Most people’s idea of a perfect breakfast is last night’s takeaway sitting in your fridge. A couple of button pushes then a few minutes in the microwave and it’s (usually) just as tasty.
Have you ever noticed that reheated pizza is never quite the same though?
When it comes to microwaving leftover pizza, here are two invaluable tricks that’ll turn your dry, stale pizza remains into the crispy delicious stuff you had the night before.
- Add moisture to the microwave. You can do this by putting your pizza on a damp paper towel, spritzing the pizza itself with a little water or putting it in the microwave with a small cup of water.
- Use low power. Around 50% works well, and set the time for double to make up for it.
These two tips will transform your morning-after-the-night-before pizza with barely any effort.
Why do these tips work? Answers coming right up.
How to microwave day old pizza
Let’s examine the two tricks to making perfect reheated pizza with full explanations of why they work.
Tip 1 – Add moisture to the microwave
A microwave works by emitting low-frequency radio waves that are absorbed by food and especially water molecules. The waves cause these molecules to vibrate and heat up.
The important point here is that your microwave evaporates the water in your food and dries it out.
It’s no problem with foods like soup, curries or chilis. But for drier foods and particularly bready or doughy foods, using a microwave can ruin the taste.
So what’s the solution? Well, you need to add moisture.
One simple method is to put a small cup* of water in the microwave while your pizza is reheating. You can achieve the same effect by placing your pizza on a damp paper towel rather than a plate. Another option is to spritz the pizza itself with a few splashes of water.
*Note: Use a microwaveable cup or container. If you can’t find anything with a “microwave safe” label on it, then the safest materials are glass and ceramic.
Tip 2 – Use 50% power for double the time
Microwave ovens do not distribute heat evenly. The waves focus on certain areas more than others. It’s why every microwave has a rotating turntable to keep the food moving which avoids the issue of certain parts of the food being too hot or burnt.
You might have noticed packaged meals instruct you to stir the food? This allows the heat to be spread evenly throughout. This works great for curries or soups, but you can hardly stir a pizza.
Use a low power instead. Setting your microwave to 50% and double the time will allow the heat to spread by convection. The pizza will become consistently hot and less likely to end up a soggy, cardboard-like mess.
What is the best way to heat up pizza?
The best way to heat up leftover pizza is by using a skillet or oven. Microwave ovens do not get hot enough to crisp your pizza, melt the cheese or cause the desired “Mailliard Reaction” which causes the delicious browning we all love.
On the other hand, using a skillet takes longer, requires you to watch it and means more cleaning up once you’re finished. Using an oven means sitting around waiting for it to heat up. None of which is ideal when your goal is a couple slices of pizza and some Netflix while you nurse a hangover!
So there are reasons why you would use a microwave oven for reheating pizza, even if it’s not the optimal choice. Hey, I’m as guilty as anyone.
Now if you want the convenience of using a microwave to reheat pizza but still with awesome taste, check out the next section…
The combination method
Let’s say you’ve got access to a full kitchen but you don’t want the effort of reheating your pizza properly. Let me introduce you to “the combination method”.
- Put your pizza in the microwave oven (one minute a slice is a good rule of thumb)
- Flick the heat on your oven or skillet while you wait
- When the pizza has finished in the microwave, throw the pizza into the (slightly) preheated oven for 20 seconds or so
There you are! Quick, convenient microwave cooking with the crispy crust and gooey cheese from a quick blast in the oven.