How long does leftover pizza last in the fridge?

In this brief guide, we will answer the query, “How long does leftover pizza last in the fridge?” and will discuss how to properly store leftover pizza in the refrigerator.

How long does leftover pizza last in the fridge?

 Leftover pizza can last up to four days in the fridge, according to the USDA. A pizza that has been refrigerated at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit for at least four days may be safely consumed, according to the USDA. Slices in the fridge for more than four days are typically safe to consume, but the danger of foodborne disease rises beyond that point (1).

Keeping Your Pizza Fresher for a Longer Time in the refrigerator

Bakery products are widely consumed and therefore specifically defined requirements for their quality characteristics have been established. Bakery products such as bread, pizza, buns, are characterized by specific water activity (aw) values, which allow their marketability for a short period of time. Their shelf life is mainly limited by microbial spoilage and staling. After baking, these products are free of viable molds and bacteria, but some bacterial spores can survive the baking process or contamination can occur before packaging is completed (2).

Foods that need to be stored in the refrigerator must be stored properly. If you don’t, the germs will begin to grow even faster. To preserve the safety of your food, store it in airtight containers or resealable storage bags. When cooking, you want your food to maintain its moisture while protecting you from harmful microorganisms.

After cooking or reheating, immediately refrigerate any leftovers. Food that includes meat or cheese should be thrown away immediately if it’s been left out for more than two hours. Pizza, in the majority of situations, combines both ingredients, making it even more critical to store your pizza in the refrigerator before turning on the television or going to bed.

Consider freezing your pizza to keep it fresher for longer. Put the food in heavy-duty freezer bags or containers that are airtight. Wrapping your pizza with freezer wrap or aluminum foil is another option. For up to a month or two, your pizza will be at its peak quality if you store it in the freezer. It will still be safe after that, but not as new.

You need to make sure that your pizza doesn’t remain out at room temperature for long periods. The danger zone for bacteria growth is between 40- and 140-degrees Fahrenheit, where pizza should be kept at all times. In a short amount of time, the danger of bacterial growth rapidly rises. For example, every 20 minutes that food remains out at a temperature in the danger zone, the risk of foodborne illnesses might quadruple. Prolonged cold storage for several weeks is one of the main causes of food poisoning outbreaks. This situation is a concern for psychrotrophic pathogenic bacteria (e.g., Listeria monocytogenes, Clostridium botulinum type E, Yersinia enterocolitica, Aeromonas hydrophila) that multiply over sufficient time at ordinary refrigerator temperatures and generate to populations sufficient to cause illness or elaborate toxins if toxigenic (3).

Is it possible to detect whether the pizza you saved from last night’s dinner has gone bad? For mound or other oddities, you should be on the lookout to be on the safe side, toss everything that doesn’t smell or taste right away.

How to properly reheat refrigerated pizza?

Where in the United States would you want a delivery of Pequod’s? You must know how to reheat pizza to get it to taste as it does when you eat it at home. It may be cooked in a skillet, a toaster oven, or a conventional oven.

Pizza reheating in the oven

Reheating pizza in a normal oven is the preferred method. Preheat your oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit for a standard pizza. The goal is to reheat it, not burn it, so this is a critical phase in the process. Aluminum foil should be placed on a baking pan while the oven is preheating. The foil should be sprayed with a little coating of cooking spray to prevent the crust from sticking.

The oven temperature should be 425 degrees if you are reheating a Pequod’s Pizza that has been thawed. To cook the pizza, remove the cover and set it on the center rack of the oven, and bake it for approximately 15 minutes. Pequod’s pan pizza will be waiting for you after that!

Your pizza should always have a tiny mist of water sprayed on top of it. When you sprinkle your pizza crust with a small mist of water, you prevent it from becoming hard or chewy, or even overly soggy. Water is the most effective plasticizer for foods. Thus, it is expected that the higher the water content of the pizza dough, the softer the texture of the crust. When starch is heated with water, the double-helix of amylopectin unfolds, and the amorphous amylopectin hydrates a larger amount of water molecules than its original form. This process is known as starch gelatinization, which occurs in pizza crust during the baking process. Thus, if wheat flour in pizza dough is partially replaced by pre-gelatinized wheat starch, the pizza dough is expected to maintain its viscoelastic properties even at a higher water content compared to conventional dough. As a result, it is possible that pizza crust baked using an electric oven could be modified to produce a softer texture (4).

Pizza should be covered with another piece of aluminum foil. To prevent the pizza from burning, use an additional layer of foil on top of the first.

When the oven is hot, place the pizza on the lowest oven rack and bake for about 10 minutes. Bake for between 20 and 30 minutes, depending on the size of the dish. For best results, set a timer for around 20 minutes and check on it every five minutes.

Reheating a Pizza in a Pan

Turn on your stovetop burner to medium-high heat if you are reheating your pizza in a pan. Warm your skillet by sprinkling it with a thin coating of olive oil. Reduce the heat to medium-low after the oil has heated up. Place the pizza on a pan and cover it with aluminum foil.

Since the cover is an essential part of the process, you’ll need it. Cheese and other toppings may become heated and melted thanks to the lid. In addition, it will help keep the humidity level in check. Once covered, the pizza should be cooked for three to six minutes at the most.

Pizza Reheating in Toaster Oven

Pizza may also be reheated in a toaster oven. To avoid soggy and perhaps unappealing pizza, do not cook it in the microwave. Your pizza’s distinctive flavor will be preserved if you cook it in a toaster oven instead. Put your pizza in the toaster oven and set the power to medium. Let’s see how it goes for a single cycle first. A second heating session may be necessary to prevent the crust from getting soft or mushy.

How to cook frozen pizza?

To reheat frozen pizza , you must also bake it in the oven. Bake the pizza for 35 to 40 minutes in the middle of the oven. To tell whether something is done, look at the color of the crust. 425 degrees Fahrenheit is the ideal temperature for a frozen pizza. Cooking time should be between 35 and 45 minutes after the cover is removed from the pizza.

However, to achieve the soft texture of the rim of the pizza crust is generated by baking at a high temperature for a short duration in a stone oven. When baked using an electric oven, the raw pizza is baked at a much lower temperature and for a longer period compared to baking with a stone oven, resulting in a harder texture. The difference in baking condition is thought to be the reason for the large texture difference of the pizza crust (4).

Other FAQs about Pizza that you may be interested in.

Can I eat pizza with the flu? 

Is cold pizza good for breakfast?

Is cold pizza OK to eat?

Is a vegetarian pizza healthy?

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we answered the query, “How long does leftover pizza last in the fridge?” and discussed how to properly store leftover pizza in the refrigerator.

References

  1. Leftovers and Food Safety. United States Department of Agriculture. 2020.
  2. SiNgh, Preeti, Ali Abas WaNi, and Gyanendra Kumar Goyal. The extension of the shelf life of ready-to-serve pizza by a combination of modified atmosphere packaging and refrigeration. Food sci technol res, 2010, 16, 373-380. 
  3. Bryan, Frank L., John J. Guzewich, and Ewen CD Todd. Surveillance of foodborne disease III. Summary and presentation of data on vehicles and contributory factors; their value and limitations. J food protect, 1997, 60, 701-714.
  4. Matsumoto, Akane, Kanae Nakai, and Kiyoshi Kawai. Effects of water and gelatinized starch on the viscoelasticity of pizza dough and the texture of pizza crust. J App Glycosci, 2022, jag-JAG.

Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.