How Long Can You Leave Cheesecake Out For?

Whether you buy it or make your favorite cheesecake recipe from scratch and whether you make a no-bake version or you go the baked and water bath route, there's no denying that cheesecake is an amazing dessert. With a few basic ingredients like cream cheese, eggs, and sour cream, you're just a little mixing and waiting away from a slice of creamy goodness. However, while you may leave a normal cake or similar baked goods out on your counter unrefrigerated or on a cake stand for hours or days, you won't want to do the same with your cheesecake.

Because of the cream cheese in cheesecake, the cake needs to be refrigerated. As Food Network explains, soft cheeses like cream cheese may harbor listeria, which can cause food poisoning. Beyond this, cheesecake's high moisture content makes it more susceptible to bacteria growth than other baked goods, like cookies or muffins, which means refrigeration is necessary to keep the cheesecake out of the USDA bacteria-growing "Danger Zone" of 40 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit (via Better Homes and Gardens). but just how long is it safe to leave the dessert out?

Cheesecake can be left out for s short time before refrigerating

But just because you need to refrigerate cheesecake in general, that doesn't mean you have to immediately take the cheesecake from oven to fridge. As Food Network explains, you actually shouldn't do this, because the cheesecake needs to come gently to room temperature after baking. So how do you know how long to cool your cheesecake or leave it out for serving, before you reach that dangerous area where foodborne illness-causing bacteria can multiply?

Better Homes and Gardens recommends only leaving your cheesecake out to cool at room temperature for about an hour and then putting it in the fridge for further cooling and storage. USDA says cooked food should be stored in the fridge within two hours. To be safe, if you're taking the cheesecake out of the fridge for serving, return it to the fridge as soon as possible, ideally no more than an hour after removal. After sitting in the fridge for five to seven days, says, the cheesecake should be tossed. If you freeze the cheesecake, it'll last up to six months.