Whether we’re apprehensive about thawing pizza or don’t have the time, is thawed pizza safe to eat? This article will help discuss this.
You can cook and eat thawed frozen pizzas if they have been thawed safely. According to the USDA, any food should not leave the refrigerator for more than 2 hours for it to still be considered safe. Cooking will also help eliminate any microbe that could have survived.
What happens if you defrost a pizza before cooking and how long will you cook it for? Find out the answers below!
Can You Cook a Frozen Pizza That Has Defrosted?
You can cook a defrosted or thawed frozen pizza, provided it has thawed in the refrigerator.
Whether intentionally defrosted or not, frozen pizzas are safer defrosted in the refrigerator only. And they should not leave the fridge for more than 2 hours. They can also be refrozen if they were thawed in the fridge (source: USDA).
If you left the pizza on the counter or the table for more than 2 hours and it starts to moisten or become watery, you should throw it away.
But if you left the frozen pizza, for say, 1 ½ hours, you can either cook it or refreeze it. Check out our article on whether you can refreeze a thawed or defrosted frozen pizza here.
Defrosting on the countertop or the table is fine but not for more than 2 hours, and not recommended if the weather is hot.
Should you cook the pizza, the cooking temperature based on the package instructions is more than enough to kill harmful bacteria that could have survived.
If you noticed the frozen pizza has changed in color, taste, or smell, spoilage already took place (source: USDA). Spoilage microbes, especially psychrophilic microbes which are the most common type of spoilage organisms, can survive even at 32 °F (0 °C) (source: Science Direct).
Sticky pizza toppings or sauce could mean that the frozen pizza is either contaminated or spoiled (source: Michigan State University). And if it crumbles when you hold it, chances are it has outlived itself. A pizza that has lost its structure will not give you a pleasurable bite.
Another factor is the smell. If you smell something out of the ordinary smell of pizza, you can consider your pizza spoiled.
And last but not least, a frozen pizza that has been stored for a really long period of time will look dull (source: Foods Guy).
Remember, never attempt to smell the pizza if you see these signs. Instead, throw the pizza in the trash.
How Do You Cook a Frozen Pizza That Defrosted?
According to some people’s experiences, a frozen pizza that has defrosted completely will take less time to cook than when it’s frozen.
What Happens if You Thaw a Frozen Pizza Before Cooking?
Some frozen pizza manufacturers will instruct you to not thaw the pizza. They do this to avoid the chance of food contamination, but this hasn’t been proven by science. The pizza will be safe so long as you heat it in the oven rack after being fully thawed (source: Tasting Table).
Thawing the pizza will help prevent cold spots or undercooked parts in the frozen pizza which typically happens in the center. This can also help speed up the cooking time process.
Is It Safe to Eat a Frozen Pizza That Defrosted?
Frozen pizzas are safe if they have been defrosted or 1-2 hours thawed in the refrigerator. Moreover, they should not leave the fridge for more than 2 hours of thawing otherwise this could result in problems (source: USDA).
The safe temperature of the refrigerator should be 40 °F (4.4 °C) or lower. Above 40 °F to 140 °F (4.4 °C to 60 °C) is called the Danger Zone. Within this range is where microbial growth which could either cause foodborne illness or spoilage takes place.
If the frozen pizza is thawed at room temperature or through other means and is left outside the refrigerator beyond 2 hours, it would be best to throw it out (source: University of Minnesota Extension).
Again, it is okay to thaw frozen pizza on the countertop, but not for a couple of hours, and not if the room is hot.
The important thing to note here is the safety and quality of the frozen pizza. It should be satisfying and at the same time safe to consume.
Thawed pizzas are good to cook and consume as long as they have no signs of going bad. The safest way to thaw them, though, is through refrigeration.
We hope this article helps!