How to Tell if Pizza is Bad

I wish pizza lasted forever – don’t you? But the fact of the matter is, pizza has a shelf life and will eventually go bad. The first sign of pizza going bad is a hard and dry texture. From there, it will develop an “odd” or rancid odor. Mold and other bacteria will develop over time.

Hi, there! My name is Michelle and I love pizza. In fact, I just had some yesterday and it was incredible! I tend to have at least a little bit of leftovers in my fridge. Through my years of pizza-eating experience, I have learned to tell when the pizza has gone bad.

Nobody wants to sink their teeth into anything that has gone bad, whether it’s a piece of toast, an apple, or a slice of pizza. Well, knowing how to tell if pizza is bad can mean all the difference between enjoying a delicious fresh piece or spitting your once-beloved pizza into the sink.

Let’s discuss how to tell if pizza is bad.

How to Tell if Pizza is Bad (5 Signs)

While the thought of eating old pizza is disgusting, the good news is, you likely won’t have to deal with this problem. That’s because there are several signs that indicate when the pizza has gone bad. Let’s take a closer look.

1. Dry and Hard Texture

The first inclination that it’s time to toss your pizza is that it has become dried-out and hardened. While it’s still technically safe to eat at this point, I wouldn’t recommend it for the simple fact that it will be enjoyable.

Ever tried to eat a dried-out slice of pizza? I will be honest and say I have. It also felt like trying to tear off a bite was going to take a tooth with it. Needless to say, that slice of pizza made its way to the trash can. (And I may have made a new, fresh pizza – no judging here!).

2. “Off” Odor

Have you ever smelled old cheese? It’s well, umm, not great. And guess what? Your pizza is covered in cheese. So, when pizza goes bad, it’s going to have that same undesirable smell as old cheese. It’s that simple.

When the pizza first starts going bad, it might not be super noticeable, though. It may just have an “odd” odor that you can’t quite place your finger on. Over the next few days, though, that odd smell will turn into a very noticeable rancid one.

I wouldn’t suggest trying to eat a pizza with a slight odor. Even the smallest scent of something “off” should render your pizza old and useless. Chuck it in the trash can and buy or make a new one!

3. Slimy Toppings

If you have toppings on your pizza other than cheese, give them a good look. Things like pepperoni, salami, spinach, and mushrooms will have an obvious slimy appearance to them. Not only does this sound gross – it is gross. Throw away slimy pizzas ASAP.

4. Mold

Mold is mold. Whether it’s green, black, grey, white, or another funky color, it’s detectable and repulsive all at once. Obviously, if your pizza is showing any signs of mold growth, you need to get rid of it immediately.

Remember that you need to throw the entire pizza away, even if mold is only growing on a single slice. Mold travels before it appears. So, even though you can’t see it on the rest of the pizza, it’s there

Risk yourself a tummy ache and potentially other health hazards and say Sayonara to your pizza.

5. Bad Taste

If your slice of pizza passed the texture, odor, and sight test, then go ahead and try to reheat the pizza using an air fryer or microwave. If you go to take a bite and it simply doesn’t taste right, then it might be a sign that your pizza has gone bad.

How Long Does Pizza Last?

Pizza doesn’t last forever and will go bad. But when does that usually happen? Well, pizza that’s been left on the counter will only last for two hours. It needs to be stored in the fridge or freezer for two hours to keep it safe.

When storing pizza in the fridge, make sure it’s in an airtight container or wrapped tightly in foil. Then, it can last for up to four days in the fridge. 

If you need your pizza to last longer than a few days, you can always freeze it, too. You can use airtight containers, resealable freezer bags, or aluminum foil to keep the pizza safe from freezer burn. In the freezer, pizzas can last for several months. However, I always say the sooner the better. 

Unfortunately, freezer burn is another sign that your pizza has gone bad. So, if you’re storing it in the freezer and bring out a slice to enjoy and it’s riddled with freezer burn, throw it (and the rest of your stored slices) away and start fresh.


Now you know how to successfully detect when your pizza has gone bad. Still not satisfied and want to learn more? I’m ready to teach! Below are some frequently asked questions to take a look at.

Will I get sick if I eat old pizza?

You can get sick if you eat old pizza, yes. While most people will end up with a stomach ache and (possibly) diarrhea and vomiting, others may have a worse reaction. It’s best to stick to storage guidelines and always check your pizza for any signs that it has gone bad.

Can you eat 2-day old pizza not refrigerated?

It is 100% not recommended to eat 2-day old pizza that has not been refrigerated. Pizza must be kept below 40 degrees to stay safe and shouldn’t be set out for longer than two hours. That said, two days go far beyond the recommended amount of time for the pizza to safely sit out.

Is pizza still good after 4 days?

As long as your pizza has been stored properly in the fridge under 40F, it is safe to consume after four days. However, it is important to note that four days is the maximum. After the fourth day, toss your pizza. If you need to store it longer, take it to the freezer.

Can pizza give you food poisoning?

Unfortunately, yes, pizza has the possibility of giving you food poisoning. It’s unlikely that it will come from a reputable business, though. Food poisoning is more likely to occur when trying to eat old pizza that’s been sitting on the countertop or in the fridge for too long.

How long does uncooked pizza last in the fridge?

Not cooked yet? If you’re storing uncooked pizza in the fridge, it will last for up to four days – just like cooked pizza. Any time longer than four days and the uncooked pizza will begin to spoil and should be thrown out.

Final Words

I hate to say it, pizza lovers, but pizza goes bad. The initial sign of pizza going bad is a hard and dry texture. From there, it will begin to develop an off odor, slimy toppings, and potentially mold. A bad taste and freezer burn are also clear signs of a bad pizza.

How do you tell when your pizza has gone bad?

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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