How Long Can You Leave Grilled Steak Sitting Out?

A nice juicy steak, cooked to perfection on a grill has to be my favorite meal. I don’t think I’m alone in that opinion! Even once it’s cooked though steak can only be left out for a relatively short time at room temperature before becomes unsafe to eat.

The USDA recommends that you eat your steak within two hours of cooking if it’s been left out. If it is particularly hot, over 90°F (32°C) then you should eat it within an hour before it starts to go bad.

Bacteria, such as Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella Enteritidis, Escherichia coli, and Campylobacter will cause food poisoning if you don’t take food safety seriously. So as well as avoiding leaving the meat to sit on the counter you should make sure to use utensils and plates for raw and cooked food and make sure to wash your hands particularly after handling raw meat.

Does Cooked Steak Need To Be Refrigerated?

Cooked steak does not need to be refrigerated and can be stored at room temperature for up to two hours. If the cooked steak is not going to be eaten within two hours, it should be stored in the refrigerator to prevent the buildup of nasty bacteria. If it’s a particularly hot day then you should put the steak in the fridge within an hour.

How Long Will Grilled Steak Last In The Fridge?

If you prepared more steak you can eat right away then don’t throw it away you can save it for later and make all sorts of tasty meals.

Pop it in the fridge as soon it’s cooled and it should keep for up to 3 or 4 days. Avoid putting hot food in your fridge as this will raise the temperature and might affect other foods stored in there. Leave the steak to cool and then patted down to remove any additional juices before sealing it in a food container. Pocket on the lowest shelf that should be the coldest part of the refrigerator.

Don’t forget that refrigeration isn’t magic even if you store food in the fridge, bacteria do still grow but just at a much slower rate. It’s usually best to pop the date on the packaging so you know when you need to use the steak.

How Long Will Steaks Keep In A Freezer?

Steaks should be fine in a freezer for up to 3 to 4 months without any loss of taste or texture. After that point, they will probably start to lose some quality.

If you have large pieces of steak to freeze then it’s probably best to cut the meat into smaller chunks so you can defrost small pieces as and when necessary. Pop the steak into a freezer bag and make a note of the date so you know when you put it in the freezer.

When you need to use some of your frozen steaks just take them out the night before and leave them in your fridge to thaw out.

Can You Eat A Steak That’s Been Left Out Overnight?

If the steak has been left out for less than two hours, it is generally safe to eat. However, if it has been left out for longer than that, there is a risk of food poisoning.

What Is The Ideal Temperature For Storing Steak?

Whether you are dealing with raw steak or cooked it is best to keep it in a fridge (below 40°F). If you want to keep the meat longer then you need to freeze it at a temperature of 0°F (-18°C) or lower.

Raw steak can be stored in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days, while cooked steak can be stored in the refrigerator for up to four days. The USDA recommends that steak be stored at a temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below. I always find it useful to write the date on any packaging that’s been opened. You also need to note any Use By dates printed on food containers and any specific storage instructions.

How to Keep Steak Safely Refrigerated

It’s best to store meats on the lowest shelf as that should be the coldest and also because you don’t want blood or juices spoiling other foods.

If you are storing cooked meat then try to use airtight containers to help keep make it last as long as possible. If you have quite a lot of leftovers that it might be wise to carve it and separate the pieces using parchment paper so the bottom ones don’t become too soggy.

How To Reheat A Leftover Steak

For the best results when heating up some steak leftovers you should try the low-and-slow method. If you apply too much heat too quickly then you could end up with a piece of meat that’s about as tasty as the sole of your leather shoes! For safety, you could always use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature.

In The Oven

Preheat your oven to 250°F (121°C) and then pop the steak in for around 15-20 minutes on a wire rack. The wire rack allows the heat to distribute evenly and saves you from having to turn the meat halfway through. It also prevents the steak from becoming soggy as the juices are able to escape.

In A Skillet

Preheat a heavy-bottomed cast-iron skillet on your stove and then add in some butter, as much as your arteries will allow! Pop the steak in and then every 20 seconds or so baste the top of the steak with the melted butter. Depending on the thickness of your steak you’ll need to do this for at least 2 to 3 minutes per side probably twice that for thicker cuts.

In The Microwave

Another way to reheat a leftover steak is in the microwave although it’s probably ill advised. It’s quite easy for the meat to dry out and become tough and chewy.

Make sure to defrost the steak on a lowest defrost setting available.

Can I Reheat Steak That Was Left Out Overnight?

If you’re wondering whether it’s safe to reheat a steak that was left out overnight, the answer isn’t simple. It depends on various factors, such as how long the steak was left out, what temperature it was left at, and whether it was cooked before it was left out. Generally speaking, cooked steak that has been left out at room temperature for more than two hours becomes unsafe to eat. This is because bacteria can grow rapidly on cooked food that is not kept properly refrigerated.

The USDA defines temperatures between 40°F-140°F as the danger zone. Bacteria that cause cases of foodborne illness, multiply quickly at these temperatures.

If the meat has been left out in temperatures above 90°F for more than an hour then I’m afraid your steak has gone bad and should be thrown away.

If you’re unsure whether your steak is still safe to eat, it’s best to err on the side of caution and throw it away.


So I think that covers the question of how long steak can sit out before it goes bad. You have at most two hours and on the hottest of days, that’s reduced to just one. Once you’ve cooked your steak you should enjoy the fruits of your labors!

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