On National Pizza Day, and all of the other 364 days of the year, people across this country settle for sad slices of pizza that were once frozen solid like a manhole cover, lacking toppings or damaged in delivery. They often look nothing like the picture above and sometimes taste like cardboard. Let’s face it, not all pizzas are created equal.
We’re here to help with nine easy ways you can upgrade an uninspired, pathetic pie by hacking your pizza:
1. Cheese It Up
Sure, you can always add more cheese to take it to the next level, but you might be surprised how trying different types of cheese can improve an otherwise boring pizza. While some scientists claim that mozzarella and cheddar are the best mix, there’s also provolone, Gouda, Colby, Edam, Asiago, Gruyère, Emmental, bleu, ricotta, burrata – and you’ll probably want to top it off with some Parmesan.
2. Veg Out
So you ordered a basic cheese or one topping pizza? Add pre-cooked vegetables for extra flavor and extra nutrition. Beyond popular favorites like garlic, peppers, onions, olives and mushrooms, have you tried zucchini, corn, cauliflower, kale, quinoa, squash, broccoli or spinach? And don’t forget about fruits! Besides pineapple, some use peaches, pears, apples, bananas and fig.
3. Take a Dip
Dips aren’t just for chips. Sometimes the easiest way to jazz up a bland slice isn’t in the slice itself. Some swear by ranch dressing, but depending on the flavor of the slice you can also go with marinara, garlic and herb, pesto, BBQ, buffalo or hummus. Some even dip their pizza in milk. We’re not making this up … it’s a thing.
4. Spice It Up
This one isn’t for everyone, but for those who like their pizza hot and spicy, you don’t have to settle for that packet of dried red peppers. There’s Tabasco, Sriracha, Cholula (everybody has their favorites), and if that’s not enough, you can add peppers ranging from hot to ‘you might need to sign a waiver’ before you eat it.
5. Cook Like A Pro
Promote your small time pizza to the big leagues by cooking it on a pizza stone. You can make your own with a few bucks at a home improvement store. Look for untreated, unglazed terra cotta or quarry tiles. They’ll distribute the heat more evenly in your oven or barbeque. Yes you read that right, you can cook a pizza on a barbeque.
6. Rub the Crust
Coat the crust with olive oil before you stick the pizza in the oven. You can also use melted butter, garlic powder, crushed garlic, oregano, and some grated parmesan cheese. This simple step can add a seasoned and flavorful boost to any premade pizza.
7. Walk on the Wild Side
We’re not just talking about sprinkling some bacon bits on top, not that there’s anything wrong with that. Try adding some new combos like peaches and prosciutto, blackberries and basil, even shrimp and lobster. There’s plenty of inspiration online … alongside pizzas with hardboiled eggs, Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, spaghetti and ramen noodles.
8. Change It Up
There are a lot of ways to cook pizza that don’t even look like pizza. For example, put a pizza upside down on another pizza with cheese in the middle and you have a grilled cheese pizza/calzone impersonator. Go a stack higher for pizza lasagna. Roll a mozzarella stick inside slices or cut strips of ‘pizza fries.’ Kids like slices cooked on a stick like a Popsicle or heated in a waffle iron.
9. Win Round Two
There’s an art to reheating slices. Using an oven, preheat to 375 and put it on a hot baking tray, cookie sheet or foil for 10 minutes. Or put it in a skillet, covered on medium heat with a few drops of water in the pan, and cook for at least five minutes. Then there’s the microwave – just place a cup of water next to the pizza when you cook it.
Hopefully one or more of these pizza hacks will help you elevate your next pizza from disappointing to delectable. If you’re still not impressed, try getting the ingredients to make your own pizza the next time you’re at the grocery store. It’s pretty easy with enough time and the right ingredients. Bon appétit!