Have you ever found yourself staring at a slice of pizza in your fridge and wondering if it’s still good to eat? Don’t worry; you’re not alone. I can assure you that it’s a question that comes up more often than you might think. So, let’s get down to it.
How long is pizza good for in the fridge? Well, generally speaking, you can expect your leftover pizza to stay fresh in the fridge for about 3 to 4 days. Of course, this can vary depending on the toppings you have, the type of crust, and how you store it.
Keen to learn more? In this article, I’ll be sharing some hacks on how to properly store your pizza in the fridge or freezer, how to tell if it’s still good to eat, and much more.
4 Factors That Affect the Shelf Life of Pizza
Leftover pizza, although a rarity, is a thing. All you have to do is store it properly. Pizzas sitting on the counter any longer than 2 hours have the potential to go bad. Below I have outlined a few factors that affect the shelf-life of cooked pizzas:
What I have learned over the years is that the temperature and humidity levels in your kitchen can have a significant impact on the quality and longevity of your pizzas.
Pizza is a perishable food item. So, if it’s not stored at the right temperature, it can quickly become spoiled or even dangerous to eat. Ideally, you should keep your pizzas at a temperature of 40°F or lower. This will slow down the growth of any bacteria or other microorganisms that can cause spoilage.
In my experience, one of the best ways to maintain the proper temperature is to store your pizzas in the refrigerator. If you have a walk-in cooler or similar storage area, that can work well too. The key is to make sure that the temperature stays consistent and doesn’t fluctuate too much.
I like to wrap the individual slices in cling film and put them in the refrigerator. It stays consumable that way for up to 4 days.
Humidity is another important factor to consider here. Excessive humidity can cause the crust to become soggy and the toppings to spoil more quickly. On the other hand, if the humidity levels are too low, the crust can become dry and brittle.
To maintain the proper humidity levels, you can try using a pizza box or a similar type of container that allows for some airflow. This will help to prevent moisture buildup inside the container.
This one time, I made a large batch of pizzas for a party and left them out on the counter for a few hours. The room was warm and humid, and by the time the guests arrived, the pizzas had become soggy and unappetizing. Needless to say, it was a lesson learned!
Type of Toppings Used
While temperature and humidity undoubtedly play the most pivotal role here, the type of toppings can also impact how long is pizza good for in the fridge. Meat toppings, in particular, have a higher risk of going bad faster than vegetable toppings.
That’s because meat contains more moisture and nutrients that bacteria thrive on, making it a prime target for spoilage.
If you want your pizza to last longer, I’d suggest using minimal meat toppings and more vegetables. Toppings like olives, cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, and artichoke hearts not only add flavor and color to your pizza but also tend to hold up better than meat toppings.
Veggies with lower moisture content are less likely to spoil quickly, which means your pizza can last longer in the fridge.
Do remember that eating refrigerated pizza with spoiled meat can be dangerous. Bacteria can grow on meat and cause food poisoning if left to sit for too long. If you notice any signs of spoilage, such as an unusual smell or slimy texture, it’s best to not take any chances.
Amount of Yeast in the Dough
Another crucial factor that can affect how long your pizza lasts in the fridge is the amount of yeast in the dough. Yeast is what makes the dough rise and gives it that fluffy texture we all love.
However, if you use too much yeast, the dough will rise too quickly and become over-fermented. This can cause the crust to become soggy and the toppings to spoil faster.
But if you use too little yeast, the dough will not rise enough, and your pizza will be dense and tough. While this won’t necessarily affect the lifespan of your pizza, it can downgrade the flavor and texture of the pie.
So, what’s the sweet spot when it comes to yeast in pizza dough? I personally belong to the “less yeast and longer proofing” school of thought.
How Long Is Pizza Good for in the Fridge and Storage Tips
In general, pizza with meat and moisture-heavy veggies like mushrooms and zucchini will last for up to 4 days in the fridge. A Margherita can hold up well for 5 days, speaking from personal experience. The longer you store your pizza in the fridge, the more the flavor and texture will deteriorate.
Here are some tips on how to store a pizza properly in the fridge:
- First things first, you need to make sure that your pizza is completely cool before storing it. If you store a hot pizza in the fridge, it will create condensation and make the crust soggy. And nobody wants a soggy pizza crust.
- Once your pizza is cool, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil to prevent air from getting in. This will help keep your pizza fresh for longer. If you prefer, you can also store it in an airtight container.
- Now, here’s a little trick to prevent your pizza toppings from sticking to the plastic wrap or foil. Simply place a paper towel on top of the pizza before wrapping it. The paper towel will absorb any excess moisture and prevent the toppings from sticking.
- It’s also important to store your pizza on a flat surface in the fridge. If you store it at an angle or leaning against something, the toppings can shift, and the pizza can become misshapen. Plus, it’s just easier to stack your pizza slices in the fridge when they’re flat.
Tips on How to Reheat Refrigerated Pizza on a Frying Pan or Skillet
- Place the cold pizza slice in a non-stick skillet or frying pan over low heat.
- You can also brush the pan with a little olive oil or butter to the pan before placing the pizza for extra flavor and to prevent the crust from sticking.
- Let it cook uncovered for 2-3 minutes on medium-high heat.
- Then add a few drops of water around the edges of the pan
- Cover the pan with a lid to trap the heat and help the cheese melt evenly.
- Let it cook for one or two more minutes or until the cheese is bubbly.
Tips on How to Reheat Pizza in a Microwave
This is by far the quickest way to bring a refrigerated pizza to life again. Here’s what I do when I’m craving pizza in the middle of the night. And fortunately, there is some left in the fridge:
- Place the cold pizza slice on a microwave-safe plate.
- If your microwave has a turntable, place the plate on the turntable for even heating.
- Cover the plate with a paper towel or microwave-safe lid to trap the heat and prevent splatters.
- Microwave the pizza for about 30 seconds to 1 minute on high heat, depending on the power of your microwave.
- Check the pizza frequently to prevent it from turning into a piece of cardboard.
Pro tip: to prevent the crust from becoming soggy in the microwave, place a small glass of water next to the plate. The water will help create steam and keep the crust crispy.
How to Tell If the Pizza Has Gone Bad?
Unfortunately, most pizzas will go bad after 4 days of refrigeration. If you want them to last longer, freeze them. Frozen cooked pizzas will be good to consume for 1-2 months.
If your pizza has been sitting in the fridge for over 4 days, look for the signs to determine whether to trash it or serve it:
If you see any green or white fuzzy spots on the crust or toppings, that’s a clear sign of mold. Mold can be harmful to your health, so it’s important to throw the pizza away immediately.
2. Foul Smell
If your pizza smells rancid or foul, that’s another telltale sign that it’s no longer safe to eat. Even if there are no visible signs of mold, a bad smell is a clear indicator that the pizza has gone bad.
3. Slimy Toppings
If the toppings on your pizza look slimy or slippery, that’s a sign that they have gone bad. Slimy toppings can also be a breeding ground for harmful bacteria, so it’s best to toss the pizza and avoid any potential health risks.
Note that these signs can vary depending on the type of pizza and the toppings used. For example, some types of cheese and meats may have a slightly slimy texture even when fresh.
However, if you notice a significant change in texture or smell from when you first made or ordered the pizza, it’s better to err on the side of caution and throw it out.
Potential Health Risks Associated With Eating Expired Pizza
As tempting as it may be to try and salvage that leftover pizza, eating expired pizza can pose a serious risk to your health. Consuming moldy or spoiled food can lead to food poisoning, which can cause symptoms like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and fever.
In severe cases, food poisoning can even lead to hospitalization or death. Moreover, expired pizzas can also contain harmful bacteria that can cause illnesses like salmonella or E. coli.
Knowing how long is pizza good for in the fridge can save you from unnecessary food waste and potential health risks. By following proper storage techniques and checking for signs of spoilage, you can enjoy your pizza for up to four days in the fridge. Remember to reheat your pizza properly before consumption. Buon Appetito!