The Definitive Guide to Reheating Leftover Pizza (You're Welcome)

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Half Baked Harvest

Pizza is, undoubtedly and undeniably, one of the best foods out there. It can be armed with an inches-thick, golden-hued crust or it can be wafer thin and extra crispy. Piled high with the classics like milky mozzarella cheese and salty pepperoni or topped to titillate with the likes of smoked scamorza cheese, fried sage, and thin shavings of prosciutto—pizza is the ultimate in approachable, crave-able, comfort food for any season and any situation.

Whether you make it at home, order in from your favorite pizzeria (with homemade pizza perfect sides perhaps?), or take your remaining slices home for later, the question we’re answering today is: What’s the best way to heat up leftover pizza? We’ve got the pros and cons for each technique, plus the best ways to store your leftover pizza.

How to Reheat Pizza in the Microwave

For many of us, reheating a quick slice in the microwave might be the first thing that comes to mind. To heat up your pizza in the microwave, you have one generally agreed upon method.

  1. The Low and “Slow” Microwave Method: Turn your microwave down to about 40% power and heat the pizza on a plate in 30 second intervals until completely hot.

Pros of Microwave Reheating Pizza

It’s quick.

Cons of Microwave Reheating Pizza

While it’s certainly the quickest, it’s also the least appetizing. Think soggy, gummy crust, rubbery cheese, and overcooked toppings.

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How to Reheat Pizza in the Oven

Rebaking a slice in the oven is usually my go-to, and might be yours as well—but how do the three various oven-based methods stack up?

  1. The Quick Rebake Oven Method: Crank your oven up as high as it can go (about 500 degrees) and move the oven rack to the middle position. Once preheated, place your cold pizza on a baking sheet, piece of aluminum foil, or ovenproof plate, and put that little baby in the oven for about 5 minutes—or until heated through.
  2. The Hot Tray Rebake Oven Method: Preheat your oven to about 450 degrees, move the oven rack to the middle position, and place a baking sheet on the middle rack. Once both the oven and baking sheet are preheated, transfer your cold pizza to the hot baking sheet and return to the oven to bake for about 5 minutes—or until heated through.
  3. The Low and Slow Oven Method: Place your cold pizza on a baking sheet and cover with aluminum foil. Put it into a cold oven, then turn the oven on to 275 degrees. Set a timer for 25 minutes, then uncover and enjoy!

Pros of Oven Reheating Pizza

Crispy crusts, cheese that’s melted to perfection and not rubbery in the least, slices that are hot all the way through—delicious!

Cons of Oven Reheating Pizza

You have the preheat the oven, which can take some extra time and forethought. The pizza might be too hot to eat right after baking, and waiting to eat your reheated pizza is also a potential pain point. The first two methods can also lead to dried out, tough to chew crusts—not super pleasant, but still preferable to the microwave methods.

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How to Reheat Pizza on the Stovetop

Is reheating pizza on the stovetop the answer all of life’s questions? No. Is it perhaps an underrated choice that delivers great results in a goldilocks-type scenario where microwaving is “too hot,” oven is “too cold” and stovetop is “just right”? Yes, perhaps it is.

  1. The Take Cover Stovetop Method: Place the cold pizza in a frying pan with a lid over medium-low heat. The bottom needs to be nice and crispy, once this happens, push the slice over and add a few drops of water to the pan, lower the heat to low, cover and let steam until cheese is melted and warmed completely. 
  2. The Microwave-to-Stovetop Method: Turn your microwave down to about 40% power and heat the pizza on a plate in 30 second intervals until completely hot. Transfer the hot, soggy mess to a frying pan over medium-low heat and heat until the bottom is nice and crisped up.

Pros of Stovetop Reheating Pizza

Both methods are relatively quick, probably no more than 10 minutes from start to finish. The pizza is just about the perfect temperature to eat right away—no waiting like with the oven methods. The Take Cover Stovetop Method is actually the best method I tested, which surprised me greatly, as I was always a staunch supporter of the Low and Slow Oven Method.

Cons of Stovetop Reheating Pizza

The Microwave-to-Stovetop method dirties up one too many plates for me and, while the results are good, doesn’t compare to the previous method.

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Half Baked Harvest

How to Properly Store Leftover Pizza

Now that you have the recommended methods for reheating your leftover pizza, let’s take a step back and find out the best ways of storing said pizza in the first place. While it might be the easiest to just shove them back in the cardboard box and stick the whole thing in the fridge, you’ll end up with pizza that’s a bit dry and hard—not the ideal for reheating or even eating straight out of the fridge. So what do we recommend?

Place slices in a single layer in resealable plastic bags or wrap them up tightly with plastic wrap.

Wrapping pizza in plastic keeps the cold air out of direct contact with the pizza, keeping the crust and cheese fresher for reheating (or eating cold).

Do I Have to Reheat Pizza?

This little paragraph is for all my cold pizza lovers out there—you’re not alone! If your pizza has been stored properly (basically, if it wasn’t left out at room temperature too long, hasn’t been in the fridge for more than two days, and was wrapped properly), you’re good to go ahead and chow down on that chilly slice straight from the fridge. Enjoy it—it’s one of life’s little pleasures.

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