So you've managed—by some divine grace—not to finish your entire pizza. That alone is accomplishment enough, and you should be proud of your noble restraint. You know what they say: Good things come to those that wait. See, there have been studies that prove it. The good thing coming to you? The ultimate leftover pizza lunch.
What has not been studied enough, however, is the best way to reheat these glorious leftovers. The microwave, technical marvel that it is, will render your slice a soggy mess, with a crust that's way too hot and mushy. (Really, if you're going to burn your mouth on anything, it should be the cheese.) The oven, while it restores that crispness that made you fall in love at first bite, will also dry out your cheese and toppings. No amount of crunchy base is going to make up for that failure.
So we polled several experts, and the recommendation was near-unanimous: Use a skillet.
How to Reheat Pizza
Anthony Falco, Roberta's head pizza maestro, recommends putting your slice in a non-stick skillet on medium-low for a couple minutes. Once the bottom is crisp, add a couple drops of water to the pan, turn the heat to low, and cover with a lid. In about a minute, you'll have fluffy crust and melted cheese. He even shared a super-helpful illustration that he drew himself—a true Renaissance man!
Our assistant kitchen manager Derek Laughren prefers to use a cast-iron skillet (as opposed to non-stick) to reheat his pizza. We tested this with a slice of Roberta's Motorino's Margherita (pictured here) and it was a melty-cheesy success. He then finishes it off in the oven, just for a minute—not long enough to let it dry out.
Mark Bello, the founder and head pizza instructor at Pizza a Casa Pizza School, likes to tamp down a piece of foil over the pizza, to create a "moisture-crispness canopy." The bonus with this technique? Lifting up the foil for the big reveal gives off a blast of delicious warm pizza smell.
Our resident pizza expert, Ryan Hamiton, goes rogue: He reheats his pizza in the toaster oven. Here's how he does it: "I pop two slices in at 350° F for maybe 5 minutes, and then I usually eat a third cold slice while I wait on its friends."
After all, leftovers are all about easy eating. Now, they're also about perfect pizza—no preheat necessary.
Our Go-To Pizza Recipes
Pulling off a totally homemade pizza—fresh dough and all—doesn't get much easier than this, thanks to Jim Lahey's no-knead pizza dough and a few fresh, simple ingredients.
If you're in the mood for something other than tomatoes and mozzarella, give this tangy-herby goat cheese pizza a go.
Classic margherita pizza gets a few twists from Nik Sharma—fresh naan (instead of your typical pizza dough, coriander and nigella seeds, and chopped chives—for a slice that's packed with bold flavors.
5. Beer Pizza
If drinking an ice-cold beer with your pizza isn't quite enough, try making this can't-have-just-one-slice pizza that calls for beer in the dough.
Complete with sausage, prosciutto, and red onion, this deep-dish pizza has everything you could possibly want in a meaty, extra-melty slice.
How do you reheat your pizza? Or do you just eat your leftovers cold? Tell us in the comments!
Photos by James Ransom. Illustration by Anthony Falco.
This post was originally published in September 2014, but we liked it—and reheated pizza—so much, we had to share it again.