Pizza is the ultimate crowd pleaser, and having really good pizza on hand in the freezer makes getting a meal on the table quickly a life-saver on a busy night. Sure, frozen grocery-store pizzas are available for you to purchase, but they never seem to match the quality of the local pizza shop or a homemade pizza. You can freeze a fully cooked pizza successfully by following some basic guidelines.
Let the Pizza Cool
Allow the pizza to fully cool at room temperature. This should take about an hour. If it's a pizza that came from a pizza shop, open the box lid so that moisture does not build up on the pizza. If it's a homemade pizza, let it cool uncovered. If the pizza is covered while cooling, the moisture may make the pizza soggy and affect its quality when it's reheated. Make sure that the pizza has been refrigerated or frozen within two hours of cooking to avoid the growth of harmful bacterial. Do not leave it out at room temperature longer than the recommended two hours.
Cut the Pizza, if Desired
The pizza can be frozen whole or in slices. If you want to freeze portions of the fully cooked pizza, now is the time to cut into the sizes you want. If you know that you won't be eating the entire pizza all at once, you'll want to cut the pizza into sections or individual slices, before wrapping it to place it in the freezer.
Wrap It Securely
Double wrapping the pizza will guard against freezer burn. Wrap it first in food-grade plastic wrap that clings to the pizza. If the pizza is cut into smaller portions, you can then place the portions in zipper bags that are made specifically for the freezer. If the pizza is whole, you probably won't be able to fit it into a zipper bag. You can create a second layer of wrap with heavy-duty aluminum foil.
Freezing the Pizza
Take a permanent marker and write the date on each package before putting it in the freezer. Your freezer should be set at 0 degrees Fahrenheit so the pizza, and other foods in the freezer, will remain safe. A frozen pizza will keep its quality for up to two months once frozen. Freezing keeps food safe indefinitely. If it's in the freezer for longer than two months, it's still safe to eat, but its flavor and texture quality will be diminished.
Reheating Pizza in the Oven
The frozen pizza can be reheated directly from the freezer or after it's been defrosted safely in a refrigerator that's at the proper temperature of 40 F or below. Slices will take 4 to 6 hours to defrost in the refrigerator. A whole 12-inch pizza or larger can take up to 24 hours. Never defrost the pizza at room temperature or harmful bacteria could build up on it and food poisoning could occur.
Unwrap the pizza right before heating, place on a baking sheet or pizza stone, and place in a preheated 400-F oven on the center rack. Defrosted pizza slices should take 7 to 10 minutes to reheat, a little longer if the pizza is whole. Frozen pizza slices can take anywhere from 15 to 25 minutes to reheat, closer to 25,Far if the pizza is whole. Keep an eye on the pizza. When it's heated through and the cheese is fully melted, it's ready to eat.
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