Making homemade pizza dough is a topic I don’t take lightly because I LOVE PIZZA. It’s the perfect food if you ask me, and it’s baked into my family history. My great-grandparents came to America from Naples, Italy with my grandmother in tow. When I visited Italy for the first time, I chose to go to Naples specifically to explore pizzerias there. The trip was a blessing and a curse. A blessing because if you have never had true Neapolitan pizza…all it takes is one taste to fall in love. A curse because I couldn’t eat pizza in the States for months after returning home. Chain pizza was over for me. So I had to start on a journey of making my own pizza at home. And I haven’t looked back!
This homemade pizza dough recipe has been through a LOT of iterations. And there are a lot of reasons for that! Read on to learn about how this recipe came to be, including information about the ingredients I use, and tips and tricks for making your very best at-home pizza (like this Potato and Leek Pizza recipe)!
The very first pizza dough recipe I used was Bobby Flay’s pizza dough recipe, and honestly, that’s still a great, straightforward recipe. It’s a wonderful place to start, but over time, I’ve made lots of little changes, so I decided to share the recipe the way I make it now.
- Bread Flour: I use King Arthur Baking bread flour for my homemade pizza dough. It has a slightly higher protein content, which helps increase the strength of the final product, and gives the crust a great chew. You can use all purpose flour if you don’t have bread flour–just know that your texture might be slightly different.
Lately, I’ve been able to find King Arthur Baking pizza flour in my local grocery stores, so I’ve been experimenting with that. It yields a surprisingly different result! The crust is more hydrated, and therefore stickier to work with. But the result is crispier on the bottom, and chewier in the middle. It’s wild how small changes can affect the final outcome of a baking recipe!
- Instant Yeast: I use instant yeast for all my baking, because I don't like waiting around for active dry yeast to activate. My favorite brand is SAF instant yeast. I also love using this yeast measuring spoon from King Arthur Baking because it perfectly measures out 2 ¼ teaspoons of yeast, which is the exact amount in a packet of instant yeast!
- Honey: I started using honey in this recipe because it really helps improve the flavor and rise in the dough. Using plain granulated sugar can also work well, but I prefer the flavor I get with honey.
- Kosher salt: I know that the whole wide culinary world is obsessed with Diamond brand kosher salt, but it can sometimes be hard to find. So sometimes I use Morton’s. It’s a much coarser variety, which means it weighs more. So, if you use a different brand like Diamond, which has a finer granule size, make sure you adjust your salt measurement accordingly!
I do not recommend using regular table salt instead of kosher salt. I’m sorry to say, but kosher salt is one of those things that I truly believe you need in your kitchen if you are cooking and baking at home!
I wait to add the salt to the very end, after mixing the other ingredients into a shaggy dough first. I let this mix sit for 10-15 minutes to hydrate, and then I add the salt.
Salt inhibits the actions of the yeast, so I like to give my yeastie friends a head start to chomp up some sugar and gluten before hitting them with salt. The result is an easier to work with dough, that handles stretching better.
- Lukewarm water: I know it can be frustrating when you see “lukewarm” in a recipe, but hear me out! I used to take the temperature of my water, and wait until it was the perfect 110ºF. I’ve found though that it doesn’t matter so much to be *exact,* so much as you’re in the ballpark of a range.
Nowadays, I just turn my faucet to the hottest it will go, and let it sit for a minute or two while I gather the other ingredients. By the time I add the water, it’s hotter than room temperature, but not so hot that it will kill the yeast.
- Olive Oil: You can use another type of oil, but I like the flavor that olive oil imparts. It feels more in line with my Italian heritage, so I go with that. I am working on a whole wheat dough where I use coconut oil, though, so know that you certainly can use other types of oils!
- Cornmeal: while you will not be adding this to the dough, cornmeal is very handy to use while shaping and baking the pizza dough. A layer of cornmeal helps you to easily slide the dough on and off the pizza peel!
Weighing your homemade pizza dough ingredients means you'll get more precise results!
This is what loosely mixed pizza dough should look like, before adding in the salt.
Use your palm to help you shape your pizza dough.
A light sprinkling of cornmeal will help your homemade pizza dough slide on and off the pizza peel easily.
Hint: be sure to let the dough rest between steps so you don't overwork it!
Don't have one of the ingredients on hand? No worries! Here are some substitutions:
- all-purpose flour - instead of bread flour, you can use all-purpose flour. I recommend King Arthur Baking all-purpose flour. The resulting crust won't be as chewy, but it will still be delicious!
- sugar - use granulated sugar in place of honey for similar results, with a lighter flavor.
- alternate oil - if you don't have olive oil on hand, you can substitute another oil. Be sure to stick with something lighter in flavor, like coconut, avocado, or vegetable oil.
Feel like spicing it up? Go for it!
- pizza herbs - add in herbs like oregano, basil, and parsley to give your crust a classic Italian flavor! Avoid using onion or garlic powder, as it interferes with the rising of the yeast. If you want to add those flavors, brush them onto the crust before baking!
- pepper and parmesan - add pepper and parmesan for a caccio e pepe style crust!
- Baking Scale: This recipe is formatted in grams because, it's honestly the best, most precise way to bake! You can use cups/tsp/TBSP to measure if you don’t have a baking scale, but…if you bake even semi-regularly, it’s worth the investment to get a scale. Here is the exact scale I use by OXO.
- Measuring cups & spoons: Whether you have a scale or not, these measuring cups and measuring spoons from King Arthur Baking are my favorite tools for the kitchen. They come in every size you'll ever need. They even have a yeast measuring spoon!
- Stand Mixer: I use a stand mixer with a dough hook to make my pizza dough recipe. It’s powerful enough to knead the dough quickly, which makes the whole process easy! I have a Kitchen-Aid Artisan stand mixer, and I love it. It’s 100% worth the investment!
You can definitely mix up this dough by hand, just know it will take a little more time, and a lot more effort. But you will also appreciate the process more! There is something special about bringing together a dough by hand!
- Pizza peel: I have three. I’m telling you, I love pizza. This is hands down a necessity if you plan on making pizza regularly. It makes the job of transferring the dough in and out of the oven so much easier. I love the pizza peels by Epicurian the most. They are sturdy, hold up well to cutting, and clean up nicely.
- Thin metal cookie sheet: I used to have a pizza stone, but it cracked in half one fateful day after a *LOT* of use. I haven’t replaced it, because my sheet pan size aluminum cookie sheets work perfectly well for producing a great crust.
I simply place the cookie sheet into a cold oven, then preheat the oven with the cookie sheet inside. It’s a cheapo sheet, so it does warp sometimes at the high temperatures of 400ºF++, but it still gets the job done. I bought them about 15 years ago at Michael’s craft store. They’re still going strong!
You can make this pizza dough 24 hours in advance, and the flavor actually improves within that timeframe. 🤯 Place the dough ball in a lightly greased bowl big enough to allow room for expansion, and cover it with plastic wrap. Be sure to cover it tightly to protect the dough from forming a skin.
You can also prepare the dough ahead of time and par-bake it, then freeze the par-baked dough for up to three months. You'll always be ready for a pizza party!
There are some changes you may need to make to this homemade pizza dough, depending on where you live. Here’s why!
This recipe works perfectly for me, but as you might discover, baking is finicky. Depending on the weather where you live, you could get slightly different results. Since I’m baking in central Florida, it’s always pretty hot and humid. That means I don’t need as much water, but you could need a little more than me. More water could also mean you need a little more flour to get the right consistency. Play around with the amounts a little at a time, until you get the results that work best for you.
And I promise, that even if your dough isn’t *perfect,* it will still be better than chain-delivery pizza, or grocery store freezer pizza!
If you have questions about this recipe, connect with me here on the blog or on social media and I’d be happy to help you troubleshoot!
Hand-stretching the dough is my preferred method for making pizza. Sometimes though, I do use a rolling pin. For instance, sometimes my dough is more finicky due to small changes in the humidity, or sometimes I want to hurry up and MAKE A PIZZA fast!
If I’m baking a pizza from dough that’s been in the fridge overnight, I may opt to roll it out. Colder dough takes longer to hand stretch, so when I’m in a hurry, I reach for the rolling pin! Hand-stretched dough is lighter and more airy, so keep that in mind!
You don't HAVE to...but I do recommend making the dough a day in advance if you can–it really helps the flavor of the dough develop. Again, it’s *not* necessary. You can definitely make this dough and bake it same day!
Allow the dough to rest overnight in the fridge after you let it rise and separate it into two balls. Let the dough come to room temperature before using it. This takes a few hours for me in my kitchen, but I’ve also definitely left it out for longer!
No way! I've made this dough both with and without a stand mixer with fabulous results. I've also had followers on social media who have reported great results making this dough by hand. Just be aware that it does take a little extra "elbow grease." ?
Baking is much more precise than cooking, so I always recommend baking using the weight of ingredients. You definitely can use volume measurements, but know that your results may vary.
- 1 Pizza Peel
- 1 pizza stone or thin cookie sheet
- 1 stand mixer with dough hook
- 420 grams bread flour (3 ½ cups) I use King Arthur Baking bread flour. Depending on humidity, you may need to increase flour. See recipe notes.
- 8 grams instant yeast (2 ¼ tsp) or use 1 envelope instant-dry yeast
- 14 grams honey (2 tsp)
- 227 grams lukewarm water, about 110ºF (1 cup) depending on the humidity, you may need to increase to 1 ½ cups water. See recipe notes.
- 25 grams olive oil (2 TBSP)
- 7 grams kosher salt (1 ½ tsp) Morton's brand. If using Diamond brand, use ½ the amount.
- Mix all ingredients but the salt into a shaggy dough, just until the ingredients have come together. Let sit for 15-20 minutes to let the flour absorb the water. This helps the dough become more stable, and easier to work with.
- Add the salt & mix the dough on low speed in a stand mixer until the dough comes together. The dough will come clean off the sides of the bowl, but it may still stick to the bottom of the mixer. It will be soft and slightly sticky. This should take about 5 minutes at a medium-low speed.
If the dough is too sticky:
- If the dough is too sticky, add more flour, ¼ cup at a time.
If the dough is too dry:
- add more water, 1-2 tablespoon at a time.
If you are baking right away:
- Place the dough in a large lightly greased bowl, cover it with plastic wrap and let the dough rise for 60-90 mins; until doubled in size.
- Place a pizza stone or a large, thin cookie sheet in the oven, and preheat the oven to 450ºF after about 30 minutes of rising time.
- Divide the dough in half on a lightly floured surface, and gently shape each portion into a ball. Be careful not to punch the dough down too much, but try to get the dough shaped as tightly as you can.
- Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 10-20 minutes.
- Shape the dough directly on a pizza peel, coated with flour or cornmeal (I prefer to use cornmeal; because it yields a crispier bottom of the crust).
- Once the dough is shaped, gently shake the pizza peel back and forth to make sure that the dough can easily slide on and off the peel. If it sticks, carefully lift the dough off of the peel and add a light dusting of cornmeal or flour.
- Slide the dough onto the hot pizza stone or baking sheet, and par-bake the crust for 1-2 minutes, just until barely baked on the bottom, with no toppings on it. This helps you to get a more evenly cooked crust.
- Top with desired toppings, and return to the oven to bake, for about 8-12 minutes, until the crust is nicely browned and the toppings are melted.
If you are baking later:
- Place the dough in a large lightly greased bowl, cover it with plastic wrap and let the dough rise for 45 - 60 mins; until almost doubled in size.
- Place the dough in the fridge for up to 24 hours.
- Remove it from the fridge 3-5 hours before you intend to bake it. Let it come to room temperature before working with it. It will be too still to work with when it’s very cold.
- Proceed with shaping the dough as desired once it’s at room temperature!