Use it for family pizza night or a pizza party. Make it thin or thick, and learn to cook pizza in your oven it in the oven, on a pizza stone, or on the grill.
Start by learning to make homemade pizza dough with only five ingredients at home with these easy step-by-step instructions. One of the easiest recipes you will ever make and one of the most useful.
I have used this easy pizza dough recipe for over 50 years (as of 2022.) It may have evolved a bit during that time, but the basic recipe is the same. A few simple steps are all that are needed.
To me, this is the best easy homemade pizza dough recipe. I suspect I have done this over 1000 times. Once a week, when the kids were young. Twice a week when I was young (some high school, plus college, med school, and pediatric training.) And still occasionally now.
With only one bowl and mixing done by hand, no stand mixer is needed but can be used with a dough hook. I see no need for added cleanup.
Start with warm water, add some yeast, oil, salt, and sugar, and add about twice as much flour as water. Adjust at this point since some flour needs more or less fluid. You want light and a bit sticky dough. Let rise to about double in size (about 30 minutes), then make your pizza.
👨🍳How to make this recipe
- Start with warm water (100°-110°) in a large bowl, desolve the sugar and salt. Then add instant yeast.
- Add all purpose flour. Mix in well initially with a wooden spoon or spatula, then by hand as you do a few minutes of hand kneeding. The dough should be a little sticky and light—never dry or hard.
- Form into a ball, give it a splash of oil to cover the dough ball and coat the bowl.
- Cover with a towel or plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place to about double in size—about 30 minutes.
- The pizza dough is now ready to use. It can be used, refrigerated, or frozen at this point.
Flour: Good old-fashioned all-purpose (AP) flour is my favorite for pizza dough. I always have it, and it gives it a little rougher texture that I think enhances the pizza.
Bread flour works fine—the crust is a little crispier and has a finer texture but is a good choice if you have it in the pantry.
I have used 25% whole wheat flour with honey instead of sugar at times, but more than 25% needs some special treatment. This is not a gluten-free flour recipe, gluten-free flours may work, but I'm not testing them.
Yeast: All baking yeast is the same organism (Saccharomyces cerevisiae). Old fashion active dry yeast is processed differently and has less live yeast so it will work slower. I suggest quick or instant yeast, which works faster.
Add the yeast to the water to be sure it is evenly distributed. And you should "proof" yeast by letting it sit for a few minutes to form some bubbles to "prove" that it is good.
The amount of yeast in a packet is about 2 ¼ teaspoons. I usually use bulk yeast and a light tablespoon (3 teaspoons minus a little) as the same thing.
Flavoring: You can add extra flavor to the pizza dough with ¼ teaspoon garlic powder or other seasonings, like basil or oregano.
Keep it Warm!
You must "keep it warm." Here are a few tips.
- "Preheat" your bowl with hot water.
- Use water of 100°-110° in the dough.
- Do NOT put the bowl on a stone type countertop. Put a wooden cutting board between it and the counter if that is where you want it to let it rise.
- Cover with a heavy towel or plastic wrap.
- Don't keep checking it. It will take about 30 minutes to double in size.
- If the house is cool, then preheat your oven to it's lowest setting then turn it off and use it as your warm spot to raise the dough.
❄️Making Pizza Dough Ahead
Let the dough rise, then punch down and form a flattened ball. Give it a light coat of olive oil, then seal tightly with plastic wrap. Good refrigerated for 1-2 days or frozen for 2-3 months. To thaw the frozen pizza dough, just overnight in the refrigerator.
Once thawed or just refrigerated, let the dough sit at room temperature for about 30-60 minutes, then make the dough out on the pan. Spreading cold dough is almost impossible. I like to let the dough start rising before making the pizza.
🍕Tips for Making Your Pizza
This recipe makes enough pizza dough for a 13X9 sheet pan or a 12-inch round pizza pan with a moderately thick crust. It is will also make a thinner 16-inch round. You can also make two 9-10 inch round pizzas with medium crust or two 12-inch pizzas with thinner crusts.
If using a pan, use a generous splash of olive oil and spread by hand. If using a pizza stone or grill, spread the dough with a rolling pin on a floured surface or pizza peel. You can use cornmeal instead of flour. If you don't have a pizza peel, use a baking sheet without a rim to transfer the pizza to the hot pizza stone.
Please DO NOT use a jar or canned pizza sauce. Mine is much better.
My suggested sauce: One 6 oz can of tomato paste and 6 oz water. Add ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon pepper, 1 clove of garlic, about half a small chopped onion, and 1 teaspoon oregano—a pinch (¼ teaspoon) of crushed red pepper for a touch of heat.
The tomato paste gives a touch of sweetness and a deeper tomato taste than sauce.
I suggest about one pound of browned Italian sausage, a chopped ½ green pepper, 4 oz of pepperoni, and then topped with 3-4 cups of mozzarella cheese. I like to toss a bit more pepperoni on the cheese to brown.
How to Bake Pizza in the Oven
Use a preheated 400° convection oven or 425° convention. Other oven temperatures may be used, but the cooking time will vary. If you cook a very thick pizza, a lower temperature is better.
The cooking time will vary by the thickness and amount, and types of toppings. It may be as low as 15 minutes, but my loaded pizza takes 20-25 minutes to brown nicely.
🎈Large Groups and Pizza Parties
This is an excellent recipe for a large-scale pizza party or group. The pizzas are large, and the dough is easy to make or make ahead.
So just multiple the ingredients as a starting point. I usually start with 2 cups of flour per cup of liquid.
One last thing to know, a pound of flour is about 3 ⅓ cups of flour.
Yes. You can make out the dough on a pan, bake for 5 minutes, then let it cool and freeze. If you want, go ahead with the sauce, toppings, and cheese before freezing.
You can also freeze the dough after rising, punch it down and form it into flattened balls after a light coat of oil and a tight wrap of plastic wrap.
Some recommend small fork puncture holes to prevent air bubbles under the crust. I don't bother with it. I have only seen a few bubbles over the years. If you elect to do this, do it like a pie crust.
The oven is, by far, the best way to reheat leftover pizza. And a pizza stone is preferred.
Put the leftovers on a cold pizza stone, give it a very light sprinkle of water on any crusty edge then into a 350° oven without a cover.
This recipe is listed in these categories. See them for more similar recipes.
🖼️Step-by-Step Photo Instructions
Ingredients most of us have on hand.
In a large mixing bowl, combine 2 cups of warm water (about 100°-110°) with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon sugar, and one packet ( 2 ¼ teaspoons) of rapid/instant rising yeast. Mix well. Let sit a few minutes until foaming some, then add 1 teaspoon salt.
Add 4 cups of AP flour.
Mix well with a spatula or wooden spoon. Finish with a bit of hand kneading to get all the flour incorporated for a few minutes in the bowl. Add a little more flour or water to make it relatively light and still a little sticky or too firm. Usually, you won't need to add anything. Lightly coat the dough and the bowl with a bit of oil.
Cover with a towel or plastic wrap in a warm place until double in size — about 30 minutes.
This recipe makes enough pizza dough for a 13X9 sheet pan or a 12-inch round pizza pan with a moderately thick crust. It is will also make a thinner 16-inch round. You can also make two 9-10 inch round pizzas with medium crust or two 12-inch pizzas with thin crusts.
That is the end of the pizza dough instructions. Suggestions for sauce, topping, and cooking are in the post.
Basic Homemade Pizza Dough-Quick and Easy
- 2 cups water - 100°-105°
- 4 cups AP flour
- 1 pack rapid or quick yeast
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon Olive oil - olive oil preferred
- addition olive oil—for the dough, bowl, and pan.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine 2 cups of warm water (about 100°-110°) with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon sugar, and one packet ( 2 ¼ teaspoons) of rapid/instant rising yeast. Mix well. Let sit a few minutes until foaming some, then add 1 teaspoon salt.
- Add 4 cups of AP flour.
- Mix well with a spatula or wooden spoon. Finish with a bit of hand kneading to get all the flour incorporated for a few minutes in the bowl. Add a little more flour or water to make it relatively light and still a little sticky or too firm. Usually, you won't need to add anything. Lightly coat the dough and the bowl with a bit of oil.
- Cover with a towel or plastic wrap in a warm place until double in size — about 30 minutes.
- Use it to make your favorite homemade pizza.
Your Own Private Notes
- This recipe makes enough pizza dough for a 13X9 sheet pan or a 12-inch round pizza pan with a moderately thick crust. It is will also make a thinner 16-inch round. You can also make two 9-10 inch round pizzas with medium crust or two 12-inch pizzas with thin crusts.
- This is a great recipe to feed a large group or have a pizza party. Make the dough ahead or at the time it is needed. Start with 2 cups of flour per cup of liquid and add more as needed. And also know that 1 pound of flour is 3 ⅓ cups of flour.
- There is nothing really exact in this recipe. It will work as long as you are close. Just get the mixing texture right.
- Use AP flour. Bread flour can be used but will change the texture a bit.
- Non-wheat flours are probably not a good idea in this recipe.
- A package of yeast is 2 ¼ teaspoons. I use bulk yeast and generally use a "light" tablespoon.
- I like to "proof" my yeast.
- Use the sauce and toppings of your choice.
- I hate to say oven temperature doesn't matter, but I have cooked this with oven temperatures of 350° to 450° all with good results. I prefer higher temperatures a bit, but if you want that thicker crust, I don't like 450.
- You can make it ahead by letting it rise once, form into a flattened ball and give it a light coat of oil and seal it tight. Good refrigerated for 1-2 days or frozen for 2-3 months. To thaw the frozen dough, just overnight in the refrigerator. Once thawed or just refrigerated, let the dough sit at room temperature for about 30-60 minutes then make the dough out on the pan.
- Nutrition is calculated on the crust only.
To adjust the recipe size:
You may adjust the number of servings in this recipe card under servings. This does the math for the ingredients for you. BUT it does NOT adjust the text of the instructions. So you need to do that yourself.
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Editor's Note: Originally published September 14, 2011, but used since the mid-1960s, updated with expanded discussion, new photos, and a table of contents.