How Long Can Cooked Sausage Sit Out? Here’s What You Need to Know

If you’ve ever hosted a barbecue or cookout, you know how much of a hassle it can be to figure out how much food to prepare. Sometimes, you end up with leftovers, including cooked sausage that you’re not sure how to store.

A commonly asked question is, “How long can cooked sausage sit out?” The answer is not simple as it depends on several factors.

In this article, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about storing cooked sausage to keep it safe and tasty.


How Long Can Cooked Sausage Sit Out?

The general rule of thumb is that cooked sausages should not sit out at room temperature for more than two hours. Any longer than that, and bacteria can grow, making the sausage unsafe to eat.

If you’re in a warm environment, such as outside on a hot day, cooked sausages will spoil even faster. It’s best to keep them in a cooler with ice or a warming tray to keep them at a safe temperature.

Factors Affecting the Shelf Life of Cooked Sausage

Several factors can affect how long cooked sausage can sit out. These are some of the most important factors to consider:

Type of Sausage

Different types of sausages have varying shelf lives. For example, cooked sausages with high-fat content, such as salami, can sit out for longer than leaner sausages.

Preparation Method

The preparation method also affects how long cooked sausages can sit out. For example, sausages that are smoked or dried can last longer at room temperature than sausages that are boiled or grilled.


Temperature is another crucial factor to consider. If cooked sausages are left out in a warm environment, such as in direct sunlight or on a warm stovetop, they will spoil faster than if they were stored in a cool, dry place.

Storing Cooked Sausage in the Fridge

If you have leftover cooked sausage, it’s best to store it in the refrigerator within two hours of cooking. You can store cooked sausages in an airtight container or a resealable plastic bag.

Cooked sausages can last for three to four days in the fridge. However, if you’re not sure whether your sausage is still safe to eat, it’s best to err on the side of caution and throw it out.

How Does Leaving Cooked Sausage Out for Too Long Affect It?

Cooked sausage doesn’t have the same level of resistance to bacteria as raw sausage. Raw sausage contains preservatives that help prevent bacteria growth, but these preservatives are destroyed during the cooking process.

Room temperature provides an ideal environment for bacteria to grow, which can lead to spoilage and potential health risks. These bacteria can cause foodborne illness, leading to symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, and fever.

As mentioned earlier, cooked sausages should not be stored at room temperature for an extended period. After a few hours, the flavor and texture of the sausage will deteriorate, making it unappetizing. Leaving cooked sausages out for an extended period will make them unsafe to eat and should be disposed of immediately.

How To Freeze Sausage 

Sausage is a perishable food item that can spoil quickly if not stored properly. In the refrigerator, the fresh or cooked sausage will only last for 1-2 days before it starts to spoil. 

This short shelf life means that if you don’t plan to use your sausage right away, you’ll need to freeze it to prevent it from going bad.

Freezing your sausage is the most effective way to extend its shelf life. When sausage is frozen, it can last for 1-2 months, which means you can buy it in bulk or prepare it ahead of time without worrying about it going bad. 

However, pay attention to the date when you freeze the sausage.

Before you freeze your sausage, make sure to check the best by, sell by, or expiration date. Freeze your sausage before this date to ensure that it stays fresh for as long as possible.

To freeze sausage properly, follow these steps:

Remove the sausage from its original packaging and pat it dry with a paper towel.

Wrap the sausage tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil, making sure to remove as much air as possible.

Place the wrapped sausage in a freezer bag or airtight container. If you’re using a freezer bag, make sure to label it with the date so you know when it was frozen.

Place the sausage in the back of the freezer, where it’s coldest.

How to Defrost Sausage Properly

Defrosting Sausage in the Fridge

Defrosting sausage in the fridge is the most recommended method because it’s the safest and maintains the quality of the meat. Here’s how to do it:

Take the frozen sausage out of the freezer and place it in a container or a plate. Cover it tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil to prevent any contamination from other food in the fridge.

Put the sausage in the fridge and let it thaw for at least 24 hours or until it’s completely defrosted. Avoid placing it in the fridge’s door, where the temperature fluctuates more, as this can cause the sausage to defrost unevenly.

Once the sausage is defrosted, cook it within two days. If you don’t plan to cook it immediately, you can store it in the fridge for up to two days before cooking.

Defrosting Sausage in Cold Water

If you don’t have enough time to defrost sausage in the fridge, you can use the cold water method. Here’s how:

Take the frozen sausage out of the freezer and place it in a leak-proof plastic bag. Ensure that the bag is sealed tightly to prevent water from entering.

Fill a large bowl or the sink with cold water and place the bag of sausage in the water. Don’t use warm or hot water as it can promote the growth of bacteria and cause the sausage to defrost unevenly.

Change the water every 30 minutes to maintain a consistent temperature. It will take about 30 minutes to defrost one pound of sausage. Once the sausage is defrosted, cook it immediately.

Wrap Up

Cooked sausages are a delicious addition to any barbecue or cookout, but it’s essential to store them correctly to ensure that they’re safe to eat. 

Remember that cooked sausages should not sit out at room temperature for more than two hours and should be stored in the fridge within that time frame. 

If in doubt, it is recommended to throw it out.

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