Each of us has accidentally left something out of the freezer or refrigerator, and often the question arises whether the food can be refrozen or still used if left out. Because I like pizza like the Ninja Turtles, I wondered whether a thawed frozen pizza is still ok to cook if thawed out.
What happens if a frozen pizza is thawed?
Whether or not a frozen pizza is still safe to cook and eat largely depends on how long it has thawed. Pizza is still safe if the pizza is thawed in the refrigerator to be cooked later. Also, if the pizza has been left at room temperature for two hours or less, it should be safe to be popped into the oven and cooked. However, if the pizza is left out for more than a couple of hours, it is best to discard it due to bacterial buildup on the food.
What to Know About Thawed Frozen Pizza
It is important to know that several options may be available for you when a frozen pizza thaws out. Depending on how long the pizza was left out, you can either refreeze the pizza, cook it, or need to discard it.
If the pizza is left to thaw outside the refrigerator for longer than a couple of hours, it is best practice to discard the pizza. This happens because bacteria will gather on the food once the pizza rises above a certain temperature.
And while many of the bacteria will die through the cooking process. Some bacteria will leave unsafe toxins in the food that can survive the oven and potentially make you sick. So, if the pizza has been at room temperature for longer than two hours, it is best to discard the food.
If your frozen pizza has thawed but hasn’t been out for more than a couple of hours, you can still place it back in the freezer. Refreezing frozen food is not ideal because it can affect the texture and taste of the food, but it is safe.
When you refreeze a thawed frozen pizza, the taste may be bland and the texture unpleasant when you do cook it. These effects happen because, in the thawing process, more moisture accumulates on the pizza ingredients, and after it is frozen again, the chemical makeup of these ingredients is slightly changed.
I have found that refrozen frozen pizza can taste bland with a stretchy or gooey texture. However, this largely depends on how long the pizza was allowed to sit out before being put back in the freezer.
Perhaps the best practice for a thawed frozen pizza is to preheat the oven and pop it in. However, consider that a thawed pizza will not need as much time to cook.
I recommend cooking a pizza that regularly takes around 20 minutes to bake for only 12 minutes at first. The key is to watch for that golden-brown crust and fully melted cheese.
Better Safe than Sorry With Thawed Pizza
Many people do not know what could happen if they decide to eat frozen pizza after it has been allowed to sit past the recommended two-hour period. Unfortunately, foodborne illness and food poisoning is the possible result.
Once the thawed pizza reaches room temperature, bacteria will begin to grow on it. And, if left at room temperature for too long, the number of bacteria will become dangerous enough that consuming the food can make a person sick.
Often, this sickness is not life-threatening. But several days of severe stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea will cure anyone of risking possibly contaminated food again. To avoid some miserable days, make sure to adhere to the two-hour rule.
It is also important to know that large parts of frozen pizza are raw. Therefore, they require cooking, and eating them raw can also lead to sickness. The dough of many frozen pizzas is uncooked and contains raw eggs as an ingredient.
Eating raw eggs carries the risk of food poisoning as well. If you want to avoid similar symptoms as mentioned above, make sure not to eat plain pizza dough frozen or thawed.
Some of the bacteria that can grow on your frozen pizza after it is left out can also be particularly tough to get rid of. Many people will tell you that cooking the food can be safe if cooked.
However, some bacteria leave a toxin that is heat resistant that can still make you sick. Cooking will kill the bacteria, but not the toxin that it leaves behind. The safest practice is to discard any food, including frozen pizza, that has been left out at room temperature for longer than a couple of hours.
Trust me. If you have never experienced food poisoning, you never want to. As mentioned before, it usually isn’t fatal, but you will feel like you are dying. And it will ruin your appetite for days.
As someone who has disregarded these rules and experienced a terrible weekend of sickness, I tell you it is better to be safe than stay within a short distance of the bathroom for a few days.
Frozen pizza can be a delicious and easy snack or main course for dinner, but if you have allowed the pizza to thaw too long at room temperature, make sure to discard this pizza.
Cooking it will not make it safe, and the consequences can make you miserable. Make sure to practice good sense when trying to determine how to best treat your thawed frozen pizza.
Frequently Asked Questions About What Happens if a Frozen Pizza is Thawed
Are frozen pizzas precooked?
Some ingredients on frozen pizza are pre-cooked like any meat. However, the cheese and dough of most frozen pizzas are not pre-cooked, so eating the frozen dough raw is discouraged.
Will the freezer kill any bacteria that accumulated on the thawed pizza?
Contrary to popular belief, the freezer will not kill any bacteria accumulated on your frozen pizza. It will slow the spread, but ultimately, freezing food that has been left out too long will not destroy the bacteria that has gathered.
Can you thaw a frozen pizza in the refrigerator safely?
It is safe to thaw a frozen pizza in the refrigerator. The fridge will keep the pizza below the temperature that bacteria can gather and spread. Generally, a frozen pizza thawed in the refrigerator will last around three days before you need to cook it.