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We Tried All Of The Internet’s Most Famous Frozen Pizza Hacks To Find The Best

We all fall back on frozen pizza from time to time. There’s the price and expediency of it all. Popping a $5 pie in the oven from the freezer and then digging in 20 minutes later has its perks. Then there’s the nostalgia factor. We all have that one brand we’ll defend to the death — mine is Red Baron (Classic Crust Supreme).

With the benefit of reaching full adulthood and not coming home drunk after a keg party, I think we can agree that frozen pizzas aren’t that great (even the “good” ones). This is thanks to cardboard crusts, plasticky cheese, too-sweet sauces, and mediocre toppings (at best).

That being said, what if we treat frozen pizza not as an end unto itself but as merely a jumping off point? You might find that frozen pizzas become massively better with just a little “somethin’ extra” on your end. That’s why today, we’re pulling in some famous internet hacks to help you make your next frozen pizza help you make your next frozen pizza endeavor the best one yet.

Below, we’re trying eight of the most popular frozen pizza hacks from around the internet. Of course, we did have to do some narrowing. The vast majority of the “hacks” on the internet and on social media were just some variation of “top it yourself” with good stuff, which is kinda… no shit! Really? Yes, folks, you can put whatever you want on your frozen pizza to make it better. There’s no secret frozen pizza police that’ll burst through the wall and arrest you for subverting the will of the fine folks at Tombstone.

Point being, we’ve streamlined all the different brilliant “add toppings” advice posts into a single composite entry, in order to focus more energy on the methods that actually can elevate your frozen pie in ways you might conceivably not have thought of before.

As for the testing of the hacks, I’ll be using the same pizza (our favorite brand from a previous tasting, Screamin’ Sicilian Bessie’s Revenge Cheese) for all eight with one for control and a final combo hack. All are baked and served according to the box’s instructions, unless the hack dictates otherwise. I’ve cut two pies into eight pieces to save on food waste. I’m also using a standard electric oven without a pizza stone (side note, you should get a pizza stone — that’s the real hack). All told, you should be able to replicate all of this at home in any oven — just make sure your oven is preheated properly before starting to bake your pie.

Pizza Hacks
Zach Johnston

The Control Pizza

Pizza Hacks
Zach Johnston

The Method:

This was prepared strictly according to the box directions. 425 for 16 minutes with a five-ish minute rest before serving.

Tasting Notes:

This is fine. It’s frozen pizza, with a decent yet soft crust and cheese vibe. It’s not mind-blowing — or anything near delivery/take out — but it has its charms. I’d say overall, it’s very edible, the crust has an okay crunch (but not much really), and the cheese and sauce are balanced but slightly bland.

Bottom Line:

“Fine” is the keyword here. This is satisfying overall but nothing to get excited over.

The Hacks

8. Poke Holes In Crust

Pizza Hacks
Zach Johnston

The Method:

This hack asks you to take a knife and poke holes into the frozen pie. The idea is that you’ll create space for hot air to travel through the pie and bake it more thoroughly. Otherwise, the time and temperature from the baking instructions were the same.

Tasting Notes:

Honestly, I didn’t notice much difference here. The pie was cooked through but it couldn’t really find any variation from the control pie.

Bottom Line:

You can skip this one.

7. High Temperature/Shorter Time

Pizza Hacks
Zach Johnston

The Method:

This is probably the easiest but most finicky hack. Fresh pizza is usually cooked at a high temp for a short time. The pizza ovens in Naples are usually around 700 to 800 degrees and cook a pie in 90 seconds. Obviously, that’s using fresh ingredients to begin with (as opposed to frozen) and your home oven likely doesn’t go up to that temperature anyway.

Still, you should be able to get your oven up to 500F without much trouble. That temperature will cut your bake time from around 16 minutes (at 400 or 425) to nine/10 minutes. The thing is, you’ll need to keep an eye on your pie to know when it’s done (which is sort of contrary to the ease of a frozen pizza, but whatever) — look for melted cheese and a browning crust on the edges.

Tasting Notes:

Overall, this is more “set” as a pizza. It’s a little less gooey, with a crunchier crust, but the cheese isn’t that much different honestly.

Bottom Line:

Was this that much better? I don’t know. Maybe by a hair. The biggest advantage was it took closer to 10 minutes instead of 16. Overall, this gets a big shrug from me as a hack.

6. Top It Yourself Before Baking

Pizza Hacks
Zach Johnston

The Method:

This is the “no, duh…” hack of the internet. Adding quality ingredients is going to elevate anything. For this method, I’m adding some better low-moisture mozzarella, a few slices of decent pepperoni, and some black olives. Then I’m baking it according to the box.

You can literally add anything else. Grilled sausage and bell peppers? Go for it! Jalapeños and pineapple? Yup!! Anchovy and capers? Absolutely!!! Okay, you get the point. Be creative and you do you.

Tasting Notes:

This is a bit better. This still has a “fine” crunch and doughiness to the crust while carrying much bolder flavors up top. The cheese and salami melt together nicely to create a classic vibe. The olive is hot and adds that earthy umami counterpoint that you either love or hate.

Bottom Line:

This hack is one of the best because it can be anything. Almost any pizza can be made better by adding your own, high-quality toppings. Plus, this is best done with a plain cheese frozen pizza, which is the cheapest on the shelf from any brand. But! The actual pizza below those toppings is still pretty basic and not really elevated at all.

5. Garlic Butter Crust

Pizza Hacks
Zach Johnston

The Method:

This is kind of in the same bracket as “top it with better stuff.” That said, this is really about elevating the crust specifically with better, deeper flavors. In this case, you need to make a simple garlic butter (or buy some from the bread aisle at your grocery store) and brush it around the crust before you bake it.

In this case, I’ve baked it according to the box and on the cookie sheet (to save the butter and garlic melting/burning all over the oven).

Tasting Notes:

This is better. The crust takes on the fat from the butter and gets both crispier on the edges while softer in the middle of the bread/crumb. The garlic amps up the overall flavor nicely while the butter adds a lush dimension to the pie that’s very much welcome.

Bottom Line:

This is a good hack that both elevates the medium and the flavor profile. I will say that this should be added to the “top it better” hack though because if you’re not doing this while adding better pepperoni or cheese, then you’re missing out big time.

4. Top It After Baking

Pizza Hacks
Zach Johnston

The Method:

Topping your pie after it comes out of the oven is a totally different beast than topping before. Topping a pizza post-bake is all about lighter ingredients like fresh basil, Parmesan, fresh arugula, olive or chili oil, and maybe even some prosciutto or walnuts.

In this case, I’m going old-school Neapolitan and keeping it simple with fresh basil, good olive oil, freshly grated parm, a few slices of prosciutto, and some big flakes of finishing salt. All of this is on a pie cooked according to the box’s specs.

Tasting Notes:

This is a strong contender. The addition of fresh ingredients after the bake takes center stage on the palate. The pie is fine underneath but becomes secondary to the big flavor notes from the almost peppery basil, salty cheese and ham, and the earthiness of the oil.

Bottom Line:

This isn’t a Neapolitan pie by any stretch but it’s still a massive elevation for a frozen pizza. And, I’d argue, a better one than adding toppings before baking. It’s just fresher and brighter.

3. Defrost Before Baking

Pizza Hacks
Zach Johnston

The Method:

This is the most time-consuming but very rewarding. By defrosting, you’re essentially working with a fresh pizza that can cook faster and more thoroughly at a higher temperature.

In this case, I’m baking the pie on a sheet at 500F for about seven minutes since fresh pizzas are always cooked at a very high temp (as mentioned above).

Tasting Notes:

This is really a lot better. The crust feels more like a real crust with a nice chew and crisp exterior. The cheese is properly melted and has a lot less of that plasticky aftertaste. It feels like the sauce is better too but that could just be me projecting.

Bottom Line:

Overall, this is miles better than just throwing a hard, frozen pie into the oven. That said, it takes a long time to defrost a pie, over an hour. That might be a deal breaker for some. My recommendation is to put a pie in your fridge in the morning before you leave for work and it should be defrosted by the time you come home (or very nearly) — or use a microwave.

2. Olive Oil In A Baking Pan

Pizza Hacks
Zach Johnston

The Method:

This hack asks that you both bake the pie in an oven-pre-heated pan and add a ton of olive oil to crisp everything up. So, I’ve put the pie into a pan that has a thin layer of olive oil in it. I drizzled more olive oil over the crust and then baked the pie according to the box’s instructions.

Tasting Notes:

This worked really well. The crust was 100% elevated, both in texture and flavor. The base of the pizza (under the toppings) was also more of a solid, almost cracker than a soggy listless shrug. This had the best crust.

Bottom Line:

This is a good and easy hack to make your pizza far better structurally, and tastier. The only downside is that you have an oily pan to clean at the end, which is a far cry from pulling a pie from a rack.

1. Bake Directly On The Rack

Pizza Hacks
Zach Johnston

The Method:

Most pies will have you baking a pizza on a cardboard cutout, piece of baking paper, or on a cookie sheet of some sort. There’s a lot of chatter out there that you should be avoiding doing that. This hack calls for you to cook the pizza directly on the oven rack, to allow for the heat to directly encompass the pie while it bakes.

For this one, I’m cooking the pie on the rack according to the box’s instructions.

Tasting Notes:

This is way better. The pizza is more evenly cooked with the cheese meltier with a truly crispy cheesy edge. The crust is more set and properly crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. The overall slice is way less droopy too — there’s just better form with a great crust.

Bottom Line:

This is the easiest improvement you can make to a frozen pizza. Simply bake it on the rack, folks!

Final Thoughts: The Combo Hack

Pizza Hacks
Zach Johnston

The Method:

Here’s the ultimate hack, folks. A defrosted pie on the rack (with parchment paper). Add some sharp cheddar or extra mozz to the toppings and maybe some grilled onions and peppers. Bake according to the box’s instructions (425F for 16 minutes). Let rest for three minutes. Add fresh basil, parm, and prosciutto with a crack of black pep and a flake or two of good salt, and then hit with a good drizzle of olive oil around the crust (don’t be shy).

Optional, squirt a touch of fresh lemon juice over the pie to add acid and brighten the whole thing up (it’s a very Southern Italian tactic).

Tasting Notes:

This is it. The combination of extra (fresh and light) toppings that are baked into the pie with extra cheese helps to create a more robust base without overstuffing the pizza at a foundational level. The real elevation here is adding all the extra fat, salt, acid, and sweetness at the end with that basil, ham, olive oil, and seasoning.

Bottom Line:

This is a perfect bite… of frozen pizza. Yes, it’s still frozen pizza. You’re not going to trick anyone into thinking it’s delivery. But this is about as good as it gets.

The best part? You can mix this up as you see fit. If you have some good and peppery arugula, use that instead of basil. Leftover broccoli and gorgonzola? Put that on before baking! You get the point. Have fun with it.

In the end, the point is that the combo of defrosted, on the rack (or in a pan), lightly topped before baking, heavily topped and oiled after baking, and seasoned at the end is the ultimate frozen pizza hack. You’re welcome.

Pizza Hacks
Zach Johnston
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