We all like ourselves a frozen pizza every now and then. It’s relatively cheap, tasty, and quickly baked.
If you’ve read your frozen pizza’s cooking instructions, you will have noticed that it often says: “Cook directly on oven rack.”
But why is that so? And is it, in fact, safe to bake your frozen pizza directly on the oven rack?
Frozen pizza dough is generally pre-cooked, which means it is recommended and completely safe to put it directly on the oven rack for baking. The dough won’t fall through the metal bars, and the cheese typically doesn’t drip or slide off the sides of your frozen pizza!
Read on and find out exactly how to bake your frozen pizza on the oven rack and when it’s not a good idea to put pizza directly on the rack!
Can You Put Your Frozen Pizza Directly on the Oven Rack?
Frozen pizza brands recommend baking your pizza directly on the oven rack, so this is definitely a thing!
Frozen pizza dough is commonly pre-cooked, so it’s neither fresh nor soft when it goes into your oven.
This makes the pizza crust a stable surface that won’t fall through the rack’s bars during cooking.
The same can be said about fresh pizza with a pre-made crust and already-cooked pizza you want to reheat in the oven.
As long as that dough is already partly or fully baked, putting your pizza directly on the oven rack is no problem at all!
Additionally, the frozen cheese on your frozen pizza is usually fine too, as the cheese will generally stick to the pizza base during cooking and doesn’t get runny or watery, sliding off your pizza.
On the contrary, frozen pizza with a thick layer of cheese should be placed on something other than the oven rack, as all that cheese can start to get soggy and watery and drip off the sides of your pizza crust.
Half a pizza, or pizza slices, aren’t an ideal match for the oven rack either, as cheese and oil can also drip off the cut edges of your pizza.
And then there’s your homemade pizza, which isn’t a suitable candidate for your oven rack either!
Keep these differences in mind when deciding whether or not to bake your pizza directly on the oven rack, and you’ll be just fine!
Is it Safe to Bake Pizza on the Oven Rack?
As mentioned above, baking frozen pizza, pre-made pizza crust, or reheating already cooked pizza on the oven rack is generally very safe.
Frozen pizzas especially are a very compact type of food with a solid texture that won’t give you any grief if baked directly on the rack!
There won’t be any soft or soggy crust, and there’s no gooey cheese topping to consider.
Of course, you’ll have to mind your hands when putting the pizza into the oven, as the rack, just like a sheet or pan, will be pretty hot.
A pizza peel or a bigger spatula (which I find sufficient for regular-sized frozen pizzas) solves this problem nicely.
Other than that, there shouldn’t be any other safety issues! Baking pizza on the oven rack is a relatively simple, quick, and hassle-free way of preparing your pizza.
Which Oven Rack Is Best for Frozen Pizza?
The middle or lower rack is most fitting for baking frozen pizza.
The middle rack will give your pizza balanced heat from both above and below, baking it nicely, evenly, and swiftly.
The lower rack is perfect for an extra crispy crust, as more heat will hit the underside of the pizza.
The upper rack isn’t ideal for frozen pizzas, as it’ll burn the toppings (read cheese) too fast while not providing enough heat for the crust, which can turn out a little undercooked.
Does Frozen Pizza Need Parchment Paper on the Oven Rack?
Using parchment paper (or aluminum foil, for that matter) to bake your frozen pizza on the oven rack isn’t necessary.
Of course, if you’ve bought a pizza with extreme amounts of cheese on top or add fresh cheese and other toppings to your frozen pizza, using parchment paper can be a good idea!
A lot of cheese can sometimes be too much, even on a frozen pizza, and you want to avoid ending up with a messy oven full of melted and burnt cheese.
Putting parchment paper under your pizza efficiently prevents this mess from ever happening.
Parchment paper is also a good option for fresh and homemade pizza, as the dough is generally soft and airy and can fall through the rack’s metal bars. Again, massive mess in your oven!
Just know that using parchment paper generally means your pizza crust will be less crispy!
If that’s your game, consider using a pan or pizza stone instead!
Is it Better to Bake Frozen Pizza on a Pan or Rack?
Frozen pizzas with a thinner crust are best cooked directly on the oven rack. Frozen pizzas with a thick crust can be baked on a pan instead.
I don’t like the old-fashioned thick pizza pans, though! Instead, I prefer modern steel pans. They are lightweight, non-stick, and manage to bake frozen pizzas pretty evenly!
The biggest advantage is that these pans will give your pizza a very crispy and crunchy crust while keeping the pizza base nicely soft and chewy.
That’s generally something you won’t achieve with just an oven rack or parchment paper under your pizza!
However, when it comes to really thick pizza crusts with a lot of cheese and other toppings, a pan often won’t be up for the job!
Using a pizza pan for these types of frozen pizzas will lead to a somewhat undercooked crust and base that can be a little soggy and doughy.
I almost always use a pizza stone instead for these (and my delicious homemade pizzas)!
Is it Better to Bake Frozen Pizza on a Pizza Stone or Rack?
As I’ve mentioned above, if you’ve bought yourself a really thick frozen pizza with a ton of cheese on top, you might want to cook it on a pizza stone.
It’s a little investment and takes more preparation and time to bake your pizza on a stone. But trust me, it’s so worth it!
Not only will your base and crust be baked to perfection, but the entire pizza will be baked more evenly.
Using a pizza stone can also make your crust a little chewier and somewhat more bread-like, like the type of pizza crust you’d get at an authentic Italian restaurant!
Not all of us like our pizzas that way, but if you do, the pizza stone is the way to go.
Not to mention fresh, homemade pizza. I would go so far as to say that there is no better way than baking a freshly made pizza on the stone!
Oh, I almost forgot! When it comes to baking frozen pizza on a pizza stone, there are two essential things to remember:
- Preheat both your oven and the stone simultaneously! If you put your cold stone into a hot oven, it might crack.
- Defrost your frozen pizza before baking it on a pizza stone. It may take a little more prep time, but the result will be so much tastier!
- Why Should You Defrost Pizza Before Cooking?
- Is Frozen Pizza Healthy?
- Can You Eat Frozen Pizza the Next Day?