The Real Reason Cold Pizza Tastes So Good

The pizza world is fully of fiery debates. Is pineapple an acceptable topping? Chicago deep-dish or New York thin crust? One that people seem to take up sides for pretty quickly is the issue of eating cold pizza. And by cold, we mean next day out of the fridge cold, not your Domino's driver was 30 minutes late cold. Some people enjoy pizza more when it's been sitting overnight in the fridge while others wouldn't dare eat a slice of pie that wasn't piping hot. So why does cold pizza taste better to some people? It basically comes down to food science and how the flavors in pizza fuse together over time. 

Pizza has some similar properties to curries and stew in that it can benefit from a little time in the refrigerator because of all the garlic and other herbs in it (via Wonder How To). When you eat a slice of pizza that's hot out of the oven, the garlic and spices are more distinct in their flavor and our taste buds can differentiate them rather easily — but to some they can taste harsh. When that pizza cools down and you let it sit in the fridge for a few hours though, the different flavors begin to mellow and blend together as one super pizza flavor.

Dr. Maureen Cooper of Stirling University told BBC that the tomato sauce topping the crust also plays a role. Because the fibers in the pizza crust typically trap water molecules, the tomato sauce provides a layer of protection from the oil in the cheese on top. This is why pizza stands up rather well when it's a few hours or even a day old, and isn't a soggy mess. "Because the fat does not go through to the base, the pizza itself tastes so much better," Cooper said.

What pizza-eaters are left with is a slice that's had some time to marinate and the result is melding of all the flavors we love in good pizza. Now if you really want to get that perfect blend of cold pizza flavors and have it hot, consider warming it in a skillet, which happens to be the best way to reheat pizza.