My grandma Josephine (Josie as I like to call her) was a phenomenal cook and a master at getting dinner on the table every night for 5 hungry kids (four boys!). And her sheet pan pizza recipe was a memory-maker. Josie spread scratch pizza dough in an enormous steel deep dish pan (that my grandpap handcrafted in the steel mill where he worked) and topped it with a savory sauce, layers of cheese and some of my papap’s homemade Italian sausage.

Pizza doesn’t get any better than that.

This post contains links to affiliate websites including Amazon. I make a small commission for any purchases made using these links. Thank you!

What is sheet pan pizza?

close up of homemade pizza slice being removed from a sheet pan

Some might call it Detroit-style pizza. In the case of my grandma’s sheet pan pizza, it is more likely that it was Sicilian-inspired because my family is from the “heel of the boot” region in Italy known as Reggio Calabria. That’s the region that is still mainland Italy before you cross to Sicily. 

Sheet pan pizza is made in well…a really large sheet pan. My grandpap made my grandma’s pan to fit the exact dimensions of the inside of her oven. BIG. That pizza could feed about 25 of us with leftovers!

If you’ve been wanting to make a pan pizza at home and are looking for a classic recipe that works every time, my friend, you’ve come to the right place.

Best type of pizza dough

pizza dough rolled on sheet pan with a wooden rolling pin and measuring cup of flour

The best pizza dough for sheet pan pizza is a thick bread dough…almost like a bakery crust pizza dough. You can even butter the bottom of the pan like Chicago fav Lou Malnati’s butter crust. Dreamy.

The pan pizza dough recipe included below makes the perfect amount for a big sheet pan crust with just the right amount of thickness and cooks perfectly in the middle. 

Because no one likes a soggy, undercooked pizza crust.

The main ingredients

light gray bowl of tomato sauce with a masher in it on a white background with homemade pizza ingredients

Let’s talk pizza crust and topping ingredients. Caveat: there are no hard and fast rules about what goes on this slab pizza recipe. Feel free to experiment. 

Unique pizza crust ingredients you’ll need

  • Active dry yeast – Please don’t use quick rising or fast yeast. You’ll use one whole package of  yeast or 2 ¼ teaspoons. [add a tip for storing yeast down below]
  • Olive oil – Josie’s recipe calls for at least ¼ cup of olive oil in the dough. This gives such good flavor. One of my favorites is Olio Santo but I also love the Tuscan olive oil from Costco. Make sure it’s the one that is 100% from Italy and isn’t a blend. It comes in a glass bottle and is harvested in October in Tuscany where, IMHO, all the best olive oils are born.
  • All-purpose flour – While you can use bread flour, it makes for a heavier crust. You still want some lightness in the crust. Also make sure that you measure the flour properly lightly aerating it, scooping and leveling it off gently with a clean butter knife.
  • Kosher salt
  • Sugar Because most kinds of yeast needs to be fed.

Best cheeses for thick pizza crust

  • Fresh mozzarella – torn into pieces
  • Sharp sliced provolone – my favorite is Boar’s Head Picante Provolone sliced fresh from the deli
  • Grated whole milk mozzarella – buy a whole ball and choose one of your pizza party guests to help you grate it. And this box grater does a grate job. Pun intended.
  • Pecorino romano or parmesan – use a high-powered blender like a Vitamix (this is the one I have but with the taller jar) or a food processor to finely grate any hard cheeses fresh. You don’t want any fillers—just please don’t use the “green can”. (p.s. my mom’s chicken parmesan recipe is the only place to use the green can of parmesan 😉)

How to make an easy pizza sauce

bowl of pizza sauce with oregano on top and a pizza crust nearby with a black spoon

Believe it or not but we are going to use a pre-made pizza sauce. I know, right?

But of course I can’t leave well enough alone. To the ready-made pizza sauce, you’ll add:

  • a can of Roma tomatoes 
  • crushed red pepper
  • oregano
  • salt/pepper
  • sugar

Making pizza dough by hand

uncooked pizza dough spread in a sheet pan topped being spread by a black spoon

Mix your dough either by hand or in the food processor following the recipe directions carefully for proofing the yeast.

Double-proofed dough 

For this sheet pan pizza recipe, we are going to double-proof the dough with a thin layer of the sauce on top. Adding some of the uncooked pizza sauce right on top of the dough marries the sauce and crust together in a most magical way.

  1. After the dough has risen in the bowl, you’re going to spread it out into an oiled sheet pan, gently coercing the crust to pan’s edges (see the photo above).
  2. Spread a thin layer of the sauce mixture on the uncooked pizza dough.
  3. The pizza dough and sauce will hang out together for about 45 minutes or so. The dough will get nice and comfy and rise again in the pan.

Yeast Pro Tip

Run your faucet water until you think it’s warm enough then use a thermometer to make sure the water you’re using to activate the yeast is 105-110˚.


Step-by-step instructions

  1. Roll out your favorite dough into a oiled sheet pan.
  2. Top with about two-thirds of the sauce and cover lightly with some plastic wrap. Allow to rise for about 45 minutes.
  3. Layer on your favorite toppings like cheese, meats followed by more sliced and shredded cheese.
  4. Scatter over more sauce and bake until bubbly and golden.

Pizza topping suggestions

two slices of pizza being served by a wooden spatula on parchment with a sprinkling of parmesan

A classic sheet pan pizza recipe requires some meat, cheese and maybe a few veggies. This is not a delicate pizza. The sauce is lightly layered on the top over the meat. Many times Detroit-style pizzas call for the sauce to be layered on the top after baking and Sicilian pizzas sometimes mix all the ingredients together and place them on top of the crust.

We aren’t doing either here but don’t let me stop you.

Some best pizza topping partners:

  • Spicy soppressata, caramelized onions and the cheese trio blend described above
  • Italian sausage and black olives
  • Meat lover’s with sausage, pepperoni, pancetta, and Italian beef
  • Frozen chopped spinach mixed with a little ricotta, garlic and parmesan by the tablespoonful (another Lou’s inspiration!)

Helpful tips

baked pizza in a sheet pan with spatula removing a piece

Weather – The weather does affect how pizza dough rises.

  • I usually place my dough in an oiled bowl large enough for the dough to do it’s thing
  • Next, I cover the bowl with a piece of plastic wrap that’s been sprayed with a little cooking spray.
  • And then I cover that whole thing with a clean dish towel and place it on the lowest rack of a cold oven. I do this in hot and cold weather to keep the humidity out and also create some warmth when it’s colder outside.

Size of sheet pan – While you won’t have a pan that is literally the size of your entire oven, a half sheet pan (approximately 12 ½”  x 17”) works beautifully for this recipe. You want it to be rectangular or it wouldn’t be sheet pan pizza now, would it? It would be deep dish pizza or if you use a cast iron skillet, you want my Cast Iron Skillet Pizza recipe instead (sooo good too!).

Pizza sauce recommendation – Not all jarred pizza sauces are the same. One of my favorites is from DeLallo. It’s not too sweet or loaded with unnecessary ingredients. 

Pan pizza dough tips

  • You can use store bought pizza dough but odds are you might have to use more than 1 if you’re using the sheet pan I recommend. Otherwise, use a smaller pan and you’ll be fine!
  • Make the pizza dough ahead and freeze it. I usually make a double batch, wrap the leftover in plastic wrap sprayed with cooking spray and place in a freezer-safe storage bag. Freeze for up to 3 months (if you can wait that long to eat gram’s pizza again!).
  • Double check the expiration date on your yeast before using and also use a thermometer to guarantee the water is at the perfect temperature to help the yeast rise.

Storing, freezing, reheating

Make ahead directions

  1. Let the dough rise for the first time
  2. Refrigerate the dough right in the bowl until about an hour and 15 minutes before you plan to bake it.
  3. Remove the dough from bowl that was in the fridge and let it come to room temp for about 30 minutes.
  4. Follow the directions for the second rise and on.

Storing + reheating

Store any leftovers for up to three days. Reheat on parchment lined baking sheet in a 350˚ preheated oven until bubbly.

To reheat from frozen, place in 425˚ oven and bake until bubbly about 15-20 minutes.

Freezing

Freeze the leftover pizza in individual layers wrapping first in parchment paper and then foil and placing the whole packet in a freezer safe bag.


Made this recipe?

I’d love it if you’d share your review and leave a star rating and comment!


close up of homemade pizza slice being taken out of a panwith cheese pull.
5 from 11 votes

Grandma’s Sicilian-Style Sheet Pan Pizza

The easy homemade pizza made without a rolling pin. Sheet Pan Pizza is part Sicilian-style; part Detroit but all things good. A unique method of letting the pizza crust rise topped with a little bit of the zesty sauce gives this pan pizza dough so much flavor and umami! The best pizza recipe for a crowd!
Prep Time:15 minutes
Cook Time:20 minutes
Rising Time (approx):3 hours 45 minutes
Total Time:35 minutes
Servings 8

Equipment

Ingredients
 

For the pizza dough

For the pizza sauce

For the toppings

Instructions

For the dough

  • In a glass measuring cup, sprinkle the yeast over the 105° water and gently stir. Add the sugar and allow to set until the yeast is bubbly up to five minutes. For more information on yeast and making pizza dough, visit my Homemade Pizza Dough recipe.
  • Pour the bubbly yeast mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Sprinkle the remaining ingredients over the yeast in the following order: 4 cups of flour, olive oil, and salt. Don't let the salt come into contact directly with the yeast or your dough may not rise.
  • With the mixer on low, combine all the ingredients together and once blended, switch out the paddle attachment for the dough hook. Knead the dough for five minutes, adding the remaining flour as needed by the tablespoon as the dough will be quite wet.
  • Once the dough forms a nice ball and isn't too wet, remove it from the mixing bowl to another mixing bowl that has been drizzle with olive-oil and gently wiped with a paper towel. Turn the dough over once in the bowl. Cover the whole bowl with plastic wrap and then a clean dish towel and place the whole bowl in a cold oven on the lowest rack. Allow to rise for at least 1½ hours or up to 3 hours if you have time until the dough more than doubles in size.

For the sauce

  • In a medium mixing bowl, combine all the sauce ingredients and set aside.

The second rise

  • Oil a half sheet pan (approx 13"x18" with a good drizzle of olive oil. Set aside
  • Slide the dough into the center of the oiled baking sheet pushing the dough to the edges. If it's fighting you, let it rest for a few minutes and it'll eventually give in. Create a nice rimmed crust.
  • Spoon about ½ of the pizza sauce over the dough leaving about ½" rim around the edges.
  • Cover the whole pan with plastic wrap and place back into the oven for 45 minutes for the second rise.

Assembling the pizza

  • Remove the pizza from the oven and preheat the oven to 450°. Place a rack in them center of the oven.
  • Layer on the pizza toppings in the following order: the hand-torn fresh mozzarella, the pepperoni, almost all of the remaining sauce, the grated mozzarella, and the remaining sauce spooned into pockets on the pizza. Drizzle with a little olive oil, a sprinkling of kosher salt and freshly grated parmesan cheese.
  • Bake the pizza for 15-20 minutes until the center is browned and bubbly. Remove from the oven and let sit for about 5 minutes if you can wait. Just trying to spare you from any burned tongues!

Notes

For the water: I use tap water and run it until a thermometer tells me it’s 105˚. If you do it enough, you won’t need the thermometer anymore.
Can I use store bought pizza dough? Yes! You can use store bought dough. Just use a smaller sheet pan because odds are it’ll be too small to fit in the half sheet pan I am suggesting for the recipe.
Pizza topping ideas:
  • Spicy soppressata, caramelized onions and the cheese trio blend used above
  • Italian sausage and black olives
  • Meat lover’s with sausage, pepperoni, pancetta, and Italian beef
  • Frozen chopped spinach mixed with a little ricotta, garlic and parmesan by the tablespoonful (a Lou Malanati’s inspiration)
Make Ahead Notes
  • Let the dough rise for the first time
  • Refrigerate the dough right in the bowl until about an hour and 15 minutes before you plan to bake it.
  • Remove the dough from bowl that was in the fridge and let it come to room temp for about 30 minutes.
  • Follow the directions for the second rise and on.
Storing, Freezing & Reheating
Store any leftovers for up to three days. Reheat on parchment lined baking sheet in a 350˚ preheated oven until bubbly.
Freeze wrapped in parchment first and then foil and place the whole packet in a labeled and dated freezer safe bag for up to 3 months.
To reheat from frozen, place in 425˚ oven and bake until bubbly about 15-20 minutes.
 
Course: Appetizer, Main Course, Pizza
Cuisine: Italian
Author: Lori Murphy
Did you make this recipe? Tag @josieandnina or tag #josieandnina!
5 from 11 votes (8 ratings without comment)

Leave a Comment or Ask A Question

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

12 Comments

  1. A perfect pan pizza for a crowd! Used my own dough recipe but pretty much followed everything else. Only used pepperoni on 1/2 the pizza for those vegetarians in the crowd. It was a big success…with none left to enjoy the next day!!! Will be making this again and maybe try some of your other topping suggestions next time!

  2. So good! I’ve been making this recipe for a couple months now for my big family. They love it and we even end up with a few slices left over! Definitely my go to pizza.5 stars

  3. Hi Lori, I made Grams sheet pan pizza, was fun to make, and everyone loved it. Crust was absolutely perfect.
    Thank you for sharing your recipes with hints and pointers. All your recipes I’ve tried have been delicious. Can’t wait to try more. We love flavorful, homemade food. I feel healthier too.
    Lori you and your giving heart make the world a better place. Thank you so much.

    1. Oh Crystal- thank you so much for one of the best comments I’ve ever received. I so appreciate your support, feedback and eagerness to try something new! You help make Josie + Nina what it is and such a pleasure for me…a gathering place for people who want to fill their tables with love and good food. Thank you!! 🥰

      And I’m so glad you loved the pizza and found the recipe and tips helpful!