If you left a frozen pizza out and it thawed completely, is it safe to stick it back in the freezer and save it for later? This is a very common question, and we have the answers below!
You can refreeze thawed frozen pizza if you haven’t cooked it yet, but this will make the pizza lose some of its flavor.
Pizza should be thawed in the refrigerator. If it has been left outside the refrigerator for more than two hours or warmed to room temperature, you shouldn’t refreeze it again.
What if it thawed while you were driving home from the grocery store? Can you refreeze it after cooking? Discover the answers below!
Can You Refreeze Uncooked Frozen Pizza?
According to the USDA, if cooked or raw foods are thawed in the refrigerator, they can be safely refrozen without heating or cooking. However, the food will decrease in quality because it loses moisture when it thaws.
Moreover, food should not be refrozen if it has been left outside of the refrigerator for more than two hours (source: USDA).
The temperature of the refrigerator should be 40 °F (4.4 °C) or below, and food should be stored for only 3–4 days. If the food is thawed at room temperature or in any other way and is left outside the refrigerator for more than two hours, then it should be thrown out (source: University of Minnesota Extension).
If you bought frozen pizza and had a long drive home from the store, it should be okay to refreeze if you had the car’s air conditioning on or the temperature outside was cool, provided that the travel time was less than two hours.
If the pizza has totally thawed or warmed to room temperature, then it would be best to throw it away for safety (source: University of Minnesota Extension).
Can You Refreeze a Frozen Pizza AFTER Cooking It?
Yes, you can refreeze a frozen pizza after cooking it, but you can only refreeze the unused or uneaten parts. Even if the pizza has been cooked, it should not be frozen again if it has been outside the refrigerator for more than two hours (source: USDA).
For example, if you served the pizza, had leftovers, and kept it out on the dinner table for 1.5 hours, you can still put it in the freezer, provided the surroundings aren’t particularly hot.
Remember that when food has been cooked and left outside in the open air, microbial growth can take place. The air can also make the crust lose its crispiness.
For any frozen pizza, whether thawed or cooked, be sure to keep track of how long it was outside of the refrigerator. If it stayed out for more than two hours, best to throw it out.
Why Do Some Frozen Pizzas Say “Do Not Thaw”?
Some frozen pizza brands will instruct you not to thaw the pizza in order to avoid contamination, but this is unfounded (source: Tasting Table). As long as you cook the pizza right away after thawing it, it should be safe.
Stefano Velia, a pizza chef, says that companies instruct you to bake pizza right from the freezer because they want to lessen the chances of customers getting ill from contamination (source: Mel Magazine).
As long as your frozen pizza hasn’t been left out for more than two hours, it’s safe to stick it back in the freezer to enjoy later!