This is the simplest and fastest pizza dough recipe, hands down. It consistently turns out great and is fairly forgiving, making it very reliable. It can be made ahead of time, so the dough is ready to use when you get home.
Dear Food Geek, I don't know how to make pizza dough. I want to start making pizza on Friday nights and would something that is quick and easy.
I have the perfect no-rise, fast and easy pizza dough recipe for you. I'm not just saying this is easy to get your attention - as you know I like to be totally up front and honest. So here's what this recipe is, and isn't:
- It is a crisp, sturdy crust. It is not cracker thin, however.
- It doesn't require a stand mixer, and it doesn't require a ton of hassle to mix the dough by hand, either.
- It requires 5-10 minutes to 'rest' so it becomes pliable enough to stretch it. It doesn't need to rise (just a time to rest).
- It is healthy. A whole 8" - 10" pizza is just 645 calories, which includes the sauce, cheese, and some sausage or pepperoni (or 560 calories if you exclude the meat).
- Everything can be bought well in advanced to have on hand for a last minute dinner. You can also make it ahead so it is ready to use when you need it.
In case you want to meal prep earlier in the week, I have some meal prep tips near the bottom of this post.
- ¾ cup lukewarm water 110 degrees F
- 1 teaspoon rapid rise yeast *see note
- 2 cups all-purpose flour 10 ounces
- 1.5 teaspoon salt
- ½ cup mozzarella cheese
- ⅓ cup pizza sauce
- Your favorite toppings (nutrition info includes ½ lb of sausage)
Preheat oven to 500 degrees
- If you have a baking stone (highly recommended), preheat it in the oven now.
Make the dough
- Put warm water in a large bowl and add yeast. Stir to dissolve.
- Add flour and salt to the bowl and mix to form a shaggy dough.
- Move the dough to a clean work surface. Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. It gets less sticky as your work with it, and will still feel slightly tacky when done. But if it sticks like bubble gum, add flour 1 tablespoon at a time.
- Set dough aside and prep pizza toppings.
Roll dough & make pizzas
- Grab 2 pieces of parchment paper. Divide the dough in half. Stretch or roll each half into 8-10" circles, on the parchment paper (I prefer using a rolling pin). If it resists stretching or shrinks back, let it rest for 5 more minutes.
- Cover in sauce, add toppings.
- Slide pizza onto baking stone while still on the parchment paper.
- Rotate pizza after 5 minutes and remove parchment paper* (see note).
- Bake for another 3-5 minutes until the crust is browned and the cheese looks perfect.
- Yeast: I've used active dry and rapid rise and don't notice a difference in this recipe.
- Parchment paper: remove it when the recipe says or it might burn and crumble because the pizza stone and oven are so hot.
How to knead dough
Kneading a pizza dough is similar to bread dough. It's hard to explain via text, so I have a video from King Arthur flower to share instead:
How to stretch pizza dough
There's no need to toss it in the air or do anything complicated (although it looks impressive and I wish I was good at that). Instead, I just use a rolling pin to start, then hand stretch it at the end to shape it a bit more.
If the dough isn't stretching, or is snapping back to it's original size, let it sit for 5 more minutes. As it rests, the gluten relaxes, making it more pliable. If the dough is cold, let it warm up to room temperature, as cold down is also hard to shape.
Mario Batali's video demonstrates stretching dough by hand:
Toppings falling off?
Have you ever picked up a slice of pizza only to have the toppings fall off the front? I try to lessen that by loading the sauce and toppings up in the edges and middle, leaving the center light on toppings.
I suppose you could also just cut it into squares 😉
- Yeast: honestly, I have used rapid rise and active dry in this recipe and haven't noticed a real difference. I'm sure it has an effect on a lot of different baked goods, so don't take this as general advice that yeast is always interchangeable. What's the difference between so many types of yeast? King Arhtur Flour has a great blog post on it. And as a bonus, if you can find Fleischman's Pizza Crust yeast, give it a try. They claim to have other ingredients in it that make pizza dough easier to stretch and roll out.
- Pizza stone: They retain heat well and make for a crispier crust. If you like making pizza it's worth buying one. They are just ceramic disks, so you don't need to buy an expensive one.
- Parchment paper: This makes it easy to move the pizza around without needing a pizza peel - I find them too large to store and not necessary - you could also use a no-rimmed baking sheet instead of a peel. But this is important -- Remove the parchment paper part way through cooking, as instructed. The heat of the pizza stone and oven can make it burn and crumble, and you don't want that on your pizza! (I've tried leaving it in, this is how I know!)
- Basil: basil is best when added right after you take the pizza out of the oven. It will soften after just a minute of being in contact with the hot toppings. It doesn't do well in the high heat oven where it will wilt and turn black.
Quick and easy last minute dinner
It's nice to have recipes that come together quickly without a ton of effort. It's even better if you can have everything on-hand for those nights when it feels like you have nothing to make, or you get home later than expected and all you want to do is eat something now (and not get hangry).
I have some easy ingredient suggestions that store for a long time, letting you make a quick pizza.
- Pre-cooked sausage and pepperoni store for months in your fridge
- Cheese also stores for a long time, so keep extra around for pizza nights
- Jarred roasted red peppers, pepperocini peppers, and olives are pantry staples that make great toppings
- Onions keep well for a long time on your counter
- Frozen peppers and vegetables work, however, I suggest giving them a quick saute before putting them on the pizza to release some of their water
- Keep jarred pizza sauce in the pantry, but you can use marinara sauce or tomato paste & tomato sauce if that's all you have on hand. Pesto is also a great option in place of sauce.
Meal prep, make-ahead pizza
If you plan to meal prep for your pizza, the dough can be made in advanced so you can have pizza at home instead of ordering delivery. Pre-made dough will last at least a week in the fridge, sometimes up to two weeks.
- Cut the dough into single portions ahead of time. The recipe above makes two pizzas, so you'd cut it into 2 pieces and shape each piece into a ball.
- Place the dough into a bowl and cover it with plastic wrap that has been sprayed with oil. This keeps the dough from drying out.
- You can also shape the dough ahead of time and store in the fridge on a tray. Lightly coat with oil and plastic wrap.
- Dough can be frozen. Remove from freezer and let thaw before baking.
Toppings can be prepped ahead of time and stored separately.
To make the pizza:
- Remove dough from fridge and let come to room temperature if it needs to be shaped. Cold dough doesn't stretch well. (If in the freezer, remove it ahead of time so it can thaw).
- Top with sauce, toppings, and cheese, then bake as directed.
Everyone also gets to make their own personal pizza. The dough, sauce and cheese add up to 560 calories (no meat)... for the entire 8-10" pizza.
Have you ever made pizza?
Is this the first time you are making pizza dough at home? Leave a comment and tell me how it went. If you're an old pro at this, share some of your tips so everyone can learn from you.