Pizza is one of the most popular foods around the world. The convenience of getting a hot, fresh pizza delivered right to your door in a cardboard box is hard to beat.
But what if you want to heat up those leftovers? Can you just pop the whole pizza box in the oven to reheat it?
This is a common question for pizza lovers. After all, it seems like it would be so easy to just slide the box in the oven and warm everything up. However, there are a few things to consider before cooking a pizza box in the oven.
Should You Put a Pizza Box in the Oven?
The short answer is no, you should not put a standard pizza delivery box directly into the oven. Pizza boxes are made from corrugated cardboard, which is not safe for oven use.
Here are the main reasons why it’s best to avoid baking a pizza box:
- The box can catch fire – Oven temperatures can reach over 400°F. Cardboard ignites at 451°F and can quickly burn and spread flames.
- Chemicals in the ink and paper – Most pizza boxes are printed with ink and treated with chemicals that you don’t want to inhale.
- The oven won’t heat properly – Pizza boxes take up a lot of room and prevent air from circulating, leading to uneven cooking.
- It makes a mess – Grease and cheese will drip all over the bottom of your oven as the box heats up.
Dangers of Putting a Pizza Box in the Oven
To understand why you shouldn’t put a pizza box in the oven, it helps to be aware of the potential dangers.
This is the biggest risk. The ingredients on a pizza—cheese, sauce, and grease—can easily heat up and ignite a cardboard box. Once the box catches fire, it can quickly spread and put your home and safety in jeopardy.
Smoke and Fumes
As cardboard heats up, it releases toxic fumes and smoke that you don’t want to inhale. The chemicals used in ink, dyes, and materials in corrugated cardboard can release noxious gases when baked.
Pizza boxes are bulky. Leaving a box in the oven prevents air from circulating properly, creating hot and cold spots. This can lead to uneven cooking and possible foodborne illnesses.
Messes and Cleanup
Once heated, grease and cheese will drip off the pizza and make a mess of your oven. Melted cardboard and ingredients will be a hassle to clean up. It can even leave residues that affect the taste of future dishes cooked in the oven.
Can You Use Any Pizza Box in the Oven?
While typical delivery pizza boxes shouldn’t go in the oven, there are some pizza packaging options that are oven-safe:
- Boxes made from aluminum – The reflective properties of aluminum allow it to withstand high oven temperatures without catching fire.
- Parchment paper or aluminum pizza pans – These lift the pizza out of the box to bake directly on a safe material.
- Boxes labeled “oven safe” – Some pizza companies make boxes specifically for home oven use. Look for an oven safe logo or check box labels.
- DIY foil lined box – You can modify a delivery box by completely lining it with foil to block direct contact with cardboard during baking.
If using an oven-safe box, still take precautions – Use care when handling, limit oven time to package limits, and inspect for damage beforehand.
How to Reheat Pizza Without the Box
Avoiding pizza box fires or messes in the oven is easy. Here are some safe ways to reheat pizza to mouthwatering perfection:
On a Baking Sheet
- Place slices on a foil-lined baking sheet in a single layer.
- Bake at 400°F for 6–8 minutes until hot and bubbly.
In a Skillet
- Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat.
- Place pizza slices in the skillet and heat for 1–2 minutes per side.
Directly on the Oven Rack
- Arrange slices on an oven-safe rack, with foil on the rack below to catch drips.
- Bake at 350°F for 5-7 minutes until the pizza is hot.
In the Toaster Oven
- Small individual toaster ovens heat up fast.
- Cook 1-2 slices at a time at 350°F for 4-5 minutes.
Under the Broiler
- Broil a slice for 1–3 minutes to crisp it back up. Watch carefully to avoid burning.
For best results, reheat pizza for a short time at a high temperature. This keeps the crust crispy and melds flavors without overcooking.
Storing Leftover Pizza Properly
To get the most out of your pizza, store leftovers properly:
- Allow the pizza to cool completely first.
- Place slices in a pizza box, wrapped in foil, or in resealable plastic bags.
- Refrigerate as soon as possible, within 2 hours of cooking.
- Eat refrigerated leftovers within 3–4 days for the best quality.
- Frozen leftovers last 2–3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before reheating.
Proper storage retains texture and taste while preventing sogginess and the potential for bacterial growth.
FAQs About Cooking Pizza in the Box
Still have some questions about the pizza box oven dilemma? Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:
Is it ever okay to cook a pizza box?
No, it is never recommended to put a regular pizza box in the oven. The risks of fire, fumes, and mess outweigh any small convenience. Opt for oven safe boxes or just transfer pizza to cookware.
What about recycled pizza boxes?
Used boxes with grease stains should not go in the oven. Recycle all food-contaminated cardboard. Ovens amplify potential foodborne illness risks.
Can you cook a frozen pizza in the box?
No, you should always remove frozen pizzas from their boxes before cooking. Follow the package oven directions, cooking directly on the rack or pan at the right temperature.
What temperature is unsafe for cardboard?
Cardboard ignites at 451°F. Ovens often exceed this temperature. Even if it doesn’t combust, toxic chemicals leach out of cardboard starting at 300°F or less.
Is it bad to microwave a pizza box?
Do not microwave pizza boxes. The metals in ink can spark, cardboard can catch fire, and chemicals leach into food. Always transfer food to microwave safe dishware.
The Takeaway: Enjoy Pizza safely.
Pizza night doesn’t have to end in disaster or become hazardous. By understanding cardboard’s limitations and reheating pizza the right way, you can continue enjoying those delicious cheesy slices without sacrificing safety or your oven’s cleanliness.
Use oven-safe methods to reheat pristine slices to share with family and friends. Or just order a fresh, hot pizza and avoid leftovers altogether. Either way, savor the tastiness of pizza prepared and served properly.
Hi, I’m Julie, the passionate foodie and founder of Juliesfamilykitchen.com. I created this blog out of a drive to prove someone wrong, and then I realized how much I truly enjoy cooking and trying new recipes. In my free time, when I’m not running around after my kids or spending quality time with my partner, you can usually find me in the kitchen experimenting with new dishes.