Delicious pizza, and no oven required. Brilliant!
I like to keep a box or two of frozen Margherita pizza in the freezer. It’s one of the easiest convenience foods to prepare for yourself and the family. And you can upgrade it in countless ways with extra topics, from pepperoni and jalapeños to ham and pineapple.
With the right tricks up your sleeve and a little technique, you can make frozen pizza taste better than takeout! But if you live in a postage stamp kitchen or dorm room, can you cook it without an oven?
Why, yes, you can cook frozen pizza without an oven. Theoretically, you can use any cooking appliance you have, although a microwave or toaster oven works best.
Here are some ideas and tips to get the best results.
Cooking Frozen Pizza in a Microwave
You can cook frozen pizza in your regular microwave, but there’s a caveat.
With this heating method, the pizza will be warm and bubbly, but the crust will get soggy. That’s because microwaves work by activating water molecules inside the food. This may either trap steam or dry out the crust.
To get the best results, we suggest using a microwave crisper pan. These don’t cost a lot and are useful for heating pizza, fries, nuggets, croissants, or any food where you want to get a very firm, crisp texture.
Another popular college-dorm hack is to place a glass of water (make sure it’s microwave safe) next to the pizza while you’re reheating it. Essentially, it slows down the heating process so there’s less chance of it getting soggy or rubbery.
Also, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to microwave. If there aren’t any, generally a 10-inch pizza needs about 5-7 minutes, and a 12-inch pizza needs 7-10 minutes.
Cooking Frozen Pizza in a Toaster Oven
Even a cheap toaster oven can get really hot, really fast. So if you’re going to use this method for your frozen pizza, you want to make sure it doesn’t burn.
The trick is to minimize the amount of time the pizza stays in the toaster oven. First, preheat the oven for 10-15 minutes so that it’s already warm by the time you’re putting in the pizza.
Then, let it toast without interruption until the cheese melts and the crust is golden brown. If you open the door a little too early, allow it to continue cooking in 2-3 minute intervals until it’s done.
Toaster ovens tend to be small—really small. Never overcrowd it by placing several slices on top of each other. The heat needs to circulate properly to get a good browning, bubbling effect.
Cooking Frozen Pizza on a Grill
Whenever I crank up the oven to the highest setting in summer, my kitchen turns into the Sahara desert. So the dog days of summer are my cue to fire up the grill and take cooking outdoors!
Did you know that you can cook frozen pizza on a grill, no matter if you’re grilling over charcoal or gas?
On a charcoal grill, the trick is to light the coals and wait 15-20 minutes for them to get white and ashy. Gas grills, on the other hand, should be preheated for a minimum of 15-20 minutes so the walls hold on to and radiate heat.
Once you’re there, all you need to do is put the pizza on a metal pan, slide it on the hot grill, and close the lid. Closing the lid creates convection currents and turns your grill into an outside oven, cooking the pizza for roughly the same amount of time recommended on the package.
Cooking Frozen Pizza in the Air Fryer
Lately, this has been our family’s favorite way of cooking frozen pizza whenever we want a quick midnight snack!
Just preheat the air fryer to 400°F (205°C) for 5-10 minutes, slice the uncooked pizza into four triangles, drizzle a bit of olive oil, and cook for 7-8 minutes.
The exact cooking time depends on the size and the thickness of the pizza. It will take you a few tries to get to the right setting, you temper your expectations for the first one or two slices.
Telling when the pizza is ready is no different than when it is baked in a toaster oven or grilled: The cheese must melt and the crust must turn golden brown.
Remember the Ground Rules
Unless you’re making frozen pizza in the microwave, always preheat your oven, air fryer, or charcoal/gas grill.
Baking works best when the dough suddenly comes into contact with the hot air in a properly preheated cooking appliance. The hot air puffs up the dough, draws out the moisture, and gives it a crispy and flavorful crust with a beautiful golden brown color.
Cook your pizza from frozen. Contrary to what some of us think, frozen pizza doesn’t need to be thawed before you prepare it. In fact, this can be counterproductive because the pizza won’t cook properly, turning out bland and soggy instead.
Related: Are Frozen Pizzas Already Cooked?
Bake the pizza thoroughly and to full doneness. The dough is a raw food made from flour, and uncooked flour can harbor dangerous bacteria. Exposing the pizza to heat long enough will kill these bacteria, and the pizza will be safe to eat.
Microwaving vs. Baking or Grilling Pizza
If you prepare a pizza in the microwave, you won’t get a nice, golden-brown crust, because dough doesn’t brown until its surface temperature reaches 284°F (140°C) and above.
This is easy to achieve in a hot oven, air fryer, or grill with the lid closed—but the microwave cooks the pizza with electromagnetic radiation, and so the air around the crust stays cold.
This is why the microwave is great for heating water and warming soup, but not for baking bread, pizza, and other dough goods. (Meat doesn’t get a crispy crust and light charring when microwaved for the same reasons.)
Frozen Pizza at Your Fingertips
There are many ways to fix your pizza craving, even if you don’t have an oven. Use these methods on any frozen pizza—whether it’s store-bought or homemade pizza that you topped and froze yourself—and have a piping hot pizza slice in less than fifteen minutes.