Air Fryer Pizza

Laura Rainbow Dragon

Well-known member
Bard from Canada
Posts: 1,811
"Striving to be the change."
Have you had success making pizza in an air fryer? Homemade pizza with homemade fresh dough?

We got a new toaster oven yesterday with an air fry feature. Most toaster ovens--including this one--advertise that they will cook a 12" pizza. But by this they mean a 12" freezer pizza that you can put directly on the oven rack. Pizza trays for cooking 12" pizzas are larger than 12" in diameter and thus do not fit in the oven. But I've been looking at that nice little air frying basket that came with the oven and thinking it might make a most excellent pizza tray.

Here is the thing: I am trying to avoid using my main oven as much as possible, since it is a gas oven. But homemade pizza is one of the great loves of my life. I cannot give this up!

pizza2.png

Whole wheat crust. Spicy tomato sauce. Fresh baby spinach leaves. Part skim Mozzarella, habanero & cracked black pepper Monterey Jack, 4-year-old cheddar, and 100% goat's milk feta cheeses. Shiitake mushrooms. Onions. Fresh pineapple. Oven-roasted chicken breast. Pickled hot banana peppers. Sun-dried tomatoes. And anchovies. Ain't nobody makes a freezer pizza like this!

But how to make it in the toaster oven? Normally I would cook these for 20 minutes at 425°F in the gas oven. This is barely enough to cook the crust through, under so many toppings! (I would go hotter, but 425 is the max temp recommended for the pizza trays, since they are non-stick.)

I did once cook homemade pizza in our old toaster oven. That was a huge hassle and took forever. (I had prepped the pizzas, then discovered the gas oven would not light. Had to freeze the pizzas, piled high with toppings--which I did not have room to do all at once--then cook them one at a time in the old toaster oven. Both toaster ovens supposedly heat to 450°F. But the old one clearly does not. It took 40 minutes to cook each pizza, and even at that the dough was undercooked.)

But now with this new oven? It likely does get hotter than the old one. And it has the air fry feature. Which could be helpful?

"Air fryer pizza" is definitely a thing. I have seen many recipes. But most call for pre-cooked crusts of some kind. (Some suggest you can make your own crust, cook it blind, then dress it and finish cooking it. But my pizza dough is meant to rise when it's baked. It would get pretty pouffy with no toppings on it, I should think! And how cooked is cooked? I'm assuming only partial blind baking would be required. But what percentage of done are we talking here?) Recipes for air-fried pizza without pre-cooked crusts complain of the toppings burning before the crust is cooked. And I saw one recipe that cautions one to put the heavier toppings on top, because light weight toppings could blow off the top! Is that a thing? Food getting blown around by the air current?

I'm only cooking for 2 people now. So I'm thinking there must be a way to make pizza work in the new toaster oven. (Assuming I can get the cooking time down from the 40 minutes it took in the old toaster oven! We do generally try to eat at roughly the same time as one another.)

Anyone have any tips for me for making homemade-from-scratch pizza in either an air fryer or toaster oven?
 

guibo94

Well-known member
Gladiator from New Asgard
Posts: 77
"Silent but deadly."
I am not a chef, in fact I am very a average cook, but I love pizza and have both an air fryer and a toaster oven so this post resonated with me! Having said that, here is my two cents.

As far as air frying a pizza, I have never tried that because what I have observed with our air fryer is that it cooks like a barbecue pit, one side gets hotter than the other so with other things I have cooked in it - I often need to flip them over to get an even cook. This would be a disaster for a pizza, which is probably why most recipes use pre-cooked dough or a blind pre-cook. I think most of the heat hits the top of the food with ours so the dough probably won't cook evenly. I bet if you folded it over into a calzone you could cook it in the air fryer. Also, air fryers tend to cook foods in between baking and deep frying. Meaning, they get more crispy on the outside compared to an oven bake, but the food is much drier compared to deep fried. The air fryer also tends to cook a lot faster so I would cut your planned cook time by 40-60%. We bake chickpeas at 400 for 30-40 minutes in the oven, but only 20-25 minutes at 400 in the air fryer, just as an example.

With our toaster oven, it is about the same size as yours and it has a glass door so the heat can escape much easier than our regular oven so it is a little more inconsistent with baking. I have found that using a single sheet of foil or parchment paper can help the bottom of pizzas cook better than trying to fit a small baking pan in it. I like to use a baking stone in our regular oven, but when I make smaller pizzas in the toaster oven, it seems to do better with out a "pan".

I hope this helps and makes some sense, and good luck with those delicious pizzas!
 

Laura Rainbow Dragon

Well-known member
Bard from Canada
Posts: 1,811
"Striving to be the change."
@guibo94 Calzone! That is a brilliant idea! I am definitely going to try that! (Hopefully it won't just pop open with so many toppings in there! I've never tried before.)

when I make smaller pizzas in the toaster oven, it seems to do better with out a "pan".
My pizza dough would not hold up so many toppings without a pan to assist. But the mesh of the air fry basket is fine enough to stand in for a tray. (My pizza trays have holes in them to help the crust cook better. They just don't fit in the toaster ovens.)

I've no idea how a toaster oven with air fry feature compares to a stand alone air fryer re: the cooking one side more than the other issue.
I need to break the unit in with some simpler stuff first. Going to try asparagus tonight, and french fries tomorrow.

But yes! Calzone! Definitely going to try that. Thank you!
 

guibo94

Well-known member
Gladiator from New Asgard
Posts: 77
"Silent but deadly."
I am super curious to see how your calzone turns out!

My pizza dough would not hold up so many toppings without a pan to assist. But the mesh of the air fry basket is fine enough to stand in for a tray. (My pizza trays have holes in them to help the crust cook better. They just don't fit in the toaster ovens.)
I don't think I did a great job of explaining myself. Our toaster oven has a removable rack like in a regular oven rack. So what I do is take that out while it preheats and then build the pizza on a piece of foil on top of the rack. Then when the toaster over is heated, I slide the whole rack into the oven and set the timer. I am not sure of your toaster oven has a removable rack, but I am pretty sure that mine could support the pizza in your picture with just foil. The surface area is small and the gaps between the bars on our rack are only about 1cm apart so the foil cannot collapse between them. However, if your air fryer mesh fits into your toaster oven, that sounds even better!

Good luck with the asparagus and fries!
 

Laura Rainbow Dragon

Well-known member
Bard from Canada
Posts: 1,811
"Striving to be the change."
@guibo94 the rack is removable from both toaster ovens. But the bars are farther apart than in yours. More than 3cm apart in the new oven.

The air fry basket came with the new oven. It is built onto a rack that slides in and out just like the regular rack. So it is the perfect size for the oven.

fry-basket.png

I think it will make a good "tray" for pizza (or calzone!), whether I end up air frying them or just regular baking them.

The asparagus turned out great tonight! Crisper than oven-roasted and cooked in half the time!
 
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