My gas stove manual warns not leave food in the oven while it's off for:

  • More than an hour before cooking, or
  • More than an hour after cooking

I can't seem to find the reason why. What exactly happens in this situation?

  • 5
    This sounds like an even-more-conservative-than-usual food safety guideline. I don't think it's related to the gas oven; leaving food out in the hazardous temperature range (41F-140f) for an extended period increases the risk of foodborne illness due to bacteria growth rates.
    – JasonTrue
    Jun 9, 2015 at 4:26
  • Food safety was my thought too - though it's a bit odd that the after time is the same as the before time; presumably if the oven was hot when it turned off, it'll keep the food above 140F for quite a while afterwards...
    – Cascabel
    Jun 9, 2015 at 4:40
  • Does your oven have a pilot light?
    – briantist
    Jun 9, 2015 at 6:22
  • @briantist I don't know. If a pilot light is something that is always on, then no. I will check the manual.
    – ashes999
    Jun 9, 2015 at 13:44
  • @JasonTrue if that's the reason, do other manuals (gas or electric) contain similar warnings?
    – ashes999
    Jun 9, 2015 at 13:46

2 Answers 2


Does your stove have a feature that allows you to set a timer for either beginning a cook cycle and/or ending one?

Even if it doesn't, the warning is likely related to temperature and food safety, rather than a concern about the oven itself or gas (which would not be present because it would either be burning or off). It may be on the conservative side of that warning, but makes sense from a company standpoint.

Food should not be kept between 40F (4.5C) and 140F (60C) for more than two hours. This is called the danger zone and it is where the conditions are best for pathogen growth. It is also important to recognize that the time is cumulative, meaning, for example, that if your food is at that temperature for 20 minutes, then you place it in the fridge, the 2 hour clock does not start over again. You've used up a portion of that 2 hour time.


Pilot lights leave stoves at a temperature, which may be the reason to not let cooked food rest on it. Grandma always said not to.. so I don't.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.