How Long Should You Bake a Pizza For

Whether you are making a pizza at home or grabbing take out from the Hungry Howies® pizza menu, you may wonder how long to bake pizza. As with many things, the answer is, it depends. Baking time depends on how big the pizza is, how thick the crust is, how many toppings are on it, and whether it is fresh or frozen. That’s a lot to cover, so let’s dig in.

What Is the Average Time to Cook a Pizza?

A pizza may take between 8-15 minutes to bake to perfection. A larger, thicker pizza will take longer than a small, thin-crust one with few toppings. Frozen pizzas can take longer than fresh ones since they usually thaw as they are cooking, which will add extra time.

No matter what type of pizza, how large, or how high you’ve set your oven, keep a close eye on your pizza as it is baking. When baking a pizza at such a high temperature, the difference between “nice and crisp” and “burned beyond recognition” can be a matter of minutes. As a general rule, set the timer for 8-10 minutes and add more time as needed. Then consider the factors below when contemplating adding time to the baking process.

What Is the Best Temperature to Cook Pizza?

Pizza restaurants generally bake their pizzas somewhere between 700-800 degrees, something you cannot do in a home oven. However, to bake the perfect home pizza, the higher you set your oven temperature, the better. High temperatures create a crisp, golden-brown pizza crust.

The key to getting a crispy crust with a chewy inside is to cook the pizza as quickly as possible. To do so at home, preheat the oven to at least 450 and as high as 500 degrees if possible. To make sure the oven is nice and hot, allow it to preheat for 20-30 minutes before you put the pizza in.

Why Does the Oven Need to Be So Hot?

Have you ever walked into a pizza place and felt the whoosh of heat (and the accompanying delicious aroma) that the oven gives off? Maybe you’ve noted the temperatures above for home pizza making, were surprised at the high heat required to bake a pizza. There are many reasons why pizzas need to be cooked at such high heat.

Crust Thickness

If you are baking a pizza with a thicker crust, deep-dish style, for example, you may need to set the oven’s temperature to 400 degrees. You may need to experiment and find the right temperature for your oven by trial and error. The goal is for the pizza to cook completely and the cheese melt to be just right, but if the oven is too hot, the crust will burn. Baking pizza is a delicate process and often takes practice and experimentation to master.

When cooked at exactly the right temperature and for exactly the right amount of time, the pizza crust achieves the perfect crispy texture. Many people view the crust as one of the best parts of the pizza, and a high temperature will give you a perfectly cooked crust.

Cheese Melt

The cheese is another reason why a higher oven temperature creates the perfect pizza. While a crispy crust is preferred by some, cheese is often the star of the pizza show for many people. Cooking pizza in a very hot oven ensures that the cheese reaches the perfect melted state. If the oven is too cold, the cheese will probably not melt completely or may melt unevenly. An oven set at a high temperature gives you hot, evenly melted cheese throughout the whole pizza. Again, experimentation is needed to make sure you don’t overbake the cheese and end up with a subpar pizza with hard, crunchy cheese on top and probably a burned crust.

Amount of Toppings

Adding too many toppings to your pizza not only affects the baking time but also the quality of your pizza. Too many toppings will make the pizza too heavy for the dough and lead to uneven cooking. This may be a case where less is more. The more toppings, the longer your pizza will take to cook. However, the crust will cook at its normal baking time, so you’ll have a burned crust or undercooked topping.

Troubleshooting Pizza Baking Time

When baking a pizza, there are three goals: deliciously melty cheese, evenly browned, crispy crust, and perfectly cooked toppings. When everything comes together, you have a slice of heaven in your hands. These tips will help you reach that goal.

Bake the pizza on the lower rack to make sure the crust is cooked perfectly. Keep an eye on it and if the crust looks pretty much done, but the cheese needs more time, move it to the top rack. If you want a lot of toppings, cook the pizza for about 10 minutes and then add the toppings and continue baking until the crust is done.

How to Get Perfectly Baked Pizza

As you can see, baking the perfect pizza at home can take some time and experimentation to master. If you need a piping hot, delicious pizza, you don’t have to wait that long. Simply order a Hungry Howie’s® pizza for delivery or carry-out, and you’ll soon have a tasty pizza with perfectly melted cheese and a crust that stands up to all the toppings you want.