Why Does Cold Pizza Still Taste So Delicious?

While Little Caesars tries to attract customers by claiming its pies are "Hot-N-Ready" and Pizza Hut swears to all its fans that it will deliver its gooey goods "piping hot," many foodies would argue that enjoying pizza cold is an essential part of the pie-eating experience. In fact, a Slice survey (which is a platform for buying pizza, per Food and Wine) revealed 53% of pizza fans are more likely to down a cold slice of pepperoni for breakfast than eggs and bacon.

But although Americans have a real love for cold cheese-filled pies, pizza actually seems to be one of the few takeout foods that don't end up sad and soggy in your fridge by the time morning comes. And, unlike your Olive Garden pasta, taking your pizza for a spin in the microwave will rob your slice of its water and leave you with a mushy dinner (per Science Notes). That means eating your slice cold is even generally preferable to reheating it in the quintessential kitchen tool. So why, when most pre-made restaurant food seems to falter in the fridge, does your leftover pizza still taste delectable after it's been left in your refrigerator? 

Why pizza thrives in the fridge where other foods flop

Chemistry professor (and fellow pizza lover) Dr. Maureen Cooper explained to BBC that your pizza tastes good cold because its three essential components (dough, tomato sauce, and cheese) keep intact in the fridge. The reason? Cooper states your pizza's flavor is safe because oil and water repel each other. As Mental Floss breaks down, the tomato sauce in pizza contains water which stops the cheese's fat and oil from compromising your pie's tasty dough — and vice versa. This is also why Science Notes reports that your microwaved pizza will end up soggy once the water leaves its dough.

And that's not the only reason pizza still tastes delicious cold while other foods don't. According to Science Focus, while our ability to taste sweet and bitter flavors doesn't work as well when your food is too cold, your ability to taste salt and sour food works no matter what the temperature is. So while sweet treats like cookies taste better oven fresh, salty and savory food has the potential to taste delicious even after it's gone cold. But your pizza's flavor doesn't just simply hold up after it's been left in the fridge. Its taste can even improve.

While its cooling down, your pizza's taste is heating up

According to Mental Floss, when you bite into a hot pizza, you probably taste some distinctive aromatic ingredients, like herbs, garlic, and onions. However, once your pie cools down, these flavors usually merge together. As Good Food reports, this intensifies the taste of your pizza's fat and salt. As a result, your slice's dough can seem "sweeter" and its sauce can seem "sharper." That means cold pizza's flavor can actually be different than a pie straight from the oven — a flavor people obviously love. Because some pizzerias are dedicated to serving those with a passion for the taste of cold pizza. 

Mental Floss also adds that Pittsburgh pizza lovers can get a hot pie topped off with cold cheese at Beto's Pizza. Meanwhile, according to the Food Channel, Los Angeles pizza fans can go to Pizzanista! to buy three leftover, fridge-cold pizza slices for $1 a pop. And Texas pie fanatics who think the best pizza is eaten cold are in luck as Texas-based pizzeria Popolo Red's takes selling cold pizza even further. The restaurant is actually famous for selling a pie that is reportedly made to be devoured cold. So while science makes cold pizza taste delicious, it seems pizzerias have turned the act of serving up cold slices into an art form.