The best way to reheat pizza (and some things you should never do)

PopSci is spending September relearning how to eat. equally intuitive as our love of chowing down is, a lot stands between us and optimum eat. This calendar month, we ’ ll break down diet myths, unlock delicious kitchen hacks, and explore our most coarse misconceptions about our grub .
Order pizza, and there ’ s a full find it ’ mho gone within hours. Something about that attack steering wheel of boodle, melted tall mallow, warm tomato sauce, and apparently countless topping possibilities is just irresistible. If only pizza would stay that way forever .
silent, it ’ randomness hard to resist the temptation of a leftover slice as you rummage through the electric refrigerator for food the following day. possibly you like cold pizza—there ’ s no shame in that—but if you ’ rhenium looking learn how to reheat pizza in a room that restores some of that fresh-pizza magic, you ’ ll need to know what you ’ re doing.

therefore, Popular Science’s DIY team tracked down the most democratic strategies, bought a unharmed lot of pizza, and put them to the test. We sought the ultimate method—The Way .

To truly understand pizza, you must know how it dies

The very moment pizza is born out of the oven, it ’ s excessively hot to eat and might not evening be done cook. But right around 140 degrees Fahrenheit—the temperature experts recommend you dig in therefore you don ’ thymine burn your mouth—it begins its inevitable border toward dispatch decay, barely like everything else on Earth .
If you can ’ t ( or won ’ triiodothyronine ) eat your pizza when it ’ second bracing, all you ’ ll be able to do late is damage control. You see, tall mallow only likes to be melted once, because when it does, it loses its integrity. When exposed to high temperatures, tall mallow loses fatness and water, and there ’ s merely no way to get it back .
“ That water isn ’ thyroxine going up, ” says bread and pizza technical Francisco Migoya, head chef at Modernist Cuisine. “ The dough is like a sponge, so it ’ s merely going to absorb it all, making it soggier and gummier as time goes by. ”
Over time, the moisture from the sauce and water, plus the adipose tissue from the cheese ( and any kernel ), seeps into the crust, creating what pizza connoisseur know as “ the chewing gum course ” —that level between the sauce and crust that looks like raw dough. The thick the pizza, the more pronounce the gum pipeline will be, and the longer it sits there uneaten, the thick it will get. This, Migoya says, changes the crust permanently .
You should never leave pizza out on the counter or in the oven nightlong ( because of bacteria ), but putting it in the electric refrigerator doesn ’ thyroxine do it any favors. low temperatures congeal everything the dough has absorbed and accelerate the stale serve, or retrogradation. In unretentive : The starch in the crust recrystallizes, and all that fresh-pizza chewiness goes out the window .

How we did it

PopSci is based in New York City, so we tested each method acting with the thin-crust style of pizza the Big Apple is celebrated for. If you ’ ra reheating Chicago-style deep-dish pizza or another diverseness, your results may vary .
The slices we used ( both plain cheese and adorned with versatile toppings ) spent 12 to 48 hours in the electric refrigerator. Reheating freeze pizza is a unharmed other ballgame, and we can ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate speak to that here .
Let the games begin .

Top tier 🍕🍕🍕

Reddit’s favorite

A slice of cheese pizza in a frying pan as part of an experiment to find the best way to reheat pizza.The lighting does not do justice to this slice, but there’s a reason Reddit considers this the best way to reheat pizza.. Sandra Gutierrez G.
The official reheating method acting of the /r/pizza subreddit, this calls for placing your coldness pizza on an oiled, preheated non-stick pan and fudge it for two minutes over medium-low heat ( or until the penetrate of the slice is crispy ). then, pour two drops of water ( less than a teaspoon ) into the pan as far from the pizza as you can get. Cover the pan with a lid and turn the heat to low. Cook it for another moment .

The results

You may be tempted to try this with a cast-iron pan, but we found a criterion non-stick pan worked best. The crust was crisp, the cheese ( thanks to the steam from the water circulating under the eyelid ) melted absolutely, and the slice was the arrant temperature to be eaten immediately .
Using a cast-iron pan, however, amplifies a number of factors you may not want to deal with while heating up a agile morsel. Depending on your stave, it may take what feels like forever to warm the dense alloy pan. And if it ’ s not by rights seasoned, tossing a cold slit onto hot, dry iron is a recipe for burned crust ( more on that late ). even if you get the pan hot with a flimsy shininess of oil, the crust will become highly crisp before the cheese has much of a opportunity to melt .

Hot tray in a hot oven

Two slices of pepperoni pizza on a plate after being rebaked as a way to determine the best way to reheat pizza.This is by far the best way to reheat pizza in an oven. John Kennedy
Put a bake tray in your oven and heat it to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. If you don ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate want to clean the tray late, you can trace it with foil. Once the oven has reached the proper temperature, use an oven hand to take the hot tray out and put your slices on it. Place the tray on the middle rack and cook it for five minutes. If your oven runs hot or your ‘ za is a little excessively crisp for your wish, cook it for the same sum of clock at 450 .

The results

We had to let the pizza sit down for a minute or two to cool down before we could eat it, but when it passed between our lips, we experienced excellent brittleness, melty cheese, and a cut that was about arsenic good as new. For what it ’ south worth, one writer considers this the best way to reheat pizza .
You can play around with unlike temperatures, but you should always make sure the tray heats up with the oven. We tried it at 375 degrees for 10 minutes, and while the first bite was crisp and taste big, the slit became hard to chew the close we got to the end—more like a cracker, less like a pizza. A cheese slice came out quite dehydrate, but a pepperoni one was fine—the fat in the kernel likely helped keep the tall mallow damp. The crust on the pepperoni slice was better besides : It was the right sum of crisp and wasn ’ t baffling to chew as it got thick.

Read more: Who Invented Pizza?

Air fryer

A slice of sausage, mushroom, and onion pizza that someone chose to reheat in an air fryer.Reheating a slice of pizza in an air fryer might be the fastest acceptable method on this list. John Kennedy
If you want to reheat pizza in an air travel fryer, we ’ ve got you. Put a slice of pizza into a cold vent fryer, turn the heat to 400 degrees and let it cook for five minutes. We put it directly on the air fryer tray, no foil, and it didn ’ t make besides a lot of a mess. The drip tray caught any excess, besides. This combination of inflame and time worked best for us, but given the diverseness of available air fryers, you may find your sugared spot lies somewhere between 360 and 400 degrees, cooked for four to eight minutes .

The results

This is by far the fastest of the top-tier methods. You won ’ thymine have to wait for a pan or oven to heat up—just pop it in the air fryer and go. Five minutes late, you ’ ve got a crisp, bubbling, delightful slice. There are some downsides, though : you can in truth only heat one piece at a prison term, and more flimsy ingredients ( such as vegetables ), may begin to burn after five minutes. At eight minutes, flush at 360 degrees, the solid crust was burned. thus don ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate delay getting it out of the fryer and onto your plate .

Middle tier 🍕🍕

Straight-up rebaking

Two slices of pizza (one cheese and one pepperoni) on aluminum foil. When reheating pizza in an oven, never put it straight on the rack.If you’re reheating pizza in an oven, make sure it’s on foil or a tray. Putting it straight on the rack isn’t worth risking a fire. Sandra Gutierrez G.
This method suggested placing the pizza directly on your oven rack, but Migoya powerfully advised against that. “ There is no food I would put in an oven like that, ” he said, appalled. “ The gamble of the tall mallow melt off is excessively great, and all that grease in a hot environment is the perfect recipe for a displace inside your oven. You don ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate want that. ”
We did it anyway. For skill ( with a sail of aluminum foil on the rack below to catch any drippings and hopefully prevent a displace ). But you decidedly shouldn ’ t .

The results

The best iteration of this strategy was baking the pizza on a sheet of thwart ( not immediately on the single-foot ) at 450 degrees for five minutes. The crust was crisp, the cheese was warm—solid all around, but not equally good as rebaking it on a hot tray. You can besides do it at 350 degrees for 10 minutes for a slightly less-crispy slice, if that ’ s your thing. Our bad results with this method acting came when we put the pizza immediately on the oven rack. We didn ’ metric ton start a fuel ( we had a open fire fire extinguisher on hand ), but the crust was unevenly cooked due to the miss of a solid heat surface underneath. ultimately, this international relations and security network ’ t the best way to reheat pizza, but it ’ s not the worst, either .

The microwave + oven combo

A slice of cheese pizza in the microwave before going to the oven. It's not the best way to heat up pizza, but it's adequate.Given all you’ve learned about the best way to warm up pizza, microwaving it (even a little) sounds pretty bad. Hear us out, though. John Kennedy
We were pretty doubting about this proficiency, but it surprised us. First, put the pizza in your microwave for 30 seconds. then, put the pizza in a tray in a cold oven and set it to heat up to 350 degrees. Once the oven tells you it ’ mho done preheating—when you ’ d normally put food in—take the pizza out .

The results

After its stretch in the microwave, the pizza was ace rubbery. not a great beginning. We doubted the ability of the oven could restore it to even a fraction of its original aura. But, it did. Baking the pizza crisped it up reasonably well and removed some rubberiness. The blockheaded parts of the crust remained slightly diskette, but it was adequate. still, we ’ re not certain why anyone would pick this over tossing it on a hot tray that ’ second been in the oven, except that this method may be marginally faster. not by much, though .

Low and slow in the oven

A tray of pizza covered with aluminum foil inside an oven.When you reheat pizza in the oven, you usually want to use high temperatures. There’s a reason for that. Sandra Gutierrez G.
position cold pizza slices on a baking sheet and cover them tightly with aluminum foil. Place them on the lowest scud of your oven and set the temperature for 275 degrees. Let it bake for 25 to 30 minutes .

The results

The crust on the cheese slice we used was crisp, but our pepperoni slice turned out a little besides chewy, credibly because of the extra fat from the pepp. aesthetically, neither of them looked excessively good : The cheese was soft, but it dried up pretty fast after coming out of the oven, and the sauce looked like one big scab. It ’ sulfur besides one of the most time-consuming methods we tested. When it came to overall taste, though, it was still good .

The worst 🍕

A very hot pan

A slice of leftover cheese pizza burning on a cast-iron pan on an electric stove.Blame the quality of this photo on the fact that the photographer was trying not to burn his apartment down. John Kennedy
Heat a pan on your stovetop over high heat for a couple minutes until it ’ south actually hot. Add the pizza and reduce the temperature to medium-high. Cook for two or three minutes .

The results

We tried this method with both a porcelain non-stick pan and a cast-iron, but the results were evenly underwhelming. The pizza in the non-stick had to come off the heat after only a moment and a half. The cheese was bubbling and the crust had burnt black and stuck to the pan. Cleaning was a nightmare. We don ’ thyroxine commend .
Cast-iron was worse. In a dry pan, the crust began smoking the moment it hit hot metal. The smell of disastrously burned bread hang heavy in the air for hours. Somehow, the pizza was still cold on circus tent. If Hell always freezes over and we get the probability to taste it, this is probably what it would be like : blister, sunburn, and covered by a layer of cold, congealed fat .
We oiled the cast-iron to give this scheme a irregular chance and it didn ’ metric ton depart to burn immediately—that took about three minutes. The crust was better ( possibly excessively crisp ), but the tall mallow was still halfhearted at best .

Microwaved with a mug of water

A slice of cheese pizza in a teal microwave with a mug of water.Some people swear by this method. Some people just want to see the world burn. Sandra Gutierrez G.
Simply put your pizza in the microwave with a microwave-safe mug of water and heat them both up for a minute .

The results

No. Just—no. The pizza tasted like rubber eraser, the exterior was besides hot and the inside was silent cold. Yes, the tall mallow didn ’ t search american samoa disgust as it does when you put the pizza in the microwave without a glass of water, but it ’ south still borderline inedible .

Microwave disasters

Three slices of pizza on a blue plate, after being microwaved in an experiment about how to reheat pizza.If you’ve learned anything about how to reheat pizza, we hope it’s that microwaves almost never restore it to its former glory. Sandra Gutierrez G.
respective microwave methods fall under this mess of a steer :

  1. Set your microwave to 30 or 40 percent power and heat the pizza for 45 seconds. Check it out and repeat as often as necessary.
  2. Put a wet paper towel over your pizza and microwave it for 100 seconds.
  3. Heat it upside down on a plate for 145 seconds (2.5 minutes).

[Related: I spent 13 hours trying to make mac and cheese in a bag. It was a disaster. ]

The results

  1. The crust was gummy—not crispy at all. The cheese melted but was highly dehydrated, so it didn’t have much taste and its consistency was rubbery at best. No matter the topping, they tasted as if they had been reheated in the microwave for two minutes. Total waste of delicious food.
  2. Our paper towel was barely damp and it still soaked the pizza. The bottom was super wet, the whole thing was limp and floppy, and biting into the crust was like trying to eat an old shoe. Plus, we couldn’t pick up our slice for several minutes because it oozed steam and hot water at the lightest touch.
  3. This method actually wasn’t bad for the cheese if you ignore the fact that a lot of it ended up stuck to the plate. But the crust? Just awful: leathery, rubbery, and we had to snap the thickest part like a twig.

This position has been updated. It was originally published on February 7, 2020 .