We have reached the end of our inaugural Pizza Week, and I hope by this time, you will have succumbed to temptation and made or ordered at least one pizza. (Extra points if you gave Spam and Dorito Pizza a try.) It may be possible that you have some leftover pizza. Some people swear by cold pizza for breakfast, fresh from the fridge. No one here is judging. If it makes you happy, go for it! But others prefer it warm. Although it may be impossible to return an old pizza to its fresh-from-the-oven glory, I canvassed some experts to find out their best tricks.
VERSION 1: Heat up a medium pan (large enough to fit your slice) on the stovetop. Drop the slice on the pan, add a couple drops of water next to the slice, then cover with a lid so it steams a bit. Drop heat to low and let it sit for a minute. What emerges will have a crisp bottom and glistening top.
VERSION 2: Heat up a medium pan on medium heat. Drop the slice FACE DOWN on the pan until you hear it sizzle. Flip the slice over and let it hang out for another minute. This gets you burnt cheese and a crisp bottom. A couple drops of hot sauce makes this a VERY special snack.
VERSION 3: Toss the slice directly on the rack of an air fryer or a toaster oven with air fry / extreme convection setting. Let it hang there until the top is about to start bubbling. Extract the specimen and enjoy! —Scott Wiener, Scott’s Pizza Tours, New York
For my tavern crust pizzas, I like to preheat the oven to 450 and reheat directly on the steel (or stone) but a baking sheet works too. When the cheese on top starts bubbling (4-5 minutes), take it out. That’s the conventional way.
For the UNCONVENTIONAL way (and my wife gets credit for this), sandwich two pieces crust side-out and waffle iron them to melted, crispy perfection. Honestly, it’s a whole second life for the pizza. Change your life. —John Carruthers, Takeout contributor and certified Pizzadad
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove from box and place pizza on a cookie sheet. Continue baking the pizza in the oven until cheese has melted and ingredients are hot in the center. Please note: baking times may vary—please watch pizza carefully! —Natalie Levy, marketing manager, Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria, Chicago
Use an extremely hot oven or toaster oven. Make sure the pizza is room temperature to start. Bake it for a few minutes on cookie sheet—most people don’t have a stone. It comes out really well. —Patty, manager, Buddy’s Pizza, Conant Avenue, Detroit
One of the saddest things about ordering a Quad Cities-style taco pizza is that the taco chips on top start to get soggy before you even finish the first round. But what about leftovers? My phone calls and emails to Happy Joe’s, the inventor of the taco pizza, went unanswered. Greg Dwyer and Bill Michaels, longtime cohosts of a popular morning show on WXLP-FM in the Quad Cities, took a poll a few years back and discovered that most Quad Citians didn’t reheat their pizza at all: they eat it cold from the refrigerator. According to Reddit, it’s possible to reheat taco chips to their previous crispness. But what of a whole taco pizza with tomatoes and lettuce? Finally John Carruthers, who published his own taco pizza recipe this week, once again took pity on me. “The lettuce is the thing that really makes reheating it semi-horrific,” he told me, “so as long as you de-lettuce it, it should reheat fine and freshen up with a new application of toppings.”
All this reheating advice was starting to get repetitive, so I figured I was close to the end. Then I remembered the New Haven-style clam pizza. Could you reheat clams? After a few bad encounters with an office microwave, I was a bit dubious, so I turned to Piece, a New Haven-style joint in Chicago. “Reheat on a sheet under the broiler for several minutes and watch closely,” Piece owner Bill Jacobs told me over email. “It will bring it as deliciously to life as you want to know it.” But what about the clams? I asked nervously. Will they still taste good? “Yes, absolutely. The broiler serves to reheat, not cook. And because it is heating from above it is not affecting the crust.” That eases my mind considerably, and now I will order a clam pizza without fear.