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Can you eat pizza left out overnight? Is it safe?

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If you are a student or someone with a tight time crunch, you are going to get this. You came back from a long day of school or work, found the pizza on the tabletop and just grabbed it and gobbled it down. It feels nice but the real question is “Can you eat pizza left out overnight?” Is it safe to consume at all? If not, what should you do? How long does pizza last outside the fridge? In this blog article, we will be providing you with answers to all these golden questions. So, keep reading!!

Let’s dig deep into this matter because let’s face it, prevention is indeed much better than cure. Not only are we going to discuss how long pizza last outside the fridge, but we will also understand all the different ways to store and reheat them safely.

Can you eat pizza left out overnight?

It is a general rule of thumb that cooked food like pizza should never be left outside for more than two hours at a stretch. Bacterial growth increases with time making the pizza unsafe to consume. Some may argue that reheating a pizza left out would be fine and can fight against bacterial growth. It’s actually far from the truth. Reheating a pizza after it has spent substantial time at room temperature will not kill any bacteria and is unsafe to eat.

So, the simple straightforward answer is, no you cannot eat a pizza that is left out overnight. Unless food poisoning is on your bucket list somehow, don’t consume a pizza that was left at room temperature for prolonged periods. The general recommendation is to not leave food out for more than 2 hours before refrigeration as such. Be careful of such food safety tips even while partying or on barbeque nights. So, the answer to, can you eat pizza left out for 5 hours is a simple no.

Pizza is perishable mainly because of its toppings. Like cheese, meat, and even sauces used. It’s a breeding ground for bacteria making it more susceptible to infection. Please don’t get the idea that vegetarian or vegan pizza left out is safe to consume, no pizza that is out at room temperature for long has its risk factors.

Can I reheat the pizza that was left out overnight then?

Pizza without a doubt is a great food and is loved by many. So, when you buy them, you naturally want to consume them all. So, if we were left out overnight, can reheating them work though? The simple answer is, reheating might not work. It is held the truth that at over 140 degrees F, usually most of the bacteria are killed. But this isn’t a guarantee of any sort. Reheating might kill some bacteria in the pizza, but it still can’t be rendered safe to consume as such.  There are some bacteria like Staphylococcus Aureus which are heat tolerant and are able to live through extreme temperatures, so why take any risk at all?

Can microwaving a pizza help?

Microwaving is yet another way of heating food. There isn’t anything special that it can cater to reheating. Leftover pizza left overnight even after microwaving is not safe to consume at all. There is no form of guarantee that one can provide with. It’s also noted that when you microwave pizza at extreme temperatures, the crust could actually get burned and crisp, taking away all the essence of the pizza. The best-case scenario, in this case, is to throw away the leftover pizza. 

So, what are the best ways to store leftover pizza then?

As we have understood up until now that pizza can’t be left overnight and throwing out pizza is a painful process, how can we protect the pizza and store it properly? So, if you have ordered a little too much pizza or got carried away and made more at home, storing it the right way gives you the best chance of enjoying the delicacy for a longer period of time.

  1. Keeping it cool

Refrigerating is the first and foremost option. So now you may jump the horses and hoard the entire pizza box and pizza in it into the fridge, but no, that’s not it. This could actually make the crust much more dehydrated and drier though. How else to do it then you ask? Wrapping it up is the way forward. You can use aluminum foil, wax paper, or even parchment paper and layer all the slices of pizza and wrap the entire stack for refrigeration. This way they stay tight and retain their original form to the maximum extent.

  1. Freezing the pizza

Who doesn’t love some extra pizza slices right? But when it’s too much to consume, the next best thing is to freeze it for later. You should freeze your leftover pizza within 2 hours of its delivery or heating. It’s also important to set the freezer to a good 17 degrees C so that bacterial growth is dampened. According to the Food and Drug Administration, pizza could be frozen and stored for a good 2 months at most. The major takeaway here is to understand how to store them in the freezer. Make sure to place all your pizza slices in a tight Ziplock bag with wax papers within the slices and wrap them up.

Now that we understand how to store leftover pizza, let’s also learn how to reheat them, shall we? 

  1. Using the microwave

The most common and sought-after way to reheat a pizza is by microwaving it. All you need to do is to place the slice on a plate with some water in a container as it helps retain moisture. A good 30 seconds in and you have yourself a flavorful pizza slice all healthy and with no health concerns.

  1. On a skillet

This is by far the best method to reheat a leftover pizza for sure. A cast iron skillet works much better. All you need to do is lightly butter the skillet and place the slices of pizza. Then cover it with a lid and let it get cooked for a good 8 minutes. You can then take it off the heat, let it cool, and then enjoy.


We are very aware of how much pizza means to you, so heed my advice and toss your pizza out if you unintentionally left it out overnight. Food poisoning is a serious condition. You can otherwise try to practice safe food handling. Spend some time putting your leftover pizza in the freezer or refrigerator. In this blog article, we have provided numerous methods for reheating leftover pizza, so it tastes just as nice as when you originally ordered or pulled it. 

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