Chefs reveal 10 hacks for upgrading frozen pizza

Sophia Mitrokostas
·5 min read
DiGiorno 6 Frozen Cheese Pizza Taste Test
Frozen pizza doesn't have to be boring. Sydney Kramer/INSIDER

Homemade pizza is always a treat, but frozen pizza can be a quick and easy way to get food on the table.

Luckily, according to professional chefs, it's possible to take frozen pizza from decent to delicious with a few easy tweaks.

Read on for their favorite ways to upgrade frozen pizza.

Make sure the oven is hot enough before cooking

pizza cooking in oven
Some frozen pizzas can be cooked at 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Family Way Studio/Shutterstock

Chef Amy Riolo told Insider that it's essential to make sure your oven is hot enough before sliding in a frozen pizza.

"I always bake pizza in a screeching-hot oven that has been sufficiently preheated," she said. "For thinner varieties, I'd recommend a temperature of 500 degrees Fahrenheit so that you get a crispy crust."

If you're serious about getting the perfect pizza, opt for a more precise in-oven thermometer rather than relying on the display or temperature dial.

Use direct heat to get a perfectly crispy pizza

Struggling with soggy crust or unevenly cooked frozen pizza? Your pan could be to blame.

"Skip the aluminum foil and baking sheet and place the pizza directly on your oven rack," Max Hardy, owner of Coop Detroit and Jed's Detroit pizzeria, told Insider. "Poke holes in the bottom of the pizza to let trapped air escape, and you'll get a stone-oven taste at home."

If you're forgoing a baking sheet, try using a thin, flat utensil such as a metal spatula to help remove the cooked pizza from the oven.

Use a pizza stone to properly cook thick-crust pizza

pizza stone
Pizza stones can help frozen pizzas cook more evenly. StockFood/Getty Images

It can be tough to hit the sweet spot between undercooked and singed when cooking a deep-dish or thick-crust pizza.

"A pizza stone can help you avoid chewy crust in frozen pizzas with thicker crusts," Gretchen Holm, founder of Cuisine Technology and former pizzeria chef, told Insider.

To use a pizza stone properly, preheat your oven with the stone already inside, then place the pizza on the hot stone and bake as directed.

Thaw and deconstruct your frozen pizza

Hardy told Insider that deconstructing your frozen pizza can allow for some customization before cooking.

"Let your frozen pizza thaw during the day, and then remove all the toppings and layer on your favorite sauces or multiple kinds of cheese," he said.

Customizing a frozen pizza can also be a fun and easy way to use up leftover vegetables and condiments that you have hanging around.

Add fresh toppings before cooking

chopping peppers vegetables
Peppers and other veggies make good pizza toppings. Ika Rahma H/Shutterstock

One of the easiest ways to jazz up a frozen pizza is simply adding a handful or two of fresh toppings before baking.

"Frozen pizza is a good base, but it's so easy to make it taste better by adding fresh ingredients like vegetables or your favorite proteins," Hardy told Insider.

Try adding extras like pulled pork, barbecue sauce, chopped peppers, infused olive oil, coleslaw, pine nuts, or feta cheese.

Make some garlic butter to upgrade your pizza's flavor

If you have a few extra moments to spend in the kitchen, whip up a batch of homemade garlic butter to give your frozen pizza a gourmet flavor.

"I'd highly recommend using homemade garlic butter on frozen pizza," Hardy said. "Drizzle the melted butter around the crust before or after baking."

You can make garlic butter by combining softened or melted butter with ingredients like minced garlic, paprika, ground black pepper, Parmesan cheese, garlic salt, or Italian seasoning.

Use lemon to brighten the flavor of frozen pizza

lemon woman squeezing lemon
Lemon juice can help bring out other flavors. Boontoom Sae-Kor/Shutterstock

Holm told Insider that a lemon could be all you need to improve the taste of a frozen pizza.

"The brightness of lemon gives that fresh note of flavor that frozen pizzas often lack," she said. "Zest some lemon on top or drizzle the pizza with lemon juice."

You can also use lemon-infused olive oil instead of fresh lemon juice.

Finish off the pizza with more cheese

Parmesan cheese grating
You can sprinkle a little extra Parmesan cheese on top after cooking. Westend61/Getty Images

Holm said that it's worth splurging on great cheese to top your frozen pizza with.

"While the pizza is still hot from the oven, shave some ricotta salata or quality Parmesan on top," she told Insider. "You can also top it with some small dollops of mascarpone."

Other tasty finishing cheeses include crumbled feta, sliced Brie, or pieces of soft goat cheese.

Don't cut into the pizza right away

cutting pizza
Cutting into a pizza too early can ruin it. Fusionstudio/Shutterstock

Though it may be tempting to slice your pizza straight out of the oven, exercising some patience can lead to a tastier final product.

"It's important to allow the pizza to sit a few minutes after baking," Riolo said. "This makes cutting much easier and allows the flavors to marry."

You'll know your pizza is ready to cut when the melted cheese doesn't stick to the knife or pizza cutter.

Add additional fresh toppings after cooking the pizza

arugula on pizza
Arugula is a nice, fresh topping to add after cooking. DmitryDzz/Shutterstock

Professional chef and former "Top Chef" contestant Jamie Lynch told Insider that adding fresh toppings after cooking is also a great way to enhance frozen pizza.

"Not many people think to garnish their pizza after it's done cooking, but this actually adds a ton of unexpected flavors and texture," he said.

Lynch suggested trying out toppings like marinated artichokes, Castelvetrano olives, shaved Parmesan cheese, and baby arugula.

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