Frozen pizzas are fast and delish… at least the good ones. But are they precooked or not? Read on to find out!
There’s nothing more satisfying than a hot pizza straight from the oven! But, especially if you start from scratch, there’s a lot that goes into making that perfect slice.
You have to mix, knead, and ferment the dough. Prep the ingredients and preheat the oven. Shape and spread the pie, put the toppings on it, then slide it into the oven and watch over it for the perfect crust.
Don’t get me wrong, I love cooking. That’s why I quit my job a few years ago, started this blog, and then somehow managed to make a living writing about food. But when I don’t want to go through all that hassle, I crank up the oven and pull out a frozen pizza!
I was talking to a friend about this the other day, and she asked me a good question that I had never thought about before: Are frozen pizzas precooked?
It’s one of those questions that’s so good, it deserves a whole article for an answer!
Are Frozen Pizzas Precooked?
Contrary to what some people think, frozen pizzas are not precooked. So bake your pizza thoroughly, in a properly preheated oven. It’s ready when the crust is golden brown and the cheese is all melted.
Not preheating the oven to the right temperature long enough is the biggest mistake most of us make when preparing frozen pizza. You want to crank up the oven to at least 400°F (200°C) and preheat it for 15-20 minutes.
The higher the temperature and the longer the preheating time, the crispier and tastier the pizza. If you don’t preheat the oven, your pizza will take forever to cook. And if you aren’t patient, you’ll take it out earlier before it’s ready.
For ideal crispness, preheat your oven with a pizza stone, baking steel, or a cast-iron pan with a heavy bottom and thick walls on the middle rack. Pizza bakes best when the raw dough comes into sudden contact with a very hot baking surface.
Do not forget: Frozen pizza is made of raw dough and uncooked toppings, and it will taste its best when you bite into it only if you’ve taken the time to cook it fully through.
Pre-made Pizza Crust vs. Frozen Pizza
While the frozen pizzas in the frozen goods section of the supermarket are usually raw, the pre-made pizza crusts in the bakery section are parbaked.
Parbaking is a baking technique in which the pizza dough is mixed, kneaded, fermented, and baked normally. However, the baking process is interrupted at 80% of the baking time, then the untopped pizza crust is quickly cooled.
The pre-made pizza crust can then be frozen, refrigerated, or stored at room temperature. If you buy frozen pizza crust and top it with your own ingredients, it still needs to be baked, but it takes much less time to bake than frozen pizza does.
What Happens If You Eat Undercooked Frozen Pizza?
To give you the long answer short, nothing good.
Most of the time, you can get away with a bad stomach ache. With that being said, if the pizza pie was undercooked—and you ate a lot of it—there’s a chance you could get a foodborne illness.
Pizza dough is made from flour, and flour is raw food. This means that it’s not been treated to kill germs, such as Escherichia coli (E. coli), which can make you sick and cause food poisoning.
These germs are killed when you slide the pizza into the hot oven and leave it there long enough. “Long enough” usually means that the bottom of the pizza is nice and crispy and the crust is golden brown.
According to FoodSafety.gov, a federal government website managed by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, E. coli infection can cause stomach cramps, diarrhea, and vomiting. In severe cases, it can lead to kidney failure, stroke, and death.
When in doubt, keep tabs on how you feel and refer to this guide to food poisoning symptoms from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
No, frozen pizzas are not precooked. The pie and the toppings are raw and must be baked in a properly preheated oven.
So turn the oven to the highest setting and preheat it with a stone, steel, or skillet on the middle rack for 15-20 minutes. Then make that frozen pizza and enjoy!
Related: Do You Bake or Broil Frozen Pizza?