Making pizza at home is super easy! This easy homemade pizza dough is perfectly chewy, soft, flavorful, and with a slightly crispy exterior.
It requires only 6 simple ingredients, and can also be made ahead and refrigerated, or frozen. I love making homemade pizza because I can basically top it with any ingredients I want. I always brush the pizza crust with melted garlic butter for extra flavor. It’s so fun to make!
Ready to make your own pizza at home? Check out all the tips and tricks for my easy pizza dough recipe below!
For the longest time, making my own pizza at home intimidated me. Something about it, I don’t know. Well, I have now made it hundreds of times and it’s always a lot of fun!
I use my easy homemade pizza dough recipe, and it always comes out perfectly chewy with a slightly crispy exterior.
The greatest thing about making it at home is the freshness. Freshly made pizza dough always turns out much better tasting with great texture, and you can make sure there are no added preservatives. Plus, you can add any toppings you’d like. The best part? There’s no need to skimp on any toppings.
Let’s get started!
Only a Few Ingredients Needed
Knowing what each ingredient in a recipe does always helps me enjoy the cooking process a lot more.
Here are the ingredients you will need to make this easy pizza dough right at home. And as always, you can find the specific ingredient quantities in the recipe card below.
- Warm water: The water needs to be between 110 to 115 degrees F in order to activate the yeast. If it’s too cold, the yeast won’t activate. If the water is too hot, it can kill the yeast. I use a kitchen thermometer to measure the water’s temperature.
- Active dry yeast: The yeast will help the dough rise and make it a bit airy and puffy.
- Granulated sugar: Sugar is like “food” to yeast. It helps yeast activate better and faster.
- Olive oil: It will add moisture and great texture. You will also need olive oil to brush the dough before adding the toppings. This will prevent the tomato sauce from soaking into the crust – no more soggy pizza crust!
- Salt: For flavor.
- Bread flour: I always always use bread flour for pizza. Compared to all-purpose flour, bread flour yields a chewier and puffier dough with better structure. It will stretch and rise a lot easier and better.
- Cornmeal for pan. This will add a nice crunch to the bottom of the pizza crust. Totally optional though!
I almost always have all the ingredients at home already, so we often make pizza on a whim. I love it!
How to Make It
Below is an overview of the entire process to make pizza dough, including assembly. Lots of information and tips!
As always, you can find specific instructions and prep times in the recipe card down below.
- Activate the yeast: By dissolving the yeast in warm water (110 to 115 degrees F) and sugar, you’ll “activate” the yeast to confirm that it’s good. If it foams up after about 5-10 minutes, it’s good. If it doesn’t, discard it and start over. I wrote a guide on working with yeast, check it out!
- Make the dough: Mix in the salt and olive oil. Mix in the bread flour, gradually, until a manageable dough forms. It should be moist and a little bit sticky, but not too wet.
- Knead the dough: Flour your working surface and hands, and knead the dough for 5 to 6 minutes. The dough should be manageable, moist, and it should spring back slowly when poked.
- Let it rest: Form a ball and transfer to a large lightly oiled bowl. Turn the dough to coat all sides with the oil. Cover the bowl and let it rest in a warm and draft-free place for about 1.5 to 2 hours, or until doubled in size.
- Preheat the oven: About 20 minutes before you expect to bake, preheat the oven to 450 or 475 degrees F.
- Stretch the dough and let it rest: Using your hands, stretch the dough to form a 10-12 inch circle or any shape you want. It should be about ¼ or ⅓ inch thick. Cover with wrap or a towel, and let it rest for another 15 minutes.
- Add the toppings: Brush the dough with a bit of olive oil all over. This will create a barrier between the dough and the pizza sauce to prevent it from getting soggy. Then prick it all over with a form to prevent bubbles from forming. Add your toppings.
- Bake! At least at 450 degrees F. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown and bubbly.
I always bake my pizza at 450 or 475 degrees F. If you’re comfortable with taking it to 500 degrees F, feel free to do so, but make sure your pan (preferably a pizza stone) can stand that temperature.
How to Freeze Pizza Dough
This recipe yields two 10-12 inch round pizzas. It’s convenient when I am making pizza for the whole family, but sometimes, I only need one. Freezing the second pizza dough is super easy! Or you could even freeze both for later.
- After you divide up the risen dough into 2 pieces, shape both into balls. This is after the dough has risen, step 6.
- Coat each ball with a little bit of olive oil or cooking spray. Just enough to get a light coating.
- Transfer each ball to their own individual freezer-friendly resealable bags. Seal.
- Freeze for up to 2 months.
To thaw: Thaw in the refrigerator overnight until fully defrosted. When ready to use, remove the dough from the bag and transfer it to a bowl. Cover the bowl with a towel or plastic wrap, and let it rest on the counter at room temperature for 30 to 40 minutes. After that, proceed to shape the dough, add your toppings, and bake.
Tips to Making the Best Homemade Pizza
I’ve made pizza from scratch many times, and not every time has been a success. A lot of trial and error have led me to perfecting this easy pizza dough recipe.
So, today I’m sharing all I know to help you make the best pizza from scratch right at home!
1. Make Sure the Yeast is Good
Check the expiration date on the yeast. When you dissolve the yeast in warm water (110 to 115 degrees F), let it sit for 10 minutes. If it foams up, then the yeast is good. If it doesn’t, toss it and start over with fresh yeast.
2. Use Bread Flour
What type of flour you use matters a lot. I always make my pizza dough with bread flour.
Bread flour contains a higher amount of gluten and protein than all-purpose flour. This means your pizza will be chewier and puffier if you make it with bread flour vs. all-purpose flour. The pizza dough will stretch and rise much better.
After you’ve made the dough, remember to let it rest for about 1.5 to 2 hours, or until doubled in size. The dough should rest in a draft-free, warm environment.
3. Stretch It with Your Hands
I usually stretch my dough to a shapeless semi-rectangle. I like it a bit more rustic-looking. It doesn’t matter what shape your pizza dough is, it will taste amazing either way!
Notice how I didn’t say “roll the dough?” That’s right, don’t. Don’t roll the dough with a rolling pin. You want to stretch it out with your hands and fingers. Stretching dough helps the gluten develop further, giving your pizza crust that perfect chewiness in pizza. Stretch it to about ¼ or ⅓ inch thick.
4. Brush with Oil and Prick It
Before you add the sauce or any toppings, lightly brush the stretched pizza dough with olive oil and prick it all over with a fork.
Brushing it with oil will prevent any excess moisture from seeping into the crust. No more soggy pizza crust!
Prick it with a fork so that hot air bubbles don’t get trapped inside as it bakes.
5. Get the Oven Hot
Bake your pizza at 450 or 475 degrees F, at least. Even better, at 500 degrees F, if your oven and pans allow it.
Baking pizza at high temperature is essential to getting that crust a bit crispy exterior, while keeping the interior perfectly chewy. If you bake it at lower temperatures, it’s likely that the crust will turn out soggy and pale.
In fact, commercial ovens get up to about 800 degrees F (yes, very hot!) to get that perfect pizza crust char. If you have an outdoor pizza oven that can get up to very high temperatures, I’d definitely recommend using that!
Making pizza at home is super easy! Not only is it a fun idea, but you can also choose any toppings you want.
It’s a great idea for cooking with kids. It’s also a great date night option!
Tips for Success
- I’d highly recommend using bread flour. It makes a better crust. Compared to all-purpose flour, bread flour yields a puffier and more chewy crust. It also helps with better structure, so it won’t be sloppy.
- Bake at high temperature. You want to bake pizza at least 450 degrees F or 475 degrees F. Better yet if you can do 500 degrees F if your oven allows it (use a pizza stone for high temps). This will allow the crust to get crispy and golden brown on the outside, with a perfectly chewy interior.
- Brush the stretched out dough with oil and prick with a fork: The oil will prevent it from getting soggy, and pricking holes throughout will prevent bubbles (from the heat) from forming.
Easy Pizza Dough
- 2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1 ½ cups warm water (110 to 115 degrees F)
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for bowl and brushing
- 1 ½ teaspoon salt
- 3 ½ to 4 cups bread flour, plus more as needed
- A few sprinkles of cornmeal for pan
- Your favorite toppings
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, dissolve the yeast in the warm water and sugar. Let it stand for about 10 minutes until frothy. This means that the yeast is good to use. If it does not get frothy, discard and start over with fresh yeast. Note: If you don’t have a stand mixer, use a large mixing bowl.
- Set up the dough hook attachment. Over medium speed, add the olive oil and salt to the yeast mixture and mix. Then, gradually mix in the bread flour until a dough forms. I ended up using 4 cups of flour plus a few tablespoons. Increase to medium-high speed and mix for about 2 minutes. The dough should be moist and manageable. Note: You can also mix it by hand using a wooden spoon or a rubber spatula. You may not be able to mix at high speed with your hands, so just knead the dough for an additional 2 minutes or so in the next step.
- Turn the dough onto a well-floured clean working surface and flour your hands. Using the lower part of your hands, knead for 5-6 minutes until a moist dough forms and springs back slowly when poked. The dough will feel a bit heavy. Tip: if the dough sticks to your hands or the surface, sprinkle more flour.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl (with olive oil), and turn the dough to coat on all sides. Cover with plastic wrap or a towel. Let it rise in a warm and draft-free environment for 1.5 to 2 hours, or until doubled in size. See note below on how to create a warm and draft-free place for the dough.
- Preheat oven to 450 or 475 degrees F. Note: you can also do 500 degrees F if your oven allows it, but make your pan or pizza stone is safe for that temperature.
- After the dough has risen, punch it down to release the air. Divide it into 2 equal parts and form balls. At this point, you can freeze the second ball if desired (see freezing instructions below).
- Using both your fingers and the lower part of your hands, gradually stretch each ball to form a 10-12 inch circle. You can also try other shapes. It should be about ¼ or ⅓ inch thick. As you stretch it, form an outer border. Tip: Try not to use a rolling pin. Stretching with your hands helps the gluten develop further, yielding better texture.
- Transfer the stretched out dough to a pan sprinkled with a bit of cornmeal. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rest for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare your favorite toppings.
- After the 15 minutes, brush the pizza dough with some olive oil and prick it all over with a fork. This will prevent it from getting soggy and also prevent hot air bubbles from forming.
- Creating a warm environment for dough to rise: Microwave some water in a mug for 2 minutes to get the microwave warmed up. Then, place the bowl with the dough in the microwave oven, pushing the mug to a corner, and close the door.
- Freezing instructions: After diving up the dough into 2 balls, lightly coat with olive oil and transfer to freezer-friendly resealable bags. Freeze for up to 2 months. To thaw, place in the refrigerator overnight until fully defrosted. When ready to use, remove the dough from the bag and transfer to bowl. Let it sit on the counter at room temperature, covered, for 30 to 40 minutes. Then, continue to stretch the dough and assemble as directed.
- Overnight Prep Ahead: You can let the dough rise overnight in the fridge for 8 to 10 hours, until doubled in size. If it’s not doubled in size by the time you’re ready to assemble, let it sit on the counter for 1 hour.