The 14 Best Canned Ingredients To Spruce Up Frozen Pizza

Few foods are easier to prepare than frozen pizza. All you have to do is preheat the oven, remove the 'za's plastic wrapping, stick it in the oven to bake, and voila — dinner is served in 20-25 minutes with minimal effort. Gone are the days of crust that tastes like cardboard and freezer-burned pepperoni: There's a huge selection of frozen pies on the market today, including plenty of vegan, gluten-free, and traditional options, some of which are pretty bomb. Frozen pizzas range in price, but most are affordable and filling enough that it's a good idea to keep one or two in your freezer in case of dinner emergencies.

Frozen pizzas may not hit like their freshly-made counterparts, but there are definitely some cool ways to elevate your frozen pizza, including basting and seasoning the crust prior to baking, cranking up the oven to a higher temperature, and allowing your frozen pizza to thaw out before adding any extras ... and boy, there are a whole lotta extras to consider. You've got extra cheese (never a bad idea), fresh veggies and herbs, seasoning blends, and more. When you're really just looking for a quick, cheap, no-fuss fix, canned ingredients can come to the rescue. Ensure any canned ingredients have been drained of excess liquid and dried with a paper towel if needed to prevent sogginess. From sweet to spicy, here are 15 canned foods that will help spruce up your frozen pizza.


It's corn! We can't imagine a more beautiful thing. Alas, you can't always get your corn on the cob à la Tik Tok's "It's corn!" kid, but canned corn is yummy, convenient, and prevents those pesky fibrous strings from getting stuck between your teeth. A few types of canned corn are typically sold on grocery store shelves, with sweet, white, fiesta, golden, and fire-roasted varieties being the most popular.

If adding canned corn to your frozen pizza, a whole kernel variety containing just corn, water, and salt is going to be the best bet — creamed varieties, while tasty, are soupier and can turn your pizza from crispy to soggy in the blink of an eye. Canned corn makes a nice addition to almost any frozen pie, but it's particularly yummy on BBQ, classic cheese, and veggie varieties. Most well-stocked households have at least one or two cans of corn stashed in the pantry. Make sure to check the expiration date, but give it a shot the next time you have the urge to spruce up a frozen pizza.

Green chiles

There are so many great ways to use canned green chiles. Cook them down with your homemade taco meat, use them to create a green chile sauce for your chicken empanada recipe, toss them in a turkey wrap, or amp up the flavor of your frozen pizza. Canned green chiles have a sweet, juicy heat that plays well with the flavors of common pizza ingredients like pepperoni, tomato sauce, black olives, cheese, and more.

Canned green chiles generally contain quite a bit of excess liquid, so if you're using them to spice up a frozen pie, make sure to thoroughly drain the canned chile peppers and dry them with a paper or dish towel to prevent the liquid from soaking through to the crust. Although there's a little more preparation involved than there would be in simply adding sliced fresh peppers to a pizza, canned green chiles have a different taste than fresh chiles (a little sweeter and more vinegary). This is a great way to add a kick to your creation without the more intense heat of peppers like jalapeños and habaneros.


Tuna on pizza? If you're in the United States, this might sound blasphemous; but surprisingly, tuna is a popular pizza topping in Germany. Honestly, assuming you like the taste of tuna, it's not the strangest idea. In Germany, tuna pizza (or thunfisch pizza, as it's known in Deutschland) is sold in many pizzerias and may be made with fresh or canned tuna, depending on the restaurant or home chef. Canned tuna is popular and affordable in the U.S., so if you want to try this delicacy without shelling out for an expensive plane ticket, it's easy to recreate at home — even with a frozen pie.

There are no hard-and-fast rules for pairing tuna with other pizza toppings, but given that canned tuna has a distinctly fishy, meaty, salty flavor, you may wish to start with a plain cheese pizza and build from there. Common additional toppings in Germany include things like marinara sauce, gooey mozzarella, black olives, spices, and red peppers. Opt for tuna canned in olive oil versus in vinegar or salt water — vinegar and salt water may overpower the taste of other ingredients.

Crushed tomatoes

A rich, hearty side of marinara sauce can distract from the taste of the worst frozen pizza, or elevate the flavors in the best of them. Marinara is a classic red sauce, and while you can certainly find it pre-made in a jar, the ability to whip together a fast marinara sauce on the fly is a skill every home cook should have in their repertoire. Luckily, making a batch from scratch(ish) requires little more than canned crushed tomatoes, a couple of aromatics, olive oil, and a few common spices.

Marinara can be paired with just about any type of pizza, including those with pesto, olive oil, or white sauce bases — it's just that good. Add a little zing to a veggie pesto pie, offset the heaviness of dairy in a chicken Alfredo variety, or dunk your classic pepperoni into the homemade sauce. You won't be able to use your brilliant, made-with-love marinara as the base for your frozen pizza, since frozen pies come with ingredients pre-assembled, but it'll make a lovely accompaniment to a finished slice.


If you've never seen a whole, raw artichoke, you're missing out. Artichokes are marvelous, almost prehistoric-looking veggies with layers and layers of thorny outer leaves surrounding a glorious inner heart. Properly preparing an artichoke can be both time-consuming and intimidating, but canned artichoke hearts present a beginner-friendly (and equally delicious) alternative. Canned artichokes also happen to be a fantastic pizza topping. Their creamy, meaty texture combined with a mildly sweet flavor are wonderful complements to veggie and meat pizzas alike.

Artichoke hearts are usually canned in water, so when adding them to a frozen pizza, be sure to drain them and pat them dry (they tend to come in larger chunks, so drying them individually isn't too difficult). It's possible to find canned artichokes that have been marinated in olive oil and sometimes spices, which have a bit of a deeper flavor than the plain variety, but either will work in a pinch. Canned artichokes are particularly great for sprucing up frozen veggie-forward options like homemade margherita pizzas or spinach, mushroom, and feta pies.

Sliced mushrooms

Mushrooms are hot commodities in the pizza world, making appearances on many different types of homemade, restaurant, and frozen slices. A meaty texture and earthy, umami-rich flavor make mushrooms a plant-based meat substitute, and they're pretty healthy to boot, boasting plenty of antioxidants, lots of B vitamins, and important minerals per serving. They're an easy and nutritious way to beef up a frozen pizza, and if you don't have fresh 'shrooms on hand, a canned variety will work just as well. 

Though sliced mushrooms straight from the can and drained are fine and dandy, you may wish to spruce them up by roasting, cooking them with herbs or spices on the stovetop, or throwing them in a quick marinade for a flavor boost. As always, if you're using them straight from the can, be sure your sliced mushrooms have been thoroughly drained and patted dry before tossing them on a pizza.


There are over a thousand varieties of olives in existence around the globe today, many of which you've likely never heard of. The most popular types of olives, like kalamata, manzanilla, and Sevillano, are popular additions to charcuterie boards, martinis, salads, and — you guessed it — pizzas. In the U.S., these salty, snackable morsels are most commonly sold in jarred or canned form, so it's easy to pry open a can a sprinkle some briny goodness on your 'za. Quite a few pizzas, even frozen varieties, already contain olives. If your frozen pie doesn't, just rummage around your pantry until you find a can.

Canned black olives are one of the most common types used on pizza, as their flavor is mild compared to some of the other categories. They pair well with the typical ingredients found on a supreme pizza (which usually sports toppings like pepperoni, sausage, green peppers, mushrooms, onions, and black olives) but can be used to add a salty bite to any pie you like. Canned green olives, which tend to taste slightly more bitter than black, function in much the same way. Kalamata olives, which have a bit of a fruity, smoky bite, are fantastic for enhancing the flavor of Mediterranean-type pizzas with ingredients like sun-dried tomatoes, feta cheese, spinach, and mushrooms.


If you're out of fresh peppers but crave a spicy kick for your frozen pizzas, canned jalapeños offer an easy solution. Often found in the Latin foods area of the supermarket, canned jalapeños come in whole, sliced, and diced varieties, and are often pickled in water, vinegar, salt, and spices. Canned peppers are generally milder than their fresh counterparts, but if they've been preserved with other hot spices, they may equal or exceed the spiciness of fresh peppers. The pickled varieties bring a vinegary brine to the table, and depending on what other spices are used (garlic, cayenne, etc.), one brand's canned jalapeño may taste noticeably different from another's.

Regardless, canned peppers are quick to prepare (just drain and dry) and add to last-minute pizza. To spice up every bite, consider using a diced version — you'll still want to drain excess liquid, but the smaller chunks resulting from a dice will provide more even coverage over the entire pie. If you just want a little blast in each bite, sliced jalapeños are the way to go.

Canned anchovies

People tend to have strong feelings about anchovies. The canned version of these forage fish are salty and come with a strong fishy smell and taste, which explains why they're not a hit with everyone — but they're also rich with umami flavor, and the piscine flavor quality tends to die down when cooked. Love 'em or hate 'em, they're a popular feature at pizza parlors across the country, and those who are #TeamAnchovy will be pleased to know that adding canned anchovies to that frozen pizza that's been taking up space in the freezer for weeks is easy-peasy.

Anchovies are often canned in olive oil, and while you'll want to drain the extra oil from the can prior to adding them to your pie, the tinned fish don't need to be patted completely dry — olive oil itself is a common pizza topping, so a little excess won't hurt anything. If you're pro-anchovies, consider adding them to a plain cheese pizza to add umami flavor and a bite of salt to the finished product, throwing them on a mushroom pie to amp up the "fun" in fungi, or using them to introduce a light, smoky, fishy taste to a veggie 'za.


Few pizza toppings are as polarizing as pineapple. The question of whether pineapple belongs on pizza is an age-old debate, and whatever your stance, you're unlikely to change anyone's mind when it comes to this hot topic. A little sweetness is complementary with many other flavors (just look at the sweet-and-spicy creation of pepper jelly, or the salty sweetness of fresh sea salt sprinkled on fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies) — there's really no right answer here, it all comes down to personal preference. Pineapple has long been used to add a bright, tropical pop to Hawaiian pizza, where it's usually accompanied by toppings like Canadian bacon, red onions, tomato sauce, and cheese, but there are plenty of other pies that can benefit from the inclusion of this tropical fruit.

Fruit is a sweet addition that will totally transform your frozen pizza. Pineapple is certainly not your only fruit option — nowadays, pizza restaurants are slinging out some innovative fruity combos like apple and Brie, fig jam and caramelized onion, and more — but we're talking about canned foods here, and canned pineapple is both common and affordable. Canned pineapple is usually processed and stored in pineapple juice, so you'll want to thoroughly drain the juice and pat the chunks dry before adding them to your masterpiece.

Fire-roasted red peppers

Red bell peppers, in general, are a common pizza topping. Fresh red peppers are the sweetest bell pepper variety (when compared to green, yellow, and orange peppers), and that sweetness carries through to fire-roasted red peppers. Fire-roasted red peppers are more popularly sold in jars versus cans, but both versions exist, and if you're a pepper fanatic, it's worth keeping a can in the cupboard for emergencies. In addition to being sweet, these babies have a brilliant, smoky flavor, and they're a great way to add that elusive charred element to a frozen 'za.

As with jalapeños, canned fire-roasted peppers may come whole, sliced, or diced. Sliced or diced varieties are recommended for pizza, but you can always chop up whole ones if that's all you've got on hand. After draining them and patting them dry, canned fire-roasted red peppers make lovely, smoky, and slightly spicy additions to just about any frozen pizza imaginable.


Beets have an enormously complex flavor profile. They're quite sweet for root vegetables (especially if roasted or cooked in another way), but they maintain a perceptible earthy quality. Anyone who's ever worked with raw beets will tell you that preparing them is a perilous feat. Beets are incredibly dense and difficult to cut, and their brilliant, almost bloodlike red juice is quick to stain anything it touches — in fact, the color is so stunning that beet juice can function as a natural dye or red food coloring substitute. Pro tip: Wear dark colors if you're cutting raw beets and can't track down an apron.

Luckily, beets are a common canned good, and sliced beets eliminate the need for a sharp knife and a black T-shirt. While beets aren't a pizza topping one sees every day, their impressive nutritional profile (the root veggies are high in folate, manganese, and copper) and unique flavor makes them a great option for sprucing up your frozen pizza. When draining your beets, exercise caution, as beetroots' bright red color will lend its hue even to beets canned in water or olive oil. Add canned sliced beets to frozen pies like meat lovers, black truffle and prosciutto, Mediterranean, or whatever your beet-colored heart prefers.


Using mollusks on pizza, especially a frozen variety, is unconventional. However, in specialty pizza parlors and even some pizza-friendly Italian restaurants, clams may make an appearance on your pie. Why not? The briny sea creatures present a great contrast between salty and sweet, and while not everyone has access to (or the time to prepare) fresh clams, canned clams are delicious on pizza — yes, even frozen ones. Depending on the brand, canned clams can be more pricey than some of the other options on this list, but you'll still save a fortune compared to what you'd be spending on fresh seafood.

Canned clams can be used on any type of pizza, but their delicate flavor profile is optimal when paired with a white or pesto base. Use them on a frozen veggie pesto pizza for a pescatarian delight, or consider adding them to a spinach, mushroom, and feta pie with an olive oil and garlic base — the saline quality of the canned clams complement the earthy mushrooms and mildly bitter spinach while enhancing the sharp, tangy quality of feta cheese.

Water chestnuts

Popular in Chinese cuisine, the water chestnut is actually not a nut at all — in fact, far from it. They're aquatic tubers which, when eaten fresh, have a sweet, nutty flavor and a crisp texture similar to jicama. However, it's much easier (and cost-effective) to find canned water chestnuts. Canned water chestnuts have very little flavor at the end of the day, so their function in food is almost strictly for texture purposes. If you're a rule-breaker, consider topping your frozen pizza with canned water chestnuts to add some crunch to each bite.

Due to their extremely mild taste, canned water chestnuts can be added to many varieties of frozen 'za without affecting the flavors of the other ingredients at all. Given that most of us are familiar with water chestnuts in Asian foods, it'll shine on something like California Pizza Kitchen's Thai chicken pizza, but could also be good for toning down the heat on a spicy sausage pie, adding a crunch to pepperoni and cheese, or transforming the texture of a black truffle-forward pizza without distracting from the mushrooms' luxurious, umami-rich quality.