Pizza is one of the most frequently ordered foods, especially when it comes to takeout and delivery. We often over order with the intention of having leftovers, but is it safe to eat leftover pizza and can you eat cold pizza the very next day?
Pizza comes in a variety of forms from deep dish to thin crust and vegan to meat lovers. As a result, the list of available topping combinations is endless, and everyone has their personal favorites and some even
Leftover pizza is a delicacy enjoyed by many people, however there are a few dos and don’ts regarding the safety of the prized possession.
If pizza is left out overnight is it safe to eat? Leftover pizza is a common food item that almost everyone has had the opportunity to eat at least one time.
According to the USDA, pizza is a perishable food item that should be refrigerated within 2 hours. The dough, sauce, cheese and all toppings are susceptible to bacteria growth, and therefore are considered a food safety concern.
How long is leftover pizza good for?
In this busy action packed world, we often overlook food safety facts. Excess pizza can be wrapped or covered and stored in the fridge or freezer within a specific amount of time, otherwise they should be discarded.
Here are the USDA guidelines regarding leftover pizza:
- Room temperature pizza above 90 °F (32 °C): 1 hour
- Room temperature pizza below 90 °F (32 °C): 2 hours
- Refrigerated pizza below 40 °F (4 °C): 3 to 4 days
- Frozen pizza below 0°F (-18 °C): 1 to 2 months
Can you eat cold pizza? Pizza can be eaten hot, cold or even at room temperature if the temperature guidelines have been accurately followed. In fact, some people actually prefer cold pizza rather than reheated pizza.
If the pizza was properly stored in a shallow container, wrapped or covered, within the allotted time-temperature guidelines, then you have nothing to worry about. Follow the 2-hour rule and enjoy within 3 to 4 days, and then it is considered perfectly safe to eat cold pizza.
Can you freeze pizza leftovers? Yes you can freeze leftover pizza. Wrap tightly or store in a shallow meal prep container to prevent freezer burn and the food completely drying out.
Pizza leftovers should last between 1 to 2 months. They may safely last longer, however the risk is continued drying and the food may no longer taste as good.
Related: How to microwave a frozen pizza slice
Does reheating pizza kill bacteria? If pizza is left out overnight, the unrefrigerated food will become the host for food borne bacteria. Bacteria thrive and multiply, quickly contaminating the food.
The bacteria excrete toxins that may pose a threat to a weakened immune system. The toxins produced by bacteria are still present on the food, even after heating to 165°F.
The bacteria will die off, but their toxic byproducts will remain. You need to be sure that the pizza is really heated to 165°F, which is not an easy task with pizza.
Related: How to reheat pizza in the microwave
Why is pizza better the next day? Foods like soup, stew, curry, and pizza benefit from cooling down and spending a bit of time in the refrigerator.
Oil and water don’t mix, and that truly helps to benefit cold pizza to make it taste better. As the oil cools, it forms a barrier that holds the moisture and flavor inside the pizza. The melted cheese firms on top of the dough to trap the saucy puree underneath a protective blanket.
Because the fat doesn’t flow out of the crust and dough, it gets stuck inside and further enhances the overall goodness. The hardened fats and consolidated flavors are the reason why leftover pizza taste so much better the next day.