Easy pizza dough recipe, for the best ever homemade pizza! Make a big batch to keep in your fridge or freezer. Just 6 simple ingredients!

Pizza dough recipe prepared and sliced, showing the thin, crispy crust.

Who wants some pizza?!

With everything that’s been going on lately, my family has been doing homemade pizza more and more. Like so many others I see on social media, we’ve really been getting in touch with our inner bread makers!

Over the weekend, my older son made soft Italian breadsticks + homemade pesto, and I think this soft pretzel recipe might be next on the list! Or maybe another batch of crusty French baguettes, they’re so good with a hearty bowl of soup… There are just so many amazing yeast bread recipes to choose from!

But truly, nothing beats pizza night at our house. My whole family loves it- they get to pick their own toppings, really get creative, and make it their own.

Before we can do any of that though, we need a really great pizza dough recipe.

I’ve been making this one for years. It’s a very easy recipe so it’s perfect for beginners. You only need a few simple ingredients, and it’s so quick to make.

It bakes up toasty and crisp on the bottom, with a really great balanced flavor and a chewy texture that’s so satisfying.

You can make it as thick or as thin as you like, and best of all, it can be made ahead and stored in the fridge or freezer, so you can have homemade pizza any time the craving strikes!

This is an information-packed post, and it’s quite lengthy, so if you don’t care about all the nitty-gritty details, just click the “Jump to Recipe” button at the top of the post. It will take you straight to the recipe card.

Or, read on for everything you ever wanted to know about the best pizza crust recipe out there!

How to make pizza dough, baked & served on a wooden board with a text overlay that reads "Easy Homemade Pizza Crust."

INGREDIENTS FOR HOMEMADE PIZZA DOUGH

This easy pizza dough recipe has just 6 basic ingredients:

  1. Water
  2. Sugar
  3. Yeast
  4. Flour
  5. Olive Oil
  6. Salt

Let’s talk a little about each of them, so you have an understanding of the parts they play and how best to use them.

WATER

The purpose of the water is for moisture (obviously) but also to hydrate the yeast.

It’s really important that your water is warm but not hot. You want the water to be just barely warm to the touch. If you have a thermometer, shoot for 100 to 110 degrees F. If not, that’s ok, just aim for the temperature of a baby’s bath.

Be really careful the water’s not too hot or it can kill the yeast, and then your dough won’t rise.

SUGAR

This is to feed the yeast. If you don’t want to use sugar you could replace it with honey. (I think this is especially yummy in whole wheat pizza dough!)

It is possible to leave the sugar out entirely, but I like to include it not only for the yeast but also for flavor and for browning. Sugar will caramelize as it cooks, giving you a lovely brown color and toasty flavor.

The end result is not sweet (because it’s such a small amount of sugar) but it just tastes balanced and flavorful.

YEAST

Yeast is a living thing. It eats and digests and then burps out carbon dioxide gas. (Sorry, it sounds a little rude but that’s what’s happening!)

That carbon dioxide gas is what leavens the dough. Little bubbles get trapped inside and when you bake it, you have a light, airy result. If you didn’t use yeast then you’d basically have a flat, crunchy cracker.

Be sure to check the expiration date on your yeast before you begin. There is a limited shelf life for yeast, and once it’s past it’s prime, it’s dead and it will no longer work properly.

I use active dry yeast for pretty much anything I bake. Other options include instant yeast, fresh yeast, or sourdough starter.

Here’s some useful on how to substitute for active dry yeast:

Overhead image of pizza crust recipe topped and baked, on a wood peel with a pizza cutting wheel.

FLOUR

Flour is the main component in this pizza dough recipe. There’s more flour in this recipe than anything else. It’s the bulk of the dough and it provides the structure.

You can get fancy with flour or keep it simple. Personally, I like to keep it simple and just use all-purpose flour.

But it is true that different types of flour will yield different results. I’ll touch on some of the most commonly used (and asked about) types of flour for pizza dough.

Whichever you choose, it’s important to bear in mind that it’s really impossible for me to tell you exactly how much flour to use. Baking with yeast is not an exact science; it’s more intuitive. You need to look at your dough and touch it and respond to what it looks and feels like it needs.

On a really humid day, you may need less flour. On a dry day, you may need more. If you live at a high elevation, that can impact it too.

So in other words, you have to use your own judgment, not rely solely on the range that’s given in the recipe card.

BREAD FLOUR

Bread flour is sometimes recommended for pizza dough because it’s higher in protein and gluten, so it can provide more of an elastic, stretchy texture. For reference, all-purpose flour usually has around an 8 to 11 percent protein content, while bread flour is around 12 to 14 percent.

I know bakers who will only use bread flour for pizza crust, but honestly, I don’t feel like it’s necessary for most people. If you are a real connoisseur, then by all means. But most of us mere mortals have to think about things like storage space and being able to use something up before it expires, so all-purpose flour is often the most reasonable option. And it is truly not that much different than bread flour.

WHOLE WHEAT FLOUR

I often sub a little of the white flour out for whole wheat flour when I make this pizza dough recipe. I like the nutty flavor of whole-grain pizza dough, and it’s also healthier.

But in my experience, it doesn’t work well if you use all whole wheat. There needs to be some regular flour in the mix, to provide that chewy, elastic quality that we look for in pizza crust.

I’ve found that a blend of 2 parts all-purpose to 1 part whole wheat gives a result that’s just slightly crunchier, but not noticeably “whole grainy.” Like slightly healthier, but with a barely perceptible difference in flavor.

While a 1:1 or 2:1 ratio would give more of a pronounced whole-grain flavor and feel.

Feel free to experiment, but again, bear in mind that the total amount you’ll need to use can definitely be impacted by using different types of flour.

GLUTEN-FREE FLOUR

My experience with gluten-free pizza dough is honestly extremely limited, so I am far from an expert on this topic.

However, I can tell you that there are some really great gluten-free flour blends that claim to work just as well as all-purpose flour. You’ll want to look for one that subs 1:1 for regular flour.

OLIVE OIL

Olive oil is added to this pizza dough recipe for 3 reasons:

  1. For flavor
  2. To provide a more tender, fine grained texture, and
  3. For moisture.

Again, it’s possible to leave it out. Your crust will still be edible. I just prefer to add a small amount for these reasons.

If you don’t have olive oil you can substitute with any other kind of oil that has a flavor you like and that is liquid at room temperature.

SALT

Salt is obviously added for seasoning and to provide flavor. And salt is also magical in that it carries and enhances other flavors as well, so your yeast will taste yeastier and your flour will taste wheat-ier and your olive oil will taste olive-ier.

I use kosher salt for almost all my baking, because there are no additives so the flavor is pure, and also because it’s a very inexpensive product to buy.

If you’d prefer to use another type of salt, just google “kosher salt to [your preferred type of salt] conversion” to find out how much more or less of it you should use for this recipe.

Best pizza dough recipe, topped, baked, and served on a wooden peel.

HOW TO MAKE PIZZA DOUGH

Pizza dough is one of the easiest things you can make with yeast, so if you’re new to bread making, this is a really great place to start.

MIXING UP THE DOUGH

We begin with water. See above for more details, but again, the water should be warm but not hot.

Stir a little sugar into the warm water, allowing it to dissolve.

Dissolving yeast  a large glass mixing bowl.

Now sprinkle on the yeast. It will immediately begin to dissolve, and after about 5 minutes, it should start to look foamy.

If it doesn’t bubble or foam up, it’s probably dead. Double-check the expiration date on the package and try again, making sure the water is not too hot.

Proving yeast in warm water, close-up image of bubbles and foam.

When you see that foam forming, and you know your yeast is alive and well, you can go ahead and start working in the flour.

The total amount of flour you will need can vary based on a lot of factors, so this step will need to be a bit intuitive. I give a rough estimate in the recipe card below, but you may need slightly more or less when you make it. Pay attention to what the dough looks and feels like, and use as much or as little flour as you need based on that.

Start by stirring in 2 cups of flour. When it’s all incorporated, you should have a very loose, wet mixture. Add the olive oil and salt, and then continue stirring in more flour, a little at a time, until the dough becomes firmer and less sticky.

Adding olive oil and salt to homemade pizza dough.

You’ll know you’ve added enough flour when the dough gathers itself into a ball and pulls cleanly away from the sides of the bowl, like this:

Making pizza dough in a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment.

KNEADING THE DOUGH

Now it’s time to knead the dough. Kneading the dough helps to develop the glutens and give that beautiful chewiness we are looking for. You can do this step by hand or with a mixer, using a dough hook attachment.

Once again, the amount of time you should knead can vary. It usually takes around 10 minutes of kneading (give or take) to get the proper result, but the easiest way to know if your dough has been kneaded enough is by giving it the windowpane test.

Stretching dough thinly for the windowpane test.

Pinch off a little piece of dough and using your fingertips, stretch it gently from the center outward. You should be able to pull it tissue-thin without it tearing. It should be so thin you can see light passing through it, just like a windowpane.

If your dough doesn’t pass this test, keep kneading until it does!

Then, remove the dough from the bowl, mist the bowl lightly with non-stick spray, add the dough back in, and cover the bowl with plastic wrap.

Resting pizza dough recipe in a large oiled bowl with plastic wrap on top.

ALLOWING THE DOUGH TO RISE

Now it’s time to let it rise. Just place the bowl in a warm place and allow the dough to grow to double its original size. Again, there’s no set answer as to how long this will take. That can vary based on a lot of different factors, so you just have to keep your eye on it.

Pizza dough risen to double its original volume.

Once it’s big and puffy, smoosh it down and divide it into portions.

Congratulations, you just made pizza dough!

MAKE-AHEAD PIZZA DOUGH

Now you can either start making pizzas right away or stash the dough balls for later.

If you’re not going to bake them right away, place each portion in a lightly oiled container, allowing plenty of extra room (they will grow a bit, even if kept cold).

Make-ahead overnight pizza dough balls in clear plastic containers.

Place the containers in the fridge or freezer (more info on this below). When you’re ready to use them, just allow them to come back to room temperature first.

HOW MANY PIZZAS WILL THIS RECIPE MAKE?

That all depends on how you shape them! Do you like your pizza thin and crispy, thicker and chewy, or really thick and doughy, like a Sicilian or Detroit-style pizza?

I have found that when I stretch the dough really thin, I can get three 10-inch diameter pizzas or four 8-inch diameter pizzas from one batch of this dough. Or you could divide it in half and get 2 really huge thin and crispy pizzas, or the same number of slightly thicker, chewier ones.

It’s entirely up to you! But I can tell you that for my family of 4 (three boys, one mama) one batch feeds us all with a few nice leftovers for lunch the next day.

HOW TO SHAPE PIZZA DOUGH

This dough is quite forgiving, so you can shape it however works best for you.

My preferred method is to flatten it with my hands, then allow it to sort of drape over my knuckles, turning it around and around, and allowing gravity to stretch it downward.

Photo collage showing how to shape pizza dough.

I wish I was one of those talented pizza-makers who can toss dough into the air and spin it until it’s thin as can be! But since I don’t have that ability, I’ll often resort to the rolling pin to get it as thin and round as I possibly can.

But don’t stress about the shape! It’s fine if it’s not a perfect circle. Oblong-shaped pizzas taste just as good.

I’ve also baked my pizza on a sheet pan, into a big rectangle shape. (If you use a baker’s half sheet pan, you will get roughly 2 thin-crust pizzas per batch of dough.)

Pro-tip: If your pizza dough is fighting you and wants to shrink/bounce back out of shape, allow it to rest (covered) for 10 to 20 minutes at room temperature before trying again.

HOW TO BAKE HOMEMADE PIZZA

Here at my house, we like to use a pizza stone. (I’ve also heard really great things about baking steels; they work the same way.) They basically just heat up really hot and really evenly, which is what you want.

So I shape the pizzas, lay them on a pizza peel that’s been heavily dusted with cornmeal or semolina (to prevent sticking), then add the toppings and slide them onto the hot stone.

You don’t need a stone or steel to make homemade pizza. It can totally be done in a pizza pan or even just on a cookie sheet. You can even do it on the grill! It will work no matter how you decide to cook it.

But I would advise you to bake your pizza at the highest possible temperature. My oven only goes up to 500 degrees F, but a real pizza oven (like the brick oven kind) can go upwards of 900 degrees F. The hotter the oven, the faster your pizza will cook and the more blistery and brown it will get.

In my oven, at 500 degrees F and on a pizza stone, my 10-inch thin-crust pizzas are brown and crispy on the bottom after around 10 to 15 minutes, just as a guideline.

Easy pizza dough recipe, prepared, shaped, topped, and baked, on a metal tray with a pizza cutter.

CAN ADD-INS BE MIXED INTO THIS DOUGH?

Absolutely! Feel free to work fresh or roasted garlic, dried herbs, parmesan or pecorino cheese, chopped olives, chopped sun-dried tomatoes, or anything else you can think of into this dough. Make it your own!

TROUBLESHOOTING: MY DOUGH DIDN’T RISE. WHY?

There are basically 3 main reasons why bread dough fails to rise:

  • The yeast was expired.
  • Your water was too hot and it killed the yeast.
  • The dough wasn’t kept warm enough for the yeast to grow and thrive.

If your yeast doesn’t foam up in the sweetened water after 10 minutes, then it’s probably dead and you should start over.

If it bubbles up initially but then the dough fails to rise, try moving it to a warmer spot, like near a heat vent or next to the fridge, or on a sunny windowsill.

HOW LONG WILL DOUGH LAST IN THE FRIDGE OR FREEZER?

You can keep balls of dough in the fridge (in lightly oiled containers, covered) for up to 48 hours, and they will keep in the freezer for up to 2 weeks. After that, the yeast will start to die off.

Thaw frozen pizza dough in the fridge or at room temp. Once they are no longer cold, they can be punched down, shaped, topped, and baked.

CAN THIS RECIPE BE SCALED UP OR DOWN?

Yes! You can double, triple, or even quadruple this recipe! Just make sure you have a bowl big enough to handle the volume.

The recipe can also be halved if you want to make a smaller amount.

Quick pizza dough recipe, baked and served on a wooden pizza peel.

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5 from 2 votes
Pizza dough recipe prepared and sliced, showing the thin, crispy crust.
Pizza Dough Recipe
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
0 mins
Resting Time:
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 20 mins
 

Easy pizza dough recipe, for the best ever homemade pizza! Make a big batch to keep in your fridge or freezer. Just 6 simple ingredients!

Course: Main Course, Snack
Cuisine: American, Italian
Keyword: best pizza dough recipe, easy pizza dough recipe, how to make pizza dough, pizza crust recipe, pizza dough recipe
Servings: 18 slices (approx. three 10-inch, thin crust pizzas)
Calories: 98 kcal
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Place the warm water and sugar in a large mixing bowl and stir together to combine.

  2. Sprinkle the yeast on top and allow it to dissolve.

  3. When the mixture looks foamy (after approx. 5 to 10 minutes), stir in 2 cups of the flour until incorporated.

  4. Stir in the olive oil and salt.

  5. While continuing to mix, add in more flour until the dough gathers itself into a ball and pulls away from the sides of the bowl cleanly. (You may need slightly more or less flour; use your judgement.)

  6. Knead the dough until it passes the windowpane test* (approx. 10 minutes).

  7. Lightly mist the bowl with non-stick spray, place the dough back in, and cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a damp towel.

  8. Place the bowl of dough in a warm place and allow it to rise until doubled in bulk (approx. 45 to 90 minutes).

  9. When the dough has grown to twice its original size, punch it down, knead it a few times, and divide it into portions.

  10. Shape the dough, add toppings, and bake it at the highest possible temperature until brown and crisp on the bottom, OR place it in lightly oiled containers (covered) and chill in the fridge or freezer until ready to use.**

Recipe Notes

*Pinch off a little piece of dough and using your fingertips, stretch it gently from the center outward. You should be able to pull it tissue-thin without it tearing. It should be so thin you can see the light passing through, just like a windowpane.

**Raw pizza dough can be kept in the fridge for up to 48 hours, or in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.  Allow the dough to come back up to room temperature before using.

Nutrition Facts
Pizza Dough Recipe
Amount Per Serving (1 slice (if you cut each pizza into 6 slices))
Calories 98 Calories from Fat 9
% Daily Value*
Fat 1g2%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Sodium 99mg4%
Potassium 30mg1%
Carbohydrates 19g6%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 3g6%
Calcium 4mg0%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Close up image of thin pizza crust with a text overlay that reads "Homemade Pizza Crust."

Close up image of thin pizza crust with a text overlay that reads "Homemade Pizza Crust."

Close up image of thin pizza crust with a text overlay that reads "Homemade Pizza Crust."

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED 8/3/2013

An easy recipe for simple homemade pizza dough. The toppings are up to you! Whole wheat flour makes it healthier and gives it a great texture. Whip up a big batch and divide it into portions to keep in your fridge or freezer. Makes a perfect snack for hungry kids!

Simply Perfect Pizza Dough

Ok, so now I’m going to hop off the calorie-counting train for a little side trip over to the intersection of carbs and fat. So get your stretchy pants on. ‘Cuz we’re going there.

It’s all in the name of my new and ongoing series here on Baking a Moment, where I share all of my most favorite-est and basic-est recipes.  These are tried and true and I’ve made them over and over, tweaking, by trial and error, until I’ve found the most perfect result.  Pop ’em in your recipe box for a rainy day and feel free to jazz them up to your own personal pref, yo.

Did you know that my kids are like the BEST eaters ever? For serious, they’re always begging me for salmon, kale, quinoa, tofu, broccoli, and steel-cut oats. Really, they’ll eat just about anything I dream up.

SIKE!

In actual reality, their diet consists of a few choice selections such as: string cheese, fruit, peanut butter sandwiches, buttered noodles, applesauce, cereal, yogurt, crackers, pizza, french fries reheated in the toaster oven, chicken nuggets reheated in the toaster oven, and meatballs reheated in the toaster oven. (Our toaster oven is a hard-workin’ dog.)

Um, ya. When it comes to that whole get your kids to eat what you’re eating/have a varied diet thing, I guess you could say I’m a big fat failure. Not proud.

In my own defense, I will say that everything’s whole grain, and I am a label reader, so I’m always looking at the sugar and sodium content. And I push the fresh fruit like a salesman on commission.

As for the pizza, I’ve gotten into the habit of keeping a few balls of homemade dough tucked in my fridge/freezer at all times. It takes about 10 minutes to whip up a big batch, minus the rise time, and then I just divide it into equal portions and stash it away. When they come home from school or camp and they’re ravenously hungry and reaching for bag after bag of chips/crackers/processed junk, I just press it into a sheet pan and cover it with sauce, cheese, and whatever else healthy I can force on them.

Simply Perfect Homemade Pizza Dough

This pizza dough is made with a blend of whole wheat flour and all-purpose. I’ve tried it with straight-up 100% whole wheat, and my kids don’t like it. Honestly, I can’t blame them. I think you need some regular flour in the mix to really get the texture right. Feel free to adjust the ratios to your own personal taste. This is just the sweet spot that I’ve found is what works for us, through lots of trial and error.

Homemade Refrigerator Pizza Dough

If you divide this into four equal portions, you’ll end up with pizzas about 10 or 12 inches in diameter.  Just right for (my) two kids to share.  I keep two balls in the fridge (they’ll keep for a couple weeks), and two in the freezer (they’re good for months).  Be sure to leave extra room in the containers; the dough will rise a second time in the fridge.

Homemade Pizza

The crust will be on the thin/crispy side, so if you like it thicker, just leave it in a warm place to rise on the pan for around a half-hour before baking, and it’ll come out puffier.

Simply Perfect Homemade Pizza

I’ve got one pepperoni lover and one pepperoni hater.  Of course.

I use turkey pepperoni!  A little leaner.

Nectarines & Arugula

My kids might want to go the more predictable route, but the hubs and I prefer to be a little more adventurous!  I stretched ours out into a rough oblong shape and laid it on the hot grill.  After a minute or two, I flipped it over and whacked blobs of homemade ricotta all of the surface.  Then, fresh sliced nectarines.  Once that was all warm and roasty, I slid it onto a big cutting board and topped it with silky pink ribbons of imported prosciutto.

A few leaves of fresh arugula from our garden, and a drizzle of peppery olive oil, and this bad boy disappeared pretty quick.  So quick, in fact, that I could not stop shoving it into my face long enough to snap a pic.

But this one’s really pretty too, so here’s a few more shots of that!  For your drooling pleasure:

Simply Perfect Homemade Pizza

So how do you fare in the neverending battle with getting kids to eat right?  Got any good tricks up your sleeve that you’d care to share?  I hope I’m not alone in this boat.  It’s tough, and IMHO, parenting in general is a lesson in compromise.  I’ve just resigned myself to the fact that they have their own tastes, and likes/dislikes, and if they’re going to eat nothing but chicken nuggets, peanut butter, and pizza, then I’m gonna do my best to make sure it’s the best, homemade, organic, and healthy chicken nuggets, peanut butter, and pizza I can give them!

Ps- If you’ve never tried pizza on the grill you must!  No ifs, ands, or buts about it!  It’s so quick and easy, you don’t have to turn on your oven and heat your kitchen all up,  and that smoky flavor is bonkers!  Try it!  Now!  🙂

As an amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

5 from 2 votes
Simply Perfect Pizza Dough
Simply Perfect Pizza Dough
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Rising Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 25 mins
 

An easy recipe for simple homemade pizza dough. The toppings are up to you! Whole wheat flour makes it healthier and gives it a great texture. Whip up a big batch and divide it into portions to keep in your fridge or freezer. Makes a perfect snack for hungry kids!

Course: Appetizer, Main Course, Snack
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: pizza dough, whole wheat pizza dough
Servings: 24 (four 10-12 inch pizzas)
Calories: 126 kcal
Ingredients
Instructions
To Make the Dough:
  1. In a large mixing bowl, dissolve the honey in the warm water.
  2. Sprinkle the yeast over the surface of the water and allow it to proof. (After about 5 minutes, it should look foamy.)
  3. Add in the all-purpose and whole wheat flours, and knead, with a dough hook attachment, for about 5 minutes.
  4. Mix in the olive oil and salt, and transfer to a clean, oiled bowl.
  5. Rub a little olive oil over the surface of the dough and cover with a damp towel.
  6. Set in a warm place and allow to rise until doubled in size (one to two hours).
  7. Punch down the dough and divide equally into four portions. Refrigerate or freeze until ready for use.
To Make a Pizza:
  1. Preheat the oven to 550 degrees F.
  2. Press/stretch the dough onto a large baking sheet until thin and even.
  3. Top as desired.
  4. For a thinner crust, bake immediately for 10 minutes or to desired doneness. For a puffier crust, allow the topped pizza to rise for about 30 minutes before baking.

Nutrition Facts
Simply Perfect Pizza Dough
Amount Per Serving
Calories 126 Calories from Fat 18
% Daily Value*
Fat 2g3%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Sodium 148mg6%
Potassium 64mg2%
Carbohydrates 24g8%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 4g8%
Calcium 7mg1%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.