Can You Eat Pizza Left Out Overnight? To Eat Or Not To Eat

Pizza is a popular comfort food around the world.

It is a staple food for a family dinner, a movie night, or food to share at a party.

Although it is best consumed while fresh and hot, it is also enjoyed as a leftover meal the next day by simply reheating it.

Just make sure to store it properly in the fridge or freezer to maintain its optimal quality and prolong its shelf life.

However, what happens if you forget to store it in the fridge or freezer?

What if there was a power outage?

Can you eat pizza left out overnight or not?

In this article, we explore how long can pizza sit out and is it safe to eat.

So if you have pizza left out overnight at the moment, don’t eat it yet and read this article first.

The article answers the following questions:

  • How Long Can Pizza Sit Out?
  • How Long Can Frozen Pizza Sit Out?
  • How Long Can Pizza Last During A Power Outage?
  • Are Pizzas Left Out Overnight Safe To Eat?

How Long Can Pizza Sit Out?

As a general rule, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) advises following the 2-Hour Rule for foods left out.

This rule suggests that food can sit out at room temperature for only two hours.

Anything longer than two hours can be dangerous since it promotes bacteria growth that can lead to foodborne illnesses when consumed.

Moreover, not only the 2-hour rule should be followed, but the recommended temperatures as well.

Generally, food left out should not be within temperatures between 40°F and 140°F, also known as the “Danger Zone”.

Food left out within these temperatures promotes rapid bacteria growth that doubles in numbers within 20 minutes.

However, if the temperature is more than 90°F, it does not follow the 2-hour rule since it should be kept in the refrigerator within an hour.

How Long Can Frozen Pizza Sit Out?

As mentioned by the USDA, food is safe outside the freezer for up to two hours or one hour for temperatures above 90°F or 32.2°C.

Frozen food will thaw even when exposed to cold temperatures.

Eat Pizza

If you have frozen pizza sitting out for thawing, some of the safest ways to thaw it are by putting it in the refrigerator, cold water, or microwave.

Pizza is safe to eat after thawing if it is cooked within these periods:

  • Refrigerator Thawing: Pizza is safe to eat for an additional one or two days before cooking.
  • Cold Water Thawing: After thawing the pizza thoroughly, it should be cooked immediately.
  • Microwave Thawing: After thawing the pizza completely, it should be cooked immediately as the pizza has already started to warm up and is within the Danger Zone.

For easy reference, check the table below to compare the timeframe on how long can regular pizza sit out vs thawed frozen pizzas.

Table of Comparison For Regular and Thawed Frozen Pizzas

Type of Pizza Timeframe
Regular Pizza Can sit out at room temperature for two hours
Thawed Frozen Pizza ● Refrigerator: One or two days before cooking

● Cold Water: Cook immediately after thawing

● Microwave: Cook immediately after thawing

How Long Can Pizza Sit Out During A Power Outage?

One of the unavoidable situations is a power outage.

A power outage can ultimately affect your pizza’s shelf life.

According to the USDA’s Food Safety During Power Outage guideline, food is safe in the refrigerator for up to four hours during a power outage.

However, pizzas with any topping must be discarded if kept above 40°F for more than two hours.

A full freezer can maintain a safe temperature for about two days or one day for a half-full freezer.

It is considered safe to refreeze food if the freezer still has ice crystals or the temperature is at 40°F or below.

If the pizza is kept in the freezer, it can be refrozen if the freezer still contains ice crystals and feels cold like a refrigerator.

However, if the pizza was thawed and held above 40°F for more than two hours, it should be discarded.

Refer to the table below to serve as your guide on whether you should discard or keep pizzas during a power outage.

Table of Comparison For Refrigerated and Frozen Pizzas During A Power Outage

Preservation Method Held above 40 °F for more than 2 hours contains ice crystals and feels cold like a refrigerator
Pizza in a Refrigerator Discard
Pizza in a Freezer Discard (Thawed)  Can be refrozen

Are Pizzas Left Out Overnight Safe To Eat?

As advised by the USDA, bacteria grow faster within the “Danger Zone”.

Moreover, food should be kept in the refrigerator or freezer within two hours after sitting out.

Thus, perishable foods must be discarded when left at room temperature for more than two hours or more than an hour for temperatures above 90°F.

Even if it does not show signs of spoilage, such as an unpleasant odor, molds, or mushy and slimy texture, it should still be discarded since it may not be safe to eat anymore.

Although heating or reheating can kill foodborne bacteria, the toxins or poisons released by the bacteria cannot be destroyed.

An example of a foodborne bacteria is Staphylococcus.

These toxins are usually released when food is left out at room temperature for more than two hours within the “Danger Zone”.

If you consume food left out overnight, you risk getting food poisoning.

The common symptoms of food poisoning are nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and fever.

If you have takeout or leftover pizzas, it is safe to eat when refrigerated within two hours.

Thus, anything left out overnight is not safe to eat anymore.

Don’t Risk It!

Proper storage and handling are crucial for having a safe and quality pizza.

Avoid health risks by keeping your pizza in the refrigerator or freezer within two hours.

Remember to properly store it in an airtight container to avoid bacteria contamination and odor absorption from other foods.

Always keep in mind USDA’s recommendation to “Keep HOT Food HOT! Keep COLD Food COLD!” to avoid the “Danger Zone” as much as possible.

When food is left out overnight or for more than two hours, don’t risk it and simply discard it to avoid food poisoning.

Follow these reminders to enjoy a delicious and safe pizza.

If you are wondering how long a pizza lasts and what affects its shelf life, read the guide How Long Does Pizza Last In The Fridge, Freezer, And When Left Out?

Share this informative article on Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram.

Leave a Comment