How Long Can A Pizza Sit Out: The Definitive Guide!

Have you ever ordered too much pizza and forgot to put the leftovers away? Don’t worry, this happens to the best of us and we are not afraid to admit it!

Knowing just how much pizza you need to order can be quite a challenge, especially if you’re ordering for a large group of people. Luckily, you can use our Pizza Calculator to figure out how many slices will be sufficient for you and your guests.

If you still find yourself dwelling over some pizza leftovers you forgot to put in the fridge, we are here to answer some of the questions you might be having. Sit back and read through this brief pizza guide before your next order!

How Long Can a Pizza Sit Out?

The most common question we hear when it comes to anything pizza-related is how long a pizza can be left out before it goes bad. While we’d like to reassure you that eating unrefrigerated leftover slices is completely safe, you will have to think twice.

The truth is, a pizza can sit out for a maximum of two hours and it should not be eaten if it was left outside the fridge for longer than that. The US Department of Agriculture or the USDA claims that no food should be eaten after being left out for longer than 2 hours.

With that in mind, a pizza is not going to be safe to eat if you left it unrefrigerated overnight. Anything over two hours is considered risky, regardless of whether the pizza has meat on it or not.

Keep in mind that the ingredients of the pizza don’t play any significant role here. Whether you ordered a cheese pizza or the classic pepperoni, the refrigerator rule remains the same.

Therefore, remember to put your pizza leftovers in the fridge the next time you order more than you can eat. Otherwise, you will be wasting perfectly fine slices of this cheesy goodness.

How Long Does Pizza Last in the Fridge?

How Long Does Pizza Last in the Fridge?

While most people think pizza or any food, in general, can last for days in the fridge, that is not always the case. In fact, keeping the food refrigerated won’t prevent the growth of harmful bacteria.

Instead, the cold temperature will only postpone the process of food going “bad.” When it comes to pizza, this food can generally last up to four days if placed in the fridge within the first two hours of preparation.

Anything over four days would be considered unsafe to consume. The average shelf-life of a pizza slice is around three days, which makes the four-day mark a bit of a stretch. 

After three to four days, bacteria will start to pile up on the pizza, which can cause food poisoning and serious consequences. 

Luckily, no one can resist a pizza for so long. Who would let it sit in the fridge for over four days? If you’re anything like us, you will finish the whole thing right away!

One more thing we must address is that the ingredients of the pizza don’t make much of a difference when it comes to its shelf-life. However, pizza with meat on it shouldn’t be kept in the fridge for longer than two days.

Will Reheating Pizza Kill Bacteria?

Will Reheating Pizza Kill Bacteria?

There’s word going around that you can kill bacteria by reheating pizza if it’s been out of the fridge for too long. While there is some truth to this, you should be careful when reheating your leftovers.

Reheating any food at a temperature above 165 degrees F will kill most of the bacteria. However, this does not mean the food is entirely safe to consume just because you microwave it. 

Even after the bacteria is killed, the toxins in it created will remain in the food. These toxins can be extremely dangerous and cause various food poisoning symptoms.

Therefore, reheating pizza won’t make it safe to eat. One more thing to keep in mind is that you should never reheat food more than once, as that will only increase the amount of toxins and bacteria.

Can You Eat Pizza That’s Been Left Out All Night?

Can You Eat Pizza That's Been Left Out All Night?

The short and only answer to this question is no, you cannot eat pizza after it’s been left out overnight. As sad as this might be, it is best to accept the official USDA recommendations and avoid consuming foods that were left out of the refrigerator all night long.

There’s nothing that could save your pizza if you left it out overnight. Reheating it or scraping off the top layer won’t do any good, since the bacteria will already reach the deepest parts of the dough.

Therefore, remember to put your pizza in the fridge if you plan on eating it the next day. The cold temperature will keep the pizza safe to eat for two to three days.

What Happens If You Eat Bad Pizza?

Pizza is a very common cause of classic food poisoning with symptoms such as nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and intense sickness. If you eat a pizza that’s been left out of the fridge for too long, the bacteria can likely cause severe food poisoning symptoms. 

The intensity of the symptoms will depend on how bad the pizza was, as well as how your gastrointestinal system handles the bacteria. However, the food poisoning caused by bad pizza should not put you in any serious or life-threatening condition. 

Either way, be cautious of what kind of pizza you’re eating and make sure not to leave it out of the fridge for too long. The best way to avoid potential risk is to order just the right amount of pizza so you can eat it all while it’s fresh. 

The Pizza Calculator can help you figure out how much pizza is too much for you and your company. You can also use it to calculate calories per each slice.

How Long Can Cheese Pizza Sit Out?

How Long Can Cheese Pizza Sit Out?

The rule for cheese pizza is quite the same as the rule for all other types of pizza. It should not be left out at room temperature for longer than 2 hours after preparation. 

Technically, even if the cheese pizza sits out for three to five hours, it is not likely to cause any food poisoning or stomach-related issues.

How Long Can Cheese Pizza Sit Out?

However, just to be safe, it is best to refrigerate the leftovers as soon as you are done with them. That way, you will manage to preserve as much of the pizza as possible. After all, no one wants delicious cheese slices to go to waste!

How Long Does Cooked Pizza Last in the Fridge?

Whether you ordered pizza from your favorite pizza place or you made some homemade slices, you should keep in mind that this food can’t last long even when refrigerated. In most cases, pizza can last up to four days in the fridge.

Of course, this period of time can depend on the ingredients of the pizza, since slices with meat are more likely to go bad in a shorter time frame. Either way, make sure to keep your square or triangle slices nicely stored in cool temperature. 

cooked pizza

People often ask whether pizza can last seven days in the fridge, since the temperature is cool enough to keep the bacteria from growing. However, four days is the longest period of time you should allow your pizza to sit in the fridge.

Anything longer than that will put you at risk of food poisoning, which can lead to serious health issues and short-term consequences. 

How Long Can Pepperoni Pizza Sit Out?

Assuming that your pepperoni pizza arrived fresh, you should follow the same general rule for all pizza types. Don’t let it sit out for longer than three hours, especially if you are planning to eat the leftovers later.

Since this pizza has meat ingredients on it, it can go bad much faster than a regular cheese pizza. The bacteria formed in the meat can also cause much more severe food poisoning symptoms. 

However, as long as you refrigerate your pizza right after you’re done eating, there should be no reason to worry. The leftovers should be perfectly fine to eat, as long as you consume them within three to four days. 

How Long Does Pizza Last in the Box?

tip for pizza delivery

Did you ever forget to put your pizza in the fridge and you ended up leaving it in the box for almost the entire day? Don’t worry, this happens to the best of us! Sadly, your pizza might not be edible anymore.

It all depends on how long your pizza was left out of the fridge. As we already mentioned, no pizza should be left at room temperature for longer than two hours.

How Long Does Pizza Last in the Box?

Just because the pizza is closed in the box it does not mean it will be preserved. In fact, there is no difference between leaving your pizza out on the table and closed inside the original box.

The box does not change the fact that the food will still go bad if you don’t refrigerate it within two hours of cooking. However, keeping the box closed while you’re still eating the pizza can have a positive effect.

The cardboard top will prevent the pizza from cooling down too quickly while keeping it safe from dust that’s flying in the air. 

Best Way to Reheat a Leftover Pizza

As we already explained, reheating pizza will kill all the bacteria but won’t remove the toxins that were already formed in the food. However, if your pizza is still safe to eat, you might want to reheat it just so you can enjoy the delicious cheese mixed with other ingredients. 

Unfortunately, reheated pizza will never taste the same as the real deal. However, you can get the best out of it by using the right reheating technique in the oven.

Most people will reheat their leftover pizza slices in the microwave, which is a complete waste of delicious pizza. Instead of going for the easiest route, consider using the oven to give the pizza a second chance.

Best Way to Reheat a Leftover Pizza

To do so, preheat the pizza to 350 degrees F. Place the pizza slices on tin foil and put them directly on the rack. This way, you will equally heat up both sides of the pizza to get the best results.

If you want a crispier crust, then use a pan instead of tin foil. Let the pizza reheat for ten minutes until the cheese melts again. It will then be ready for you to enjoy its deliciousness once again. 

All Things Pizza

These were some of the most common questions people ask about pizza and how long it can last in or out of the refrigerator. To sum it all up, make sure to refrigerate your pizza as soon as you are done eating and try not to eat the leftovers if they are older than 4 days.

Let us know in the comments below if there are any other questions or dilemmas you have regarding pizza, delivery, and orders. We’d like to hear back from you and learn more about your experiences with pizza delivery, tips, and different pizza slices.

Rushikesh Barkade

Hi! my name is Rushikesh Barkade and I am the founder of ThePizzaCalc.com. I love eating pizza (I mean who doesn't?) and that's why I created this website. My main goal with this website is to simplify the entire pizza ordering process so you don't have to think twice.

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