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The Air Fryer Was Made for Frozen Pizza

It might not be some sort of fancy Ooni, but by god, can it elevate pies that have spent their life on ice

When people first started hyping their air fryers the same way they once hyped their crockpots and instapots, I was immediately skeptical. But then an air fryer landed in my kitchen after a Christmas grab bag, and I became a full-on air frying zealot. I air fry leftovers. I air fry bagels. I air fry Oreos. And with dinner time right around the corner and frozen pizza being the sole edible item in my apartment, I figured I’d try air frying it, too. 

My setup. Yes, I live in Chicago. Yes, we eat thin crust

But first, can you actually cook frozen pizza in the air fryer? “Reheating and cooking pizza in an air fryer is one of the best ways to live,” says professional chef and pizza cookbook author Jim Mumford. “A professional pizza oven provides 500 degrees of dry heat on the pizza, so what an air fryer lacks in heat (most only go up to 400 degrees), it makes up for in air movement.”  

The hot air blowing over the pizza “wicks away moisture extremely well — like a fancy pizza stone would — resulting in a wonderfully crisp pizza, either on day one or day four,” he adds. So, all told, an air fryer is arguably a step up from the big, clunky oven in your kitchen. 

How to Cook a Frozen Pizza in the Air Fryer

Each air fryer is different, but Mumford advises air-frying pizza chefs to cook a frozen pizza at 350 degrees for four to six minutes. If your oven doesn’t have a preheating option, just set it to 350 degrees and put the timer at eight minutes. There’s a good chance an entire frozen pizza isn’t going to fit into the little basket of your air fryer, so you’re going to have to cook it in batches. While your oven preheats, cut your frozen pizza into quarters using a big butcher’s blade (or crescent-pizza cutter) like so: 

Using the bigger blade, you don’t have to do any slicing or rolling, as the long edge should allow you to simply press down and wedge the frozen dough into separate pieces. 

Next, throw the rest of the frozen pizza back into the freezer and put one quarter into the air-fryer basket. If you’ve got a pepperoni pizza, place the air-fryer’s wire rack above the pizza slice or use toothpicks to prevent them from flying around in the oven. 

Again, Mumford says, “Four to six minutes should be a solid starting point for most brands.” But depending on the size and thickness of your slice, it doesn’t hurt to keep an eye on things so your pizza doesn’t overcook (see below). 

As you can see, at six minutes, my slice got a bit scorched. My second attempt, though — at just three minutes — went much more smoothly. In fairness, both were cooked through and crispy, so you win either way. 

How to Reheat Leftover Pizza in the Air Fryer

For the sake of exhausting every situation of cooking pizza in the air fryer, I asked Mumford to provide some pointers on reheating leftover pizza. “I would start a reheated slice at 350 degrees for two to three minutes,” he says. “Lay down a piece of foil at the very bottom of the air fryer — under the basket — to catch grease drippings.” 

How to Make Pizza in the Air Fryer

And if you want to cook a personal pizza from scratch in the air fryer, Mumford’s got you covered there as well. “I cook small pizzas in my air fryer all the time,” he says. “Pizza Montanara is a style of pizza that’s quickly deep fried to set the crust, then baked to finish the toppings.” 

To make some for yourself, roll out pizza dough to the shape of your air fryer, brush with a small bit of olive oil and cook at the highest temperature for two minutes. “Remove, flip, don’t burn yourself and top your pizza. A simple margarita pizza plays nicely,” Mumford recommends. “Then finish at 350 degrees for another three to four minutes or until your cheese is melty and amazing. It will beat out microwaved pizza rolls 10 out of 10 times.”