The great thing about pizza is that it has to make a big impression to be the best or the worst you’ve ever had. It’s gentle and forgiving in that way. The same pizza can fluctuate between adequate and perfect depending on the time of day and your frame of mind. Ask me about a Benny Tudino’s slice at 2 p.m. versus 2 a.m., and I will tell you the difference between an oversized t-shirt and a life preserver.
But this is about reheating pizza, when you’re on your own and without a 35,000 degree oven. Reheated pizza can reach great heights with a little patience, and they are heights, I would argue, that can surpass the original, especially if you ordered from a shitty pizza place. First, I’ll disclose a few of my pizza preferences so you know where I’m coming from:
- Cold pizza, and the thought of it, makes me nauseated.
- I like pizza to be so hot that it hurts me.
- I reheat pizza as soon as it’s delivered to my home. (Yes, while it’s still warm.)
- When I reheat the pizza, I use a skillet.
A skillet is the best tool for the job, because it will give you the closest replication of the original product. It crisps the bottom while allowing the cheese to slowly bubble on top. I go through this process with the pizza straight out of the box, because I like the bottom to crack when I fold it, like it would if I were eating it at the pizzeria. I also believe it’s the only way to bring a cold triangle of sadness back from the dead the following day.
My father, a salt of the earth pizza snob, started using the skillet for this purpose when I was a kid, and it’s still one of the smartest kitchen tricks I’ve ever seen. His full method involves a microwave, so PLEASE DON’T CALL THE COPS.
The Father Bull Pizza Reheat Method
- Microwave the pizza for 15 seconds to take the deep chill out.
- Transfer the pizza to a dry, hot skillet on medium heat and leave it there until it warms through and re-crisps. There’s no need to cover it, but a foil tent never hurt nobody.
If you hate microwaves or don’t have one:
The No-Microwave Pizza Reheat Method
- Put the cold slice on a hot skillet on low heat. Cover loosely with a foil tent or a lid. It should take 6 to 10 minutes to heat through. (Again, I like my pizza at a volcanic temperature, so I let it linger.)
Not really into this, either:
“WHAT ABOUT THE OVEN, JERK?”
The oven is okay, and I’ll use it if there’s a lot of pizza to reheat. Its downfall, in my opinion, is that it makes the dough a little tough, the cheese a little hard, and my heart a little heavy. The pizza will get hot, and it will be pizza, but it ends up taking twice as long to rip a bite with your teeth.
“I have a toaster oven my aunt just bought me. How do you feel about toaster ovens?”
I like toaster ovens, and that was nice of your aunt. The issue with a toaster oven is that it envelops the pizza with a lot of heat in a small space, creating toast. Your pizza becomes toast.
Other Ways to Reheat Pizza That Aren’t Great
- A lighter
- A book of matches
- A sauce pan
- A space heater
- The sun
P.S. While you’re eating your first skillet slice, throw the second on there and lower the heat. By the time the first is Gone Girl, the next will be ready for ya. As my father likes to say, “That’s good, Laur.” Then he returns to the pizza dream factory and sleeps peacefully, knowing the gift he’s given the world.
Illustrations by: Jim Coble