While it is rare to have leftover pizza slices, it does happen once in a while. You forget that you still have some in the box it came from, and the next question is can I eat pizza left overnight?
Can I get sick from eating pizza left out overnight? That is the question that we should be focusing on here, and the answer also depends on how you store the leftover pizza.
There are a lot of factors that you need to consider as there is a huge possibility that you can get sick from eating pizza left out overnight, and there would be so much bacteria on the pizza.
If you left the pizza out for 6 hours without refrigerating it or storing it properly, then it would be too dangerous to eat. So the short answer is to not eat pizza left out overnight.
Some would say that there might be a difference between the type of pizza that was left out. Cheese pizza left out overnight can have a small difference from meat pizzas.
However, you need to make proper procedures in storing it. So let us dive in deeper into what can happen when you eat leftover pizza that was left overnight and how you can improve the storage.
Can You Get Sick From Eating Pizza Left Out Overnight?
In this section, we will look at the recommendation of food associations and what might happen if you eat a leftover pizza that was left out overnight without storing it properly.
According to the USDA, any type of cooked food already should not be left at room temperature for more than two hours, and it can be harmful so it is better not to risk eating it.
Pizza left out for 6 hours or overnight is completely risky. By that time, there would be many bacteria acting up and reproducing on your pizza which can make you sick.
Even just after 2 hours, the pizza would have cooled down enough for bacteria to survive and reproduce on the pizza slice. So after 2 hours at room temperature, it is time to throw it away.
Food-borne diseases brought about by the bacteria on the leftover pizza. While you may be asymptomatic, the disease will continue to develop through time.
So how long does pizza last outside the fridge, you might ask? It will still be safe after an hour but if it has lasted for more than 2 hours outside the fridge, you need to throw it away.
What About Cheese Pizza Left Out Overnight?
As you know, there are many types of pizza that you can make or order. The most common ingredient that attracts bacteria is meat as they have a lot of protein and other nutrients.
So can you still eat cheese pizza left out overnight? Again, that depends on the storage. Some people believe that meat-less pizzas can last longer since they do not attract that much bacteria.
However, you should fact-check first to know that it is not worth the risk. Cheese pizza left out overnight will still be dangerous to eat as it still has some bacteria within the pizza.
As the USDA recommends, any cooked food should not be left out at room temperature for more than 2 hours. Even cheese pizza left out overnight is never safe to be eaten.
It is best to eat the whole pizza or store the leftovers properly in the fridge or the freezer. The leftover pizza will be a great breakfast if you have stored it properly.
The same goes with vegan pizza left out overnight as they can still attract bacteria. Vegan pizza left out overnight can still collect bacteria especially if you do not cover it or store it properly.
Vegan pizza left out overnight will be as dangerous as meat pizza left out overnight. You can leave pizza out overnight just as long as you are not planning on eating it the next day.
Can You Leave Pizza Out Overnight If It Is Cold Outside?
The main factor that affects the pizza is the temperature. You will see how long pizzas last outside the fridge, especially if it is really cold outside and you cover the pizza properly.
You can leave pizza out overnight if the temperature outside is less than 40 degrees Fahrenheit, and pizza left out for 6 hours can still have a slight possibility of being safe to eat at this temperature.
Pizza will only last outside the fridge for 2 hours since most room temperatures are more than 40 degrees Fahrenheit. If it is colder than that, you can still eat the pizza safely.
You can even eat 3-day old pizza that is not refrigerated if the temperature is below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. The key is to ensure that it is covered properly or stored in an airtight container.
The average time of how long pizza lasts outside the fridge is 2 hours but it can be extended for days if it is really cold outside. Under 40 degrees Fahrenheit, it can last for up to 4 days.
Eating 2-day old pizza that is not refrigerated will still be safe as long as you cover the pizza slices with plastic wrap or store it in an airtight container. Again, the temperature is lower than 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
Can you eat 2-day old pizza that is not refrigerated during the winter? It is riskier to eat pizza in the winter as people crank up the thermostat to warm up the house.
So I recommend you throw that pizza away if it has lasted for more than a day outside the fridge.
When Do I Need To Consider Throwing Away Leftover Pizza?
If you eat pizza left out overnight and not stored properly, you can get sick. Food-borne diseases are not a joke, they can cause worse diseases if not treated.
If you leave pizza out overnight, bacteria will start to act up and reproduce on the food. That is why refrigerated food is safer to eat since bacteria do not thrive in cold temperatures.
Food poisoning is really common with leftover foods. Even if the place you ordered the pizza from told you to just reheat it, it would not be that safe if the food had been left for too long.
The grace period is 2 hours, beyond that, you should consider throwing it away. Even if you picked pizza from Pizza Hut or Domino’s pizza, they are not immune to bacteria.
It is riskier if you order from Pizza Hut or Domino’s pizza since the pizza has traveled from the store to your house. There are a lot of bacteria that it might have picked up along the way.
If the pizza left on the table has only been there for a few hours, there might be fewer bacteria but no bacteria is too few to make you sick.
What If I Reheat The Pizza?
In a more optimistic view, it can be safe for a pizza that has stayed out at room temperature for more than two hours if you reheat it before consuming it.
That is why if you have frozen pizza, it is really important to reheat pizza slices before eating. Cold pizza needs to be thawed and let sit out and then reheat to kill the bacteria that might have developed in the food.
It is still risky to eat a reheated pizza left for over 2 hours at room temperature, and that is because some bacteria can develop heat resistance over time.
That means that even if the internal temperature of the pizza reaches 140 degrees Fahrenheit, some bacteria might have survived and give you food poisoning.
After 2 hours at room temperature, any perishable food, including your favorite Margherita pizzas, should be thrown away and should not be eaten to prevent food poisoning.
Pizza The Next Day
Even if it is cold outside and less than 40 degrees Fahrenheit, leftover pizza just doesn’t taste the same, and it loses both the texture and flavor it had when it was fresh.
First of all, the yeast inside the pizza has been exhausted and is no longer active once the pizza is cooked. So no matter how many times you reheat the pizza, it would be hard to get that fluffy interior of the pizza crust.
Your homemade pizza would be better off if you refrigerated it and reheated it the next day. But then again, it would not taste the same so if there is only one slice left, it is best to just make another pizza.
Uncooked pizza if stored properly is also a better alternative. So if you think you could not finish two homemade pizzas in one sitting, leave the other uncooked pizza dough in the fridge.
That way, you can make a fresh pizza the following day for a great meal to start your day!
If you like the post then do not forget to share it on social media!