Homemade Pizza Crust 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 crust

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 made homemade bagels for the baking challenge this month, you can easily make pizza dough because it’s quicker, easier, and requires less steps!)

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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.

Homemade pizza dough

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!

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.

  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 105ºF – 115ºF. 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!

Homemade pizza dough on counter

This is a Lean Bread Dough

Pizza crust, like homemade bagels or no-knead bread, 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 homemade cinnamon rolls and honey butter rolls require fat to yield a “rich dough,” which creates a softer and more dessert-like bread.

Pizza dough with toppings

How to Make Easy Pizza Dough (for bread beginners!)

Watch my pizza dough video tutorial below. It’s really that easy!

  1. Mix the dough ingredients together by hand or use a hand-held or stand mixer.
  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? 🙂

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

Recipes Using Pizza Dough

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

PS: If you’ve already tried my pizza dough recipe before, let me know what you think!

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Homemade pizza dough

Homemade Pizza Crust

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.

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 (440g) all-purpose flour, plus more for hands and surface
  • sprinkle of cornmeal for dusting the pan

Directions

  1. Prepare the dough: 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.
  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.

Recipe Notes:

  1. Freezing Instructions: 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. 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.
  2. Overnight/All Day Instructions: Prepare the dough through step 3, but allow the dough to rise for 8-12 hours in the refrigerator. 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 up to 2 hours.
  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

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Homemade pizza crust

110 Comments

  1. 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!

  2. Hi,
    If you make just half,is a dough hook more likely to handle it? Can you make the dough one night
    Refrigerate it and make it up the next. It will be resting more than 12 hours in the fridge.

    1. I made the full recipe with the dough hook on my kitchenaid mixer and had no issues. I do have the Professional series with the bowl lift, instead of the tilt head so don’t know if that made any difference.

  3. 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!

  4. 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!!!!

  5. 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?

  6. Helo Sally!
    I wnat to make this recipe, but I have a doubt.
    If I want to refrigerate it overnight, do I still let it rise at room temperature first, or as soon as it is kneeded I put it in the fridge?
    Thanks!
    (I absolutely love your recipes! Red velvet… hum!)

    1. Hi Teresa! No, let the dough rise in the refrigerator after kneading. When ready, continue with step 5. If it didn’t rise to quite double the size overnight, let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before punching down (step 5). Let me know how you like it!

      1. Hi Sally! Thanks for your answer. I made the dough the day I ate it, so I let it rise at room temperature and after that I put it in the fridge until dinner time. I liked it, it is crunchy, but I noticed the flavour of the olive oil. I onlu put 20g, but it still had some taste. Do you think it is possible to replace it with oil?

  7. Can I make it earlier day and just put it in the refrigerator to use later? Do I just put in in the refrigerator, take it out to let it get to room temp for 30 minutes then go to step 5?

    1. Hi Kim! Yes. Prepare the dough through step 3, but allow the dough to rise in the refrigerator. Let it sit at room temperature for 30ish minutes. Then continue with step 5.

      1. I’ve already made it and am happy to report that I went through all of step 3 as I knew it would be less than 8-12 hours before I baked them. I put the dough in the fridge to keep until I was ready to bake our pizzas that evening and took them out 30 minutes prior. Turned out wonderful! I wasn’t sure if I after rolling them out if I needed to let them sit for awhile before topping them, so I did for 15 minutes like it says in your Hawaiian pizza recipe.

        I also want to say this pizza dough is amazing! I’ve tried 3 different ones in the past month and this is my family’s favorite so far. So easy and so tasty. I’ve been afraid to make pizza in the past but this with a good sauce easily beats out what I’ve been buying from local pizzerias!

      1. Thank you Sally!
        Yes! I understand the dough is heavy for the mixer. But food processor should be ok? The only recipe I knew before was the one which all the ingredients I was mixing in the food processor until it forms into ball. So I thought I can do the same with your recipe. First just mix the ingredients, wait for dough to foam and then using the dough extension finish it up in food processor. I just afraid to knead a dough by hand, I will not master it

  8. We have been making your recipe for years, the only adjustment we make is to bake on the sheet for 9 mins and do the next 3 minutes directly on the grate. We enjoy a slightly crispier crust 🙂

  9. Hi Sally… I’m making this dough for dinner tonight. I have a gas oven… will that change the baking temp or how long it should bake for? Thanks!

    1. Hi Leah! Follow the pizza dough recipe as written if using a gas oven. The pizza may be done a minute or 2 quicker though.

  10. Hi Sally,

    Since it’s the first time making pizza dough (so far so good ;-), just wanted to check how long the pizza dough can sit out without refrigeration before it needs to be cooked. So far I’ve frozen one half and the other half is waiting to be made. It’s 2 hours before I need to prepare it for dinner and I’m wondering, should I put it in the fridge and take it out 30 min before or just leave it out on the counter. Curious to know how long the dough can sit at room temperature?
    So excited, thanks for making it so easy!

  11. 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!

  12. 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!

  13. 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!

  14. 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.

  15. 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!

  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. 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!

  18. Hi Sally,
    I am making these for supper tonight. One half of the dough for breadsticks and the other half for pizza. Now your pizza calls for 475 and breadsticks for 425. Is there a happy medium temperature I could use to bake both at the same time? Or would you recommend baking the one before baking the other?? If so, which order would you do?
    Thank you for your help.

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