Is it OK to eat expired frozen pizza?

Eating expired frozen pizza is a common dilemma many people face. With the rising costs of food, no one wants to throw away perfectly good pizza that’s just past its “best by” date. But is it actually safe to eat expired frozen pizza? Here’s a look at the facts.

What happens when frozen pizza expires?

Frozen pizzas have a somewhat arbitrary expiration date, also called a “best by” date, that estimates how long the pizza will be at peak quality. It doesn’t necessarily mean the pizza will go bad by that date.

Frozen pizzas last a surprisingly long time past their printed date, thanks to being kept continuously frozen. Freezing stops bacteria from growing and reduces chemical reactions that cause food to deteriorate.

That said, taste, texture, and nutrition can diminish over time in the freezer. Sauce can separate, cheese can dry out, crust can get soggy. So an expired frozen pizza might not taste as great, but it’s usually still safe to eat.

How long past its date is frozen pizza still good?

Most frozen pizzas keep well for 2-6 months past their printed date, as long as they stay frozen the whole time. Here are some general guidelines on how long different types of frozen pizza can last past their date:

Frozen Pizza Type Months Past Printed Date
Thin crust pizza 2-3 months
Rising crust pizza 3-4 months
Thick/deep dish pizza 4-6 months

Note that these are just general estimates – longevity can vary based on ingredients, pizza brand, freezing temperature, how often the freezer door is opened, and other factors.

How to tell if expired frozen pizza is bad

Trust your senses. Here are signs that frozen pizza has gone bad and should be thrown out:

  • Ice crystals or frost inside the packaging – indicates freezer burn
  • Odd color changes in the crust or sauce
  • Soggy or dried out crust
  • Off smell when cooking
  • Mold anywhere – especially black, green, or white fuzzy spots
  • Weird tastes that weren’t present originally

If you notice any of those red flags, it’s best to toss the pizza. But as long as the pizza has been kept frozen continuously and doesn’t show signs of spoilage, it should still be safe to eat even months past the printed date.

Will I get sick from eating expired frozen pizza?

Most likely, you will be just fine. It’s rare to get food poisoning from frozen pizza that’s a few months past date, though the chance of illness increases the longer you keep it frozen.

People with weakened immune systems, pregnant women, young children, and the elderly should be more cautious about eating older frozen pizza. For them, it may be wise to stick closer to the original best by date.

But for generally healthy individuals, eating expired frozen pizza poses a very small risk, especially if it’s just expired by a couple months and shows no signs of spoilage.

Tips for safely eating expired frozen pizza

If you want to eat frozen pizza that’s over the hill taste-wise but still seems edible, you can take steps to further reduce your risk:

  • Inspect pizza thoroughly before cooking – discard if it has any odd colors, textures, or smells
  • Check for ice crystals inside the packaging, an indicator of freezer burn
  • Cook pizza thoroughly until steaming hot all the way through
  • Avoid serving expired frozen pizza to people with compromised immune systems or chronic illnesses
  • When in doubt, throw it out!

Will expired frozen pizza make me sick?

It’s highly unlikely you’ll get sick from eating frozen pizza that’s expired, especially if you take proper precautions. The ingredients in frozen pizzas don’t easily harbor dangerous bacteria.

Freezing halts microbial growth, and cooking kills most bacteria, viruses, or mold that could make you ill. As long as the pizza looks and smells normal, you should be able to eat it without getting sick even months past its date.

At worst, you may deal with some digestive upset if the pizza is very old or was temperature abused during storage. But serious illness is rare.

Can you still microwave expired frozen pizza?

Yes, you can safely microwave expired frozen pizza. Microwaves provide a very thorough form of cooking and will kill any germs on the pizza.

Microwaving may produce a pizza with poorer texture and flavor than oven baking, since it can make the crust soggy. But from a food safety perspective, microwaving leftover frozen pizza is fine.

Make sure the pizza is piping hot throughout before eating it. Check for icy spots or cold zones that may not have cooked through.

Will reheating expired pizza make it safe?

Yes, thoroughly reheating expired frozen pizza will make it safe to eat. Heating pizza to 165°F kills potentially harmful bacteria.

The best way to reheat frozen pizza is in a 375°F oven until hot, about 15-20 minutes. You can also reheat in the microwave or toaster oven.

Check the internal temperature in a few spots with an instant read thermometer to verify it reaches food safe 165°F.

Can you still eat expired frozen pizza without cooking it?

No, it is not safe to eat expired frozen pizza without thoroughly cooking it first. Uncooked pizza can harbor dangerous bacteria like Listeria, Salmonella, and E. coli.

Always be sure to bake, grill, microwave, or otherwise cook expired frozen pizza until it is piping hot throughout before eating. Frozen pizza is not ready to eat straight out of the freezer.

What are the risks of eating expired frozen pizza?

If frozen pizza stays frozen, the risks are low. Frozen pizza doesn’t support much bacterial growth, and freezing stops any microbes present from multiplying.

However, risks include:

  • Upset stomach – Poor texture or rancid flavors can cause nausea or diarrhea
  • Foodborne illness – Higher risk of pathogens that can cause vomiting, fever, etc.
  • Decreased nutrition – Loss of vitamins over time in storage

Again, for healthy people, these risks are minimal if the pizza was properly stored frozen. But they do increase the longer pizza stays in the freezer beyond its date.

Does cooking kill bacteria on expired frozen pizza?

Yes, thorough cooking will kill bacteria present on expired frozen pizza. Cooking pizza to the proper internal temperature destroys Salmonella, Listeria, E. coli and other dangerous pathogens.

Pizza should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F as measured with a food thermometer. At this temperature, any bacteria, viruses or parasites will be killed.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends reheating leftover pizza to 165°F to eliminate foodborne illness risks from bacteria that may grow after the pizza is thawed.

Can you eat expired frozen pizza during pregnancy?

Pregnant women need to be extra cautious about foodborne illnesses from bacteria that could cross the placenta and infect the fetus. For this reason, it’s best for those who are pregnant to avoid eating expired frozen pizza.

Pregnant women have weakened immune systems that make them more susceptible to illnesses from eating outdated foods. The added risk is not worth the potential cost.

If you do eat expired frozen pizza while pregnant, at least make sure it has been kept frozen, cook it thoroughly until steaming hot, and do not eat pizza that is heavily past its printed date to be safe.

Is it safe to feed expired frozen pizza to toddlers?

It’s best to avoid feeding toddlers and young children expired frozen pizza. Toddlers have less developed immune systems that make them vulnerable to illness from spoilage bacteria.

If you do decide to feed a toddler pizza that is past its date, stick to 1-2 months past and be very careful. Inspect carefully for any signs of freezer burn, thaw and cook thoroughly, and monitor for any illness afterwards.

For toddlers and children, it may be best to play it safe and toss frozen pizzas once they are over the hill taste-wise. The potential serious effects of foodborne illness are not worth the small risk.

Should you eat expired frozen pizza if you have a weakened immune system?

Those with compromised immune systems should avoid eating expired frozen pizza whenever possible. Illnesses like cancer, HIV/AIDS, diabetes, kidney disease, and autoimmune disorders impair the body’s ability to fight infections.

Even when frozen, older pizza may pose a greater risk of Listeria, E. coli, Salmonella, and other bacteria that can seriously sicken those with impaired immunity. It’s just not worth the gamble.

If you do eat expired pizza with a weakened immune system, stick to just 1 month past the printed date, inspect carefully, cook thoroughly, and discontinue consumption if you feel ill after.


While expired frozen pizza may not taste as great, it is generally safe to eat if it has been kept frozen continuously. For healthy individuals, risk of illness from pizza expired by a few months is very low if you cook it thoroughly.

However, some groups like pregnant women, small children, and those with chronic illnesses may want to avoid eating older frozen pizza. And if you see any odd colors, textures, or smells, it’s best to throw the pizza out.

Following proper food safety practices like inspecting carefully, cooking fully, and reheating leftovers to 165°F can further minimize any risks. But in most cases, indulging in expired frozen pizza is unlikely to cause major issues.

At the end of the day, use your best judgment. Taste and see if the pizza still smells and looks okay. Stick closer to the original best by date if you are unsure. And when in doubt, just order a fresh pizza!

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