How Long Does Leftover Pizza Last in the Fridge or Freezer?
We’ve all done it – ordered an extra-large pizza for a TV supper only to realize we may have bitten off more than we can chew and have several slices left over in the pizza box. You tell yourself not to worry, the pizza will keep and then plan to finish off the leftover pizza for tomorrow’s lunch. Surely that’s ok? And anyway, for some strange reason, leftover pizza often tastes better the next day.
However, eating leftover food can run the risk of an upset tum if you don’t store it properly and with many of the ingredients in pizza, it may not stay fresh as long as you think. We take a look at one of the nation’s favorite takeout meals and ask – how long does leftover pizza last in the fridge or freezer?
How Long is Leftover Pizza Good for?
Left uncovered at room temperature and incorrectly stored, your delicious leftover pizza will start to decline after around two hours, especially if it is top heavy with cheese and meat. Beyond two hours and bacteria will start to develop, increasing the risk of a foodborne illness if you eat it cold. You can, however, give your leftover pizza a fighting chance of being edible by storing it properly, and that means taking those surplus slices out of the pizza box as soon as they are cooled and placing them in an airtight container to keep out moisture and prevent any contaminants and bacteria from taking hold. The container will also prevent the dough from going prematurely stale and help to preserve all that delicious pizza taste for a little bit longer. If you don’t have a lidded container, then you can make do by wrapping the pizza slices completely with aluminum foil, and scrunch well to seal the ends.
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How Long it Will Last in the Fridge?
If you put your leftover pizza into an airtight container after you have finished eating, you can extend its shelf life by putting it in the refrigerator, within two hours of opening the pizza box. When it comes to how long is pizza good for in the fridge, then stored properly in your refrigerator, your surplus pizza slices will remain safely edible for three days, four maximum. Any longer and it is probably not a good idea to eat, even if you plan to re-heat it.
How Long it Will Last in the Freezer?
So, you can pop your leftover pizza in the fridge, but can you freeze cooked pizza? The answer is yes and freezing your surplus pizza is actually a good way to avoid food waste as long as you defrost and eat it within a safe period of time. If your pizza is shop bought, check the packaging box for any information on how long it can be frozen for, although this will often refer to uncooked pizza. As a safe general guide, cooked pizza, securely wrapped or stored in an airtight container can be stored in your freezer between four and six months, with six months being the maximum, after which you really need to throw it away.
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How to Reheat Your Leftover Pizza
As will any frozen food, ensure you defrost your frozen pizza thoroughly before heating it through. A good idea is to add any extra toppings you may like, plus a little extra cheese and then place your pizza on a baking sheet and warm through for around 20-25 minutes at 275°F. You can also warm up the leftover pizza in the microwave, using a cup of water to avoid a soggy crust. Simply place the pizza on a place and put in the microwave, next to a small cup of water and cook on a high setting for around 30 seconds – the cup of water will help to keep the base crispy, while the toppings will deliciously heat and the cheese melt.
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How to Tell if Your Pizza is Spoilt
As with all food, proper hygiene, knowing the best by date and sufficient storage are all essential in keeping your leftover edible and your tum happy. But whether you refrigerate or freeze, your leftover pizza will eventually be past its best and not suitable for re-heating and eating. When deciding whether to eat that leftover pizza, let your senses tell you whether it is good to go – or not. The first sign your pizza is too far gone will be a hard and dry texture, followed by an unpleasant odor, especially if there is a lot of cheese and meat or fish as the topping. Mold is also an obvious giveaway that the pizza needs to go in the bin instead of back on to your plate. Trust your own instincts when it comes to reheating any food and if you are in doubt, throw it away. There is always a fresh pizza from the takeout you have on speed dial.
Signs of Food Poisoning
If you have stored your surplus pizza properly, then refrigerated or frozen, have eaten it within the safe period of time and reheated it correctly, then you shouldn’t have any problems. However, if bacteria have had a chance to build up on the reheated pizza you could make yourself poorly. Food poisoning is extremely common, and the typical symptoms of stomach cramps, nausea and diarrhea will pass within hours, or last up to a few days. Make sure you keep hydrated and if you are in any doubt, or experience fever make an appointment with your doctor.
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Recap of Your Pizza Shelf Life
So, as a final recap to the question – how long does leftover pizza last – in the fridge it is three days ideally, with four being the maximum while in the freezer chest it is up to 4-6 months. But this does depend on the way it has been wrapped and stored as well as what types of toppings are on your leftover pizza. And don’t forget to adhere to good food hygiene when it comes to defrosting and reheating.