Montana, Here’s My Hack for Perfectly Cooking a Frozen Pizza
Let's get two things out of the way...
One, I love pizza. I could easily eat it a couple of times per week. Two, I realize that frozen pizzas are never a perfect substitute for any of the delicious pies found in cities big and small around Montana. I've had Howard's in Great Falls. I love Carbone's in Billings. Bozeman has a ton of great pizza places. Pizza lovers around the state all have their favorite place and will argue at length why their pizza joint is the best.
But sometimes, you must settle for a frozen pizza.
Perhaps it's budgetary or you're in a hurry for a quick dinner for the kids. Americans consume around six billion dollars of frozen pizzas per year. DiGiorno has the biggest share of the market at $1B a year. My parents call frozen pizzas "cardboard pizzas" because they are usually shipped on a cardboard disk "and taste the same." That seemed to be the case years ago, but frozen pizzas have come a long way. Many are often better than a lower-tier chain pizza, in my opinion. Especially if you can cook it properly.
The problem I'd run into is that the crust would be done (bordering overcooked), but there would still be cold spots in the middle of the pizza. Half-frozen sausage pieces and unmelted cheese is gross.
If you don't have a dedicated pizza oven at home, here's the best way I've found to cook a frozen pizza in your oven.
Start with a decent-quality frozen pizza.
I like this brand quite a bit, but I'll settle for a Tombstone or Red Baron too. If you're more of a take-n-bake person (like the refrigerated ones they sell in the deli section at Walmart), my cooking tip still applies.
Alter the cooking directions.
I consider the printed direction more of a suggestion. I cut the cooking time by about five minutes.
17 - 19 minutes? Ha! Let's try 13 minutes instead.
Slide your frozen pie into the recommended temperature, preheated oven.
Check the crust and do the hack!
You can see the crust is cooked to my desired doneness after just 13 minutes, but the middle toppings were still cold. Here's my trick. With your pizza on the second from the top rack, switch your oven to BROIL. Then, watch carefully. Do not wander off! The toppings will be done in as little as a minute or two. Perhaps a tiny bit longer.
I've been cooking frozen pizzas since I was a teenager, and it was only recently that I discovered this better way to cook them. The cheese is golden and toasted. The pepperoni gets those crispy little edges. The sausage does not have room-temperature pieces in the middle. So much better.
I feel like the manufacturers make the directions as simple as possible because they know there is a likelihood their consumer is inebriated when cooking a frozen pizza. Their legal teams are probably like, "Um.. no. There is no way in hell we're telling our customers to crank up their 500-degree broiler at 2 am." But if you want a better frozen pizza experience, give it a shot next time.