Any pizza lover knows that the crust can make or break a great pizza. If you have ever tried to make pizza at home, you also know that making your own dough can take a lot of time and effort. It is often tempting to use store-bought dough instead, but after all the care that goes into picking your toppings and favorite sauce, your homemade pizza deserves a delicious homemade crust. There’s something especially rewarding and delicious about a pizza you’ve made from scratch, dough and all.
Here’s everything you need to know about how to make pizza dough at home, including a few tips for making it your own.
How to Make Delicious Pizza Dough in 30 Minutes
This easy pizza dough recipe will teach you how to make pizza dough from scratch, fast enough to satisfy even the strongest pizza cravings.
This simple recipe contains just six ingredients, most of which you probably already have in your kitchen. You can find pizza crust yeast at your local grocery store. Most grocery stores carry yeast in ready-to-use packets, so you won’t even have to worry about measuring it. While buying your yeast, be sure to grab some scrumptious toppings for the awesome pizza you are about to prepare.
Ingredients: Here’s What You Need
Although the top of your pizza can consist of anything you like, the base of the pie is simple. Here are the ingredients you need to craft this quick, tasty dough:
- 1 0.25 oz packet or 2 1/4 teaspoons of yeast
- 3/4 cup warm water
- 2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
All good chefs know that prepping your cooking space is essential to success. Here are all the tools and equipment you should have handy to transform your kitchen into a pizzeria:
- Large mixing bowl
- Wooden spoon or spatula
- Kitchen towel or plastic wrap
- Pizza stone or baking sheet
- Baking peel or large wooden cutting board
- Rolling pin or hands that are ready to get a little messy
Once you have your ingredients and equipment in place, it’s time to get started.
Directions: Here’s What You Do
This dough recipe is easy enough for you to tackle on your own, but it’s okay to let your friends, family or even your kids help to make it a group event. If you’re preparing enough pizza to satisfy a hungry group, don’t forget to increase the ingredients and adapt the following directions as necessary.
To get the pizza party started, here’s what you need to do:
- Preheat the oven: If you plan to make your pizza the same night, preheat your oven to 450 degrees. If not, this pizza dough is also easy to freeze and save for later. If you are using a pizza stone, be sure the stone is in the oven before you start preheating, because adding the stone later may lead to cracking. While we recommend using a pizza stone for the best flaky and crispy crust, a regular baking sheet works great too.
- Dissolve the yeast: Pour warm water into a large mixing bowl and lightly stir in the yeast. The water should be around 110 degrees Fahrenheit for the best results. If you don’t have a thermometer lying around, don’t stress. Test the temperature of the water with your fingers until it feels just barely warm – think baby bathwater warm. Be sure the water is not too hot, or it will kill the yeast, and no one likes pizza crust with no puff.
- Let the yeast rest: Let the water and yeast sit for a few minutes until it looks foamy. This is how you know your yeast is activated and ready to be turned into delicious pizza dough.
- Mix the dough: Stir in salt, sugar, olive oil, and 1 cup of flour with a sturdy spoon or spatula. Once the dough starts to thicken, add the rest of the flour and get your hands in there. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes. Smooth out any lumps and make sure all the flour is completely mixed.
- Let it rest: Shape the dough into a smooth ball, and place it in a bowl that has been lightly coated in oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a damp towel, and let it stand for 10-15 minutes. To make the dough easier to form, place the bowl on top of the stove. The heat from the oven will help loosen the dough. Pro tip: Prep your toppings while your dough rises. Use this time to grate your fresh mozzarella, slice up some peppers and pop open a jar of your favorite sauce.
- Roll the dough: Lightly flour a baker’s peel or large wooden cutting board, then roll or press out the dough into a large circle. This recipe will make one 12-inch thick crust pizza.
- Prepare for the oven: When you are satisfied with your dough, move the crust to the back of a lightly oiled baking sheet and add your toppings. If you are using a pizza stone, add your toppings first before transferring the dough onto the stone.
- Bake the crust: Now, you are ready to bake it. Place your baking sheet on the middle rack and bake for 10-15 minutes. Pizza baking is more of an art than a science, so be sure to take a peek at your pizza as it cooks. Look for melty cheese and golden brown crust. If you made a thicker crust, your pizza may need to cook for closer to 20 minutes.
- Let rest before serving: Once your pizza is baked to perfection, remove it from the oven and let it sit for 5 minutes before serving.
It’s time to grab your friends and dig in!
Freezing Homemade Pizza Dough for Future Use
If you aren’t planning to devour your pizza the same day, you can freeze your dough for up to three months. Here’s how to safely freeze your homemade pizza dough:
- Stop after step five when your dough has risen, and separate it into individual portions.
- Coat the dough in olive oil or cooking spray, then tightly wrap it in plastic wrap and put it in a resealable freezer bag.
- When you’re ready to use the dough next time, you can defrost it in the fridge overnight, then pick up at step six.
If you want your pizza to be ready-to-bake next time, you can even make your own frozen pizzas with toppings and all.
How to Make Your Pizza Healthier
Not everyone likes their pizza the same. Luckily, this easy pizza dough recipe can be adapted to suit almost any dietary restrictions or preferences you or your friends may have. Maybe you are simply looking for ways to make your pizza a little healthier — one of the benefits of making your own dough is that you are in control of every ingredient.
This pizza dough recipe works great with whole wheat flour, or you can swap out the sugar for 1 teaspoon of all-natural honey or maple syrup. If you want to reduce your sodium intake, add a little less salt and let your guests add their own table salt if they want.
Here are some easy alterations you can make to help your pizza meet any dietary needs.
Vegan or Vegetarian
Are you vegan or vegetarian? No problem! This recipe is naturally vegan, so you can simply top your pizza with one of the many cheese alternatives on the market or sprinkle it with nutritional yeast for added benefits and a creamy, cheesy flavor. If you are dairy-free or prefer to skip the cheese entirely, you can pile the crust high with all your favorite veggies. Try roasting or sauteeing your vegetables first for an even richer flavor.
If you are gluten-free, you already know how tough it can be to find satisfying gluten-free pizza. With this pizza dough recipe, you can do a simple one-to-one swap for any multi-purpose gluten-free flour. You will also want to lengthen the setting period in step five to about 30 minutes. While this means your stomach will have to growl a little bit longer, it is worth the wait to ensure your dough is properly hydrated. A common problem with gluten-free pizza crust is it being too chewy or bread-like. Allowing the dough to stand longer will let all the starches hydrate properly.
Here are some other tips to produce the best results when using gluten-free flour:
- Mix it lightly: Gluten-free dough will rise less than dough with regular flour, so it can become too sticky when over-mixed. About five minutes of mixing should be just right to produce a smooth dough similar to the texture of play dough.
- Spread, don’t roll: Press the dough out gently with your hands instead of using a rolling pin. Because gluten-free dough is less elastic than regular dough, it is easier to spread with less pressure. Packing your gluten-free dough too tightly will make it less likely to rise.
- Fluff it up: If you really love thick crust, adding a second rising agent can help. Try adding 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder in step four for additional leavening power.
- Let it breathe: As mentioned earlier, letting your gluten-free dough stand for 30 minutes before pressing is essential to producing the best pizza crust.
Trying to limit your carb intake? That doesn’t mean you have to give up your favorite food. Make your next pizza low-carb by substituting regular pizza crust with a crust made out of almond flour, cauliflower, chickpeas, beets, sweet potatoes or hollowed portobello mushrooms.
As far as toppings go, popular low-carb options include:
- Low-sugar or sugar-free pizza sauce
- Bell peppers
- Unprocessed beef, pork or chicken
With so many options, you don’t have to worry about feeling unsatisfied at your next pizza party.
If you want to make your own pizza crust, one of the easiest ways to make a pizza more heart-healthy is by switching out traditional white flour for a thin crust containing whole grain or whole wheat flour instead.
The following pizza toppings are also great for your heart:
- Fresh, leafy spinach
- Tomatoes and fresh tomato sauce
- Chopped garlic
- Extra-virgin olive oil
Even heart-healthy pizza lovers like keeping it cheesy! If eating heart-healthy is important to you, here are a few tips to keep in mind when selecting or requesting your cheese topping:
- Less is better: If you’re making DIY pizza dough at home and get to choose your toppings, you get full control over how much cheese you top your pizza with. If ordering out, ask the restaurant if they can make you a pizza with light cheese. Some types of pizza naturally use less cheese than others, so consider that when choosing your flavors.
- Try new things: Mozzarella cheese is a pizza classic, but it’s not the only option. Part-skim ricotta and shaved Parmesan are also great options.
- Opt for healthy alternatives: Instead of using full-fat or whole-milk cheese, look for part-skim alternatives at the grocery store.
With a little pre-planning, it’s possible to keep both your heart healthy and your stomach happy.
How to Make Thin Pizza Crust
For many people, the easiest way to make the best pizza dough recipe healthier is by turning it into a thin crust. Don’t worry, you don’t need any additional ingredients or special equipment for this. Mastering a thin crust at home is all about technique and timing.
If you prefer thin crust pizza, here are some tips to get that perfect calorie-conscious, cracker-like crunch:
- Separate the dough into two portions. Because crust thickens as the dough rests, skip that step of the instructions and immediately begin rolling the dough after separating.
- While smoothing with your hands is great for thick crust pizza, a rolling pin works best for thin crust.
- Aim for a dough that is about 1/8 of an inch thick, which will get a little bit thicker as it bakes.
- Although some people prefer to bake thin crust dough for less time at a higher temperature, you can also continue to follow the baking instructions listed above. Just be sure to keep an eye on your thin crust as it bakes.
Just as it is with other parts of the pizza, there are no rules for thin crust. Feel free to experiment with the thickness of your crust to get it just the way you like it.
Add Some Spice to Your Crust
Once you have mastered this simple pizza dough recipe, try taking your crust to the next level by tossing in some new flavors. You can mix your favorite spices right into the dough for a subtle kick that will impress your friends with your culinary skills.
Here are some of our favorite flavorful crust additions:
- Spices: Onion and garlic powder are a good place to start because they will complement almost any toppings you choose. Or you can return to pizza’s Italian roots by adding dried oregano, basil and sun-dried tomato. When adding any spices to the dough, start on the lighter side — a tablespoon or two will go a long way.
- Butter and herbs: Do you love the crunch of herbed crust? Try brushing the rim of your crust with olive oil and sprinkling it with spices. This works great with a mixture of Parmesan cheese and an Italian herb blend. Rosemary and thyme also add fresh flavor to an herbed crust and will make your pizza smell extremely fragrant.
- Seasonal ingredients: As we head into summer, seasonal toppings like fruit or leafy greens can be a refreshing twist. Upgrade your pizza crust to complement these sweet and savory combinations by adding a little more sugar or honey to the dough. A sweeter dough can also taste great with traditional favorites like Hawaiian pizza or sausage.
- Cheesy crust: For cheese addicts, shredded cheddar or Parmesan make a great addition to your crust. Sprinkle them on the crust about halfway through the baking process, so the melted cheese gets crispy without burning. For an added challenge, create your own stuffed crust pizza. Roll the edges of your dough out thin, then line it with mozzarella cheese. Fold the crust over the cheese and press it back together. You can even stuff your crust with pepperoni or ham!
No matter how you choose to spice up your DIY pizza crust, it’s sure to be a hit.
Shape Your Crust for Any Occasion
At Giordano’s, we believe every pizza is equally beautiful and delicious — no matter the shape. If traditional round pies aren’t your thing, here are some fun crust alternatives to try:
- Fun size: Maybe you are whipping up a pizza just for yourself and can make it any way you want — but more often, you will be feeding your family or friends too. If you are sick of trying to agree on which toppings to use and how much sauce to put on, this pizza dough recipe can easily be divided into four or five personal pizzas. No one will have to compromise on their favorite toppings, and your pizzas will cook faster too.
- Rectangular: Maybe you are throwing a party and need to feed a lot of people. Flip over your cookie sheet and spread all your dough thinly on the inside of the pan to create a large rectangular thin-crust pizza. If using this technique, be sure to add extra oil in the corners and edges of the pan, so your pizza doesn’t stick.
- Themed: Feeling extra creative? Press your pizza dough into a unique shape for a theme party or holiday. If you want to impress that special someone, craft your pizza into a heart shape. For the Fourth of July, try shaping it into a star or transform a rectangular pizza into an American flag with red pepper for stripes and black olives as stars.
- Fold over: Transform your ordinary pizza into an extraordinary calzone by folding your crust over before baking. Be sure to seal the edges so you don’t lose all those delicious toppings-turned-fillings.
Don’t be afraid to break out your creativity and change up the traditional circular pizza crust. There are so many interesting and unique pizza shapes you can try that will thrill your friends and family.
Make It Your Own
This pizza dough is so delicious, you will want to eat it for every meal — and you can. Here are some ways to transform this easy pizza dough recipe into your perfect slice:
- Try pressing the dough out thin and covering it with a layer of melted butter, cinnamon and sugar. Roll it up and slice it, then you have homemade pizza dough cinnamon rolls ready to bake for breakfast!
- Maybe you have a salad for lunch but crave some fresh warm bread to complete the meal. Cut the dough into strips and top it with garlic butter, Parmesan and herbs to make your own breadsticks.
- You can simply separate the dough into small balls and bake it into rolls. Brush with melted butter for an extra boost of flavor.
- If you aren’t feeling traditional pizza for dinner, try making strombolis, calzones, pizza waffles or even pizza on a stick.
Add the Sauce and Toppings
Once you’ve mastered the perfect pizza dough, it’s time to add the sauce and toppings. Since you’re making everything from scratch, we recommend whipping up a delicious homemade pizza sauce. If you’re pressed for time or want to focus all your creative energy on your dough, that’s okay too. There are plenty of store-bought pizza sauces you can choose from.
When it comes to toppings, add whatever makes you happy. Maybe that’s an all-cheese extravaganza. Or a controversial pineapple pie? A color wheel of veggies? Be as creative and experimental with your toppings as you’d like. If it makes your mouth water and your stomach growl, it sounds like the perfect pizza topping to us.
Enjoy a Pie From Giordano’s
Next time you make pizza at home, don’t settle for store-bought dough — let this easy pizza crust recipe transform you into a pizza dough pro! With so many ways to make this pizza crust your own, don’t be afraid to try something new and get a little flour on your hands.
Don’t feel like kneading out your dinner tonight? Whether you’re running short on time, your pizza creations don’t turn out as planned or you just want to spend more time with loved ones and less time in the kitchen, we are just a call away. Stop by a Giordano’s location near you and enjoy one of our delicious pies today.