Why does pizza crust gets hard in the microwave?

  • By: Emma
  • Date: May 19, 2022
  • Time to read: 6 min.

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Why does pizza crust gets hard in the microwave?

Have you ever put a piece of pizza in the microwave, and then waited for it to heat up, only to be greeted with a crust that’s as hard as a rock? You’re not alone.

So what’s the deal? Why does pizza crust get so hard in the microwave?

The pizza crust gets hard in the microwave because microwave ovens function differently from regular ovens. In a traditional oven, heat from the air around food makes its way to its exterior in gradual layers. In a microwave, the waves penetrate food quickly with direct energy – meaning that parts of your snack get cooked much faster than others.

Now you might be thinking: Is there anything that can be done about it? Don’t worry – today’s blogpost will figure it out.

Let’s get started!

Why do we use microwaves for cooking pizza?

Microwaves were first used in the 1940s to heat food for soldiers that had trouble chewing from ailments such as dental issues or injury.

After a series of tests, they learned microwaves were a safe and rapid way to cook food. However, they weren’t exactly made for home use. It was only until 1965 when Amana Corporation released the Radarange – the first home microwave oven.

Since then, microwaves have become a staple in the kitchen and are an easy way to quickly warm up food without much hassle.

Today, microwave ovens are used to bake pizza because microwave ovens cook food through conduction and radiation, and not convection.

How does a microwave oven generate heat?

Radiation occurs when electromagnetic waves (microwaves) are emitted from an oven’s magnetron, which causes polar molecules in the food to oscillate thus generating heat.

While microwaves are absorbed by molecules with a positive electric charge — causing them to vibrate over a million times per second — microwaves are deflected by molecules with a negative electric charge.

This means that water, fat, and sugars are more susceptible to radiation than other aspects of food. This does not apply to pizza! Why? Because the ingredients in a pizza dough do not contain any water, which is necessary for inducing radio waves throughout the dough.

7 Reasons why microwave oven is making your pizza crust hard?

Microwaves are emitted at a frequency of 2450 MHz (Megahertz). This makes the waves long in length, but small in breadth.

Let’s see why microwave ovens cause pizza crust to get hard:

1. Microwaves induce chemical reactions

This may sound surprising, but it’s true. Microwave ovens induce a chemical reaction in pizza dough

Unlike normal ovens which need time to transfer heat, water molecules that are present in the crust of the pizza begin to absorb the radiations that pass through it.

This causes an increase in temperature within the first few minutes — essentially cooking the crust so quickly, you might as well have used a pan.

2. No moisture in the crust

Since pizza dough does not contain water, it’s impossible for it to heat up and soften as much as other food items would when you place them into a microwave oven.

Without the presence of water molecules within the components that make up the dough, there is no increased temperature and no softening of the crust.

3. The crust is exposed to cooking directly

One factor that may be contributing to your hard pizza crust is that the exterior of the dough tends to absorb more energy from microwaves than its interior does.

Due to this, it’s possible that by heating up at different rates — with the exterior being cooked faster than the interior — you’re causing a heat differential within the pizza, thus giving you a dry and tough crust.

4. Microwaves do not penetrate as far as regular ovens

Microwave energy does not travel as deep into the dough as it would in a standard oven because microwaves are reflected by metal pans.

This means that the heat generated by microwaves tends to stay closer to the crust, causing it to become too dry and tough.

5. The dough is not allowed proper time to rise

For the best results, pizza dough should be allowed to rise at room temperature for about four hours.  When you place your uncooked pizza dough in a microwave oven, you’re essentially stopping the process of yeast fermentation from occurring.

Since yeast is responsible for converting sugar into carbon dioxide and alcohol, this means that your pizza dough will be less fluffy.

6. The cheese cooks unevenly

In addition to the cheese being cooked unevenly due to a lack of moisture within your pizza dough, cheese can also melt in all sorts of weird ways in a microwave oven.

Cheese has a tendency to become very stringy when it is heated up quickly, which means that you may encounter some unwanted strings of cheese on your pizza after microwaving. This is because the water molecules in the cheese begin to move around very quickly, creating a string-like texture.

7. Burnt toppings

When your pizza is exposed to microwaves, the ingredients on top of it begin to cook more quickly than they would in an oven.  This means that instead of heating up evenly, the toppings are more likely to burn.  If you want to prevent pizza crust from getting hard, don’t let the toppings burn.

Tips to cook pizza properly in a microwave oven

1. Use a microwave-safe pizza dish or plate

The more metal that your dish is made of, the less likely you are to have issues with the crust being tough and dry after microwaving.  But since aluminum foil can cause arcing in some ovens, always opt for a dish or plate that’s labeled as microwave safe.

2. Add a moistened paper towel

On the top of your pizza, use a paper towel. A microwaved pizza tastes better when you add a bit of moisture to its surface, which is why it’s a good idea to lay down a moist paper towel over the contents of your dish before popping it into the oven.  The paper towel prevents the cheese from becoming dry and tough.

3. Apply the toppings after heating

For even cooking, it’s best to put your pizza toppings on AFTER microwaving it for a couple of minutes until you see that the surface is hot.  Be sure to keep an eye on things so that your pizza doesn’t overcook or burn.

4. Use the right amount of time and power

Use the appropriate power level and time for your microwave.  If you don’t, then your pizza could end up with a crust that’s too hard and dry to eat comfortably!

Is the Microwave better than the oven to cook pizza?

No, a microwave oven is not the best way to cook pizza.

According to studies conducted by Dr. Omer Van der Reijden from Harvard University, microwaves are far less efficient at transferring energy into food than standard ovens.  In fact, his results showed that it took 14 minutes for a conventional oven to cook a pizza while microwaving the same pizza took 30 minutes.

It would seem that conventional ovens are better at cooking food thoroughly by transferring heat energy into it more effectively.

3 Alternatives of Microwave to cook pizza?

The answer is yes. There are 3 alternatives of microwaves to cook pizza, namely Stovetop grill/pan, Stovetop oven, and Stovetop oven

  1. Stovetop Grill/Pan  – For this alternative, you can use a stovetop pan/grill which will heat up your pizza perfectly without the cheese becoming stringy or the toppings burning.
  2. Stovetop Oven – You can also use an oven instead of a microwave to cook pizza perfectly every time!
  3. Stovetop Oven – A stovetop oven is great for cooking pizzas, especially if you’re only preparing one or two at a time because this alternative will toast your pizza dough and melt the cheese for a delicious homemade taste in only a few minutes!

Based on this information, you should probably avoid using your microwave next time you decide to cook a pizza.  Instead of relying on these appliances, use an actual oven to make your pizza. If you don’t have an oven, try one of the alternatives mentioned above, or experiment with a stovetop pan/grill.


In summary, the microwave cannot cook pizza properly.  It takes too long and the crust doesn’t taste well. A pizza crust gets hard in the microwave mainly because microwaves are not suitable for cooking such food. However, you can always reheat the pizza in the microwave.

So try either the traditional baking oven or the alternatives listed above.

Happy Baking!

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