Pizza

12 Excellent Frozen Pizzas for When You Just Can't

November  2, 2020
Photo by PHOTO BY JULIA GARTLAND. PROP STYLIST SOPHIE STRANGIO. FOOD STYLIST: SAMANTHA SENEVIRATNE.

Pizza is a steadfast dinner option when I simply can’t summon the energy to cook. Just give me dough slathered with sauce and melting cheese and I’ll eat it right out of the box, thank you so much. Though my favorite spots for takeout pie are just a short walk away, sometimes the farthest I feel like going is my own kitchen. Because what if I want pizza at midnight—or 9 a.m., for that matter—when the local slice shops are closed? Frozen pizza is the hero we all need. I checked in with some food professionals to get their suggestions for the best frozen pizzas the frozen-foods aisle—and the internet—can offer. Spoiler alert: There are some strong opinions in the mix.

From classic cheese pizzas and Chicago deep-dish to Bagel Bites (oh heck yes, they count!) and even a vegan option, here are the 12 best frozen pizzas, selected by folks who know their food.


1. Jeno's by Totino's Pizza

A disclaimer needs to be made before the purists start complaining: To me, frozen slices are their own nostalgic genre and need to be celebrated as such. Oddly perfect pepperoni cubes and sugary tomato sauce aside, Jeno's also gets extra points for that airy, cracker-like crust—a magical quality that won't leave your stomach in pain after you down an entire pizza at 10:30 p.m. —Andrew Bui, food writer and photographer

2. Bagel Bites

I feel so strongly about this that it has even made it into my dating profile: Bagel Bites are the perfect food. Full stop. They have the perfect sauce to bread to cheese ratio. They’re snackable, easy to eat with one hand, and ideal for sharing. I always have them stocked in my freezer, and they’re my favorite party trick—a tray of Bagel Bites just out of the oven (never the microwave) is the best way to end a night. The only form of frozen pizza I care about. —Scott Loitsch, executive video producer, NYT Cooking

3. Z&Z Za'atar Manoushe

Manoushe is a Middle Eastern flatbread (basically a pizza) that comes in a variety of toppings, za'atar being my absolute favorite. Z&Z is a small family business based out of D.C., and they make an incredible frozen za'atar manoushe that's not only delicious but also super convenient (it requires just 5 minutes in the oven). The za'atar blend is sourced directly from Palestine, supporting local farmers. The dough bakes up bubbly and crisp; just add some cucumber slices, olives, and parsley on top, and you're good to go. —Noreen Wasti, food stylist and recipe developer

4. Gino's East

I’m a Chicago native, so the only way to reconcile the pizza divide with some of my New York friends is to admit that Chicago-style pizza is a food group of its own—which happens to be one of the most amazing food groups out there. However, when we're talking frozen pizza, the categorical lines blur. One of my all-time favorites is Gino's East. —Drew Aichele, food stylist

5. Lou Malnati's

I've been known to fly from Chicago to New York with a pie and a half tightly wrapped and insulated in my backpack. [Editor’s note: Flying to Chicago isn’t an option for dinner every week, but luckily Lou Malnati's sells frozen pizza online.]Drew Aichele, food stylist

6. Caulipower Uncured Turkey Pepperoni Pizza

I’m into this pepperoni pizza with a cauliflower crust. I’d long struggled to find a frozen cauli-crust that crisps up before I stumbled upon this one. —Ella Quittner, writer

7. California Pizza Kitchen

CPK is the official pizza of being left home alone for dinner in the early aughts. These are frozen pies that actually get crispy-crusted in the oven, unlike some of the other big names in the aisle. My allegiance is to the BBQ chicken pizza, but I’ll give an honorable mention to the meat-fest “Sicilian” pie. —Becky Hughes, social media manager, NYT Cooking

8. Trader Joe’s Organic Pizza

It’s crisp enough and an easy dinner in a pinch. I also love the wild mushroom and black truffle flatbread: pizza-esque and feels kinda fancy, even though it’s frozen. They’re perfect with a light salad for a quick dinner or cut into slices as an app for TV-watching or having friends over…if that ever happens again. —Shannon Sarna, cookbook author and editor of The Nosher

9. Trader Joe’s Tarte d’Alsace

This frozen pizza is technically a French-style flatbread, but it has a buttery crust, creamy béchamel-like sauce, lots of Gruyère, and is sprinkled with toppings (ham and caramelized onions), so I think it counts. —Gaby Scelzo, food writer, Sifted

10. Amy's Vegan Roasted Vegetable Pizza

It may be controversial to pick a pizza without any cheese or sauce, but with plenty of sweet, deeply caramelized onions, savory roasted shiitake mushrooms, and tangy peppers and artichoke hearts, there's just nothing missing here! It's been a comfort food for years, and I always keep one in my freezer. —Kelsey Youngman, associate food editor, Food & Wine

11. Amy’s Cheese Pizza

Honestly, sometimes I just want to eat like a small child and get a cheese pizza. And I always cut it up into slices like I’m not going to have the whole thing at once, but who am I kidding? I like the mushroom and olive one, too. But I think the best thing about Amy's pizza is that it doesn’t give me any kind of sodium hangover like other frozen pizzas do. —Sarra Sedghi, assistant editor, MyRecipes

12. Table 87

I love Table 87’s coal-fired Margherita slices. The crust is a bit charred and comes out pretty crunchy for a frozen pizza! As a registered dietitian, I love the built-in portion control—these are especially great when you want a pizza but are dining solo. I usually pair a slice with a simple arugula salad for a satisfying and quick weeknight dinner. Ayla Gentiletti, registered dietitian

Join The Conversation

Top Comment:
“Perfect Neoplolitan pizza (the Original Pizza!) shipped direct to you [ok, they are shipped from Napoli to a warehouse somewhere in the US, and THEN to you] FOR FREE, at a price that is not even possible. I don't know how they do that. Superior by a mile, and somehow less expensive than ordering a pizza from anywhere in your neighborhood.”
— David H.
Comment

Which frozen pizza (or pizza-like product) do you reach for on a busy evening? Let us know in the comments!

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • AlwaysLookin
    AlwaysLookin
  • beezus
    beezus
  • Johonna Cadwgan
    Johonna Cadwgan
  • conisue68
    conisue68
  • Basaqua
    Basaqua
Rebecca Firkser is the assigning editor at Food52. She used to wear many hats in the food media world: food writer, editor, assistant food stylist, recipe tester (sometimes in the F52 test kitchen!), recipe developer. Her writing has appeared in TASTE, The Strategist, Eater, and Bon Appetit's Healthyish and Basically. She contributed recipes and words to the book "Breakfast: The Most Important Book About the Best Meal of the Day." Once upon a time, she studied theatre design and art history at Smith College, so if you need a last-minute avocado costume or want to talk about Wayne Thiebaud's cakes, she's your girl. You can follow her on Instagram @rebeccafirkser.

26 Comments

AlwaysLookin January 1, 2021
Wow, there are actually some good picks here ... especially my favorite, the Trader Joe’s Tarte D’Alsace which is really flavorful and reminds me of Chicago THIN CRUST!
 
beezus November 13, 2020
Paul Newman's are pretty good. I do add some shredded cheese before I bake it.
 
Johonna C. November 12, 2020
Dr. Oetker Virtuoso Pizza! Any flavor, really
 
conisue68 November 10, 2020
I would also like to see some gluten free options (not cauli). For regular glutened pizza, I loved Freshetta Brick Oven cheese or pepperoni.
 
Basaqua November 10, 2020
We prefer DiGiornos Pizza thin crust. 4meat plus some added mushrooms and cheese!.
 
David C. November 10, 2020
should have a non cauliflower GF option ...bc Cauliflower sucks :)
 
Lawkat November 10, 2020
We love Screamin’ Sicilian Bessie’s Revenge cheese pizza (original). I add sliced tomatoes and basil and turn it into a Margherita. The crust crisps up nicely and they use real mozzarella slices. So far it’s the best frozen pizza we’ve had.
 
Leigh November 6, 2020
what's the pizza in the photograph?!
 
David H. November 10, 2020
We NEED an answer!
 
Liz M. November 11, 2020
Crispy, cheesy pan pizza by King Arthur flour...but you have to make it yourself...I make it all the time... best recipe ever and can be found here on Food 52 website as well.....but Talia di Napoli pizza is the only frozen pizza we’ll eat here
 
Leigh November 11, 2020
Thank you Liz M.! Here is the link to the recipe: https://food52.com/recipes/82857-crispy-cheese-pan-pizza-recipe
 
David H. November 5, 2020
Talia di Napoli. Perfect Neoplolitan pizza (the Original Pizza!) shipped direct to you [ok, they are shipped from Napoli to a warehouse somewhere in the US, and THEN to you] FOR FREE, at a price that is not even possible. I don't know how they do that. Superior by a mile, and somehow less expensive than ordering a pizza from anywhere in your neighborhood.
 
Kelly M. November 11, 2020
Ok, so I totally just impulse-ordered these (because half the ones in the list above that sound so amazing aren't available in actual grocery stores and poor rural me can't afford $150 for 16 slices of coal-fired pizza, no matter how good it is...). Fingers crossed that Talia di Napoli is the compromise I'm looking for!
 
Fran November 3, 2020
Motor City Pizza best Detroit-style semi deep dish! The ONLY frozen pizza we will buy. We get it at Costco. I never write reviews, but I had to chime in on this one.
 
dinaofdoom November 4, 2020
They are sooooo good! I never had Detroit style before. The Cheeseburger is an interesting flavor but my preference is the Supreme.
 
Katekooks November 11, 2020
Thanks for this. That's a section at Costco that I generally avoid, because I'm a food/pizza 'snob'. Since I'm in Southfield, it seems like a perfect choice when I just don't feel like making my own. I haven't been there this year, but may go today.
 
bookjunky November 11, 2020
Have to chime in—I don’t like most frozen pizza but this stuff is the bomb.
 
okaykate November 3, 2020
I don’t know if they are sold everywhere, but Palermo’s Ultra Thin pizzas are AMAZING
 
okaykate November 3, 2020
My bad ‘Primo Thin’ is the name of the pizza (I’ve now been vegan for quite a few years but lived on those pizzas, eating them 4-5 times a week for nearly a whole year when I was recovering from broken feet and couldn’t cook. I NEVER got sick of them and continued to eat them regularly after I had recovered. They are that good)
 
Jen D. November 2, 2020
I don’t understand this list at all. Is it a list of garbage pizza? I’m going to need Gordon Ramsey to weigh in...
 
Valhalla November 2, 2020
I like Amy's cornmeal crust, but they have discontinued it! The vegan one is actually great, though I admit to putting goat cheese on it a few times.
 
Sir T. November 3, 2020
Although not frozen, you should try Lou Manaltis, The Lou. It's vegetarian and oh so good.
 
Marc M. November 2, 2020
Talia di Napoli. It’s not even close. Pizzas from Italy available online or at some Whole Foods
 
Sir T. November 2, 2020
Home Run Inn Pizzas, all natural, minimal ingredients. Cut into squares for snacking.
 
Cat November 10, 2020
Thank goodness someone else has some sense here! Sir T, you are spot on about HomeRun Inn! Everyone in Chi-town knows HRI is the best 'frozen' pizza....and definitely one of the top 'fresh' zza's as well - tho we have many great options here.
 
HalfPint November 2, 2020
I love DiGiorno's stuffed crust pizzas. Soft, pillowy with enough cheese that it does not feel heavy.