Can You Put Cardboard Pizza Box in the Oven?

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Your pizza is delivered right now. It is warm and crunchy but what if you have let it wait while you were busy with other stuff. Yes, you also have few leftover pieces since yesterday. And, now you want to have it for breakfast. This is where, you have to heat your pizza, which is mostly tricky. Probably the most lucrative way is to heat in an oven, but can you put the pizza box as well?

Can You Put Cardboard Pizza Box in the Oven? Cardboard catch fire at around 450 degrees Fahrenheit. So, if you keep the oven temperature lower than the box burning point, you can put it in an oven. In general, it is advised against putting pizza box in an oven even if you are careful of the temperature.

Eating leftover pizza is common among American youths. There are many ways to reheat your pizza. However, the most common and quickest way is to put it in the oven. So, is it alright to heat your pizza without taking the box out?

Why Heating Pizza with the Box is Dangerous?

We know that the pizza box is made from hard cardboard paper. And the cardboard is basically paper and glue and it catches fire pretty easily. Given some time in the oven, a pizza box would easily catch fire and cause damage to your property. This could be lethal too. The boxes are designed to keep pizza warm. When it’s out of the oven and placed in the box, it certainly cannot heat a cold pizza. So,  it is not at all necessary to put your box in the oven to heat the pizza.

Furthermore, heating the pizza with the cardboard box will ruin its taste. The box contains a thin layer of paper which heat up easily. And, it is made up of using some chemicals as well. The burnt out layer will leave a bitter taste on your pizza and would  smell like a cardboard box. The cardboard box heats up rapidly than the pizza. Even if you heat pizza along with the box, you may find your pizza didn’t heat up evenly.

Heating Your Pizza Safely with the Box

Pizza box come in handy when you want to reheat a recently ordered pizza. The right way would be to first turn on the oven in its lowest temperature. For most ovens, it is 170 degrees Fahrenheit. Next, turn off the over and put the entire box, with the pizza in it, into the over. Here the box itself will provide an oven-like environment. The box will effectively hold the heat in its fibers, thereby keeping the pizza free from moisture. This would prevent it from getting soggy.

When it comes to cardboard catching fire, we have already discussed that if the oven temperature is below 420-450 degrees Fahrenheit, it will not get burned. The cardboard would hold the heat even after the oven has cooled down. This is a time-tested method to keep pizzas warm.

How to Keep Pizza Warm?

Using Pizza Stone

If you love pizza, you must have a pizza stone and if you don’t have it, you should get one right now. A pizza stone is the best and the perfect way to keep your pizza warm in the oven. Place the stone in the oven and turn on the over to nearly 200 degrees Fahrenheit and leave it for 30 minutes. You have to get the stone hot enough to be able to retain and radiate heat when the pizza will be placed on it. Now place your pizza or leftovers on the stone and put it back in the oven with the temperature turned off. Stone is porous that gives off heat consistently and doesn’t leave any residual smell or taste which is common with cardboard boxes.

Using a Frying Pan

You can heat your pizza on a frying pan as well and it’s not that complicated. You should get a non-stick frying pan or a stainless frying pan. Place the pizza in the pan. Turn on the burner and leave it for two minutes. When the bottom is crispy, cover the pan with a lid and let it steam for two minutes. This will heat up the tomato sauce and the cheese to melt at the same time keeping the bottom crispy.

Using Aluminum Foil

You could warm your pizza using aluminum foil as well. Wrap your leftover slices with an aluminum foil and put it in the oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit and then bake it for 10 minutes. This makes your pizza hot and crispy as if it has come just out of the oven.

Putting it Directly on the Oven Rack

If you think cardboard is a dangerous idea, you can simply put your pizza directly on the oven rack. First, preheat the oven to the lowest temperature and keep it for a few minutes. Then take your pizza out of the box and place it directly on the rack. This will heat your pizza evenly keeping the top and the bottom of the pizza at the same temperature.

Using Toaster Oven and Conventional Oven

You can certainly use a conventional oven to heat you large pizza when serving a large party. The process goes the same – first preheat the oven to the lowest temperature and then place your pizza in it with the oven turned off.

If you have a toaster oven, you can heat slices of pizza using the same method. It gets easier if you use aluminum foil to make it warm or use tortilla stones to heat your pizza.

Why Pizza Boxes are Made of Cardboard?

The pizza wasn’t always delivered in boxes. There was a time when pizza was packed in a carry on bag, where the consumers would find his pizza in a bad shape when they reach home. To solve this problem, the pizza box as you see today has to be designed for better storage and heat insulation. Here’s why pizza box was designed with cardboard.

Easy to Store

Cardboard boxes are produced flat which is then cut out in a certain way to make it into a box. The cardboard boxes make for a simple, lightweight container for hot pizza, which folds easily and can be designed to accommodate pizza of any size. Plus, it is recyclable.

Cost Effective

Cardboard boxes are cheaper to make and because most of the expense is included in the pricing of pizza, a cardboard box makes for only a marginal increase in the price. Other material such as wood or plastic will be expensive to produce and will cost more to the consumers. Hence, pizza boxes are typically made from either solid fiberboard or a single-walled corrugated board.

Structural Strength

Pizzas come in various sizes and an average pizza could weight up to 500g; it gets heavier with larger pizzas. So, the pizza box should be able to hold the pizza’s weight without flexing, even under some pressure. The geometrical design and the corrugated structure gives the box its stability. The folds that are made in the walls are connected to the edges to give additional stability.

Keeping the Pizza Crisp

Pizzas are generally packed directly out of the furnace. If the box is airtight it will leave a soggy pizza by the time it reaches its destination. Therefore, a few round holes are cut out around the box which is easily done on a cardboard box. On the other hand, the corrugated design doesn’t weaken the box if a few holes are cut out.

Keeping Pizza as Good as Possible

To keep your pizza is a great shape a good deal of attention is given to the inner lining of the cardboard box lid. It usually comes with a thin lining of aluminum foil to prevent the box from absorbing the oil and flavors on the pizza. However, the lower base is not lined as it would heat up the crust and will lock its steam turning your pizza into a soggy mess. It is one of the many reasons why the lid is kept thinner than the base of the box.

Is Pizza Box Recyclable?

Thinking that the pizza box is made of cardboard which should be easily recycled; however, that’s isn’t always the case. If your pizza box goes to recycle bin or not, depends on its contamination.

To recycle cardboard or any paper products, they are first shredded and then mixed with various chemicals such as surfactants and sodium silicate. The chemicals turn the shredded paper into a pulp which is then taken to ink removal procedure and is filtered out from tapes and staples. Tapes and staples are a type of contaminant but are easy to take out. But if the paper had grease, it gets mixed with the pulp which will either lower its quality or completely render a whole batch into waste. This is one of the reasons why you should take a closer look at your pizza box before deciding to dump it in the recycle bin. Moreover, not just pizza boxes but others that carry burgers or cakes are also pretty much non-recyclable if they are contaminated.

Therefore, before dumping out your pizza box, make sure that it is free from any leftovers and has on cheese or tissues or wrappers in it. The box should be completely empty. If your box has come with an extra layer of waxed paper underneath and the grease is on that instead of the box, you can just remove the paper and send your box to a recycle bin. In the event,  the bottom of the box is ruined with oil and grease, you can tear out the lid of the box and other bits and pieces that are free of contamination to send for recycling. If the whole of the box is absolutely ruined, the best way would be to shred it and turn it into a compost.

Related Questions

Why do pizza boxes have holes? The holes release out the steam that builds up when the pizza is hot. It prevents the pizza from getting soggy.

How thick is a pizza box and what are its sizes? Corrugated pizza boxes are between 1/32″ and 3/16″ thick. A typical pizza box is 8 inches square for personal size, 10 inches square for small, 12 inches square for medium, 14 inches square for large and 16 inches square for extra large.

Why are pizza boxes square? Pizza boxes are square because it is cheaper to produce and can be easily assembled from one sheet of cardboard.

Conclusion

Pizza boxes are designed to keep your pizza warm for some time. But, for a cold pizza, heating it with the cardboard box doesn’t really matter much. You could put your pizza directly into the oven to heat it. However, some choose to keep it in the cardboard box to keep the pizza warmer for a longer period of time. That said, cardboard in the oven is a really bad idea. So, we would suggest you heat your pizza without the cardboard box.

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