What’s the Best Way to Reheat a Pizza?

Published Categorized as Cooking Tips
What’s the Best Way to Reheat a Pizza?cunaplus /123RF

Do you like your pizza soft or crunchy? Do you want it immediately or are you patient? You can manage it all when reheating pizza.

I decided to conduct a little pizza experiment. I wanted to see if I could recreate that sense of freshness after an evening in the fridge—and maybe even improve upon it.

For this little experiment, I reheated slices of margarita, tuna, vegetarian, Hawaiian, and a meaty pizza in the microwave, oven, and frying pan based on the advice of experts.

Long story short, it comes down to how patient you are, how crunchy or soft you want pizza to taste, and how topping-heavy your pizza is.

The results were more than successful.

What’s the Best Way to Reheat Pizza in the Microwave?

For most of us, if you’re not going to eat leftover pizza cold, you’re probably going to stick it in the microwave.

Studying at college, I lived off yesterday’s pizza and the microwave was my go-to solution, but I never imagined there was more to it than zapping it for a few seconds.

Michael East, CEO of Griddle King, says, “the biggest let down is the fact that you’ll get left with a pizza crust that is chewy and hard to pull apart” when using the microwave.

“For this reason, you should reheat your pizza one slice at a time in the center of your microwave to ensure that the heat is spread evenly,” East continues.

East recommends that you “put a half full glass of water into the microwave to add some springiness back to the dough in the crust.”

Pizza in the microwave with half a glass of water.

My microwave wasn’t big enough to place a pizza slice in the center and a glass of water. Use a wide glass if you’re worried about it spilling in the microwave.

Nevertheless, this method works really well. I was impressed by how the base and crust of the pizza came back to life.

Reheated pizza from the microwave.

The pizza felt and tasted almost like new. But East goes one step further.

“I would even recommend blasting your pizza under the grill after going through this process to add a crisp to the edges.”

East believes that combining the microwave and grill is the best way to get crispy pizza.

Slightly burned Hawaiian pizza.

The crust was definitely crispy, and the base was still soft, though be careful. I looked away for a moment and slightly burnt the top of this Hawaiian slice.

Still, I greatly enjoyed it. I would advise, though, that before sticking the pizza in the microwave, preheat your oven grill.

How to Reheat Pizza in the Oven?

“I firmly believe that oven-reheated pizza is the best option,” declares Jenna Moran, CEO of Whimsy and Spice.

“The first thing to do is place your room-temperature pizza […] on a baking sheet, and place aluminum foil over the top of the whole sheet (not just the pizza slices),” she suggests.

I would also recommend letting pizza—or any food from the fridge—reach room temperature before reheating, whatever method you use.

Following Moran’s advice, I placed four slices of pizza on a baking sheet, giving them a little bit of space between.

Pizza to be reheated in the oven.

I did realize that to add these slices to the oven, I would need something underneath, so I took out the oven grate, placed the baking sheet on top, and then the pizza.

Pizza between foil and a baking sheet.

Moran then instructs: “Preheat your oven beforehand, then place the baking sheet on the bottom shelf to ensure that the underneath of the pizza gets fully warmed too.”

Cooking this way, I noticed it really helped the vegetarian and meaty pizza, but not so much the Hawaiian or tuna pizza.

A meaty slice of pizza reheated in the oven.

But all in all, I was impressed by how close it tasted to a fresh slice of pizza.

Another method worth looking into is using a pizza stone in a convection oven, as advised by Anja Wolf, Creative director and head Chef at I Love Cookware.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a pizza stone yet, though, that’s now on top of my list of kitchen things to buy.

How Long to Reheat Pizza in the Oven?

Pizza doesn’t need that long to reheat in the oven, so keep an eye on it. It takes roughly the same amount of time to cook a frozen pizza.

“While it is difficult to give an exact time, I would recommend leaving the pizza slices in for at least 10 minutes,” says Moran.

At this point, Moran says to check the crispiness of the crust and how melted the cheese is. Typically, she leaves pizza in the oven for 12 minutes to reheat.

I also found around 10-12 minutes to be the best amount of time. That said, we cooked the pizza under foil, and it wasn’t directly exposed to the heat of the oven.

Perhaps if that was the case, it would be reheated quicker.

What’s the Best Temperature to Reheat Pizza in the Oven?

Moran recommends “preheating the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit [(176°C)], as this will still thoroughly heat up your pizza without risking any burning.”

Remember, the pizza has already been cooked—it just needs a little warming up. 

Meanwhile, for a convection oven, Wolf says: “I always make sure to preheat my oven to at least 425[°F (218°C)] when reheating pizza. You want the oven to be hot, so the pizza doesn’t steam.”

She adds, “If you have a lot of toppings on the pizza like veggies then this is especially important.”

What’s the Best Way to Reheat Pizza in a Frying Pan?

A new method that I had never heard of is using a frying pan. Initially, the idea of reheating pizza in a pan sounded totally alien.

Sous Chef Allen Bixby of No Takeout says that according to his tastes, reheating pizza with a skillet and a lid is the best way.

Bixby mentions, “Using a flat pan with a cover does require a little patience, keeping the heat to medium low and giving it time to heat all the way through.”

The end result is a dry and crispy bottom crust.

Two pizza slices next to a frying pan.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a skillet with a glass lid, so I couldn’t show you what it looked like inside the pan.

It’s also not completely flat and the bottom is quite thick (so it took a little longer to heat).

I also use an electric stove that has a range of 1 to 9, so I can’t be precise on what temperature I used (whatever temperature no. 5 is).

Before you get frying, Bixby also adds, “If the pizza is heavy with toppings, sprinkle just a bit of water on the bare parts of the pan and put the cover right back on to steam the toppings.”

To add water, I sprinkled it onto the pan with my fingers. 

Tuna pizza reheated in a pan with a bit of water.

To be honest, when I had finished frying the pizza, it didn’t look like much had changed (maybe I needed a bit more water for the above slice).

However, the look of the pizza was deceptive. When I bit into it, I could immediately see that it had improved.

The base was crunchy, but not as crunchy as the oven—it was a thin layer of crunchiness followed directly by a nice softness—the perfect combo in my opinion.

Plus, it was nicely heated and not burned at all.

The crunchiness of the crust was hard to measure but this was probably because the slice didn’t have much of a crust in the first place.

Emily Meyers, Founder of Garlic Head, also believes frying pizza in the pan is the best, though her method is a teeny bit different.

Instead of adding water to the pan, Meyers recommends sprinkling it on the pizza to help rehydrate the dough, but that’s not all.

Hawaiian pizza reheated in a pan with a bit of oil.

“Then, heat 1 TBS of neutral oil in a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the pizza slice and cover with a lid” instructs Meyers.

The bottom of a pizza reheated in the pan.
Fried pizza base.

I found that it was best to move the pizza around in the pan to make sure the oil is used, particularly if the oil has a habit of pooling around the edges of the pan.

Next, all you need to do is “Let cook for 1-2 minutes. This will give you the crispiest bottom crust without any toughness,” explains Meyers.

I also think a bit more than a tablespoon is the best, though this may depend on the size of your pan and how much pizza you stick in the pan.

Warning! If you try this method, remember—don’t put water on top of the pizza if you have put it in hot oil!

The Verdict: How to Make Reheated Pizza Taste Better?

It depends on the pizza and your preferences. Topping heavy slices need more moisture, particularly vegetarian pizza.

You may also prefer your pizza to be soft or crunchy, or a mix of the two. For me, reheating pizza in the pan with a bit of oil was the tastiest, but you may disagree.

Here’s how to best reheat pizza for each method:

  • In the oven: with a baking sheet at the bottom, foil on top for 10-12 minutes in a regular oven at 350°F (176°C) or 425°F (218°C) in a convection oven.
  • In the microwave: 30 seconds to 1 minute with half a glass of water. Optional—grill in the oven after for crispiness.
  • In the pan: sprinkle water on top, and fry in a pan with a lid for 1-2  minutes at medium heat. Optional—add about a tablespoon of oil.

For crunchy pizza, the oven is quite good. Following that, the pan is the best option and four to five times faster.

The oven delivered the crunchiest results. While I love crunchy food, others may prefer the base of their pizza softer—in which case, I would recommend the microwave.

I particularly believe reheating in the microwave with a half glass of water is the best for vegetarian pizzas or pizzas with many veggies—they truly come back to life.

If you’re looking to avoid soggy pizza, use the oven, not the microwave. While I wouldn’t necessarily say microwaved pizza is ‘soggy,’ it’s definitely softer.

Finally, to get the best reheated pizza, you may want to reinvent it. Adding new toppings to a margarita can make it an entirely new pizza.

Wolf says, “I like adding some olive tapenade and fresh shredded Parmesan.” For myself, I might just stick a bit of sriracha on top for a bit of spice.

But try not to overload it—you don’t want it dropping all over the place. It may look amazing, but it might end up on your shirt instead of in your mouth.

However, if you reheat pizza properly, you might not need to add anything.

By Craig Britton

As children, we’re told not to play with our food. But I find that food tastes best when you experiment with it. I love trying out new recipes and cooking techniques almost as much as I love eating the end result.

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