Made with simple, everyday ingredients, it’s hard to think of how this recipe for homemade pizza dough could be any easier. This post includes instructions on making the dough, but also freezing/thawing tips and a variety of cooking methods and uses for your dough.
Homemade pizza is a dinner staple, and for good reason!
- It requires just a handful of ingredients that you likely have on hand already…
- …but if you don’t, they’re inexpensive and have fairly long shelf lives.
- It’s versatile. This pizza dough can produce thick or thin crust pizzas, and holds up well to being cooked on a pizza stone, in a pan, or directly on grill grates. (If you’re curious how to grill pizza, it’s really not hard.)
- With its neutral flavor, a ball of pizza dough has a ton of uses. Besides pizza, you can use this dough to make stromboli, calzones, dinner rolls, flat breads, cinnamon rolls, and more.
- Yeast: This dough recipe uses one packet of active dry yeast, which is equal to two-and-a-quarter teaspoons (or 0.25-ounce) if you’re measuring from a jar. I use active dry yeast for everything so that’s how this recipe is written, though other varieties will work if that’s what you have. Instant yeast (a.k.a. Rapid Rise or fast-acting) will require a shorter rise time and can still be proofed at the start (even if the label says it’s not necessary).
- Water: The water temperature used to proof the yeast is very important. If it’s too cold (under 100°F), the dried yeast granules won’t activate, leading to very little rise. If it’s too hot (over 120°F or so), the yeast becomes overheated and damaged, also leading to little rise. Aim to use lukewarm water around 110°F, but a few degrees in either direction is just fine. I measure the water temperature with an instant-read thermometer to take all the guesswork out of it.
- Flour: People have a lot of thoughts regarding the best flour to use for pizza, but I keep things very simple in my homemade pizza dough and use all-purpose flour. It’s cheap, easily found, and probably in your pantry right now. When I deviate from this base recipe I will sub in white whole wheat flour for about half of the flour content. Other flour varieties (like bread flour and 00 flour) differ in their protein content and will work, but will produce variations in texture such as chewiness and crispness. I have not tested this pizza dough recipe with gluten-free flour(s).
Measuring Flour for Pizza Dough
Measuring flour correctly is essential when baking, and can be pretty easily gotten wrong. The common mistake with measuring flour is packing too much of it in your measuring cup, which leads to drier and crumbly baked goods.
Homemade pizza dough is more forgiving than most baking recipes as you’ll have to add additional flour along the way with kneading, but it’s easier to get the flour as close to right from the beginning.
- First stir up the flour in whatever it’s in: bag, canister, jar, etc. Fluff it up so it’s not condensed and packed in.
- Then spoon it into your dry measuring cup. Don’t pack it in, rather let it just fall in there. Continue until the flour is heaped over the top of the measuring cup.
- Use a straight edge (like a knife or the spoon handle) to level off the top without pressing down. Do this over the container so the excess falls back in.
I’ve included both American cup measurements in the recipe card, as well as metric. Using a kitchen scale really does make things simpler (with one less item to wash, to boot).
- Add lukewarm water to a large mixing bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer). Sprinkle yeast over top and let the mixture sit for 5-10 minutes so the yeast can proof.
- After that amount of time you’ll see the yeast has activated: the granules have nearly all dissolved, the water looks murky, and small bubbles appear. If none of that has happened, it’s likely your yeast has expired or the water temperature was off.
- Pour in the remainder of the ingredients: olive oil, granulated sugar, salt, and all-purpose flour.
- If using a stand mixer, use the dough hook attachment to combine the ingredients on low speed, then increase the speed to medium to “knead” for 4-5 minutes. If not using a stand mixer, stir until a sticky ball of dough begins to form, then manually knead with your hands on a floured board for several minutes.
Either way you do it, you’ll want to add additional flour one tablespoon at a time to counter the stickiness. The goal is to produce a ball of pizza dough that is tacky (not sticky sticky), stretchy, and smooth. I will usually have to add 2-3 extra tablespoons of flour during this step.
- Place your ball of dough in a large, oiled bowl (olive oil or cooking spray work well) and cover with a sheet of plastic wrap or a snug, clean kitchen towel. Place the bowl in a warm place to rise.
- Let the dough rise until it has doubled in size, which will take around 45 minutes to one hour (but can take more/less time depending upon how warm your spot was).
Turn out the dough onto a floured work surface and cut it into two equal balls. Each smaller ball will produce one standard-sized, thinner crust pizza.
The dough is ready to be rolled out, shaped, and used however you like: pizza, filled in a calzone, rolled up into a stromboli, etc.
- Know that the weather may impact the amount of additional flour you need. Hotter, more humid climates may need more flour added to offset the moisture than cooler, less humid climates.
- Homemade pizza dough freezes very well. What I do with the extra ball of dough is spritz a sheet of aluminum foil with cooking spray, wrap it around the ball of dough, then seal it in an air-tight bag to freeze. Place the frozen dough in the fridge overnight (or early-ish morning to dinnertime) to thaw before using.
- Cooking homemade pizza dough crust on a preheated pizza stone in the oven produces a crispier bottom crust than simply using a pan. Be sure to read the instructions that accompany your particular stone as for the maximum oven temperature to use. You’ll also want to place it in the oven before turning it on to heat along with it. Sharp temperature fluxes (or too high of a temperature) can cause it to crack.
Baking Homemade Pizza
There are many different ways to make homemade pizza in line with your preferences and available equipment. Here’s a simple way to cook it in the oven with a pizza stone.
- Place stone in the center of the (off) oven and set the oven temperature to the recommended temperature. This temperature range is frequently somewhere between 450-500°F. I stick with 450°F as my pizza stone is old and I can’t remember what the booklet said and I don’t want to go too hot and have it crack. Generally the hotter, the crispier, the better. Try to allow the stone to heat at temperature for 20-30 minutes before cooking.
- Stretch with your hands or roll out dough on floured work surface with a floured rolling pin until it reaches even thickness approximately 12-inches in diameter. Try not to press on and burst any bubbles that are forming.
- Sprinkle cornmeal on your pizza peel (this prevents the pizza crust from sticking to it), then transfer the rolled out crust onto it. Top with sauce, cheese, and your favorite toppings.
- Once the stone is well-heated, jiggle the pizza peel by the handle to get the raw pizza moving a bit to ensure it will transfer easily once it’s go-time.
- Open the oven door and carefully transfer the pizza onto the stone. Cook for 13-15 minutes, or until the pizza is to your liking.
If your kitchen is on the cooler or draftier side, you can place your dough on a warm appliance (I go for the counter above my turned-on dishwasher, washing machine, dryer, or refrigerator) or on a windowsill that gets warm sunlight. You can also pre-heat your oven to the lowest temperature, usually about 200°F, shut it off, then place the covered bowl in it to rise. Be sure to remember to turn the oven off while proofing in there.
There are so many good ones beyond the classic sauce, mozzarella, and pepperoni combo. Cooked and crumbled Italian sausage, sliced red onion, whole roasted garlic cloves…all good. My all-time favorite is ‘nduja (if you can find!). And think about what leftover cooked meats and vegetables you have on hand. Pre-cooked and sliced meatballs are key in meatball pizza, and chopped up chicken pairs well with BBQ sauce and cheddar.
Some reasons for a too tough pizza dough are too much flour added to the dough, overworking dough made with a higher protein content like bread flour, or cooking it at a lower temperature for longer time (which can lead to dryness).
Cooking pizza on a pizza stone will produce a crispier crust than cooking pizza in a pan. The stone retains heat and crisps up the bottom of the crust beautifully. Use as high of a temperature as your cooking equipment and stone/pan will allow. Grilling pizza (no stone needed) also yields a nice and crispy pizza crust.
If you’ve enjoyed this recipe, I’d love for you to leave a star rating in the recipe card and/or a comment review below!
Easy Homemade Pizza Dough
- 1 ¼ cups (10 oz, 296 ml) warm water (110°F/43°C or thereabouts)
- 2 ¼ tsp (7g) active dry yeast (equivalent of one 0.25-oz packet)
- 2 tbsp (30 ml) olive oil
- 2 tsp (8g) granulated sugar
- 1 tsp (6g) salt
- 415 grams all-purpose flour (about 3 ¼ cups plus 2 tbsp), plus extra for kneading
To prepare the pizza dough:
- Add warm water to a large mixing bowl (or bowl of a stand mixer) and sprinkle yeast over top. Let the yeast/water mixture sit for 5-10 minutes, or until it becomes frothy and dissolved.
- Once the yeast is activated, add the olive oil, sugar, and salt and stir. Then pour in the flour.
- If using a stand mixer: Add the dough hook attachment and mix on low speed until the ingredients are combined and form a shaggy ball of dough. Increase speed to medium and mix for 4-5 more minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl and the dough hook as needed. The dough should be stretchy, smooth, and just a bit tacky at this point. Work in additional flour 1 tablespoon at a time if the dough is too wet or overly sticky. I usually add about 2-3 tablespoons of additional flour during this step.
- If not using a stand mixer: Stir to combine the ingredients in the mixing bowl until a sticky, shaggy ball of dough forms. Turn out the dough onto a floured surface and manually knead with floured hands for 5-8 minutes, or until smooth. If the dough is overly sticky and not workable, add a tablespoon of additional flour at a time as needed. The dough should be stretchy, smooth, and just a bit tacky (not overly sticky or wet). I usually add about 2-3 tablespoons of additional flour during this step.
- Transfer the ball of dough to a large and lightly oiled bowl. Cover bowl snugly with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot to rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes to one hour.
- Once the dough has doubled in size, turn it out onto a floured surface. Cut it in half: each half will yield an approximately 12-inch diameter pizza crust. Sprinkle flour over top of the ball of dough, and stretch and shape dough (with your hands or a floured rolling pin) into your preferred shape. Try not to pop or disturb any bubbles that form in the crust.
To cook the pizza in an oven:
- Toward the middle of the dough rise time, place a pizza stone (if using) in the center of the oven and heat it to 450°F (or whatever maximum temperature is recommended for your particular stone). Allow enough time for the stone to heat at this temperature for 20-30 minutes before cooking the pizza.
- Sprinkle a pizza peel (or the back, flat side of a large sheet pan or cookie sheet) with cornmeal, then place the shaped pizza dough onto it without pressing down. Drizzle the top crust with olive oil, then top with sauce and your favorite pizza toppings.
- Once the stone is well-heated, first jiggle your pizza peel (or pan) a bit to loosen up the pizza, then carefully transfer the pizza to the stone. Cook for 13-15 minutes (less for hotter temperatures) or until cooked to your liking.
- Choose a warm place for your pizza dough to rise. Some spots likely to be on the warmer side if your kitchen is cool are on top of the running dishwasher, washing machine, dryer, or refrigerator, as well as on a windowsill that receives sunlight.
- If none of those options are available, you can preheat the oven to the lowest temperature (usually 200°F), then shut it off and place the covered bowl in there to rise. Remember to shut the oven off!
- If using a pizza stone for cooking homemade pizza, please be sure to read the instruction manual that accompanied it to see its maximum cooking temperature. Also place it in the oven before turning it on so that it heats along with the oven. Quick temperature fluctuations and too-high temperatures can cause it to crack.
Nutritional information is provided as an estimate. As it can vary due to many factors (brands used, quantities, etc.), we cannot guarantee its accuracy.