Few leftovers are as welcome as pizza—which is why it’s never a bad idea to practice smart pizza math and order a size up. And while I’d never fault you for eating a spare slice cold, straight from the fridge (possibly while standing in the dark in your underwear at 2:30 a.m.), I implore you to stop microwaving them if you prefer to eat your pizza piping hot. There’s a better way—a few of them, actually.
Reddit’s r/lifehacks subreddit is currently excited about a method we first wrote about nearly a decade ago: the frying pan. While it’s not quite as speedy as a zap in the microwave, placing your slice in a skillet over medium heat for about eight minutes (per Epicurious anyway; some Redditors say the feat can be accomplished in as little as two minutes over low heat, so experiment away) will restore the crisp to the crust while warming it all the way through—though if you want the cheese to get nicely melty, you can also put a cover on the pan while it cooks.
But if eight minutes sounds like an eternity to wait for a hot pizza injection, Lifehacker Senior Food Editor Claire Lower favors two alternative methods, each guaranteed to produce much more satisfying results than the limp Salvador Dali slices you’ll pull out of the microwave: Air-frying and waffling.
Air-frying isn’t that much different than reheating pizza in the oven—the device is just a much smaller, more efficient version of the appliance—and will similarly revive your pizza to its fresh-from-the-pizzeria state after 3–4 minutes at 375 degrees.
Waffling may not sound like the best fit for reheating a cold slice, but you just have to get a bit more creative and waffle two slices together, one facedown on top of the other with the toppings facing inward. As Claire notes, “[t]he crust crisps up against the hot grates, while the cheese—which is pressed up against more cheese—warms and re-melts.” One the pizza reaches your desired temperature, you can pull the slices apart and eat them one at a time, or do what Claire does and eat them as a sandwich. Whichever reheating method you choose, you be making the right decision, as leftover pizza is never the wrong decision.
This article was originally published in 2017 and updated by Joel Cunningham on May 24, 2021 with new links, a new header, and to add suggestions for air-frying and waffling leftover pizza.