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Reheating Pizza — Skip the Microwave

by Elizabeth Skipper | December 4th, 2013 | Ask the Chef
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pizza n lettuceWhat is the best way to reheat pizza?  I want the cheese to be melted but keep the crust crisp. Any suggestions?

What, you don’t simply have it for breakfast the next day? Warm beer and cold pizza is just what’s called for some days!

OK, you don’t want cold pizza, with or without the beer. You simply prefer it to resemble its freshly-made self as much as possible. Let’s start with how to store any unconsumed pizza.

It’s probably been sitting out for awhile and is therefore a bit dry. Don’t store it in the box, which will dry it out further, unless you wrap it before you put it in the box. I like to put pizza slices in sheets of wax or parchment paper, with the top covered for protection, and then slide them into a zippered plastic bag and refrigerate.

As for how to reheat pizza, there are several methods, none of which includes using a microwave oven. If only heating a slice or two, you can use a toaster oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F, put the pizza slices on a metal baking sheet and bake them for 10-12 minutes.

If you’re using a regular oven, do the same thing. If you have a pizza stone or a heavy metal baking sheet which won’t warp, preheat that in the oven to 400°F, slide the pizza slices onto the stone/sheet, and bake about five minutes.

Timing is dependent on the kind of pizza. If it has a thin crust, it may be perfect in five minutes. If the crust is thicker, 10 minutes is about right. Until you get the hang of it, check halfway to see how it’s doing. If the cheese is just beginning to ooze a bit, take it out then. If the pizza is in the oven long enough for the cheese to start running over the sides of the slices and over the pan, it’s hotter than it needs to be – the crust will be dried out, and the toppings overcooked. You’ll soon know how long it takes for the pizza of your choice in your particular oven.

Another method which takes substantially longer, but produces very nice results, is to do it on the stovetop. With a skillet it’s suitable for a couple of slices; with a griddle or grill, you can heat more. In this case, you don’t want to preheat. Put the pizza slices on the skillet or grill, cover them with a lid or large piece of foil (the goal is to retain any moisture released as everything heats), turn the heat on to low, and slowly allow everything to warm up. This way the moisture released will find its way back into the crust (which, depending on how long you’ve kept the pizza, is more or less staled) so it doesn’t dry out. This may take up to 30 minutes, so the method may not appeal to you, but it is another option.

None of these is the definitive best way of reheating pizza. But perhaps one of them is the best way for you, depending on your options and needs.

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