Can I cook frozen pizza in an air fryer?

It may not be some kind of fancy Ooni, but by God can it raise pies that have spent their lives on ice

When people started promoting their air fryers the same way they had once promoted their slow cookers and instapots, I was immediately skeptical. But then an air fryer landed in my kitchen after a Christmas purse, and I became an air fry fanatic. I air fry the leftovers. I air fry bagels. I’m frying Oreos. And with dinner time just around the corner and frozen pizza being the only edible in my apartment, I thought I’d try air frying that too.

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

But first, can you actually cook frozen pizza in the air fryer? “Heating and baking 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 crispy pizza on either the first day or the fourth day,” he adds. So all in all, an air fryer is arguably a step up from the big, bulky oven in your kitchen.

How to cook a frozen pizza in the air fryer

Every air fryer is different, but Mumford advises air fry pizza chefs to cook frozen pizza at 350 degrees for four to six minutes. If your oven doesn’t have a preheat option, just set it to 350 degrees and set the timer for eight minutes. Chances are a whole frozen pizza won’t fit in the small basket of your air fryer, so you’ll have to cook it in batches. While your oven is preheating, cut your frozen pizza into wedges using a large butcher blade (or crescent pizza cutter) like this:

Using the larger blade, you don’t need to slice or roll, as the long edge should allow you to simply press down and wedge the frozen dough into separate pieces.

Then put the rest of the frozen pizza back in the freezer and put a quarter in the air fryer basket. If you have pepperoni pizza, place the air fryer rack on top of the slice of pizza or use toothpicks to keep them from flying in the oven.

Again, says Mumford, “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 little burnt. My second attempt, however – just three minutes away – went much smoother. In fairness both were well cooked and crispy so you win either way.

How Reheat leftover pizza in the air fryer

In order to exhaust all the situations of cooking pizza in the air fryer, I asked Mumford for some advice on reheating leftover pizza. “I would start a slice reheated at 350 degrees for two to three minutes,” he says. “Lay a piece of aluminum foil at the very bottom of the air fryer—under the basket—to catch drippings of grease.”

How to make pizza in the air fryer

And if you want to cook a personal pizza from scratch in the air fryer, Mumford has you covered, too. “I bake small pizzas in my air fryer all the time,” he says. “Montanara pizza is a style of pizza that is quickly fried to set the crust, then baked to finish the toppings.”

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

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