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I often cook a typical frozen pizza like this

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in a typical mini-oven like this

enter image description here

I go with a nominal 420° indicated on the small over for 13 minutes. ("12-14 mins" suggested on the packaging.) TBC I very simply sit the naked pizza on the metal wires of the mini oven (no stone, foil, or anything else).

The results are perfectly fine for a frozen pizza, and the readiness/crispiness of the pizza is about right and how I want it.

I like egg on top of pizza, so, quite simply,

I take the pizza from the freezer, then I crack three fresh eggs and just dollop them on top of the pizza, and then put the pizza in the oven.

This is all great BUT, quite simply, cooking eggs that way appears to need more than 13 minutes. Call it more like 20. (Even if you like them REALLY runny on your pizza, they're just not ready after 13 with the procedure I describe.)

What if anything is the solution here, experts?!

Something I tried: it seemed kind of bizarre but I broke the three eggs just in to a low Pyrex bowl and *.. put just that bowl of eggs in the mini oven for oh four or five minutes. I then took that out, and poured the now slightly-cooked-ish (or at least "warm" ??) three eggs on the pizza, and then went ahead with the 13 minutes. This did seem to work to some extent, but it seems all wrong! Or maybe not, IDK.

What's the expert solution?

(*) I don't know why, when you have eggs on a pizza from a pizza parlor, it comes out great - maybe the temperature is massively higher or? IDK.


FWIW ...

{FTR I tried poking the yolks a bit with a pointy knife and spreading the yolk/white around a little; my idea here was that might help the eggs cook quicker? (A) I'd prefer to not do this (B) I don't know if that should make them cook more quickly (C) It really appears to make no difference, they don't seem to me to cook more quickly if you do that.}

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    I’m actually wondering if putting the raw eggs on a frozen pizza is keeping them from cooking well, and if it wouldn’t be better to have it partly cooked so it’s not like a giant ice cube below the eggs
    – Joe
    Sep 24, 2023 at 21:35
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    Certainly a pizza parlor pizza is not starting from frozen, so that might well be worth a shot.
    – Ecnerwal
    Sep 24, 2023 at 22:07
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    @Fattie Does this toaster oven have a top heating element? If so, is it turned on while the pizza is cooking? Toaster ovens I am familiar with here in the US typically offer multiple modes, affecting how heating is distributed between bottom and top heating elements. Does your oven have such settings? Also, is the wire rack height-adjustable, allowing the top of the pizza to be closer or further away from the top heating element?
    – njuffa
    Sep 25, 2023 at 4:47
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    Strange, I usually have exactly the opposite problem. The egg only needs 3 or 4 minutes in the 220°C oven. So I have to put it on at exactly the right time.
    – Michael
    Sep 25, 2023 at 7:24
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    @joe I know that in France they just crack the egg onto the cooked pizza and it cooks from residual heat (with a really runny yolk but a set white). But that's eggs at a warm room temperature, in a warm kitchen, in a very hot pizza
    – Chris H
    Sep 25, 2023 at 18:36

10 Answers 10

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+500

Here's a counterintuitive experiment that might be worth trying.

Let the pizza come up to temperature, egglessly. If the instructions say to cook it at 420 for 13 without egg, then cook it for maybe 10, or however much longer after that it takes for the cheese to be melty and sizzly.

Basically, I suspect you want to be putting the egg onto hot, sizzling cheese-grease, not onto frozen pizza. Putting the egg on while frozen will both cool the egg, and let the egg act as insulation to the pizza, so is doubly-bad.

Then add the egg onto that sizzlingly-hot top, and cook for the remaining 3-5 minutes. Maybe a 15 mins total cook time, 'cos you're adding a couple minutes for the extra toppings.

That 3-5 minutes of final cook time should be plenty of time for the hot cheese and sauce to cook the egg, just like frying it in a pan. It's the crazy-hot pizzajuice that will mostly cook the egg, from the bottom, far faster than the hot air will from the top.

I haven't tried this, though: this is just a guess. And it's unintuitive, since it seems like the longer the egg is in there, the more it should cook, right? It's all about Specific Heat Capacity, though. Cheese and sauce can store more heat than air ever could.

So, I'm interested in whether you perform this experiment, and whether it works.

===

If that still doesn't work, then once the pizza is done, you could just pop it in a microwave for an additional few seconds to finish the egg.

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  • A pizza with an egg on is a UK "Pizza Express" standard ("Fiorentina" IIRC). It's made with fresh pizza dough, vegetables, mozarella and raw egg on top and straight into a hot Pizza oven. So I'm certain it works, and that the issue is the pizza being frozen and the egg refrigerated.
    – nigel222
    Sep 27, 2023 at 11:15
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    Right: OP's asking about frozen pizza in a home oven, not about freshmade pizza in a commercial pizza oven. Frozen pizzas are engineered to cook by the instructions on the box: the sweet spot of dough rising and cooking, but not burning; cheese melting but not burning; enough toppings to taste good without trapping the moisture in the dough; etc. If we "customize" our pizza, even just extra cheese, we can get soggy, unraised dough, or burned toppings at best, unless we compensate for it by cooking longer, cooler, and perhaps even poking a hole thru for moisture to escape. Hence my proposal. Sep 28, 2023 at 0:45
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    Bingo ! This is in fact the answer. Thank you so much! Experiment .. cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/125401/…
    – Fattie
    Oct 3, 2023 at 10:26
22

Another thing to try -- start or end the cooking with some minutes of the toaster oven on "broil". This should activate only the top heating elements, preferentially cooking the egg without overcooking the bottom crust of the pizza.

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    DUH! WHAT A GREAT IDEA
    – Fattie
    Sep 25, 2023 at 16:41
  • ... but not one I've been able to try ...
    – Fattie
    Sep 29, 2023 at 0:51
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Put the eggs in something. Add boiling water (don't boil them on the stove, just pour boiling water over them and wait). Start a timer. Figure out how long you need to to that for before you crack them onto your pizza to get the results you want. Don't wait too long or they will become soft or even hard boiled (or "coddled" as I've seen that method of cooking eggs in hot water called.)

This should be a bit more predictable (and potentially faster, and less cleanup) than the pyrex dish in the hot oven (which is valid, but seems like a pain to do, to me.)

Simpler method that might work - pull the eggs out of the fridge and let them come to room temperature before starting. Or warm them with hot water from your tap, rather than boiling water.

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  • Great thinking! - essentially steep them in hot / very hot water for some minutes. Will try it! Just as you say that's much easier / cleanup than the bowl method. (PS, I generally let eggs come to room temp for a few hrs, already.)
    – Fattie
    Sep 24, 2023 at 23:11
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    Note that heating the eggs whole means that the egg white is heated more than the egg yolk because the yolk is at the center at the egg and heat is supplied from the outside. In the finished pizza a runny yolk is usually perfectly fine but you want the egg white properly cooked so this is probably not an issue.
    – quarague
    Sep 25, 2023 at 6:23
  • Just the room temperature alone might already suffice, or put the eggs in warm water (aka more than room temp, but not enough to boil) to give them a head start
    – Hobbamok
    Sep 25, 2023 at 8:26
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    You can dial in this approach a bit faster by heating each of the 3 eggs for different lengths and tracking the results (e.g., set the timer to 10 minutes and add eggs to the pot at the 10, 8, and 6 minute marks). You'll lose a bit of accuracy (adding an egg will cool the previous eggs), but probably still a win. Mind you, I'm not sure it's a problem if you're "forced" to make more pizza to figure this out.
    – Brian
    Sep 25, 2023 at 19:16
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    FYI @Hobbamok at all; as it happens I never eat eggs, at all, or use them in any way, unless they've come totally to room temperature (say, 1 hr min. if unfortunately they've been in a fridge).
    – Fattie
    Sep 26, 2023 at 18:31
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I think the biggest issue you run into is thermal mass. The pizza is frozen, which is absorbing heat that the elements are trying to radiate onto the eggs, but the eggs are being chilled from the bottom during that time.

Partially cooking the pizza before the egg may be one approach, but then you run the risk of burning the bottom of the pizza by the time the hot pizza top and oven elements can cook the egg.

Would you mind testing to see if the thinness of one egg would cook adequately on the frozen pizza surface?

FTR I tried poking the yokes a bit with a pointy knife and spread the yolk/white around a little; ... I'd prefer to not do this

Is this a taste preference, to the egg preparation?

And heating a bowl of eggs in the mini oven will make a different texture than on a frying pan because of where the heat is coming from. A frying pan is a hot surface that can conduct heat directly into the egg material rapidly, where a mini oven uses radiation and a bit of air conduction, that generally cooks the egg slower. This results in a different texture.

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  • DAMN - it occured to me. if you crack eggs in to just a pyrex bolw (room temp bowl, not frozen) and put them in an oven 400° ... they do take a long long time to be cooked .. suiggests it may NOT be the frozen-base issue ? experimenting!!
    – Fattie
    Sep 25, 2023 at 16:42
  • Isaac, "Is this a taste preference", no as I explained, I thought it might help with the issue at hand; I thought it might make them cook more quickly. Does not seem to help much.
    – Fattie
    Sep 26, 2023 at 18:32
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I think most of the problem here is heat distribution. Your tiny oven may only have elements at the bottom, and you need good heat transfer to cook the eggs. Top elements in the oven should cook the eggs pretty well in the 13 min you mention. As I see it, you have a couple of options:

The first I would try is to crack the eggs as normal, then give a light spray of oil over them. This should improve your heat transfer to them. If that doesn't work, try the one below.

Have something heat-proof under the pizza to start with, then remove this later to allow crisping of the base. I would use something like a pizza stone that can take a bit of steam without making the base soggy, or possibly a rack on top of an oven tray (rack to lift the base off the tray and prevent moisture from making it soggy, tray to prevent direct heat).

  1. place pizza on heat proof item
  2. crack eggs onto it (spray with oil?)
  3. place in oven until egg partly ready (~10 min?)
  4. remove heat-proof item
  5. cook for remaining ~10 min directly on the wire rack.

The risk you run here is any steam generated might make the base a bit soggy, which is obviously not the desired product. Spraying the eggs with oil again might help speed things up, but would need a test to see.

The 3rd option is to cook at a lower temp for longer, though I don't know what this might do to the defrosting base, so it might sag unless on a base of some sort.

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    A wooden chopping board in a 420°F oven...hmmm. That should be interesting.
    – Ecnerwal
    Sep 25, 2023 at 1:07
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    @Ecnerwal good point! Wasn't thinking about the temp they'd mentioned - provides a 3rd option!
    – bob1
    Sep 25, 2023 at 1:32
  • @Ecnerwal I dunno - a wooden board could be a great way to add a smokey flavour :)
    – Criggie
    Sep 25, 2023 at 21:26
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I'm unconvinced that the answer is prewarming the eggs, simply because it doesn't change the fact that you're putting the eggs on a frozen pizza - all that thermal mass means the eggs will still be cooled to a chilly temperature before they've had a chance to start cooking (though perhaps if you had a sous vide machine that could precook the eggs to a uniform parbake, this approach would work). Prewarming the pizza also runs the risk of the pizza burning before the eggs are cooked.

My thought is to ignore the package instructions entirely. Crack the eggs onto the frozen pizza, then put the pizza onto a pizza steel or sheet pan* and into a cold oven. Let the oven, the eggs, and the pizza all come up to temperature together. That way, everything should warm and then cook at roughly the same rate.

My only concern with this approach is that the crispness of the pizza might be lost, but that might be mitigated by moving the pizza onto the rack once the oven has come up to temperature. I wouldn't put the pizza directly on the rack from the beginning only because the pizza would end up directly over the heating elements the entire time the oven is coming up to temperature which could result in the bottom being burned before anything else even starts cooking.

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  • It's hard to argue with the first long sentence here !!! Yes, looked at that way prewarming the eggs is doubtful :/ ...
    – Fattie
    Sep 25, 2023 at 17:39
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A suggested method:

  • Cook the pizza from frozen as you usually do.
  • Take the pizza out about 3-5 mins before it's due to be finished.
  • Crack the eggs onto the pizza.
  • Put it back into the oven until the eggs are cooked to your liking (within another 6-8 minutes). You also could experiment with reducing the oven temperature while the eggs are cooking.

Why:

  • As mentioned in other answers, the eggs are being cracked onto a frozen pizza which means it's losing heat to this mass, despite you putting them in room temperature before hand. So the eggs take much longer to cook.
  • It takes eggs about 7-10 mins to cook in an oven at 375 F for shakshuka (a dish with liquid base, usually tomato-based, which features poached eggs, which is a bit similar to the pizza base with eggs on top).
  • So better to cook them at the end, when the pizza is already mostly cooked and not going to take heat away from the eggs. You can use the top heating element only, if you’re afraid of the bottom of the pizza being overcooked. And the pizza should be ok with the extra cooking time – since it's been taken out of the oven and cooled down a bit in between, so it will need some reheating.

Other reference recipes with eggs over a soft, cooked mass:

  • You could probably look at shakshuka recipes to get reference times for cooking eggs onto a soft/liquidy cooked base. This dish often features eggs cracked into a tomato-based mass, and cooked until the eggs are poached. The eggs can take 7-10 mins to cook in the oven at 375 F, from an example shakshuka recipe here

You will probably want to experience with the timing to see what works, to balance the cook on the pizza and the cook on the eggs. I.e. when to take out the pizza to crack the eggs, how long to cook the pizza with the eggs on top. Cooking is experimentation!

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  • BINGO - I think this is it in a nutshell. See new question for some experimentation! I won't close out the question yet as others are still answering !!!
    – Fattie
    Sep 29, 2023 at 0:53
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One thing that might be worth trying is baking at a higher temperature for a shorter duration. I find for my preferred brand of frozen pizzas with my current oven baking at 485 for 7 minutes works better than the suggested cooking time/temp. At my previous home I could cook the same pizzas in that oven at 500 in 6 minutes. A smaller toaster oven such as yours might have a harder time maintaining a higher temperature, and of course this might not work with eggs on top at all, since the interface might not get thoroughly cooked.

If you do decide to try this, be sure to monitor your pizza more carefully than usual until you've found a the method that works best for you.

Finally, do consider also combining with @ecnerwal's suggesting for pre-warming the eggs.

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I'd suggest thawing the Pizza to room temperature, and also letting the egg warm to room temperature. This should minimize problems caused by slow penetration of heat between the frozen pizza and the cold egg.

Obviously the necessary cooking time will be reduced, so the first time you will have to check frequently.

A gently fried egg on top of a pizza probably tastes the same. (Use a non-stick pan and very little oil to fry the egg). Not as pretty, but faster from freezer and fridge to eating.

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Preheat the oven while preparing the ingredients. Start cooking the pizza first, as it typically takes less time. While the pizza is cooking, prepare and cook the eggs separately. Coordinate their timing so that both are ready to enjoy at the same time.

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    another answer that entirely misses the point of the question (and on second glance, doesn't even make sense: start cooking the pizza first because it takes less time? how would that make any sense?)
    – Esther
    Sep 28, 2023 at 18:38

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