Life’s too short to cook a frozen pizza in the range. Aside from the microwave, can you cook it in a toaster oven?
If you’re the type of person who appreciates the convenience of microwaving a frozen pizza, but you miss the golden-brown crust, you might be tempted to get a toaster oven. You know, the compact kind. The one that doesn’t heat the whole house whenever you use it.
Some of you reading this may not have the space for (or the luxury of) a stove or wall oven. So the toaster is the only kind of oven you have at home. Either way, the question you came here for is almost always the same: “Can you make pizza in a toaster oven?”
Why, yes, you can bake pizza in a toaster oven! But it must be large enough to fit the pie, and you must preheat it for 15-20 minutes so that the pizza cooks evenly.
Not all toaster ovens are created equal.
For example, a tiny and underpowered toaster oven with a single heating element on top will burn the toppings on your frozen pizza and leave the crust undercooked.
Such ovens are great for baking small batches of cookies and reheating leftovers from last night’s dinner. But let’s be honest among ourselves here: They typically suck at baking breads and pizzas!
And it isn’t just about cooking your pizza to perfection. It’s also about cooking it to safety.
Undercooked pizza, as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention explains, is pizza that’s unsafe to eat. Raw dough is made of flour and water, and flour can harbor bacteria like E. coli that can give you food poisoning.
To put it simply, you can bake pizza in a toaster oven, but the toaster oven needs to be large and powerful enough.
Related: Are Frozen Pizzas Already Cooked?
How large and powerful, you might be wondering?
Well, The New York Times’ Wirecutter has been testing toaster ovens since 2015, and their pizza pick is the Cuisinart Chef’s Convection Toaster Oven.
Measuring 20.87 × 16.93 × 11.42 inches, this countertop toaster oven is as big as they tend to get—and it comes with all the bells and whistles you’d expect from it, including a pizza stone large enough for a 13-inch pizza pie.
Of course, you don’t need to have this particular oven at home to bake a pizza!
If you want to bake pizza in your convection oven, you want to make sure that your oven (a) has heating elements on the top and bottom, (b) a convection fan for even heat distribution, and (c) at least 1,800 Watts of power.
The rest is about the cooking technique.
How to Cook Frozen Pizza in a Toaster Oven
Use a pizza stone or baking steel
Pizza cooks best when the dough comes into sudden contact with a hot baking surface.
For best results, use a pizza stone or baking steel. You know, that round piece of stone or rectangular metal slab that you slide into the toaster oven and preheat with it.
Related: The Things You Need to Know About Pizza Stones
Preheat the convection enough for enough time
Slide the stone or steel into the toaster oven, crank it up as high as it goes, and let it preheat for at least 15-20 minutes.
If you don’t have one, use the metal tray that came with the toaster oven. You’re doing this because you need something to protect the bottom of the pie from the direct heat of the lower heating element—and distribute that heat more evenly.
Seasoned cooks will tell you that 15-20 minutes of preheating time for a pizza stone or baking steel is not nearly enough. I know some preheat their stones for 1, sometimes 2 hours! So the longer the preheating time, the better (although you are probably not making frozen pizza because you have time).
Take the pizza out of the fridge immediately before putting it in the oven
Take the pizza out of the freezer immediately before putting it in the oven. Otherwise, it will begin to thaw at room temperature and the dough will get soggy. Then, there is a good chance that your pizza will be all wet and undercooked.
Put the pizza in the oven quickly, then close the door and don’t open it until it’s done. It’s okay to look through the window, don’t get me wrong. But opening the door to check if the pizza is done is counterproductive because the oven loses temperature, and these ovens don’t recover temperature as easily.
Bake it until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is melted
So how do you know if your frozen pizza is cooked?
It’s simple, really. When the crust gets golden brown and the cheese on the top is melted, it’s right about done. At this stage, the pie should be nice and crispy on the bottom.
Don’t rely on the cooking time indicated on the package. Most frozen pizza manufacturers develop their cooking instructions for regular ovens, not toaster ovens, so the cooking times aren’t necessarily accurate.
Yes, you can bake pizza in a toaster oven. Not every oven, though. Your toaster oven needs to have the space, the power, and the convection fan to bake the pie thoroughly and evenly.
As long as it does, now you know how to make the most of it!