Leftover pizza is one of the main culinary pleasures of young life, and a staple of the college diet.
But how long can pizza last, and are their health risks from eating leftover pizza?
How Long Does Pizza Last in the Fridge?
Here’s a quick reference table for how long pizza lasts when properly stored:
|Type of Pizza||At room temperature||In the fridge||In the freezer|
|Delivered pizza||Up to 2 hours||3-4 days||4-6 months|
|Frozen pizza||Up to 2 hours||If heated and then refrigerated, will last 3-4 days||If continuously frozen, will keep 18 months, or check the expiration date|
|Vegan Pizza||Up to 2 hours||3-4 days||4-6 months|
While meat and cheese are typically thought of as the least safe ingredients, so vegan pizzas might last longer, the truth is that pizza is only as good as the most perishable ingredient.
Olive oil, tomatoes, and other vegan ingredients can also go bad or harbor unsafe bacteria.
Best Way to Preserve Pizza
The best way to save pizza for later is not to put the whole box in the fridge.
The air circulation around the pizza makes it go stale more quickly. To best save pizza, use wax or parchment paper.
- Place a sheet of wax or parchment paper on the counter.
- Place a slice of pizza on the wax paper.
- Alternate pieces of wax paper and slices of pizza.
- Place the stack of paper and pizza slices into a freezer bag or airtight container.
- Place the container in the fridge if you will eat the pizza within the next few days.
- Place the container in the freezer if you want to store the pizza for longer.
Using wax or parchment paper allows you to remove a single slice for heating or eating without the slices getting stuck together.
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Best Ways to Reheat Pizza
Everybody knows that the microwave is a terrible way to reheat pizza.
It makes the crust spongy or soggy, heats unevenly, and can make cheese rubbery.
There are so many better ways, and here are our favorites:
Place cold pizza slices on a baking sheet, cover the sheet tightly with tin foil, and heat it on the lowest rack of the oven at 275°F for 25-30 minutes.
This heats the pizza evenly, with a bottom that is hot and crisp but the inside of the crust moist and tender.
Using the tin foil allows the crust to re-absorb lost moisture and prevents drying out.
For an awful lot of people, heating an oven for a half-hour is more effort than they want to spend on leftover pizza.
Instead, place a slice of pizza in a skillet, with the heat set to low and a tight-fitting lid on the skillet. Let the pizza heat in the skillet for 5 -8 minutes.
This method also traps and retains moisture, heats evenly, crisps the crust and melts the cheese beautifully.
Leftover pizza can also be easily reheated in a toaster oven. Simply 3-5 minutes at 350°F (or medium-high) gives you melty cheese and crispy crust.
To reheat frozen pizza, simply let it thaw on the counter for an hour or so, and then heat using the methods above.
>>Wondering about how to store rice? Check out our guide about how long will rice last in the fridge here!!!<<
How can you tell if pizza has gone bad?
Pizza can get hard and stale and still be safe to eat, although not as delicious.
Check leftover pizza for any signs of mold or discoloration, and make sure that pizza still smells good.
If it doesn’t have a strange smell or discolored spots, it is safe to eat.
What happens if you eat bad pizza?
If you eat spoiled pizza, you may give yourself a case of food poisoning.
Food poisoning can cause nausea, diarrhea, headaches, and other feelings of being unwell, and can last for a day or two.
If symptoms are more severe or last for more than three days, see a doctor.
Will reheating pizza kill bacteria?
Different bacteria have different temperature, but, as a rule of thumb, heating foods to temperatures over 165°F (inside and out) will kill bacteria.
But simply killing bacteria does not make the food safe.
Some spoiled food bacteria produce spores, toxins, and other contaminants that aren’t killed when the original bacteria is killed.
This is also why you shouldn’t re-freeze or reheat foods more than once. If food, including pizza, has been allowed to grow mold, bacteria, or other micro-organisms, re-heating does not make the food safe, and it should be discarded.