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How To Reheat Pizza, You Morons

I Ate Oklahoma is brought to you in part by:

It’s not fair to call you morons and I apologize deeply for doing so. Not deeply enough to go back and change the title, you idiot, but still very, very, very sincerely: I’m sorry.

The truth is, we’ve been lied to. The makers of microwave ovens told us that we could just “pop in a slice” for a few seconds and enjoy yesterday’s pizza today.

Yes, a microwave will warm up a slice of pizza. But will you enjoy it? No.

You know when you should microwave pizza? When you want to make sure you don’t eat it. One bite of soggy, spongy crust and oily congealed cheese that is somehow lava hot and still not melted is enough to convince me that it’s destined for the trash.

But let’s say you’re not insane. Let’s say you want to enjoy that pizza, like a human being. You can either a) eat it cold or b) use your oven.

Eat It Cold

Some pizza, like revenge, is actually better cold. A very bread-y pizza can develop a nice chew in the fridge and certain toppings, notably pepperoni, ham and pineapple, are wonderful chilled.  

Step 1: Eat the pizza.

Use Your Oven

So, you’ve decided your not in college anymore. Good for you. Because most pizzas are, in fact, better warm. We could argue this point, but I’d just ignore you anyway, because you’re wrong. If pizza was always better cold, there’d be a lot more restaurants serving cold pizza.

As discussed above, it’s how you get the pizza warm that’s problematic. Microwave ovens can do a lot, but pizza isn’t on the list.

But ovens, both toaster and full-size, are excellent reheaters of pizza for a couple of reasons.

For one, ovens have directional heating. Broil from above. Bake from below. You can get a nice dry ambient heat that works from the outside in (instead of inside out, as microwaves do). The result? Cheese and toppings are warmed, even re-melted, without infusing the crust with a load of moisture, which is allowed to evaporate. That means a crispier crust without nuclear-heart-of-the-sun temperature cheese and sauce.

It makes sense, right? Ovens are how the pizzas are cooked to begin with, so why not return them to their ancestral home for reheating?

Step 1: Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Cover baking sheet with a layer of aluminum foil. Arrange pizza slices on the tray so crust is flat against the foil.

Step 2: Bake for 10-15 minutes, depending on crust thickness. Thinner crusts can come out sooner. It’s all about taste. Touch the top of the pizza with your finger to gauge temperature.

Step 3: Remove from oven. Let sit 3 minutes to keep from burning the living hell out of the top of your mouth.

SUPER-SECRET THIRD METHOD

Oh, I know I said there were only two ways to reheat pizza, but I can’t believe you were gullible enough to buy it.

As revelatory as oven-heating my pizza was as a young man, the next tip truly changed my life for the better.

Ovens are usually big. Most of us have gotten rid of toaster ovens, despite their obvious utility, which means using your oven often heats your home as well. That’s not a problem in winter, but Oklahoma is unbearably hot for most of the year and adding extra warmth to your house is not optimal.

What if you could subtract the “wave” and just make a micro oven? It’s as easy as using a skillet with a lid.

Step 1: Pick an appropriately sized non-stick skillet, preferably with its own lid or at least a lid that covers the top of the skillet. Heat medium-low. (Optional: spread a thin layer of high-smoke point oil, such as grapeseed oil, in the pan.)

Step 2: Put pizza in the skillet with crust laying as flat as possible against the pan. Cover with lid. Cook 5 minutes or until toppings are hot and crust is crisp.

Step 3: Transfer to plate and let sit 3 minutes to avoid catastrophic mouth injury.

What makes this method so wonderful is that you’re only heating up a very shallow pan and keeping most of the heat trapped inside. The direct heat of the pan warms the crust more quickly, giving it that much-desired crunch, while the ambient heat trapped under the lid re-melts the cheese and warms the toppings without burning them.

To read the first in the Insults and Cooking Tips series, if you can read, click here: How To Cook a Hot Dog, Dummies

About the Author

Founder and Eater-in-Chief of I Ate Oklahoma, Greg Elwell has been reviewing restaurants and writing about Oklahoma’s food culture for more than a decade. Where a normal person orders one meal, this guy gets three. He is almost certainly going to die young and those who love him most are fairly ambivalent about it. You can email Greg at greg@iateoklahoma.com.

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