How Long Can Cooked Sausage Sit Out? A Link in Time

February 3, 2023

Cooked sausage can sit out for 2 hours at room temperature. However, if the temperature is above 90 F, then they can only sit out for 1 hour. They then need to be refrigerated.

I was recently at a cookout at a friend’s house. And, after the meal, I offered to put away the sausages but my friend said she was planning on keeping them out until dinnertime. I was shocked! But it appears that a lot of people don’t know about storing sausages properly.

So, in this post, I am going to show you how long can cooked sausage sit out. I will also provide tips on how to store the sausages properly. Let’s get started!

how long can cooked sausage sit out

How Long Can Cooked Sausage Sit Out?

Here is the top question:

Does cooked sausage need to be refrigerated?

Cooked sausages, as with any cooked meat, can only be stored out on the counter for no more than two hours. After this, you need to eat cooked sausage or store it in the refrigerator.

If it is a warm day and the ambient temperature is above 90 F, then the cooked sausages need to be refrigerated within an hour.

And, in case you are wondering:

How long does sausage last out of the fridge?

The same answer as above – your cooked sausages shouldn’t be left out for more than 2 hours.

Should All Cooked Sausages Be Put Away Within This Time Frame?

Yes, all types of cooked sausages must be put away as per the above instructions detail. In fact, this is true for raw sausage as well.

Therefore, if you are wondering how long can cooked polish sausage sit out, only between one and two hours, depending on the ambient temperature.

OK, then how long can cooked sausage balls sit out? Technically, these fall under sausage based dishes. So, are there different rules?

No, this rule applies to all cooked food.

How Long Can Summer Sausage Sit Out?

Well, summer sausage tends to fall under a different category. This is because it is a type of hard or dry sausage. Typically, such sausage is kept in the pantry, in a cool, dry, and dark area. It is not stored in the refrigerator.

First of all, you should keep in mind that this is only meant for real summer sausages – many of what you will find in the store will not fall under this category. Due to this, you should always read the packaging label and follow the instructions for storing this type of sausage meat.

The other thing to keep in mind is that you can only store summer sausages in the pantry as long as the container hasn’t been opened and the sausage hasn’t been cut into.

If you have opened the packaging or cut into the sausage, then you have exposed it to air and the various microbes around. Therefore, it needs to be refrigerated within 1 to 2 hours.

How Long Can Smoked Sausage Sit Out?

Here is an interesting question:

How long can cooked sausage that has been smoked sit out?

Well, this depends on the type of smoked sausages. If the sausage has merely been smoked and hasn’t been cured and doesn’t contain any preservatives, then you have to store it in the refrigerator after letting it sit out for no more than two hours at room temperature.

If the sausage has been cured, then you should check the label on the packaging to determine the best way to store the sausage.

Smoked Sausages with Tomatoes

Does Cooked Sausage Go Bad If Left Out?

A lot of people see sausages as being an incredibly durable food. This is because many of them contain preservatives and other ingredients that prolong their shelf life.

Despite this, uncooked sausage and cooked sausage needs to be treated like any other food item.

The thing is that bacteria are all around you. When these bacteria settle on your cooked sausages, it has the opportunity to multiply. This is more likely to happen when the cooked sausages are in the danger zone – a temperature range between 40 F and 140 F.

Within this temperature range the bacteria multiply incredibly quickly. And, if you were to eat the sausages after they have been left out for so long, you are likely to get sick.

Keep in mind that this is true even if you were to refrigerate the food after this point. After this, there will be so much bacteria on the food that the cold will not really impact them. What’s more, reheating the cooked sausage isn’t going to help either.

By this time, the bacteria will have produced toxins in the cooked sausages. These toxins can’t be destroyed by high heat and can easily cause food poisoning in those that ingest the cooked sausage.

How to Know Cooked Sausage Has Gone Bad?

OK, so now you know how long can cooked sausage sit out.

If you were to let cooked sausage sit out longer than this period, though, how would you know that it had gone bad?

Well, the first sign would be the odor. Usually, cooked and uncooked sausages will smell faintly of meat and whatever other spices or herbs have been added to the mix. Bad sausages though, will have an off or sour odor.

They will also likely be sticky to the touch. You may also notice white, green, or grey discoloration on the sausages.

Just keep in mind that if the sausages have only been left out for a few hours that these signs may not be noticeable. This doesn’t mean that the sausages are safe to eat, though.

How to Store Cooked Sausages?

It is important to store cooked sausage as soon as possible. If you aren’t planning on eating the sausages right away, then make sure to store cooked sausage fresh from the pan. Wait until the sausages are warm but not hot and then put them away.

If you will be reheating and using the sausages within the next couple of days, then you can simply refrigerate them. Just put them in an airtight container and place them at the back of the refrigerator until needed.

If you are going to need to store the sausages for longer, you need to freeze them. Follow these guidelines:

Sausages and Coriander Leaves

How to Freeze Sausage After Cooking?

Step 1

Arrange the sausages on a baking tray, making sure to keep plenty of space in between each sausage.

This way, the sausages will not freeze together and it will be easier to separate them.

Step 2

Place in the refrigerator and wait until each sausage is frozen.

Take the tray out.

Step 3

Place the frozen sausages in an airtight container or Ziploc bag. If you are using a bag, make sure to squeeze out as much air as possible to prevent freezer burn.

Write the date of freezing on the bag or container.

Place in the back of the freezer and store until needed.

Wrapping It Up

You now know how long can cooked sausage sit out and still be safe to eat. With this information in hand, it is a lot easier for you to practice food safety. In doing so, you can seriously reduce the risk of your family getting food poisoning in the long run!

By Kristy J. Norton
I'm Kristy – a chef and connoisseur of all things BBQ! You can find me either in my kitchen (or someone else's) or at a big outdoor barbecue surrounded by friends and family. In both my professional and personal life I’ve picked up more than a few tips and tricks for turning out delicious food. I consider it a privilege to share it with others!
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