One of the most common questions we hear at Hungry Howie's® is "how long does pizza last in the fridge?" Everyone loves a good pizza night, and sometimes our eyes are bigger than our stomachs which leaves us with leftovers. By no means are pizza leftovers a bad thing. Having a few slices in the fridge means you have another tasty, pizza dinner waiting for you later (or perhaps a late-night snack). If you're not feeling like eating pizza two days in a row, though, you may be wondering how long it's safe to keep those leftover slices hanging around. We did the research to provide you with the answer.
It all comes down to a few basic things: temperature and storage method.
How Long Does Pizza Last in the Fridge?
The short answer to this age-old question is that, generally, leftover pizza will last between three and four days in the refrigerator before you'll need to toss it. This is because the longer food sits the more bacteria it accumulates. After a certain point, that bacteria becomes dangerous to ingest. It can give you food poisoning or just make you feel crummy.
To get the most life out of your leftover slice, you'll want to get it off the counter and into the fridge within two hours of bringing it home.
Right Temperature for Storing Pizza
The key to storing leftover pizza in the fridge is making sure that your refrigerator is set to the correct temperature. According to the United States Food and Drug Administration, to get those full four days out of your leftover slices your fridge needs to be set to a temperature of less than 40 degrees Fahrenheit. If it is warmer than that, bacteria will grow on the pizza much more quickly, making it unsafe to eat.
If you're unsure of how cold your fridge is, it's easy to check. Most appliances have a temperature setting that allows you to adjust how cool your refrigerator is. You can also purchase a small, inexpensive fridge thermometer to keep inside if you want to be sure.
Where Should I Keep Leftover Pizza in the Fridge?
Many people are surprised to learn that not all areas of the fridge are the same exact temperature and some are colder than others. The door of the fridge, for example, is one of the warmest spots. The top shelves and items near the front of the fridge tend to be warmer as well. This is because as you open and shut the refrigerator, room temperature air makes its way inside.
If you're looking to keep your leftover pizza safe to eat for as long as possible the best place to put it is on the bottom shelf, in the back corner. This is typically the coolest place in the fridge, ensuring that the slices stay below the recommended 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
How to Store Leftover Pizza in Containers
It's tempting to just put the whole pizza box in the fridge at the end of your meal, saving dishes and time. However, when asking "how long does pizza last in the fridge?" we advise that you steer clear of this route. To keep your leftover slices the freshest and the longest storing them in the proper container is key.
It's best to place your leftover pizza in an airtight container, if possible. This can slow the growth of bacteria and stop your pizza from getting stale. If you don't have an airtight container available, a traditional Tupperware will do. Still, if you don't have one large enough to fit your leftovers, there are better alternatives to just putting the box in the fridge.
One way to help your pizza last in the fridge is to wrap the slices in plastic wrap. Then, wrap them a second time in tinfoil. This creates two protective barriers to keep your leftovers safe.
When to Throw Away Your Pizza
While the general rule is that pizza will last for four days in the fridge, there are times when you may need to throw it away sooner. Before you eat your leftover slices be sure to look at the cheese and bread. Sometimes food spoils faster than we intend, and bad pizza can begin to collect mold.
If you see mold or your pizza begins to turn green throw it away, no matter how long it's been since you placed it in the fridge. Even if you reheat it, it is not safe to eat.
There's Always More Pizza
We know it's upsetting to throw away leftover pizza that you're looking forward to, and just as upsetting when you do finish your leftovers and realize there is no more to eat. The good news is that Hungry Howie's® is here and you can place an order for delivery or carry-out any time. If you're craving fresh pizza, place your order today!