Usually, frozen pizza is packaged on a piece of cardboard enveloped in plastic wrap. If you forget to remove the cardboard before cooking, there is always a worry that the cardboard might catch fire. Although delicious pizza is the best comfort food, no one wants to eat burnt cardboard!
Generally, cardboard can catch fire at temperatures above 400 degrees F. While cardboard is a very resilient material, it’s still combustible. There’s always a chance the pizza cardboard will become engulfed in flames if it gets too hot.
So, can you put cardboard in the oven when reheating pizza? The short answer is no. It’s too risky and it’s not even ideal for the best-tasting pizza. This article will focus on how you can reheat your pizza without burning down the house.
Can You Put Cardboard in the Oven? No.
Trying to reheat pizza on cardboard is a mistake anyone can make. After all, whether you have frozen or delivery, pizza is always served on cardboard. It seems logical that you should just be able to toss it into the oven to cook or reheat.
However, we strongly advise you don’t do that. The risk of catching fire is just not worth it. Paper products and cardboard material are always at risk of burning if you leave them in a hot oven. Plus, there are better ways to make your frozen or reheated pizza taste better.
We want to point out that it’s not the pizza that’s at risk of catching fire, it’s specifically the cardboard that’s the problem. With that said, always remember that it’s still easy to burn pizza to the point that it’s inedible.
Why Do Companies Use Cardboard for Pizza Packaging?
You might be thinking that a medium cooking temperature might be safer, but we still advise against it. One of the reasons pizza boxes are made of cardboard is because the material traps heat to keep your pizza warm during delivery. The same effect happens in the oven and heat can build up even on a medium setting. It’s simply better not to take the risk.
As for store-bought pizzas, they’re usually packaged with a cardboard support because the material is strong yet cheap. Even though the pizza is frozen, it requires strong support to maintain its shape. This way, the crust and pizza ingredients won’t move around during transport and distribution.
Other Reasons Why Cardboard Is a Bad Idea
As if burning the whole house down wasn’t bad enough, here are some other reasons why you should not reheat or cook pizza on cardboard.
1. Slows Down Heating
Simply put, whenever you put something around pizza, it will slow down baking. On top of that, it will stop you from getting that crispy crust you so desire because it will block and absorb the heat coming from underneath.
But, there are also cases where cardboard is suggested. Certain frozen foods use it as a protective surface and the products are designed with this in mind, though this is more common with microwave foods. Only put cardboard in the oven if the directions specifically tell you to do so.
2. Changes the Taste of Pizza
Even if the pizza and cardboard don’t catch fire, you might still notice a bad smell or even smoke coming from the oven. This will basically destroy the taste of your pizza.
This happens because the cardboard packaging is not always pure paper. It may include inks, dyes, glues, and even plastics, all of which can become toxic when heated up. It may not poison you, but it will surely wreck the taste of your pizza.
What’s the Best Way to Reheat Pizza?
Hopefully, we’ve convinced you that cardboard shouldn’t be put in the oven. So, now you may be wondering what is the best way to reheat pizza. Check out some great solutions for cooking or reheating pizza at home.
1. Cookie Sheet
A cookie sheet is the simplest solution for cooking and reheating most frozen foods, including pizza. As the sheet heats up, it will distribute the heat evenly all around the pan, which helps to bake the pizza from all sides.
Just remember to add a little oil or cooking spray to the pan to make sure your pizza doesn’t stick. Plus, it will help make the crust crispy if that’s what you prefer.
2. Aluminum Foil and Baking Sheets
No matter what you’re baking, you can never go wrong with aluminum foil and baking sheets. They’re meant to withstand high temperatures to evenly bake foods so you can be sure it’s not going to burn or catch fire.
Before you put the pizza in the oven, place foil or a baking sheet on the oven rack. Spread it evenly, then place the pizza on top of it. You only need enough to cover the bottom of the pizza so you don’t have to waste much of the material.
Not only do baking sheets and foil help with excess heat, but they will also help bake the pizza evenly. You can enjoy great pizza without having to worry that some areas might be frozen solid while others are like boiling magma.
3. Baking Pans and Casserole Dishes
Casserole dishes, baking pans, and other convex metal objects can also be used for reheating or baking pizza. While not ideal due to their shape, they can still do a good job in a pinch.
The most important thing is to find a dish that’s big enough for the pizza to fit in. One of the best ways you can circumvent this problem is by cutting it into smaller slices. That way, you can heat it up regardless of the dish’s size and shape.
While not an ideal option, and you usually don’t want to slice pizza before cooking, it surely beats the use of cardboard.
4. Pizza Block
Not everyone has a pizza block in their kitchen. This is something that only the biggest pizza fans would buy. Nevertheless, there’s nothing better for heating and baking pizza.
These ceramic sheets allow you to put pizza directly into the oven without having to worry about cheese and tomato sauce dripping off the sides. The pizza block is ideal for even and thorough baking, and it will deliver the full potential of homemade and frozen pizza.
5. Straight On the Rack
Perhaps the best way to deal with cold pizza is to place it directly on the rack. However, this will only work if there’s some sort of a container on the bottom to catch anything that might drip off.
You really don’t want to deal with all the mess that a cooking pizza can make. This is less of an issue with frozen pizza, but it’s especially true for the fresh ingredients of homemade pizza.
While this sounds great in theory, and it definitely beats cooking pizza on cardboard, it’s the worst approach out of those listed here.
How to Safely Heat Pizza on Cardboard?
Despite all our warnings, we know people still might use cardboard for heating pizza. If you’re determined to do so, at least take a few precautionary measures beforehand.
If you wish to heat the whole pizza and not just pizza slices, you will have to start by preheating the oven. Ideally, you should go with a temperature of around 200 degrees F. No matter what, make sure that the temperature stays well below 250 degrees.
You can cook the pizza, together with cardboard, for about 10 to 15 minutes, but you will have to check on it every few minutes. It’s much better if you stay in the kitchen throughout the process to get the best results.
If you see or smell smoke, immediately shut off the oven and remove the pizza.
How to Properly Store Pizza Leftovers
Oftentimes, pizza leftovers can taste better than fresh pizza. There’s nothing better than realizing that there are a few slices left for a quick breakfast.
But, some people like to eat their leftovers a bit later. If this is the case, you should learn a few tricks that will help you properly store your leftover pizza.
One option is to put the pizza in sealable baggies. This is the best way to store pizza for a few days. You can also use paper or plastic wrap. Make sure that it’s properly wrapped so it doesn’t dry out too quickly.
If you want your pizza to last longer than a day or so, apply the above methods and put the leftovers in the fridge. This will help you store pizza for up to a week. Before putting it in the fridge, make sure the pizza has properly cooled off. If you put a warm pizza in the fridge, it will release moisture and become soggy.
Overall, we recommend avoiding cooking or reheating pizza on cardboard. There’s a risk of fire, and there are much better ways to do it that are safer and deliver better-tasting pizza. If you insist on cooking with cardboard, make sure you use low heat and watch it constantly.
We hope this article helped you answer the question of can you put cardboard in the oven. If you’re interested in more content about cooking, check out our other articles and reviews on the Savvy Kitchen website.