Cooking a Frozen Pizza in the Oven Without a Pan

Nothing is better than frozen pizza when it comes to wanting a tasty, easy dinner at home, but what happens if you find yourself without a pizza pan to cook it on? Let’s find out what happens when Cooking a Frozen Pizza in the Oven Without a Pan.

I was recently house-sitting for a friend and found myself in this situation. I thought I’d have a nice, stress-free evening in thanks to my dinner being a simple frozen pizza that should’ve needed little to no preparation on my part.

Then, after opening every cabinet and drawer in my friend’s kitchen, I had to come to the sad realization that she didn’t own a pan to place my frozen pizza on! I’d never had to face a frozen pizza without a pan before, and I wondered if cooking frozen pizza in an oven without a pan was even possible. Would it make a mess? Would I find myself having to clean the oven?

So I had to do some research, and now I’m ready to share with you the truth about cooking frozen pizza in an oven without a pan.

Uncooked pizza dough needs a flat surface, usually a pan, to harden on, or else it will drip to the bottom of the oven. However, because most frozen pizzas are already made with cooked dough, you can cook a frozen pizza in an oven without a pan.

Let’s take a step-by-step look at how to cook a frozen pizza if you find yourself without a pan. I’ll even cover a few alternatives to using a pan that will help you have your clean oven and eat your frozen pizza, too!

How to Cook a Frozen Pizza in an Oven Without a Pan

It is possible to cook a frozen pizza in an oven without a pan, but that doesn’t mean you should jump in without checking on a few factors, first! If your goal is like mine, and you want to eat your frozen pizza without having to clean up a mess in the oven, then check out these steps below:

1. Check to see If the frozen dough is uncooked.

2. Place the frozen pizza on the middle rack.

3. Check the box for the desired cooking time.

I’ll show you why these steps are important by taking a closer look at the importance of each.

1. Check to see if the frozen dough is uncooked.

This is probably the most important step in your quest to cook your frozen pizza in the oven without the aid of a pizza pan.

The whole reason pizza should be cooked with a pan in the first place is because pizza dough, before it is cooked, is drippy and soft. It’s the heat provided by baking in the oven that hardens pizza into the delicious, firm pie shape we all love. Once the dough heats up enough, it goes from mushy to sturdy enough to hold not only its shape, but all the gooier ingredients on top!

Imagine putting the puddle of uncooked pizza dough on the rack of an oven before it’s had time to harden. In that brief moment, when you place your cold dough on the rack, everything might stay in place at first.

This is because cold, uncooked dough is firm as long as the temperature is low enough. However, as soon as things heat up in the oven, you’ll notice the entire pizza melting through the slats in the rack, leaving you with nothing to eat and a mess to clean. A pizza pan would stop this, and without it, its not a good idea to try and bake uncooked dough in the oven.

Luckily, most frozen pizzas have pre-cooked dough! All you’re doing when you cook the pizza in the oven is melting the cheese topping and heating up the already-cooked dinner. When this is the case, a pan is not needed!

Check the box, usually on the back, to see if the pizza dough is cooked or uncooked before baking! If the dough is already pre-cooked, go ahead and place it in the oven without worrying about the pan.

2. Place the frozen pizza on the middle rack.

When I was facing the idea of putting a frozen pizza in the oven without a pan, I wondered if I should put the pizza higher or lower in the oven based on it’s lack of a flat surface. I wasn’t sure if being closer to the heat source at the top would prevent the dough melting through the bars of the rack, or if that would only make the cooking process more risky!

The truth is, if your frozen pizza is already pre-cooked, it doesn’t matter if it is on the top or bottom rack: it won’t melt into a messy puddle!

Instead, the only thing you need to focus on is making sure the frozen pizza is cooked evenly. After all, nobody likes to have a nice hot crust with a chilly center when they bite into their dinner!

This is especially important to consider when you’re missing a pan. Most pizza pans are made of a metal that absorbs the oven’s heat and helps to disperse it through the frozen pizza’s dough. Without it, you’ll have to take the matter of heating the pizza evenly into your own hands.

To have success, place your frozen pizza as near the middle of the oven as you can. If your oven has multiple racks, do what I did and put your frozen pizza on the middle rack for a thorough heating.

3. Check the box for the desired cooking time.

Remember to check the box for the cooking time! When I tried to cook a frozen pizza without a pan, I toyed with the idea of leaving it in the oven for longer than the desired time, just to be sure it was warmed all the way through.

However, this wasn’t really necessary, and I wound up almost burning my frozen pizza. A pizza pan doesn’t make a big enough difference to pre-cooked pizza dough to justify changing the recommended cooking time!

Cooking a Frozen Pizza in the Oven Without a Pan

Alternatives to Using a Pan

If you don’t have a pan, and you find that your frozen pizza’s dough is actually uncooked, there’s good news! You can still cook the frozen pizza without a pan and without a mess: try a few of the alternatives listed below to create a flat surface for your dough to cook:

1. Create a Pan out of Parchment Paper

2. Use an Inverted Baking Sheet

3. Use a Frying Pan

Let’s take a closer look at each of these alternatives to a pan so that you can decide which one is best for your dinner situation!

1. Create a Pan Out of Parchment Paper

This was the easiest solution for me: the friend I was housesitting for always kept plenty of parchment paper in the kitchen!

Parchment paper is literally designed to be placed under the heat of an oven, so there’s no danger of it catching on fire like regular paper might. Not only that, but remember, parchment paper can simply be thrown away: there’s no need to worry about washing it, like you would a pizza pan!

To use parchment paper as a substitute pan, make sure you tear out and layer them with about an inch of visible paper around the edge of your pizza. I layered four pieces to accomplish this for a 12 inch frozen pizza, and it worked wonders!

One disadvantage to using parchment paper is that it can be tricky to remove your hot pizza once it’s done cooking.

Use a combination of tongs and oven mitts, and have a large plate or even your original pizza box ready to act as a platter as you remove the pizza carefully. My advice is to lift out the pizza itself without worrying about removing the paper at the same time.

2. Use an Inverted Baking Sheet

An inverted baking sheet simply means you should take out a cookie sheet and flip it upside down! This way, the rims of the cookie sheet won’t get in the way when you place your frozen pizza on it. Then the flat surface provided by the bottom of the sheet will keep the pizza from melting into a puddle at the bottom of your oven.

It’s a good idea to dust your baking sheet with a little flour, which will keep the uncooked frozen pizza dough from sticking. If you’d rather not use flour, baking spray works, too!

3. Use a Frying Pan

Using a frying pan is helpful for the same reasons an inverted baking sheet is: it provides a flat surface that your frozen pizza’s uncooked dough can’t possibly melt out of! Remember, this will probably need a dusting of flour or a spray of baking spray to prevent sticking, too.

Additionally, a frying pan is designed to quickly heat whatever is inside of it. This means that you may want to preheat your oven about ten to twenty degrees lower than the setting recommended on the box, or you may end up with a burnt pizza crust!


In summary, cooking frozen pizza in an oven without a pan can be done! A pan is great for keeping uncooked pizza dough from melting through the slats in an oven rack, and it also provides an even surface to disperse heat through the pizza.

However, if you don’t have a pizza pan, it isn’t the end of your dinner plans! Most frozen pizzas come with dough that is already cooked and will not melt during the reheating process. For frozen pizzas that don’t pre-cook their dough, you can create your own makeshift pans or transform your cookie sheet or frying pan into a solution to your problem.

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Sam Brett

Sam Brett is the founder and editor of Pizzachefhq, a pizza enthusiast who writes about what he's learned on the way of being a pizza creator and sharing his advice, tips, and research.

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