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Spaghetti Left Out Overnight – Is It Safe to Eat?

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Almost all of us have done it—cooked up a big batch of spaghetti, left it to cool on the counter, and then forgotten to pack it away before going to bed.

If you have spaghetti left out overnight, is it safe to eat? It is not a good idea to eat spaghetti that has been left out overnight, especially in warmer months.

If left out at a temperature above 40°F for more than a few hours, there is a chance of bacteria growth, which could lead to food poisoning if the spaghetti is eaten.

It is always best to pack leftover spaghetti away as soon as it has cooled down, but while this might be your intention, it is easy to forget to do, and you are left wondering the morning whether the spaghetti is still okay to eat or not.

Read on to find out how to check if spaghetti is spoiled and how to treat different types of spaghetti!

Plain Spaghetti

There is a safe zone for food, where it should be kept below 40°F to stop bacteria growth or to slow it down.

If food is left above this temperature for too long, then there is a higher risk of the food developing an increased level of bacteria, and then passing on a foodborne illness if eaten.

spaghetti left out

If you have left pasta out overnight, there is a good chance it would have been left out above 40°F, and therefore you run the risk of becoming sick from eating it.

When you are super hungry and against wasting food, there are some signs you can look for to tell whether the spaghetti has spoiled or not:


Check to see if the pasta has an off odor. If you notice any foul or different odors at all, then the spaghetti should be thrown away, and you should not risk eating it.


Spaghetti which has started to go bad will develop a different color. Fresh spaghetti is a yellow, golden color. When it begins to go off, it will be dull and lighter in color.

When it really begins to spoil, it will look almost white and grey, and this is a sign that it should be thrown away immediately.


Fresh spaghetti should be soft, firm, and a little tender. When it has been left out too long and begins to spoil, then it becomes slimy and very gummy.

Squish the spaghetti between your fingertips to try and determine the texture.

Different Types of Spaghetti Left Out Overnight

Below are some of the different types of spaghetti dishes you may have made at home, and accidentally left out overnight.

We have gone through each and whether or not they will be fine to eat (keep in mind there is always a risk when eating spaghetti that has been left out overnight, and you should always look for signs of spoiling before eating any).

Spaghetti With Meat Sauce

As spaghetti with meat sauce contains meat, which can go rancid and have increased bacteria growth quickly, it is best to throw this away if left out overnight and not eat it.

There is too high of a risk that the meat sauce will not be okay.

Spaghetti With Marinara Sauce

Marina sauce contains quite a high tomato content which can be acidic. You will have to judge the sauce the next morning to see whether it has started to go rancid or spoil and whether this acidity has increased.

spaghetti with marinara sauce

To be safe, you should not eat spaghetti with marinara sauce which has been left out overnight.

Spaghetti With Alfredo Sauce

Alfredo sauce is made with dairy ingredients, which means that it really should not be left out at room temperature.

spaghetti with alfredo sauce

Dairy products spoil very quickly at room temperature, and it is not worth the risk of eating spaghetti with Alfredo sauce which has been left out overnight.

Buttered Spaghetti

Buttered spaghetti might be okay to eat the next morning, but you will have to smell the spaghetti to ensure that the butter has not started to go rancid. You should be able to smell this quite easily.

buttered spaghetti

Spaghetti With Olive Oil

Spaghetti with olive oil can be fine to eat the next day if left out overnight, as long as there is no off odor, discoloration, or change in the texture of the spaghetti.

spaghetti with olive oil

Related Questions

Now that we’ve gone over spaghetti, let’s take a look at a few more related questions we thought you might’ve had while reading this article!

How Long Can Spaghetti Sit Out Before It Starts to Go Bad?

Spaghetti left to sit out can start to go bad in only 2 hours. This is true when spaghetti is left to sit in the food-danger zone, which is between 40-140°F.

Does Spaghetti Need to Be Kept in the Fridge?

As soon as cooked spaghetti has cooled down, it should be placed in an airtight container and stored in the fridge. This prevents the spaghetti from spoiling.

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