How to Reheat Leftover Pizza at Home like a Pro

Because pizza leftovers are one of life's greatest gifts.

January  8, 2020
Photo by Julia Gartland

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! 

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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

1. Jim Lahey's No-Knead Pizza Dough + Margherita Pie

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. 

2. Glazed Shallot, Walnut, Sage & Goat Cheese Pizza

If you're in the mood for something other than tomatoes and mozzarella, give this tangy-herby goat cheese pizza a go.

3. Margherita Naan Pizza

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.

4. Broccoli Rabe, Potato & Rosemary Pizza

Broccoli rabe adds a nice bitterness to this no-sauce pizza, which gets its balancing flavors from creamy mozzarella, starchy potatoes, and earthy rosemary. 

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. 

6. Deep Dish Sausage, Prosciutto & Onion Pizza

Complete with sausage, prosciutto, and red onion, this deep-dish pizza has everything you could possibly want in a meaty, extra-melty slice.

7. White Clam Pizza

Made famous by a Connecticut pizzeria, this white clam pizza is crispy, light enough to have a couple of slices, and has all the just-right clammy flavors. 

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.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • bonnie rose
    bonnie rose
  • Marla K. Goldstein
    Marla K. Goldstein
  • Frances Rodgers
    Frances Rodgers
  • TZ
  • Patrick P. Canady
    Patrick P. Canady
I'm a former Food52 Julia Child Food Writing Fellow now studying law so I can make food fairer, more delicious, and more sustainable for everyone. I was born and raised in Montreal (mostly on poutine and matzoh ball soup), but in my heart I am an Italian grandma—I live on pizza and make a mean eggplant parmesan.


bonnie R. July 16, 2022
air fryer makes it look, feel and taste like it did when you had the first slice.
Marla K. March 7, 2020
Ecchhh! All this fuss. All these steps. All those pans to clean.

Pizza, especially leftover pizza is meant to be a convenience food, not something to be fussed over. Here's what works for me.

Pizza on a plate, in the microwave, with a glass of water. Zap for as long as you need, depending on thickness, size of slice, toppings, how long it's been out of the fridge.

The glass of water steams up the microwave and prevents drying out. And it's no fuss, no muss. You only have to clean the plate you're eating on.
Frances R. February 25, 2020
And I live outside of Philly so we have amazing pizza places so I always buy a large pizza and put the slices in my freezer. And take it out put it in my toaster oven at 3:50 375. Just until the cheese is all oozie. Especially good for a provolone pizza, where the cheeses on the bottom and the sauce is on top
Frances R. February 25, 2020
If you have a large enough toaster oven put it on toast and throw in your pizza. It heats the fastest I am the hottest. And if you get delivery french fries, do the same thing dark toast. Your french fries will sizzle. You’re welcome
TZ January 27, 2019
I've tried it this way several times and it just doesn't work the way described. I've even adjusted the directions, and still it does not work the way described.
Patrick P. November 23, 2018
This worked well for regular or thin crust. The thick crust was hot on the bottom but still cold on top. Since I had a combination of thin and pan or real thick crust in the same pan, I had to remove the thin crust and place the thick crust in the microwave grill setting. The thick crust was going to burn the bottom in the pan with still have a cold topping. I guess I’m still quite a novice.
Ron S. March 23, 2018
A frozen slice in a screaming hot oven for 5 mins or so. Perfect !!
Carole L. March 23, 2018
First - any left over pizza should be stored in Ziplock ON THE COUNTER! Never in the fridge. This tip was given to me by the owner of our favorite Pizza place. A Quick toaster oven toasting (on the tray) to bubble up the
cheese and crisp the bottom and it will taste even better than the night
52FOOD.com November 8, 2022
Yes!!! This is true! Don't refrigerate your pizza for at least 24 hours, and up to 48. I leave it out for 48 and have done so with my pizzas for years! IT will help in the reheat process!!
Joe H. October 4, 2017
i put me pizza in ten foil and put the oven on 275 and let it preheat then i put the pizza in the oven and let it stay in there for about 5 minutes then take it out and look at it and see if it needs to go back in the oven for a couple of minutes
Ebra February 20, 2017
Mostly I eat it cold. Skillet method is second choice.
Lon V. July 9, 2016
Would be useful if you said whether to put the pizza on the skillet cold, or to pre-heat it first.
Anwaar June 24, 2019
Cooking Tip: Always start with a hot skillet!! :)
Nina D. April 10, 2016
I've always done this way cuz it would be faster than the oven and I come across with this post can't believe it hahahahahaha
FoodFanaticToo April 6, 2016
Always in a skillet on the stovetop. I have never added water, though, and will definitely test it out! Thanks for the ideas.
Kat April 5, 2016
In the grill! Or broiler I guess :) bottom side up first, then after its hot flip to get the cheese mealty and hot again too
DragonFly April 5, 2016
I use a cast skillet in the oven at 350, the pizza comes out crispy and yummy!
Jacque J. April 5, 2016
Perfect way for my family - place slices in toaster oven on rack and heat on dark toast setting. The slices come out bubbly on top and the crust is perfectly crisp.
Smaug April 5, 2016
Seven minutes on a perforated pan starting in a cold oven. I've never had any problem with toppings drying out. I am not myself Italian, and I do not like soft pizza crust.
Susan L. October 26, 2014
First I heat up some olive oil in any old pan, drop in the cold pizza and wait for the magic to begin. No water necessary, drop a cover on it for a smidge. Decadent!
David October 16, 2014
Use Philips air fryer for 3-5 mins, heats and restores the Pizza like it was just baked
Christine H. October 3, 2014
2 slices, face to face, squished in a waffle iron until hot...DONE! BEST! BOOM! Thank me later