How Long Can Pizza Dough Sit Out?

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Pizza dough needs to be left out in order to rise, but there are some rules you need to follow to ensure that the dough rises properly.

Left out at room temperature for too long, the dough will eventually dry out, and then form a skin on the surface, and possibly even turn bad.

So, how long can pizza dough sit out? Pizza dough should not be left to sit outside of the fridge for longer than 24 hours. If it does, it’ll develop a hard outer crust and dry out completely.

When making pizza dough, you need to know the different guidelines to ensure that the dough turns out just right, and if you need to keep it for a little longer, then it is better to store it in the fridge or freezer, rather than letting it sit out.

How Long Can Pizza Dough Sit Out?

Pizza dough should not be left to sit out for more than 24 hours. After 24 hours, the dough will form a skin and eventually dry out.

If left out for too long, then the dough could even turn bad. If you are not going to be using the dough within 24 hours, it is best to store it at a cooler temperature.

Making pizza dough, and figuring out how long to let it rise, does not have to be that difficult.

Once you know the basics, you will be able to master the perfect pizza crusts at home. Below is everything you need to know about letting pizza dough sit out!

How Long Pizza Dough Should Rise

In order to know how long pizza dough can sit out, you need to know how long pizza dough should be left to rise for.

Pizza dough rises as yeast consumes the sugar, and turns it into carbon dioxide and alcohol. These two together give the pizza dough that yeasty flavor and help it to rise.

How long this takes depends on a few different factors, with some dough rising in two hours, and others taking up to a day.

One suggestion given by pizza makers is that dough should be refrigerated for at least 24 hours, this helps to ensure that it is light and airy, which helps to make a beautiful crust.

You should allow the dough to rise and then keep it for 24 hours, but do not keep it for longer than 48 hours, as any time passed this will see the dough drying up and losing a lot of its flavor, and it runs the risk of over proofing the dough.

How long pizza dough should be left to rise also depends on the recipe of the dough. If the dough contains more yeast and sugar, it will take longer to proof.

There are definitely pizza dough recipes that can be made in under 24 hours, but these might lack a bit of flavor and lightness.

How Long Pizza Dough Can Sit Out

It is recommended that pizza dough should be left to sit out for 24 hours, for it to develop and rise properly, and to be light and airy with all the right flavors.

For this reason, it is best to plan ahead and to leave the dough to rise slowly over 24 hours, rather than rushing it and not letting it develop properly.

However, how long you leave pizza dough to rise will depend on you and your preferences, but it just should not be left to sit out for more than 24 hours.

The time you leave pizza dough to rise, and how long it needs to rise, really depends on two factors.

The first factor is the temperature, which is the environment that the dough is left to rise in. The second is how the dough is made, and mostly the type of yeast used and the amount of sugar added.

Dough that is left to rise in a warmer environment will rise quicker than dough left in cooler temperatures. Dough that has more yeast and sugar in the recipe will take longer to rise as well.

If you have time before using the dough, it is best to leave the dough to rise overnight at a cooler temperature, but if you need the dough to rise quickly, you can leave it to rise for 2 hours at a warmer temperature.

What Temperature Should Dough Rise At?

Dough needs to be given some sort of warmth to activate the yeast, and once the yeast is activated, the dough can then be left to rise, even at a cooler temperature.

Once the dough has been activated, it should be kept above 65°F. If it is left in temperatures below this, then the yeast will not allow the dough to rise and proof.

The best place to allow dough to rise at this temperature or slightly above is to leave it on the kitchen counter and at room temperature, as long as your house is not too cold.

The pizza dough can be left to rise on the counter for up to 24 hours, and if you are not going to be using it straight away, then it needs to be placed in the fridge or freezer. so that it does not continue to proof.

Wherever you leave the dough, make sure the temperature is consistent, so that the dough can rise evenly.

Can Pizza Dough Go Bad?

Now that you know how long pizza dough should be left to rise for (24 hours) it helps to know if it can go bad if left out for longer!

It can be easy to lose track of time and forget about that ball of dough you have rising in the back of your kitchen. In these situations, it helps to know if dough has gone off.

Pizza dough can go bad, but it does take a while to do so. If kept in the fridge, dough will begin to go bad after around 5 days.

If left on the counter, it can go bad as quickly as 48-72 hours. Dough that contains eggs or milk can go off much quicker than this.

Dough that is left out for a few days can go bad, but it might not be “bad” in the sense that we think of food.

The yeast would have gone through and exhausted all of its resources and it won’t be able to rise the dough anymore. The dough then would be over-proofed and it will not bake properly.

There is also nothing in traditional dough that can turn rancid fast (dough made out of flour, salt, and water), so it can last for quite some time without turning rancid, even though it might have over-proofed.

However, there is still a chance that dough can go bad, and you need to know what to look for that indicates that dough is bad.

Signs That Pizza Dough Has Gone Bad

Below are the signs to look for that pizza dough has gone bad:


Pizza dough should have a yeasty smell when it has risen, but if this smells more rancid than yeasty, it is a sign that the pizza dough has gone off.

Dough can end up smelling like beer or smell sour, and this is usually normal after the dough has been left to ferment and rise for some time.

If you take a sniff of the dough and it genuinely smells rancid and almost like cheese, then you should rather just throw it away and start again.

Signs Of Mold

One definite sign that pizza dough has gone off is when you notice visible signs of mold. Mold will occur when there is a spike in bacteria growth, and once the dough reaches this point, you should throw it away, as it is unsafe to eat.

Dry Texture

Once the dough has been left out for too long, it will being to dry out. If the dough is exceptionally dry, and you can both feel and see the dryness, it should be thrown away.

This means it has been left out for way too long and the chances that it has gone bad are high.

How Long Can Pizza Dough Sit Out

It is not recommended to let pizza dough sit out for more than 24 hours.

This is enough time for the dough to proof and rise, and if left out longer than this, the dough can over-proof and there is a chance that eventually the dough could go bad.

If you will not be using the dough within this time frame, then it is best to either keep it in the fridge for up to 48 hours or place it in the freezer for longer storage.

Related Questions

Now that we’ve gone over how long pizza dough can sit out, let’s take a look at a few more related questions on the subject!

Can I leave pizza dough out overnight?

Pizza dough can be left out overnight, as long as it has not been left out for longer than 24 hours. It is a good idea to only put a small amount of yeast in the dough which is being left out overnight so that it does not over-proof.

How do I know if pizza dough has over-proofed?

To tell if pizza dough has been over-proofed, you should gently press your fingertip onto the surface of the dough for two seconds, and then see how quickly the dough bounces back.

If the dent is permanent, then the dough has been over-proofed.

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