How Long Can You Leave A Burrito Out On The Counter?

Walk into almost any Tex-Mex or Mexican restaurant and you're bound to spot a hearty burrito on the menu. Such typical fillings include tender cuts of meat, beans, lettuce, and cheese, but nowadays, there are many creative spins on the classic burrito. For instance, early birds may enjoy a breakfast burrito on their way to work or sushi fans may indulge in a colorful sushi burrito. There's even a deconstructed version known as the burrito bowl, sans tortilla.

This "Little Donkey" of the Tex-Mex world originated in Northern Mexico and uses a wheat tortilla instead of its corn counterpart, according to Chula's Cantina. This is because wheat could only be found in these Northern regions during the post-Columbian period. Though it's not considered traditional and is hard to find in Southern Mexico, many people in the United States continue to enjoy the burrito to this day.

Now sometimes, life happens, and you forget to place your burrito in the fridge. You realize it's been sitting on the counter for an extended amount of time, which begs the question, "Is it still safe to eat?"

How long can burritos sit at room temperature?

Per the USDA guidelines, bacteria loves to grow and thrive on food that's been sitting out at room temperature for two hours or more. If temperatures increase to 90 degrees Fahrenheit, a burrito can only be left out for a maximum of one hour. If you find that your burrito has been sitting out for longer than the times above, throw it out. It's best to avoid consumption in this case than risk yourself becoming ill with a bacterial strain. Some of the types of bacteria that grow quickly within the "Danger Zone" (between 40 degrees Fahrenheit and 140 degrees Fahrenheit) include salmonella and staph, per additional USDA guidelines.

So in the event that your burrito turns into leftovers, it's best to just stick it in the fridge to prevent bacterial growth on such a tasty treat. And if you must leave it on the counter, keep the time limit to under two hours for standard room temperatures.