This easy pizza dough recipe is great for beginners and produces a soft homemade pizza crust. Skip the pizza delivery because you only need 6 basic ingredients to begin!
This recipe is brought to you in partnership with Red Star Yeast.
Every great pizza begins with a great pizza crust. Some like it thin and crispy, while others prefer a thick and soft crust. This homemade pizza crust has it all: soft & chewy with a delicious crisp and AWESOME flavor. It’s my go-to pizza dough recipe and just a glance at the hundreds of reviews in the comments section tells me that it’s a favorite for many others too!
Easy Dough for Bread Beginners
This is a no-fuss dough recipe for beginners. You need just 6 basic ingredients, plus a little cornmeal for preparing the pan. (You can skip that if needed.) Most of the time is hands off as the dough rises. You might wonder… why waste the time when you can just buy frozen pizza dough? Frozen pizza dough is certainly convenient, but from-scratch crust has unbeatable flavor and texture that only comes from fresh dough. And you can use the dough for cheese breadsticks, too!
Reader, Andy, commented: “Super easy, super fast, super good! I don’t like doughy thick pizzas and I find with this recipe that I can make them thin and crunchy, I love how easy it is. I make pizza once or twice a month! Haven’t bought one for quite some time now! ★★★★★“
Overview: Homemade Pizza Dough Ingredients
All pizza dough starts with the same basic ingredients: flour, yeast, water, salt, and olive oil. Here’s the breakdown of what I use in my homemade pizza crust recipe. The full printable recipe is below.
- Yeast: I use Platinum Yeast from Red Star. I have the best results when I use this instant yeast. The Platinum yeast is fantastic because its careful formula strengthens your dough and makes making working with yeast simple. You only need 1 standard packet of yeast (2 and 1/4 teaspoons) to get the job done.
- Water: I tested this pizza dough recipe with different amounts of water. 1 and 1/3 cups is the perfect amount. Use warm water to cut down on rise time, about 100-110°F. Anything over 130ºF kills the yeast.
- Flour: Use unbleached all-purpose white flour in this recipe. Bleaching the flour strips away some of the protein, which will affect how much water the flour absorbs. You can substitute bread flour for a chewier pizza crust. If you love whole grain bread, try this whole wheat pizza dough instead.
- Oil: A couple Tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil adds wonderful flavor to the dough. Don’t forget to brush the dough with olive oil before adding the toppings, which prevents the crust from tasting soggy.
- Salt: Salt adds necessary flavor.
- Sugar: 1 Tablespoon of sugar increases the yeast’s activity and tenderizes the dough, especially when paired with a little olive oil.
- Cornmeal: Cornmeal isn’t in the dough, but it’s used to dust the pizza pan. Cornmeal gives the pizza crust a little extra flavor and crisp. Most delivery pizzas you enjoy have cornmeal on the bottom crust!
You could also add 1 teaspoon each garlic powder and Italian seasoning blend to the dough when you add the flour.
Reader, Shane, commented: “Excellent pizza dough. I add about 1 tbs of garlic powder and Italian herbs to give the dough more flavor as well as 40 grams of cornmeal for a little crunch. It freezes well and makes a nice thin crust. ★★★★★“
This is a Lean Bread Dough
Pizza crust, like homemade bagels, artisan bread, and focaccia, requires a lean dough. A lean dough doesn’t use eggs or butter. Without the extra fat to make the dough soft, you’re promised a crusty pizza crust. (However, I recommend using some olive oil for flavor and to keep the interior on the softer side.) Recipes like dinner rolls, homemade breadsticks, and overnight cinnamon rolls require fat to yield a “rich dough,” which creates a softer and more dessert-like bread.
Overview: How to Make Easy Pizza Dough
- Make the dough: Mix the dough ingredients together by hand or use a hand-held or stand mixer. Do this in steps as described in the written recipe below.
- Knead: Knead by hand or with your mixer. I like doing this by hand.
- Rise: Place dough into a greased mixing bowl, cover tightly, and set aside to rise for about 90 minutes or overnight in the refrigerator.
- Punch & shape: Punch down risen dough to release air bubbles. Divide in 2. Roll dough out into a 12-inch circle. Cover and rest as you prep the pizza toppings.
- Top it: Top with favorite pizza toppings.
- Bake: Bake pizza at a very high temperature for only about 15 minutes.
Young bakers can lend a hand AND have fun in the process. Let the kids help you press down the dough and shape into a circle. They can add their cheeses and make pepperoni faces on top of the pie. Who doesn’t love a smiley pizza? 🙂
Favorite Pizza Pans
Let me share my top choices for pizza pans just in case you’re shopping for a new one. I use and love (affiliate links) this one and this one. If you like baking your homemade pizzas on pizza stones, I’ve used this one before and it’s wonderful.
If you don’t have a pizza pan, use a regular sheet pan. Grease it with olive oil and sprinkle with cornmeal as directed below, and then press the dough into whatever shape that will fit. Make sure the dough is about 1/2-inch thick. For a thinner pizza, stretch the dough out more.
FAQ: How Can I Make The Dough Ahead of Time?
Prepare the dough through step 3 below, but allow the dough to rise for 8-12 hours in the refrigerator. (If it needs to be in the refrigerator for longer, use cooler water in the dough which will slow the dough’s rise and allow for more time.) As a bonus, the slow rise gives the pizza dough wonderful flavor! When ready, continue with step 5 in the recipe below (the shaping step). If the dough didn’t quite double in size when rising, let it sit at room temperature for 30-45 minutes before shaping.
FAQ: How Do I Freeze Homemade Pizza Dough?
This recipe yields two 12-inch pizzas. After the pizza dough rises and you divide the dough in half (step 5), you can freeze one of the balls of dough to make pizza at a later time. Or you can simply freeze both balls of dough separately. Lightly coat all sides of the dough ball(s) with nonstick spray or olive oil. Place the dough ball(s) into individual zipped-top bag(s) and seal tightly, squeezing out all the air. Freeze for up to 3 months.
FAQ: How Do I Thaw Frozen Pizza Dough?
Place the frozen pizza dough in the refrigerator for about 8 hours or overnight. When ready to make pizza, remove the dough from the refrigerator and allow to rest for 30 minutes on the counter. Continue with step 5 in the recipe below.
Uses for Homemade Pizza Dough
Here are the many uses for this homemade pizza dough:
- Extra Cheese Pizza & Stuffed Crust Pizza
- Pesto Pizza (pictured above)
- Homemade Ham & Cheese Pockets
- Pepperoni Pizza Rolls
- Spinach Artichoke White Pizza
- Homemade BBQ Chicken Pizza
- Garlic Knots
- Margherita style: For 2 pizzas, when it’s time to top it in step 6 below, top with the following. (Feel free to halve for only 1 pizza.) Make a homemade tomato sauce by blending 1 28-ounce can San Marzano tomatoes, 1 Tablespoon olive oil, pinch of salt, and 2 minced cloves of garlic. Spread on shaped doughs. Top each with 2-3 ounces thinly sliced fresh mozzarella. Bake as directed, and then sprinkle each hot pizza with 2 Tbsp freshly grated parmesan cheese and a handful of roughly chopped fresh basil.
- Apple gorgonzola pizza is a favorite: For 1 pizza, when it’s time to top it in step 6 below, top with 1 and 1/2 cups (6oz or 168g) shredded mozzarella cheese, 8 ounces crumbled gorgonzola cheese, thin slices of apple, then sprinkle with chopped fresh or dried rosemary before baking.
- Or any other pizza topping you love: pepperoni, crumbled sausage, black olives, onions, mushrooms, jalapeños, etc
Follow these basic instructions for a thick, crisp, and chewy pizza crust at home. The recipe yields enough pizza dough for two 12-inch pizzas and you can freeze half of the dough for later. Close to 2 pounds of dough total.
- 1 and 1/3 cups (320ml) warm water (between 100-110°F, 38-43°C)
- 2 and 1/4 teaspoons (7g) Platinum Yeast from Red Star instant yeast (1 standard packet)*
- 1 Tablespoon (13g) granulated sugar
- 2 Tablespoons (30ml) olive oil, plus more for pan and brushing on dough
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 and 1/2 cups (about 450g) unbleached all-purpose flour (spooned & leveled), plus more for hands and surface
- sprinkle of cornmeal for dusting the pan
- Whisk the warm water, yeast, and granulated sugar together in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with a dough hook or paddle attachment. Cover and allow to rest for 5 minutes. *If you don’t have a stand mixer, simply use a large mixing bowl and mix the dough with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula in the next step.
- Add the olive oil, salt, and flour. Beat on low speed for 2 minutes. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. With lightly floured hands, knead the dough for 5 minutes (for a visual, watch me do it in the video above). The dough can be a little too heavy for a mixer to knead it, but you can certainly use the mixer on low speed instead. After kneading, the dough should still feel a little soft. Poke it with your finger – if it slowly bounces back, your dough is ready to rise. If not, keep kneading.
- Lightly grease a large bowl with oil or nonstick spray– just use the same bowl you used for the dough. Place the dough in the bowl, turning it to coat all sides in the oil. Cover the bowl with aluminum foil, plastic wrap, or a clean kitchen towel. Allow the dough to rise at room temperature for 60-90 minutes or until double in size. (Tip: For the warm environment on a particularly cold day, heat your oven to 150°F (66°C). Turn the oven off, place the dough inside, and keep the door slightly ajar. This will be a warm environment for your dough to rise. After about 30 minutes, close the oven door to trap the air inside with the rising dough. When it’s doubled in size, remove from the oven.)
- Preheat oven to 475°F (246°C). Allow it to heat for at least 15-20 minutes as you shape the pizza. (If using a pizza stone, place it in the oven to preheat as well.) Lightly grease baking sheet or pizza pan with nonstick spray or olive oil. Sprinkle lightly with cornmeal, which gives the crust extra crunch and flavor.
- Shape the dough: When the dough is ready, punch it down to release any air bubbles. Divide the dough in half. (If not making 2 pizzas, freeze half of the dough for another time. See freezing instructions below.) On a lightly floured work surface using lightly floured hands or rolling pin, gently flatten the dough into a disc. Place on prepared pan and, using lightly floured hands, stretch and flatten the disc into a 12-inch circle, about 1/2-inch thick. If the dough keeps shrinking back as you try to stretch it, stop what you’re doing, cover it lightly for 5-10 minutes, then try again. Once shaped into a 12-inch circle, lift the edge of the dough up to create a lip around the edges. I simply pinch the edges up to create the rim. If using a pizza stone, place the dough directly on baker’s peels dusted with cornmeal.
- Cover dough lightly with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel and allow to rest for a few minutes as you prepare your pizza toppings. I suggest pepperoni & green peppers or jalapeño slices, extra cheese pizza, Hawaiian pizza, pesto pizza, spinach artichoke white pizza, or homemade BBQ chicken pizza.
- Top & bake the pizza: Using your fingers, push dents into the surface of the dough to prevent bubbling. To prevent the filling from making your pizza crust soggy, brush the top lightly with olive oil. Top with your favorite toppings and bake for 13-15 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.
- Slice hot pizza and serve immediately. Cover leftover pizza tightly and store in the refrigerator. Reheat as you prefer. Baked pizza slices can be frozen up to 3 months.
- Freezing Instructions: This recipe yields enough dough for two 12-inch pizzas, a little less than 2 pounds total. After the pizza dough rises and you divide the dough in half (step 5), you can freeze one of the balls of dough to make pizza at a later time. Or you can simply freeze both balls of dough separately. Lightly coat all sides of the dough ball(s) with nonstick spray or olive oil. Place the dough ball(s) into individual zipped-top bag(s) and seal tightly, squeezing out all the air. Freeze for up to 3 months. To thaw, place the frozen pizza dough in the refrigerator for about 8 hours or overnight. When ready to make pizza, remove the dough from the refrigerator and allow to rest for 1 hour on the counter. Preheat the oven and continue with step 5, punching down the dough to release air if needed.
- Overnight/All Day Instructions: Prepare the dough through step 3, but allow the dough to rise for 8-12 hours in the refrigerator. (If it needs to be in the refrigerator for longer, use cooler water in the dough which will slow the dough’s rise and allow for more time.) The slow rise gives the pizza dough wonderful flavor! When ready, continue with step 4. If the dough didn’t quite double in size overnight, let it sit at room temperature for 30-45 minutes before punching down (step 5).
- Special Tools (affiliate links): Stand Mixer | Dough Scraper | Pizza Pan | Pastry Brush | Pizza Cutter
- Yeast: Red Star Platinum yeast is an instant yeast. You can use active dry yeast instead. The rise time will be at least 90 minutes. Reference my Baking with Yeast Guide for answers to common yeast FAQs.
- Pictured Pizza: This recipe yields 2 pizzas. For each, top with 1/2 cup pizza sauce, 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, pepperoni slices, thinly sliced green pepper or jalapeño, and a sprinkle of Italian seasoning blend or dried basil.
Recipe originally published on Sally’s Baking Addiction in 2013
Keywords: pizza, pizza dough, pizza crust