Can I refrigerate pizza dough after it rises?

Quick Answer

Yes, you can refrigerate pizza dough after it has risen. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when refrigerating risen pizza dough:

  • The dough may collapse slightly when chilled.
  • Allow the dough to come to room temperature before shaping and baking to prevent shocking the yeast.
  • The dough may need a second short rise time after being chilled to regain some of the rise.
  • Cold fermented dough can be kept refrigerated for 2-3 days.

What Happens When You Refrigerate Risen Dough?

When you refrigerate dough that has already risen, the cold temperature causes the dough to lose some of its rise and deflate slightly as the yeast becomes inactive.

However, this doesn’t ruin the dough! The yeast simply goes dormant in the cold, but will reactivate when the dough is warmed up again.

Here’s a simple overview of what happens when risen dough is refrigerated:

  • The cold temperature causes the yeast to go dormant and slow down fermentation.
  • Gas production stops, causing the dough to deflate somewhat.
  • The gluten relaxes slightly which can cause the dough to collapse a bit.
  • The flavors from fermentation remain intact.

So while the dough may lose some of its airy rise, the refrigeration only temporarily pauses the fermentation process. The yeast and bacteria remain alive, allowing the flavors to continue developing.

Should You Let Dough Rise Fully Before Refrigerating?

This depends on your goals with the dough. Here are the pros and cons of refrigerating dough before and after a full rise:

Refrigerating after a full rise:

  • Allows the dough to fully develop in flavor from the initial rise.
  • Can maintain the airy risen shape if chilled carefully.
  • May collapse more if not chilled gently.

Refrigerating before a full rise:

  • Prevents overproofing if you won’t be baking right away.
  • The dough won’t fully rise again when brought to room temperature.
  • You lose some of the flavor development from the initial rise.

For most pizza dough, its best to let it rise fully at room temperature before chilling it. This allows the yeast to produce gas and airflow for better structure and texture.

However, if you want to slow down fermentation or will be baking the dough beyond the normal rise time, you can refrigerate it before it completes rising.

How to Refrigerate Risen Pizza Dough

Here are some tips for chilling risen pizza dough properly:

1. Let it rise fully

Allow your pizza dough to complete its first rise at room temperature before chilling it. This allows the dough to develop air pockets for a soft crumb texture.

2. Gently deflate

Press out some of the air to gently deflate the dough before refrigerating. This prevents the dough from collapsing too much.

3. Form it into a ball

Gently shape the dough into a smooth, tight ball which will help maintain its structure in the fridge.

4. Brush with oil

Coat the surface in a thin layer of olive oil. This prevents drying out and creates a protective barrier.

5. Place in an airtight container

Put the dough in a container or bag with no air gaps before refrigerating. This prevents the dough from taking on fridge odors.

6. Chill for up to 3 days

The dough will keep for 2-3 days refrigerated. Any longer and the yeast may become inactive.

How to Handle Refrigerated Dough

When ready to use refrigerated pizza dough, you’ll need to wake up the yeast and give the dough time to warm up. Here’s how:

Take it out of the fridge

Remove the dough and leave it out at room temperature for about 1 hour. This allows it to gradually warm up.

Check for rise

The dough may have risen slightly in the fridge. Gently press out some air if it has expanded.

Shape the dough

Once at room temperature, gently shape and stretch the dough into a round. The gluten will have relaxed slightly.

Let it rise again

Cover and let sit for 30 minutes to allow the yeast to reactivate and produce more air pockets.

Top and bake

Add your sauce and toppings, then bake as you normally would!

Tips for Refrigerating Risen Pizza Dough

Here are some top tips to ensure refrigerated, risen pizza dough bakes up just as delicious:

  • Deflate gently before refrigerating to prevent excessive collapse.
  • Form into a tight ball and coat with oil before chilling.
  • Thaw in the fridge overnight instead of on the counter.
  • Allow 1-2 hours at room temp before shaping to reactivate yeast.
  • Give the dough a second short rise of 30 mins after refrigerating.
  • Let the dough come fully to temperature before baking to prevent thermal shock of the yeast.
  • Bake a little longer than normal since the dough is cold in center.

How Long Does Risen Pizza Dough Last in the Fridge?

Properly stored, risen pizza dough can last 2-3 days refrigerated before the yeast starts to become inactive.

Here are some signs that refrigerated dough is past its prime:

  • Takes longer than 2 hours to regain rise at room temperature.
  • Has a sour or alcoholic aroma.
  • Doesn’t expand much when baked.
  • Dries out on the surface.

For longest shelf life, use dough within 2 days. After 3 days, the yeast may lose potency causing poor rise and flavor.

Freezing is an option for longer storage. Simply form individual dough balls and freeze for 1-3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge before using.

Common Questions About Refrigerating Risen Dough

Why does my pizza dough collapse in the fridge?

Dough can collapse when refrigerated due to the cold shocking the yeast, causing it to stop producing gas. Gently deflating before chilling and sealing airtight helps minimize collapsing.

Should I oil the dough before refrigerating?

Yes, coating risen dough in olive oil before refrigerating helps prevent drying out. Just brush a thin layer over the surface.

What happens if you refrigerate dough for too long?

If dough is refrigerated for more than 3-5 days, the yeast may become inactive. This causes poor rise, dense texture and loss of flavor.

How long does pizza dough last in the refrigerator?

Properly stored in an airtight container, risen pizza dough will last 2-3 days in the refrigerator before quality starts to decline.

Should you refrigerate dough before or after shaping?

For most pizza doughs, its best to shape into rounds or balls before refrigerating. This helps maintain an even, rounded form.


While pizza dough may lose some of its rise when refrigerated after proofing, this is only temporary. Proper handling like gentle deflating, shaping tightly, coating in oil, and sealing airtight will minimize collapse.

Refrigerated dough up to 3 days still bakes up delicious as long as you allow it to come completely to room temperature before the second rise and baking. Let it wake up slowly in the fridge, then give it 30-60 mins at room temp to revive the yeast.

The result will be a refrigerator pizza dough with great flavor from slow fermentation and an airy, bubbly texture when baked. Just be sure to use refrigerated risen dough within 3 days for best results.

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