt just after something like fifteen minutes at room temperature, and that is no good either.

How long can ice cream cake sit out?

As the United States Department of Agriculture says, ice cream cake cannot sit out for any more than two hours. This is the case with basically every perishable food ever, and it’s just doubly true of ice cream cake.

How long can mochi ice cream sit out?

We have already mentioned above that ice cream, in general, can be left out for only hours, according to the USDA, and nothing changes with mochi ice cream – mochi ice cream cannot sit out for more than two hours.

And even besides all of that, there’s also the fact that mochi ice cream starts to melt just after something like ten minutes at room temperature. So because of all of that, you should never leave it out for a long time.

How long can non-dairy ice cream sit out?

In the opinion of the USDA, no perishable food should ever be left out for more than two hours, and that’s the case even with non-dairy ice cream. Hence, non-dairy ice cream can sit out for only two hours if you want to be sure it’s safe to eat.

How long can an ice cream cone sit out?

As the USDA says, no perishable food left out for more than two hours is safe to eat, and that goes for ice cream cones as well. However, an ice cream cone can usually sit out for much longer, maybe even a month, before it’s dangerous to eat it.

How can you tell if ice cream is bad?

If you want to tell if your ice cream is bad, you can do so by simply looking at it – the most important thing you’re checking for are tiny ice shards at the top of the ice cream and under the lid. 

If there are just a few of them, you can simply get rid of them and then eat the rest of the ice cream as usual. However, if you see many of those shards, your ice cream has most likely turned bad. And due to that, you should throw it out as soon as possible-.

How do you keep ice cream fresh?

Although the foremost important thing about storing ice cream is just putting it into the freezer, that’s not all you can do. To keep your ice cream as fresh as possible, it is also needed to seal it into an airtight container.

What happens when you eat bad ice cream?

When you eat bad ice cream, you’re risking you’re going to get sick. You can be experiencing diarrhea, stomach ache, or even vomiting; however, the problems shouldn’t be severe. If you think these symptoms are more serious than usual, though, don’t hesitate and call your doctor.

Summary

Like any other perishable food, ice cream is safe to eat only if it wasn’t left out for more than two hours, according to the safety guides by the USDA. However, unlike with any other perishable food, this isn’t everything that matters regarding leaving out ice cream because there’s also the problem with melting.

The ice cream starts to melt just after something like fifteen minutes at room temperature, and you, therefore, shouldn’t let it sit out for much longer than that, even though it is safe to be eaten even after it was left out for two hours.

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Image credits – Canva

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