Pizza is just the best, there’s nothing better than enjoying a perfectly crispy crust and a gorgeous selection of toppings.
Whether you’re buying one from a takeout pizza place, or cooking a frozen pizza from the store, then you’re going in for a delicious treat!
Almost all pizzas come with simplistic cardboard packaging, making the whole meal convenient and easy for you.
But here are some things you might be wondering – can I put cardboard in the oven to reheat pizza? What about a store-bought pizza?
Is it dangerous to put the cardboard circle that comes with the pizza in the oven? These are common questions, and smart things to keep in mind when you cook or reheat pizza.
If you find yourself trying to work out if it’s safe to put cardboard in the oven – you should know that it’s almost never safe to do so.
In this article, we’re going to be taking you through some of the dangers that come with putting cardboard pizza boxes or other containers in the oven!
Can You Put Cardboard In The Oven?
A cardboard pizza box is one of the easiest pieces of food packaging you can buy. It perfectly fits the pizza and will allow you to simply slip it out, remove the plastic packaging, and then recycle it.
But can you put cardboard in the oven? You should know right away that you should not, so let’s take a look at some of the reasons.
The Risk Of Cardboard
Cardboard is what we call a combustible material, which means that it has a high chance to catch fire when it interacts with the high heat environment of your oven.
It’s possible you’ve heard somebody – perhaps a friend or family member – tell you that they have put cardboard in the oven before without a fire happening – but it is important to note that you always run the risk of your cardboard catching fire.
How likely it is to catch fire here depends on the type of oven you have, how hot your oven is, and how exposed your cardboard pizza box is to the hottest parts of the oven.
It is always better to remove all cardboard packaging materials before you place your food in the oven for this reason.
Household fires often come from ovens and it is important to mitigate this as much as you can. For this reason, it’s best to avoid putting any form of cardboard in the oven.
Why Do Pizzas Come With A Cardboard Circle?
If you’ve ever bought a pizza from the store before, then you’ll notice that they often come with a cardboard circle underneath. If this is dangerous to the customer should they put it in the oven, you may be wondering why this is included.
In short, the reason why cardboard circles come within your pizza box is that it helps to keep the pizza formed as it goes from manufacturing to you as a consumer.
A cardboard box is enough to keep the pizza flat, but there are often a lot of stops before it gets to the store you’ll buy it from, and with that comes a lot of chances for it to be damaged. The cardboard circle keeps the pizza in one piece.
If you’re not convinced, one thing you’ll always see written on a pizza box is the direction to remove all packaging materials (including the cardboard support) from the pizza before placing it on your oven rack.
Cooking Times And Cardboard
If you leave the cardboard packaging on your pizza when you put it in the oven, you might also risk a longer cooking time.
When you place a pizza on your oven rack, pizza stone, or pizza-shaped pan, you’re allowing its bottom to have direct contact with a heat source.
This means is one of the things that helps it to cook evenly, as the base will be cooked at the same time as the toppings.
So then, it’s very important that you allow the crust to become crispy and let your pizza cook evenly. Having cardboard below, will make the cook time for your pizza longer and make it cook unevenly.
Cardboard And Health Risks
More than the slow cook time and the risk of a fire, leaving cardboard in the oven can pose real health risks.
Cardboard is rarely made to be food safe when heated, and there are likely to be toxic chemicals inside which can harm you.
If you cook your pizza on top of cardboard – providing you avoid the risk of a fire – you run the risk of eating dangerous chemicals and you’re likely to find that your food will taste weird.
Alternatives To Cardboard That Will Support Your Pizza
We’ve established that you shouldn’t, under any circumstances, put cardboard in the oven – but you might still be wondering if there are other ways to support your pizza as it cooks.
There are a few solutions to this issue, so let’s explore them here.
Use A Pizza Pan
One of the best things you can do is select a baking dish or pizza pan. This will let your frozen pizza cook evenly without catching fire or creating harmful chemicals.
The best baking dish you can get to cook a pizza is a circular pizza pan. These are made to perfectly fit your pizza, and often have holes in the bottom to let the heat spread evenly through its underside.
Pizza pans come in all different shapes and sizes, but it’s usually best to get one that is large enough to support the pizza you’re used to buying. Large, circular pizza pans are also suitable for cooking pizzas of different shapes.
You can also use a suitably large baking dish or casserole dish, you’ll just have to make sure you find one that is large enough to support the pizza without it spilling over the sides, or ruining its shape.
Pizza stones are another great choice you can use to support your frozen pizza. Simply place the stone on top of your oven rack, and it will let your pizza cook evenly without having to worry about toppings falling or any of the grease seeping down to the bottom of your oven.
Using The Oven Rack
If you don’t have anything else at hand, you can simply place your frozen pizza onto your oven rack.
You do run the risk of grease or cheese falling down onto the bottom of your oven (and then having to deal with cleaning up afterward) but it’s definitely a better choice than putting cardboard in the oven.
It’s worth noting that one of the most common causes of oven fires comes as a result of combustible materials at the bottom of an oven. This is one of the main reasons why it’s recommended that you frequently clean your oven.
Grease, cheese, and fallen toppings left in your oven can catch fire, so it’s best that you clean anyway any debris if you don’t have a pizza pan or anything else to catch it.
So there you have it! We would like to reiterate that it is never worth the risk of putting cardboard in the oven.
Cardboard in an oven creates the real risk that your oven will catch fire and could cause serious harm to your home and/or family.
It’s much better to invest in a pizza pan, pizza stone, or something else that will help support it as you’re going. And, if all else fails, simply place your frozen pizza on the oven rack.
We hope that this article has explained to you why it’s dangerous to do so, and that you are now more confident in how you can safely cook a pizza!