If you want to reheat pizza so that it tastes freshly baked, look no further. Here is everything you need to re-heat pizza like a pro!
Why reheat pizza?
Sometimes you have a busy week and have no time for a home-cooked meal. The easy option is reheat that leftover pizza hut pizza from last night. While the microwave oven may seem super tempting - there are several different options that can produce a result, very similar to fresh pizza using basic home kitchen appliances. All of them produce a nice crispy crust and gooey cheese that makes turn a day-old slice of pizza into game-changer for pizza lovers.
To add some pizzazz to your reheated pizza - add some toppings! A few slices of onion and red pepper can really change your game. For something totally unique, add a handful of arugula on top and sprinkle a little feta! You will be amazed at how good last nights takeout taste on reheated pizza. Yesterday I put a few pieces of tandoor chicken and some dabs of chutney on top of a cold slice and reheated it. It was delicious! If you find a great new combo, be sure to mention it below in the comments!
How long does leftover pizza last in the fridge?
Stored correctly, leftover pizza slices will last for up to three days in the fridge and up to sixty days in the freezer. Dryness is the enemy of great, fresh tasting pizza so store your stack of leftover pizza in an airtight container, zip lock bag or wrap tightly in plastic wrap. if storing in the freezer, put the pizza in a freezer bag or wrap in a few layers of aluminum foil to prevent freezer burn.
Does the type or brand of pizza matter?
The most important thing to note when reheating pizza is that the timing varies depending on the type and thickness. A thinner pizza will heat up faster and will also need a higher temperature to crisp up the bottom quickly. A thicker slice, like Chicago deep-dish pizza will take a lot longer because there is more pizza to heat. For thicker pizzas, it is best to heat up the pizza more slowly so that there are no cold spots - the entire pizza needs a chance to warm completely through. Similarly, a frozen slice of pizza will take longer to cook than those at room temperature.
The brand of pizza, whether it is homemade pizza or leftovers from brand names Pizza Hut, Papa John's, Dominos, Blaze, Little Caesars, Papa Murphy's or Papa John's does not matter, when reheating a slice.
How to re-heat pizza in an Air Fryer
Great for a single slice. Quick and easy, air fryers are great for heating up pizza - you get a perfectly crispy crust and puddles of gooey, melted cheese in a matter of minutes. Air frying is not as effective as using a pan or oven to reheat pizza because it can easily overcook the toppings (within seconds!) making them crisp and dry.
- For thin crust pizza: Preheat the air fryer to 350°F. Place the pizza slices in a single layer in an air fryer basket lined with parchment (for easy cleanup). Air fry for 3-6 minutes or until the pizza is heated through.
- For thick or deep-dish pizza: Preheat the air fryer to 325°F. Place the pizza in a single layer in an air fryer basket lined with parchment (for easy cleanup). Air fry for 4-7 minutes or until the pizza is heated through.
Expert tips for heating pizza using an Air Fryer
- Line the basket with parchment or a silicone mat. This makes clean-up a breeze!
- Place the pizza in a single layer. A basket-style air fryer can hold only about 1-2 slices. Resist stacking the pizza as it will not cook evenly.
- If needed, cut the pizza to fit. Most air fryer baskets are pretty small. If the pizza slice does not fit, just cut it down to size. The neatest way to do this is to cut a 1-2 inch strip from one side. This way one slice retains its shape. The other slice is a strip which still looks good.
- No need to add additional oil. There is no need to add even a little oil to get a crispy base in an air fryer because the cheese in the pizza will produce any amount of oil that is needed.
- Check the pizza from time to time. Air Fryers can heat up pizza very quickly. Cooking time will vary for thin crust pizza which will cook faster than deep dish pizza. Also, the make and model of air fryer oven can make a difference. For best results, check every minute after the first 3 minutes to make sure the pizza is not overcooked.
- Certain toppings don't work as well in the Air Fryer. Thinly sliced toppings like pepperoni and thinly sliced red onion can easily overcook in the circulating hot air and become crackly and dry in seconds. If you have thinly sliced toppings, you will get better results with the stovetop method detailed below.
- Carefully remove the pizza from the air fryer. The basket of the air fryer gets very hot - use tongs to carefully remove the hot pizza.
How to re-heat pizza in a frying pan or skillet
Best for single slices. The hot pan quickly crisps the bottom crust, and the lid traps the steam and heat, melting the cheese on top. This is hands down the best method for reheating single slices.
- For thin crust pizza: Heat a cast-iron skillet or non-stick pan on medium-high heat. Once the nonstick frying pan is hot, add 1-2 slices of pizza, depending on the size of your skillet and cover with a lid until the pizza is heated through, the bottom is crispy and the cheese has melted - about 3-5 minutes.
- For thicker deep-dish pizza or frozen pizza: Heat a cast iron or non-stick skillet on medium heat to medium-low heat for about 2 minutes. Once the pan is hot, add the 1-2 pizza slices (depending on the size of the skillet) and cover with a lid until the pizza is heated through. If the bottom is not crispy, turn the heat up to high until the bottom is crispy and the cheese has melted - about 3-5 minutes.
Expert tips for heating pizza using a pan:
- Use a lid. A great way to retain heat so that the pizza heats up more quickly and the cheese melts is to use a lid.
- Use lower heat for thicker slices. Thicker slices need more time to heat through so begin by heating the pizza through, then raise the temperature to crisp the bottom if needed.
- Steam pizza if it is too dry. If the leftover pizza is very dry (over 1 day old), you may need to sprinkle about a ½ - 1 teaspoon of water around the edge of the pan to 'steam' the slices. For perfect pizza, do not add water on top of the pizza. If you add too much water, remove the lid and just keep heating the pizza until the pizza has the right texture. Additional water is typically not needed for day-old pizza.
- A cast iron pan is best, but any type of pan works. I like using a cast iron pan because it retains heat and beautifully creates a perfect crisp crust. You can also use a nonstick frying pan, a stainless-steel skillet or any metal cast pan to reheat pizza.
How to re-heat pizza in an oven
Best for whole pizza or lots of leftover slices of pizza. This method is a winner every time. This method produces a pizza that tastes almost as good as the day it was freshly baked,
- For thick and thin crust, refrigerated and frozen pizza. Place the leftover pizza on a baking sheet. Cover the sheet with parchment paper ot aluminum foil. Place the baking sheet on a pizza stone (if available) on the bottom of a cold oven. Begin by heating the oven to 300°F. Pizza is done when it is heated through, it has a nice, crispy crust, and the cheese has melted - about 30 minutes. The pizza stone creates a very hot surface which helps crisp up the bottom crust.
Expert tips for heating pizza using an oven
- Place the pizza in a cold oven. Per Cook's Illustrated, the best way to reheat leftover pizza is in a cold oven because it allows the pizza to warm up slowly.
- For added moisture, wrap the pizza in aluminum foil. The aluminum foil seal is a critical part of reheating very dry pizza because it traps any evaporated moisture which then softens the crust.
- Place the pizza on the bottom of the oven. Placing the pizza on the bottom of a conventional oven instead of the middle ensures that the underside is heated from the bottom up producing a delicious crisp base while the toppings retain their juicy texture.
- Carefully remove the pizza from the hot oven. Both the oven and the reheated pizza will be very hot - wear oven mitts or use a spatula or tongs to carefully remove the hot pizza.
How to re-heat pizza in a toaster oven
Best for 1-2 slices at a time. The toaster oven is one of the most effective ways to reheat leftover pizza. It is the best option for college dorm dinners or folks in the office who have access to a toaster oven but not a stove or regular oven.
- For thick and thin crust, refrigerated and frozen pizza. Place a single slice of cold pizza on a small piece of foil (for easy clean up) on a baking tray. Transfer to the bottom rack of the toaster oven. Select the 'Bake' function and set the temperature to 325°F. Pizza is done when it is heated through, the bottom is crispy, and the top is covered with melty cheese - about 5-8 minutes. For thin crust pizza, check after 3 minutes. For thicker pizza or frozen pizza, check after 4 minutes. The amount of time will depend on the type of pizza, and the make and model of the toaster oven.
Expert tips for heating pizza using a toaster oven
- Place the pizza in a cold toaster oven. Placing the leftover slice of pizza in the cold toaster oven as it pre-heats, allows the pizza to warm up slowly.
- Place the pizza on the bottom rack. This helps to get a perfectly crispy pizza crust as the bottom is the hottest part of the toaster oven. It prevents the toppings from over cooking as the pizza is now further away from the heating element on the top.
- Place the pizza on top of a small square of tin foil or parchment paper. This allows for easy clean-up.
- Check the pizza after 3 minutes to prevent overbrowning. Check the pizza after 3 minutes to prevent overbrowning.
- Use the 'Bake' not 'Toaster' setting. The best temperature to heat pizza is a lower temperature because the higher radiant heat of the "toaster" results in excessive moisture loss making the pizza overly crisp and dry.
- Carefully remove the pizza from the toaster oven. Both the toaster oven and the pizza will be very hot - wear oven mitts or use a spatula or tongs to carefully remove the hot pizza.
How to re-heat pizza in a microwave
Try to avoid this method as it ruins the texture. While reheating rice with a few drops of water can magically revive dry, cold rice, the same cannot be said about the results of heating pizza in a microwave. My personal preference is to never reheat pizza in a microwave oven. Having said that, if you had to microwave a piece - here is how you would do it.
- Place the pizza on top of a paper towel on a microwave safe plate. Heat for 30 seconds. Repeat as needed. Because microwaved pizza loses much of its texture, becoming soggy and limp, heat up the pizza just enough to warm it.
Expert tips for heating pizza using a microwave
- Place the pizza on a paper towel. An easy way to reduce the sogginess of microwaved pizza is to place it on a paper towel. The paper towel absorbs some of the moisture as the pizza steams in the microwave.
- Microwave as little as possible. It's best to just 'warm' the pizza in a microwave. Pizza can over-heat quickly in the microwave creating a soggy mess.
- Steam the pizza with a damp paper towel if it is dry. If the pizza is very dry, I put a lightly damp paper towel on top of the cold slice before microwaving. Some people recommend placing a glass of water with the pizza in the microwave. This has not worked well for me because the pizza was cooked before the water heated up enough to create the excess moisture needed to soften the crust.
Never reheat pizza in the box
Never reheat pizza in a cardboard box in the oven because it is a fire hazard. Put a pizza box in the microwave only if you can confirm, typically through a label on the box that says it is microwave safe.
Take your leftover pizza up to the next level
The best way to take your reheated pizza up to the next level is to add some toppings. You can change it up by just adding some pepperoni or sliced onion on top or go gourmet - here are our favorite gourmet topping combinations:
- Anchovy, Goat Cheese and Fig
- Shitake Mushroom and Thyme
- Anchovy, Fig and Pecorino
- Hot Honey, Arugula and Pepperoni
Another way is to just serve it differently. For example, you can slice the pizza into strips or squares and serve them as canapes. I love to serve reheated pizza sliced into strips with French Onion Soup without wine and stews.
Frequently Asked Questions
To reheat pizza in an air fryer, preheat the air fryer to 350°F and air fry for 3-6 minutes.
About 3-6 minutes at 350°F. The time will depend on the model and make of the air fryer and the thickness of the pizza. For very thick pizza, reduce the temperature to 325°F and cook for 4-7 minutes so that the pizza has more time to warm up thoroughly.
The best way to reheat a few slices of pizza is to use a pan. For more slices or a whole pizza, use an oven.
There is no need to flip the pizza when warming it up. Covering it with a piece of foil when using a fry pan, the oven or toaster oven is enough to retain the moisture so that the cheese on top melts. There is no need to cover the leftover pizza when using an air fryer or microwave.
There is no need to spray oil when reheating pizza in the air fryer or using any other device because the cheese already contains sufficient fat or oil to assist with the reheating process.
It is not safe to put a cardboard pizza box in the oven because it is a fire hazard. Cardboard takeout boxes and paper plates may contain combustible material, wax coating and harmful chemicals that could not only increase the risk of fire but also be a health hazard especially at higher temperatures.
If you need to keep pizza warm, remove it from the cardboard container and place it on a baking sheet. Place the pizza on the baking sheet onto the middle rack of your oven. Begin pre-heating the oven to 200°F. If the pizza is in the oven for more than a half hour after the oven reaches 200°F, turn off the heat and cover the pizza with foil.
Cardboard pizza boxes should only be placed in a microwave if there is a label that confirms that it is microwave safe to do so. It is best to be cautious and not microwave food in food containers like cardboard boxes or plastic containers as they may not have been manufactured for this purpose. The containers could release toxic fumes, contain combustible materials or plastic coating that could be a health hazard.
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