16 Ways To Elevate Frozen Pizza

Frozen pizzas hit the spot when you need something quick and convenient for dinner. However, sometimes, they fall a bit flat regarding flavor and texture. Fortunately, there are many ways to upgrade them that will leave your mouth craving more, and I'm not talking about Parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes, either. Don't expect to turn frozen pizzas into a gourmet dinner, but you can easily take them to the next level with a few seasonings and ingredient upgrades. From adding savory toppings to flavoring the crust to drizzling with infused oils or hot honey, prepare to turn your frozen pizzas into flavorful creations.

To create a list of frozen pizza upgrades, I considered all the ways I have attempted (and sometimes failed) to elevate them in my own kitchen. I also researched recommendations from popular chefs, creative recipes, best pizza cooking practices, and more to bring you the best tips around. Keep reading to learn some ways to elevate frozen pizza that you can easily execute at home. The next time you pull a boring, bland frozen pizza out of the freezer, you'll be surprised at what a huge difference they make.

1. Start with a top-quality cheese pizza and customize it however you like

One of the best ways to set yourself up for success regarding tasty frozen pizzas is to start with a top-quality brand's plain cheese pizza. While it will likely cost a few extra bucks, using better ingredients from the ground up gives you a serious advantage when it comes to flavor and texture. While the really cheap pizzas may be tempting, leave them at the store. Sorry, not sorry, Totino's. Instead, choose something like Screamin Sicilian Pizza Co.'s Bessie's Revenge. It is made with a delicious blend of fresh cheese and a secret sauce recipe. DiGiorno also has some pretty good options and lots of crust varieties.

Starting with a plain cheese pizza is also a fantastic idea. They allow you to build your toppings any way you like and leave lots of room for creativity. Plus, you can select better-quality toppings than most companies include. This also gives you the option to use fresh veggies and other ingredients that haven't been frozen, which we all know have more flavor.

If you already have a few frozen pizzas at home that aren't plain cheese, or you wouldn't call it top-quality, don't worry. You still have hope of turning them around with one or more of the upcoming tips.

2. Let your frozen pizza thaw so you can rearrange the toppings

Chances are good you have pulled a frozen pizza out of the box or wrapper and noticed the toppings aren't evenly placed or maybe even have shifted over to one side. Whether this is because of temperature fluctuations during transport or poor factory assembly, this happens quite a bit. Fortunately, you can easily remedy the issue with a little bit of time.

It may seem a bit obvious, but leaving your frozen pizza on the counter briefly allows you to rearrange the toppings more precisely. It only needs to thaw for a few minutes for the toppings to become unstuck enough that you can pull them off and redistribute them how you like. Even placement isn't just aesthetic, either. It spreads the flavor across the pizza and ensures you don't get any slices without all the good stuff. Depending on how frozen your pizza is, about 10 to 15 minutes should be plenty. Since that's about how long it takes to preheat the oven, just take your pizza out of the freezer when you turn it on, and you should be all set.

3. Create a showstopping crust with various seasonings

The crust is one area on frozen pizzas that can let you down. Sometimes, it is soggy, and sometimes, it is just plain bland, especially compared to gourmet alternatives. As a result, seasoning your frozen pizza crust is paramount to ensuring the best taste throughout. It's super easy, too, so don't overlook this simple upgrade and its serious potential.

Both butter and olive oil are perfect for brushing onto frozen pizza crust. They add a touch of moisture to the dry crust and quite a bit of yummy flavor. If done right, you may even forget it was ever frozen. Both olive oil and butter can be brushed on as is. You'll want to melt the butter for better coverage, but nothing else is needed. Still, you can mix Italian seasonings, parmesan cheese, or crushed red peppers in as well to really turn up the flavor of your crust.

To prevent accidentally scorching the crust seasoning you choose, wait to apply it until your pizza is just a couple of minutes from being done or until it comes out of the oven. As long as it is still hot and not too crunchy, it'll seep in nicely.

4. A bit of extra cheese never hurts

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Extra cheese never hurts. Since cheese is considered an essential element for most pizzas, adding a touch more is kind of a no-brainer. It makes the whole pizza taste better and adds a gooey, stringy element that is undeniably appealing. Unless, of course, you're allergic or vegan. Many frozen pizzas are also somewhat light on cheese, so why not give them a helping hand and add some more of what we love?

Mozzarella cheese is the obvious choice for adding to your frozen pizza because it is most likely already one of the ingredients. Freshly grated Parmesan and pecorino romano are also classic ingredients used on pizzas. None of these will alter the overall flavor much, but they definitely improve consistency. If you are looking to add depth to your frozen pizza's pre-existing flavor profile, there are plenty of other wonderful cheeses you can sprinkle on top, too. From gorgonzola to brie to cheddar to goat cheese, you truly can't go wrong. I like to put a ball of burrata right in the middle. Then, when I slice the pie, the cream seeps out, and a small amount gets on each piece.

Whatever type of cheese you select, remember that fresh cheeses have the most flavor. Premium quality cheeses are also a good idea. Adding expensive cheese to a frozen pizza may seem silly, but quality cheese has the power to transform anything.

5. Quickly enhance flavor with marinated toppings

Aside from adding extra cheese, marinated vegetables are the easiest way to add flavorful toppings to a frozen pizza. They come ready for action, so no washing, chopping, or pre-cooking is required. Many are also marinated in oils with tasty seasonings and other flavors, adding more than just a plain ingredient to the mix. It's fair to say that marinated veggies produce a potent, juicy flavor that elevates frozen pizza in every way.

You can easily find a wide range of marinated veggies at the grocery store, so the possibilities are nearly endless. However, some are better suited to your typical frozen pizza than others, especially if it isn't plain cheese from the start. Some of the best upgrades include marinated mushrooms, black olives, artichokes, and sun-dried tomatoes. They fall in line with typical Italian pizza flavors exceptionally well. Even though we don't always think of it as a vegetable (spoiler alert: It is, and it's part of the onion family), marinated garlic is another outstanding way to improve frozen pizza's flavor. Marinated jalapeños and pepperoncinis are also excellent choices if spicy foods are your thing. In fact, you've probably had them on pizza before.

6. Make it saucy with extra marinara, pesto, or alfredo

Many people, myself included, like a bit of extra marinara on their pizzas. You can put it directly on the pie or use it to dip the crust. Either way, extra tomato sauce is pretty much guaranteed to take your frozen pizzas to the next level. It ensures your pizza doesn't wind up overly dry. The additional sauce also adds lots of complex flavors, especially if you make it from scratch and enhance the taste with secret ingredients.

Alfredo sauce is also a welcome addition to frozen pizza. If you don't already know, it's basically just a decadent cheese sauce, so why wouldn't it go great with pizza? If you're trying to keep things simple, there are numerous ways to upgrade store-bought Alfredo sauce. Or, you can simply drizzle some across the top of your pizza and call it a day.

Basil pesto is another incredible sauce to pair with frozen pizzas. It has garlic, olive oil, and tasty basil, so it's overflowing with fresh Italian flavor. Frozen pizzas are typically all about convenience, so you may not want to invest in making pesto from scratch for a meal that is supposed to be super simple. Still, a basic pesto recipe is pretty easy to execute. Plus, you'll likely have some leftovers, so think of it more like meal prep.

7. Improve quality with top-rate toppings

As you likely know, the toppings that come on frozen pizzas aren't really known for being all that great. Sure, they get the job done in some cases, but at the same time, they could use a lot of help. It's not always their fault, though. I mean, we can't expect mass-produced vegetables that were sliced and frozen who knows how long ago to blow us away. That's okay, though. As long as you're aware of their lack of flavor, you can counterbalance it with premium toppings of your own. You could even remove any toppings already there and start from scratch, but let's try to prevent any unnecessary waste.

Meat lovers are free to explore any kind of meat toppings they like. Thanks to pizzas' versatile format, most meats are complimentary. Whether you use leftover chopped chicken, shredded pork, sausage, or cured meats, your tastebuds will thank you. Italian-style cured meats like prosciutto and salami are also fantastic.

Meats add a bold punch to frozen pizzas, but so do veggies. You can slice and add typical toppings like onion, bell pepper, mushroom, and tomato, or get a bit creative with vegetables like broccoli or zucchini. Either way, I like to saute my extra veggies briefly first. Then, I add them about halfway through baking so they don't overcook but still get a chance to truly become a part of the pizza.

8. Use a pizza stone to promote even cooking and a crispy crust

As the name suggests, pizza stones are designed for cooking pizzas. When placed under a pie, they help the crust crisp up to perfection. Of course, they are typically used with homemade pizzas, but using them under frozen pizzas is a great idea as well. They are also a cheap fix for uneven oven heat because they absorb lots of heat and concentrate it into one area, leading to a more consistently cooked crust all around.

If you already have a pizza stone, you're in luck. Simply preheat the oven with the stone inside so it can get nice and hot, and then put your pizza on top and bake as normal. If a pizza stone isn't already a part of your kitchen arsenal, I recommend buying one. They are fairly inexpensive, and they really make a huge difference in the quality and texture of frozen pizza crust. Once you acquire one, you can use it for more than just pizza, too. They are great for cooking baked goods, crispy quesadillas, and more.

9. Top with fresh greens

California-style pizzas are known for their unconventional toppings, and leafy greens are just one example of why. It is not uncommon to see a California-style pizza topped with a handful of raw, leafy greens, so why not take the idea and apply it to frozen pizzas, too? Topping a frozen pizza with a pile of raw leafy greens not only adds a ton of fresh flavor but also increases nutrition. Considering pizza isn't really considered the most healthy, sneaking in some beneficial greenery can only help.

There are many different types of lettuce, but spinach, chard, watercress, kale, and arugula are my top picks for putting on a pizza. They don't wilt super quickly and have a nice zest to them. I stay away from regular leaf lettuce, romaine, butter lettuce, and iceberg because they don't hold up as well on top of a hot pizza and aren't as nutritionally dense.

This upgrade option may not be for everyone, but it's definitely a favorite of mine. It adds a pleasant contrast in textures and a touch of bitterness that only accentuates the rich flavors of a frozen pizza's cheese and tomato sauce.

10. Brighten flavor with lemon juice or zest

Pizza and lemon may sound like opposing flavors, but surprisingly, a hint of lemon juice brings frozen pizzas to life. You may have heard chefs talk about the flavor of citrus fruits like lemon and how they add acidity and brightness to dishes, and frozen pizza is no exception to the rule. Their tart flavor balances out the acidity in tomato sauce while simultaneously brightening the taste of the other toppings. It may be subtle, but it leads to a noticeable improvement all the same.

A squeeze of fresh lemon juice is ideal for sprinkling over your frozen pizza. You can use the pre-squeezed kind in a pinch, but it doesn't compare to the juice from a freshly sliced piece of fruit. When your pizza is done cooking, squeeze a touch of lemon juice over the top, making sure not to create any puddles or over-saturated parts that result in sogginess. Just a tiny bit goes a long way.

Lemon zest also makes a fantastic choice for frozen pizza. It is easier to spread out evenly and less likely to overwhelm any single part of your frozen pizza. Again, you don't need much. Just enough to add tiny bursts of bright flavor is perfect.

11. Drizzle with oils for deep flavor

Many gourmet pizzas include a drizzle of olive oil either underneath the crust or across the top to increase flavor. So, take a note from the pros and incorporate it into your frozen pizzas at home for an instant, easy improvement. Simply swirl a small amount over the top when your pizza is done baking and revel in the rich, deep flavor. Or, if you are cooking your frozen pizza on a pan, add a bit to the bottom before putting your pizza on it. When the pizza bakes, the oil adds a superior level of crunch and ensures it doesn't dry out.

Top-quality olive oils are perfect for elevating your frozen pizzas, but infused olive oils take them well beyond a simple upgrade. Olive oils can be infused with a world of flavors that taste delectable with pizza. From rosemary to thyme to garlic to spicy peppers to lemon, they all result in rich, complementary flavors throughout. While not technically an oil, a tiny bit of balsamic reduction also makes Italian flavors pop. Just be careful because too much can make your frozen pizza overly sweet and syrupy.

12. Combine sweet and savory with various fruits

I know putting fruit on pizza can be somewhat polarizing, and some would even say forbidden, but I don't see what all the consternation is about. It may sound a bit weird at first, but if you've ever tried a pizza topped with sliced pineapple and jalapeños, I don't understand how anyone could not say it is anything other than delicious. I guess if you don't like jalapeños, that's one thing, but the warm pineapple tastes shockingly delicious with tomato sauce, cheese, and crust. All the flavors create the perfect balance of sweet and spicy. If you use grilled pineapple, it only makes it even better.

In addition to pineapple, grilled peaches make an outstanding pizza topping. They are super sweet and taste great with fresh basil, onion, and prosciutto. Grilled peaches are also surprisingly tasty with mozzarella and a touch of balsamic. Roasted fig pizza is another fairly trendy pizza topping, but you're unlikely to find a frozen version of this unique pie, so you'll need to create it yourself.

13. Get creative with toppings

Everyone knows about traditional pizza toppings like pepperoni, sausage, onions, olives, and mushrooms, but pizza is actually much more versatile than some would expect. If you're in the mood for something different, don't limit yourself to the basics. Experiment with unique toppings like Brussels sprouts, hummus, nuts, seeds, fancy mushrooms, and more, and you'll be pleasantly surprised. I've even seen people crack an egg on their pizzas before baking or adding slices of pickle.

You can also play around with regional flavors and style your frozen pizzas with Thai or Mexican flavors. I like to add roasted corn, green chili strips, and jalapeños before baking, as well as salsa and fresh cilantro at the end to get my fix of spicy Latin flavors.

Unique topping combinations take you farther away from authentic Italian-style pizzas, but they are undoubtedly delicious. They also provide you with something a bit out of the ordinary, so you don't get bored with traditional toppings. I'm not sure that's actually possible, but something out of the ordinary can still be fun. It may even make you want to eat pizza more frequently. Yay, more pizza!

14. Add a swirl of hot honey at the end

Hot honey isn't the first thing that comes to mind when people think of pizza toppings, but it should be. The balance of sweet and spicy flavors makes it drool-worthy on its own, but adding it to pizza takes it to new heights. It makes a fantastic dipping sauce for the crust, and it can even be swirled on the top to balance out savory flavors and add depth overall. Regardless of whether your frozen pizza is topped with just cheese, meat, veggies, or all three, hot honey will make it shine in ways you may not have thought were possible.

To execute this upgrade properly, you'll want to start slow. Swirl a small drizzle of hot honey across the entire pie, making sure to get some on the crust, but don't overdo it. I'm not saying it'll ruin your pizza if you add too much, but it is best to start slow if you're unfamiliar with this flavor combination. You can always add more to your individual slice later on. Regular honey can also be used if you aren't into spicy foods. It won't add quite as rich of a taste and could be a little funky with certain toppings, but it's great for crust no matter what.

15. Finish it off with fresh herbs and spices

When your frozen pizza finally comes out of the oven, top it with fresh herbs for a noticeable burst in flavor. Dried herbs and spices also work, but fresh herbs have a much more potent taste, leading to a bigger upgrade. They also add a lighter, brighter element to the otherwise heavy toppings on a pizza, particularly if you add them after it is done baking. You could add them before, but the fresh flavor often becomes comparatively dull in the oven.

Italian herbs and spices like oregano, basil, thyme, and parsley are all solid choices for topping a frozen pizza. However, depending on the toppings, you actually have a world of potential flavors to choose from. Rosemary and sage are two of my favorites. They have an earthy flavor that tastes amazing with cheese and tomato sauce. Fresh basil is another top pick in my kitchen. It's slightly sweet, rich in flavor, and it's already a common pizza topping. Just a few ripped or diced leaves add a gourmet flavor overflowing with freshness.

16. Don't ruin your pizza by cutting it straight away

After all your hard work upgrading your frozen pizza with tasty ingredients and more, the last thing you want is to ruin it right at the very end. With this in mind, you must refrain from cutting it the moment you take it out of the oven. I know, it's the big payoff moment. You want to dive right in, but it will likely result in a hot mess if you do. When you cut into a hot pizza straight from the oven, the toppings and cheese stick to the blade, causing them to shift considerably and possibly slide entirely off their respective slices. What's left behind is lots of ingredients on the cutting board and not much on the individual pieces.

Luckily, it only takes about three to five minutes for the toppings to cool enough for them to stick in place and be ready for slicing. If you can muster the patience to wait for a full five minutes, not only will your sliced pie look a million times better, but you are way less likely to burn the roof of your mouth. Let's face it: We've all fallen prey to biting into a piece of molten hot pizza before and regretting it for the next couple of days. Instead of letting this happen again, knock out two birds with one stone and let your pizza rest for a few minutes before slicing and enjoying.