“‘How do you reheat your pizza?’ We get this question a lot,” says Rob Birdsong, owner of Atlanta pizzeria Glide Pizza. “It’s a topic that comes up weekly at our shops in Old Fourth and Decatur.”
There are many different approaches to reheating leftover pizza at home. Some people eat it cold right out of the refrigerator. Others leave leftovers in the pizza box overnight and eat slices at room temperature the next day. Then there are those who nuke their pizza for 30 seconds in the microwave (a poor choice) or pop a slice in the air fryer or toaster oven to crisp it up before eating (a better choice).
Which reheating method is best is hotly debated in the pizza world, especially for pizzerias and slice shops dealing in New York-style pies, says Birdsong. The above reheating techniques are fine, but the slice often ends up on the floppy side with the cheese still congealed and hard. A dissatisfying letdown following the fresh-out-of-the-oven pizza experience of the previous day.
“New York-style pizza [like Glide’s] is cooked on a stone in a very hot oven to get that crispy crust,” Birdsong explains. “So, to recreate that at home, you use a non-stick skillet to reheat it, because the most important thing is to re-cracker the bottom of the slice.”
Rather than continuing to explain this reheating method ad nauseam every time someone asks, Birdsong instead enlisted the help of Atlanta art director and designer Margaret Hughes Spalding to bring the skillet instructions to life in a step-by-step graphic created by illustrator Jeramy Muxworthy. First posted to Instagram (a post that immediately went viral,) these reheating instructions are now part of the design for Glide’s pizza boxes.
Birdsong says just follow the simple instructions below, and in about five minutes you’ll be enjoying a properly reheated slice of Glide Pizza as if it just came out of the pizza oven.
Step 1 — Preparing the Skillet
Birdsong recommends using a large, non-stick or cast iron skillet, preferably one with a lid, that can easily hold a slice of Glide Pizza. A griddle is fine, too, which is what he uses to reheat multiple slices when doing catering gigs around town. Do not add oil or cooking spray to the skillet as both affect the flavor.
Before the slice goes in, preheat the skillet on medium-high heat. “The skillet shouldn’t be scorching hot, but should have some nice heat on it,” he adds. “And there’s no need to bring slices up to room temperature first.”
Add the slice to the skillet and heat for approximately two to three minutes or until the bottom is crispy.
Step 2 — Preparing to Steam the Slice
Next, add two to three drops of water to the skillet and reduce the burner to low heat. This step, Birdsong says, is very important for remelting the cheese.
“Adding a little bit of water to the skillet will help steam the slice and retain the crispy bottom, but really gives the slice that cheesy gooeyness on top by re-caramelizing the cheese.”
You want to hear “tolerable” not “aggressive” sizzling coming from the skillet once the water is added, he says, to keep the bottom crisp and the crust moist while allowing the cheese to properly melt on top.
Step 3 — Steaming the Slice and Melting the Cheese
Once the water is added and heat is reduced on the burner, cover the skillet for 30 seconds to one minute to let the slice steam and cheese melt.
“Reheating slices in the skillet should take no more than three to five minutes depending on your stove,” Birdsong says. “So, don’t walk off and leave it. You definitely need to attend to the skillet the whole time.”
Step 4 — Enjoy
“Our pizzas are $26 and you’re going to have leftovers. We know the pizza travels well and is just as good the next day,” says Birdsong. “If you’re going to spend that kind of money on pizza, then taking those extra three or five minutes to reheat a slice at home should make those leftovers totally worth it.”