How to reheat pizza properly — 3 ways to make it taste fresh

A slice of pizza being removed from the pie with stringy cheese
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Knowing how to reheat pizza in the oven the right way can make all of the difference to the texture and flavor of your leftovers. Pizza is one of those things we always tend to over-order — not surprising when you consider how hungry you are when you make the call. So, there’s usually a slice or two leftover after each feast. These remnants don’t go to waste though; most of us will refrigerate what’s left and eat it the next day, one way or another. 

Some of us prefer our pizza cold, so there’s no extra work required. But, some of us like it piping hot, just as it came in the box, or right out of one of the best pizza ovens. There’s a couple of ways to achieve this — the majority will simply toss what’s left into the microwave. But, for a more crispy and satisfying finish, the oven is the way to go. 

If you want to try using the oven to reheat your pizza, here we will guide you through exactly what to do step-by-step, with tips to get the best results. Once you’ve tried it, you will wonder why you ever resorted to the microwave in the first place. Here’s how to reheat pizza in the oven.

How to reheat pizza in the oven  

What you will need

Leftover pizza

Baking sheet

Aluminum foil

Oven gloves

Olive oil (optional)

1. Store it right — Before we get to the cooking instructions, it’s important that you’ve stored your leftover pizza correctly up until now. Otherwise bacteria can start to grow on the surface and make you ill. First, let it cool to room temperature, and then cover it and store in the refrigerator. Plastic wrap and airtight containers can both work for this. Don’t put the pizza in your refrigerator while it’s still hot, otherwise it can compromise the internal temperature and put the rest of your food at risk. 

A woman storing leftover pizza in a refrigerator

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Don’t forget about it though. According to the USDA, leftover pizza should be chilled within two hours and consumed within three to four days. Alternatively, if you freeze the leftovers, they should be reheated within one to two months. Simply wrap the individual slices in plastic wrap or aluminum foil if you intend to freeze.     

2. Preheat the oven — When the time comes to reheat your pizza, set your oven to 375°F and use the convection setting if you have one — this will make the results more even. You will also need to get a pizza pan ready, such as this Wilton Perfect Results Premium Non-Stick Bakeware Pizza Pan ($22.20, Amazon) — don’t worry if you don’t have one, any old baking sheet will work for this. Cover it in aluminum foil and spritz with olive oil if you have to hand — this will prevent a mess down the line as well as sticking. Then, let it heat up along with the oven.  

If you’re cooking frozen leftover pizza, make sure you give it an hour or so to thaw before you reheat it. You can then follow the above steps. 

Pizza cut into squares and separated on a baking sheet

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3. Prepare the pizza — Before you go chucking your pizza into the oven, make sure it’s appropriately prepared to get the best results. That means removing all traces of the plastic wrap and breaking the slices apart if you haven’t already. 

Once it’s up to temperature and while wearing oven gloves for protection, take the hot baking sheet out of the oven. Lay the slices out parallel facing in alternative directions — a bit like shoes in a shoe box, to make the most of the space — but make sure there’s room between the slices for the hot air to flow however you lay them out.  

4. Cook your pizza — Place your pizza in the oven, making sure you’ve got a good view of it from the glass door. The recommended time to cook your pizza will vary depending on how crispy you like it. 10 minutes tends to be the sweet spot, but you may want to reduce or increase the time by a couple of minutes, depending on the thickness of the slices and how well cooked you want it.

Keep an eye on your pizza during the cooking process and use the melting cheese as an indicator for its progress. If the slice seems to sag and feels a little moist when you first remove it, feel free to give it a couple of minutes longer to make it more crispy.  

A slice of pizza on a granite platter ready to eat

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

5. Enjoy — And that’s it. Your pizza should taste just as good, if not better, than when it first arrived. Remember, you can always freeze leftover pizza if you can’t see yourself eating it over the next few days. And keep in mind that you should never reheat your leftovers more than once. 

How to reheat pizza in an air fryer 

If you’re literally reheating one slice of pizza, getting the oven up and running can seem like an overuse of energy — see our 7 oven mistakes you never knew you were making for more info on this. But, the microwave will likely produce nothing but a rubbery dish, so what’s the alternative? One of the best air fryers can help you out here — here’s our guidance to get the best results.  

Preheat the air fryer to 350°F, and while that’s heating up lightly drizzle some olive oil on the crust of your leftover pizza to crisp it up. Lay your slices out across the surface of the basket, so they don’t touch or overlap one another, then cook for 3-6 minutes. And that’s it, your pizza should emerge crisp and delicious. 

An air fryer sitting on the counter in a kitchen

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Remember not to overfill the basket with pizza though. If you can’t fit the pizza in without touching the other slices, it won’t cook effectively or evenly. Don’t add pizza which has an abundance of cheese on top either — you don’t want this dripping excessively in your basket and burning to the base. That’s why it’s one of the things you should never put in an air fryer

You can alternatively use one of the best toaster ovens for reheating pizza, and this should give you more space.  

How to reheat pizza in a skillet  

If you don’t own an air fryer, another quick method for cooking a couple of slices is to use one of the best cast iron skillets. Although, ideally you’ll want to use a skillet which comes with a fitted lid so you can trap the heat for even cooking.  

A whole pizza cooked in a red cast iron skillet next to some extra cheese

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Simply preheat your skillet on a medium heat on the stovetop. Then add a few drops of olive oil and let that reach temperature. Place your slices in the skillet, crust-side-down, then cover with your lid. If you don’t cover the pizza, the base will cook much faster than the cheese on top, which means you may have to flip the slices during the process. A few minutes is all it takes, but try not to lift the lid in the meantime as you will release the heat. Give your pizza four to six minutes, depending on how well you like it cooked. Then enjoy.

For more tips, tricks and how tos, check out how to clean a dishwasher, how to clean a glass stove and electric vs gas stoves and everything you need to know

Also read up on the 9 microwave mistakes you never knew you were making and check out the best outdoor pizza ovens

Katie Mortram
Homes Editor

Katie looks after everything homes-related, from kitchen appliances to gardening tools. She also covers smart home products too, so is the best point of contact for any household advice! She has tested and reviewed appliances for over 6 years, so she knows what to look for when finding the best. Her favorite thing to test has to be air purifiers, as the information provided and the difference between performances is extensive.