By Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor Published Jan 13, 2021 at 4:01 PM

It's National Pizza Week, so grab yourself a slice of some of Milwaukee's best with OnMilwaukee's help all week long. And for more pizza pieces, click here. Buon appetito!

I think we can all agree on one thing: There’s always a compromise when you order take-out pizza. It doesn’t matter if you’re picking up the pizza yourself or if it’s being delivered, it's simply not the same as eating it in a restaurant (or making it yourself).

And that's OK. After all, ordering pizza is all about convenience, and convenience is exactly what you need when life gets busy. And right now during these pandemic times, it's the best and safest option that we've got.

But there’s at least one thing you can do to make your transported pie more delicious.

Cut it yourself

If you’re shaking your head, wondering why on earth cutting a pizza yourself would make a stitch of difference, let me lay it out for you.

  1. You can do it better. Pizza places (bless their hearts) are notoriously bad at cutting pizza. They’re doing it quickly and a good percentage of the time, their swift cuts never quite make it all the way through the pizza. When you go to take a slice, the bottom rips, toppings slide off, and you end up with a slice of wet, sauce-covered crust. Cut it yourself and you avoid all of this. You also have choices about whether to cut your pizza into squares or traditional slices. You can also make them as large (or small) as you like. 
  2. Your pizza retains more heat during transport. Think about it. Cutting the pizza into slices creates countless little openings where steam escapes from beneath the blanket of cheese, cooling everything down more quickly. Inevitably, all that steam collects inside the pizza bag or box, creating condensation that also contributes to a soggy, flabby pie.
  3. The crisp crust will thank you. Cutting through the slices also allows all the delicious oil and tomato sauce to seep between the slices. It pools. It soaks into the both the cardboard and the crust. And it allows hot drippy cheese to fall through the minuscule cracks, making slices of pizza stick to the cardboard.

So next time you order that pizza (for carry-out or delivery) take the time to request that it not be sliced. You’ll thank me.

Want an even better pizza?

When you get it home, give it a quick 5-minute blast in a very hot oven. Trust me on this; it will make that pizza taste so much better.

The most important step is to preheat your oven. Set it to to 500°F and place a baking sheet (preferably un-rimmed) on the bottom rack. Give it a good 15 minutes to get up to temperature. This works especially well if you’ve ordered pizza for delivery. If you set your oven temperature right around the time you order the pizza, it should be good and hot by the time the pie arrives.

When the pizza is delivered, slide it out of its packaging onto the baking sheet and let it bake for five minutes. That’s it. A little extra effort will give you a hotter pizza with a significantly crispier crust.

Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor

Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club. 

When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.