How to Tell if Pizza Dough is Bad

We talk a lot about pizza on this blog. Whether where to buy cauli crust online or how to knead pizza dough. Today’s topic of conversation is focused solely on the dough, though, and how to tell if it’s gone bad. After all, you don’t want to try and whip up a yummy pizza with rotten dough – ew.

There are apparent signs that pizza dough has gone bad. It will take on a sour and unpleasant odor. The texture may also change, becoming dried-out or slimy. Finally, it may grow mold, or the yeast will die, causing color changes with or without fuzziness.

Hey! My name is Michelle, and my family and I make, order, and eat pizza at least once a week. What can I say? We’re a bit fanatical. Unfortunately, we’ve run across our fair share of rotten pizza dough throughout our pizza-baking adventures. We’ve discovered the tell-tale signs, and I’m here to share our findings.

Want to know how to tell if pizza dough is bad? Check out the article below!

5 Signs Pizza Dough Has Gone Bad

Sadly, pizza dough doesn’t last forever. At some point, it will spoil and need to be thrown away.

How can you tell that your pizza dough has reached that point?

Here are the five most significant indicators that your pizza dough has gone bad (and deserves a special spot in the receptacle).

1. Very Sour Smell

One of the easiest ways to check your pizza dough for spoilage is to give it a whiff.

Pizza dough shouldn’t have a smell – unless you’ve added some spices and herbs, such as garlic and parsley. 

If you notice a robust sour scent emitting from your pizza dough, it means it’s spoiled and should not be used.

2. Dried Out

Sometimes, it can be hard to know if your pizza dough has deteriorated just by looking at it.

If you think there may be an issue with your dough going bad, the next best thing to do is run your fingers across the exterior.

If your pizza dough is exceptionally dry, that’s a sign it’s spoiled and no longer suitable to bake.

I mean, honestly – who would want to bake a super-dried-out pizza anyhow? That’s a quick way to disappoint a crowd of hungry pizza lovers!

3. Slimy Texture

Dryness isn’t the only textural issue that can indicate spoilage.

The other issue is sliminess.

Your pizza dough should be smooth but not have an off-putting slimy texture. If you notice sliminess, you need to get rid of the pizza dough. It’s gone bad, likely due to massive bacterial growth.

4. Gray Color

A good ball of pizza dough should have a yellow cast.

Take a good look at your ball of pizza dough. Do you see any gray spots? Is the entire thing starting to turn an odd gray shade? Then it’s best to throw it out.

Gray indicates that the yeast has died and is no longer active. If you tried to bake this “dead” dough, you wouldn’t have much luck. Start from scratch!

5. Mold Growth

Finally, check around your pizza dough for any spots of mold.

Mold is usually green and may or may not contain fuzziness.

However, keep in mind that mold isn’t always green. It can be other colors, too, like blue, black, or gray.

Regardless, your pizza dough shouldn’t be sporting colorful areas like a peacock. If you see some colored areas, throw the pizza dough in the trash can. Do not attempt to bake it. You won’t be able to “bake out” the mold and may end up sick.

How Long Does Pizza Dough Last?

How long pizza dough lasts depends on where you store it and how it’s stored.

  • Most pizza dough lasts up to five days in the refrigerator – but the sooner you bake it, the better. To learn more about pizza dough shelf life in the fridge, check out my extensive article here.
  • If stored in the freezer, pizza dough has a shelf life of up to three months. Again, it’s always best to bake sooner rather than later, as it will be fresher.

Keep in mind that pizza dough needs to be stored correctly in order to reach these time frames. 

When storing pizza dough in the refrigerator, ensure the entire dough ball is covered. Exposed areas will dry out and can affect the overall flavor and texture. You can use an airtight container, plastic wrap, or a zippered freezer bag.

Storing in the freezer is a pinch more complicated because you must allow the pizza dough to rise for at least one hour before freezing it. Again, you can use airtight containers, plastic wrap, or another secure enclosure to keep your pizza dough safe and fresh.

Will Bad Pizza Dough Make You Sick?

I know what some of you are thinking – “Is it really that big of a deal, Michelle? I don’t want to waste my pizza dough!” 

Look, I get it. Groceries aren’t exactly cheap, and nobody likes tossing food. But I have to be honest with you – if you bake and eat spoiled pizza dough, there’s a good chance you’ll get sick. And the last thing I want you to do is become ill from eating a scrumptious slice of pizza!

That said, it’s imperative to throw spoiled pizza dough into the trash can and start fresh. This will help to reduce the risk of food poisoning, which comes with a slew of unpleasant side effects like nausea and vomiting. It’s not fun!


Spoiled pizza dough can make you sick, but you no longer have to worry about that! Now you know the five indicators of pizza dough spoilage. But wait! Before you leave, learn a bit more about this topic by checking out the frequently asked questions below.

What does bad pizza dough smell like?

Bad pizza dough has a very prominent sour smell. It will be very noticeable if you take a whiff of your pizza dough. This is due to the alcohol byproduct that’s formed during the fermentation process.

Does refrigerated pizza dough spoil?

Eventually, refrigerated pizza dough will spoil. However, when properly stored, most pizza doughs last up to five days in the refrigerator. If you need to store your pizza dough for a more extended period, place it in the freezer for up to three months.

Can you eat gray pizza dough?

No, you can’t eat gray pizza dough. Gray spots indicate that the yeast has died and is no longer active or mold is growing in the dough. Either way, you don’t want to consume pizza dough with a gray tint or gray spots. It will render a disgusting pizza that may or may not make you sick.

Pizza Dough Spoils At Some Point!

Although pizza dough lasts a relatively long time (five days in the fridge and three months in the freezer), it goes bad eventually. Check your dough for signs of spoilage before using it. A sour smell, texture change, or discoloration is a sign that your pizza dough is spoiled and should be tossed out.

How do you know when your pizza dough is spoiled? Did I miss any indicators? Share in the comment section!

About Michelle
I have been a lover of sweets since day one. This led me on a self-taught baking journey starting at the age of 13. It's been over 10 years since the start of my baking adventures, and I’ve learned a lot along the way. Now, people rave about my delectable treats, whether it’s a chocolate cake or a strawberry crepe.

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