Pizza Dough Recipe
Find out how to make perfect classic pizza dough that bakes into a crust that’s crispy on the bottom and tender inside.
Homemade pizza has been a tradition in my family for many many years. My dad was always trying to get the dough just right, and my family likes coming up with unique topping ideas.
On our most recent trip to Italy, I worked on my pizza dough, sauce, and baking recipes and techniques to share with you. Pizza varies throughout Italy, as it does elsewhere in the world. One of our favorite Tuscan pizza restaurants, La Cantina, makes pizza cracker-thin, while Gusta Pizza, one of my favorites in Florence is thicker and chewier. This post is all about making classic homemade pizza dough. If you love Italian food like we do, you’ll also love my homemade Pomodoro Sauce, Tomato Bruschetta, Vegan Eggplant Parmesan, Farro Salad, Aperol Spritz, and Affogato.
How to Make Pizza Dough at Home
Making pizza dough at home is easy and fun, though it requires some planning as the dough needs an hour of rise and rest time, and the oven needs an hour to get get hot enough. Just a few simple ingredients are needed for making pizza dough.
Step 1: Proof the Yeast
To ensure the yeast is alive and active, proof it by stirring with warm water and a little sugar. The sugar is not there to sweeten the dough, it’s there to feed the yeast.
After 5-10 minutes the yeast water will have grown and become foamy on top if it’s alive. If not, you’ll want to find another packet of yeast. Yeast is the leavening ingredient, so it’s not one to leave out!
What Type of Yeast to Use for Pizza
There are several types of yeast that work for making homemade pizza. I use active dry yeast, but it’s worth mentioning others.
- Active Dry Yeast: This is probably the most common type of yeast for baking and what we use for this recipe.
- Instant Yeast: As its name suggests, this yeast will create a faster rise. It’s made of finer granules and doesn’t need to be dissolved in water. You can use it here, but your dough will be ready to shape sooner.
- Pizza Yeast: A newer yeast I found specifically for making pizza, this doesn’t require a rise at all. It includes dough conditioners so that you can shape your pizza immediately. I prefer to avoid added chemicals.
- Fresh Yeast: Fresh yeast is sold in small blocks in the refrigerated section of some markets.
Step 2: Measure the Flour
While the yeast is proofing, measure out the flour and a little salt. You can make the pizza dough in an electric mixer with dough hook attachment (like in the video), in a food processor, or the old fashioned way in a bowl with wooden spoon and hands (how we did it in Italy).
What Type of Flour to Use for Pizza Dough
- All-Purpose Flour: For chewy crust
- Bread Flour: For crispy crust
- Type 00: This is a soft, finely ground Italian flour that results in a tender chewy crust. Perfect for pizza!
- I do not recommend subbing gluten-free all-purpose flour. We tested it and it did not work. At all.
Step 3: Combine the Yeast and Flour Mixtures
The order actually doesn’t matter. You can proof the yeast in a large mixing bowl and then slowly mix in the flour, or the other way around, as I’ve done here.
After a few minutes of mixing, either by hand, or with a food processor or mixer, the water and flour will come together in an elastic dough. If it’s too dry, you can add a tablespoon of water at a time, and if it’s too wet you can do the same with flour.
Step 3: Knead the Dough
Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until it’s smooth and elastic.
Step 4: Rise the Pizza Dough
Place the pizza dough into a glass bowl with plenty of space to rise. You can add a drizzle of olive oil for moisture and so that the dough doesn’t stick. Cover the bowl with a damp kitchen towel and let sit undisturbed for one hour.
Look at the difference! After an hour, the dough will have risen into a soft pillowy dough.
Step 5: Divide the Dough
I like to divide the dough into 4 individual balls. You can split in half if you prefer two standard sized pizzas. Knead lightly into balls again, and set on a cutting board or counter surface, covered with the damp towel to rest for 15-45 minutes.
Step 6: Roll or Stretch the Pizza Dough
Here my daughter is rolling her pizza dough quite thin. I personally prefer to gently stretch with my fingers, leaving a 1-inch border around the edges, as seen in the video.
How to Bake the Best Pizza
- Bake on a pizza stone preheated as hot as possible. This may take over an hour to heat. Remember, traditional pizza ovens may be 1000 degrees F or more. That’s how they get those gorgeous crisp edges. If you’re really serious about pizza making you could even get yourself a pizza oven.
- Use a simple fresh pizza sauce. Pesto or Vegan Pesto is also a good base. We love it in this Vegan Pesto Pizza with Heirloom Tomatoes.
- For crispy pizza, roll the dough as thin as possible. For more chew, leave it a little thicker and bake longer.
- A metal pizza peel and plenty of flour make transferring pizzas to stones easier. If you’re not confident in pizza transferring, start by rolling the pizza onto parchment and baking on the parchment.
Pizza Dough Common Questions
Can I Freeze Pizza Dough?
Yes! We even found frozen balls of fresh dough in the the market in Italy. To freeze pizza dough, make it up to step 5 above (everything up up to rolling it out). Place the pizza dough balls (they were labeled as “bocce di pizza” in Italy) into plastic freezer bags or a glass freezer container and freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to use, allow the dough to come to room temperature before rolling out.
Is Pizza Dough Vegan?
Yes, most pizza dough, including this recipe is vegan. The exception is that some recipes call for honey instead of sugar, which is not vegan.
Can you Make Pizza Dough without Yeast?
Traditional pizza is made with yeast, which may be a problem for those with yeast allergies. You can use baking powder to instead. Here’s a recipe with good reviews.
What to Make with Pizza Dough
While pizza is the obvious answer, there are more things you can make with pizza dough. A few favorites are calzone, bread stick twists, and cinnamon rolls.
Where to Buy Pizza Dough
Homemade is best, but there are many great store bought options out there. My favorite pizza dough is from Gelson’s Market, which uses a similar recipe from Wolfgang Puck. Just as for a ball of dough at their pizza counter. I also like the refrigerated whole grain pizza dough from Whole Foods.
- 1 cup warm water
- 1 packet active dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 3 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- Whisk together the yeast, sugar, and warm water in a small bowl. Set aside to proof for 10 minutes. During this time the yeast should bubble and expand, letting you know it's alive and active. If not, try again with another packet of yeast.
- Meanwhile, Add the flour to a food processor or mixing bowl fitted with a dough hook attachment. Stir in the salt.
- Add the yeast water to the flour and pulse if using a food processor or stir with the mixer on low, then increase to medium speed until the dough comes together in a ball. This will take about 3-5 minutes. Stop occasionally to scrape down the edges. If the dough is too dry, add a tablespoon of water, and if too wet, add a tablespoon more flour, until it's just right.
- Remove the ball of dough from the mixer/food processor and place on a lightly floured surface. Knead for a few minutes until soft and elastic.
- Coat a large glass bowl with the oilve oil and place the dough in it. Cover with a damp kitchen towel an let rest for 1 hour to rise.
- Preheat the oven with a pizza stone in the middle to as high as it will go (500-550 degrees F in most cases).
- The pizza dough should have doubled in size and be light and pillowy. Transfer to a floured surface and cut into quarters.
- Tuck the corners of each piece of dough under itself and gently roll into a ball. Cover with the towel and let rest another 10 minutes.
- The dough is now ready to use! Use your fingers and/or a rolling pin to shape the dough into disks. For very thin and crispy crust, roll as thin as possible, for crust with more chew, roll to about 1/2" thickness, leaving a 1" boarder around the edge that is slightly thicker.
- Top with your favorite toppings like classic tomato sauce or pesto, veggies, and cheese.
- Transfer to the hot pizza stone using a pizza peel.
- Bake until the crust is golden and crisp, about 10-15 minutes depending on how hot the stone is.
If you don't have a food processor or mixer with dough hook, make the dough the same way in a bowl and mix with a wooden spoon and by kneading with your hands. This method will take a few minutes longer.
Transferring pizzas to the oven stone can be tricky. To make this easier make the pizzas on parchment paper, trim the excess, and bake right on the parchment. Using fewer heavy toppings also helps the transfer. Another trick is to bake the crust and sauce for 2 minutes, then add the toppings.
UNICOOK Heavy Duty Ceramic Pizza Grilling Stone, Baking Stone, Pizza Pan, Perfect for Oven, BBQ and Grill, Thermal Shock Resistant, Durable and Safe, 15x12 Inch Rectangular, 6.6Lbs
Red Star Active Dry Yeast, 0.75 oz, 3 ct, 3 pk
Molino Grassi USDA Organic Italian Soft Wheat Flour, 2.2 lbs (Pack of 2)
Kitchen Supply 14-Inch x 16-Inch Aluminum Pizza Peel with Wood Handle
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 361 Total Fat: 2g Saturated Fat: 0g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 1g Cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 534mg Carbohydrates: 73g Fiber: 3g Sugar: 1g Protein: 10g