Let’s suppose that you ordered a large pizza from your favorite pizza shop, but you didn’t have the stomach to eat the whole of it, so you put it in your fridge. It’s been two days and you have nothing better to eat, so you start eyeing the leftover slices that you stored in the refrigerator.
At this point, you might be wondering whether the pizza leftovers are good to eat, or generally, just how long does leftover pizza last.
In this article, we will take a deep dive into the shelf life and fridge life of leftover slices that you weren’t able to eat.
There are distinct signs that spoiled pizza shows that you’ll be able to identify by the end of this article. This piece will also fill you in on some tips on how to make leftover pizza slices last longer.
Hungry? We feel you. Let’s jump right into the details so you can make your tummy happy!
How Long Does Leftover Pizza Last Inside a Refrigerator?
Storing your perishable foods inside a fridge substantially slows down the growth of bacteria on it. Slices of pizza can last for up to four days in a fridge, and be safe to consume.
According to USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, any cooked food, whether it’s pizza, lasagna, mac, and cheese, or shepherd’s pie, can last for up to four days in temperatures less than 40 Fahrenheit.
This is good news for many people, as 4 days is more than enough time for you to eat that last leftover slice, whether it’s at dinner, or just for breakfast. After all, there isn’t anything like some cold pizza before you hit the bed.
Do note that fresh pizza is obviously the healthier option. Even if you store the leftovers in the fridge, there is some amount of bacterial growth on the pizza that can potentially make you sick. It’s best to reheat the pizza instead of eating it cold.
If you plan on baking a pizza yourself, you should know exactly how long pizza dough lasts in the fridge as well.
How Long Does Leftover Pizza Last on the Shelf?
To avoid getting any foodborne illness, always remember the two-hour rule. Don’t eat any food that has been left at room temperature for more than 2 hours. Harmful bacteria grow surprisingly fast at these temperatures, and the pizza can develop a bad taste in a short period of time. Consuming a bad pizza seriously increases your risk of food poisoning.
This is true regardless of whether it’s a vegetarian pizza or not. If your pizza was placed in a cardboard box, and it was covered, the risk of the pizza getting bad reduces slightly. However, the best option is to simply store the pizza in your fridge so it can still be edible in the morning.
Has Your Pizza Gone Bad? Signs to Look For
Before you gobble down those leftover pizza slices, check them for any signs of spoiling. Make sure you look out for the following signs:
While a dried crust doesn’t outright indicate that the pizza is at the end of its healthy lifespan, it does signify that the pizza crust has gone stale. Just go ahead and place an order at your closest pizza delivery spot, because even the most enthusiastic pizza lovers won’t want to eat a stale pizza.
This is exactly why you have been gifted the sense of smell. It’s there to steer you away from rotting pizza. If the extra pizza you put in the fridge is producing a bad smell or odor, then toss it in the trash without a second thought. Always smell the leftovers, as it’s an easy way to identify spoiled food.
Nope! That’s not cheese or oil. If the toppings on your leftover slices look gooey in any way, then run away from them as far as you can. This slime is the byproduct of bacterial respiration and is a clear indicator of a rotting pizza.
The soft, fuzzy, and slightly dark-colored stuff growing on the crust of your pizza is definitely not some secret ingredient added by the chef. As a matter of fact, it’s a type of fungus that grows on bread, is very harmful to you, and just so happens to be contagious.
When you discover mold growing on any food, take it out of the fridge. Make sure to throw away any other foods that were in contact with or near you. Wash your hands with hot water afterward.
If any of the above signs weren’t present, or you overlooked them, the foul taste is a clear giveaway of pizza that’s gone bad. Spit out the bite you took into a bin, as well as the leftover slices along with it.
How to Make Your Leftover Pizza Last Longer?
Everybody would like to make their pizza last longer in the refrigerator. Unfortunately, it’s not as simple or easy as just tossing your food in the fridge and being done with it.
The bacterial growth on an uncovered pizza is the fastest to develop. Furthermore, the pizza crust can absorb the moisture from the veggies or meats around it. This causes the bread to get soggy and ruins the taste. That’s why we need to make sure that it’s covered when you put it in the fridge. You can use aluminum foil, plastic wrap, or an airtight container for this purpose.
Knowing that you have some leftover pizza in the fridge is always a delight, especially when you’re up late. But knowing how long does leftover pizza last is very important if you don’t want to upset your stomach.
Along with the answer to your question, we also mentioned the best pizza-storing techniques and pointers on how you can check if your pizza is spoiled or not. Now you’ll never get accidental food poisoning from bad pizza again (if you listened)!