How Long Can Cake Batter Sit Out? [Avoid Food Poisoning]

Cakes are an excellent way to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, and other celebrations. We love cakes because they’re festive and delicious. You’re having a party and decided to make a cake.

You mixed the batter and preheated the oven. But something caught your attention, and you lost track of time. How long can cake batter sit out?

Cake batter can sit out at room temperature for a short period, typically up to about 30 minutes, before it needs to be baked. This timeframe is important to maintain the effectiveness of leavening agents like baking powder or baking soda. If the batter contains perishable ingredients like eggs or milk, it’s crucial not to leave it out longer to prevent bacterial growth. For best results and to ensure food safety, it’s recommended to bake the batter immediately after mixing, or store it in the refrigerator if there’s a delay in baking.

When you make your cake batter ahead of time, you need to bake it or get it into the fridge. Letting perishable foods, like cake batter, sit at room temperature can cause foodborne illness. 

What’s The Best Way To Store Cake Batter?

If you put together your cake mix and realize you’re unable to bake it, you can prolong its life.

Find an airtight container and put your batter in it. Then store it in the fridge. You can also seal it in a zip lock bag. Once it’s closed and no air can get to it, it’ll last for a few days. 

The refrigerator keeps food below 40˚F, which is safe from the Danger Zone we spoke about earlier.

Bacteria can grow in all temperatures. When bacteria are in that area between 40˚F and 140˚F, they multiply quickly. Refrigerators prolong the life of your leftovers.

Freeze Your Leftover Cake Batter

Did you know that you can freeze some types of cake batter? Parties require a lot of work. If you can’t find time to make your batter, mix it ahead of time and freeze it.

Expert bakers don’t recommend freezing any type of cake batter that uses whipped egg whites. It will ruin the batter, which will destroy your cake and party. 

We only advise freezing your cake batter if you have no other option. Mixing a box or ingredients doesn’t take that long.

There is also the option of mixing it the night before and keeping the batter in the fridge.

But, we realize time can be tight, so if you must freeze your batter, do it. But don’t leave it for longer than three months, or you’ll have a disappointing cake. 

I Let My Cake Batter Sit Out At Room Temperature For Hours

You mixed your batter and preheated the oven, but your child needed help decorating, so you lost track of time.

You try to remember when you mixed the batter and realize it’s been sitting out a while. Can you still use it? 

It all depends. How many hours was the cake batter sitting out at room temperature? If it’s been under 2 hours, bake it.

Or, you can put it in the fridge if you aren’t ready to put the cake in the oven. 

cake batter

If your cake batter has been sitting out for longer than 2 hours, you should dispose of it.

The batter is made with perishable foods, and they can be a hotbed for harmful toxins in the Danger Zone.

How Long Does Cake Batter Last In The Fridge?

Cake batter can last two days in the fridge, so it’s important to bake it in two days or dispose of it.

As we’ve mentioned, bacteria still grow in foods when the temperature is lower than 40˚F. It just doesn’t multiply as quickly as it does in the Danger Zone. 


Be sure to date all the leftovers that you put in the fridge. Dating food reminds us to use it before spoiling, and we throw away less. In the long run, it will save you money too. 

How Long Should The Cake Batter Sit Out Before Baking?

Cake batters are not pancake batters. There are some methods of pancakes where you let the batter rest in the fridge overnight. Some bakers let their cake batter sit out for an hour or a long time before baking.

We believe this can create a dense cake. Cake batter is best when it’s made right before baking. 

Some chefs will let their cake batter sit out for 24 hours. Two of the main ingredients in a cake are milk and eggs.

There are vegan cake recipes, but for the most part, eggs and milk are included. Eggs and milk are food items that bacteria love if allowed to infiltrate. 

The USDA also warns us about the Danger Zone. We recommend not letting your cake batter sit out at all.

Make the batter, pour it into the cake pan, and put it in the oven. If you must let it sit for a bit, cover it with plastic wrap. 

Can I Make A Cake Batter The Day Before Baking?

Yes, but we don’t recommend doing that. Cakes come out best when they are mixed and baked directly afterward. We do understand that time can be constraining, and things come up.

If you’ve made your batter but can’t bake it, store it in the fridge in a suitable airtight container. This goes for box cake batter and scratch cake batter.  

We don’t think intentionally mixing your cake batter a day before baking is the best way to go.

While it can be stored safely, the longer your batter waits, the more likely it will fall or be too dense. Mixing a box of batter is simple and shouldn’t take much time. 

How Long Can Boxed Cake Batter Sit Out At Room Temperature?

Cake batters that come in a box are all the dry ingredients. The consumer has to add the milk, water, eggs, oil, or any wet ingredients it requires.

If you have a box of cake batter that hasn’t been mixed with wet ingredients, it can sit on your shelf for a longer time.

Some experts say boxes of cake mix can be used for years after the best-by date. 

We don’t personally recommend using anything past the best-by date. Manufacturers put those dates on the box for a reason.

Box cakes are fun, but we suggest making a cake from scratch if you feel creative and adventurous.

cake batter

They’re so much tastier, and you will have a fantastic sense of accomplishment.

What You Need To Make A Cake From Scratch

Some things are difficult to create in the kitchen, like a souffle. Cakes are one of the most straightforward items that everyone loves. There are so many types of cake we can’t list them all here.

But, we put together a list of common ingredients in a cake, and we bet you have most of them. 

  • Flour
  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Baking soda
  • Baking powder
  • Extract
  • Butter
  • White Sugar
  • Brown Sugar
  • Cocoa powder

You don’t need all these ingredients for every cake. If you prefer vegan, some recipes substitute applesauce for eggs and vegan dairy for milk. 

What’s most important here is that you can make nearly any cake you want with these few ingredients.

Do you love a red velvet cake? That’s most of these ingredients plus some red food coloring. What about rhubarb sprinkle cake? This requires some fresh rhubarb. 

Does Homemade Cake Batter Last Longer Than The Box?

Cake mixes in a box are the same ingredients I listed above, give or take a few. Those dry ingredients are suitable for months on the shelf. Once you mix them with eggs and milk, the clock starts to tick.

Whether it’s from scratch or a box, all cake batter can only be out for 2 hours before it moves into the Danger Zone. 

Once your batter moves into that Danger Zone, it can become overcome with bacteria.

Harmful toxins can cause foodborne illnesses. There is no guarantee baking the cake with killing the bacteria that has formed. 

As for shelf-life after baking, there is no telling which will last longer. We think scratch cake tastes better, but we also realize it’s more labor-intensive. Opening a box mix is fewer steps than measuring out your dry ingredients. 

Cake Baking Tips

We’ve made box cakes and scratch throughout our time in the kitchen and have picked up some tricks.

Here are some essential things we feel will help you get the best results from your recipe. 

Tip: When baking from scratch, it’s important to level your measurements precisely. Baking is a science, and the ingredients need to be exact, or you can end up with a fallen cake. 

Tip: Let your cake cool place before frosting. If you try to frost while the cake is warm, it could fall apart. Use a wire rack on a baking tray. 

Tip: Cooking chilled cake batter could take a few minutes longer. It’s essential to keep your eye on it and see how it’s rising. 


Cakes are fun, and they taste wonderful. They’re the perfect way to finish a meal at a party.

Now you have some expert tips to make sure your cake is excellent. But don’t forget the 2-hour rule set by health experts. There’s nothing worse than a cake making you sick. 

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