How Little Caesars Pizza Is Really Made

Little Caesars Hot-and-Ready pizza is one of the wonders of the fast-food world — how is it not only so cheap, but available so quickly? As one commenter on the Straight Dope forum tells it, "Went by Little Caesars drive thru last night. Ordered the three meat HOT-N-READY. The lady had it in her hand when I pulled up to the window. That's faster service than McDonald's or Wendys," then asking, "How are they making this magic happen? "

Some have speculated that Little Caesars is just nuking frozen pizzas — and there was even quite the scandal when a viral video (via USA Today) seemed to indicate that the frozen pizzas in question were actually DiGiorno brand (yes, that brand that rose to fame on the back of their "it's not delivery, it's DiGiorno" slogan). What the video showed was just a coincidence, however — the Little Caesars customer with a cart full of frozen pizzas was actually patronizing one of the chain's locations inside of a Kmart. Turns out she'd previously purchased those pies before stopping to satisfy that instant craving that tends to strike many as they pass by a Little Caesars and realize — yes, it's true, you really don't need to wait 20+ minutes for your pizza to be cooked! 

OK, so Little Caesars' pizza is not your top-of-the-line wood-fired pizza with buffalo mozzarella and artisan pancetta, but it is, at least, made from scratch.

The Little Caesars pizza-making technique

Several past and present Little Caesars employees on Quora all provided similar descriptions of the process by which Little Caesars preps their pizzas. First, batches of dough are mixed up every day, but may be refrigerated for up to three days before being used. The sauce is also prepared fresh daily from bagged tomato paste which is mixed with their own spice blend and water.

When it's time to make the pizzas, the dough is stretched onto a cornmeal-coated pan and marked with a three-hour expiration time. Prior to baking, each crust is sauced (four ounces per medium pizza), sprinkled with cheese (five ounces for a medium), and dressed with toppings (unless intended to be cheese pizzas). The pizzas are then loaded into racks and baked via conveyor belt oven for around five to six minutes.

What happens once the pizza is done?

After the pizza comes out of the oven it is sliced, boxed, and either handed directly to a waiting customer or loaded into the Hot-and-Ready warmer where it is held for no longer than 30 minutes, which, incidentally, is less time than it might have spent cooling in the back seat of a delivery vehicle making several stops on the way to your house.

So yeah, maybe Little Caesars isn't the best pizza chain ever, but it isn't the worst , either — and it's certainly offering some of the lowest prices as well as the quickest turnaround times. If you want something cheap, and you want it fast, then hitting up a Little Caesars for some "pizza pizza" may be one of the best deals out there.