When it comes to comfort food, pizza takes the cake. Whether homemade, takeout, thin crust, deep dish, or stuffed, no one wants to see even a crumb of pizza go to waste. So how can you keep pizza leftovers tasting good for longer? Freeze it!
With a few simple steps, you can keep your pizza in the freezer for 2 to 3 months. This way you can save money, food waste, and have a meal or snack ready at the drop of a hat.
There are a few things to keep in mind when freezing pizza to make sure you get the best out of your cheesy pie. Here is everything you need to know about freezing pizza.
Types of Pizza
Pizza is originally an Italian savory dish with a round, flat base of leavened wheat dough topped with tomatoes and cheese. Traditionally, pizza is baked in a wood-fired oven at a high temperature.
Over the years and as pizza became a popular dish worldwide, it started taking on many different forms and piled with an array of non-traditional toppings from pepperoni, pineapple, and avocado to mushrooms, butternut, and meat.
Pizza bases also vary from thin crust to deep-dish, stuffed, and even wheat-free.
Due to its popularity around the world, pizza is readily available from many takeout franchises and restaurants although it will likely not be the original Italian style.
Pizza can also be bought from grocery stores in its frozen form, fresh from the bakery section, or even just the raw dough can be purchased to create your own homemade version.
Can Pizza Be Frozen?
Yes, pizza can be frozen to extend its shelf life. It can then easily be baked or reheated in the oven as a last-minute meal. Pizza can be frozen cooked or uncooked, with or without toppings.
To prevent the formation of ice crystals and freezer burn, pizza needs to be wrapped well and protected from air and moisture.
Never freeze an old pizza. Try to get leftovers or premade pizza in the freezer the same day it was made to ensure a better-quality product once thawed and reheated.
How To Freeze Cooked Pizza
Step 1: Cool and Slice
Make sure the pizza is completely cooled to room temperature before preparing for freezing. Wrapping or freezing warm pizza will result in the formation of ice crystals due to condensation which will spoil the texture and flavor. Cut the pizza into slices.
Step 2: Wrap
Wrap each slice in a layer of cling film, making sure all the edges are sealed well with no gaps. Wrap the slice a second time in a layer of aluminum foil.
Step 3: Pack and Label
Place the wrapped slices into a resealable freezer bag and label the bag with the date. After pressing out all the air, seal the bag.
Step 4: Freeze
Place the freezer bag in the top of the freezer making sure that the slices will not get squashed by other heavy items.
How To Freeze Uncooked Pizza
Step 1: Prepare the Dough
Make the pizza dough as per your recipe and shape it into the desired size pizza base.
Step 2: Par-bake
Par-bake the crust for only 4 to 5 minutes on a greased baking sheet at 450 °F (230 °C). The dough should just start to puff and dry out. This step will prevent the crust from turning soggy on thawing. Do not bake it with toppings and do not let it bake fully.
Step 3: Cool and Top
Remove the pizza base from the oven and let it cool down completely. Add your pizza toppings.
If possible, refrain from using ingredients with high moisture content such as raw peppers, raw onions, and fresh tomatoes when freezing. Rather add these ingredients fresh just before baking.
Step 4: Pre-freeze
Place the par-cooked base with toppings on a lined baking sheet and place it in the freezer for a few hours just until frozen hard. This will allow the pizza to hold its shape once wrapped and prevents the toppings from sticking to the wrapping.
Step 5: Wrap
Once frozen, remove the baking sheet from the freezer. Wrap the frozen pizza in a double layer of clingfilm, ensuring it is completely covered. Wrap the pizza in a layer of aluminum foil as an extra layer of protection to avoid freezer burn.
Step 6: Label and Freeze
Use a permanent marker to write the date on the wrapping. Place the pizza back into the freezer until needed.
How To Freeze Raw Pizza Dough
Prepare the pizza dough as per your recipe and let it ferment. If the recipe requires proofing of the dough, skip this step when planning to freeze it. Shape the dough into a ball, 3 or 4 smaller balls, or roll it out into a crust as preferred.
To prevent the dough from sticking to the wrapping, dust it well with flour. Place the dough on a lined baking sheet and pop it into the freezer. Let the dough freeze to hold its shape before wrapping.
Once fully frozen, remove the baking sheet from the freezer and wrap the frozen dough thoroughly in clingfilm.
As an extra layer of protection, place the wrapped dough into a resealable freezer bag or wrap it in a layer of aluminum foil and label it with the date before placing it back into the freezer.
How To Thaw Frozen Pizza
Pizza leftovers can be thawed in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 hours and then baked in a preheated oven at 350 °F (180 °C) for 5 minutes to warm through. The oven is the best way to reheat pizza.
Par-baked pizza can be baked from frozen. Remove the wrapping and place the frozen pizza on a greased baking sheet. Bake it in a preheated oven at 500 °F (260 °C) until cooked through and the cheese has melted.
Raw pizza dough that has been frozen should be thawed overnight in the refrigerator or left at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours.
If the dough still needs to undergo proofing, leave it to rise another 1 to 2 hours in a warm area, covered. Once defrosted and fully risen you can shape and assemble your pizza for baking.
Whether you like to keep a prepared meal ready for lazy nights or want to save leftovers for a later time, freezing pizza is the answer to saving time and money. Pizza is a great all-in-one meal and perfect for sharing with friends or family.
When you are hungry, simply take it out of the freezer, pop it into the oven, heat, and eat! Comfort couldn’t be more convenient.
Up next: Can you freeze bagels?
*image by firstblood/depositphotos