Question: How long can cheese be left out of the fridge before it becomes unsafe to eat?
Answer: Cheese can typically sit out at room temperature anywhere from 4 to 8 hours, depending on the type, and remain safe to eat.
Soft cheeses can sit out at room temperature for up to 4 hours, according to the food safety specialists at Clemson University’s Cooperative Extension. Soft cheeses have a relatively high moisture content, which in turn encourages bacterial growth, so leftovers should be refrigerated as soon as possible.
These cheeses can sit out longer —up to 8 hours at room temperature— due to their lower moisture content. That said, your cheese may start to dry out and otherwise go downhill in appearance after four or five hours of sitting out at room temperature. So from a quality point of view, it’s a good idea to put any leftover cheese back in the fridge as soon as you’re finished eating it.