Mamma mia! You have pizza leftovers and are ravenous. The only thing is, just yesterday (back when it was a whole pizza), this carb-loaded masterpiece of Italian heritage had a crisp crust and hot gooey cheese. Now it looks like a shadow of its former self…
It’s like frozen pizza before you cook it. Cold, stale, not as appealing to the eye. You want to replicate the ideal culinary experience and eat it hot, hot, HOT!
Usually, we turn to the fastest method possible to chow down that slice of pizza ASAP… the microwave oven. And what happens? We’re left chomping down a soggy crust. Then there’s that temperature differential between sauce and cheese. The microwave is not the best option to enjoy your beloved leftover slices when you’re only saving a couple of minutes!
So now you’re here. You want to respect your pizza (and your taste buds), by reheating your once glorious, fresh pizza slices the best way possible.
But if you know your pizza, then you know that there are many different kinds. Thin crust pizza, thick crust pizza, Neapolitan, New York style, Chicago style, etc.! The best method to reheat one kind may not suit another.
So leave your worries in the cardboard pizza box. You’ve come to the right place. We’re going to get into everything you need to know to reheat the right way whatever day-old pizza you have lying around!
And the best part is…it’s all as easy as delivery. (Psst… I also tell you the best way to store pizza leftovers at the end.)
Why Does Leftover Pizza Taste Different?
Pizza changes so drastically the next day because of a scientific process called retrogradation. It’s a process that affects all kinds of bread, actually, due to the starch molecules within. When the starch molecules in the crust crystallize overnight in the fridge, they absorb water molecules.
It’s a crazy thought. Those microscopic drops of water are still stored inside those cold slices! And they need to be released from their starch cages in order to resemble that dough you ate just last night!
So, how do you release that amount of little water stored in those crusts? By heating it up to at least 140 degrees Fahrenheit. This is why reheating pizza softens the crust because the moisture is reintroduced into the crust.
What’s the Best Way to Reheat Leftover Pizza?
So we established a great way to reheat is to not place pizza in the microwave. Soggy slices for days! The cheese just falls right off! The taste is pretty much still there but the texture is lacking. No thanks.
A better option? A conventional oven or better yet, a convection oven to spread out the heat throughout however much pizza you want to chow down properly.
Reheating in an oven gives everything you love about fresh slices of pizza. That gooey melted cheese, vibrant in color. A crispy crust, golden brown. The sauce and toppings, shiny with moisture.
There are certainly different ways that can effectively reheat your pizza besides the oven method, but using your hot oven has the added benefit of being one of the easiest!
What Temp to Reheat Pizza in Oven?
For a crisp crust, the best oven temp to reheat pizza can be as high as 450 degrees Fahrenheit. If you prefer a softer crust, the best temperature for reheating pizza is 350 degrees. You could also strike a compromise and set it to either 400 or 425 to speed up the process. But how long does it take…
How Long to Reheat Pizza at 450?
It should take only 5 minutes, but you’ll know it’s ready when you see the cheese start to bubble. If it’s difficult to tell just by watching the cheese, poke the crust with your finger to determine if it’s hot and crispy enough to your liking (just be careful!).
How Long to Reheat Pizza in the Oven at 425?
Pizza will be ready to eat after 5-7 minutes in the oven at 425 degrees. Check to see if the cheese is bubbling after 5 minutes. Of course, the thinner the crust the less time it takes to be done.
How Long Do You Reheat Pizza in the Oven at 400?
In a 400-degree oven, expect your pizza to reheat in the 6-10 minute range. Why the range differential? It depends on the crust’s thickness. Another factor to consider is whether you want your crust soft or crispy…
If you want a soft, doughy crust, make sure you cover that baking sheet with foil (method #3 below). That way, the bottom of your slice won’t be exposed to so much heat. If you want it crispy, place the pizza straight on the hot sheet after preheating it in your oven (method #2 below). It’s that extra hot surface that delivers enough heat to create that crunchy crust you so desire.
How Long to Reheat Pizza in Oven at 350?
If you like softer crust instead of crispy, then reheating pizza at 350 degrees F is ideal. To soften up that dough to give it that deliciously chewy texture, it should take about 10 minutes until it’s ready. For comparison’s sake, cooking at 275 degrees would take 25 to 30 minutes.
How to Reheat Pizza in the Oven
The following reheating methods depend on what you have on hand and what you’re in the mood to do. Hey, sometimes there’s a limit to how far we want to go in our journey to restoring dignity to our tasty pizza.
Keep in mind that the timing of these 3 options below applies to New York-style, thinner crust pizzas, including Neapolitan pies. I’ll get into more details on properly reheating a Chicago Deep Dish pie at the end.
Oven Method #1 – Using Aluminum Foil (soft or crispy)
Simple. This is all you do. Take a piece of aluminum foil and place it directly on your oven rack. No tray needed. Then place the bottom of the crust on that foil in the preheated oven.
What makes this method wonderful? No clean-up! The process is as simple as:
- 1. Preheating the oven to your temperature preference
- 2. Tearing off a piece of foil & popping in the pizza
- 3. Waiting patiently. (It must be said. We both know you’re hungry).
If you want the results to have a crunchy crust, the optimal temperature should be on the higher end, around that 450-degree mark. Remember, at 450 degrees F, it takes about 5 minutes to reheat it. At 350 for a softer crust, 10 minutes.
Oven Method #2 – Using a Baking Sheet (crispy)
Here’s a different approach that requires the use of a baking tray but is still super easy and straightforward. Only use this method, though, if you prefer a crispy crust.
Since you place the pizza directly on a hot tray, you want to get the oven nice and hot, all the way to 450 degrees. Leave the sheet pan in the oven until it hits 450 degrees, and THEN place the pizza on it. Place this pan in the middle rack in the center of the oven so the bottom of the slice doesn’t get burnt.
Like the tin foil method, this only takes 5 minutes. It’s going to be hot though, so be sure to give it a minute or you’ll be apologizing to the roof of your mouth. On a related note, don’t forget to use your oven mitt! If you ever saw the comedy “Grandma’s Boy,” this tip has been seared into your brain.
Oven Method #3 – Using a Baking Sheet & Aluminum Foil (soft crust)
This is the most surefire technique to reheat your pizza and retain that soft crust. The relatively low heat releases that moisture but not so quickly to turn the crust crispy and crunchy. However, given the lower heat, it takes a little bit more time compared to the previous two methods.
To begin, preheat the oven to only 275 degrees. Then take a baking sheet, rimmed to catch any grease, and cover it tightly with tin foil.
Spray the area where you will place the pizza on the foil with cooking spray. Otherwise, the crust will stick to the foil and you have to awkwardly pry your cooked pizza from it while it burns your fingers. Place the pizza on the cooking sprayed area of the foiled pan.
Now if you really want to be thorough, spray a light mist of water on the pizza. This will help soften the crust while in the oven. Then tent another piece of foil over the pizza and place the tray on the bottom rack of the oven, which is closest to the heat source.
Bake the pizza for about 20 minutes, 30 minutes tops. You’ll know when it’s done when it looks right and feels right to the touch. If you tap it with your finger and it still feels like room temperature, it needs more time.
A version of method #3 is the best way to reheat deep dish pizzas…
How Long Does It Take To Reheat Deep Dish Pizza?
To reheat deep dish pizza, set your oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray it with cooking spray to prevent the crust from sticking. Then cover the slices in foil loosely (parchment paper will also do), creating a tent, and place in the oven.
It will take about 15 to 20 minutes to reheat to the optimal temperature. You’ll know when it’s done when you can spot some gooey cheese or test the sauce’s temperature on top and find it to your heat liking.
**Psst… if you like to dip your pizza in ranch, try this Wingstop Ranch Dressing Recipe (Easiest Copycat Recipe).
Can You Reheat Pizza in the Box in the Oven?
No! Do not reheat your pizza in the oven in the cardboard box it came in. The box is purely a transport mechanism, not a cooking tool. At over 400 degrees, it can be dangerous! Don’t believe me? Read “Fahrenheit 451“!
Can You Use a Toaster Oven to Reheat Pizza?
Of course! And it does a great job. The main limitation of a toaster oven compared to other means is the space provided. Let’s face it – you can only fit a single slice at a time in there. It’s not very efficient if you have half a pie to heat up.
However, sometimes it’s far easier to use a toaster oven than a conventional oven. It will certainly do in a pinch, and heat at a quality that certainly outmatches the microwave.
Here’s how to use the toaster oven for pizza. Set the dial to medium heat and set the pizza on tin foil inside. Just make sure the tin foil doesn’t touch the heat source at the bottom. It should be done in about 5 to 10 minutes depending on the thickness of the crust.
Can You Reheat Pizza in the Air Fryer?
I get it. You have an air fryer and can’t stop talking about it. So, naturally, you want to know if you can heat up your ‘za in there.
And the answer is…of course!
First, place aluminum foil at the fryer’s base or rack and place the pizza on top. Then set the air fryer to 350 degrees F. It takes about 4 minutes if a thin crust, or up to 7 or 8 minutes for a thicker crust. If you want it crispy, perhaps even longer.
The only complication in using an air fryer for pizza is taking care of the toppings. They might burn atop your pizza while the rest cooks normally. To prevent this from happening, spritz the toppings with a light spray of water before cooking. One trick to do this is to dip your fingers in water and flick the drops on the pizza. Then happy air frying!
Are there any other methods we can use to reheat pizza besides the oven or toaster oven? Glad you asked…
How to Reheat Pizza on Stovetop
If you really want your crust perfectly crispy, reheat your pizza with a pan.
I know it sounds strange, but an amazing way to reheat pizza is in your frying pan on your stovetop! Unlike the other ways, like the conventional oven, you really have to pay attention to make sure your pizza doesn’t burn. Like the others though, it doesn’t take much time at all.
First, you need a skillet with a fitted lid. Sprinkle a little olive oil in that pan so it doesn’t stick, and set your burner to medium-low heat. Wait a couple of minutes for your “pizza pan” to get nice and hot and then place the slice or slices (if they fit) on the skillet.
Heat for 2 to 3 minutes, checking the status of the crust to see it get crispier but not approach a burning, toasting level.
Now here is where that lid comes into play. Sprinkle some water onto the pan. Be careful – it will sizzle loudly! Cover the skillet with the lid and drop the heat down to low. This makes sure the sauce, cheese, and toppings sections of the pizza get properly reheated as the crust continues to crisp up. This step should take only about 1 minute. A thicker crust pizza takes about 5 minutes.
Just check that cheese. Once you see that it melted you know you’re ready to eat.
Note: If you’re reheating a thin crust pizza, really start paying attention after only 1 minute in the pan to ensure it doesn’t burn.
Now, if you’ve read this far in the article and still not feeling any of these options. I get it, so…
How to Reheat Pizza in the Microwave
There’s no shame. Microwaves are incredibly convenient, and maybe you don’t have access to an oven, stovetop, toaster oven, or air fryer.
So if you’re going to use the microwave, might as well add a crucial extra step that helps reduce that soggy factor. And this tip actually comes courtesy of Domino’s!
First, adjust your microwave’s power settings to 40%. If you zap your ‘za at full power capacity, it won’t heat evenly. Then, if your microwave has room, place a half cup of water in the microwave with your pizza slice, and heat it for 30 seconds. The beautiful thing about a microwave is that if it’s not done, keep adding another 10 seconds until it is.
If you’re going to microwave Chicago deep dish, expect it to take far longer than 30 seconds. Just keep hitting it with 30-second intervals at 40% power capacity until it’s hot enough.
Still have some more questions about reheating pizza? Okay, let’s get to them.
How Do I Heat Frozen Pizza in the Oven?
In case you don’t have a box with instructions, here’s what you do with frozen pizza. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. Then take the pizza off the cardboard and place it either directly on the rack or on a baking sheet covered in greased foil.
Bake it on the center rack for about a half-hour. It may take longer depending on the pizza, so check back on it often. Just like fresh pizza, it’s ready when that cheese is bubbly!
How Do You Store Leftover Pizza?
You may be tempted to leave your pizza in the fridge in the takeout box it came in. But that relegates your pizza to a slow death in a cardboard coffin. Instead, use the stacking technique…
Simply place each slice on a plate with foil or parchment paper in between each. Then wrap the whole thing in plastic wrap to seal it. Or, seal the stack in an airtight container.
Keep the leftovers in your fridge until you’re ready to reheat. Just like any other perishable food item, you don’t want your pizza sitting out in open air too long or it’ll spoil.
How Long Does Leftover Pizza Last in the Fridge?
According to the USDA, which regulates food safety, pizza is safe to eat for up to four days in the fridge set to a temperature lower than 40 degrees.
If your pizza was made with quality ingredients, you may see mold appear on your toppings in about two to three days.
So consider that an incentive to not wait to eat that leftover pizza constantly hounding your brain as you grind through your day. Letting perfectly good pizza get eaten by bacteria instead of you is the last thing you want!
So go eat that pizza! And if you can, reheat it in a way that respects both the pizza and yourself. Buon Appetito!