How Long Can Meatloaf Sit Out? (Explained!)

Meatloaf is a staple of big family gatherings and dinners. There, it is most often sliced into individual pieces right in the tray and then put in the middle of the table so that everyone can get as much as they like. And since this practice is so common, a lot of us have sometimes wondered:

How long can meatloaf sit out? As the United States Department of Agriculture says, meatloaf can sit out for no more than two hours. That is because bacteria grow rapidly at room temperature, making perishable food spoil very quickly.

This was just to put it exceptionally briefly, though, and if we want to know everything there is to be learned about this topic, we’ll have to take a closer look.

So without any further ado, let’s just get into it!

How Long Can Meatloaf Sit OutPin

Does meatloaf need to be refrigerated?

Yes, meatloaf needs to be refrigerated, because just like any other perishable food, it turns rancid extremely quickly at room temperature. However, when in the fridge, meatloaf can last three days without a problem, maybe even four in some cases.

How long can you leave meatloaf out?

According to the USDA, no perishable food should ever be eaten after it sat out the fridge for more than two hours. Hence, you can leave meatloaf out just for two hours if you want to be entirely sure it is safe to eat it.

Can meatloaf be left out overnight?

Meatloaf cannot be left out overnight, because as the USDA says, it is dangerous to eat any perishable food after sitting out at room temperature for two hours. And although the two-hour stamp might be a bit too strict, leaving your meatloaf overnight is simply far too much. 

Therefore, you shouldn’t even touch it and just throw it out as soon as possible.

How can you tell if meatloaf is bad?

Just like with basically any other food we know about, deciding whether your meatloaf has or hasn’t turned rancid yet is an effortless task. To tell if your meatloaf is bad, you just have to take a good look and a good sniff. If you smell or see anything weird, it’s time to throw it out.

How do you keep meatloaf fresh?

Although refrigeration is enough for your meatloaf not to turn bad, it isn’t the best thing you can do if you want it to be as fresh as possible. To keep your meatloaf fresh, you first have to pack it into some airtight containers. Afterward, just put it into the fridge, and voila, it’ll stay in excellent shape for three or maybe even four days!

What happens when you eat a bad meatloaf?

When you eat a bad meatloaf, it is more than likely that you will be sick. Don’t worry, though; it won’t be that bad, you just might experience some of the most common symptoms of food poisoning like diarrhea and vomiting.


As the USDA says, no perishable food should ever be left out the fridge for more than two hours if you want to be entirely sure it’s good to go, and meatloaf is no exception. Hence, you should always refrigerate your meatloaf if you’re planning on storing it for a longer time.

You can then expect it to last for even as long as four days, and it’ll even stay in excellent shape if you also seal the meatloaf into some airtight containers. 



Image credits – Canva

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