If you’re a fan of Pizza like me, I am sure you’ve thought about whether you can just put the pizza along with the cardboard box it was delivered in the oven.
The answer is – No, you should not put the cardboard with pizza in the oven.
There are a lot of factors involved that can cause a fire to erupt in your oven from the cardboard box.
Allow me to explain to give you more clarity
Why is Cardboard Box Dangerous in the oven?
Cardboard is a combustible substance that is made up of corrugated board and paper.
Paper catches fire at 450°F while a raw/frozen pizza usually bakes at approximately the same temperature range starting from 400°F onwards.
At 350°F you will get smoky flames from the pizza box that will spoil your pizza completely.
At temperatures greater than 450°F your pizza box will start to ignite burning your pizza.
Your stove and oven may catch fire and the whole kitchen can also catch fire burning your house down.
Apart from the temperature limit, certain factors are related to the oven and the cardboard box that can result in a fire inside the oven.
Let us understand what they are
Factors Affecting the Possibility of Fire Inside the Oven
Apart from the temperature limit, there are also a few factors that affect the possibility of fire inside the oven.
The Make of the Oven
There are all sorts of ovens in the market.
If your oven has direct heat element exposure inside, your pizza box is bound to catch fire even at low temperatures.
The ovens that have hidden heating elements and focus more on heat circulation are a safer option.
But again, I must warn you, the baking temperature of the pizza and the melting temperature of the cardboard box are quite near leaving you very little space to wiggle out.
Type of Chemical or Plastic in Cardboard Box
If your pizza box is made up of different chemicals and has plastic, the coating will come off and melt at lower temperatures resulting in a mess.
Some cardboard boxes are coated with a chemical making them grease resistant.
Modern cardboard is mostly recycled using different chemicals that can turn toxic and release poisonous gases when superheated.
The printing chemical is also most likely to gas off, releasing fumes that may be harmful.
The chemicals used inside to make the pizza box may even melt at low temperatures.
The harmful chemicals may include inks, plastic, glues, etc . when they are ingested along with the pizza it can be quite dangerous for the body.
Just because the pizza comes delivered inside the cardboard box, it is not meant to be heated up inside an oven.
I would strongly advise you to completely skip heating any cardboard box inside the oven for safe cooking and a healthy body.
Apart from the health issue, a pizza box will slow down the baking or heating process.
Now that you know your pizza box isn’t safe inside the oven, let me tell you about the alternative techniques you can use to heat or bake your pizza
Safer Alternative Techniques to Heat Pizza in the Oven
If you eat a lot of pizza here are some alternatives you can use instead
for your frozen or raw pizza.
Place it Directly on the Rack
There would be times when all you want is to delay eating pizza for a bit or wait till people gather together for the party.
At such times, just slide in your cooked pizza directly on the oven rack and keep it at a low temperature for warmth.
You may need to clean up the fallen bits and pieces from the bottom of the oven but this safe option is worth the effort.
Use Baking Sheets
Baking sheets are the simplest and easiest choice for warming frozen pizzas or baking fresh pizza.
Use cookie sheets and baking sheets for baking pizzas and to heat a frozen pizza. The cookie and baking sheets give you an equal distribution of heat all across its surface.
For a non-stick experience, grease up your sheet with a little oil or cooking spray before placing your pizza base.
As the baking sheets are meant to withstand high temperatures, you can easily use them for pizzas.
Use a Pizza Pan
Pizza pans are metallic and circular that can be used to bake fresh pizzas. You can also use it for frozen pizzas and to reheat a cooked pizza.
The best part about using pizza pans is that they are light in weight and can be handled easily.
Use a Pizza Stone
A pizza stone is round in shape and made up of stone or ceramic oven-safe material.
Place your pizza on the pizza stone and slide it inside the oven to store/bake/heat/ reheat.
A pizza stone is heavier than a pizza pan or a baking tray.
Casserole Dishes and Other Pans
The casseroles and other convex metallic objects are other healthy options to heat or bake pizza.
Just make sure the pizza fits the dimensions of the pan you use. Or you could just slice your pizzas and make them fit according to the pan shape.
If you do not want to slice your pizza before cooking, ask for a larger container fitting your pizza size.
All these options will rule out any chance of oven fire and will give you delicious and well-done pizzas every time!
Now let us move on to what we can do with the pizza box apart from placing it inside the oven
Uses of the Pizza Cardboard Box
- Use the cardboard box to slide your pizza into your oven or from the oven into your plate.
- Bake your pizza inside the oven and then place the heated pizza inside the cardboard box to keep it warm or carry it to any place you wish.
- According to the American forest and paper association president Heidi Brock, “the pizza boxes should be put in the recycle bin. They are successfully recycled every day at paper mills throughout the country. Do not worry about the grease or the small stuck-up cheese bits. It will not affect the recycling process in any way.
Some Frequently Asked Questions :
Here I am mentioning some of the frequently asked questions along with answers related to cardboard pizza boxes
What to do if we put a pizza box inside an oven?
Not to worry. Just switch your oven off. Take out your pizza box with gloved hands and remove the pizza.
Check for any melted plastic or fumes emitting from the box.
If you don’t find any, carefully remove the pizza.
Take a pizza pan or baking sheet and preheat for about five minutes approx.
Remove the pan with mitts and carefully put your pizza inside. Continue heating/baking as usual.
If you find melted plastic or fumes emitting from the pizza box, immediately discard it along with the pizza inside.
If your pizza is done, the base of your pizza is most likely burned and has an unpleasant taste. It will also be stuck to the cardboard box. Use a hand or knife to detach the cardboard from the base of the pizza.
Start fresh with a new pizza in a baking sheet/pizza stone or pizza pan.
How to store pizza leftovers?
Use ziplock bags or other sealable wraps to store your pizza leftovers.
Make sure the slices have cooled down before storing them inside your fridge. If you store them warm, the pizza dough will release water and turn soggy.
Although the pizza box can be quite tempting, it is best left for transporting the pizzas to different locations.
As I have mentioned earlier, the modern cardboard pizza boxes are made up of chemicals that can react with pizza resulting in a foul-tasting pizza.
Why are pizza boxes made from cardboard?
Earlier pizza slices used to be packed in bags. But the shape of the pizza used to become bad. The pizza-making companies came up with this innovative idea of cardboard box delivery to make sure the size and shape of the pizza remain the same.
Cardboard is a cheaper option and a lightweight container that easily folds up into different shapes depending on the size of pizzas.
A pizza box keeps the pizza crisp due to small holes in its body that are easy to cut out on the cardboard.
If the container of pizza is airtight, it will result in a soggy pizza.
The Final Word
While the pizza box can handle mild to moderate temperatures and is combustible at temperatures greater than 450°F, factors like the plastic and chemicals associated with the corrugated board and paper can cause a fire inside the oven at lower temperatures.
Apart from catching fire, the chemicals used to make the cardboard box will get leached into your pizza and can create havoc inside your digestive system.
The fumes emitted by the cardboard before melting are also toxic to the human body.
The chemicals used for making the pizza box may have a low melting temperature, adulterating your pizza with an awful taste.
These chemicals may also gas off or catch fire at low-temperature settings inside the oven.
Another reason to avoid pizza boxes inside your oven is the heat source.
If your oven has an exposed heat source, your pizza box can catch fire quickly much before the temperature reaches 400°F.
Do not use the pizza box inside an oven at any temperature whatsoever. Instead, use the rack, pizza pan, pizza stone, baking sheet, or cookie sheet.
These are safe options and will protect your kitchen and your oven. A cardboard box is never meant to be cooked.
It will help you relax while you leave your pizza to warm, heat, reheat, or bake. All the best!
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