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. This easy pizza dough recipe will teach you how to make pizza dough from scratch, fast enough to satisfy even the strongest pizza cravings.
How to Make Delicious Pizza Dough in 30 Minutes
Fast and simple, this 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!
- 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’s everything 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
- 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!
- 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 bath water 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 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.
- 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.
- Form the dough into a smooth ball, then cover the mixing bowl with a damp kitchen towel or plastic wrap 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.
- 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. If you prefer thin crust pizza, separate the dough into two portions. Smoothing with your hands is great for thick crust pizza, but a rolling pin works best for thin crust. Experiment with the thickness of your crust to get it just the way you like it — there is no wrong way to form your pizza dough!
- When you are satisfied with your crust, transfer the dough 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 to the stone.
- 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.
- Once your pizza is baked to perfection, remove it from the oven and let it sit for 5 minutes before serving.
- Grab your friends and dig in!
If you aren’t planning to devour your pizza the same day, you can freeze your dough for up to 3 months. 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 the dough 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!
Easy Alterations for Any Dietary Needs
Not everyone likes their pizza the same. Luckily, this easy pizza dough recipe can be adapted to suit almost any dietary restrictions or preferences that you or your friends may have.
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 nutrient benefits and a creamy, cheesy flavor. If you are dairy-free or prefer to skip the cheese entirely, you can pile it high with all your favorite veggies! Try roasting or sauteeing your vegetables first for 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 needed. 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.
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, you can add a little less salt and let your guests add their own table salt if they want.
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. 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!
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 mouthwateringly fragrant.
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.
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. Or 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!
Shape Your Crust For Any Occasion
Maybe you are whipping up a pizza just for yourself and can make it any way you want — 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!
Maybe you are throwing a party and need to feed a lot of people. Flip over your cookie sheet and spread all of 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!
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!
Don’t be afraid to break out your creativity and change up the traditional circular pizza crust. Need some more inspiration? Check out our article on unique pizza shapes 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! 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 Parmesan and herbs to make your own breadsticks. You can even simply separate the dough into small balls and bake it into rolls! If you aren’t feeling traditional pizza for dinner, try making strombolis, calzones, or even pizza on a stick. The possibilities for this pizza dough are endless!
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! If your pizza creations don’t turn out as planned, we are just a call away!
Don’t feel like kneading out your dinner tonight? Stop by a Giordano’s location!