A store-bought frozen pizza is a smart thing to stash away in your freezer for a quick meal in a pinch. But let’s be real, it’s not exactly a meal to get excited about—unless you consider the pizza as a blank canvas for bright flavors and fresh ingredients. Here are our best frozen pizza upgrades for a plain cheese pizza.
1. Layer on the Cheese
Even though your pizza comes with a blanket of cheese, it can always benefit from more, especially cheeses other than mozzarella. Add dollops of soft goat cheese or fresh ricotta. Or amp up the flavor with grated hard cheeses like Parmesan, pecorino, or asiago. Better yet, make your own four-cheese pizza with goat cheese, Parmesan, ricotta, and fresh mozzarella. (Don’t forget the minced garlic and a drizzle of olive oil.)
2. Add Some Meat
Many frozen pizzas come already topped with meat, but whatever you put on it yourself will likely be fresher and of a higher quality. And you can customize exactly what you want on your pizza, which is always a plus. We like to add crumbled thick-cut bacon, small cubes of ham, thick slices of spicy pepperoni, or sweet or spicy Italian sausage crumbles to the pizza. Add these proteins to the cheese and follow the cooking instructions on the package. Or you can drape thin slices of prosciutto over the pizza when it comes out of the oven.
3. Top with Veggies
Here’s your chance to think outside of the pizza box. Instead of the usual black olives and sliced bell peppers, why not top your pizza with thinly sliced raw zucchini, sautéed sweet corn, roasted mushrooms, or halved cherry tomatoes? Keep in mind that vegetables with a high liquid content (eggplant, mushrooms, tomatoes) should be pre-cooked so they don’t turn limp on your pizza.
4. Turn Up the Heat
Most frozen pizzas are lacking in flavor. If you’re a fan of spicy foods, add something with a little heat and punch before you put the pizza in the oven. Our favorite add-ons include Sriracha, pickled peppers, or red pepper flakes.
5. Drizzle on a Sauce
Even if you don’t want to go crazy piling on extra toppings, a simple sauce can elevate a basic frozen pizza. Drizzle on some pesto, good-quality olive oil, chile oil, or even hot honey for a sweet-spicy twist (it’s great with pepperoni).
6. Finish with Something Leafy
When your pizza is done cooking, add the perfect finishing touch: fresh greens. We love to add a handful of lightly dressed baby spinach or arugula. It’s like eating a salad with your pizza, all in one convenient bite. If that doesn’t appeal, try pizza’s best friend: basil. Fresh parsley, oregano, or thinly sliced scallions also work well.