So you ordered pizza for dinner but some member of your family hasn’t quite made it home yet. The pizza is getting colder by the minute but you’re trying to wait so you can all enjoy dinner together as a family. What do you do?
A lot of people might just reheat the pizza slices individually or even as a whole, but it’s such a pain when the pizza was fresh and hot when you picked it up.
It’s times like these that you need an ideal solution to keep your pizza warm while you wait.
Can you put a pizza box in the oven? While you can put a pizza box in the oven to keep it warm at a low temperature, it is recommended you use a pizza stone or tin foil instead. A pizza box should never be used in the oven to totally heat pizza, as it can catch fire or release harmful chemicals into your food at higher temperatures.
In this guide, we will share with you the ultimate guide to keeping pizza warm. We will cover when and how it is okay to put a pizza box in the oven and when it’s best to ditch the box and grab another vessel instead.
The Ultimate Guide to Keeping Pizza Warm
Curious minds want to know whether it’s a good idea to put your cardboard pizza box in the oven.
You’ve probably read some of the horror stories about people putting the box in the oven only to have it catch fire or fill up their home and kitchen with heavy smoke.
Obviously, that’s not the result you’re looking for here. You want to know if there is a safe and reliable method for putting the pizza box in the oven and if there are other options to keep that pizza warm.
Whether you’re waiting on that tardy family member to show up for dinner or you’re hosting a party, you need to know the details of safety and the various methods that you can count on to keep pizza warm – without smoke and fire.
Placing a Pizza Box in the Oven
One of the easiest ways to keep a pizza warm is to just toss the whole pizza, cardboard box and all, into the oven. You can do this, but there are some very specific things you should know before you do.
First things first, you should never use the oven to reheat pizza inside of a cardboard box. You can use a very low heat to keep the pizza warm, but there are definitely limitations.
If you do it wrong, you could quite easily end up with that cardboard box on fire and smoke in the kitchen.
You may think that because those frozen pizzas you buy have cardboard under them that this means you can put your cardboard box in the oven, but that’s really not the case.
You see, these two items are composed of completely different materials. Those cardboard boxes are not just simple cardboard. They are often coated in various chemicals and other coatings that could be flammable.
Think about it. Your favorite pizza place probably has all sorts of color and décor on their pizza box. It certainly differs from place to place, but we’re guessing it’s not just a plain cardboard box with nothing on it.
It’s all that “other stuff” that you don’t know if the cardboard contains that might be hazardous in the oven.
If your oven has a warm setting, you could use that for pizza in a box, but only for a very limited amount of time.
Remember that you don’t want to actually try to heat the pizza. Keep the box well away from the heating elements in this scenario as well.
You can also just toss the pizza box in the oven while it is turned off and use the closed and insulated space to hold in the heat of the pizza. You might be surprised at how well that can work to keep heat from escaping from your pizza.
How to Safely Put a Pizza Box in the Oven
If your oven doesn’t have a warm setting (we’re talking 170°F), then it’s probably not a good idea to put the pizza box in the oven at all.
In general, a cardboard pizza box probably shouldn’t be placed in an oven that is turned on, even to low heat. Sadly, it’s a common misconception and one that can quickly cause bigger problems if you’re not careful.
If you’re just keeping it warm for a few minutes, this will work fine. Just be cautious with both time and temperature usage for the oven.
However, just keep in mind that you don’t really know what that box is made of and it could be leaching all sorts of nasty things into your pizza.
If you do decide to keep your pizza warm using the cardboard box in the oven, you should never put your oven anywhere over 200°F. The recommended range is 150-200°F, maximum.
We also recommend that you don’t leave your pizza in the oven at this temp for very long. 10-15 minutes should be your goal.
Here are some key tips if you decide to give it a try:
- Never leave the cardboard box in the oven for more than 30 minutes
- Keep your temperature very low – 150-200°F
- Always preheat the oven first
- Find alternative methods when you can
- Try using the closed oven while it is off to retain the warmth of pizza
- Be mindful that your pizza box might have chemicals that could affect your food
Ultimately, those cardboard pizza boxes probably won’t catch fire until they reach somewhere around 400°F. Throwing it in the oven on warm for 10 minutes, especially if you follow the above tips, isn’t going to hurt anything.
Keeping Pizza Warm With a Pizza Stone
A really great way to keep pizza warm and an option that is much safer overall is a pizza stone. And if you don’t have a pizza stone or can’t find one, you may want to check out our article featuring the best pizza stone substitutes.
Your pizza will taste so much better with this option and you don’t have to constantly be worrying that you might be on the verge of starting a very real cardboard fire in your oven!
Using a pizza stone to heat your pizza or keep it warm is probably one of our favorite options. It might not be ideal if you have a bunch of pizza, but if you’re just looking at one or two pizzas, it’s a really great option.
Here’s the thing. A pizza stone gets nice and hot and will maintain the integrity of your crust. While just throwing the box in the oven is a simple and convenient solution, we all know your quality can go downhill quickly.
This is one of the reasons we love the pizza stone. It won’t necessarily cause your crust to get any more crisp when you’re just using it for warming methods, but it also won’t let your crust degrade in quality or get soggy.
Here are some steps for keeping pizza warm using a pizza stone:
- Start by heating up your pizza stone (this is a little known secret that works wonders)
- Place the pizza stone in the oven and then turn your oven on to about 200°F.
- Let the stone warm in the oven for about 20-30 minutes
- Now, put your pizza on the warmed stone and turn off the heat.
From here, you can leave the pizza in the oven for a little bit to keep it warm, but it will also stay warm even if you pull the stone and pizza out of the oven.
Those pizza stones will stay warm for quite some time and will keep your pizza warm while they’re at it.
Pizza stones are porous and those little pores that you can’t even see are circulating heat within them. This keeps your pizza nice and warm without further cooking it when you use the temperature that we recommended here.
No soggy crust and no cold pizza. Just a nice, warm pizza that still has all of the qualities of a fresh pizza.
However, it does take quite a while to let your pizza stone heat up. Some people prefer the aluminum foil method for this purpose.
Keeping Pizza Warm With Aluminum Foil
Using aluminum foil can be a really great way to keep pizza warm. When you see the steps, you might be surprised that you can actually use a high temperature in the oven for a short amount of time.
The insulation of the foil then retains heat for the pizza for a really long time. You might notice some extra crisping on your crust, but that’s it.
The interesting thing about this particular process is that your pizza doesn’t even have to be warm first to use it. You can use cold pizza and it will warm it up as well.
Even if you’re reheating pizza that’s been in the fridge for some time, this is a great method. You just might need some prep time for wrapping all that pizza up.
Follow these steps to keep pizza warm with aluminum foil:
- Wrap pizza slices with aluminum foil. We recommend individual servings for easier wrapping, though you can wrap as many as you want together. Just don’t stack them on top of each other or you’ll risk the cheese binding slices together.
- Heat your oven to 400°F. You can reduce your temperature slightly, but don’t go over this temperature in order to avoid burning or overcooking the pizza.
- Place your slices in the oven. You can just put them directly on the grates in foil or use a baking sheet. We do recommend leaving some space between wrapped slices for steam to circulate.
- Bake in this manner for about 10 minutes. You might notice the cheese starting to bubble. This means it’s done and you can take it out. If you keep it wrapped in foil, outside of the oven, it will stay warm.
Did you know that using this aluminum foil method might actually keep your pizza warm for almost 3 hours? Once you go through the heat process, that heat stays trapped in the foil for quite some time.
The primary downside to using this method is that your pizza could dry out slightly, but it will be nice and warm and still taste like it should with no worries of safety from keeping it warm.
We hope that you find this ultimate guide to keeping pizza warm to be a valuable resource. You can certainly put an entire pizza box in the oven, as long as you are mindful not to raise your temperatures too high or leave it in there too long.
There are several other helpful methods here as well if you need alternative solutions. We invite you to check out our question and answer section below for some additional details that might be helpful for you.
Can You Use the Stovetop or Microwave to Keep Pizza Warm?
If you want a quick fix and you have limited options, there are some methods that would allow you to keep your pizza warm on the stovetop as well. With that method, you are limited to however many pieces your pan can hold.
Alternatively, some people recommend using the microwave. If you run it on about 50% power for short intervals, this will keep it warm for short periods of time.
This is not a highly recommended process and it might not keep your pizza the same texture or flavor, but it can work when you need a quick and easy solution. It’s effective in its own way.
Can You Put Pizza in the Oven Without a Pan?
This will most likely depend on the pizza that you are putting in the oven. It’s pretty common for frozen pizzas to be placed in the oven without a pan.
A lot of those have instructions that recommend putting them directly on the rack, although you can use a pan if you prefer.
The downside to putting a pizza in the oven without a pan is knowing the best way to remove the pizza when it’s done. Have a plan for getting the pizza out of the oven without tearing it up or burning yourself in the process.
The best way to do this is by using a pizza peel.
Can You Reheat Pizza in the Cardboard Box?
While most cardboard boxes won’t catch fire unless they reach over 400°F, it is not recommended that you reheat your pizza using the cardboard box.
Those boxes are unreliable and could quite easily share chemicals from the packaging with your food in the process. It’s better not to take the chance here and simply transfer your pizza to reheat it.
How Can You Keep Pizza Warm Without an Oven?
If your pizza is already warm, while it may seem counterintuitive, you can use your cooler to retain the heat of the pizzas.
Ideally, you can heat a brick up for a few minutes and then place it in the cooler with the pizza, but if that isn’t an option, you can wrap hot pizza in aluminum foil and store it in a cooler to keep it insulated and warm as well.
Up Next: Recipe – Pizza Bowl