What you should know before eating leftover pizza

It's no secret that people love pizza. Whether it's dripping in ooey-gooey cheese or covered in slices of salty pepperoni. Whether it's deep dish or thin crust. Whether it's Domino's or Papa John's. It doesn't matter how you serve it — if it's saucy, cheesy, and doughy, we go crazy for it. In fact, the average American will consume at least 6,000 slices of pizza over their lifetime. That's a lot of pie!

While everyone has a different opinion on what (or who) makes the best pizza, it seems many of us have one thing in common: We prefer leftover pizza to the kind fresh out of the oven. A 2019 survey by Slice (via Delish) found that over 50% of people prefer eating their pizza cold, which is when some argue that the pie is more flavorful. But before you reach in for that week-old slice for breakfast tomorrow morning, consider this important information regarding leftover pizza.

It's only safe to eat leftover slices for a few days

There's nothing inherently harmful about enjoying a slice or two of cold pizza for breakfast on occasion — as long as you eat it within the "safe" time frame. Health Digest cautions that leftover pizza is only safe to eat within three to four days, and that if you've left said pizza on the counter for more than two hours before refrigerating it, you've greatly increased your chances of foodborne illness. Yuck.

As for how to tell if your pizza has gone bad, you should steer clear if you notice it's very hard and dry, gives off any type of unpleasant odor, or of course, has signs of mold. If you aren't sure? The experts at Health Digest say a good rule of thumb (for all leftovers) is "when in doubt, throw it out." Pssst: You can, however, help your pizza stay fresher for longer by storing it in an air-tight container (instead of the flimsy pizza box), Eat By Date recommends.