A take-and-bake pizza is the perfect solution for those nights when work runs late and making dinner is just not an option. And if you have an oven with both conventional and convection baking abilities, you can enjoy a meal even faster if you choose convection baked pizza.
Pizza in Convection Oven
If you have an oven with a convection setting, you might be asking yourself, “when should I use convection bake?” The simple answer is to use it whenever you want. That said, there are certain foods, such as cookies, pies, bread and, of course, pizzas, that do better with this setting than others.
When you heat your oven on the convection setting, hot air circulates around the food to cook it evenly. With a convection setting, the heat tends to be more even and drier. This has the ability to make sure your food cooks more evenly.
When you use this setting with pizza, the even air flow from top to bottom supplies both browning and crisp, delicious crust. This results in a frozen pizza that has a doughy, delicious center with just the right amount of crispiness in the crust.
Convection Bake Pizza Settings
In general, to make frozen pizza in a convection oven, you can either reduce the cooking time by 25 degrees Fahrenheit or reduce the cooking time by 25%. If you’re reducing the temperature, make sure to double-check your oven manual. Some ovens come with a feature that automatically reduces the temperature when you choose the convection setting.
Convection Bake Pizza Instructions
To cook frozen pizza in a convection oven, you should always first refer to the heating or baking instructions that come with the package, especially when setting the oven temp for “pizza.” If you don’t have the instructions, you can follow some general guidelines when cooking a frozen pizza.
- Heat the oven 25 degrees Fahrenheit lower than the baking instructions tell you to do. For example, if you’re following Papa Murphy’s convection oven instructions, reduce the temperature from 425 degrees to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. If your oven adjusts the temperature automatically, program it for 425 degrees. It will set itself at 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Place frozen pizza on a pizza stone, large pizza pan or pizza screen. A pizza screen is a round baking tool that’s made from expanded aluminum with a solid aluminum rim. These are a great choice if a pizza stone is not an option.
- Put the frozen pizza in the oven on the center rack and bake for 12 to 18 minutes. To start, set the timer for the minimum amount of time. Do this until you get a feel as to how your oven bakes on the convection setting.
- Check the pizza when the timer goes off. For a crispier crust, leave it in the oven for a few extra minutes.
- Remove the frozen pizza when the timer goes off or the crust looks crispy with a bubbling, doughy center.
- Let the pizza cool for 5 minutes before cutting. If you’re too eager and slice up your pie right away, you risk demolishing the juicy layer of cheese.
Papa Murphy’s Convection Oven Instructions
Because foods cook faster on a convection setting, you need to modify the baking time. For example, Papa Murphy’s convection oven instructions do not give a separate time for ovens with this setting. The baking time on their instruction sheet is for a standard oven, which means you need to adjust the time accordingly. Their instructions call for 12 to 18 minutes, so if you plan to bake on the convection setting, make sure to reduce the time by 25%.
What is the difference between a Convection Oven versus a Conventional Oven?
Convection ovens are built in the same way as conventional ovens, but with one major difference. Convection ovens use a fan to actively circulate the oven's hot air, rather than relying on the air's own natural movement.
Good convection oven models even have a separate heating element to bring hot air directly to the fan. These convection oven models do an excellent job of cooking the pizza toppings and melting the cheese, shortening the cooking time by several minutes.
The only drawback with convection oven models is that quick cooking browns the crust poorly.
The fix: The best solution is to place your pizza stone on an upper rack and preheat it under the broiler for 20 minutes before baking your pizza at its regular temperature. The hot stone simulates the pizza oven's deck, browning and crisping the crust.
Sara Lindberg is a lifestyle, health, wellness, and fitness freelance writer.