How to Store and Reheat Leftover Pizza

So, by some miracle you ended up with more pizza than you could eat—or you intentionally ordered a larger pie just to have leftovers. Great idea, unless those leftovers sit in the fridge until they dry up, curl up and turn downright disgusting.

Pizza on a greasy box

Properly stored, leftover pizza will retain its best quality for 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator or up to 2 months in the freezer.

Store leftover pizza

The best way to store leftover pizza is NOT to leave it in the box and shove the whole thing in the refrigerator. The cardboard and air freely circulating around the slices will dehydrate them in a big hurry.

The best way is to stack and wrap: Place a single layer of slices on a dinner plate, top with a layer of wax, freezer, foil, or parchment paper, and keep stacking, alternating pizza and paper, until all the pizza’s on the plate. Wrap the whole thing tightly up in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator. That’s it! It’s not as easy as just throwing the box in the fridge, but you’ll end up with tastier leftover pizza to reheat.

Reheat leftover pizza

While there are a few methods for reheating pizza, I find the oven is too involved for a couple of slices of pizza. The microwave produces a soggy, rubbery mess. Eating the pizza cold is pathetic. I’ve settled on the hands-down best way to heat up a couple of slices is in a skillet—ideally my well-seasoned cast iron skillet, although any non-stick skillet with a lid will do just fine.

This is not difficult as long as you know up front that your most important ingredient here is patience. Just follow these steps precisely and I promise you crisp bottom crust; hot, melted cheese; and no sign whatsoever that it was made the day before.

Step 1: Place one or two slices cold pizza in the cold, dry skillet, crust side down.

Step 2: Put a lid on the skillet

Step 3: Set skillet on a stovetop burner on Low to Medium (depending on the intensity of your cooktop; this may require some experimentaiton)

Step 4: Set timer for 8 minutes.

Step 5: Wait. Do not peek or remove that lid for any reason. Just don’t.

That’s it! No need to add water or oil or flip the slices or any other thing you may be wondering about. It’s all about keeping the temperature at at Medium (or Low, see above)  and not removing the lid for any reason until it’s done.

NOTE: Because there are several variables here—type of skillet, your burner’s temperature when set to Medium—you may need to adjust these instructions as needed.

Reheat frozen pizza

For frozen leftover pizza, let it thaw on the countertop for at least an hour then follow instructions above.

Reheating pizza properly is all about starting out cold, keeping the temperature at Medium and not removing the lid for any reason until it’s done.


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9 replies
  1. Kool Breeze
    Kool Breeze says:

    I really hope this works well because my left over pizza always drys up, I just stick the box in the fridge and Mondays at my local Dominoes has 50% off menu pizzas so I order an Extra large meatza Pizza for like $12.00 and well some eventually goes to waste.

  2. Diana
    Diana says:

    We ask our Italian pizza owner what was the best way to reheat left over pizza. He told us to lay it on the grate in the oven at 400 degrees. We used to do it in the frying pan but this works great. We move the bottom grate under the pizza with aluminum foil on it Just in case it drips we normally take it out about 10-12 minutes. It comes out just like we brought it home.

  3. Andrea
    Andrea says:

    I also burned my pizza because I followed the directions! I should have checked before the 8 minutes, but she said no peeking! I might try it again. Disappointed to say the least.

  4. Libba Byrne
    Libba Byrne says:

    Panini Press! Renews that leftover pizza to perfection – quickly and an energy saver. Crisps the crusts on the bottom side while melting and melding all the toppings at the same time. Of course, don’t lower the press onto the slices, but do get it as close as you can! It’s the perfect method.

  5. tinydogpries
    tinydogpries says:

    I also use zip-lock bags for extra pizza, but I reheat mine in my toaster oven. I line the pan with parchment paper, heat the pizza and there’s no clean-up needed.

  6. Karen
    Karen says:

    I do reheat my pizza out of the fridge in a skillet – but if it is frozen, why wait for defrost time … if it is thin crust (a St. Louis favorite) then I put the frozen pizza in the skillet also, if it is thick crust, then I put my frozen pizza in the oven and it turns out great! Less cleanup with the oven than skillet because then I only have the baking stone to clean off instead of a frying pan and lid.

  7. FrugalAnnie
    FrugalAnnie says:

    I find the best way to keep it fresh is Ziplock bags. I put it all in a gallon or 2 gallon bag and suck all the air out with a straw to where it’s positively shrink-wrapped!

    I’ve read about the skillet method but haven’t tried it. I’m really going to have to give it a whirl sometime….sounds better than heating the oven up!


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