Here's a quicker at-home approach that will emulate your favorite restaurant slice.
Everyone has their favorite brand of frozen pizza. Whether you resort to yours out of convenience or because you’re short on time, a ready-to-eat pizza—whether frozen or from your local supermarket’s deli section—can be a dinner saver. It goes without saying that most frozen pizzas leave something to be desired when it comes to quality, but there’s actually a way to cook them that will save time and emulate your favorite pizzeria's pie.
Eating healthy should still be delicious.
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Users on the popular social forum Reddit have stumbled upon a hack to improve the quality of packaged pizzas using the highest temperature of your home oven. Since commercial pizza ovens are traditionally set at temperatures upwards of 700 degrees, the pizza outside of your home is normally baked faster with a crispier crust – and without any unwanted mushy toppings.
One Reddit user swears by mimicking that method of cooking at home – setting the oven as high as it will go (without entering a broil mode) and flash baking the pizza for 5-8 minutes. Note: If your pizza is frozen, you’ll have to let it thaw to room-temperature beforehand – and make sure you cook it immediately after thawing.
This method requires to you to either place the pizza on the bare oven rack or on a preheated cast-iron skillet or pizza stone. If you’re looking for an extra crispy crust, try brushing your pizza with olive oil. Dress up your pie with a sprinkle of garlic powder, which adds a seasoned note to any premade pizza, or pre-cooked vegetables for an extra nutrition boost.
The flash baking method requires you to keep a close eye on your pizza – the suggested 5 to 8 minutes that Reddit users swear by can go south quickly if you’re not careful, and even a few extra minutes in a high-temp oven can make the difference between a perfectly golden crust and a smoky disaster.
Pizza Hack: Broil Your Pies
"You want what?" The confused Domino's employee stared at us, scared, then turned his back and looked in desperation for the manager. No, we hadn't asked for all the money in the register. Or even a pizza with fresh buffalo mozzarella and rare black truffles shredded on top. We had simply asked him for some pizza dough. Raw pizza dough. You know, before it goes into the oven.
But there was only silence and confused stares. Some mumbling happened between employees, while the other patrons in the no-table lobby pretended to be interested in the dust gathering around the floor. We continued to smile and attempted to look angelic.
He returned with the manager. "Where are you guys from?" he pressed, suspecting spies from Domino's corporate.
"Um, we live around the corner."
"No, no. Where are you from? I mean, what are you gonna do with raw dough?"
"We're going to make some pizza," we said.
Yes, really. You, reader, are probably thinking the same thing. Good pizza at home? Are you crazy? Call the local pizzeria. It's not worth the effort.
It's true, most people have essentially given up on making pizza at home. But, Serious Eaters, that might change once you read this. We believe you can make a near-restaurant-worthy pie at home. And you can use Domino's dough to make it happen.
But let's back up for the moment.
Most people don't make pizza at home. Sure, it's possible, as the many take-and-bake pizza placesnot to mention Boboli commercialswould lead you to believe. But those of us who actually care about their pies all know that's a lie. Why is this?
The elements of a great pizza are, for the most part, not mysterious. With a little extra cash, one can easily procure imported milky mozzarella crisp, pungent fresh herbs and a log of great pepperoni. There are probably some wonderful secrets to a great pizza sauce, but then again, some crushed tomatoes and fresh herbs will take you most of the way.
It's the crust. The majority of our fears, and the reason we hardly ever make pizza at home, are over the crust. How will it ever be charred and crispy while at the same time chewy and springy?
As any self-respecting pizza lover will tell you, even with the perfect dough and toppings, the home cook will always run into one problem: lack of heat. Unless you have a restaurant-grade oven in your apartment, you will never reach the 800 degrees or beyond that the best New York and Naples-style pizza needs to cook correctly. Without this intense environment, all dough will become dry before it's done cooking. It's a simple, scientific fact. While a pizza stone may improve the bottom of the crust and help retain heat, if 500 degrees is your oven's limit, that stone isn't going to magically raise it 800.
There have been noble attempts. Jeffrey Steingarten rightly speculated that an electric home oven could reach the lofty 800 degree temperature on its self-cleaning cycle, and he tried it with a friend's oven. (This was after he wrapped the heat sensor on his own gas oven with a frozen rag, resulting in a call to an oven repairman). But he forgot about the safety latch that prevents you from opening it. His pizza, while he watched longingly, turned to ash.
Jeff Varasano, who attempted to reverse engineer the pizzas at Patsy's in East Harlem, fixed that problem. By cutting the latch, he was able to reach in and remove his pizzas at just the perfect time. After a year or so of experiments, he has created, in his opinion, some phenomenal pizza. That may well be the case, although we can't exactly recommend tampering with and ruining a high-powered and potentially dangerous electrical applianceeven we have limits.
And finally, Heston Blumenthal, the Michelin three-star chef at the Fat Duck in London and the author of In Search of Perfection, saw this problem, too. His book is a passionate quest for techniques which result in perfectionfrom fish and chips to spaghetti bolognese.
With pizza, he takes an unprecedented route. What he comes up with is radical, simple, and produces remarkable results.
The only equipment you'll need is a cast-iron skillet and your oven's broiler. You'll preheat the skillet on the stove over the highest possible heat for 20 minutes, then put the pan under the broiler upside down. A pizza slides on top of the pan's underside, and goes under the broiler for just 1 minute and 35 seconds. It comes out cooked through and bubbling, with artfully charred edges and crust (right) and a chewy inside. And you'll be amazed.
What's the catch? You'll be limited by the size of the pan, meaning that this will look less like a pie from your favorite pizzeria, and more like a personal pan pizza. You also can only make one at a time. It's more of an eat-while-standing sort of affair, ideal for a couple friends who care as much about good pizza as you do.
As simple as this technique makes the pizza, we went a step further. Sure, you can make homemade dough. With the right kind of flour, technique, and good-godly patience, exceptional dough is within reach. But it's also an enormous pain, which is why we didn't make any.
We're very luckywe live in Brooklyn, home to hundreds of corner pizza stores that make decent, fresh dough every single day, and who won't flinch if you walk in proudly and announce that you'd like to buy some. It will cost about $4.
But we realize that other people aren't so lucky, which is why we found ourselves at Domino's on an unassuming weekday night. Although it took a little pressing (not to mention the fact they they charged $10about the price of a cooked pizzabut we were in no position to barter), we walked away with a large pie's worth of dough in a little box. As if to remind us that this was a good deed, we were also told that "There will be no tax for that." Guess it was an under-the-table sort of deal.
And here's the good news: Although the Domino's dough looks horrid compared to the corner pizza's store (dense and flat and a weird color), for thin-crust pizzas made in this cast-iron-and-broiler fashion, Domino's is actually . really good. In a four-person blind-taste test, the favorite between Domino's and our corner pizzeria was split right down the middle. Honest. People couldn't tell the difference. And the Domino's dough, probably due to some mysterious ingredients, was very, very easy to stretch into a pie. This cooking technique took dough from one of the worst pizzas available and made it taste good. The fact that Domino's foists doughy, disgusting pizzas on the public when it could easily do otherwise is almost a crime.
We'd like to once again thank Heston Blumenthal and give him all the credit. Although we'd love to claim invention of this technique, it really belongs to the chef at perhaps the most famous restaurant in the world. We can live with that.
While Domino's sold us our dough, we don't think they're normally prone to doing this. Try buying your dough from a local independent pizzeria, or you may find frozen pizza dough at your grocery store. Allow it to thaw and come to a workable temperature before stretching.
1. Place an empty, clean 10- to 12-inch cast-iron on a burner over high heat. Then, turn your oven's broiler on full blast. Wait at least 10 minutes for everything, including your kitchen, to reach unprecedented levels of heat.
2. In the meantime, pour some good-quality crushed tomatoes into a small saucepan, and set over medium heat. Add some whole fresh basil leaves and a good couple pinches of salt. Once this mixture begins to bubble, reduce to a simmer and keep it warm as you make your pies.
3. Next, cut away a portion of your dough, and begin carefully stretching it. The best technique is to grab the edges and keep turning it, letting gravity pull the rest of the dough into a circle. On a small, floured piece of cardboard, lay out your dough (you need something small enough that you can slide the pizza easily onto the skillet laterflexible cardboard works well for this). Spoon on less sauce than you think you'll need, and less cheese. We finished ours with a drizzle of olive oil, after the inimitable technique of Di Fara in Brooklyn.
4. After about 10 to 15 minutes, turn off the heat on your skillet, and, using an oven mitt or towel, place it under your broiler, upside down. Let it sit under the broiler for a couple minutes to fully heat up, then get your pizza ready. Give the cardboard a shake to make sure the pizza will slide off easily, then, in as quick a motion as possible, open the door, slide the pizza onto the center of the skillet, and close the door immediately. We experimented with timing, and for our particular broiler, 1 minute 35 seconds was idealthere's a very slim window of time that the pizza reaches perfection, because of the very-intense-and-short cooking method. It may take a couple pies to get it right. You want a good char on the crust and bubbling but not burned cheese. Once out of the broiler, plate the pizza and tear some fresh basil over the pie. Grate some fresh hard cheese, Parmesan or Pecorino or Asiago, and allow to cool for a few moments. Cut into slices, and serve/eat immediately.
This Hack Makes Frozen Waffles Taste Homemade
The day we found out the most efficient way to cut a round cake and divide pizza slices mathematically, our minds were blown. We had really been living life entirely wrong until that point. Well, now we have another trick to share that will change the way you eat breakfast forever.
Revealed by rapper Tyler, The Creator, this frozen waffle hack is ridiculously simple, yet totally ingenious. Surprisingly, there's no toaster involved&mdashdespite the directions printed on the box from literally every pre-made waffle company advising otherwise.
Instead he slathers each buttermilk waffle (like Stranger Things' Eleven, Tyler prefers Eggos) with butter and places it in a hot skillet in a video for Odd Future.
While one side cooks up, sprinkle the other side with cinnamon.
Let each side cook for 45 seconds. If you're feeling fancy, ditch the spatula, too, and just flip that baby in the pan with the flick of your wrist.
Just look at that crispy, golden brown goodness.
From there, just dress it with syrup and enjoy.
Of course his co-host, Bonnie, might be a little biased in saying that it's the best damn frozen waffle she's ever had ("From 1 to 10, it's off the charts!"), but even the video crew agreed that this hack virtually made it taste homemade. We have to say we're impressed with this technique and we can't wait to show it off to our friends over brunch . while listening to Cherry Bomb, of course.
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Slice your bagel in two and toss it right into the toaster. Once it gets to a nice golden brown, take it out and put it on a plate.
Next, smear some of that red sauce on the bagel and sprinkle some cheese on top. Add as much sauce or cheese to your liking, depending on if you're a cheese person or a sauce person. As you can tell from the picture below, I like my cheese.
Take your beautiful bagel over to your favorite sandwich maker and ask them to pop it in the oven.
And just like that your pizza bagel is done. Wasn't that easy?
Being a little creative in the dining hall can turn a sub-par, generic meal into a beautiful pizza bagel masterpiece. Enjoy your cheap and delicious meal, you deserve it.
15 Unconventional Pizza Recipes for When You Want to Switch It Up
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Don’t get me wrong, I’m never one to get tired of a basic, good ‘ole slice of pizza. However, sometimes it’s nice to mix things up and experiment a little. It also doesn’t hurt when you get to combine your favorite foods into one delicious work of art. Read on to discover how you can recreate pizza into amazing new dishes that will change the way you look at regular pizza forever.
1. Pizza Panini
If you thought your typical lunch sammie was good, get ready to have your mind blown. When you put pizza ingredients in between two slices of bread something magical happens. The great thing about making pizza into a panini is that it’s completely customizable. Load it up with veggies to make it like a supreme pizza, or use ham, pineapples, and BBQ sauce for a Hawaiian-style ‘za. It’s the best thing invented since sliced bread.
2. Pizza Mac & Cheese
Pizza and mac & cheese are about as essential for college students as textbooks, so why not combine them both into one fantastic dish? It all starts with an out-of-this-world sauce made with three types of cheeses, marinara, sun-dried tomatoes, and fresh oregano. Mix it with macaroni noodles and then bake for the ultimate pizza mac & cheese hybrid experience.
3. Mug Pizza
This one’s for when you have zero time before class but direly need to eat something beforehand. And you’re craving pizza, because, well, always. All you need are some basic ingredients you probably already have on hand, as well as any toppings you want. Pizza is much cuter in a mug than a cardboard box.
4. Pull-Apart Pizza Muffins
Who knew just four ingredients and 30 minutes could result in the worlds most epic muffins? Making these muffins requires only biscuit dough, sauce, cheese, and basil. The final product is a muffin that’s just begging to be pulled apart to reveal its delicious layers of cheesiness. Serve it as a party app at your next gig or make them for yourself. No judgement if you devour the whole pan in one sitting.
5. French Fry Pizza
This one’s for when you’re craving fries and pizza, which for me is almost a daily struggle. With this recipe, you can combine them both into a dish that’s oozing cheese with every bite. Arrange frozen fries into a circle (or don’t, either way it’s going to taste good), top with cheese, sauce, more cheese, and any toppings of your choice.
6. Pizza Dip
Say hello to the dip that will triumph over all other dips. This dip is layered with glorious cream cheese with chives and onions, pizza sauce, shredded cheese, and any (or all) of your favorite pizza toppings. Unlike making an actual pizza, it takes almost zero effort. Serve with homemade garlic bread, because a dip is only as good as what you dip it with.
7. Pizza Pasta
This might just be the ultimate Italian dish ever created. Whether or not pizza is actually an Italian thing, though, I don’t know. We’ll save the history for another article. For now, all you need to do is cook up some pasta, throw on some marinara sauce and tons of mozzarella cheese, and bake until you’re left with melty cheese and a grumbling stomach.
8. English Muffin Mini Pizzas
Instead of slaving away in the kitchen making dough all day while you could be doing more valuable things with your time (cough Netflix cough), make these English muffin mini pizzas that take almost no time at all. Just top an English muffin with pizza sauce, mozzarella cheese, and your favorite pizza toppings, and pop in the oven until the cheese melts. Not only are these easy, but they taste way better than those frozen bagel bites you used to eat.
9. Garlic Bread Pizza
If you ask me, garlic bread is a gift from the heavens. There’s no stopping me from eating the entire complementary basket they bring out to you at Italian restaurants. Now, combine garlic bread with pizza and you’ve got probably one of the most glorious foods ever invented. You have the rest of your lifetime to enjoy this beautiful hybrid of your two favorite foods.
10. Zucchini Pizza Bites
This pizza alternative is made on sliced zucchini instead of bread, meaning it can be enjoyed by even those who are gluten-free. Zucchini is already used as an alternative to gluten in spaghetti, and serves just as well with these pizza bites. They’re super easy to make as well, all it takes is slicing a zucchini, sautéing the slices, layering them with pizza ingredients, and broiling for just a couple of minutes. They serve as a great snack between classes, or a more healthy version of your favorite drunchie food.
Photo by Bailey Culpepper
Finally, a dish that combines your favorite Italian and Mexican dishes in one. This recipe is what you’ve been missing your whole life. This pizzadilla layers tortillas, sauce, and cheese into a hefty stack of goodness. Feel free to stack as high as you’d like, depending on how hungry you are. Using tortillas instead of homemade pizza dough saves you a ton of time and besides, how else could you combine a Mexican and Italian dish so perfectly?
12. Pizza Rolls
Thought Hot Pockets were good? These homemade pizza rolls will put them to shame. Roll out some Pillsbury crescent rolls and fill each with one mozzarella cheese stick, and any other pizza toppings you can’t live without. Bake and dip in marinara sauce, or go crazy and try them with Alfredo, ranch, or pesto. Keep in mind that while these aren’t Hot Pockets they’re still hot, so allow them to cool before you dive in (or just burn your tongue like I do).
13. Waffle Pizza
Behold the breakfast dish that will have you looking at cold leftover pizza like it’s your dirty ex-bae. You don’t need that disappointment in your life. This waffle iron hack takes pizza dough and turns it crisp on the outside, and warm and doughy on the inside. Top it with sauce, cheese, and all your favorite pizza toppings. Get creative with these authentic Italian pizza toppings you normally wouldn’t think to add to your slice, but certainly will go well with a distinguished pizza waffle.
14. Pizza Pockets
A pocket full of pizza? Now that’s what a pocketful of sunshine is all about. These are made with Pillsbury biscuit dough, which you flatten out and then fill up with cheese and as many other pizza toppings you can fit before pinching the dough closed. Sprinkle with cheese and oregano, then bake until golden brown and serve with marinara sauce.
15. Portobello Pizzas
These mushroom-based pizzas provide yet another healthy alternative to a regular greasy, carb-filled slice of ‘za. Without cheese, these portobello pizzas are also vegan, but if you can’t live without cheese like me, you can always add it. Fill them with lots of colorful veggies and sauce, and roast until cooked through. To serve them as a main dish, sprinkle with tofu, or just serve on the side something a little more hearty. Unlike delivery pizza, these will leave you completely guilt-free, yet still extremely happy and satisfied.
Danishes seem fussy and complicated, like something you have to plan ahead and spend a ton of time to make. In most cases, that's true, but not so when you're working with crescent rolls.
There are a ton of fancy ways to shape a danish, but I like to go with a classic diamond that lets the filling shine. Just place a dollop of filling in the center of a rectangle of dough made from two triangles, then fold the corners in towards the center, making sure they overlap.
These quick pastries are a great way to showcase seasonal fruits, which pair well with soft, creamy cheeses like ricotta, mascarpone, or brie.
This one has a mixture of ricotta, cream cheese, and honey topped with sliced sugared strawberries.
Can you really make pizza in a bread bowl?
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TikTok’s latest controversial food hack is a pizza bread bowl recipe — but what does it actually taste like?
To find out, we decided to whip up the carb-loaded recipe ourselves. Thankfully, we have the perfect gadget to do it: this rotary cheese grater from EvoSummer.
Shop: Rotary Cheese Grater, $12.99Credit: EvoSummer/Amazon
This little gadget can pump out cheese at what feels like an illegally fast speed, which is why it’s the perfect tool to help us tackle a recipe that’s about 50 percent mozzarella.
So what is the pizza bread bowl recipe, exactly? The dish, which seems to have been created by TikToker Anna Rothfuss, seems like a classic internet food prank — designed to spark more reactions than actual recipes.
Most of the other posts on Rothfuss’s account seem to be jokes, but as it turns out, she may have stumbled onto something here. While her recipe sparked outrage from some commenters, others followed with genuine curiosity.
That’s why we knew we had to make the dish ourselves. This bizarre, cheesy, bread-filled monstrosity is just to fascinating to ignore — so we made one at home and taste-tested it. To find out what happened, watch the video above or keep reading.
How to make pizza in a bread bowl
You’ll only need a few ingredients to make this bizarre food creation:
- A loaf of sourdough bread
- Several sticks of string cheese
- Pizza sauce
- A block of mozzarella cheese
- Pepperoni, or any toppings you want
First, slice the bread vertically and horizontally over the top, creating long, deep divots in the loaf. Then, cut up three sticks of string cheese and stuff them into the loaf.
Next, pour on a healthy serving of pizza sauce and use a cheese grater to grind your mozzarella over the bread. Lastly, stuff any toppings you want into the loaf before baking.
Lastly, cook the entire thing in an oven at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. Now, all you have to do is mentally prepare yourself to try this
Is the pizza bread bowl recipe gross or genius?
When ITK video producer Poppy Shen tried the pizza bread bowl recipe, she decided to compare it to a standard pepperoni pizza. She judged both options — the bread bowl version and the “normal” version — on three factors: difficulty, presentation and taste.
Tragically, the pizza bread bowl lost out in all three categories. It was a little harder to make than regular, freezer aisle pizza, and on top of that, the end product looked as weird as you’d imagine.
As far as taste went, you can’t really go wrong with bread and cheese. Still, Poppy thought the bread bowl was lacking a bit when it came to overall flavor — it tasted more like separate ingredients than a single, uniform dish.
So is the pizza bread bowl at least edible? Totally. Is it better than real pizza? Absolutely not. Should you try making it? We don’t feel comfortable answering that.
10 Mind-Blowing Hacks for Making Your Leftover Pizza Taste Better the Next Day
Gone are your days of eating cold leftover pizza in your pajamas, leaning against your open refrigerator. Make pizza better the next day with these easy tricks.
1. Reheat cold pizza face down in a pan. Slap your slice of pizza face down on a preheated skillet on medium-high heat. You can either use a cast-iron pan with a little oil or a nonstick pan. Cook until the cheese has melted and formed a slight crust, about five minutes. Flip your pizza and cook on the other side for a few more minutes for a delicious melted pie.
2. Add water to the bottom of a skillet. Turn your burner to medium-low heat. Cook your pizza, crust down, for about a minute or two and add two teaspoons of water to the bottom of the pan. Cover the skillet and cook for another few minutes until the cheese has melted for a perfectly crisp crust. Devour.
Take your folded pizza and place on a preheated waffle iron. Cook for about four to five minutes or when the crust is crispy and the cheese is gooey. The nooks in the waffle also make this excellent for dipping, so have some extra sauce on hand for an otherworldly experience.
4. Add a glass of water when you microwave pizza to avoid a soggy crust. If you want to revive a slice, but refuse to dirty an extra pan, just shove a microwave-safe glass of water into your microwave while nuking your pizza for approximately 45 seconds to a minute. That pizza will look like it just came from a wood-burning oven in Naples.
5. Make pizza eggs for the ultimate breakfast of champions. For this extremely satisfying breakfast, tear up half a slice of pizza, mix in two eggs with extra cheese, a tablespoon of milk, and a pinch of salt. Cook on a griddle or skillet until fluffy, and plate with fresh herbs. Top with hot sauce for an extra special morning.
To make a pizza lasagna, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Coat the bottom of a 9x9 baking dish with tomato sauce. Remove the crust from six slices of pizza and lie two face up on the pan over the tomato sauce. Add a layer of ricotta, mozzarella, and more tomato sauce. Repeat this step for another layer. Top the second round of fillings with two slices of pizza face down and drizzle a bit more tomato sauce on top. Coat heavily with mozzarella and parmesan. Cook for 30 minutes covered, and another 10 minutes uncovered. Serve and become everyone's best friend forever.
7. Fry squares of pizza to make pizza croutons. If you're a good friend, nay, a good person, you'll make this for an ailing friend who's too sick for a slice. Take one slice of pizza and remove the crust. Slice into strips and then cube those strips to make similarly paired squares of pizza. Take your squares and sandwich them together with the cheese facing in toward each other.
Heat up a panini press like Bella's Panini Maker and place your sandwiched squares on the grill pressing down. If you don't have a panini press, use a pan on medium-high heat, pressing down on the squares with the back of a spatula. Cook for upwards of five minutes or until the cheese has fused together to create the most perfect little grilled cheeses. Sprinkle over a soup and/or salad.
8. Soak leftover pizza in eggs and milk to make a savory bread pudding. This falls under the "could be disgusting but what am I going to do with five slices of pizza that are four days old" category. Good news for everyone is that pizza bread pudding is far more delicious than it should be, probably because it's pizza french toast &mdash with cheese.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. For every one slice of pizza, crack one to two eggs into a bowl (so for four slices you'll need around half a dozen eggs). Mix eggs with 3/4 cup of whole milk, a tablespoon of fresh herbs such as oregano and basil, and half a cup of freshly grated parmesan. Stir until fully combined and add roughly torn slices of pizza. If you'd like to add more cheese or some vegetables like mushrooms or onions, you can add up to a handful of each topping. Let this mixture sit for a minimum of 30 minutes.
Pour your bread pudding mixture into a baking dish. Top with more grated parmesan and cook for 45 minutes, or until the top has become crunchy and golden brown.
9. Melt two slices of pizza together with shredded cheese. How is this not more of a thing? Fusing two slices of goodness together with more cheese? Take two slices of pizza, and add grated mozzarella or cheddar in the middle. You can keep the crusts or remove them. Place your sandwiched pizza on hot pan at medium-high heat or on a panini machine. If heating in a pan, cook for three minutes on each side.
10. Jazz up your pizza by adding high-quality ingredients. Pimp your pizza out with a drizzle of olive oil, extra cheese, fresh basic, or pesto &mdash whatever you have readily available. Reheat using any of the above methods.
You're Probably Cooking Trader Joe's Cauliflower Gnocchi All Wrong
Spoiler alert: Do not follow the directions on the packaging!
While some eagerly anticipate the glitz and the glamor of award show season, each year I look forward to another accolade: Trader Joe’s Customer Choice Awards. The beloved grocery store annually polls their customers to find out which products are the best of the best.
This year’s winner? Unsurprisingly, the chain’s famous Everything But The Bagel Sesame Seasoning Blend took home the top honor, followed by its Cauliflower Gnocchi, Mandarin Orange Chicken, Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups and Unexpected Cheddar.
As a self-proclaimed Trader Joe’s junkie, I’ve tried just about every one of these fan-favorite products (except for the dark chocolate peanut butter cups — I’m not a dark chocolate person). So, I was a bit shocked to find that the cauliflower gnocchi is a favorite among customers, especially considering that my first attempt at cooking it was disastrous, to say the least.
Trader Joe's Cauliflower Gnocchi (Pack of 6)
You see, ever since Trader Joe’s first released the uber-trendy cauliflower gnocchi in April 2018, it’s had a cult following. Instagram is obsessed with this frozen bag of Italian-style dumplings. Even though they’re made with 75% cauliflower, people swear they taste nearly identical to traditional potato gnocchi.
As an avid fan of the company’s other cauliflower-based products (the cauliflower crust cheese pizza is a staple in my freezer), I was eager to give the cauliflower gnocchi a try. However, it was so popular upon release that my local Trader Joe’s was out of stock for weeks. After scouring the freezer aisles of what seemed like every Trader Joe’s in Manhattan, I finally got my hands on a bag.
I rushed home to whip the cauliflower gnocchi up for dinner and was shocked at how easy the cooking directions on the packaging seemed. Trader Joe’s lists three different cooking methods — microwaving, boiling or pan-sautéing — but recommends sautéing the gnocchi in an olive oil-coated pan for a crispy texture.
I opened the bag, placed the frozen gnocchi (no need to thaw) straight onto the hot, oiled pan, added water and cooked according to the instructions on the bag.
Spoiler alert: It didn’t work.
The end result wasn’t the crisp, golden brown gnocchi I was craving. Instead, I was left with a soggy bowl of mush. The little pieces of gnocchi were so clumped together that I couldn’t even toss in sauce!
Super disappointed, I was ready to throw in the towel until a few weeks later when I learned I wasn’t the only person with this problem. While talking to another cauliflower-loving friend, she mentioned that her gnocchi initially turned out the same exact way, but she found a way to get ’em nice and crispy. She recommended ditching the directions on the bag and opting to roast the gnocchi in the oven instead.
Willing to give the cauliflower gnocchi one more chance, I snagged another bag. Following my friend’s instructions, I preheated the oven to 425 degrees F. Then, I arranged the frozen gnocchi in a single layer on a baking sheet without any olive oil or water drizzled on top. I popped the gnocchi in the oven for 20 minutes, and sure enough they came out deliciously golden and crisp.
Once the gnocchi cooled, I served them up with pasta sauce, but you could also use pesto or olive oil for a quick and easy dinner. And yes, when prepared properly these little cauliflower dumplings do taste exactly like potato gnocchi!
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I have to admit, I was a little skeptical of this. The combination of ingredients seemed strange. But, I followed the recipe exactly, held my breath and handed plates out to my family. It was a hit! Even my picky husband complimented it, which is a win in my book. Great combination, fast and easy to prepare. I will definitely make this again!
Loved this! We added a touch of wine and cream.
We just revisited one of my favorite TJ’s “deconstructed” dinners (as Jenny Rosenstrach would call it). Everything is SO GOOD together the kids pick and choose (though the veg has to get eaten, one way or another).
Into a whole wheat wrap goes:
Fish Nuggets (everyone’s favorite)
Hummus (roasted garlic is best)
Sliced red peppers
Definitely greater than the sum of its parts. Ready in 15 minutes.
Just made this dish. I had cauliflower gnocchi in the freezer, so I used that instead. It was a tasty meal. Didn’t love the texture of the gnocchi, but will try it with the sweet potato ones. I’ll see if I like those better. My husband liked it. Very easy meal.
My boyfriend has requested that we have this meal 3 times since I made it just a week and a half ago. I’m a vegetarian, so we used veggie sausage instead. He’s obsessed. It’s so good & so easy.
For a different spin on this, buy the gnocchi with gorgonzola sauce and add the TJs cubed ham, or prosciutto and their frozen peas. Delicious meal in 10 minutes!
I just made this dinner and it’s so good! Love Trader Joe’s.
Made this last night, and it was delicious! Super quick and very filling. Thanks for the great un-recipe!
Made this for dinner last night–snagged the last bag of sweet potato gnocchi at the store! So delicious! It makes two servings. Next time I would double it–make 2 bags of gnocchi and 4 sausages instead of two for some more leftovers! :) thanks stella and COJ team!
This sounds delicious! I only wish the lines for Trader Joe’s NYC locations weren’t always so long (or that they signed on for Instacart).
We made this and it was delicious (except we live in England so we kinda have to improvise on some ingredients). This will be a staple in our household!
Just made this for dinner, but with kielbasa instead of Italian sausage. So good! Thanks!
I like to make Vegetarian Lentil Shepherd’s Pie, made easy with TJ’s steamed lentils and frozen mashed potatoes.
On the stovetop, saute diced onion, carrot, and garlic. Add broth, steamed lentils, tomato paste, dried rosemary and thyme, salt and pepper, and cook until the mixture thickens up. Stir in frozen peas at the end. Transfer mixture to baking pan and cover with heated frozen mashed potatoes, then broil in the oven a few minutes until the top is lightly golden. The precooked lentils and potatoes really cut down on the cooking time.
My kids also like this easy, veggie packed meal: Spinach & cheese tortellini cooked with brocolli florets and tossed with pesto. A quick one pot meal that’s good for busy weeknights.
Such a great recipe and I all ready have everything in my fridge. Dinner will be easy tonight!
My fave TJs “hack” meals:
– Roast up two big sheet pans of veggies (pre-cut sweet potato, bagged brocc, sliced mushrooms, thick-sliced onion) on top of spinach – makes a ton of leftovers for the whole week.
– “Pizza-dillas” which are just tortillas (I love TJ’s half wheat-half corn) with melted cheese (TJs quattro formagi), garlic salt and crushed red pepper, microwaved for 45 seconds. Dip the slices into pasta sauce and BOOM – dinner in 90 seconds. Not healthy but SO GOOD.
– Spinach, shelled edamame, steamed bagged brocc, green onion, cooked brown rice (love TJs quick cook brown Basmati) with some lemon juice and a splash of Soyaki for dressing – AMAZING.
I’m pregnant and live in East Africa at the moment (not a TJ’s in site…) and for some reason this pregnancy I am craving an ENTIRE Trader Joe’s store. I dream about going grocery shopping, spend a ridiculous amount of time googling things you can make with Trader Joe’s ingredients, reading the Fearless Flyer online. It’s pathetic. Thanks for enabling me!
We made this tonight. I big hit!
I grill slices of their polenta and melt the little mozzarella balls with sun dried tomatoes. A delightful appetite.
I’ve never heard of grilling polenta. For how long on each side? Eat them plain or…add them to something? I’m intrigued now… :)
I made this recently for lunch for my husband and I (all ingredients were from Trader Joe’s).
1 bag of frozen cauliflower fried rice
1 bag of frozen veggie fried rice
Mix together with scramble eggs and some left over chicken and have a nice lunch in 15 mins, plus leftovers for tomorrow.
Looks delicious and so easy! Just added all these items to my grocery list for the week. We love having a Trader Joe’s in our smallish city and typically spend 50-100 dollars less when we shop there than at other stores. Makes a huge difference for our family food budget!
I had to stop shopping at Trader’s Joes. I have celiac disease and the ingredient carageenan makes me as sick as gluten and it is most of their products.
I have a TJs recipe. Take the bruschetta (the plastic container with the very basic design), mix with the cooked lentils (found in the refrigerated section)— slice up a baguette and BAM! Easiet app ever. (And crowd favorite)
But wait! It can also be lunch! Take the lentil bruschetta mix, throw some on top of rocket salad (arugula), but a little bit of pesto as a dressing (it doesn’t take much) and… amazing salad.
I do this but add feta. Soooo good!
Made this last night for friends after a long day at a conference — quick and satisfying! Thanks for the recipe!
I love reading the comments for useful ideas to answer the “what do we feed the kids” question ‘round here.
I would like to gently remind people who like to “ugh, Trader Joe’s” and “so much plastic” comments to please consider how privileged you sound. I am definitely for minimizing waste and trying to be responsible but please consider your tone and words. I do my best to teach my kids to be grateful that we can so easily find/purchase food and that just having fully stocked grocery stores is such a convenience and luxury. Most people are doing their best with the options they have available to them and feed themselves and their family on a reasonable budget.
i’m in massive student loan debt and live on very little and still choose to pay more and forgoe places like trader joes that produce so much waste because i want to do what i can to leave the planet somewhat inhabitable for future generations. the earth gives us so much and it’s our job to help take care of it. it isn’t about privilege.
sometimes the privileged commodity you have is time. Sure, I order my groceries and get the csa box but when we get home at 5:30 and my girls need to be in bed by 7 b/c we are out of the door at 8 am- i need pre-prepped ingredients. I have plenty of money and resources but I can’t afford a housekeeper or plated/galley everyday. Also my kids want food that their mother has prepared, because that is special and having mirepoix already to go is the difference between home made food and take out. Some of us support the next generation, elderly parents, older people in our community, and stay active in our faith based communities, school communities , thus contributing in a different way than others.
This! It’s also a major challenge to make every single consumption-related choice the ‘best’ one–there are so many ways in which the current state of things is not ideal, and it’s hard to combat it all at once. For some people, doing that takes precedence above all else–and that’s okay!–but for others it’s not possible. All anyone can do is prioritize what’s important to *them*, and make choices within their means (whether that’s money, time, etc.). When people cross the line into moralizing others’ choices, it’s not particularly helpful anymore, and this is content (skillfully and thoughtfully!) created for a VERY broad audience.
Thanks, CoJ Team, for all the excellent work you do!
Ms C…believe it or not, even having a student loan is a privilege. Please keep the judgements and self righteous talk to yourself. My guess is that most people who read this blog are aware and we all make choices. Please get over yourself.
I’m sorry if my original comment (“Ugh, Trader Joes”) came across as insensitive and was upsetting to anyone. That wasn’t my intention and I feel sad that it seemed to have caused some hurt feelings. I apologize for that.
At the same time, I am struggling a bit on having my opinion called out as “railing against” or called privileged. It’s okay for me to have a different opinion/priorities and share that. I wasn’t judging or shaming, just sharing some thoughts and an article that I personally find important.
Again, I’m sorry for my comment upsetting some folks.
I thought the “ugh, Trader Joe’s” comment was great, and so is this one (actually, they are super great!). There are a million factors that go into my purchasing/consumption decisions . . . environment, should I support this company, etc. with my purchases, class issues, parenting (e.g., teaching children to be grateful), my personal finances, etc. So, I enjoy the discussion of how people weigh the different factors for themselves.
WHAT! I had no idea you were doing Trader Joes hacks — this is incredible. Please, please, please —more of this!
Hi CoJ readers and Joanna!
My friend started an incredible company called Counter Top Foods. I think you will all really love her seasonings, honeys and “Golden” butter. Anti-inflammatory and digestive-aiding, these products have wonderful recipes to go along with them- as a first time new mom they have helped me ease back in to cooking (my favorite hobby) and I am officially HOOKED. Wanted to share here because I think you will be too.
Just made this today, taste and fast. Adding to the rotation. Thanks!
We have a few that we really love, including shrimp, broccoli and gyoza stir fry and salmon burgers with no-guilt guacamole on sourdough.
Love. Love love Trader Joe’s we need another store in Elwood shopping center where Kmart was bigger store more parking please ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️
I love TJs, so many delicious items. I think they are particularly great for pantry items and the organic milk is a great price. While I agree the packaging can be excessive and the lack of transparency is concerning, it is such an affordable option that I continue to shop there weekly. At TJs I can get a weeks worth of groceries for about 150 dollars for my family of four where the same haul would be 200+ at Whole Foods. We augment in the spring/summer fall with a CSA which helps. Thanks for the great recipe hacks!
I love this series. It’s the only reason I stopped eating takeout every night when my daughter was several months old and it seemed impossible to cook. So that saved a lot of packaging!
Love Trader Joe’s, love the gnocchi. This recipe is going to be a hit!
Thank you so much for all these Trader Joe’s ideas. I am coming back from maternity leave after having my second baby and Trader Joe’s meals are saving my life right now! While I love to invision a time in my life where I am able to make homemade gnocchi and shop at farmers markets weekly it is SO not now. So thank you! Thank you!
I hear you on the time involved to make home-cooked weeknight dinners, it starts with planning, then a grocery store run, then execution. I have definitely learned some tricks over the years to streamline the process (my girls are now 5 and 6):
1.) Monday: casserole night. I make it Sunday (double it, one goes in the freezer), so Monday night involves just throwing it in the oven
2.) Slow-cooker night: once/week
3.) Double-up and Freeze: as noted above, when I’m making something that’s freezer-friendly, I double it up (casseroles, meatballs). I even started saving leftovers and freezing them, last night we had chili from a too-big batch two weeks ago that I saved. It was great, all I had to do the night of was whip up the homemade biscuits.
4.) Simplicity: when I make tacos, I used to make Mexican rice (pan-friend uncooked rice, chicken stock, frozen veggies, tomato paste, you get the pic). Now I simplify: plain brown rice in the rice cooker, DONE.
5.) And Simple Recipes: some of our fave recipes are simply weekend meals, like our Japanese curry with panko-crusted chicken (sooo good, but it’s a two-person job so it’s saved for Sunday nights). I keep weeknight meals pared down. I also have a shared Google Doc meal list with my sister, we’re both updating it and I refer to it each week for my meal planning.
It’s a good amount of work to make home-made meals for my family, but it’s something I’ve decided is really important to me (along with a glass of milk for the kids and no TV during dinner!).
This Easy Hack Makes Cauliflower Rice Way More Delicious
Long gone are the days when cauliflower was just a boring vegetable that smelled fart-y when you steamed it (because that, or covering it in cheese, were basically the only two ways people cooked it). Now, cauliflower is everywhere: It’s pizza crust, it’s rice, it’s gnocchi, it’s tots. I’ve even made “oatmeal” out of cauliflower.
However, just because cauliflower can be anything these days doesn’t mean it always excels being anything. Take cauliflower rice. Like zoodles, cauliflower rice is only as good as its cooking method. Cook it wrong, and it will end up a soggy, flavorless mess. (It had to be said.)
Thankfully, the good folks of Reddit have a solution that is guaranteed to spell out the end of soggy cauliflower rice. The secret? Ignore the package directions and turn on the oven.
In an effort to make their cauliflower rice more rice-like, Redditor jasmine_tea_w_honey landed on the following technique after a deep dive on Google for tips. “I found a couple of sources saying that you should squeeze the excess moisture out of the cauliflower rice&mdashlike you would shredded potatoes before making hash browns&mdashbecause they hold a lot of moisture,” they write.
This is pretty standard operating procedure for cauliflower rice and zoodles. Getting rid of the extra moisture in these watery produce items minimizes the risk of having them become soggy and sad when cooked. For folks following along at home: Use a towel or cheesecloth to squeeze out extra water of freshly grated cauliflower. If you’re using frozen riced cauliflower, let it defrost or pop it in the microwave before wringing it out.
However, the Redditor went one innovative step further to ensure quality cauliflower rice. “After, I lightly coated it in olive oil and added herbs and garlic. Spread it thinly over a baking tray, and roasted it at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 10-15 minutes until it was slightly golden in color,” they write. The final result: cauliflower rice with a soft, but not soggy, texture. “It was sooo good!” they write. “I topped it with some baked salmon, toasted pecans, butternut squash, and fresh-squeezed lemon!”
I’m fairly appalled that I didn’t think of this myself. After all, you can roast any vegetable (including whole cauliflower), so why not the cauliflower rice?
If you’re not in the mood to roast cauliflower on a busy weeknight, other Redditors chimed in with their tried-and-true tips for avoiding soggy cauliflower rice. One person suggests sauteing the cauliflower rice straight from frozen (which saves a defrosting step), another person apparently swears by steaming it like rice. All in all, looks like I have yet another way to enjoy the vegetable du jour without any soggy side effects.
Looking for another killer way to make cauliflower rice? Try this incredible cauliflower fried rice recipe from chef Dale Talde:
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