Ditch The Oven, Cook Your Frozen Pizza In A Cast Iron Pan

While nothing beats a freshly baked pizza, there's no denying that buying a frozen pizza from the grocery store makes for a quick, convenient, and easy dinner. But if you find that frozen pizzas can often be disappointing, with soggy crusts or flavorless toppings, try ignoring the instructions on the box and cook it in a cast iron pan.

Using a cast iron pan to cook frozen pizza is a simple method that results in a crispier pie, more akin to homemade. The secret lies in the way cast iron holds heat. Once preheated, though that process can take a little while, it maintains a high temperature, making it similar to the way pizza restaurants cook dough for a short time in a blisteringly hot oven.

So whether it's a Chicago-style deep dish or a thinner New York-style pie, try using a cast iron pan rather than just placing the frozen pizza directly on the oven rack. You'll be rewarded with a more evenly cooked pizza that's much more satisfying than your average frozen pizza.

Higher temperatures yield crispier crusts

While many people assume that cast iron is a good conductor of heat, that's actually not the case. However, what the material does brilliantly is retain heat. So, while it might take longer to reach the desired temperature, once it attains it, it maintains that heat for longer, which helps produce more even cooking. And for frozen pizza, that means a better texture with a crispier crust, perfectly melted cheese, and more uniformly cooked toppings.

For optimum results when using the cast iron pan method, you need to preheat the pan thoroughly. Placing the pan in the oven and then setting it to its highest temperature (but not broil) means the pan heats up nicely as the oven gets hotter, so it's already at the required temperature by the time you start to cook.

Another tip to improve the texture is to thaw the pizza first, rather than cooking it straight from frozen. You can do this either by leaving it out for half an hour or using the microwave. This allows it to cook at high heat faster, as it would in a proper pizza oven, and takes just five to eight minutes. Alternatively, the pizza can also be cooked straight from frozen in the hot cast iron. Just keep an eye on it as it cooks to ensure it doesn't burn.

More ways to cook frozen pizza like a pro

While a cast iron pan is an effective way to elevate frozen pizza, it's not the only method for achieving great results. A pizza stone works particularly well for thicker crust pizzas; just preheat the stone in the oven first, as with the cast iron pan method, and thaw the frozen pizza before cooking at the highest heat, usually between 450 and 500 degrees Fahrenheit.

Alternatively, taking your pizza outside to grill or smoke it is a fantastic way to add an extra charred, smoky flavor. For smaller frozen pies, or when reheating individual slices, you can always try the air fryer for quick, even results. Or, sandwich a slice of thawed frozen pizza between parchment paper and cook it in a waffle iron for a quick path to crispiness.

And to really enhance the taste of frozen pizza, don't hesitate to customize it a bit before baking. Consider seasoning your frozen pizza crust, adding additional toppings, or brushing the crust with oil for an extra crispy finish. Because while frozen pizza may be quick and convenient, with a little effort, it can feel much more special.