I just ordered pizza...[how long can it safely be left out?]

Okay, so we ordered some pizza earlier from Costco. Usually the box ends up on the kitchen table because the box is too big and the fridge is full.

My question is, what is the longest period of time I can leave the pizza sitting on the counter and still eat it without worry of getting sick?

I know that depending on the ingredients this answer will vary, so for the sake of the question let’s say it’s cheese pizza.

Throw in some info on other ingredients if you want.


Officially - that is, if you’re a restaurant owner or something like that - the longest you’re allowed to leave it out at room temperature is about two hours (or at least it is here in the UK).

Obviously that wasn’t what you were asking, but there is no specific moment when an item of food suddenly becomes unsafe to eat. In order to become ill, you need to ingest a sufficient dose of the pathogens that cause food poisoning (or the toxins the leave in the food) - how quickly an item of food will reach this point (if at all) is dependent upon the composition and the storage conditions.

Furthermore, susceptibility varies from one person to the next - a dose sufficient to make one person seriously ill may be shrugged off by another with no more than a case of the trots.

At room temperature, I would guess that a slice of pizza consisting of bread, tomato sauce and cheese would actually dry out and spoil beyond edibility before it became significantly dangerous to eat. A similar pizza, but topped with, say, lots of meat and, mushrooms (i.e. protein and moisture) may become dangerous to eat before it becomes unpalatable.

In my college days, pizza was eaten out of the box (left out overnight!) the next day. Doesn’t even come close to the worst things were were doing to our bodies at the time!:wink:

I assume the OP is talking about an uncooked pizza? I read “ordered” and thought “hot pizza” but I don’t think Costco would do hot pizza, right?

That might make a difference - I’d have thought cooked pizza would keep better than uncooked.

Total WAG: I say you have about 48hours.

Next day out of the box pizza sometimes tastes better than fresh but I don’t know what the pathogens are doing to me.

Costco sells hot pizza in their food court area (as well as both refrigerated and frozen pizzas).

I am speaking of the cooked pizza which they sell in their food court.

I do this now, in my adulthood. Even pizza with mushrooms, capers, anchovies and olives. Of course, this only means about 12 hours and in the coolest time of the day (night). Never once died from it.

Oh, God! That sounds like the best pizza ever! That is my dream pizza…

:slight_smile: and I even forgot to mention fresh basil.

I’ve eaten left-out pizza up to 60 hours post-opening (so, say, 61 hours post-cooking) with no ill effects.

It gets all dry and curly at the ends if you leave it out (or even stick it in the fridge) for more than a day, though.

Oh, NOW, you’ve done it!

Anyone finding to the contrary could hardly contradict you.

I have edited the thread title to make the question evident. Please use descriptive thread titles when starting a thread.

General Questions Moderator

You could clean out the fridge.

To be honest, a large pizza box rarely fits in our fridge either. We usually put the leftover pizza slices into a gallon ziplock and then it fits in the fridge.

Re real world danger unless the pizza is super funky in some fashion even with cooked meat on top you should be able to let sit out a sit a few days before it cultured something that would kill you. Also consider that a pizza is going to dry out substantially sitting out further reducing the favorable environment for bacteria.

Given what’s in a pizza and the cooking process I’d almost bet the pizza would become mummified before it could grow something that would generate toxins potent enough to kill you or make you sick.

I put them on a plate and another plate over them.

I regularly eat pizza that I’ve left sitting in the box for between 1 and 5 days. I start getting suspicious of it by about the 4th day, but then I just sprinkle a little water on it and microwave it for extra long.

This really freaks my girlfriend out.

Just be glad your girlfriend remains your girlfriend. :eek: