If you have ever ordered pizza from your favorite restaurant or picked it up from the store yourself, you know that pizza always comes in a cardboard box.
Cardboard provides pizza with support for the pizza base. The pizza can rest safely on the bottom of the cardboard box without fear of being pressed or squashed during the shipping process from the manufacturer to the store, and then to your home. It is cost-effective and ensures that your pizza gets to you in one piece. In different sizes and designs, these boxes make storage easy and are the perfect package for this favorite mealtime staple. It is easy to throw this cardboard in the oven to quickly reheat leftovers the next morning, but despite its convenience, can you put cardboard in the oven? Is it safe?
Cardboard is not safe to put in the oven as it is recycled paper made of combustible material. Even when others have put cardboard in the oven and haven’t noticed any effects, it is highly advised that you do not put cardboard in your oven. Here are a few reasons why you cannot put cardboard in the oven:
- Fire hazard: Cardboard is a recycled paper made up of combustible materials. When it is exposed to high temperatures for an extended period, it can catch fire, ruin your oven, release potentially hazardous fumes and chemicals into your home and possibly start a house fire. This is also dependent on the type of oven you use
- Slows down cooking time: The paper product used for making cardboard is not suitable for baking hence, using it in the oven can keep your pizza from having the desired crisp and crunchy bottom and slow down your cooking greatly.
- Toxic chemicals: When heated, the chemical composition of cardboard can be released into your pizza which could make the cardboard smoke terribly, putting your health at risk and also ruining the taste of food cooked in the oven.
How to Cook or Reheat Pizza in the Oven Without Using Cardboard
Since cardboard is not safe for oven use, there are better and oven-safe options for cooking or reheating pizza:
The Oven Rack
One of the most common methods for baking a pizza is by placing it directly on the oven rack. The middle rack is the best place to bake a pizza if you want an even bake. This is because putting it on the top rack puts the cheese and other toppings at risk of burning, and putting it too close to or on the bottom rack could also cause the crust to burn. The middle shelf is ideal.
Before heating up your oven, you can wrap the oven rack or the bottom of your pizza with aluminum foil instead of putting cardboard in the oven. Aluminum foil and containers are safe for oven cooking as they are good conductors of heat and improve the quality of baked foods. Research has also shown that aluminum does not cause any health effects in healthy adults, as long as it is not being used for an extensive period of time.
A pizza pan, with a perforated bottom plate preferably, is an ideal choice for baking or reheating pizza in the oven. The metal will heat up fast and support an even baking of the pizza while keeping the crust crunchy and crispy.
Pizza was originally cooked on ceramic stones. You can put your pizza on top of the stone and still get a super-crispy crust without worrying about dripping cheese or toppings in your oven. Your pizza can then be cut into slices while still on the baking stone. This is another great and safe alternative to cardboard.
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Other Ways to Reheat Pizza Without Using the Oven or Cardboard
You can reheat pizza in the oven without using cardboard, but you can also reheat pizza in other ways. Here are some different items you can use to reheat or bake your pizza:
On The Stovetop
You can put your pizza in a pan on the stovetop to reheat it. Covering the pan can also help to trap heat on the top so that your cheese and other toppings can melt in while the bottom heats up as well.
In The Microwave
The microwave is a good choice for you if you’re in a rush and require an urgent reheat. It is crucial to remember that cooking your pizza in the microwave for longer than a minute or two may change the texture and render it unappealing. Make sure to use a microwave-safe plate or tray to prevent your pizza from coming into contact with anything harmful.
On The Grill
A fantastic substitute for using an oven is the grill. To reheat your pizza, you can use any grill type. To grill your pizza, simply place it on the grill plates or wrap it in aluminum foil and grill it once it has reached a temperature of about 350°F. The pizza is kept warm and moist inside while having a nice crunchy crust thanks to grilling.
In A Toaster Oven
If you have just a slice or two that you want to reheat, the toaster oven is a great alternative to a regular oven for reheating pizza. Just like the grilling option, you can preheat your toaster oven and place a few slices in it until you notice a slow melting action on the top of the pizza slices.
Commonly Asked Questions On Using a Cardboard Box in The Oven
How Long Does Pizza Last In The Box?
Pizza can last for about two to three hours at room temperature in the box. However, if you want your pizza to last longer, remove it from the box and store it in the fridge or another airtight container. Refrigeration and secure storage slow down mold growth and spoilage.
Is It Safe To Put A Cardboard Box In The Oven At 200?
Although it has been established that pizza cardboard boxes burn at a temperature of 427, it is still best to completely avoid using cardboard in your oven. By doing this, you reduce the chance that your home will catch fire or that dangerous chemicals will leak into your food.
How Can I Keep My Pizza Warm Without Using A Cardboard Box?
You can use a pizza pan, stone, or oven-safe baking tray to keep your pizza warm instead of leaving it in the cardboard box, or you can wrap it in aluminum foil and heat it in the oven. Pizza can be heated safely at 200 degrees, which will preserve the flavor and crunch of the crust. These choices guarantee that your pizza maintains its authentic flavor and texture while also being safer than using a cardboard box.
It may be tempting and practical to bake or reheat your pizza in a cardboard box, but cardboard should never be placed in the oven. Cardboard is a potential source of home fires and food contamination, as advised. Using an oven rack, pizza stones, grills, or aluminum foil in the oven are safer options if you want to enjoy a nice, warm, and chemical-free pizza while keeping your home safe. These precautions will protect you and your home from potential house fires and prevent food contamination, even though they may take longer than simply popping your pizza in the oven with its cardboard box.