This easy homemade pizza dough recipe makes the BEST Italian-style pizza, with crispy-crackly crust that's soft on the inside!
Of all the foods I've ever served my family and relatives, pizza is the one for which I've received more praise and compliments than probably everything else I've ever made, combined.
This super easy homemade pizza dough is the secret. It makes a no-fuss, authentic Italian-style pizza crust, that's sturdy enough to pick up without flopping, but not stiff or rubbery. The edges are crispy-crackly-crunchy, while the inside manages to stay soft and delicious, with just the right amount of air pockets.
It's an easy recipe that just works well every time.
This recipe makes the right amount for one large, or two smaller pizzas. I find that it's just the right amount for our family of four. I usually opt to make two medium-small pizzas, unless I'm really in a hurry to get dinner on the table.
If you're cooking for 6 or more people, I'd suggest doubling this recipe.
If you've made homemade pizza before, that's great! If not, don't be intimidated - it's easy and fun.
Easy tips for making the best pizza
To get the best pizza when using this dough, follow the instructions in the printable recipe, and keep in mind these key tips.
Cook pizza in a really hot oven
I cook pizza in an oven that's 500° F, and I'll never go back to baking pizza at lower temperatures again. I know - you've probably never in your life made your oven get that hot before, but this kind of heat seriously makes the BEST pizza.
To give your oven time to achieve that temperature, you'll probably want to start pre-heating it, about the same time you finish kneading the dough and set it aside to rest.
Use a pizza stone
You can get pretty good pizza without a pizza stone, but every really great pizza I've ever made has been on a stone. If pizza night is something your family enjoys often, I'd really suggest putting one on your wish list. It makes a big difference!
To properly use a pizza stone, you want it to be good and scorching hot when the pizza goes in. Do not fall into the temptation to roll out your pizza right on the room temperature pizza stone, and put the whole thing in the hot oven. You will end up with floppy, disappointing pizza this way.
Put the pizza stone in the oven before you turn it on, and leave it there. After you bake the first pizza, let the stone sit in an empty oven for 5 minutes before putting in the next pizza. It's a simple trick that helps every pizza you make be as perfect as the first one.
Measure flour and water by weight, not volume
In the recipe below, I've provided measurements in both ounces and cups. If you don't have a kitchen scale, that's totally fine.
However, If you do have access to a kitchen scale, I recommend measuring the flour and water by weight, rather than volume. Particularly when baking a bread recipe (like pizza!), it's always, always better to measure by weight than volume.
A big reason for this is that all flours are created a little differently. It's possible to get slightly inconsistent results using one cup of flour from one mill, versus a cup of flour from a mill that uses a slightly different process or different type of wheat. Measuring by weight instead of volume is a good way to get consistent results, even when working with inconsistent flours, and it's a sure-fire way to get the absolute BEST dough, every single time.
Roll this dough out with oil - not flour
For years, I rolled pizza dough out with flour to keep it from sticking. Finally, when I ran out of flour mixing the dough, I tried using olive oil. I could not believe what a difference this one change made, to the quality of my pizza! Using oil instead of flour creates a crust that rises slightly better, and achieves a thin crispy layer on the outside of the crust, while staying beautifully soft on the inside.
Here's how I roll out the dough using oil. On a sheet of parchment paper, make a tiny puddle of olive oil - just larger than a quarter. Then place the ball of dough on this, and press into a slightly larger circle. Now flip that flattened ball of dough over. You should have dough that's now nicely oiled on both sides.
Using your hands (or a rolling pin if you prefer) press the dough into a medium-small pizza crust if you're working with half of the dough, or a large pizza crust if you're using all of it. Use your fingers to create a slightly-mounded outside edge, which will keep the toppings in, and make a nice crunchy crust on each piece.
Go light on the toppings
Remember. This isn't a Chicago deep-dish pie. When going for an authentic Italian style pizza, use the best topping, and go light with them.
You don't want to weigh down the crust with too much sauce and cheese. The crust is a vehicle for savoring the wonderful flavors of each carefully-chosen topping.
My family's favorite pizza is topped with just a few spoonfuls of homemade tomato sauce, a few ounces of fresh mozzarella, a handful of cooked bacon and sausage bits, and a sprinkle of basil. When it comes out of the oven, I grate fresh Parmesan over the whole thing.
FAQ about making homemade pizza
These are some of the most common questions I hear, about making your own pizza dough. I hope they might help answer any questions you have too!
Can you freeze pizza dough?
You bet! Make this dough, then pop it right in the freezer in an air-tight bag. For best results, allow it to thaw slowly overnight in the fridge. When you're ready to work with it, bring it to room temperature, and knead it for a few moments on a floured surface, until it feels soft and springy to the touch. Let it rest like usual (at least 20 minutes), then roll and bake just as you would with freshly-made dough.
Can you make good pizza without a pizza stone?
You can. In my opinion, the best pizzas I've ever made have always been on a stone, but you can recreate the same wonderful results pretty well with just a cookie sheet and some parchment paper. Don't pre-heat the cookie sheet like you would a pizza stone, just put the pizza, on the parchment sheet, right on your room-temperature cookie sheet, and place it in the hot oven. Because the thin cookie sheet has less of an insulating factor, you'll need to watch for burning a little more closely than if the pizza were on a stone. Start peeking at your pizza after about 7 minutes, and then take a quick look every minute or two until the crust is deeply golden brown.
Do you have any questions about making homemade pizza dough that I haven't answered? Please feel free to ask away in the comments below!
I hope you and your family adore this easy homemade pizza dough recipe as much as we do. It's the ticket to our favorite night of the week - pizza night!
Perfect Homemade Pizza Dough
- parchment paper
- Pizza Stone or baking sheet
- In a bowl, stir together flour, yeast, and salt.
- Measure water, honey, and olive oil into a small bowl. (A 2-cup measuring cup with pouring spout works well!)
- Stir wet ingredients into dry mixture, until well incorporated.
- On a floured surface, knead the dough gently, and with a light hand, until dough is smooth and elastic - about 4 minutes should do it.
- In an oiled bowl, let pizza dough rest for a full 20 minutes. A little longer is just fine.
To bake pizza
- Pre-heat oven to 500° F. I know - you've probably never made your oven get that hot before, but this temperature makes the BEST pizza. If you have a pizza stone, put it in there now so that it's scorching hot when you put the pizza in.
- This recipe makes the right amount for one large, or two smaller pizzas. If you're making two pizzas, divide the dough in half and work with one part at a time.
- If the dough feels sticky, knead it in a little flour for just a moment or two - long enough to feel smooth and elastic again.
- On a sheet of parchment paper, make a tiny puddle of olive oil - just larger than a quarter. Place the ball of dough on this, and press into a slightly larger circle. Now flip that flattened ball of dough over. You should have dough that's now nicely oiled on both sides. Using your hands (or a rolling pin if you prefer) press the dough into a medium-small pizza crust if you're working with half of the dough, or a large pizza crust if you're using all of it. Use your fingers to create a slightly-mounded outside edge, which will keep the toppings in, and make a nice crunchy crust on each piece.
- Top with your favorite pizza toppings, but remember to go lightly - you don't want to smother it like a Chicago-style pizza. Italian pizza goes light on the toppings, and uses simple, top-quality ingredients. A little sauce with a few ounces of mozzarella, a bit of bacon or thinly-siced tomatoes, and a pinch of herbs, is perfect for creating a fantastic pizza.
- Using a cookie sheet or pizza peel, slide the pizza (parchment and all) onto the hot pizza stone. At 500°, this doesn't take long to bake. In my oven, pizza cooks in 9-11 minutes, depending on the size, and how thick I rolled my dough. Take a peek at your pizza after 7 minutes, and check on it every couple of minutes until it's done. The edges should be a really rich golden brown, and the toppings should be getting nicely melted with a slightly toasted look. Once you've made pizza like this a few times, you'll know exactly how long a pizza takes to perfectly cook in your oven.
- When it's done, grab the edge of the parchment paper, and use it to slide the whole pizza off onto a pizza peel, or the back of a cookie sheet. Allow the pizza stone to rest in the hot over for 5 minutes, before cooking the next pizza.
- Let pizza cool for a few moments, then slice and enjoy!