EDITOR’S NOTE: This is an updated version of a column that originally ran in 2017.
By some miracle, you ended up with more pizza than you could eat — or you intentionally ordered a larger pie just to have leftovers. Read on for the very best way to store and reheat leftover pizza.
Don’t let your leftovers sit in the fridge until they dry up, curl up and turn downright disgusting. Enjoy your pizza just as much the second time around.
Store leftover pizza
The best way to store leftover pizza is NOT to leave it in the box and shove the whole thing in the refrigerator. The cardboard and air freely circulating around the slices will dehydrate them in a big hurry.
The best way is to stack and wrap: Place a single layer of slices on a dinner plate, top with a layer of wax, freezer, foil or parchment paper. Keep stacking, alternating pizza and paper, until all the pizza’s on the plate. Wrap the whole thing tightly up in plastic wrap, and place it in the refrigerator. That’s it! It’s not as easy as just throwing the box in the fridge, but you’ll end up with tastier leftover pizza to reheat.
Properly stored, leftover pizza will retain its best quality for 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator or up to 2 months in the freezer.
Reheat leftover pizza
There are a few methods for reheating pizza. I find the oven is too involved for just a couple of slices. The microwave produces a soggy, rubbery mess. Eating the pizza cold is pathetic. The best way to heat up a couple of slices is, hands-down, in a skillet — ideally my well-seasoned, cast-iron skillet, although any nonstick skillet with a lid will do just fine.
This is not difficult as long as you know upfront that your most important ingredient here is patience. Just follow these steps precisely, and I promise you crisp bottom crust; hot, melted cheese; and no sign whatsoever that it was made the day before.
Step 1: Place one or two slices of cold pizza in the cold, dry skillet, crust side down.
Step 2: Place a lid on the skillet
Step 3: Set the skillet on a stovetop burner set to low.
Step 4: Set a timer for 8 minutes.
Step 5: Wait. Do not peek or remove that lid for any reason. Just don’t.
That’s it! No need to add water or oil or flip the slices or any other thing you may be wondering about. It’s all about keeping the temperature at low and not removing the lid for any reason until it’s done. If 8 minutes is too long for your stove’s low heat setting, wait five minutes and then check.
Note: Because there are several variables here — type of skillet, your burner’s temperature when set to low — you may need to adjust these instructions as needed.
Reheat frozen pizza For frozen leftover pizza, let it thaw on the countertop for at least an hour and then follow the instructions above.
Reheating pizza properly is all about starting out cold, keeping the temperature at low to medium (see above) and not removing the lid for any reason until it’s done.
Mary Hunt writes this column for Creators Syndicate. She is the founder of www.EverydayCheapskte.com, a lifestyle blog, and the author of “Debt-Proof Living. Submit comments or tips or address questions on her website. She will answer questions of general interest via this column, but letters cannot be answered individually.