We're often asked if the Pizzeria Pronto Portable Pizza Oven can cook frozen pizzas. Maybe Pronto users desire a more convenient dinner, or maybe less of a mess to clean up afterwards – but either way we’ve put together tips on how to get the job done.
Before we get too far into things, it’s important to note that not every frozen pizza will work in the Pizzeria Pronto. When you shop for a frozen pizza, the first thing you should take note of is its size. You’ll need a pizza that is less than 13.5” in diameter. Almost all frozen pizzas are intended to be cooked in your home oven, so chances are many of them don’t fit. Aside from frozen pizzas, there are a few take-n-bake pizzas (raw but premade pizzas) that will also work in the Pronto.
Frozen vs. Raw Pizzas
Obviously the primary difference between frozen and raw pizzas is the starting temperature of your ingredients. While your fresh pizza dough has been sitting at room temperature for hours, the frozen pie is coming straight from a freezer. Frozen pizzas actually defrost as they cook, well before the crust and toppings pick up some nice crispiness and color. So what does this mean in regards to dinner time? It means a longer bake time until your pizza is ready to eat. This ends up being a trade-off because remember: you didn’t have to put in any time or effort preparing your pizza! You’ll also notice a different texture with frozen pizzas. Since these pizzas aren’t fresh and they’re baked straight out of the freezer, you won’t get the large bubbles or nearly as much rise out of the crust. This makes for a more dense and crunchy pizza as opposed to its fresh counterpart.
Important Notes About Frozen Pizzas
When cooking a frozen pizza in the Pronto, there are a few key things you’ll need to do differently to be successful. Since the Pizzeria Pronto was designed to cook raw pizzas in a very short amount of time, we’ll need to rethink the preheating and cooking process. Follow these tips to ensure your frozen pizza doesn’t burn or end up undercooked in the middle:
- Preheat the Pizzeria Pronto to a lower final temperature. We suggest setting your temperature control knob to Medium, or slightly under Medium. Your target ambient (air) temperature should be 400-450°F, depending on package instructions. During our tests, pizza stone temperature was also significantly lower, at around 430-450°F.
- Strongly consider purchasing a pizza screen. This allows you to control the rate at which the bottom of the crust cooks. Since frozen pizzas are typically thicker (and frozen!), the top and bottom of the pizza tend to cook well before the middle has baked. This is why we suggest cooking at a lower temperature and with the help of a pizza screen. Take a look at our test results at the end of this blog to get an idea of when to put your frozen pizza on a screen.
- Pizzas labeled as “thin crust” tend to perform much better, and cook much quicker than thick crust pizzas. If you’re looking to cook a frozen pizza quickly, this is perhaps the most important cooking tip of all.
Take and Bake Pizzas
- Take-n-bake pizzas from Whole Foods have a par-baked crust, so simply remove them from the plastic wrap, throw away the cardboard base, and slide the pizza into your preheated Pronto. Again, be sure to check pizza size before you purchase!
- Take-n-bake pizzas from Papa Murphy’s come pre-made on a heat-safe cardboard tray. These pizzas are intended to be baked directly on the tray. While this tray holds up just fine under the heat of a regular oven, if you’re cooking one of these in the Pizzeria Pronto you’ll want to remove the tray about 5-7 minutes into cooking the pizza to prevent it from burning. Only the medium-sized Papa Murphy’s pizza will work in the Pizzeria Pronto, so don’t buy anything bigger!
- Using a pizza screen is also recommended for both of these types of pizzas!
Test Cook Results
In order to give you cooking times and other specifics, we picked out six different types of store bought pizzas. Four of these six were frozen pizzas, two thin crust, one “hand tossed style,” and one “rising crust pizza.” The other two pizzas we tested were made on unfrozen dough, one of which came from Whole Foods (par-baked crust), the other from Papa Murphy’s Take-N-Bake (raw, proofed dough). Each pizza was cooked similarly. After preheating, the pizzas were placed in the ovens then after a few minutes they were transferred onto a pizza screen. The pizzas were also rotated several times to ensure even cooking.
Frozen Pizzas Cook Times
Placed on a Screen
|DiGorno Self-Rising Pizza||5 minutes, 30 seconds|
|Udi's Gluten Free Thin Crust||3 minutes|
|Whole Foods Thin Crust||3 minutes|
|California Pizza Kitchen||7 minutes, 30 seconds|
Final Cook Time
DiGorno Self-Rising Pizza
|20 minutes, 30 seconds|
|Udi's Gluten Free Thin Crust||8 minutes, 30 seconds|
|Whole Foods Thin Crust||13 minutes, 30 seconds|
|California Pizza Kitchen||16 minutes, 30 seconds|
Take-N-Bake Pizzas Cook Time
Placed on Screen
|Papa Murphy's*||12 minutes|
|Whole Foods||2 minutes|
|Papa Murphy's||6 minutes|
|Whole Foods||1 minute 30 seconds|
Final Cook Time
|Papa Murphy's||18 minutes|
|Whole Foods||5 minutes|
*Papa Murphy’s pizzas come already assembled on a cardboard baking tray. We recommend that you bake the pizza on the tray at first, then remove the pizza from the tray at around 7-8 minutes into cooking. After removing the pizza from the tray, place it directly onto the stone and bake another 4-5 minutes before finishing on the pizza screen. *The pizzas we purchased from Whole Foods were unfrozen and measured around 6" in diameter. This led to a significantly shorter cooking time than the other pizzas we tested.
So there you have it! It’s perfectly possible to cook a frozen or take-n-bake pizza in your Pizzeria Pronto. Now you have an even more convenient way to curb your pizza cravings (until you have the time to prepare one from scratch!).