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How to Keep Pizza Warm in the Oven Without Drying Out

Attempting to keep your pizza in the oven warm is a delicate affair. On the one hand, you want it to retain some heat, but you also want to avoid drying it out and burning everything.

So, when faced with this particular problem, what do you do? 

One option is to use your oven but to strike that balance between keeping things warm and not destroying them, you need to take care. So, that’s what we will look at today. 

pizza in the oven

The Key

The key here is the temperature. You need to remember that your pizza has already been cooked, so it’s not a case of trying to get something crispier or cooking it for longer.

That is why you need to keep things low. A high temperature will effectively dry out your pizza by over-cooking everything, and that is what we want to avoid.

The Temperature

So you probably wonder what temperature you should set your oven to. In this instance, it’s in the region of 200F, which is 93C, and let it warm up a bit before you add your pizza.

This is a low temperature, but it’s still high enough to keep adding in heat as your pizza would have otherwise started to cool down. It’s sort of a balancing act going on here, and various studies have found that this is the best possible temperature to strike that balance.

But it’s not just about the temperature.

The Placement

It’s advised that you should place your pizza on the middle rack. If you place it too low or too high, you play around with the temperature and how the heat hits your pizza.

The middle rack does then mean you get the middle of everything, and it does help generate the best possible results with your pizza.

Adding the Pizza to the Oven

We have a couple of tips here when it comes to keeping your pizza warm that should mean you avoid getting a soggy crust.

Take your pizza out of either the box it arrived in or the baking tray you had it placed on for cooking. You want to add the pizza to the middle rack by sliding it straight onto the rack itself.

This will allow air to circulate in every part of the pizza, making a difference to the crust. The heat will gently heat the crust and remove any moisture that would have been created as it cooled down.

Also, keep a close eye on what is happening with the pizza as you keep it warm. Check one part of the pizza is not somehow receiving more heat than another part by considering turning the pizza now and again while it’s in the oven.

You want things to happen evenly or as close to even as possible, and that’s the best way to ensure that happens.

keeping pizza warm in the oven

The Length of Time it Lasts in the Oven

But this approach of using your oven as a warmer for pizza only lasts for a certain period of time. Generally, you can use this method for up to two hours. After that time, your pizza starts to lose some of its appeals.

Of course, this length will vary depending on how you like your pizza. Some people prefer it to be slightly dried out and overly crispy.

Signs That It’s Going Wrong

So let’s presume you have followed those steps mentioned earlier, and your pizza sits in the oven, keeping it warm. How do you know things have started to go wrong?

Often, you will notice two main things that indicate you left your pizza in the oven for too long.

First, the edges of the pizza can begin to turn slightly soggy. The crust droops a bit, and the toppings become slightly less appealing than they used to be. But that’s not the only sign.

While the edge of the pizza can become soggy, the middle of the pizza does the complete opposite. There, you will find the middle of the pizza becomes dry and slightly harder to eat. 

Everything remains edible, but it’s just strange how two completely different things happen to the same pizza at the same time.

pizza in the oven

But What If You Cooked Your Pizza in the Same Oven?

While the steps above relate to a cold oven, what happens if you used the same oven to cook your pizza in the first place and you now wish to keep it warm?

If this is the case, you should not simply turn the oven down to that 200F figure and keep your pizza in there. That will quickly ensure everything goes wrong on your part.

Instead, you need to switch off the oven, remove the pizza from it, and allow the oven to cool. This should involve giving it more than 10 minutes to cool down before you fire everything back up.

After that time, you should then find it easier to get to the desired temperature and to then make sure the oven acts more as a warmer rather than something that will cook your pizza.

What Happens If It Needs to Stay Warm for Longer?

Let’s say you need to keep the pizza warm for longer than that maximum of two hours we suggested. What do you do?

Honestly, if it’s going to be longer than two hours, where you already push the limits, then we have another suggestion. Take the pizza out and let it cool. Do not use the oven as a warmer if you plan on eating it three or even four hours later.

Wrap the pizza slices up in foil, and place them in the fridge. In this type of situation, you will need to go through a more intense warming-up approach when the time comes when you want to eat the pizza.

In this instance, you need to warm up your oven to a temperature of 450F/232C when you want to eat your pizza. After the oven has reached that temperature, you place the slices in the oven for around 10 to 15 minutes.

That 15-minute mark should be the absolute maximum. It gives the pizza time to warm up without doing too much and drying it out.

Using the Pizza Box?

Finally, we have something interesting to cover: using the pizza box to help keep your pizza warm in the oven.

Look closely at the pizza box to see if it has steam flaps. These small semi-circular flaps can be pushed open. If your box does not have them, then best you cut some to let steam out.

Then, you need to place the box, with the lid closed, on the middle rack at the temperatures mentioned earlier. 

But you need to take care. You have to ensure the box is nowhere near the heating element to reduce the risk of fire.

Once again, you can keep your pizza warm for up to two hours. However, we would recommend doing this for between 60 and 90 minutes to make sure the pizza still tastes as good.

Using a Pizza Stone?

One final option you may want to consider is using a pizza stone, which can get pretty good results. Again, it must involve the same temperatures, but this time you want to place the pizza stone in a cold oven and let it warm up.

By doing this, you get better results. A pizza stone works better when you place the pizza on it when it’s already warm.

To correctly warm the pizza stone, it will take around 30 minutes, so you need to plan ahead. Once it’s warm, take your pizza and slide it onto the pizza stone. You then place it in the oven and close the door.

Once again, this should ensure your pizza stays warm for one to two hours. The good thing about the pizza stone is that it should mean your crust does not become too soggy rather quickly. That’s all because of how a pizza stone works regarding heat, so it should lead to good results.

But honestly, any of the methods mentioned above will work well with keeping your pizza warm. As we said earlier, the key is the temperature and not setting things too high.

Overall Conclusion

And that is how you manage to keep your pizza warm in the oven without drying it out. While the task does remain easy to do, you need to understand that it’s always possible for things go wrong and you overdo it with the temperature.

However, if you manage to get the oven down to that 200F mark and then pay attention to the pizza, it should mean you do not run into as many issues as you perhaps feared. Also, it should ensure you do not ruin your pizza which would be a real disaster.