Frozen pizzas have their time and place, like as back-up meals when we don't have time to shop and easy heat-and-serve dinners for babysitters. Nothing wrong with a good store-bought frozen pizza in these situations, but making your own homemade frozen pizzas from scratch will probably save you some pennies — plus you get exactly the toppings you want! It's easy to do: just two little tricks and you can fill your freezer with all the made-ahead frozen pizzas you could ever want.
The first trick is to par-bake the crust, which sounds more complicated than it really is. Par-baking really just means you partially bake the crust before topping and freezing it. This ensures an extra-crisp crust and zero sogginess upon final baking.
The second trick is to wrap the par-baked and topped pizzas first in plastic wrap and then in aluminum foil. This double layer protects pizzas and their toppings from drying out in the freezer, which leads to freezer burn and a less-than-stellar pizza. Wrapped this way, pizzas can be kept frozen for up to three months.
Whenever I'm planning a pizza night, I'll often prepare extra dough and toppings. A few pizzas get baked straight-away for dinner and the rest get frozen for later meals. These pizzas are insurance against times I run out of time or motivation to make a full meal. If I know a particularly busy time is coming up, I'll make sure I have a good supply of pizzas along with my other freezer meals to see me through.
Frozen pizzas also make a great food gift to give new parents too busy to cook or students heading back to school. Smaller individual-sized pizzas are a good after-school snack for kids still living at home -- older children can even heat their own pizzas.
Made ourselves with toppings that we get to choose, I see absolutely nothing wrong with having a few frozen pizzas in the freezer!
How to Make Homemade Frozen Pizza
Makes one large pizza or two individual pizzas
What You Need
1 pound pizza dough, store-bought or homemade
1/2 to 1 cup sauce: tomato sauce or other spread
2 to 3 cups other toppings: sautéed onions, sautéed mushrooms, pepperoni, cooked sausage, cooked bacon, diced peppers, leftover veggies, or any other favorite toppings
1 to 2 cups (8-16 ounces) cheese, shredded or sliced: mozzarella, monterey jack, provolone, fontina, or any other favorite
Baking stone (or baking sheet)
- Pre-heat the oven to 450°F. Place a pizza stone or baking sheet on a middle rack in the oven as it heats.
- Roll out the pizza rounds. Divide the pizza dough in half to make two individual pizzas, if desired. Place the ball of dough in the middle of a piece of parchment paper. Roll it out to your preferred thinness. If the dough starts to shrink back and crinkle the paper, let it rest for a few minutes and then try rolling it out again. If making two individual pizzas, repeat with the second round of dough.
- Par-bake the pizza rounds. Slide the pizza rounds on the parchment sheets onto the pizza stone or baking sheet in the oven. Bake for 3-5 minutes until the rounds are puffy and dry on the top, but still very pale.
- Let the pizza rounds cool completely. Remove the parchment from beneath the pizza rounds and let them cool completely on a wire rack.
- Top the pizzas. When cool, top the rounds as you would if you were going to bake them right away: spread some sauce on the pizzas, add toppings, and sprinkle cheese over the top. Note: pizza rounds can also be frozen un-topped.
- Freeze the pizzas. Place the pizzas on a baking sheet and freeze, uncovered, until solid, about 3 hours.
- Wrap the pizzas in plastic wrap and aluminum foil. Once frozen, remove the pizzas from the freezer and wrap them first in plastic wrap. Write the pizza toppings on a piece of masking tape and stick the label to the plastic wrap. Then, wrap the pizzas in a layer of aluminum foil. The double layer protects the pizzas from drying out in the freezer.
- Freeze for pizzas for up to three months.
- Bake the frozen pizzas. When ready to eat eat the pizzas, preheat the oven to 550°F (or the temperature at which you normally cook your pizzas). If you have a baking stone, place it in the oven as it heats; frozen pizzas can also be baked on the foil used to wrap them. When the oven has heated, unwrap the pizzas and slide into the oven. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until the crust is dark brown and the cheese in the center of the pizza is bubbly. Eat immediately.
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(Images: Emma Christensen)