How many times has this happened…you’ve made or ordered a pizza and eaten until your belly could hold no more…and now you’re stuck with leftovers.
Being the practical person that I am, I have a hard time throwing out food unless it has gone bad. So here’s the question:
Can you freeze pizza? The short answer is yes, it can be frozen. Before freezing, just make sure it is wrapped well and most of the air has been pushed out of the package in order to prevent freezer burn.
Read on to find out the best steps to take when freezing pizza.
Make Sure It’s Cool
Most often I find pizza cools down pretty quickly after it has been baked, and by the time it comes to putting away leftovers, there’s very little heat left in it.
Be sure that all the heat is gone before it goes in the fridge or freezer. Why? Because heat produces steam, and steam, when condensed, becomes water.
If you put a warm pizza into a plastic bag and then pop it into the fridge, you’ll likely end up with soggy pizza tomorrow.
If you put it into the freezer, the water will freeze, and upon thawing, it will be even soggier.
Your best bet is to let it cool down completely until there is no trace of heat left in it.
Slice it Up
The easiest way to store pizza in the freezer is when it is cut into slices.
Most takeout pizza comes pre-sliced, but if you’re making it at home, you’ll need to do the slicing yourself.
A half of a full 14” pizza takes up a lot of square footage in your freezer so be sure to slice it up first before freezing. This will make it much more convenient when you’re ready to thaw it out and eat it up, especially if you only want one slice at a time.
Get Out the Foil
My favorite way of storing pizza in the freezer is with foil.
Once my pizza is cool and sliced into pieces, I wrap each slice in a piece of foil. I love foil for this purpose because when it comes time to thawing it out to eat, I simply pop a piece out of the freezer and heat it up in my toaster oven, regular oven or my cast iron pan with the foil on.
It is so delicious this way and makes for a super quick clean up.
Some people might be concerned about the cheese sticking to the foil…it will stick if it’s touching the cheese so be sure to either pull the foil away from the top or spray the inside part with a bit of cooking spray so it won’t stick.
I really like Chosen Foods Avocado Oil Spray for this purpose because avocado oil is healthy and it has a high heat point (or smoke point) of 500 degrees (which is better than olive oil’s lower heat point of 410 degrees).
Bag it Up
After each piece has been wrapped in foil, I place as many as I can into one freezer bag.
Be sure to label the bag with a Sharpie beforehand – I keep my labeling pretty simple – just the name of the contents and the date.
Don’t use any bag for this purpose as regular bags are not airtight. You’ll need freezer bags. I have used these Ziploc ones for as long as I can remember and I’ve never been disappointed.
I love that I can zip them ¾ of the way and push lots of air out which will help prevent freezer burn. I love that they are made of thick BPA free plastic and can withstand a lot of shoving around in my freezer. And I love that they are leak-proof…not that I have leaky pizza or anything, but they are great for so many other purposes where leaking might be a problem.
After labeling your freezer bag, stack your foil-wrapped pizzas inside and try to squeeze out as much air as possible when you’re closing the bag. Remember, where there’s air there’s freezer burn.
Freezer burn happens when air dries out food, which toughens its texture and gives it a funny flavor. You’ll know freezer burn when you see it – it looks gray and icy. It can be avoided completely by removing air out of the bag and using proper freezer bags.
How Long Does Pizza Keep in the Freezer?
My guess is that once you’ve frozen your pizza it won’t take long before you thaw it out and eat it up!
If you’re going to store it in your freezer for a longer period of time, a good rule of thumb is to use it up within two to three months. It’ll still be fine after three months, but the longer it is frozen, the less flavourful it will be when you’re ready to eat it. It will become tougher and chewier too.
Once it’s Thawed…
If you’re ready to eat the pizza that you’ve frozen, it can be thawed in the fridge and should be eaten within 3 to 4 days.
If you notice a bad odor coming from the pizza, don’t take any chances – discard it immediately.
If you thawed your pizza on the counter, it should be cooked and eaten immediately. Please note, you don’t have to thaw your pizza first…it can be reheated from frozen.
How to Re-Heat Pizza
You’re ready to eat a slice of that delicious pizza you froze two weeks ago so now what…how do you reheat it?
First, take it out of the freezer. You can leave it on the counter to thaw for an hour or pop it into the fridge to have for supper later.
If you’re super hungry and can’t wait, you can begin heating it up right away.
One method is to leave the pizza in the foil and pop it into the oven or toaster oven. For a regular conventional oven, preheat it to 375 degrees and bake for about 10-12 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly. This will produce a pillowy soft pizza – not so much crispy.
You can also use your baking stone and preheat it to 450 degrees. Bake for 6-8 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly. This will produce a more crisp pizza.
Be careful about putting a slice right on your oven rack. The cheese may slide off the edges and make a big mess in your oven. If you want to put it on the rack, place a cookie sheet or other pan underneath to catch any drips.
Re-heating pizza in a toaster oven works very well too, and it’s more efficient than heating up your whole oven for one slice.
Pre-heat your toaster oven to 350 degrees. Either place the slice in the oven still wrapped in foil or unwrap it and place it directly on the rack…as above, remember that if the cheese melts and slides off the edge of the slice, it will be messy. Bake for 5-7 minutes and remove when the cheese starts to bubble.
A final option for re-heating pizza is to use a cast iron pan with a lid.
I like the 12” because I can still pick it up, move it around and wash it easily. The 15” is excellent but a bit too heavy for me.
Turn the heat onto medium-low and pour a teaspoon of oil in the bottom of your cast iron pan. Once heated, place the pizza in the pan and cover it with the lid.
Check after 5-7 minutes – carefully lift it up to see the bottom and make sure it’s not burning. Once the cheese begins to melt, your pizza is ready to eat. This method produces a crispy crust and soft cheesy top, making the cast iron method one of my favorites.
Get Organized and Make Some Ahead
We are a busy family, with busy schedules but we still make it a priority to eat healthy meals together.
On average we eat pizza once a week…usually Fridays. Our children love pizza night and the tradition it has become.
One way we have saved time on pizza night is by being organized and making 10 or 20 in advance. We freeze them so that they’re fully ready to go. Here’s how we do it:
- make or buy fresh pizza dough
- roll the dough out to personal size, about 6 to 8 inches in diameter, and brush with olive oil
- par-bake the crusts at 350 degrees on a pizza stone for about 8 minutes or until the top has just a hint of brown
- remove from the oven and let cool
- spoon on the sauce and sprinkle on the cheese
- top with freezer friendly toppings (things that won’t go mushy when frozen, like pepperoni, sausage, ham, chicken, peppers) or leave plain and plan to add toppings just prior to baking
- wrap with foil or parchment and store in Ziploc freezer bags
- bake at 500 degrees on pizza night for 5 to 7 minutes – enjoy!
So there you have it! Yes, pizza can be frozen – and in the end, it will save you time, money and energy if you follow our steps above – win, win, win!