Adapted from my regular pizza dough recipe, this whole wheat pizza dough comes together with 6 simple ingredients. It’s not as light and chewy as traditional pizza crust, but it’s wonderfully soft with a distinct wholesome hearty flavor. This recipe is perfect for yeast beginners who enjoy baking with whole wheat flour. Use your favorite toppings or try my roasted vegetable whole wheat pizza.
This recipe is brought to you in partnership with Red Star Yeast.
Whole wheat pizza crust gets a bad reputation because more often than not, it’s dense, bland, and crumbly. The reality is that whole wheat yeasted dough just cannot rise to the same level as white flour dough—literally! But back in 2014, I worked to develop a 100% whole wheat pizza dough that not only rises wonderfully, it’s soft with great flavor too. If you prefer the hearty goodness of whole wheat flour, you will certainly enjoy this pizza dough.
Whole Wheat Pizza Dough Details
- How it compares to regular pizza crust: Enjoy a soft, yet hearty base for your favorite pizza toppings. The crust is not nearly as chewy as pizza crust made with all white flour. However, what it lacks in chew, it makes up for in flavor.
- Flavor: When baking yeasted whole wheat dough such as whole wheat bread or these whole wheat dinner rolls, I love using honey as the sugar component. This crust has a touch of honey, enough salt, 100% whole wheat flour, plus you can add garlic and/or your favorite dried herbs such as basil, oregano, and thyme. (Or an Italian seasoning blend.)
- Ease: This recipe is for bread beginners. Making homemade pizza dough can certainly be an art—tossing the dough in the air, shaping, extended rise times, etc—and it’s always worth the effort! But for the everyday, I love turning to simplified recipes like today’s or my regular pizza crust. There’s just 1 rise, a little bit of kneading and shaping, and then you’re ready to gather your toppings and bake.
- Time: Set aside just under 3 hours for this homemade dough and keep in mind that most of the time is hands off as the dough rises.
You’ll notice that many yeasted dough recipes use similar ingredients—yeast, liquid, flour, salt, and sometimes a little sugar. There can be additions such as eggs, butter, oil, and flavorings, but for whole wheat pizza dough, it’s best to keep it simple. Pizza dough is what’s known as a “lean dough” because unlike cinnamon rolls and glazed doughnuts, it’s not rich with fat. I do, however, like to add a little olive oil for flavor and softness.
Main Ingredients for Your Whole Wheat Pizza Dough
Here’s a quick breakdown of the 6 ingredients you need, plus a couple extras. The full printable recipe is below and a new video tutorial is coming soon!
- Water: Whole wheat flour contains unrefined grains like germ and bran—and both absorb a lot of liquid. (And this is why many whole wheat breads can taste dry.) To avoid a crumbly dry crust, make sure you use enough water. I tested this pizza dough recipe with varying amounts of water and 1 and 1/2 cups (360ml) is perfect to hydrate the whole wheat flour. Use warm water to cut down on rise time, about 100-110°F (38-43°C).
- Yeast: You can use either instant (quick rise) or active dry yeast in this dough. I usually use Platinum Yeast from Red Star, which is an instant yeast. Because yeast has to work harder to make whole wheat flour rise, we’ll use slightly more yeast in this dough compared to my regular pizza dough recipe. You need 1 Tablespoon (8.5g).
- Honey: Yeast feeds on sugar so in order for this dough to rise properly, you need a little sugar in the dough. 1 Tablespoon of honey also adds flavor and tenderizes the dough. If needed, you can use regular white granulated sugar instead.
- Whole Wheat Flour: For 100% whole wheat pizza crust, use all whole wheat flour as instructed in the recipe below. For lighter whole grain flavor, feel free to replace some of the whole wheat flour with an equal amount of bread flour or all-purpose flour.
- Oil: 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.
- Extras: 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! And feel free to add some dried herbs to the dough itself or sprinkle on the dough before adding the toppings. You could also add garlic or garlic powder in or on top of the dough. See recipe notes below for details.
Step-by-Step Photos: How to Make Whole Wheat Pizza Dough
Here are photos showing some of the process so you can feel confident when it’s your turn to try the recipe.
Use a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment or mix the dough together by hand with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon. Right out of the mixing bowl, the dough is slightly sticky and tacky. Place it on a lightly floured work surface (below, left) and then knead the dough by hand* until it’s smooth, elastic, and bounces back when you poke it with a finger (below, right).
*As detailed in the recipe, you can knead the dough with your mixer on low speed instead. If you prefer to knead by hand, my How to Knead Dough video tutorial will be helpful resource.
Let the dough rise in a lightly greased bowl until doubled in size, about 2 hours.
After the dough rises, punch it down to release the air and cut the dough in half. Freeze the 2nd half of dough or make 2 pizzas.
Using lightly floured hands or rolling pin, gently flatten the dough into a disc. Place on a greased pizza pan sprinkled lightly with cornmeal and, using lightly floured hands, stretch and flatten the disc into a 12-inch circle and lift/pinch a lip around the edges. If you’re shopping for a pizza pan, I use and love (affiliate links) this one and this one. If you don’t have a pizza pan, use a large baking sheet.
Brush the shaped dough with olive oil and feel free to add a sprinkle of your favorite dried herbs and/or chopped garlic before adding your desired pizza toppings.
Toppings & Other Uses for this Dough
You can use any pizza toppings you desire like plain cheese pizza, pepperoni, peppers, onions, cooked sausage, etc. It’s fantastic in place of regular dough in pesto pizza. For the pictured pizza above, I used 1 clove chopped garlic, 1/3 cup (about 80g) of pizza sauce (homemade or store-bought), 6-8 ounces shredded and/or thinly sliced fresh mozzarella cheese (I used a combination totaling 7 ounces), 1 sliced plum tomato, and a sprinkle of freshly ground black pepper and Italian seasoning blend. When the pizza came out of the oven, I added a handful of chopped fresh basil.
- Other Uses: You could also use this dough for stuffed crust pizza, stromboli, and cheesy breadsticks instead of regular pizza dough.
Roasted vegetable whole wheat pizza is another favorite on this whole wheat pizza crust.
Freezing Whole Wheat Pizza Dough
This recipe yields just under 2 lbs of dough, which is enough for 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 in the recipe below.Print
Follow these detailed instructions for making easy whole wheat pizza dough at home. The recipe yields almost 2 lbs of whole wheat pizza dough, which is enough for two 12-inch pizzas.
- 1 and 1/2 cups (360ml) warm water (between 100-110°F, 38-43°C)
- 1 Tablespoon active dry or instant yeast*
- 1 Tablespoon (21g) honey*
- 2 Tablespoons (30ml) extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for pan and brushing dough
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 and 1/4 cups (420g) whole wheat flour (spooned & leveled)*
- sprinkle of cornmeal for dusting pan
- optional: chopped garlic, garlic powder, and/or dried basil, oregano, or an Italian seasoning blend
- Whisk the warm water, yeast, and honey together in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment. Cover and allow to rest for 5 minutes or until foamy on top. *If you don’t have a stand mixer, simply use a large mixing bowl and mix the dough with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula in the next step.
- Add the olive oil, salt, and flour. Beat on low speed for 3 minutes. It will be slightly tacky to the touch.
- Knead the dough: Keep the dough in the mixer and beat for an additional 5-8 full minutes, or knead by hand on a lightly floured surface for 5-8 full minutes. (If you’re new to bread-baking, my How to Knead Dough video tutorial can help here.) If the dough becomes too sticky during the kneading process, sprinkle 1 teaspoon of flour at a time on the dough or on the work surface/in the bowl to make a soft, slightly tacky dough. Do not add more flour than you need because you do not want a dry dough. 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. You can also do a “windowpane test” to see if your dough has been kneaded long enough: tear off a small (roughly golfball-size) piece of dough and gently stretch it out until it’s thin enough for light to pass through it. Hold it up to a window or light. Does light pass through the stretched dough without the dough tearing first? If so, your dough has been kneaded long enough and is ready to rise. If not, keep kneading until it passes the windowpane test.
- Lightly grease a large bowl with olive 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 2 hours 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. 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.
- 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 15-16 minutes.
- Slice hot pizza and serve immediately. Store leftover pizza covered tightly in the refrigerator and reheat as you prefer. Baked pizza slices may be frozen up to 1 month.
- 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. 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 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).
- Special Tools (affiliate links): Stand Mixer or Large Mixing Bowl and Wooden Spoon or Silicone Spatula | Dough Scraper | Pizza Pan (like this one or this one) | Pastry Brush | Pizza Cutter
- Yeast: You can use active dry or instant yeast in this dough recipe. I usually use Platinum Yeast from Red Star, which is an instant yeast. If using active dry yeast, the rise time will be slightly longer. Keep in mind that 1 Tablespoon is slightly more than 1 standard 7g packet of yeast. Reference my Baking with Yeast Guide for answers to common yeast FAQs.
- Honey Substitution: If needed, you can use 1 Tablespoon (13g) of regular white granulated sugar instead.
- Whole Wheat Flour: For 100% whole wheat pizza crust, use all whole wheat flour as instructed in the recipe. For lighter whole grain flavor, feel free to replace some of the whole wheat flour with an equal amount of bread flour or all-purpose flour. If you wish to use all white flour, I recommend this pizza dough recipe. My team and I have not tested a gluten free version of this crust.
- Garlic/Herbs: For extra flavor, you can add 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder or 1 chopped garlic clove to the dough when you add the salt. You can also add 1/2 teaspoon of dried herbs such as basil, oregano, thyme or an Italian seasoning blend when you add the salt. I usually add 1 chopped garlic clove on top of the shaped dough after brushing it with olive oil (step 7), then I add desired pizza toppings on top of the garlic. You can also lightly sprinkle the shaped dough with dried herbs/Italian seasoning blend under or on top of your desired pizza toppings.
- Pictured Pizza Toppings: Sprinkle dough with 1 minced garlic clove, spread with 1/3 cup (about 80g) pizza sauce (homemade or store-bought), 6-8 ounces shredded and/or thinly sliced fresh mozzarella cheese (I used a combination totaling 7 ounces), 1 sliced plum tomato, and a sprinkle of freshly ground black pepper and Italian seasoning blend. When the pizza came out of the oven, I added a handful of chopped fresh basil. Also pictured right above this recipe is roasted vegetable pizza.
- Recipe originally published on Sally’s Baking Addiction in 2014. The only change is that I used to use 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar to proof the yeast in step 1 and then I added the 1 Tbsp of honey in step 2. Now, as the recipe states, you just need 1 Tbsp of honey and you can use that in the proofing step. Easy!
Keywords: whole wheat pizza crust