How to Store Pizza [Freeze, Thaw, Seal, etc]
Pizza can come to the rescue when you’re too lazy to cook something or the matchup of the year is about to begin. Unfortunately, no matter how good it is, not everyone can finish off an entire pizza. It can be heartbreaking to see leftover pizza slices end up in the trash. And now, you may be wondering what the right way on how to freeze pizza is.
To freeze pizza, wrap every slice in saran wrap and aluminum foil. Place all the wrapped slices in a freezer-safe bag. Properly wrapped, slices of pizza will stay fresh in the freezer for up to two months. Uncooked pizza and pizza dough can also be stored in the freezer to extend their shelf life.
Refrigerating pizza is possible, too, but you should eat it within four days. Otherwise, you may end up sick. If you want to enjoy a slice (or two) of pizza without worrying about your health, freezing pizza is the way to go. It lets you have a surprisingly well-balanced meal (depending on the toppings, of course) at just about any given time.
But First: Why Freeze Than Refrigerate Pizza?
When it comes to storing pizza, the goal is to make sure that you can get your hands on the perfect slice the moment you crave it. The problem is not everyone can tell when the next yearning for pizza will come. Similarly, not all people, especially those with unpredictable everyday schedules, can say when it’s impossible to whip up a meal from scratch.
It’s a good thing that the freezer can make everything, including pizza, last for a very long time.
Microbial activity — this is what causes food to spoil. The growth of bacteria or fungi is the reason why food left at room temperature (and stored in the refrigerator, too) has to be thrown away after a while.
This is when the freezer shines. In the freezer, microbes are deactivated but not destroyed. However, this is enough to put food spoilage to come to a halt. As a matter of fact, foods have an indefinite shelf life when in a frozen state. This means that you can still eat them without worries even after many years, although the quality may no longer be the same.
On the other hand, the refrigerator cannot fully put microbial activity to a full stop, although it can slow down the growth and multiplication of microbes. This is why food lasts so much longer in the freezer than in the fridge.
But just because the freezer can extend the shelf life of pizza doesn’t mean that you can just stash this much-loved Italian treat in it and expect it to be in tip-top shape when it’s time to enjoy it. There are steps on how to freeze pizza the right way that you need to take to impress, rather than distress, your taste buds.
Continue reading to know how cooked pizza, uncooked pizza and pizza dough should be stored in the freezer.
How to Store Pizza the Right Way
The best way to store pizza depends on when it’s going to be eaten. Refrigerating leftover pizza is fine if it’s going to be consumed within a few days. Freezing leftover pizza is recommended if it’s not going to be eaten soon. The freezer can keep leftover pizza fresh longer than the refrigerator.
Below, we will talk about many other important matters about freezing pizza — from storing cooked pizza in the freezer to thawing pizza dough fresh from the freezer. Don’t stop reading now if you want the best pizza each time!
How Long Does Pizza Last in the Fridge?
Pizza, leftover or otherwise, can last in the refrigerator for up to four days. After that, microbial activity will resume and cause pizza to spoil, which can cause food poisoning when eaten. For best results, pizza should be wrapped or placed in an airtight container and refrigerated without delay.
Different factors affect how long the refrigerator can keep pizza fresh. For instance, the presence of lots of microbes may cause pizza to spoil fast even if it’s stored properly in the refrigerator. The same is true if the temperature inside your refrigerator is not ideal — the refrigerator temperature should be at or below 40°F.
Before you eat pizza stored in the fridge, use your senses. If it doesn’t look and smell right, don’t eat it. It’s better for any questionable pizza to end up in the trash than you wind up in the ER!
How to Freeze Cooked Pizza
To freeze a few pizza slices, several pizza slices or the entire pizza, wrap each pizza slice in saran wrap. Wrap every pizza slice in aluminum foil, too. Put individually wrapped pizza slices in a freezer-safe bag large enough to hold them. Squeeze as much air out of the freezer-safe bag and seal.
When it comes to freezing cooked pizza, it’s a must that you wrap them with saran wrap and aluminum foil separately. Besides saving precious space in the freezer, it also helps retain as much of the quality of pizza as possible.
One more reason exists why it’s a great idea to wrap pizza slices individually rather than together. And it’s none other than it saves the rest from the need to be taken out of the freezer and exposed to low temperatures. Constant exposure to the elements can shorten frozen pizza’s shelf life and diminish the quality, too.
If wrapped together, taking one slice of pizza from the bunch will expose the others to moisture-rich air. This can increase their risk of ending up with freezer burn.
Freezing pizza can extend its shelf life for up to two months alright. However, it may cause them to have freezer burn, especially if you fail to prepare them the right way before storing them in the freezer. That is why when freezing pizza, it’s not just keeping them fresh that should be the goal. You should also protect them from freezer burn.
Wrapping each pizza slice in saran wrap and aluminum foil is the best way to keep them freezer burn-free.
And this takes us to a pressing matter…
How to Reheat Frozen Pizza
Before reheating frozen pizza, allow it to thaw. Place frozen pizza in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight to give it enough time to defrost. Otherwise, it may end up soggy or rubbery, depending on where you reheat it. When completely thawed, reheat pizza in the oven or microwave.
The importance of allowing frozen pizza to thaw before reheating it cannot be stressed enough. Unfortunately, it’s not all the time that your tummy can wait for a frozen slice of pizza to thaw in the fridge for a long time.
It’s a good thing that you may also reheat pizza while it’s still frozen. You can reheat it using either an oven or the microwave. Some people prefer to reheat their pizza in the toaster or a skillet. However, you cannot expect the pizza crust to exhibit the perfect texture. But that’s a really small price to pay for enjoying pizza without any delay.
There are a couple of ways to thaw frozen pizza faster than leaving it in the refrigerator for hours to defrost…
- Place frozen pizza in a ziploc bag and leave it submerged in cold water. Replace the water every 15 minutes for faster thawing. Avoid thawing frozen pizza in hot water as it might cook some of the toppings.
- Heat frozen pizza in the microwave together with a mug of water. The water will absorb much of the heat the microwave generates, causing frozen pizza to thaw at a slower rate, which is a good thing.
How to Freeze Homemade Pizza
To freeze homemade pizza, par-bake the crust for four to five minutes first. Allow the par-baked crust to cool to room temperature before adding the toppings. Afterward, wrap the entire homemade pizza in saran wrap while still on the baking sheet. Wrap it in aluminum foil and freeze it.
Freezing homemade pizza is trickier than freezing store-bought or already cooked pizza. That’s because the crust has to be par-baked beforehand. It’s for a good reason — it will let you enjoy crisp and delicious pizza later.
Also called blind baking, par-baking is a cooking method in which the pizza crust is partially baked before freezing it. Par-baking is done to keep the pizza crust kept in the freezer from being soggy when it’s time to thaw and cook homemade pizza. Without par-baking, your homemade pizza may fail to impress quality-wise.
Par-baking is easier than it sounds. Here are the simple steps to follow…
- Preheat the oven to 450°F.
- Bake the pizza crust for four to five minutes or until it’s dry and lightly brown.
- Remove the pizza crust from the oven.
- Allow to cool to room temperature completely.
That’s it — you just par-baked your pizza to keep it firm even after storing it in the freezer.
Just make sure that you allow the pizza crust to cool to room temperature before adding the toppings. Otherwise, the toppings that cook at low temperatures may end up cooked. And when you bake homemade pizza after freezing it, the already cooked toppings end up overcooked, thus ruining the entire pizza.
Also, letting the par-baked pizza crust cool to room temperature keeps moisture from collecting under the toppings. It’s no secret that excess moisture can cause freezer burn and contribute to food spoilage.
There is one more very important matter to know about par-baking the pizza crust: Never store pizza that’s still hot in the freezer. Otherwise, trapped moisture in the pizza crust will turn into ice crystals, causing freezer burn. When thawed and baked later, homemade pizza will have lots of dry and rock-hard parts!
And this brings us to a very important thing…
How to Cook Frozen Homemade Pizza
To cook frozen homemade pizza, take it out of the freezer. Carefully remove saran wrap and aluminum foil. Place it in the oven that’s been preheated to 475°F. Let it cook for 10 to 15 minutes or until the pizza crust is brown and the cheese is bubbly. There is no need to thaw frozen homemade pizza.
One of the best things about cooking homemade pizza stored in the freezer is that it doesn’t have to be thawed beforehand, unlike already cooked pizza. Placing it in the oven thaws and cooks it at the same time.
Just in case there are leftovers, don’t throw them away. The remaining slices of homemade pizza can be placed back in the freezer to keep them fresh for up to two months. See to it that you strictly follow the steps on how to freeze pizza mentioned earlier to retain as much of the taste and overall quality of your homemade pizza as possible.
Can You Freeze Pizza Hut or Domino’s Pizza?
Pizza from Pizza Hut or Domino’s Pizza can be frozen to keep it fresh. But no matter from which pizza chain it comes from, pizza should be stored in the freezer the right way. Wrapping it in saran wrap and aluminum foil protects it from freezer burn and extends its shelf life for up to two months.
It’s not just pizza from Pizza Hut or Domino’s Pizza that you can freeze to enjoy later. Pizza from other pizza chains can also be stored in the freezer to keep it from going bad fast.
Regardless of the brand and no matter the number of slices to store, the same steps should be followed when freezing pizza to fend off freezer burn. Many pizza lovers add a bit of extra fresh cheese on thawed pizza before popping it in the oven or microwave to make it just as delightful to eat as when it was bought from a pizza chain.
Freezing a lot of pizza slices can take up lots of precious time since each one of them will have to be wrapped in saran wrap, followed by aluminum foil. And if you want to keep your freezer organized, the individually wrapped pizza slices will have to be placed in a freezer-safe bag with as much of the air squeezed out.
Well, there is a faster way to freeze pizza, homemade or from Pizza Hut or Domino’s Pizza or elsewhere:
- Place the first slice of pizza on a plate.
- Lay a sheet of parchment paper or wax paper on it.
- Neatly place the second slice of pizza on the parchment paper or wax paper.
- Repeat the steps until all pizza slices are stacked on top of each other.
- Carefully wrap pizza slices in saran wrap.
- Wrap them in aluminum foil.
- Stash the stack of pizza slices in a large freezer-safe bag.
- Insert a straw into the freezer-safe bag and seal the bag up to the straw.
- Suck the air out.
- Quickly remove the straw and seal the freezer-safe bag.
Follow the steps above if you don’t have the time to wrap pizza slices individually, and you’re golden!
Should I Vacuum Seal Leftover Pizza?
Vacuum sealing leftover pizza before freezing it can protect it from freezer burn better. That’s because the moisture-containing air is removed, thus preventing the formation of ice crystals on the surface of pizza. Vacuum sealing leftover pizza also fends off dehydration in the fridge or freezer.
With the help of a vacuum sealer, it’s possible to extend the shelf life of food three to five times longer. It’s due to the fact that it can keep food from drying out and coming into contact with excess moisture, too.
If you want pizza stored in the freezer for several weeks or months to seem like it’s fresh from your floured countertop of favorite pizza chain, wrap pizza in saran wrap and aluminum foil, and vacuum seal it in a freezer-safe bag. Thanks to a vacuum sealer, enjoying freezer-burned pizza should be the least of your concerns.
Worry not if you do not own a vacuum sealer. That’s because you can just squeeze as much air out of the freezer-safe bag before sealing it and storing pizza in the freezer.
You may also count on a straw — use it to suck the air in a freezer-safe bag out, as instructed earlier.
How to Freeze Pizza Dough
To freeze pizza dough, divide it into small balls. Each ball should be large enough to make one slice of pizza. Lightly coat each pizza dough ball with olive oil (any other type of oil may be used, too). Place the balls in a freezer-safe bag with much of the air squeezed out. Store in the freezer.
Especially if you make homemade pizza for yourself alone, it’s a good idea to divide the entire pizza dough into balls before freezing. This will make it trouble-free to make a slice of homemade pizza later.
Besides freezing small portions of pizza dough as balls, you may also store them in the freezer as flattened balls or shaped into triangular or square pizza slices. When it’s time to create pizza from scratch using pizza dough from the freezer, there is no need to reach for the rolling pin and spend a lot of your time on a floured countertop.
And this leads us to a very important matter…
How to Use Frozen Pizza Dough Balls
Frozen pizza dough balls need to thaw beforehand. Place them in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight to allow them to defrost very well. Frozen pizza dough balls may also be thawed by soaking their freezer-safe bag in cold water. The water should be replaced every 15 minutes.
Once the frozen pizza balls are completely defrosted, they may be flattened and shaped into individual pizza slices. They may also be combined into one big pizza dough ball and flattened as usual.
Just Before You Freeze Pizza
Refrain from assuming that throwing pizza into the freezer anyway you like will allow you to enjoy it in its full glory after some time. There is a proper way to freeze pizza to make it an enjoyable treat each time you don’t have the time or energy to throw something together or your favorite TV show is about to air.
When it comes to freezing pizza to extend its shelf life, it’s a must to protect it from freezer burn. Freezer burn won’t cause it to spoil alright. However, it can alter its taste and texture, making pizza a less enjoyable savory feast.
No matter if cooked, uncooked, homemade or store-bought, make sure that you freeze pizza the right way. Thawing and reheating or cooking it in the correct manner is important, too. The freezer is your best friend each time you need to have pizza in a flash. However, it can also be your worst enemy if you fail to store pizza in it correctly.