Did you order or make too much pizza and now you’re stuck with leftovers? It’s a good idea to know how long is pizza good in the fridge so you can plan your meals accordingly and avoid waste. We’re sharing all the details along with storage and reheating tips!
How Long Is Pizza Good In The Fridge?
Lets skip right to the burning topic: Shelf life of pizza stored in the fridge stays safe to eat for 3-4 days (according to the USDA).
Of course, this is assuming it was stored properly (more on that later).
How Long Can Pizza Sit Out?
The USDA has a “two-hour rule” for leaving any cooked food at room temperature, and this makes no exception.
Food left at temperatures in the “danger zone” (40°F-140°F) is subjected to rapid bacterial growth and goes bad pretty fast.
As a result, it’s recommended to refrigerate within two hours of cooking it, or receiving it, if it was takeout.
Your pie already spent more than two hours on the counter? As much as we all hate food waste, it’s safer to throw it away.
How To Store In The Fridge
Remember, those 3-4 days during which refrigerated food stays good to eat, are relevant only if you stored it properly, within 2 hours after it was cooked.
As for all leftovers, our goal is to limit contact with oxygen so wrap in cling film, aluminum foil or plastic wrap. Place leftovers in an airtight container. Alternatively, you can layer pieces in between pieces of parchment paper and then wrap the stack of slices.
If you don’t seal it, your food can absorb moisture and smells from other foods stored in the fridge and go bad faster.
How To Tell If It Has Gone Bad
So your pizza already spent a few days in the fridge and you’re not sure if it’s still safe to eat? Look out for these common signs of spoilage:
Dried, Hard Crust
Technically, it might still be good to eat even if the pizza crust has hardened, but it definitely won’t be enjoyable.
If it looks good except for the dry crust? There’s still a small risk of food poisoning, and we think it’s not worth it. Into the trash can it goes!
Even if it’s just a little spoiled, it will have at least a weird smell it didn’t have when it was fresh.
You might even notice the smell of old cheese, assuming it’s one of the toppings.
Of course, with enough time, spoiled food can smell quite offensive, in which case there’s no more guesswork.
Slimy Appearance & Color Changes
As the the toppings go bad, they can develop a slimy texture and color changes.
Conclusion: if it looks gross or has discoloration, it’s time to discard it.
Mold comes in many colors, including green, black, white, and grey. None of them are safe to eat!
If you see any signs of mold, I recommend you get rid of it right away.
Even if the mold is just on one slice, it spreads before it becomes visible to the naked eye so the rest is not safe to eat either.
It’s not a good idea to eat spoiled food, so if any of the above signs are present, you’re better off without it. Even a single bite can lead to food poisoning.
If your slices looked fine and you unknowingly had a bite, I’m sure you’ll find that napkin really fast. A terrible taste is a sure sign that it is not good anymore.
How Long Does Pizza Last In The Freezer?
When stored correctly, frozen leftovers stays safe to eat for 1-2 months. The better you package it, the longer it will last.
Technically, it would be good for longer, but after 2 months the taste and texture won’t be the same.
How To Store In The Freezer
Just like for refrigerating, freezing requires limiting contact with air. The right way to store pizza in the freezer is to wrap it in aluminum foil, cling film, or place it in a freezer-safe container. Wax paper will work in a pinch as well but it’s hard to stick to a plate.
This way, it won’t just keep for longer, it will also be protected from freezer burns which can ruin the flavor and texture.
How To Reheat After Refrigerated
Refrigerated leftovers can taste like fresh when reheated the right way. In fact, you have two methods to choose from.
Neither is as fast as the microwave but they will give you the crispy crust and melty cheese it became famous for!
Reheat In The Oven
Reheating in the traditional oven can easily result in a dry or even burned slice. Do it properly and you’ll get amazing results!
- Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
- Place a baking tray in the oven for a few minutes. The goal here, is to have that tray really hot. This will let the pie reheat really fast, before it can get a chance to dry out or burn.
- Using an oven mitt, take out the hot tray and place your leftovers on it after a quick spritz of cooking spray to keep it from sticking.
- Pop it back into the oven and give it a quick check after 5 minutes. If the cheese isn’t melty yet, let it heat for up to 5 more minutes.
- Enjoy your crispy slice!
Reheat In A Skillet
No oven? Broken oven? A stovetop and a skillet will do!
- Place a non-stick skillet on medium to medium-high heat.
- Place one or two slices in the skillet and let them heat for 2 minutes.
- Add a few drops of water in the pan, next to the pizza slices (not on top of them!).
- Cover the pan with a lid and allow the slices to heat for another 2 minutes. The water you dripped into the pan helps create steam, which will melt the cheese and gently warm all the other toppings.
- Remove and serve!
How To Reheat Frozen Pizza
What to do when hunger strikes and you can’t take your mind from that frozen pack of leftovers maturing in the freezer? It’s actually possible to reheat frozen pizza and recreate the perfect crispy slice even without thawing.
Reheating Frozen Pizza In The Oven
Unlike refrigerated leftovers, the frozen kind needs to be reheated at a slower pace. Otherwise you’ll get burnt edges and a cold center.
- Place your slices on a baking sheet or tray.
- Put the baking sheet on the lowest rack of your cold oven.
- Turn on the oven and set it at 275ºF.
- It will take around 25-30 minutes to be perfectly reheated. You can check after 15-20 minutes to see where you’re at.
Reheating Frozen Leftovers In A Skillet
- The stovetop method is also good, but it’s best if you only need to reheat 1-2 slices. For a whole pizza, or more slices, the oven method is still more efficient.
- Place a slice of frozen pizza in a non-stick skillet and cover it with a lid.
- Let it reheat on stovetop using the lowest temperature setting.
- Give it a quick check after 5 minutes. If the cheese isn’t melty, cover it back with the lid and let it cook for 3 more minutes.
After reading all this information on how long is it good in the fridge and storage tips you got hit by a pizza craving. Not surprising!
Here are some of our favorite recipes you can try if you’d rather eat something homemade instead of ordering:
- Personal Naan Pesto Pizza – No premade dough or willingness to make it from scratch? Try naan bread as a base. It will be ready super fast!
- Savory Pumpkin Pizza – Step away from traditional flavors and try this yummy version. It’s still a quick recipe as it uses ready-made dough.
- Vegetarian Spinach Alfredo Pizza – Even if you’re craving meat, this method is also very efficient when you’re in a rush, and you can add whatever toppings you’d like. Using pre-made crust speeds things up significantly!
- Oven Roasted Portobello Mushroom Pizza – A low-carb option that skips the crust but delivers the same authentic flavors!
No, you shouldn’t eat pizza after 5 days even if it was properly refrigerated and it looks good.
According to the USDA’s food safety guidelines, pizza stored in the refrigerator will last only up to 3-4 days. Besides the risk of getting food poisoning, it will lack the original flavor.
It’s not recommended to reheat any kind of cooked food for more than once, including pizza.
The USDA says food stays safe to eat regardless of how many times it is reheated, assuming it’s still fresh. The problem is, some of the nutrients that get lost each time the leftovers are exposed to heat.
To avoid this, reheat only as much food as you know you’ll eat and when there are no immediate plans to eat it, keep it in the freezer.
Yes, the microwave is the fastest way to reheat leftovers. Microwave your slice for 30 seconds and it should be piping hot!
The downside of using the microwave is you’ll lose the crispy crust. If you want your leftovers to taste as fresh, use one of the reheating methods discussed above.
The cardboard box typically used to deliver pizzas is not suitable packaging for storing pizza.
While it’s great for transportation and serving on the go, the box retains moisture and allows plenty of air to flow in. This helps bacteria multiply even faster.
All leftover slices can’t stay at room temperature for more than two hours, according to USDA standards. Use aluminum foil or cling film to wrap leftovers or store it in an airtight container before refrigerating.
USDA confirms that reheating can kill bacteria if heated to the proper temperature and IF THE FOOD WASN’T KEPT OUT OVER 2 HOURS PRIOR TO REFRIGERATION. Eating the food that has been left out can cause food borne illnesses like staphylococcus when bacteria can grow when it’s in the danger zone of 40°F and 140°F. It is best to reheat to 165 degrees Fahrenheit. If you experience symptoms as: vomiting, upset stomach, fever, nausea or diarrhea, err on the side of caution and go to an urgent care to see if you have food borne illness such as salmonella.
Heat the oven to 350°F degrees and cook a slice of pizza for 5-9 minutes. The cheese will start to melt again and the center should be hot.
With all this information on hand, you’ll be able to keep pizza fresh for longer, and also figure out quickly if it’s safe to eat.
The yummy Italian dish reheats well, and when done properly, your pizza will be as tasty as the first time it was baked!