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All you need to know about leftover pizza

Storing, re-heating & more: All you need to know about leftover pizza

It's a familiar scenario, you’ve ordered in a takeaway pizza – whether to satisfying late-night cravings or host a casual get-together – and you’ve slightly overestimated your appetites and ended up with a few slices left over.

Us pizza-lovers know that a good takeaway pizza is too good to just throw away – especially a Papa Johns pizza – so what should you do?

Fear not! We're here to guide you through the art of preserving that precious pizza, ensuring that every bite remains as delicious as it was when it first arrived.

Before we start, let’s also just say that while we will touch on nutritional guidelines, we’re looking mainly at the culinary experience and not offering official health guidance If you have specific health questions, it’s worth checking government advice.

So, let's dive into the world of storing, freezing, and reheating leftover takeaway pizza.


Storing the leftovers: Keep it fresh

As we begin the journey of pizza preservation, let's understand the basics of storing leftover pizza. The key to keeping it fresh is to maintain the right conditions:

1. The right container: Start by transferring your leftover pizza slices into an airtight container or resealable plastic bag. If you want to help prevent moisture loss and keep the pizza from absorbing any strong odours in your fridge, a paper plate or pizza box won’t cut it.

2. Refrigeration: If you plan to consume the leftovers within a day or two, pop your container into the fridge, as pizza stored in the fridge can last up to 3-4 days and still taste great.

3. Proper placement: Place the container or bag in the refrigerator's main section, not in the door. The door is often the warmest part of the fridge, and your pizza needs a consistently cold environment to stay fresh.

Freezing: Keep it cold

Now, let's talk about the art of freezing leftover pizza. Freezing can extend the shelf life of your pizza for weeks, and even months, without sacrificing its deliciousness.

1. Preparing for freezing: If you’re not planning to eat your leftover pizza within the next few days, freezing is your best option. To prepare a pizza for freezing, wrap each slice in plastic wrap or aluminium foil. This will prevent slices from sticking together and preserve flavours.

2. Airtight packaging: After wrapping, place the slices in an airtight container or a resealable freezer bag. Don't forget to label and date the container to keep track of freshness.

3. Flash freezing: If you have the space, flash freezing can be a game-changer. Lay the wrapped slices on a baking sheet and freeze them for a couple of hours before transferring them to a container or bag. This stops them sticking together and preserves their texture. 


Reheating: Keep it tasty

Now, the moment you've been waiting for – how to bring your frozen or refrigerated pizza back to life. Reheating is a crucial step to revive the flavours and textures.

1. Oven: Reheating pizza in the oven is the preferred method for many pizza enthusiasts. Preheat your oven to around 375°F (190°C) and place the pizza directly on the oven rack or a baking sheet for anywhere between 5 and 15 minutes. Obviously, times can differ depending on toppings, crust depth and whether the pizza is being reheated from refrigerated or frozen, but look for the crust becoming crispy again, and the cheese melting to perfection.

2. Air fryer: Air frying is fast, easy, and gives a perfectly crispy texture with gooey, melted cheese. In terms of how long to reheat pizza in the air fryer, it should take refrigerated leftover pizza 2-5 minutes in a preheated air fryer at 375°F (190°C). For reheating from frozen, allow 8-12 minutes, again checking that the cheese is melted and the crust is crispy.

3. Microwave with a twist: If oven or air fryer isn’t an option, the microwave can do the trick, but with a little twist. Place a microwave-safe cup of water in the microwave alongside the pizza slices. The moisture from the cup will help prevent the pizza from becoming too dry. Heat on a low power setting for short intervals, checking texture until it's heated to your liking.


Health Considerations: Keep it safe

While this blog is primarily focused on flavour, ensuring that preserving and reheating pizza can be a delicious adventure, here are a few key health precautions to keep in mind:

1. Don't leave it out too long: In terms of how long pizza can be left out for, never leave pizza at room temperature for more than two hours, as this can promote bacterial growth.

2. Reheating safely: When reheating pizza, ensure it reaches an internal temperature of 158°F (70°C) to kill any potential bacteria. You can use a food thermometer to be certain.

3. Mind the toppings: Be cautious when reheating pizzas with delicate toppings like fresh basil or rocket. These are best added fresh after reheating to retain flavour and texture.

4. Check for spoilage: Before reheating refrigerated or thawed pizza, inspect it for any signs of spoilage such as off-putting odours, mould, or texture changes. When in doubt, discard it.


In the world of culinary delights, leftover pizza is a treasure that deserves preservation, and can turn one great meal into two. By following these tips on storing, freezing, and reheating your takeaway pizza, you can savour those cheesy, crispy slices time and again.

So, the next time you order that extra-large pizza, don’t worry if you can’t eat it all at once – rest assured that you're equipped with the knowledge to make the most of every mouthwatering slice. Happy eating!

If you’re hungry enough for a pizza delivery after reading that, why not go ahead and order?

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