How to Make Pizza Dough

You may have wondered how you can make pizza dough at home. I bet you have your favorite pizza recipe you have been dying to make. It is a lot of fun to make homemade pizzas from scratch and it isn’t difficult to do at all. Armed with a food processor or a good pair of hands and you can make a wonderful easy pizza dough recipe.

homemade pizza dough rolled out on a pizza peel.

This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

DIY Pizza Dough from Scratch is Easy!

I think one of the largest misconceptions about making your pizza dough from scratch is that it is difficult to do. It really isn’t difficult at all. If you have a refrigerator on hand, which we all do, you can make this ahead of time and pull it out when you are ready to make your own pizzas.

I have always hated the pizza dough you can get in a can because it tastes weird. Making food from your kitchen is always better than buying something that is pre-made.

I personally really like to replace pre-packaged and processed foods with homemade alternatives. You can save a lot of money by doing this. You also know exactly what is in your food, so you don’t have to worry about ingredients that you have no idea what they are.

Homemade Pizza Dough Recipe Ingredients

To make pizza dough from scratch, you will need:

  • Active dry yeast
  • Water (both warm and room temperature)
  • Olive oil
  • Bread flour
  • Salt
  • Non-stick spray or vegetable oil like canola
homemade pizza dough ingredients.

Ingredient Notes

Recipes with yeast can be intimidating for some people, but there is no need to feel that way. Just follow the directions, and you’ll be fine.

While buying yeast in bulk is a better value, you should get individual packets if you don’t usually make recipes with yeast. Red Star and Fleischmann’s are two of the most popular brands.

Bread flour is not the same as all-purpose flour and doesn’t give you the same results. You can use AP flour in a pinch, but the crust won’t have the classic pizza texture.

Check out the “Best Flour for Homemade Pizza Dough” section to learn why it matters.

Best Flour for Homemade Pizza Dough

The ideal flour for making pizza is bread flour because it has more protein. More protein means more gluten and lighter and crispier crusts.

How to Make Pizza Dough From Scratch

Pizza dough is so easy to make. And once you have your dough made, you have three options for using the pizza dough. You can use it immediately, within a couple of days, or you can freeze it for later.

Mixing the Dough

  1. Place some warm water and yeast in a bowl and whisk to combine. Allow the yeast to proof. It will bubble up and become active.
yeast proofing in a bowl.
  1. Add room temperature water and oil to the yeast mixture and stir to combine.
  2. Place flour and salt in a food processor and pulse to combine.
  3. Turn on the processor and pour the yeast mixture through the processor tube.
  4. Process until the dough forms a ball and is smooth and elastic.
  5. Place the dough ball in a bowl that has been sprayed with non-stick spray.
homemade pizza dough ball in a bowl.
  1. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let the dough rise until it has doubled in size.
homemade pizza dough on a pizza peel.

Kneading the Dough 

Proper kneading technique is essential for a quality pizza crust. But, don’t worry, there is nothing complicated about kneading.

Some people use a stand mixer for kneading the dough, but the best way of doing it is by hand. Not only does hand-kneading allow you to feel when the dough is ready, but it also creates better results.

If you make bread at home, you already know how to knead pizza dough, but for a complete beginner, try the following steps:

  1. Lightly dust your work surface and hands with bread flour.
  2. Put the dough on the counter and cup your hands around. Move the dough in a circular motion to form a ball. 
  3. Use the heels of your hands to push the dough forward, forming a long, cylindrical shape. Fold the edge of the dough back until both sides meet. 
  4. Repeat once more and then rotate the dough a quarter-turn. 
  5. Continue to repeat until the dough reaches the correct elasticity, about 8 to 10 minutes. 

You will know that you kneaded the dough enough when the surface is smooth and springy. If you press on the dough with your fingertips, the indentation will slowly disappear.

It isn’t easy to over-knead the dough by hand. Therefore, if you are on the fence about whether you kneaded it long enough, add an extra minute or two.

Let the Dough Rise

To make good pizza dough takes proper technique and lots of time. You can’t rush the process. Luckily, most of the time is hand-off during the initial rise and the final proofing of the dough.

The first rise is where the dough will increase the most in volume.

  1. Grease a large mixing bowl and plop the dough inside it.
  2. Cover the top of the bowl with plastic wrap. 
  3. Set in a warm place for about two hours until the size almost doubles, but before any air bubbles pop.

After dividing the dough into enough for individual pizzas, you can proof the dough. A good way to develop a better flavor is to proof overnight in the fridge.

  1. Place the pre-portioned dough balls in a greased container and cover the container with plastic wrap. Put in the fridge for at least 8 hours. 
  2. Remove the dough from the refrigerator at least an hour before using. 

Punching the Dough 

After the first rise, the dough has expanded, and there are a lot of trapped gases inside. Punching the dough releases the gases.

  1. Make a fist and push it into the center of the dough ball to deflate it. 
  2. Fold the edges of the dough into the center.
  3. Remove from the bowl and knead it a few times before dividing. 

Rolling and Forming the Dough (technique, thickness, shape)

Forget the fancy flipping and use the stretching method to form the dough into the base for your pizza. To do this:

  1. Place a ball of dough on a lightly floured work surface.
  2. Use your hands to flatten the dough into a thick disc.
  3. Press the dough down in the center with your fingertips to form a half-inch crust.
  4. Carefully lift the dough from the counter and gently stretch the dough into a pizza using the back of your hands.

How to Make Pizza Dough Crispy

It makes no sense to learn how to make pizza dough from scratch if it isn’t crispy. One of the best ways to turn beautiful pizza dough into a soggy mess is by overloading it with tomato sauce and toppings.

Remember, you want to taste the crust when eating pizza, so don’t go topping crazy. 

How to Store Pizza Dough

So after you have prepared your dough you can store it to use later. You can either freeze your pizza dough or you can put it in the refrigerator.

Personally, I love storing the dough in the refrigerator for a couple of days. I had a pizza party recently and we grilled up all sorts of pizzas.

I didn’t want to have to work a lot on the day of the party so I made my dough ahead of time. So right before the party I just needed to slice up a few ingredients and we were able to enjoy making up pizzas.

Which method should you choose? It depends on when you are going to prepare your pizzas.

  • If you are planning to use your dough within 3 days, the refrigerator should be fine.
  • If you want to use it later, you can freeze your dough for up to a month.

How to Refrigerate Pizza Dough

Once the dough has been kneaded, simply place it in a large sealable plastic container with a lid that has been sprayed with some non-stick spray.

You will need to let the dough warm-up for about 15 minutes before using it. The longer you leave the dough on the container, it will expand, you may need to punch down the dough.

Some pizza parlors think this slow rise process is where the dough really gets the flavor.

How to Freeze Pizza Dough

Divide out the dough into the desired portions. This recipe will make three medium-sized pizzas.

  1. Place the dough into a zip-top bag that has been sprayed with non-stick spray.
  2. Seal the bag, and freeze the dough for up to a month.
  3. You will need to allow the dough to thaw for at least 30 minutes before using.

How to Thaw Frozen Pizza Dough

People thaw frozen pizza dough in several ways, but the best method requires a bit of planning.

  • Remove the ball of pizza dough from the freezer and put it in a large bowl. Make sure the bowl is large enough to allow the dough to expand. Cover the top of the bowl with plastic wrap and leave it in the fridge overnight.
  • Try thawing in a cold water bath if you need to defrost the dough more quickly than that. Place a large bowl in the sink and fill it with cold water. Put the frozen dough ball in a waterproof bag and submerge it in the water. It should take anywhere from one to two hours. 

Transfer the thawed dough to the counter to allow the dough to come to room temperature before using. Remember, keep the dough covered to prevent drying.

Pizza Dough from Scratch Tips

  • Try to use bread flour, it will give you a more chewy and crispy crust. You can use regular all-purpose flour, too, but if you happen to have bread flour on hand use this instead for better results.
  • To really get your dough to stretch out well while rolling it out, let it rest a couple of times. This will let the dough relax and then you can continue to stretch it out even more.
  • Fingertips and hands do a better job in rolling out your dough than a rolling pin. If you use a rolling pin, the dough may become tough, if you process it too much. Ideally, touch the dough as little as possible when stretching it out.
  • Resist the urge to add extra flour in the dough when working with the dough. It is ok if your dough is sticky.

Basic Pizza Dough Toppings

Now that you have made delicious pizza dough, you need to top it with delicious ingredients, here are some suggestions.

  • Pizza sauce
  • Different types of cheeses like Mozzarella, Gouda, Cheddar
  • Fresh herbs like basil
  • Meats like cooked sausage, pepperoni, cooked chicken breasts, or even cooked ground beef
  • Fresh vegetables like sliced onions, sliced green bell peppers, chopped garlic, olives, sliced mushrooms and so much more

How to Bake Pizza Dough

Now after you choose your toppings, you will simply bake your topped pizza with your favorite ingredients. You will place it into a 400-degree oven and bake for 13 to 17 minutes. You may want to bake your pizza on a pizza pan or a pizza stone.

Homemade Pizza Dough Recipe FAQs

I get a lot of questions. Let me answer them.

Do I have to use yeast?

Yes, you must use yeast. Do not use baking soda, or baking powder, it will not make pizza dough.

I am going to freeze the pizza dough, do I need to let it rise first?

No, knead it for about 30 seconds, then wrap it and freeze the pizza dough.

overhead view of homemade pizza dough rolled out on a pizza peel.

Now that you have made the best pizza crust ever, let’s try some delicious pizza recipes!

Easy Homemade Yeast Bread Recipes

Be sure to check out more of the best bread recipes and homemade Italian food.

homemade pizza dough recipe

Homemade Pizza Dough

Homemade pizza dough is so easy to make and perfect for making pizza, calzones, and more.
5 from 6 votes
Print Pin Rate Add to Collection
Course: Breads
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Pizza
Prep Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
Servings: 2 pizza rounds
Calories: 1048kcal

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 1/8 teaspoon active yeast 1 package of instant yeast
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cups bread flour 22 ounces bread flour plus more for working the dough
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • non-stick spray

Instructions

  • Place the 1/2 cup of warm water and yeast together in a medium bowl and whisk together briefly. Allow the yeast enough time to bubble up and become active, this should take a few minutes.
  •  If the yeast is inactive, you may need to replace the yeast and try again. Add room temperature water and oil to the yeast mixture and stir to combine. Into a food processor bowl pour in flour and salt, pulse to combine. Add yeast, olive oil, and water through the tube of the food processor and process. 
  • The dough will form into a ball. Process until the dough is smooth and elastic. The dough will be sticky if you are going to use the dough immediately or within a few days place into a bowl that has been sprayed with non-stick spray, cover dough with plastic wrap. Let rise until the dough has doubled in size, this may take up to 2 hours. 
  • If you are going to freeze the dough you will need to turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead for about 30 seconds before preparing the dough for the freezer and then wrap it tightly for the freezer to use later. 
  • You will need to let it rise when you remove frozen dough from the freezer. Again, You do not need to let the dough rise before placing into the freezer. It can rise after you remove it from the freezer. 

Cooking Instructions

  • Now after you choose your toppings, you will simply bake your topped pizza with your favorite ingredients, and you will place it into a 400-degree oven and bake for 13 to 17 minutes.

Video

Notes

Nutrition

Calories: 1048kcal | Carbohydrates: 184g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 0mg | Sodium: 1763mg | Potassium: 314mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 0g | Calcium: 38mg | Iron: 2.4mg

About Stephanie Manley

I recreate your favorite restaurant recipes, so you can prepare these dishes at home. I help you cook dinner, and serve up dishes you know your family will love. You can find most of the ingredients for all of the recipes in your local grocery store.

Stephanie is the author of CopyKat.com's Dining Out in the Home, and CopyKat.com's Dining Out in the Home 2.

Never miss a recipe

Join the CopyKat eNewletter

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. MGS

    Our family makes pizza quite a lot, and we’ve found that adding a little rosemary to the dough (or the sauce) really helps add a lot of flavor, and it makes it taste a little like Focaccia bread.

  2. Rob

    5 stars
    This pizza dough was easy to make. It turned out good. Finally, I can make a homemade pizza when Trader Joes is out of their pizza dough.

  3. David Labens

    Your recipe seems to be cut off right after the “Directions for the freezer

    You do not need to let the dough rise for 2 hours if you are going to place it in the freezer. You do need to knead it th”

    I am wondering what I am missing?

  4. Regina McNatt

    Stephanie, I am absolutely thrilled with meeting you and your wonderful recipes. I have begun with the soups from Olive Garden. All a success. My husband has always loved to grill and cook. We just celebrated our 46th anniversary and HE taught me how to cook when we married. Since he
    retired, he has took over our kitchen. Thanks so much for reminding me how much I love to cook. I will remain a devoted fan. Thank you.

  5. Joanne

    I made the dough this morning. Put it in a bucket. In the fridge. I made a double batch. This rose soo much. I got 3 very good sized pizzas. I will never use my go to recipe again. This dough is fantastic. I also made the publix icing. We don’t have a publix, but we have wegmans. And this is spot on. Delicious. Thank you for the recipes. Also, I love Edwards strawberry creme pie. But can’t find a copycat. Can you tell me if you have one?

  6. Caped Crusader

    Great pizza dough! Made pizza last night and used this for the dough/crust and my wife and I, as well as our two girls (ages 4 and 6) liked it. I let it rise for about two hours, maybe a little over (it was at least doubled in size). I also used bread flour (instead of all purpose flour) like you suggested, which made the crust brown and crisp up like it should! It felt like we were eating pizza from a restaurant — seriously!
    This is a keeper!!

  7. Des @ Life's Ambrosia

    Love making my own pizza dough. I too always thought it was going to be too hard until I gave it a try. Now I rarely buy it!

  8. Heather // girlichef.com

    We like to have a couple of pizza Friday’s every month. Sometimes I buy frozen dough balls from my local Italian deli and thaw it the day before…sometimes I make it from scratch. This is close to the recipe I usually use, but different enough that I’m going to have to give it a try – it really looks like it’s beautiful to work with!

  9. Allie R Taylor

    Loved your refrigerator and freezer storing tips. I have been making homemade pizza dough for years, love this recipe. But I wasn’t aware of the storage tips, super important!!! Great recipe and post. Pinned!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe Rating