I’m quite sure we have all gone through this scenario where you are running out of time and need to feed hungry kids. Popping a frozen pizza in the oven seems the quickest solution.
Time is up and food should be ready. You get to the stove and realize the pizza is still not done, then you notice the bottom cardboard is still on! Now you’re wondering; can I put cardboard in the oven?
Firstly About Pizza Cardboard
Most Pizza boxes are made from corrugated cardboard with three layers of paper glued together with corn starch, thus it should not be toxic or cause any health issues.
The layers actually prevent heat from escaping and keep the contents warm for longer periods so this will cause your pizza to be undercooked.
Reasons why cardboard should not be used in the oven and some useful tips
Most frozen foods are shipped with a layer of plastic to prevent freezer burn and then covered with cardboard. Always read the instructions on the side or back of the box on how to prepare the dish.
Corrugated cardboard combusts at approximately 451 degrees Fahrenheit with the pizza corrugated board combustion temperature the risk of a fire is lower. Your pizza might be crispy and delicious or the cardboard will start smoking and ruin your delicious meal.
Most frozen foods need to bake at a temperature above 400 degrees Fahrenheit but are not packed in corrugated cardboard. Cardboard catches fire at 427 degrees Fahrenheit so if you don’t read and follow the instructions then you love the tastes of burnt cardboard with your food enjoy.
Remember to remove the plastic from the product as melted plastic on your food will ruin your appetite.
Some Tips for Preparing Your Pizza Without The Cardboard
We have focused on pizza as this is the most likely time you might be tempted to put cardboard in the oven. The same principles will apply to other products that might come in a cardboard container that needs heating.
Heating your pizza up inside the box is a bad idea. Your best bet is to use a pizza dish that will ensure the heat transfer through the pizza and does not cause any thread of combustion. This will ensure a firm crust and a thoroughly cooked pizza.
The metal will evenly cook the bottom of your pizza and crisp the bottom.
Remember to use oven gloves to remove it from the oven.
Casserole Dish Baking Tray
This is a great way to cook your frozen meals although a bit small for a pizza but this will prevent your oven from getting dirty with spilled or boiled over food from your frozen casserole.
The option of not having a cookie sheet is to cover the middle part of your oven rack with some Aluminum foil to save foil and prevent greasy drippings in your oven.
Straight on the oven rack
Some pizzas come with a round cardboard disk under the pizza. Use this to load the pizza in a pre-heated oven and slide the pizza off the cardboard tray onto the baking rack. When the pizza is done use the same tray with oven gloves to remove the pizza from the oven.
This method will leave you with some deep cleaning afterward as there will be a lot of greasy and cheesy drippings on the bottom of your oven.
If you really want to save on dishes cut the pizza box into plates and serve the slices without any dishes to wash.
Is it OK to Put a Pizza Box in the Oven?
Please try and avoid putting pizza boxes and any other cardboard products in the oven. The fire risk is high and the chances of running your meal are good.
What Temperature Does Cardboard Burn At?
Cardboard ignites at around 427 Degrees Fahrenheit (219 Degrees Celsius)
Before ignition, the cardboard can smoke and smolder and change the taste of your food.
So, the simple truth is that it is not a great idea to put cardboard in the oven. While you might get away with it on low heat for a short period, it is not the ideal solution. Not only is there a risk of fire but your pizza or other foods might not warm correctly and will probably not taste that great. Rather use one of the alternatives we have recommended above.