Can you eat leftover pizza after 4 days?

Pizza is a beloved food for many, but enjoying leftover slices brings up an important question: How long is pizza still safe to eat after it was originally baked? There’s nothing better than crisp, fresh-from-the-oven pizza. But digging into a cold slice a day or two later can also be pretty satisfying. So what’s the limit for savoring leftover pizza before it’s unsafe to eat?

The 2 hour rule

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), all perishable foods, including pizza, are no longer safe to eat after sitting at room temperature for more than two hours. Bacteria grow rapidly when food is within the “danger zone” between 40°F and 140°F. After two hours in this temperature range, food becomes unsafe.

So if you left an entire pizza box sitting out overnight, it should be discarded in the morning rather than eaten. But what if you refrigerated the pizza shortly after it was delivered? Does the 2 hour rule still apply?

How long can you refrigerate pizza?

When stored properly in the refrigerator, leftover pizza can last 3 to 4 days before going bad. The FSIS recommends storing leftover pizza in a shallow airtight container if it won’t be eaten within 2 hours.

Tightly wrapping the pizza or placing it in an airtight container helps prevent moisture loss. It also blocks off-odors in the fridge from seeping into the pizza. Make sure to position the pizza so that air can still circulate around it.

Tips for refrigerating pizza

  • Allow the pizza to cool completely before refrigerating.
  • Do not let the pizza sit out for more than 2 hours before refrigerating.
  • Wrap tightly in plastic wrap or place in an airtight container.
  • Refrigerate within 2 hours of cooking.
  • Use within 3 to 4 days.

These storage guidelines help prevent bacteria growth and reduce moisture loss. Now let’s look at some signs that refrigerated pizza has gone bad and needs to be discarded.

How to tell if refrigerated pizza is bad

Although pizza can last a few days in the fridge, it will eventually show signs of spoilage.


Mold growth is one of the first signs that pizza has been kept too long. You may notice blue, green, black, or white fuzzy spots developing on the surface. Mold is a definite sign to throw the pizza away.

The edges of the pizza crust may also become dried out or hard. Significant drying indicates the food quality is deteriorating.


Your nose often knows best when food has gone bad. If refrigerated pizza starts smelling unpleasant, it should be discarded. An “off” odor, such as sour or moldy scent, are red flags.


Along with an bad odor, spoiled pizza may simply taste “off.” The flavors can turn stale or tangy. If anything seems like it’s past its prime while tasting the pizza, do not finish eating it.

Freezing and thawing pizza

For longer storage, freezing pizza allows it to keep for 2 to 3 months. When freezing pizza:

  • Divide into individual slices or portions before freezing
  • Wrap slices securely in plastic wrap or aluminum foil
  • Place inside freezer bags or airtight containers
  • Squeeze out excess air
  • Label with date
  • Use within 2 to 3 months for best quality

Thaw frozen pizza overnight in the refrigerator. Microwave defrosting may cause texture changes. Avoid letting frozen pizza sit out at room temperature to thaw, as this allows bacteria to multiply. Safety comes first, so discard frozen pizza that has been thawed for over 2 hours above 40°F before eating.

Reheating and eating leftover pizza

The right reheating method can help revive leftover pizza. Choose from the following effective options:


Reheating pizza in the oven at 400°F for 5 to 10 minutes crisps up the crust again. Place slices on a baking sheet or directly on the oven rack.


A non-stick skillet or flat griddle can also re-crisp pizza. Heat the pan over medium until hot before adding slices. Cook for a couple minutes per side.


For a quick option, microwave individual slices on High for 15 to 45 seconds. Check frequently and stop when the cheese is melted. Avoid microwaving too long or the pizza will get rubbery.

Toaster oven

A toaster oven also works well for heating up a few slices. Use the toast function or conventional bake at 350°F. Cook until warmed through, about 5 minutes.

Properly stored pizza keeps for up to 4 days in the refrigerator. Freeze for even longer storage. Always inspect refrigerated pizza and never eat any with an off odor or appearance. With the right storage and reheating, you can safely enjoy leftover pizza again and again.

Food safety tips for leftover pizza

Follow these guidelines to handle and store leftover pizza safely:

  • Refrigerate within 2 hours of baking
  • Store in shallow covered container
  • Use within 3 to 4 days
  • Look for mold, dried out crust, or off-odors before eating
  • Reheat thoroughly to 165°F before consuming
  • Freeze for longer storage of 2 to 3 months
  • Thaw refrigerated pizza overnight in the refrigerator
  • Discard thawed frozen pizza left above 40°F for over 2 hours

Frequently asked questions about leftover pizza

How long can you leave a pizza box out?

An open pizza box should not be left out at room temperature for more than 2 hours. After this time, bacteria can multiply quickly on perishable foods like pizza, making it unsafe to eat.

Can you eat pizza left out overnight?

No, pizza that has been left out of refrigeration overnight should always be discarded. Bacteria produce toxins as they multiply, even if the pizza still smells and looks fine. Reheating does not destroy the hazardous byproducts of bacterial growth.

Can pizza be reheated twice?

It’s best to avoid reheating pizza more than once. The second reheat allows additional time for bacteria to grow and multiply. Reheated pizza also tends to lose moisture and texture quality after the first reheat.

How can you tell if refrigerated pizza is still good?

Check refrigerated pizza for mold growth before eating it. Also smell the pizza to make sure it does not have an unpleasant or off odor. Taste a small bite and discard if the flavors seem stale or tangy.

What is the best way to reheat pizza?

Using the oven or a skillet helps re-crisp pizza and restore texture nearly like fresh. Microwaving is quick but can make pizza rubbery. For food safety, reheat pizza thoroughly until steaming hot, at least 165°F.


Leftover pizza should only be eaten if it’s been safely stored and handled. Allowing pizza to sit in the danger zone above 40°F for more than 2 hours allows dangerous bacteria growth. Always refrigerate leftovers right away and check for spoilage before eating. Reheating pizza to 165°F kills pathogens but cannot reverse toxin production. Follow the tips in this article to determine when leftover pizza is still good and the best reheating methods. With proper food safety practices, you can safely enjoy leftover pizza 3 to 4 days after baking.

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