Reheating a microwaveable pizza is as easy as mealtime gets, but the end result isn't very inspiring. Making your own pizza enables you to use your choice of a good-quality sauce, toppings and cheese, but finishing your pizza in the microwave is a challenging proposition. While the toppings will heat properly and the cheese will melt, it's difficult to get a good crust in the microwave because of its lack of browning. You can combat that failing by using a microwave browning plate or a prepared, pre-cooked pizza crust.
How to Make a Good Pizza in a Microwave
Prepare Your Crust and Ingredients
Prepare a pizza crust using your favorite recipe. Roll, stretch or toss it until it reaches the correct size for your browning plate — usually 10 to 12 inches — and your preferred thickness. Cover the dough loosely with a towel, and let it rest while you prepare the other ingredients. Shred mozzarella and other cheeses as desired, mix your sauce, and slice or chop any other toppings as appropriate. If you prefer toppings such as onions, mushrooms or bell peppers to be completely cooked, saute and drain them ahead of time.
Heat With a Browning Plate
To cook your pizza in a microwave, prepare your browning plate. Spray the browning pan lightly with oil and preheat it in your microwave for 2 to 3 minutes, as directed by the manufacturer. Once it's preheated, carefully place your pizza dough on the pan. Microwave a thin crust for 2 minutes and a thicker crust for 3 to 4 minutes.
Remove your browning pan from the microwave, using oven mitts, and set it carefully on a trivet or heatproof surface. Flip the dough with tongs or a spatula, and spread your sauce on the cooked side. Layer your choice of toppings and cheese over the sauced crust, and return the pizza to your microwave.
Microwave for another 5 to 8 minutes on High, until the bottom of the crust begins to become golden and the toppings and cheese are hot and bubbly. If the cheese or crust seems to be darkening too rapidly, stop your microwave and reduce it to 70 or 80 percent power for the remaining time.
Rest the pizza for 2 to 3 minutes, so the uneven temperatures caused by microwave cooking can even out. Transfer the finished pizza to your cutting board, and cut it into serving portions.
Use a Premade Crust
Premade crusts to suit any taste — thick, thin, crisp or chewy — are readily available at supermarkets and department stores. Other flatbreads, such as pita bread or naan, can be used as a substitute if an especially good brand is available in your area of if that's what you have on hand.
Shred your cheese, prepare the sauce, and chop or slice any other toppings you wish to use. Place the prepared crust on a microwaveable plate, ideally one that's flat on the bottom so your sauce and toppings won't run to the middle. Alternatively, place the pizza on a sheet of parchment paper that's been cut to fit the turntable in your microwave.
Spread sauce over the prepared crust, then distribute the cheese and toppings evenly. Microwave your pizza on High for 7 to 9 minutes or until the toppings are fully cooked and visibly bubbling. Allow the pizza to rest for 2 to 3 minutes before slicing, so the temperature of the ingredients can equalize throughout the pie.
Pizza in a Microwave Tips
The thin coating of oil most browning pans require is only partially to prevent sticking. The thin layer of oil becomes very hot in the microwave, and it helps conduct heat evenly across the crust.
Turning the crust is optional when cooking pizza in a microwave, but doing so helps give it a pleasantly chewy, toothsome texture. If you prefer your pizza crust to be soft, especially in the middle, you can skip that step and simply add the toppings.
High-quality artisanal mozzarella is often lower in moisture content than the mass-market varieties usually used on pizza. This can cause it to become unpleasantly rubbery in the microwave, unless it's moistened with a bit of sauce or added after the other ingredients have begun to steam and bubble.
Cautions to Consider When Heating
Microwave browners work precisely because they become extremely hot in your microwave oven. To avoid serious burns, always handle them carefully with oven mitts or gloves, and always place the hot browning pan on a trivet or other heatproof surface.
Always rest your pizza for at least a few minutes before cutting or biting into it. Microwave cooking is inherently uneven, and there will be pockets of exceptionally hot fat, sauce and cheese that could cause a painful burn.