An easy homemade pizza dough recipe that answers all the questions like how to make, shape and freeze pizza dough. Makes the perfect pizza crust for easy cast iron skillet pizzas, spicy Buffalo chicken pizza and more.
Growing up, I was blessed with two amazing Italian grandmas, Josephine and Nanina, the namesakes of this site. My grandmas made practically everything homemade. If it could be grown in a garden, it was on the table for dinner.
Homemade gnocchi, braciole, Italian breads, meatballs—if you've heard of it, they made it. Eating out was rarely a thought. At my grandma Josephine’s, we didn’t so much as order pizza. Why order when you could make homemade pizza dough?
A homemade Italian pizza love story
Grandma Jo (as her sisters called her) used to make a sheet pan pizza like the kind you’ll find in Rome. Her pizza was the stuff of memories. I can still taste it. She made the pizza in a huge sheet pan that my grandpa Dominic made at the steel mill where he worked. The pan fit the whole width and depth of her oven and that pizza fed our pretty large family.
Girls —pay attention. Now that’s love.
Reasons to make homemade pizza dough
You may be wondering, why make homemade pizza dough when you can order out?
Here's are the top reasons learning how to make homemade pizza dough is a skill worth learning:
- Tastes better
- More economical
- You know the ingredients
Why this recipe
This pizza dough:
- Makes a chewy homemade pizza
- Makes two 12”-14” crusts
- Can be doubled as needed
- Is easy to make ahead of time and freeze
- Works for thin crust, deep dish, calzones or any pizza-like recipe
- Is vegan because it’s made with oil, not butter
Let’s get rolling (couldn’t resist).
Essential pizza-making tools
Here’s everything you’ll need to make pizza dough at home:
- A stand mixer or a pair of willing hands
- Peel for transporting (depending on the pan you choose)
- A pan: stone/pizza pan/cast iron skillet/steel
- Bench scraper
- Pizza cutter
Types of flour
For this recipe, we are using bread flour which has a higher gluten content resulting in a “fluffier dough.”
You can use all-purpose flour with excellent results if that’s all you have. Pizza crust with AP flour works too and is especially great if you're making a thin crust.
Even King Arthur, the king of all things flour-y, showed that bread and ap flour can be used interchangeably with minimal difference. And if you have one kind of flour and don't know what to make with it, King Arthur also has this handy guide to baking when flour is scarce.
Classic pizza dough: step by step instructions
Following are instructions for making this in my Kitchenaid mixer; however, if you don’t have one, you’re not off the hook! You are going to put those gorgeous muscles of yours to work!
(Directions for hand mixing and kneading are in the recipe below.)
Tips for how to proof yeast
Proofing yeast can be one of the most intimidating parts of making homemade bread doughs. And I think the "what ifs" are the reason most home cooks don’t do it. As in what if..."the yeast doesn’t foam" or the dough doesn't rise"?
- Use active dry yeast or instant yeast - just not rapid rise. I use Saf-Instant Yeast which can be mixed directly in the dry ingredients (but not in contact with the salt) or as noted in the recipe.
- Always buy an extra pack or two of yeast (or in bulk and store in the freezer).
- Check the expiration date on your yeast packet.
- Run your tap water until it’s warm to the touch.
- Take a thermometer you trust and place the tip under the running water until the temperature reaches approximately 110˚.
- Fill your measuring cup to the desired amount.
- Add your sweetener which feeds the yeast.
- Sprinkle the yeast on top of the water and lightly stir.
- Wait approximately 10 minutes until the yeast is foamy on top. If it doesn’t foam, either the yeast is dead or your water was too hot.
- On low, mix the dry ingredients in the bowl of the mixer
- Add the yeast mixture to the flour.
- Using a paddle, mix the yeast until the dough comes together.
- Use a dough hook to knead the dough for two minutes until a smooth ball is formed.
See, wasn’t that easy?
Cover the dough bowl with plastic wrap and a towel and set it aside (preferably somewhere warm) to rise.
How to stretch and shape pizza dough
By hand - no need to become an expert, but first take the dough and press it into a circle on a floured board while turning the dough in a circle at the same time. Once it is about 6” in diameter, pick up the dough. Check out this awesome video for stretching pizza dough like a pro.
By rolling pin - Rolling pizza dough is more than acceptable, especially if you're making a thin crust pizza. Use a standard rolling pin (here is my fav) and make sure to roll consistently from the inside out shifting the rolling pin counterclockwise as you work your way around the edges of the circle.
Baking homemade pizza
Use this dough with your favorite pizza combinations. Follow the instructions on our favorite tomato sauce recipe to make the best pizza sauce.
Only have a baking sheet? Then pre-bake the pizza crust. Pre-baking for about 5 minutes allows the crust to crisp up on the bottom and prevents undercooking from too many heavy toppings.
Make ahead pizza dough
- This dough recipe can be made one day and used the next.
- If you don’t plan on using it within a day, then freeze and defrost in the fridge before resting on the counter for an hour or more before shaping.
Homemade Pizza Dough
- 2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast or instant yeast, equal to 1 packet* ; I've used Saf-Instant yeast per the directions with success
- 1 ¾ cup water, 110˚ degrees; *see below regarding a traditional Neapolitan pizza dough
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 3 ½ - ¾ cup bread flour, divided, can substitute all-purpose flour*
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
Stand Mixer Instructions
- Fill a glass measuring cup with 110˚ water using a reliable thermometer to check the water's temperature.
- Add the sugar to the water and sprinkle the yeast in. Gently stir the yeast.
- Allow the yeast to rise for 10 minutes until foamy and happy.
- Starting with 3 ½ cups of flour, combine the dry ingredients in the mixing bowl. Reserve the additional flour on the side.
- Add yeast mixture along with the olive oil to the bowl and using the mixing paddle, mix on low until incorporated and the dough starts to come together. Add an additional ¼ cup of flour if the dough is too wet until the dough comes together to make a shaggy ball. Don't be worried - it won't be perfectly smooth.
- Remove the paddle attachment and add the dough hook. Mix the dough on medium for two minutes until the dough is smooth. If it's still not coming together, add the remaining flour 1 tablespoon at a time. Remove the hook from the mixer and place the dough into a bowl drizzled with olive oil.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, set the bowl in a warm dry place to rise for 1 hour.
Hand Mixing Instructions
- Follow Steps 1-4 above.
- Flour a clean wooden board or counter (you can use the remaining flour if you haven't used it yet). Turn the dough out onto a board and knead by pushing the dough away with the palm of your hand and turning it clockwise a quarter of a turn each time.
- Continue kneading until the dough is soft and smooth for about two minutes. Play or sing your favorite song while you knead.
- Place the dough in a mixing bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, set the bowl in a warm dry place to rise for 1 hour.
Shaping the Pizza
- Cut the dough into 2 equal pieces**
- On a floured board, using either a rolling pin or your hands, press the dough into a circle, rotating the disk as you work your way from the middle out. When it's about 6-8" in diameter, pick up the dough and rest it on your knuckles and slowly stretch the dough working your way in a circle. Here is an easy tutorial on how to stretch pizza dough.
- Once the pizza is in your desired shape, place on a cornmeal dusted pizza peel and top with your favorite sauce recipe and toppings
- To cook the pizza using a stone: preheat a baking stone to 500° for 20 minutes. Slide the dough onto the stone and bake for 10 minutes.
- Check out our Cast Iron Skillet Pizza recipe for another awesome way to make pizza.
- If only making one pizza, save the other for another time by spraying a piece of plastic wrap with cooking spray and wrapping it up. Place in a labeled ziploc bag and freeze for up to 3 months.
- Defrost frozen dough in the refrigerator overnight. Remove from the fridge to come to room temperature on the counter for at least an hour before rolling to make a pizza
- Only have a baking sheet? Then pre-bake the pizza crust. Pre-baking for about 5 minutes allows the crust to crisp up on the bottom and prevents undercooking from too many heavy toppings.
- Dough keep springing back? Let it rest for another 20 minutes or so at room temperature. It should have relaxed enough to be able to be spread out to the size you want.