How Long Does Pizza Last In The Fridge, Freezer, And When Left Out?

Did you just order takeout pizza and have leftovers?

Or are you thinking about stocking your fridge with pizza to enjoy for the next few days?

If yes, you must be wondering how long does pizza last?

You can prolong your pizza’s shelf life by storing it in the fridge or freezer.

However, how long can you store it and when does it usually expire?

This information is essential as you want to avoid eating spoiled food to prevent health illnesses.

You would not want to miss eating a delicious combination of crispy crust, melty cheese, and flavorful toppings.

In this article, you will learn how long a pizza can last in the fridge, freezer, and when left out.

Plus, we explore the factors that can affect the pizza’s shelf life, from proper storage to temperature and the ingredients used.

In summary, the article covers the following topics:

  • Factors Affecting The Pizza’s Shelf Life
  • How Long Does Pizza Last In The Fridge?
  • How Long Does Pizza Last In The Freezer?
  • How Long Does Pizza Last When Left Out?
  • How Long Does Store-Bought Frozen Pizza Last?
  • Pizzas In The Fridge VS Freezer VS Room Temperature
  • How to Tell If The Pizza Has Gone Bad?

Factors Affecting The Pizza’s Shelf Life

Several factors affect the shelf life of a pizza, including the type of pizza, the ingredients used, temperature, and storage conditions.

Generally, you can expect a shorter shelf life for homemade and takeout pizzas than store-bought frozen pizzas such as the ones from Costco.

Taking these into consideration can help you find a way to extend the shelf life of your pizza.

  • Storage: Food should be wrapped and covered well in airtight packaging or kept in a fully sealed container. It is important to store pizza properly to prevent bacteria from contaminating it and to keep it from drying out. Moreover, it also avoids absorbing odors from other food in the fridge.
  • Temperature: The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) advises avoiding the “Danger Zone”, known as temperatures between 40°F and 140°F. These temperatures promote rapid bacteria growth that doubles in numbers in just 20 minutes. Thus, you must follow the rule of the USDA “Keep HOT Food HOT! Keep COLD Food COLD!” Freshly cooked food must be kept hot at a temperature of 140°F or above, and cold food should be kept at 40°F or below.
  • Ingredients: Generally, homemade or takeout pizzas spoil faster than processed frozen pizzas with preservatives. You can expect the pizza to go bad quickly if the ingredients are days old and not fresh. Thus, using quality fresh ingredients is important for a longer shelf life, such as freshly cut tomatoes or vegetables. Moreover, these ingredients should be cooked properly. Otherwise, undercooked ingredients can lead to spoilage and shorter shelf life.
  • Preserving Method: Generally, leftovers can be kept in the fridge for 3 to 4 days and 3 to 4 months in the freezer, as advised by the USDA. Food lasts longer in the freezer; however, it tends to lose moisture and flavor over time. Vacuum sealing and using preservatives are also some preservation methods that can extend the shelf life of food.

How Long Does Pizza Last In The Fridge?

According to the USDA’s guidelines on Safe Handling of Take-Out Foods, pizza should be stored in the refrigerator at a temperature of 40°F or below.

Takeout or leftover pizza can last for up to three to four days in the fridge for as long as it is stored properly.

However, keep in mind the longer the pizza stays in the fridge, the more the moisture and flavor decrease.

How Long Does Pizza Last In The Freezer?

If you want to prolong the shelf life even longer, you can freeze pizza at 0°F or below for one to two months only.

Wrap your pizza in tightly sealed packaging, such as plastic wrap or foil.

As you wrap the pizza, release as much air as possible to prevent losing moisture and avoid damaging it from freezer burn.

If you want to eat the frozen pizza, you can thaw it by putting it in the refrigerator, cold water, or microwave.

When the pizza is ready for reheating, the best way to reheat pizza for a tasty and crispy slice is by an oven, air fryer, grill, or skillet.

How Long Does Pizza Last When Left Out?

Pizzas left out on the counter at room temperature are safe to eat as long as you follow the 2-Hour Rule of the USDA.

Leaving food out of the refrigerator for longer than two hours can promote bacteria growth causing food poisoning or other illnesses.

If the temperature is more than 90°F, it should be kept in the refrigerator within an hour after leaving the food out.

How Long Does Store-Bought Frozen Pizza Last?

Although frozen foods can be stored indefinitely, the USDA recommends following the ideal freezing times for best quality.

Generally, store-bought frozen pizzas can be typically frozen for up to 18 months or according to the packaging’s recommendation.

You will find that most frozen pizza packaging will only have a label “keep frozen” and “cook thoroughly”.

Pizzas In The Fridge VS Freezer VS Room Temperature

Here is a table for a quick comparison of a pizza’s shelf life when stored in the fridge, freezer, and at room temperature.

Compare how long a pizza lasts and the recommended temperatures.

Table of Comparison of Pizzas In The Fridge VS Freezer VS Room Temperature

Method Shelf Life Recommended Temperature
Fridge  Three to four days  40°F or below
Freezer One to two months 0°F or below
Left Out at Room Temperature Within two hours Avoid the “Danger Zone”, between 40°F and 140°F

How to Tell If The Pizza Has Gone Bad?

bad pizza 1

Unspoiled food should have unchanged color and a pleasant odor.

If the pizza goes beyond the recommended shelf life, it can show signs of spoilage.

The USDA indicates that the signs of spoilage are as follows:

  • Unpleasant odor
  • Bad taste and texture
  • Molds
  • Mushy and slimy

If you are in doubt whether the pizza is safe to eat or not, simply throw it out rather than risk getting foodborne illnesses.

Foodborne illnesses typically show these symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and fever.

Final Thoughts

Refrigerated or frozen pizza is safe to eat as long as it is kept in a sealed container.

Don’t let moisture and bacteria ruin a good pizza by storing it well.

Remember to follow the recommended storage time and temperatures to avoid food spoilage and getting food poisoning.

When in doubt, just throw it out as recommended by the USDA.

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