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How Long Does Pizza Last in the Fridge?

Posted in Food Safety on March 31, 2022

Leftover pizza can last for three to four days in the fridge. However, that time can fluctuate based on how and if it is properly stored.

How Should Pizza Be Stored?

To maximize its shelf life, put it in the fridge within two hours of purchasing or cooking. Store it in a shallow airtight container or wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil. An alternative option to extend shelf life is to freeze the leftovers. Frozen pizza is safe to eat indefinitely, but it will begin to lose its quality after one to two months. When freezing, store the pizza in a covered airtight container, a heavy-duty freezer bag, or wrap it tightly in freezer wrap or aluminum foil. After you thaw frozen pizza, it can be stored in the fridge for an additional three to four days before cooking, unless you thaw it in the microwave or cold water. Then it should be eaten immediately.

How Do You Tell If Pizza Has Gone Bad?

Check for the following signs to tell if pizza has gone bad:

  • Mold: If the pizza has any organic or mold growth or is discolored, it is spoiled and should be thrown out.
  • Weird smell: If the pizza emits an odd smell.
  • Slimy Texture: If the toppings on a picky look slimy or feel sticky, it is time to throw the pizza away.
  • Awful taste: Use taste as the last resort after visually inspecting the pizza to see if it has expired.
  • Freezer Burns: If air enters inside when storing, the pizza may lose its moisture and have freezer burn. It may not be unsafe to eat, but it can affect taste, texture, and color. This sort of pizza may appear darker.

Pizza can get hard and stale and still be safe to eat, but it will not be as delicious.

What Happens if You Eat Expired Pizza?

When pizza is left out at room temperature past two hours or stored for too long, bacteria begin to accumulate. To avoid the growth of bacteria, food must be kept in a strict temperature-controlled environment. While you can’t see these bacteria, consuming pizza that has been left sitting out for longer than two hours is not safe, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). If you do eat expired pizza, it increases your chance of contracting a foodborne illness.

The effects of food poisoning are typically not long-lasting, but they are unpleasant. For example, most people who eat spoiled pizza will suffer from nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, headache, fever, chills, diarrhea, and dehydration that lasts a few hours to several days. In severe cases and depending on the type of bacteria, foodborne illness can cause long-term complications or even death. If you or a loved one suffered from a foodborne illness, speak with an experienced food safety attorney about your legal options.

Will Reheating Pizza Kill the Bacteria?

Unfortunately, no, reheating pizza even at high temperatures will not kill off any bacteria that has accumulated. Therefore, it is in your best interests to throw the pizza away and not risk becoming ill.