Or maybe you just want to buy a few pizzas, sling them in the back of the freezer, and save them for a rainy day.
But what if you can’t remember when you bought that delicious frozen pepperoni pizza? Do frozen pizzas actually expire?
While frozen pizza doesn’t expire if it’s properly stored in the freezer, its quality can deteriorate if frozen for longer than 18 months. If it is thawing and kept in the fridge, frozen pizzas generally last for up to 4 days.
Read on to learn more about safely storing pizza in the freezer, how long it lasts outside the freezer, and how to identify freezer burn on your frozen pizza.
How Long Can You Keep Frozen Pizza in the Freezer?
As long as the freezer temperature is kept at 0 °F (-18 °C), you can keep frozen pizza in the freezer pretty much indefinitely.
However, this does not mean the quality will stay the same forever!
Thanks to its packaging, frozen pizza takes a long time before losing its quality, but it will eventually start to lose it.
With proper storage, it can last up to 18 months in your freezer before its taste and texture will start to degrade.
You don’t have to throw the pizza away, as it’ll still be safe to eat. Just be prepared that it might taste different from when you bought it.
How Long Does Frozen Pizza Last in the Fridge?
If the frozen pizza is raw, it can be defrosted in the refrigerator before cooking.
In fact, using the fridge is the safest way to thaw out frozen foods!
Thawing the pizza in the refrigerator also means it doesn’t have to be prepared immediately, but it should still be cooked no later than 3-4 days to avoid foodborne illnesses.
The sooner you bake thawed frozen pizza, the better.
You can also refreeze frozen pizza stored or thawed in the refrigerator, although the quality may deteriorate slightly.
Cooked frozen pizza can be stored safely in the refrigerator for 3-4 days or frozen again for long-term storage.
Based on personal experience, however, I suggest not storing your frozen or cooked pizza in the fridge for more than 2 days.
While it’ll still be safe to eat after 3 or 4 days, the texture will almost always make it far less enjoyable, as the pizza will have lost a significant amount of moisture.
This will turn it into the dreaded cardboard-tasting pizza.
I’m sure you know what I mean, as most of us have eaten a sorry-tasting pizza or two like that!
So, the sooner you cook or refreeze it, the better. And make sure to store your pizza in an air-tight container. This usually makes a huge difference!
How Long Can Frozen Pizza Sit Out?
What if you want to thaw your frozen pizza in the kitchen or if you accidentally left your frozen pizza out on the counter for too long? Do you need to throw it out immediately?
This depends on how long you’ve left it out.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends following the “two-hour rule“; this means putting away any foods that need refrigeration within two hours of leaving them at room temperature.
If the room temperature is above 90 °F (32 °C), that time is reduced to only one hour due to the increased risk of foodborne illnesses.
The same rules apply to refreezing frozen pizza left at room temperature.
If the frozen pizza has been left outside for less than two hours, it’s safe to pop it back in the freezer.
For room temperatures above 90 °F (32 °C), you should let your frozen pizza sit out for a maximum of one hour!
How Do You Know if Your Frozen Pizza Has Gone Bad?
As mentioned above, frozen pizza kept at 0 °F (-18 °C) will not go bad if stored properly.
Frozen pizza thawed in the refrigerator or cooked in the oven is another story!
To check if your frozen pizza has spoiled, first look for the obvious clues.
Is there mold growing on the pizza? Does it smell different? Have the toppings become slimy or changed in smell, appearance, or texture?
If you answer yes to any of those questions, throw your pizza away immediately!
Second, remember how long your frozen pizza has been in the refrigerator or at room temperature.
If it’s been at room temperature for more than 2 hours or in the fridge for more than 3-4 days, it’s time to toss it.
Remember that foodborne pathogens can still be present in your food without any apparent indicators!
It’s essential to know how long it’s safe to store cooked or raw food in the refrigerator and how to package it properly, so you can keep your pizza edible for as long as possible!
Can Frozen Pizza Make You Sick?
Frozen pizza can make you sick if you suffer from food allergies or an intolerance to an ingredient within the pizza.
Additionally, foodborne pathogens can contaminate the pizza before it is frozen.
If consumed, these pathogens can lead to food poisoning.
Dangerous bacteria such as E. coli, Salmonella, and Listeria can come from common pizza ingredients and toppings, including raw flour, undercooked meat, unpasteurized dairy products, or fruits and vegetables.
PLEASE REMEMBER: Freezing contaminated pizza will not eliminate any germs. It will merely inactivate them temporarily.
Be careful to avoid cross-contamination, and make sure to cook and store your frozen pizza properly, so you don’t get sick!
Can You Eat Frozen Pizza with Freezer Burn?
Like most frozen foods, frozen pizza can also be affected by freezer burn. Freezer burn occurs when the water in frozen food forms ice crystals that migrate to the food’s surface.
The water loss dehydrates the food, leaving them vulnerable to chemical reactions affecting taste, texture, and color.
While safe to eat, the discolored sections will be dehydrated and taste tough and leathery when cooked.
For frozen pizzas suffering from freezer burn due to staying in the back of the freezer too long or being improperly packaged, you can either eat them despite the altered taste and texture or toss them due to the poorer quality.
What Does Freezer Burn Look Like on Frozen Pizza?
Freezer burn on frozen pizza most commonly looks like a layer of ice crystals due to the moisture inside the pizza moving to the surface and freezing.
If the pizza has poultry, pork, or beef as a topping, the meat can also turn brown or gray.
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