Homemade Pizza Dough for Beginners

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!

Homemade pizza cut into slices with a piece being removed

This is my go-to pizza dough recipe. It was published on my blog 6 years ago and after making it for the millionth time, I decided it’s time for an update with a video tutorial and clearer recipe instructions. Plus, many of you said you want to conquer your fear of yeast this year! Consider this your starting guide and refer back to it often.

(And if you’ve ever made homemade bagels or sandwich bread, you can easily make pizza dough because it’s quicker, easier, and requires fewer steps.)

Pizza dough is the foundation and every great pizza begins with a great pizza crust. Some like thin and crisp pizza crust, while others prefer thick and soft pizza crust. This homemade pizza crust has it all: soft & chewy with a delicious crisp and AWESOME flavor.

Baking with Yeast Guide

Reference this Baking with Yeast Guide whenever you work with baker’s yeast. I include practical answers to all of your common yeast questions.

Homemade pizza on baking sheet

Why waste the time when you can just buy frozen pizza dough? Frozen pizza dough is certainly convenient, but from-scratch crust has a delicious flavor and texture that only comes from homemade. Plus, most of the work is hands-off!

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.

  1. Yeast: I use Red Star Platinum yeast. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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, but add a couple extra Tablespoons of water since bread flour contains more protein than all-purpose flour.
  4. 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.
  5. Salt: Salt adds necessary flavor.
  6. Sugar: 1 Tablespoon of sugar increases the yeast’s activity and tenderizes the dough, especially when paired with a little olive oil.
  7. 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!

2 images of homemade pizza dough in a ball and rising in a glass bowl on counter

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 and overnight cinnamon rolls require fat to yield a “rich dough,” which creates a softer and more dessert-like bread.

Pizza dough with toppings before baking

Overview: How to Make Easy Pizza Dough (for bread beginners)

  1. 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.
  2. Knead by hand or beat the dough with your mixer. I like doing this by hand and you can watch me in the video.
  3. Place dough into a greased mixing bowl, cover tightly, and set aside to rise for about 90 minutes or overnight in the refrigerator.
  4. Punch down risen dough to release air bubbles. Divide in 2.
  5. Roll dough out into a 12-inch circle. Cover and rest as you prep the pizza toppings.
  6. Top with favorite pizza toppings.
  7. Bake pizza at a very high temperature for only about 15 minutes.

Little 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? 🙂


Pizza Dough Video Tutorial


How to 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.


How to 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.

Homemade pepperoni cheese pizza cut into slices

Recipes Using Pizza Dough

Here’s my flatbread pizza crust recipe and whole wheat pizza dough recipe.

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Homemade pizza on baking sheet

Homemade Pizza Crust

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 2 hours, 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes
  • Yield: 2 12-inch pizzas
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

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.


Ingredients

  • 1 and 1/3 cups (320ml) warm water (between 100-110°F, 38-43°C)
  • 2 and 1/4 teaspoons Red Star Platinum instant yeast (1 standard packet)*
  • 1 Tablespoon (13g) granulated sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons (30ml) olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 and 1/2 cups (438g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled), plus more for hands and surface
  • sprinkle of cornmeal for dusting the pan

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. 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 3-4 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.
  3. 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.)
  4. Preheat oven to 475°F (246°C). Allow it to heat for at least 15-20 minutes as you shape the pizza. 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. Highly recommended.
  5. 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. 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.
  6. 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 pizzaHawaiian pizzaclassic margherita pizzaspinach artichoke white pizza, or homemade BBQ chicken pizza.
  7. Top & bake the pizza: To prevent the filling from making your pizza crust soggy, brush the top lightly with olive oil. Using your fingers, push dents into the surface of the dough to prevent bubbling. Top with your favorite toppings and bake for 12-15 minutes.
  8. 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.

Notes

  1. 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 30 minutes on the counter. Continue with step 5, punching down the dough to release air if needed.
  2. 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 5. 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).
  3. Special Tools: KitchenAid Stand MixerDough ScraperPizza PanPizza Cutter
  4. 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.
  5. 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

slices of cheese pizza

878 Comments

  1. I’m wondering why instant yeast has to be proofed?

    1. Hi Cheryl! I include the proofing step in case readers swap active dry yeast instead. The 5 minutes does no harm to the instant yeast, but I do find the sugar dissolves a little better during that time.

  2. This was my first time making pizza dough and it was so easy to make!I made this for my mom’s birthday dinner and it was so tasty and so delicious! Thank you so much for this amazing recipe! It made my moms day!

  3. Sally, I made this last night for dinner and it was delicious! We baked it on our pizza steel and the crust was crisp on the bottom and the edges, but super soft on the inside! Our combo of BBQ sauce with bacon and pineapple was the favorite 🙂 We tend to do thin crust pizza because of the shorter rise time, but this was perfectly easy and worth the extra little bit of time. A great recipe that we will definitely put in the rotation!

  4. Connie Attanasio says:

    Just made this and it came out fantastic! I think I needed a little more flour, as the dough was super sticky & hard to shape but ultimately, delicious! My son has already had 4 slices! Great recipe!

    1. I have made this pizza crust several times now and the pizzas turn out perfectly. I substitute 1 cup of whole wheat into the all-purpose flour for a slightly nutter flavor that is still easy to shape and manage. Thank you for such and awesome recipe that provides clear instructions and explains why one must do things a certain way!

  5. I’m eating the resulting pizza as I type this, and I can easily say this is one of the best homemade pizzas I’ve made in a while! My main variation: I pressed 3/4 of the resulting blob into a 9×13 cookie sheet. With the remainder, I pressed it out, coated with melted butter, and topped with cinnamon sugar. Everything is absolutely amazing! Thanks for the awesome recipe!

  6. I have tried this recipe four times in two days and it never rises and its sticky. Usually when I have made anything with yeast it is foamy after five mnts. This one doesn’t foam at all after the five mnts. I have left the dough to rise for 3 hours just to see if it just needs more time but never does. The dough itself is very wet like. What do you think I’m doing wrong?

    1. Hi Lizy! The yeast/water mixture won’t foam much if you are using instant yeast. If the dough is too sticky, try adding a little more flour. Are you at high altitude? That could be the issue as well. Also, check to make sure your yeast isn’t expired.

      1. I know where I went wrong. I was killing the yeast because I was not making sure the water was at a certain temperature. Today I took my time and made sure the water was at 100 degrees and I finally got this pizza dough correct. Thank you!!!!

  7. I made your pizza dough today and it is very forgiving. My three year old granddaughter was here and I wasn’t able to devote the proper attention to the fine details. We all loved it. Can this dough be made to sit overnight?

    1. Hi Cheryl, sure can! See my recipe note.

  8. Just made this and my dough was craaaaaazy sticky. What am I doing wrong?

    1. Hi Ginny, If the dough is too sticky, try adding a little more flour.

  9. Used this recipe for pizza tonight. Hubby said it was the best homemade pizza he ever had and toos most restaurants. Only changes were I did 1.5 cups of bread flour and 3 cups of AP and let it rise all day in the fridge. Thanks for a great recipe!

    1. I find this recipe with all AP flour to not be chewy enough for my liking. I would like to try a mixture of AP and Bread flour and was reading through the comments to see if anyone has tried this. Found this comment, but I’m a bit confused by your math. The recipe has a total of 3 1/2 cups flour, but your combination of flours equals 4 1/2 cups. Why did you use so much more flour than the recipe calls for?

      1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

        Hi Yomi, Bread flour has a higher protein level and forms a stronger gluten network. It creates a chewier pizza crust. We published this recipe with all-purpose flour since it’s more commonly used in kitchens. You can use either with no changes to the recipe, or use a combination of both.

  10. First time I worked with yeast and thanks to your excellent video/instructions, my pizza crust was a success! Both my husband and I enjoyed the pizza very much! I even succumbed to taking pictures of it I was that proud;-). As always, thanks for making it easy and approachable Sally!

  11. Hi Eva! An hour or so at room temperature after thawing would be fine, but any longer than that– I recommend refrigerating.

  12. Easy to follow directions and it was so fun making homemade pizza from scratch. The dough was alittle bland for my taste but that’s personal preference, next time I’d add something like garlic and maybe alittle more salt to the recipe. But I liked the recipe and will use this again! Thank you for the video.. it was very helpful!

  13. Have to leave some love, that was a great video! My dough came out a little sticky as well, but I was using a mix of half rye and half wheat flour. A pinch extra wheat flour made for a nice dough. Thanks for the pizza inspiration.

  14. Oh no! You changed your recipe. The one before was such a staple in my recipes. This is the problem with having all your recipes on Pinterest only. Haha Is there anyway I can get the original from you? I prefer to not use instant yeast.

    1. Hi Michelle! It’s the same exact pizza dough recipe, just updated photos and clearer instructions. I wouldn’t stray from my original!

  15. We love this crust Sally! Thank you!

  16. Made this today with the yeast and bread flour leftover from Making your bagel recipe. I added the extra 2 tbsp of water for the bread flour as stated and the pizza came out great. I only made one since it was a test run and the kids scarfed it down quick. I’ll make the two next time.

  17. We’ve made many fantastic pizzas with this dough! It’s super easy to work with. Thanks Sally!

  18. Used this recipe to make the homemade pizza rolls and those were delicious! Can’t wait to try this recipe for an actual pizza. This dough is super easy to throw together!

  19. Rebecca Chambers says:

    Sally,

    I have made your pizza dough and many of your other recipes, always a hit in my house. My question is can I shape into 4 personal size pizzas then freeze, unbaked? I would like it to be ready for little hands to put together his own pizza. Thank you.

    1. Hi Rebecca! Yes, I actually do that all the time. Thaw in the fridge or on the counter, then bake. Make sure you freeze them because simply refrigerating the shaped pizzas may cause the dough to shrink inward or continue to puff up.

  20. Hey Sally! My family loves this crust! Im having family over tomorrow and I will
    be serving up a couple pizzas. Can I make the pizza up before, toppings and all, and bake later? My concern is the dough will continue to rise if i dont bake immediately after topping the pizza. Thanks!

    1. Hi Anna! You’re right, the dough will continue to rise or even shrink if not baked right away. For best results, I recommend rolling it out close to the time you’d like to bake it.

  21. Love a homemade pizza recipe, and this one is a winner! YUM

  22. Made your pizza dough today and used it for homemade pizza pops for the kids. Super happy with how it performed; my old go to recipe always rose further during baking and would ‘pop’ my pops open in the oven. Frustrating! Yours held the seams secure and the filling inside. Baked texture is light and fluffy.

    As many have mentioned and you’ve addressed, the ratio of flour to water is always dependant on altitude and temp in your house etc. I live high altitude so I always increase the yeast a touch, and scale the flour WAY back until the right texture is found. I used just shy of 3 cups of flour! So, HUGE adjustment from thr amount appropriate for your location. Key to making breads, always add flour slowly, never just dump it all in, it will almost always be wrong. Mix and then knead until dough is still sticky- but not sticking to your hands!

    Thanks for the great recipe! You fixed my exploaded pizza pop problem!

  23. My husband doesn’t like pizza very much. But he are three slices (after he picked off some of the the toppings ). I will make the other half dough maybe a little more to his taste. Thank you for the great! Recipe!!! I mixed/kneeded it by hand and it was VERY doable

  24. I don’t have any unbleached flour, would regular bleached all purpose flour be ok?

    1. Hi Patti, yes that would be OK.

  25. I made this today and it came out so perfectly, I was hoping to replicate a pizza I had previously tried at an awesome pizza shop and it came out even better. Thank you!

  26. Lisa Curtiss says:

    Can you use whole wheat flour?

  27. Christine stevenson says:

    My family loves pizza. I make this dough all the time, and it always turns out perfectly. I have m.s. And even with hands and arms that tremor this dough is easy. It is also versatile. I add Italian seasoning, or roasted garlic. Thank you again for the recipe.

  28. Hi Sally,
    I’ve been experimenting with different pizza dough recipes and plan to try yours next! I do have one question though.. would it be possible to halve the recipe to yield one ball of dough? I am interested in the difference between the slow rise in the refrigerator versus the shorter rise, so I would like to try both for comparison. I’m not sure if it would be better to halve the recipe or cut the dough in half a step 3? Any advice would be greatly appreciated 🙂

    1. Hi Jeanna! My recommendation is to make the full dough recipe, then use half of it. You can freeze the other half for another time.

    2. Melissa Downie says:

      We love this pizza dough recipe! I’ve used it at least five times now and it’s so easy! Your flatbread dough is amazing too! Thanks for all your wonderful recipes!

  29. Hi Sally,

    Thank you for sharing this EASY & DELICIOUS pizza dough recipe! I make two batches, one for my family and one for my neighbors 😉 Both friends and family thought this crust was better tasting than their favorite local pizzeria. So, we have turned our Friday’s into “Family Pizza Night @ home”. Your recipe will make 5 good sized individual round pizza’s; the family loves to put their own favorite toppings . Thank you again, it’s so delicious!

  30. The recipe was super easy to follow and made a delicious pizza crust! Thank you for making yeast less intimidating!

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