The most obvious answer is to put those leftover slices in the fridge, but that opens up another interesting question, which most people don’t even think about. Just how long does pizza last in the fridge?
It’s common to order pizza, or make your own, only to find you don’t want to eat those last one or two slices. So, what do you do?
Most people will store it in the fridge and eat it the following day. But what happens if you don’t feel like doing that?
Of course, we should all know the answer to this, even if it’s a rough guess since it does deal directly with our health. So, what is the answer, and how do they even come up with this time?
But here is a key point. While there is an answer to give, you will see that it comes with several issues, problems, and key points to consider. But don’t worry, as we will take you through all of them.
According to the USDA, who should know what they are talking about, pizza can survive for up to four days in the fridge before things start to go wrong. We don’t know if that is longer than you expected, but it seems like a long time.
But there is always the need to think about a number of variables that can change how long your pizza will last in the fridge. Not every topping or pizza is the same, so you cannot simply take this as a straightforward answer.
So, we should also look at how it manages to last for four days and what happens if you go ahead and eat some after that time. After all, we don’t want you becoming ill as a result.
The Temperature is Key
To stretch things out to that maximum of four days, the key is the temperature of your fridge. You see, the USDA states that your fridge should have a temperature of below 40F.
Anything above that, and the chances of your pizza remaining healthy to eat drops dramatically.
But it’s not only pizza where that temperature becomes important. However, we do suggest thinking about checking the temperature before you even store your pizza just to know how quickly you need to eat it.
If you are unsure about the temperature of your fridge, then check it first. You may think it’s cold enough, but a slight difference can easily lead to that bacteria growing.
Also, it won’t simply stop at your pizza becoming dangerous for you to eat.
Toppings Play a Role
We should also tell you that the toppings on your pizza will determine how long you can safely store it in the fridge. For example, if you have opted for anchovies or shrimp on your pizza, then there is no way it will last for three or four days.
That’s because things such as seafood will become a breeding ground for bacteria in a shorter length of time compared to other toppings. We suggest only storing a pizza with those toppings in the fridge for around a day.
Other toppings deemed less perishable can easily last for those three or four days. So if you have pepperoni or other cooked meat, then don’t stress. It will all taste just as good after those few days.
If you feel unsure as to the length of time you should store your pizza, here’s a suggestion. Look at the main topping on your pizza and find out how long that can last in the fridge. That will give you some indication and something to work from.
Oh, and if you have any doubts in your mind after a day or two, we suggest you just do not take any risks.
How to Know Your Pizza is Not Edible
So let’s say it’s verging on day three of your pizza sitting in the fridge, and you feel like tucking into those leftovers. How do you know it’s still safe to eat?
This is where a bit of common sense can play a major role. Of course, you should start by looking to see if any mold has appeared on top. This is not difficult to see, but take the pizza out of the fridge and inspect it in some good light.
But that’s not all.
You should also use your nose to help you out. Is there a rancid smell coming from your pizza? If so, then you should certainly not eat it.
We would suggest taking out each slice that has been left behind and examining each one before eating. Is there some sense of a color change that has happened to the toppings? What does the crust look like?
The extent to which you need to examine the pizza depends directly on how long it has been since you stored everything away. After one day, a glance over everything will work. By day three, you need to inspect this to ensure you don’t eat something that will make you very ill.
When to Put it in Your Fridge
So you know how long your pizza can last in the fridge, so when should you put it into the fridge in the first place?
Well, you shouldn’t put it in the fridge straight away. Instead, you need to allow your pizza to cool before you even think about storing it. However, there is a time limit.
Food hygiene experts say you should not leave your pizza out for longer than two hours. After that time, there is a good chance different bacteria have started to grow on your pizza, and you don’t want to eat it.
Ideally, you should check to see if your pizza is still warm around the 60-minute mark. That should be a good guide as to whether it’s cool enough to go in the fridge or if you should wait another 10 minutes.
How to Store it Correctly
But this is yet another important thing you need to think about because storing your pizza correctly does make a difference in how long it can last in the fridge.
People tend to simply throw the leftovers into the fridge with them still in the pizza box. Well, it’s perhaps no surprise that this is not the best way to store your pizza.
The problem here is that a pizza box is not an air-tight container. Not placing your leftovers in an air-tight container does mean the period becomes shorter.
However, you may not even realize this if you immediately presumed those four days applied to every eventuality. But that’s not the case.
Instead, you need to take those slices and place them in some storage box that is indeed air-tight. But if you don’t have one available, you can do something else.
That is to wrap up each slice in plastic or foil. Make sure it’s tight around the pizza slice as that will, in a sense, make it air-tight. It’s not as good as special bags or containers, but it’s better than a pizza box.
What Happens If You Still Don’t Want to Eat it?
There is an option to go ahead and freeze the leftovers, but that is something you should have perhaps done at the outset. However, you could transfer it to the freezer, which will still prove edible after two months.
But our advice regarding this is to think more carefully about the chances of you eating the leftovers before deciding about the storage. It’s safer to freeze things immediately rather than give bacteria a chance to grow.
Pizza will last for up to four days in your fridge before you should think about throwing the leftovers away. However, we just feel nobody leaves pizza for that long anyway, so at least you know one or two days in the fridge will lead to no ill effects on you.
The main thing is to store it in either an air-tight container or wrapped up tightly in foil. If you do this correctly, then your pizza will still prove edible even after a couple of days.
But we also mentioned the need to look at the toppings. Those deemed more perishable, such as seafood, should not be left in the fridge for three or four days. With those toppings, we suggest 24 hours as a maximum; after that, you need to throw it out.
Finally, use your eyes and nose to check if the pizza remains edible. We suggest checking it out even if it’s the following morning, just in case something has gone wrong with the storage.
But generally speaking, store your pizza correctly, and you should have no problem eating it even three days later.