Broccoli is a super healthy vegetable, and it’s so versatile. You can roast it, steam it, sauté it with cheese—you name it! But how long does broccoli last once cooked if it’s stored at room temperature?
How Long Can Cooked Broccoli Sit Out?
The answer to your question depends entirely on how hot it is. If the temperature of your kitchen is less than about 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32.2 Celsius), then you can leave cooked broccoli out for up to 2 hours before it needs to be refrigerated. If the temperature is higher than that, then limit its exposure time to just 1 hour or so.
Why Does Cooked Broccoli Go Bad So Quickly?
You might be wondering why cooked broccoli goes bad so quickly. After all, it’s a vegetable! It’s not like it has any meat or dairy products in it that could go bad sooner than expected.
However, you’re missing the point here. Cooked broccoli is still a cooked vegetable and will go bad faster than raw broccoli because of this fact alone. You see, although the outside of your dish may look fine after sitting out for a few hours, there may actually be bacteria growing inside which can make you sick if consumed without proper precautions taken to prevent food poisoning.
Bacteria grow rapidly at temperatures between 40 °F and 140 °F so if your cooked broccoli has been sitting out for longer than 2 hours, most likely bacteria will grow on it.
How Can You Tell If Cooked Broccoli Is Spoiled?
To help prevent foodborne illness from spoiled broccoli, below are some the things to look for:
Color: Spoiled broccoli will have a yellowish tinge around the stem or florets or have brownish or black spots on the leaves. The color will be uniform throughout the entire head of broccoli. If there are some discolored areas but most of the vegetable looks normal, it’s probably safe to cook and eat.
Smell: Spoiled broccoli won’t smell bad until after it’s been cooked. Cooked broccoli will have an ammonia odor when it’s spoiled, while fresh broccoli won’t have any distinctive odor at all (unless cooked too long).
Storing Cooked Broccoli At Room Temperature
The best way to store cooked broccoli is in the refrigerator. This will lessen the chance of bacteria growth on the vegetable.
However, if you’re planning to eat them within an hour or so, you can store them at room temperature.
It is best to store broccoli in a container covered with a plastic bag. If you do not have a plastic bag, wrap the broccoli loosely in a paper towel and place it in an open container with a tight-fitting lid
Place the cooked broccoli away from direct sunlight and heat.
Is It Safe To Eat Cooked Broccoli That Was Left Out Overnight?
If you leave cooked broccoli at room temperature for too long, bacteria can grow and make you sick. Bacteria are more likely to grow on cooked broccoli than raw broccoli because the cooking process makes the vegetable easier for bacteria to digest.
Therefore, any cooked broccoli that was left out overnight should be discarded right away.
How Long Can You Store Cooked Broccoli In The Fridge?
How long cooked broccoli last in the fridge will depend on what you cook it with.
If you boiled or steamed your broccoli and then added some butter and salt and pepper, that’s fine to keep in the refrigerator for 3-5 days. But if you added cheese or ranch dressing or bacon bits, then you’ll want to eat those up quickly because they will start to go bad quicker than plain broccoli.
After the broccoli has been cooked, it’s a good idea to store them in the fridge as soon as possible to prevent bacteria growth. If you are planning to eat the vegetable within 2 hours, you can store them at room temperature.
Kate has been in the food business for over 20 years. Worked as a cook at several buffets which include Old Country Buffet, Five Star Buffet, and Ichiban Buffet. Now, I’m mostly at home cooking for my family, caring for chickens and ducks, and tending the garden.