Can You Eat Pizza Left Out Overnight

  • By: Mike
  • Date: June 4, 2021
  • Time to read: 4 min.

Thinking about eating that day-old pizza and wondering if its safe? I’ve been there and I’ve researched it, there are some things to know.

I had some pizza last night but didn’t finish it. There was just too much for my appetite to manage. There’s no shame in admitting defeat. I figured I could just leave it in the fridge and come back to it the next day, unfortunately, I fell victim to a rather surprising food coma and totally forgot to take it off my kitchen counter and put it into the fridge.

When I woke up the next day and saw my leftover pizza slices sitting there waiting for me, I found myself asking whether I was even able to eat day-old pizza. Would I die?

I’m sure this is a pretty common occurrence for quite a lot of you, and you’ve probably found yourself asking the same question. At least, I hope someone out there might be as forgetful as me.

The Sad Truth – It’s Just Not Safe

While I’m sure some of you (myself included) have taken the plunge and bit into that day-old pizza hoping it wouldn’t matter too much, the sad truth is that actually pizza comes under the same categorization as other perishable foods. It has been found by the US Department of Agriculture, that all perishable foods (including pizza) are not safe to eat when left out overnight. In fact, they’re barely safe to eat after only two hours.

Ever consider eating the raw pizza dough? Think again and read this FIRST.

The reason for this is that the bacteria is left to fester and grow on your pizza while it’s left out. If you or I were to take a bite out of yesterday’s pizza without first putting it in the fridge, we’re opening ourselves up to a plethora of food-borne illnesses. The contamination levels are so high, you’re apparently more likely to get ill than you are to avoid it!

Does That Go For All Pizza?

Unfortunately for all you vegetarians out there, you’re not safe just because you haven’t got meat toppings. It’s not just the meat that is left out that can lead to severe contamination and bacteria growth. Even vegetarian pizzas are said to be unsafe after just two hours. The topping is entirely irrelevant in the matter, it mostly comes down to the dough.

What’s worse is that the longer your pizza is left out, the worse it will get. Though it might sound fairly obvious, it’s good to get a rough idea of the numbers involved.

It seems that every twenty minutes, the number of bacteria will double – meaning that if you’ve spent the entire night asleep and are expecting to eat your pizza happily and healthily tomorrow morning, you’ll have another thing coming!

Are There Any Signs?

This question actually explains why so many people don’t realize that day-old pizza can be as dangerous as it is. There really aren’t any signs that indicate any level of bacteria growth and you definitely won’t expect yourself to pick up a food-borne illness from eating something that looks entirely innocent in the matter.

Like most foods, one day simply isn’t long enough to show just how unsafe it now is to consume, as most visible bacteria take weeks to actually surface. There’s no smell indication either, so you can’t give your pizza a quick sniff to figure out whether it’s safe. In fact, if you did give it a sniff, you’ve probably set yourself up for even more failure as it’ll still smell enticing enough to eat.

Is All Hope Lost?

No, not all hope is lost. Well, yes, technically it is. If, like me, you left your pizza out on a counter for a few hours, then you best just throw it away rather than risk any of the illnesses that might come with it. However, if you were smart enough to leave your pizza in the fridge, it is believed that your pizza can last even as long as five days while still being completely safe to consume.


So, hopefully, this has cleared up any of the confusion you might have been facing with day-old, on the counter pizza. The long and short of it is that you should just put your pizza in the fridge.

It’ll save you from all of this drama and you can come back to it again and again for the next five days until it’s finally gone. If you don’t put your pizza in the fridge, you might as well just put it in the bin. I know it’s hard, but it needs to be done.

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