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How to Keep Pizza Warm

By January 19, 2023January 23rd, 2023Health & Safety, Restaurant & Foodservice
Man with insulated bag delivering a pizza

How long does pizza stay warm in the box?

If a restaurant serves pizza to sit-down customers, chances are they also sell takeout pizza, and might even offer a delivery service too. Whether your pizza restaurant serves takeout, delivery, offers sit down service, or does a combination of these, you are going to need to know how long pizza can sit in a box for before it gets cold. Keeping pizza warm in the box ensures high quality pizza from the oven to the customer and keeps everyone happy.

The amount of time that a pizza can stay warm in the box depends on where it’s stored after coming out of the oven, the size of the pizza and the type of pizza it is. A pizza could stay warm for longer if it’s kept on top of a pizza oven, or near the pizza oven and in a corrugated pizza box. A large sized pizza can stay warmer for a longer period of time compared to a small pizza because it has more area space. All in all, thirty minutes is a general time frame to keep in mind when packing up to-go pizza orders or when delivering pizza to the customer’s house or place of business.

How to keep pizza warm in the box?

There are many methods in which restaurant employees can keep pizza warm in the box, either before it leaves the restaurant, or while it’s in the delivery vehicle. Depending on the scheduled pick-up time, you can keep the pizza in the box on top of, or near the pizza oven if space allows. Pizza ovens are very hot, so if you can keep the pizza packed up near the oven until the customer picks it up, it will increase the chance of it staying as warm as possible. Some other methods include:

Using an insulated pizza delivery bag to ensure that the pizza does not turn cold on the way to the customer’s desired delivery location. Place the pizza box on a heated seat if the delivery vehicle has one to radiate as much heat as possible throughout the journey. Purchase a heated holding cabinet for the restaurant if your budget allows. If your restaurant sells a lot of pizza, these might be beneficial to have for keeping the pizza warm in the box.

How to keep delivery pizza warm en route?

When operating a pizza delivery service, it’s best to make sure that the customer receives their food in a timely manner, but also at the right temperature. Keeping pizza and other menu items warm during delivery doesn’t have to be difficult, and with these suggestions it might make the process easier. Here are some ways in which you can maximize warmth while en route:

  • Only offer delivery service within certain distances so customers can get the food at its warmest. Offering delivery service for greater distances may impact the temperature of the food when it gets to the customer. Third party delivery services such as UberEATS and Door Dash can help your restaurant deliver to far more customers and can go the extra mile on behalf of the restaurant. Avoid using the backseat to store the food.
  • Since the engine is in the front of the car, the front passenger side is most likely going to remain warm or get warm faster compared to the backseat. During the winter months and in cold places, be sure to use a heated seat control if your delivery vehicle has one. This can also help keep the food warm throughout the drive. If possible, avoid turning the car on and off throughout the delivery service shift, especially when it’s cold outside.

Where should the pizza be stored before it is picked up by customer?

Factors such as traffic or losing track of time can lead to a pizza being picked up late on the customers end. Sometimes, pizza orders are done earlier than expected, which means that there needs to be a way to keep it warm until the customer arrives to pick it up. Restaurants should have a plan in place for when either of these two things happen, so that the food is still warm when the customer picks it up.

Where the pizza is stored after it is done cooking is the key to keeping it warm and gives room for more orders to be sent out to customers. A way to keep everything warm is to have a dedicated takeout spot where the orders can be stacked up neatly so that when the customer arrives, whoever is in charge of ringing them up can grab their order quickly and without hesitation. Here are some other ways restaurants and pizza joints can ensure the food stays warm when waiting for customers to pick up:

  • Use heat preserving disposable food containers such as eco-friendly, and plastic. Eco-friendly containers can withstand warm temperatures for short amounts of time, and plastic containers can keep the heat trapped inside.
  • Use aluminum foil inside the containers to keep food extra warm and to prevent sogginess.
  • Keep the food packed up in a warm place like near the oven if your kitchen has the space for it.
  • Use a heat lamp for extra warmth.
  • Keep larger items like pizza on the bottom and stack the smaller boxes on top for easy handling. This method is also great for circulating the heat, which transfers through the larger boxes and into the smaller ones.

Can pizza be reheated in the oven?

Pizza can be reheated in the oven, but it’s best to take it out of the box first, especially if it is being reheated at a high temperature. After removing the pizza from the box, you can place it on a pizza stone or just put it directly onto the oven grates. Preheat your oven to a low temperature such as 200°F and keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t burn. If the pizza has been refrigerated or is not warm whatsoever, increase the temperature of the oven.

Wrapping the pizza in aluminum foil is also a great method for reheating pizza in the oven. If you don’t have a pizza stone or don’t want to place the pizza directly onto the oven grates, wrap it or create a make-shift pizza stone with tin foil to warm it through. The aluminum helps to keep the heat inside, while not drying out the pizza.

Can you put a pizza box in the oven?

While it has been done, putting a cardboard pizza box into the oven to reheat pizza is not a good idea. There are a few reasons why it is not safe to put a pizza box into the oven in order to reheat it:

  • The cardboard box can catch on fire or burn due to the high heat. Pizza boxes are not meant to hold up to high temperatures for that long, so it’s best to remove the pizza from the box prior to reheating it in the oven.
  • Another consequence of putting your pizza box into the oven is that it can get messy. When you heat up a pizza and it’s contained inside the pizza box, the cheese and toppings can spill over the side of the pizza and onto the base of the box causing a big mess.

If you can avoid it, keep the pizza out of the box when reheating it. Using a pizza stone, a baking sheet, or wrapping it in aluminum foil are easier, safer, and cleaner methods.

How to Keep a Pizza Warm

Pizza is a popular food item across the world, especially in America where many establishments offer takeout and delivery options. Keeping it warm in the restaurant prior to pick up, in delivery vehicles, and once it reaches its final destination is important to satisfy customers and can keep them coming back to your restaurant. Using methods like heat lamps, heated seats, keeping it near the pizza oven, or packed in the right boxes all contribute to keeping the pizza warm before it reaches the customer. The general rule of thumb is that without any additional heat sources, pizza will stay warm on its own for about thirty minutes until it reaches a room temperature. So, before that happens, make sure your restaurant has a way to keep it as warm as possible before it gets to the customer.


Brooklyn Lover Pizza. Can You Put a Pizza Box in the Oven? ( Accessed January 3, 2023.

Chef’s Store. Takeout Packaging: Keeping Food Warm. ( Accessed January 4, 2023.

The Fork Bite. 9 Ways on How to Keep Pizza Warm. (
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