How Long Can Leftover Pie Be Stored At Room Temperature?

Thanksgiving is a time for family and friends to be full of thanks, full of food, and thankful for all the filling food. According to YouGov, in 2020, the 10 most popular Thanksgiving dishes included turkey, stuffing, scalloped potatoes, sweet potatoes, and macaroni and cheese. With all that food, there's bound to be leftovers, which many people look forward to. However, it's important to know how to safely store leftovers so that no one gets sick.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends putting leftovers in the fridge or freezer within a two-hour window after cooking. It's also best to portion out the leftovers so that they cool faster. Leftovers in the fridge are safe to eat for three to four days, and leftovers in the freezer should be good for around two to six months.

One dish that people might not think as much about when it comes to proper food storage is pie. After the 13th helping of turkey and mac and cheese, it might take some time before you and your fellow eaters are ready to polish off dessert. Should you just leave it on the counter at room temperature or should it be refrigerated? Well, here's what you need to know.

It depends on the type of pie

According to the USDA, the amount of time a pie can sit out at room temperature depends on the type and ingredients. Chiffon pies, cream pies, and pies that contain eggs, such as pumpkin, pecan, and lemon meringue, shouldn't be left at room temperature at all after they've cooled off. In fact, they should be placed in the fridge once they're no longer hot and stay refrigerated for as long as three or four days. The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign adds that pies made with cream cheese, sour cream, or other dairy products shouldn't be left unrefrigerated for longer than two hours.

Pies made with a fruit filling, such as apple and cherry, are fine to store at room temperature for a day or two and can be kept in a refrigerator for up to seven days, per the USDA. If you buy certain desserts, such as a pumpkin or a pecan pie, from the store instead of baking, you might be able to safely store them at room temperature, thanks to preservatives. The USDA recommends asking the bakery or checking the product labels for information.