Cooking Frozen Pizza on a Pizza Stone: Yay or Nay? Risk vs Reward

By tank

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Pizza stones give your pizza, flatbread, and other baked goods that crispy crust that elevates whatever you are cooking, and guarantees evenly cooked, crunchy, and delicious meal every time. So why not elevate and transform a convenience food and turn it from an ok meal into a delicious restaurant quality meal?  You can do this with a frozen pizza.

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Frozen pizza is one of those things where you want to eat pizza at home, and you don't have to make from scratch, and you see it in the grocery store or you already have some in your freezer.   Sometimes it's great on its own, but there are some ways to make it better. This can range from adding additional ingredients that you like on your frozen pizza, to cooking it on a baking stone. The (pizza) baking stone makes the crust nice, crunchy, and restaurant quality, right in your home.  So why not have restaurant quality pizza in your home without the price or the hassle of making it yourself?  With some simple cooking hacks, you can transform your ordinary frozen pizza into a delicious custom made creation.  Here are some methods for achieving that.  Results will vary, but in my experience it is worth trying out!

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First, as a general rule, putting a frozen pizza on a hot stone or pan CAN cause thermal shock. This may result in your pizza stone being cracked or a metal/steel sheet or pan being warped. However some people, including myself, have done it, and it didn't crack the stone. It's a bit of a roll of the dice, but sometimes you feel lucky or experimental.

That said, an alternative is to microwave the pizza beforehand. This will warm it up some, and reduce the risk of thermal shock damaging the pizza stone. The microwave time can vary, but usually between 5-7 minutes for a thin crust pizza works well. You should preheat the oven to the temperature on the box, with the pizza stone in it beforehand, and once the microwaving has finished, slide the pizza on the pizza stone.

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Another alternative, similar to using the microwave, is to cook the pizza partly on the oven rack, and midway through, move it to the pizza stone.  With this method, you can usually pretty much stick to the timing instructions on the pizza packaging, so there's less guess work.  You'll want to add a couple minutes to the cook time to account for opening the oven midway through cooking, which drops the oven temperature.  So the extra time allows the oven to get back up to temperature.  Also like the microwave method, preheat the oven beforehand, at least 30 minutes to give the stone time to get to temperature.

The third method is to cook the frozen pizza on the stone, starting with a cold oven.  This method takes thermal shock out of the equation since both the stone and frozen pizza will be cold.  The downside to this method is that the cook time will be less predictable.  The reason is, lets say it takes the oven 25 minutes to get to 425 degrees.  You would start the cook time of the pizza from that point.  But the pizza will be warming up some during the initial oven warm-up period.  So once it gets near the end of the cook time, you'll want to keep an eye on it and remove it once it looks like the desired doneness.

A couple other notes: 
  • Some pizza stones are flat on one side and ridged on the other side.  The ridged side can be used for cooking frozen pizzas because it provides less surface area for possible thermal shock
  • Some people cook frozen pizza on top of parchment paper, to catch moisture from the thawing pizza.
  • Using a steel baking stone, like the Baking Steel or Nerd Chef Steel Stone, will cook your pizza faster, since steel baking stones conduct heat better than regular stone.
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In addition to getting a crispy crust on your pizza, you can also add your own toppings.  You can add freshly chopped vegetables, packaged pepperoni, and other types of cheese.  More ideas for toppings can be found here.

Related: How To Make Your Frozen Pizza Taste Better