We Found the Best Way to Reheat Leftover Pizza

Whatever you do, skip the microwave.

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Food Network Kitchen’s pizza croutons as seen on Food Network.,Food Network Kitchen’s pizza croutons as seen on Food Network.

Photo by: Stephen Johnson ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Stephen Johnson, 2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

By Heath Goldman for Food Network Kitchen

Some people love eating cold pizza straight from the box, but if you’d prefer your leftovers to taste like they were served by your house pizzaiolo, we have some piping-hot tips.

Fresh-tasting leftovers start with correct pie storage. While it’s tempting to just shove the entire box in the fridge, remember that pizza boxes are anything but airtight, so storing pizza this way practically guarantees it’ll dry out. And as every aficionado knows, dryness is the enemy of leftover pizza. Instead, take a few extra minutes to wrap each slice individually. Slip the slices into storage bags — ideally reusable, but resealable plastic bags will work — or tightly wrap a stack of slices in plastic wrap. Leftovers will last for up to three days in the fridge.

When it comes to reheating, resist the urge to pop a slice in the microwave. Why? Again: dryness. Microwave leftover pizza, and it’ll not only dry out but also harden. G-r-o-s-s. Instead, reach for a nonstick skillet. Reheating a slice on the stove is one of the fastest ways to achieve a crisp crust and gooey cheese.

Here’s how you reheat leftover pizza on the stove: Place a slice in a skillet over medium heat, cover the skillet and cook for six to eight minutes. Some people swear that adding a few drops of water to the skillet gets the cheese extra melty, but we’ve found that covering the skillet yields the same results by trapping steam.

To reheat a bunch of slices at the same time, turn up your oven as hot as it’ll go and place a baking sheet inside while it preheats. When the oven comes to temperature, carefully transfer the slices to the baking sheet in a single layer. Cook them until the cheese is hot and bubbly. The goal is to blast the ’zza with heat, so the crust gets crispy again but the cheese doesn’t dry out.

Once your pizza is hot and melty, it’s time to get creative by adding a few fresh toppings. Our number one favorite way to brighten up a slice is to add a smattering of tender herbs. Torn fresh basil is ideal, but chopped oregano, dill, parsley or even fennel stems will instantly perk up a slice. Adding fresh veggies in general is great way to boost freshness. Consider topping pizza with some thinly sliced cherry tomatoes. Or pile on lightly dressed greens (salad pizza is a magical dinner, people).

We love to add a bit of finely grated Parmesan cheese to our slices. Skip the store-bought canister and opt for a nice hunk of imported Parmesan. Then use the finest holes on a box grater to create a delicate powder that’ll instantly add aromatic, nutty flavor to leftover pizza without weighing it down. Avoid adding more melting cheese like mozzarella, which has a lot of moisture and could make the pizza soggy.

Reaching for the condiment drawer is always a brilliant way to do some doctoring up, too. Something as simple as a honey drizzle will instantly take a leftover dollar slice to the level of a gourmet pizzeria pie. And we’d encourage you to experiment. Think: chile oil, dill pickles, capers, pickled jalapenos, pepperoncini or ranch dressing.

Finally, if your leftover pizza is nearing the end of its shelf life, you can try transforming it into another dish all together. For example, you could slice it up it strips and bake it until crisp to create pizza croutons. Pretty darn brilliant.

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