How Long Can Pizza Dough Last? (And Make It Last Longer)

Sometimes it’s nice to make food in advance, especially if you may not have time in the week to make something fresh.

Making food in advance also helps make mealtimes faster and easier, if everything is done or prepared beforehand.

Although pizza always tastes best when it is fresh. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t make a certain element of it beforehand.

You can still make a pizza beforehand and have it still taste great. All you have to do is make the pizza dough in advance.

Then when you are craving a pizza, all you need to do is get the dough and add your toppings and cook the pizza.

Like most things, pizza dough can’t last forever but there are ways to make it last longer. 

Storing your pizza dough in the right way is what will help your dough last longer so you can enjoy a pizza whenever you want one.

There are three main ways to store your pizza dough which we’ll go through in more detail further on in the article.

This article will also explain how you can properly store your pizza dough and what affects your storage life. Overall, this article will help you keep your pizza dough lasting longer and still tasting great. 

How To Store Your Pizza Dough

After you have mixed your pizza dough together, you should let it rise. After this first rise, then it is time to store your dough in your preferred method.

Depending on which method you choose you may store the dough in one batch or you may decide to split the dough into smaller batches and shape it into balls. 

If you are using this as an excuse to get ahead, you may use this as an opportunity to double your recipe and make a big batch of dough so then you have more to store and plenty of dough whenever you might want some. 

When storing your pizza dough, it is recommended that you use airtight containers, because this helps the fermentation process.

While also restricting the amount of oxygen the dough will receive. The airtight containers help keep everything constrained so nothing else, can affect your dough or taint it in any way.

What Affects The Storage Life Of Your Pizza Dough?

Your pizza dough is alive because the yeast that you add becomes activated and begins to ferment. That’s nothing to worry about.

It just means that once you have mixed your dough together, the yeast is releasing sugars, CO2, and flavor into the dough.

Alongside that, gluten is beginning to form and loosen up. This is why you knead your dough to really activate the gluten to make the dough stretchy. 

Once you have made your dough you let your dough rise, this gives the yeast even more time to do its thing. The yeast helps make your dough rise.

If you leave your dough to ferment and rise for too long, this can affect the taste and texture of your pizza dough.

Also by adding too much yeast, you can affect the storage life of your dough, because the more yeast you add the quicker the dough will prove, thus the more likely you are to overprove and over-ferment your dough.

This could mean that your pizza dough won’t taste as nice as you had hoped and the texture may be different from what you were expecting.

You need to try to make sure no air gets to your dough. If any air gets to your pizza dough, this can dry out your dough.

So when storing your dough, you need to put it in either an airtight container or in multiple layers of plastic wrap. This will help keep your pizza dough fresher for longer. 

How Long Can Pizza Dough Last At Room Temperature?

How Long Can Pizza Dough Last At Room Temperature

As mentioned above, this can depend on how much yeast has been added to your dough.

If you have bought store-bought pizza dough or if you have made the dough using bread flour or all-purpose flour, then this dough can be left for 1 to 2 hours.

However if you have a Neapolitan pizza dough, which is made from 00 flour, then this dough can be left for 8 to 12 hours, sometimes longer.

It all depends on how much yeast you have used, the less used the longer you can leave the dough at room temperature before it starts to overproof.

If left for too long at room temperature, the yeast will continue to grow and then die. If you then bake that dough, the yeast will be inactive and won’t rise in the oven.

Your pizza dough will turn out tough, solid, and very chewy. You can store pizza dough at room temperature, like on your kitchen counter but it won’t last very long due to the yeast being activated and working quite quickly.

The longest you can leave your dough at room temperature is 12 hours but that depends on the pizza dough you are making and how much yeast you have used. 

If you leave it too long then mold may also begin to form. If mold does appear in your pizza dough, you should get rid of the dough straight away.

Just cutting the part of the dough which has the mold on is not enough. This is due to the spores having already started to spread throughout the dough and this could make you unwell.

How Long Can Pizza Dough Last In The Fridge?

Putting your pizza dough in the fridge slows the yeast down. When putting pizza dough in the fridge, you should put the dough in either an airtight container or wrap it in plastic wrap.

If using plastic wrap, then it is advised that you use a couple of layers, just to make sure no air gets to your pizza dough and dries it out.

Then you can put your dough into the fridge and store it in there for about 2 weeks.

However most experts recommend only storing the dough in the fridge for 3 to 5 days, if you want to store it longer than that, maybe think about using the freezer. 

The problem with storing pizza dough in the fridge for longer than 5 days is that will bacteria will start to appear and grow quite rapidly.

If you are using the fridge to store your pizza dough, then it may be worth splitting your dough into balls (depending on how much dough you have).

This will help save room in your fridge but also by having the dough in small balls, this will mean they will come to temperature quickly when you want to use them. 

You can store your dough in the fridge to also enhance the flavor of your dough. Putting the dough in the fridge slows the yeast down but doesn’t stop it.

Instead, the yeast will eat the sugars and release CO2 a lot slower. This creates a deeper and more complex flavor.

When you are ready to use the dough, take it out of the fridge and let the dough come to room temperature. This can take at least 30 minutes, depending on the size of the ball of dough.

Once it has come to room temperature, you can now roll the dough out and add your toppings, and bake.

How Long Can Pizza Dough Last In The Freezer?

How Long Can Pizza Dough Last In The Freezer

If you have leftover dough or made more than you need so you can have some backup pizza dough, then the freezer is a great option for storing your dough.

Making extra dough and putting it in the freezer is a convenient way to have dough on hand, whenever you need or want it. 

By putting pizza dough in the freezer, you stop the fermentation process completely. Therefore you can leave your dough for much longer in the freezer; you can leave it for up to 3 months.

When you are ready to use your dough, remove it from the freezer and leave it for 3 to 4 hours at room temperature.

Or you can remove the dough from the freezer and put it in the fridge to thaw overnight.

However, whichever way you decide to do it, you must let your dough come to room temperature before shaping and baking. 

With freezing your pizza dough, you may find that your dough won’t rise as much as it did when fresh. This is due to the yeast not really liking being frozen.

It had started its process and stopped. Your dough will still rise but you may find that it doesn’t rise as much as it would if it was fresh.

Also after a while, the color and texture of your dough may start to change. 

You need to be careful when storing your pizza dough in the freezer. While it is a great way to store dough for longer periods of time, you need to make sure you store it properly.

If you don’t put your dough into an airtight container or in multiple layers of plastic wrap, you may find your dough to have freezer burns.

These are visible freezer crystals or white spots that will appear after a while. You can still use your dough if freezer burns appear but it may affect the taste of your pizza.

To prevent this, you must make sure you wrap/contain your dough correctly before putting it in the freezer.

Fresh VS Store Bought Pizza Dough

If you decide to make your own pizza dough, this dough doesn’t stay fresh for very long, compared to store-bought which has a bit longer shelf life.

There isn’t a huge difference between both doughs, just that the store-bought pizza dough will last a couple of days longer in the fridge, depending on when you bought the dough and its sell-by date.

As long as the product is still in date and looks and smells good then the dough is ok to use. However, nothing really beats making your own dough as it does taste different because it is homemade.

How To Know If Your Pizza Dough Has Gone Bad

There are a few signs that your pizza dough has gone bad, depending on the method in which you decided to store it.

The easiest way to know if your dough has gone bad is that the pizza dough will smell bad.

The dough may smell sour or have an alcoholic or beer odor. This is due to the yeast and over fermentation.

Dough that has been over-fermented won’t taste very nice because the yeast has done its job too well.

The color of your dough can change too. Pizza dough should be a cream/beige color, however, after a while, your dough can turn a grey color with flaky or orange peel over the surface.

You want your dough to be cream, not grey.  This reaction happens from the flour, which is something to watch out for when leaving the dough for a long time. 

Alongside this, the texture of your dough can change. Normally pizza dough is stretchy and easy to work with.

Well once you are ready to use your dough, and it is at room temperature, another sign that your dough has gone bad is that the texture has changed.

It will have become dry, flaky, and crusty. It would become hard to roll and shape. This can happen if you leave your dough for too long in any of the storage methods mentioned above.

Also if using store-bought pizza dough, you should always check the date on the packaging.

If the dough has been left at room temperature or in the fridge you must always check it, for the other reasons mentioned above to make sure it is still ok to use.

However, once it has gone past its date, then that dough should be used at your own risk. Once it reaches its sell-by date then there is a higher chance that bacteria is beginning to grow.

You’ll be able to tell once you open the packaging whether it is going to be edible or not.

Final Thoughts

Dough is easy to make and quite easy to store and it’s all down to the yeast. The amount of yeast being used is what could hinder how your pizza dough is stored and how long it will last.

It depends on how far in advance you are making your dough, which of the methods will work best for you.

If you plan to use your pizza dough within 12 hours of making it then you can leave the dough at room temperature, before it starts to overproof.

If it is left any longer then it may be better to store the pizza dough in the fridge. However, if you aren’t using your pizza dough within a week of making it, then it would be better to freeze your dough and get it out when needed.

Pizza dough is easy to store and there are many ways to do it. Although with each method, it is highly advised to put your dough in either an airtight container or covered in multiple layers of plastic wrap to keep it secure.

This also stops air from getting to the dough and drying the dough out. Ideally, it is best to use pizza dough as soon as possible to prevent any issues from forming later on.

However, there are options if you want some premade dough ready for when you crave a last-minute pizza.