Can You Put Cardboard In The Oven? (Find Out Now!)

Ossiana Tepfenhart
by Ossiana Tepfenhart

If you ask most families, there’s nothing quite like having a home-made frozen pizza straight out of the oven. Of course, prepping said pizza can vary from household to household. Most frozen pizzas will come with some cardboard that’s left at the bottom of the pie to help retain the pizza’s shape during transport. The problem is, most people can’t figure out what to do with said cardboard. Is it oven-safe?

The short answer is no, it is not safe to put cardboard in the oven. Cardboard is heat-sensitive and can easily catch on fire if exposed to high heat. That said, if the oven is kept no more than 170 degrees, the cardboard will be safe, and will just maintain the contents inside of it.

Placing cardboard in your oven is a bad idea, and it happens to be a fire safety matter. To make sure that you don’t burn your house down, read this article. It’ll help you understand why it’s a bad idea, and why people add cardboard to pizzas.

Why Does Frozen Pizza Come With A Cardboard Circle?

Before we begin, it’s a good idea to understand why so many people think placing cardboard in the oven is okay. This all stems from the most common style of packaging for frozen pizza. Frozen pizza usually comes in a box (or plastic-wrapped), sitting atop a small cardboard circle. The circle looks a lot like a plate or a tray, too.

When people see this plate, they tend to get a little confused. Sometimes vague pizza prep instructions might lead some to think that the cardboard is added as a free way to “plate” pizza that is being heated up in the oven. This isn’t true, though! It was never meant to be a free pizza plate.

The cardboard is actually included in the pizza package as a way to stabilize the pizza’s shape during transit and while it rests on store shelves. Aside from that, the cardboard has no functionality whatsoever. Unfortunately, vague prep methods caused many people to believe it’s a way to prep pizza.

Do Pizza Makers Warn Against Putting Cardboard In The Oven?

Nowadays, pizza companies are starting to warn others about placing cardboard in the oven. However, not all of them do. This doesn’t mean that they’re giving you a green light to do so. It means that you’re still expected to exercise common sense while you’re heating up pizza.

What Is The Proper Way To Heat Up Frozen Pizza?

Generally speaking, you should follow the instructions given on the frozen pizza of your choice. However, these steps will do the trick with most pizzas out there…

  • Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. If you like your pizza to have a crispier crust, I suggest turning up the heat to 400 or so. Some brands advise 350, which is also good if you like a more “baked” taste. If you’re not sure what temperature is best for your pizza, refer to the packaging to get a better idea.
  • Get some aluminum foil and line a baking sheet with it. You can also choose to just leave the baking sheet unlined, but that might make more of a mess.
  • Remove the pizza from the packaging, and place the cardboard backing aside. While you’re at it, take this time to season your pizza. You’ll thank me for this tip later.
  • Place the pizza on the baking sheet. Some people also choose to drizzle a little olive oil on the baking sheet prior to placing the pizza on it, but it’s not usually necessary.
  • When you hear your oven signal that it’s heated up, place the pizza in the oven. Cook for the time given on the instructions of your pizza package. For most types of pies, this will be for 10 to 15 minutes for a large pie. Smaller pies might take a little less while larger pies might take a little more. You might want to wait until the pizza starts to brown.
  • Remove the pizza and brag that you’ve gotten delivery. It’s not, but your friends don’t need to know.
  • Place the pizza on the cardboard backing, and use a pizza slicer to cut it. If the slicer cuts too deep, you won’t damage any plates’ enamel or cutting boards thanks to the cardboard.

Is Putting Cardboard In The Oven Really Dangerous?

Believe it or not, yes. It’s a legitimate fire hazard. Moreover, it’s one that has caused people to lose their homes. Cardboard is paper, and it doesn’t take much heat to make paper combust. While most cardboard will be able to handle some level of oven-grade heat, the truth is that it’s still a combustible material.

While plenty of people have shoved their cardboard plates into the oven without fiery results, the truth is that it’s a gamble. Because cardboard can catch fire pretty easily, it’s best to just use a metal cookie sheet while you heat your pie up. There’s no good reason to roll the dice when you’re making pizza.

Can Cooking Pizza On Cardboard Change The Pizza’s Flavor?

If you do choose to cook pizza on top of the cardboard, you probably won’t notice a very big change in flavor unless you have seriously sensitive taste buds. Cardboard is highly unlikely to have its flavor leech into bread. However, there’s always the off chance that you might notice a subtle change depending on how the cardboard was made as well as any moisture you have in the pizza’s crust that could make flavor exchange easier.

Of course, this assumes that the cardboard won’t catch fire while you’re cooking your pizza. If the cardboard catches fire, your pizza will probably taste like activated charcoal. (Because that’s what your pizza will be once it’s done being on fire.)

Is Packing Pizza With Cardboard Really Necessary?

In the past, all manufacturers used to pack pizza on a cardboard circle as a way to preserve the pizza’s shape. These days, more and more manufacturers are starting to shy away from cardboard. Improvements in shipping as well as packaging technology started to make this tradition fall to the wayside. So, no, it’s not necessary. It’s just a packaging preference by the manufacturer.

Related Questions

Is it better to use a toaster oven or a microwave to reheat pizza?

The best way to reheat pizza is through an oven. In lieu of an oven, you should consider getting a toaster oven to reheat your frozen pizza. This will give you a crispier crust than pizza that has been run through a microwave setting. If you want a crispy crust and don’t have a toaster oven or a regular oven, use a skillet on a hot plate instead.

How do you get your frozen pizza to have an extra crispy crust?

A little secret to getting a crispier, coal-fired crust style out of frozen pizza relies on olive oil. Prior to putting the pizza in the oven, take a brush and dip it in olive oil. Use the brush to “dab” the crust, leaving a thin coat of oil over everything. If you want to add more flavor, add some salt or seasonings to the oil. Place the pizza in the oven and cook it as usual.

Why does frozen pizza sometimes taste like cardboard?

Though this isn’t as big a problem as it once was, it still can happen. When pizza is still warm, the bread dough can easily absorb aromas and compounds that are found in its surroundings. If your pizza was near a lot of cardboard, then there’s a chance that the aromas from the cardboard could bleed into the pizza dough. This makes it taste like cardboard.It’s worth noting that this generally happens to pizza that has been left to cool and then get reheated. It’s not necessarily a sign of bad pizza quality. It can even happen to pizzas that have been brought home in a “doggie bag” from a local restaurant. To prevent this from happening, make sure to remove pizza from a cardboard surface as soon as you can.

Ossiana Tepfenhart
Ossiana Tepfenhart

Ossiana Tepfenhart is an expert writer, focusing on interior design and general home tips. Writing is her life, and it's what she does best. Her interests include art and real estate investments.

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