Have you ever wondered, “Can cardboard go in the oven?” The short answer is no, but that doesn’t stop people from trying it.
The longer answer is this: If you’re going to cook something in the oven, don’t use cardboard to reheat your food.
Cardboard and paper will begin to burn at around 200 degrees Fahrenheit, which means that while it might heat up your pizza, it’s also going to release some pretty nasty chemicals into the air and leave behind charred pieces of cardboard.
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Is Cardboard Safe in the Oven?
No, a cardboard box sitting directly on an oven rack can ignite as it heats up and potentially cause a fire. If you’re heating your pizza in a cardboard box, you should never place it directly on an oven rack.
Why You Shouldn’t Put Cardboard in the Oven
In defense of cardboard, there are plenty of good reasons not to put it in the oven:
It Could Catch On Fire
Cardboard can catch on fire easily if you’re not careful—and, as you probably know, once it catches on fire, it’s hard to put out. There have been several pizza-related fires caused by cardboard.
Ovens get hot, guys—hot enough to melt things and destroy your whole house.
Your Pizza Will Cook Slower
If you are going to bake your pizza on cardboard, you might be surprised to learn that it will take longer for your pizza to cook. This is because when you place cardboard on an oven rack, it absorbs heat.
With limited heat leftover for cooking your pizza, it may take as much as 30 minutes longer to bake than if it were placed directly on an oven rack.
It’s Going to Make Your Pizza Taste Funny
Unless you like the taste of cardboard, don’t use it to heat your pizza. While it might seem convenient, it’s going to do more harm than good.
The cardboard will absorb all of that delicious tomato sauce and cheese, making for a bland and soggy pizza once it’s cooked. If you want to make sure your pizza tastes as good as possible, stick with using non-absorbent materials to cook your pie.
Use These Items Instead of Cardboard
Don’t risk setting your kitchen on fire or ruining your pizza. Here are a few items you can use instead of cardboard to get some delicious pizza.
If you want to cook or reheat pizza, there are safer ways to do so. Try putting it on top of a baking sheet and putting that into an oven set at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes—or until cheese starts bubbling. This method will ensure that you can enjoy your pizza without having to worry about safety hazards. You’ll also get more even heating, which means you won’t have cold spots.
If you’re looking for an easy way to heat up your pizza, instead of cardboard, we recommend getting a pizza pan. This means that you don’t have to worry about cardboard making your food unhealthy. It also helps prevent soggy pizza crust, and they are usually made from non-stick materials.
A few companies also make parchment paper that can be used on top of pizza pans as well, which makes cleanup even easier! The one downside is that some pans are flimsy and will bend or warp under hot temperatures. Be sure to get something sturdy enough to withstand high temperatures if you plan on cooking with them often!
Glass Baking Dish
Glass can withstand high temperatures without worrying about what’s going into your dish. While you should always check manufacturer instructions, most glass dishes can be used safely up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit (about 230 degrees Celsius).
If you want something that won’t break down at high heat and will last for years of use, go with glass. The only downside is that it might cost more than an aluminum pan or disposable foil tray.
Next time you’re craving pizza, skip heating up cardboard boxes and opt for an easy, low-cost alternative. A pizza stone will make your pies taste better because it absorbs heat very easily and cooks more evenly than some of the other methods we mentioned.
Plus, it can be used in both conventional and convection ovens. If you don’t have one already, we recommend getting one ASAP—they are well worth their price tag.
Bake Your Pizza Directly On The Oven Rack
Try putting your pizza right on top of your preheated rack and let it bake. The heat will transfer to your pizza, creating a crispy crust while leaving the cheese nice and melty.
You’ll also want to check on it every five minutes or so, just like you would if you were baking it on cardboard, to make sure that nothing’s burning! It’s not as convenient as throwing some cardboard into an oven, but it does taste better! Your bottom crust will thank you.
Another option than using cardboard to heat your pizza, using parchment paper means less mess and less risk.
You simply put it on a cookie sheet and place it right in your oven, taking care to make sure that your pizza will be on top of it. You can get parchment paper either at home-goods stores or online.
While aluminum foil will get hotter than cardboard and cook your pizza faster, it’s also harder to open. Also, the foil will leak some of its heat through any large openings like holes or fold-outs.
If you’ve ever tried heating anything on aluminum foil, only to discover it took longer than expected because some parts heated up more quickly than others, then you know what I’m talking about. And just remember how long aluminum takes to recycle: years!
Reheating Pizza Without the Cardboard
Everyone loves pizza, but no one loves cardboard. There’s just something about cardboard on pizza that doesn’t seem quite right—but then again, you probably have had your share of cardboard-topped pizzas.
Many people don’t know that it’s not necessary to bake pizza on cardboard to reheat it. Here are five ways to reheat your leftovers without having them taste like they came from a box.
There’s nothing wrong with using your kitchen oven to reheat pizza. It heats up quickly, and depending on what kind of pizza you make, it can offer an even more crisp pizza crust than an open flame.
The problem comes when you use cardboard as a base for your pizza. Placing hot food directly onto cardboard will create condensation that could cause soggy crusts or wet spots. Cardboard also doesn’t insulate heat well, so if your oven isn’t set at just the right temperature (and who knows how long ago that last slice was cooked), you could end up with burnt edges and cold centers.
Here’s how you do it: put it on a plate (not cardboard), and pop it into your microwave for 30-45 seconds on high. In under a minute, you’ll have piping hot pizza. If you want to be more precise, take out your handy dandy kitchen timer and set it for 45 seconds.
When the timer goes off, you can check to see if it’s done. If not, set it for another 15-20 seconds until it looks right to you. If there are any edges that look like they need more heat than others, rotate your pizza 180 degrees halfway through the cooking time so those areas get some love too!
Related: Can You Microwave Glass?
One of my favorite ways to heat pizza is to fire up our charcoal grill and put it on there. You might be thinking that cardboard won’t stand up to high temperatures, because it won’t.
Be sure not to overload your grill with too many pizzas at once or you’ll end up steaming instead of grilling, which we don’t want. If you happen to have a pizza stone laying around it will help keep your crust from getting soggy.
A large skillet can easily fit a 14-inch pie. Heat your stove on medium and then put your pizza on for about five minutes. Then remove it from the heat and enjoy! The crust will be softer than when cooked in an oven, but still perfectly edible.
You may be kind of skeptical about using a toaster oven for pizza, but one day when you may realize you have no other options, and curiosity might get the best of you. Even if it ends up being terrible, there’s not really any worse that could happen besides your food being slightly more undercooked than usual.
You may be pleasantly surprised! It will come out crispy on top and bottom and just warm enough throughout. It won’t taste like an over-processed frozen pizza by any means, and you may be impressed with how crispy it will get around your favorite toppings. Needless to say, you won’t be trying cardboard pizzas anymore—at least not without heating up your regular-sized oven first!
Can Cardboard Go In the Oven? FAQ
Maybe you just moved and all you have in the house is the cardboard your pizza came in. If you find yourself in this situation or similar, here are some frequently asked questions we get from our readers on this topic.
Can cardboard pizza box go in oven?
While it might be tempting to heat your leftover Pizza Hut in its cardboard container, don’t do it. According to the USDA, cardboard boxes may emit toxic gases like dioxins when heated.
Can cardboard go in the oven at 350?
Yes, it can. You just shouldn’t do it. You may have to throw away half a pizza after pulling it out of your oven on fire.
Can cardboard go in the oven at 170?
Technically yes if you make sure to keep a close eye on it. Cardboard pizza trays are porous and can be used to cook pizzas, but your pizza may come out bland and soggy once it’s cooked.