Frozen pizza. It’s a blessing for every cash-strapped college student and a curse for every harried mom trying to put together a quick dinner. Frankly, it’s a curse because frozen pizza isn’t particularly known to be, well, good pizza. The crust is sometimes indistinguishable from the cardboard it’s packaged with—and the fact is, three sad little pieces of pepperoni do not make for robust toppings. But there’s hope: this yummy selection of frozen pizza upgrades.
1. Invest in a pizza stone
The simplest way to maintain great crust consistency is to get—and use—a pizza stone. There are untold numbers of stones sitting in pantries just collecting dust, so break yours out for a preheated turn in the oven. The idea behind a pizza stone: It replicates the surface of a wood-fired pizza oven, allowing you to get crispier crusts and more evenly cooked toppings. Alternatively, you could…
2. Ditch the directions.
Defrost the frozen ‘za and set the oven to a high temperature—like 550 degrees—to replicate the blast-furnace feel of a real pizza oven. Then use a cast-iron skillet or griddle and bake the pizza for five to eight minutes. You’ll get a differently textured crust, more akin to what you’d expect from the corner pizzeria. No skillet? Place the pizza directly on the oven rack.
3. Get crispy with a quick fix.
Don’t have time to defrost a frozen pizza? Poke a few holes in the bottom to let air escape as the pizza bakes. It’ll make for a crispier crust—and your family won’t complain about soggy slices.
4. Eggs make everything better.
Pull the pizza out of the oven when it’s at the halfway baking mark and crack an egg over it. Then return it to the oven. At time’s end, you’ll get a nice fried egg on top—and yolky goodness on every slice. Love it? These dishes taste even more delicious with an egg on top.
5. Go Hawaiian.
Before popping the pizza into the oven, place canned pineapple slices and shredded ham on top. Voilà! You’ve got Hawaiian pizza in almost no extra time. But if you’re feeling industrious, try our homemade version. If you’re not a fan of ham or pineapple, try topping your pizza with the best frozen meatballs.
6. Get fresh.
Nothing brightens up a drab frozen pizza like a sprinkling of fresh basil and olive oil on top. Better yet, loosely shred the basil leaves for a more intense flavor.
7. Upgrade the cheese.
It’s universally known that frozen pizza skimps on the cheese. So, augment that reality with a sprinkling of freshly grated Parmesan, or whole slices of fresh mozzarella and a few small dollops of ricotta. Maybe go bold and layer some slices of pepper jack on a standard frozen cheese pizza, or go exotic and try Edam or Gruyere. And some people swear Gouda makes a pizza extra gouda…er, good.
Or you can follow the scientific route. Researchers at the University of Auckland looked at different cheeses and gauged their elasticity, oil content, moisture levels and texture, as well as something called “transition temperature,” to determine the perfect taste as well as best bubbly visual appeal. The result: Mozzarella and cheddar struck the perfect balance. So get thee to a cheese shoppe and load up on some “betta chedda.”
8. Go west.
Kick up the flavor of a frozen pizza by adding cooked chorizo and jalapeno slices for a decidedly western flair. If you want something a bit bolder, sprinkle on a tiny—and we do mean tiny—dash of Ghost Pepper Sea Salt.
9. Veg out.
Amp up the health quotient by adding zucchini, broccoli florets and sliced cauliflower to the proceedings. Want it crunchy? Add the veggies raw as the pizza goes into the oven. Otherwise, saute the vegetables first. Other flavorful options: spinach, green peppers, mushrooms and olives. Best yet, veggie pizza is a sneaky way for kids to eat their veggies.
10. See food, eat it.
Add cooked lobster, shrimp or crabmeat in the last three or four minutes of the pizza’s baking time for seafood that’ll be warm but not overcooked.
Of course, you can always make pizzas from scratch—with a little help from premade pizza dough. Try quick and easy offerings like Bacon Cheeseburger Pizza, Chicken Cordon Bleu Pizza or Asparagus, Bacon and Herbed Cheese Pizza. Each takes just 30 minutes or less to make, start to finish.
Get Inspired By Our Favorite Pizza Recipes
Learning how to make pizza at home? This recipe is a hearty, zesty main dish with a crisp, golden crust. Feel free to use whatever toppings your family enjoys on this homemade pizza recipe. —Marianne Edwards, Lake Stevens, Washington
This recipe combines my two favorite foods—pizza and chicken cordon bleu. I’ve made this for my family and the teachers at my school. Now my teachers ask me to make it for them for lunch! —Justin Rippel, Colgate, Wisconsin
I just love the combination of fruit, almonds and chocolate that makes this brownie so unique. The fruit lightens the chocolate a bit and makes it feel as though you are eating something sinfully healthy. —Sue Kauffman, Columbia City, Indiana
When I’m in a rush, I take advantage of convenient prepared pizza crust to create this Mexican-style pizza. If you like it spicy, add a little chopped jalapeno pepper to the skillet when cooking the beef. —Mary Detweiler, Middlefield, Ohio
I make this creative baked potato pizza for Super Bowl parties. The sour cream, bacon, onions and cheese make every bite taste just like a loaded baked potato. —Gina Pierson, Centralia, Missouri
I used to make this bacon breakfast pizza for my morning drivers when I worked at a delivery place. And they just loved it. Breakfast pizza is a quick and easy eye-opener that appeals to all ages. —Cathy Shortall, Easton, Maryland
Contributor Gigi Miller, from Stoughton, Wisconsin, provided a fabulous recipe for sweet and saucy chicken thighs that she serves with rice. We took it a step further, and used the chicken and sauce to make this restaurant-inspired Thai pizza. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
Cheesesteaks and pizza are such favorites, I just had to combine them. We top a pizza crust with roast beef, cheese and veggies for a hand-held feast. —Jackie Hannahs, Cedar Springs, Michigan
There’s nothing better than a guilt-free dessert, especially when it’s topped with refreshing and colorful fruit. We skimmed the calories and fat from a traditional fruit pizza to create one with about half the calories, fat and cholesterol. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
My husband’s favorite foods are pizza and cheeseburgers, so I combined the two in a pizza with mayo and dill pickle juice topping. People who try it start laughing because it’s so good. —Angie Zimmerman, Eureka, Illinois
Fans of spicy chicken wings will love this rendition that turns it into pizza. Serve it up with blue cheese dressing and crisp celery, just like the tasty original. —Shari DiGirolamo, Newton, Pennsylvania
When I have a little extra time to play with, I caramelize the onion in this recipe to add a different flavor. —Kadija Bridgewater, Deerfield Beach, Florida
My from-scratch pizza has a whole wheat crust flavored with beer. Top it with spinach, artichoke hearts and tomatoes, then add chicken or ham and fresh basil if you want to include meat. —Raymonde Bourgeois, Swastika, Ontario
Got Thanksgiving Day leftovers? Forget ho-hum turkey sandwiches and try this unique take on pizza instead. Get creative with different variations: use whole berry or jelly cranberry sauce; add dollops of mashed potatoes on top; drizzle with turkey gravy; sprinkle with stuffing or dressing; or try unique pizza crust varieties. —Carla Parker, Anderson, South Carolina
Preparing this recipe is the best way I know to make sure my family takes time for breakfast. I just call out “pizza’s ready!” and amazingly everyone comes to the table. —Rose Koren, Brookfield, Illinois
While visiting a Wisconsin orchard, I tried a tempting apple crisp pie. At home, I put together this apple pizza. As it bakes, the enticing aroma fills my kitchen, and friends and family linger waiting for a sample. —Nancy Preussner, Delhi, Iowa
Save yourself a trip to Greece and serve this appetizer pizza at your next party. To ensure a crisp and flaky crust, before assembling the pizza, drain the tomato slices on a paper towel to soak up any extra moisture. —Claire Torrice, Oswego, New York
When we were growing up, my mother made an amazing pizza with shrimp and crab. Now my kids ask for it, and the tradition continues. —Danielle Woodward, Colorado Springs, Colorado
While traveling in New Zealand, my husband and I discovered turkey pizza. We came up with our own version for a creative way to use leftovers. —Kristin Stone, Little Elm, Texas
Dressed greens on top of warm pizza may sound a little strange but trust me, it’s fantastic. —Tracy Youngman, Post Falls, Idaho
I always keep meatballs and pizza crusts in the freezer to make this specialty on the spur of the moment. Add a tossed salad and you have a delicious dinner. —Mary Humeniuk-Smith, Perry Hall, Maryland
A prebaked pizza crust and refrigerated barbecued pork make this tasty supper idea super fast and super easy. Cut into bite-sized pieces, and it can double as a great last-minute appetizer, too! —Joni Hilton, Rocklin, California
I had my first stuffed pizza when I attended college near Chicago. I was amazed to see pizza well over an inch thick, with topping on the inside! When I served this version to my family, there are no leftovers.
—Nancy Gilmour of Sumner, Iowa
When I’m making this pizza and I have garlic oil in my pantry, I swap it for regular oil. It adds a little something without overpowering the toppings. —Shelly Bevington, Hermiston, Oregon
String cheese is the secret to success for this popular stuffed-crust pizza. Prebaking the crust crust before you add the toppings assures that the cheese inside will melt completely.—Terri Gonzalez, Roswell, New Mexico
I created this after my dad said that my graham cracker crust should be topped with dark chocolate and pecans. It’s easy to customize by adding your favorite chocolate and toppers. Dad thinks the whole world should know about this pizza! —Kathy Rairigh, Milford, Indiana
What started as an appetizer is now one of my favorite Mediterranean meals. I make sure I always have the ingredients, so I can whip it up in a hot minute. I like to use fresh tomatoes instead of sun-dried ones when they’re in season, and sometimes I throw in some chopped artichoke hearts, too. —Nikki Haddad, Germantown, Maryland
Fresh spinach gives this recipe a tasty twist. That leafy green plus yellow peppers, snow-white mushrooms and tomato sauce make this a colorful addition to your pizza buffet table. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
My grandma made the tastiest snacks for us when we stayed the night at her farm. Her wonderful pizza, hot from the oven, was covered with cheese and had fragrant herbs in the crust. Now this pizza is frequently a meal for my husband and me and our family. —Michele Madden, Washington Court House, Ohio
These easy little pizzas are a wonderful change of pace from the classic cookout menu. Let everybody go crazy with the toppings. —Lisa Speer, Palm Beach, Florida
I had figs I needed to use up, so I made a batch of dough, tossed the figs on the grill and created a scrumptious dessert pizza. —Aaron Reynolds, Fox River Grove, Illinois
My girls love it when I make this mash-up pizza with hot dogs and chili. It’s a marvelous way to use up leftover chili. —Jennifer Stowell, Smithville, Missouri
Not only do refrigerated breadsticks lend a fun twist to pizza, but they make this dish a weeknight staple at my house. Feeding kids? Slice pieces into small strips and let the kids dip each strip into marinara sauce. They’ll love it! —Mary Hankins, Kansas City, Missouri
I use a prebaked crust and fixings from the much-loved BLT sandwich to create this fun variation. It’s my family’s favorite pizza. —Marilyn Ruggles, Lees Summit, Missouri
So fast and so easy with refrigerated pizza crust, these saucy, smoky pizzas make quick fans with their rustic, hot-off-the-grill flavor. They’re perfect for impromptu cookouts and summer dinners on the patio. —Alicia Trevithick, Temecula, California
The post 10 Incredible Ways to Upgrade Frozen Pizza appeared first on Taste of Home.
Pizza from the freezer is certainly a convenient meal option. But it is often a very blah dinner—unless you try these tasty frozen pizza upgrades.
The post 10 Incredible Ways to Upgrade Frozen Pizza appeared first on Taste of Home.329648, 330318, Home & Living