Updated on 08.26.14

A Guide to Making Inexpensive and Delicious Homemade Pizza

Trent Hamm

Homemade pizza night is a weekly occurrence at our house. For us, there is simply nothing that quite matches homemade pizza for appealing to all of us – it’s infinitely flexible, incredibly cheap, fun to make (and it gets everyone involved, even the small children), and quite delicious. Best of all, if you plan ahead a bit, it doesn’t take long to make, either – you can have a made-from-scratch pizza on the table in a half an hour if you’ve done some reasonable prep work the night before.

Here’s a step-by-step guide (along with some surprising and unusual hints) for making some great homemade pizza for your family.

Homemade Pizza Recipe Checklist

For this, I’m going to make a pretty simple American-style pizza with my family’s three favorite toppings – Italian turkey sausage, turkey pepperoni, and black olives, with a mix of mozzarella and cheddar cheese on top. Here’s what you’ll need to make it yourself:


A nifty checklist for you:

olive oil
dry yeast
tomato sauce
oregano (and other spices to your liking)
whatever toppings you desire (we’re using turkey sausage, turkey pepperoni, and black olives)

What’s nice is that all of these things, aside from the toppings, can easily be found in a well-stocked pantry and refrigerator. When we want to make homemade pizza, quite often we don’t have to buy a single thing – it’s all already on hand. Even more importantly, we usually use only a tiny fraction of the items – a single container of salt, for instance, would provide enough salt for many, many pizzas. As a result, the actual cost of assembling a pizza is pretty low – my estimate for the pizza assembled here is in the $5 range since most of the items are fractionally used and the rest are picked up in bulk when they’re on sale.

Making the Pizza Dough

You can do this the night before.

The first step in the process is making the dough. Sure, you can pick up a kit if you’d like, but it’s about the same amount of effort in the kitchen (and notably cheaper) to just do it yourself from scratch, plus you don’t have to worry about remembering the kit.

Here’s what you need:

3 cups flour
1 cup water (or other liquid – see below)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt

Pizza Tip #1

Dough ingredients in bowl

Pizza Tip #2 Add some additional flavor to the crust by adding in some optional items before you begin mixing the dough. Things I enjoy adding include oregano, black pepper, red pepper flakes, parmesan cheese, garlic, basil, parsley, onion powder, and rosemary.

All you have to do is mix this up until it begins to form a ball. It’s much easier to do this with a stand mixer, which I’m lucky enough to have:

Mixing dough

In the end, you want a ball of dough that’s just barely sticky, but not sticky enough to actually leave any residue on your hands. If it’s not sticky at all, add a tablespoon of water and mix it some more. If it’s too sticky, add a tablespoon or two of flour and mix some more.

Once you have the ball, knead it a bit with your hands. Smell it. You can add more flavorful additions if you want as long as you work them into the dough right now. Here’s what my ball looks like.

Ball of dough

Then, when you’re satisfied (and ready to simply eat the dough right now), put it back into the bowl and let it rest in a warm, dark place for an hour or so. I usually let my dough rest on the stovetop with a towel over the top:

Letting crust rise

If you’re preparing the crust the night before, instead of letting the dough rise in a bowl, pat some flour on the outside of the dough ball (to keep it from sticking) and wrap the dough in Saran Wrap or a Ziploc bag with air sucked out and put it in the fridge. It will raise very slowly overnight and be perfect in the morning.

Preparing the Crust

You can do this the morning before.

One big step many people skip in the pizza-making process is pre-baking the pizza crust. Baking your crust in the oven for six minutes or so before putting on toppings prevents the dreaded “doughy crust” that often is the downfall of an otherwise delicious homemade pizza.

So, preheat the oven to 425 F, get out your pizza pan or cookie sheet (I actually just use a big cookie sheet), sprinkle a healthy dose of flour all over it (or use a cooking spray like Pam if you prefer), then spread out the dough over the pan. If you want, you can toss the dough, but I often mess up the dough when I do that, so I usually just stretch it as much as I can in my hands before I put it down.

I then spread it to the edge of the pan, then roll it back just a bit to form a crust edge, like this:

Crust rolled out

Then, just toss the crust into the oven and bake it for six minutes or so. When it’s done, there will be a few bubbles – just pop them with a fork. You can then put the crust in the refrigerator if you baked it in the morning.

Making the Sauce

You can do this the morning before.

Another thing people often do that’s a big waste of money for pizza is buying a jar of sauce from the store. For less than a dollar, you can make an awesome sauce at home.

It’s easy – just open up a can of tomato sauce, pour it in a bowl, and start jazzing it up. If you use nothing else at all, use a minimum of half a teaspoon of salt, half a teaspoon of oregano, and a quarter teaspoon of black pepper.

Sauce, before stirring

However, I strongly encourage you to experiment. Try more oregano, more black pepper, red pepper flakes, parmesan cheese, garlic, basil, parsley, onion powder, or rosemary. Add some of everything you like, stir it, taste it, then add some more. Don’t be afraid to play around.

Once you’re happy, you can store the sauce in the refrigerator all day – or you can go right ahead and start assembling the pizza.

Assembling and Baking the Pizza

You have the crust done. You have the sauce ready to go. Now comes the fun part – assembling and baking the pizza.

I tend to layer things as much as possible – sauce, then toppings, then cheese, then a bit more sauce, then more toppings, then more cheese. You can do whatever you like, of course, but I do recommend having a bit of sauce on the bottom to hold the crust to the toppings.

The best part about the toppings is that the kids can get involved. My son can spread sauce, sprinkle cheese, and toss on toppings – and even my one year old daughter can help a bit.

Pizza Tip #3 When you’re finished assembling the pizza, sprinkle some oregano on top of the cheese just before you toss it in the oven. It brings out the flavor of the cheese like nothing else.

Here’s my assembled pizza:

Ready to bake

I bake pizzas in the oven at 400 F for about sixteen minutes, then check them to see how done they are. Depending on the amount of toppings (and whether the crust was cold to begin with), I may have to add a few minutes to the baking time.

Here’s the finished pizza…

Finished pizza

… and all that’s left is to slice it up! We slice this pizza into twenty four small, roughly square shaped slices and we usually get through twelve of them at mealtime, leaving half of the pizza for lunch leftovers for the next day or two for my life. Not bad at all for a family meal that everyone can help with that costs only $6 or so.

Good luck! (And leave your pizza tips in the comments!)

For other inexpensive and delicious recipes and ideas, check out tips for making breakfast and your own homemade bread!

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  1. Donnie says:

    Great guide! One recommendation I would make is to put cornmeal on the baking sheet instead of more flour. It really makes a big difference, and makes it seem more like it is from a restaurant.

  2. Tori says:

    That looks like some damn fine pizza. Good job.

  3. Look delicious, but I will pass. :)

    For my case, I have to travel (spending time and money) to the supermarket to purchase the ingredients, which defeat the purpose of making inexpensive pizza. :)

  4. Lisa says:

    Pizza toppings are a nice way to clean out the refrigerator of veggies. It is my alternative to chili (also a ‘use up the veggies before they go bad’ option).

  5. Johanna says:

    Instead of heating the water in the microwave, I use hot water out of the tap – that way, I don’t run the risk of overheating it (which kills the yeast and does terrible things to the dough). For me, the right temperature for a shower or bath is also the right temperature for making bread/pizza.

    When I stopped eating dairy, I thought I would have to give up pizza, but you can make a good pizza without cheese. Just use lots of rich vegetable toppings (like olives, artichokes, and sundried tomatoes) and go easy on the watery ones (like peppers, fresh tomatoes, and broccoli). Sometimes I like to sprinkle on a few pine nuts, too.

  6. RazzBari says:

    Rats, now I’m hungry! 8)

    I use a crust recipe from the Tightwad Gazette – like your idea of using beer for the crust and adding some herbs. I usually top with crab substitute, black olives, mushrooms, red sweet pepper, and just enough cheese to keep it all from falling off.

  7. K says:

    Awesome post! I love your recipe/how-to cooking blog items! I also love your Homemade bread recipe, so I will definitely be trying your pizza crust, and seeing about finding some Turkey pepperoni at my grocery store…

  8. CJ says:

    I’ve seen some recipes like this that allow you to partially cook the pizza and then freeze it, so that you can make a bunch of them ahead of time and chuck them in the oven as a last minute dinner – and isn’t that the whole benefit of pizza? But I can’t seem to find good containers for freezing whole pizzas. Does tupperware like this exist, or should I be looking more into giant freezer bags? Frozen pizza is a big part of my grocery bill right now, and I would love to change that!

  9. Jessica says:

    My husband and I make our own pizza sometimes, especially if we are having company over. We don’t use yeast though, we use either Guinness or a couple of times we’ve tried it using Bell’s Oberon. It gives the bread a really neat taste. He loves Alfredo sauce, so we make a thick cheesy sauce and top it with mushrooms (sauteed a bit in butter beforehand), chicken that’s been fried in a pan with some olive oil, and then onions and peppers.

    Very tasty, not too expensive, but probably extremely unhealthy…

  10. ceejay74 says:

    Great article! We make homemade pizza nearly every week, usually on Fridays because it feels so festive and goes great with wine (we usually have wine at home instead of hitting the bars for happy hour like the old spendy days).

    My tips: 1. If people like different toppings, you can easily make individual pies (I have soy or almond cheese on mine, for example). 2. My wife uses 1/2 whole wheat and 1/2 white flour in her crust, to make it somewhat healthy. 3. You can double your crust recipe and save half. Wrap in Saran Wrap and put it in the freezer. Next time you’re having pizza, just throw it in the fridge the night before, and it will have thawed by dinner time. 4. You can make an even cheaper pizza sauce by using tomato paste and thinning with water till it’s to the desired consistency.

  11. Austin L says:

    Would it be possible for you to comment on the nutritional nature of the pizza? At a glance, the ingredients appear to be nutritionally poor, although I am perfectly willing to be disproved as it looks quite tasty.

    When cooking frugally, it’s important to keep nutrition in mind. Anyone can get a filling meal for $5. It takes a bit of consideration (and often self-control) to make a nutritive and filling meal for $5.

  12. Jonathan says:

    Here’s how to make some hardcore pizza:


  13. Todd says:

    My problem with homemade pizza is always the dough. No matter how hard I try, I always end up tearing the dough and can never get it to roll out well. I pull and tug and tear it, then put it down and watch it shrink back into a little ball. My wife won’t let me make pizza from scratch anymore (even though I theoretically love doing it) because I’m always so frustrated with the dough! Any suggestions?

  14. Fred says:

    I make pizza for our family about once a week. It’s great way to save money.

    A couple tips:

    I buy pizza sauce by the gallon at Sam’s Club, and bag and freeze it into smaller portions. It costs around $4.00 per gallon, which is on par with scratch made sauce.

    I bought a large, thick pizza stone. I preheat the oven to 525 for 30 minutes, then put the pizza on it. It bakes in about 7 or 8 minutes at that temp, and no prebaking is necessary.

  15. Procrastamom says:


    If I were going to freeze a pizza like this, I would parbake the crust like in Trent’s tutorial, throw on the toppings and then stick the pizza in the freezer (on the pan) for a couple of hours until it’s good and solid. Then just pop it into one of those really big Ziploc bags, push out all of the air and freeze.

    Can’t wait to try making this Trent, especially the sauce.

  16. onaclov says:

    Another tip that I found is kinda nice:
    Use a 9″ pie plate and roll out dough before rising enough to cover the bottom of the pie pan, then oil the pan a little and stick the dough in there and wait for it to rise up close to the top or reasonably, Instant Deep dish pizzas. Just remember a LITTLE oil to cover the bottom of the pan, I made it this way once and intend to the next time I make pizza again.


    (had to throw that one in there)

  17. Sarah says:

    For those of you who mention trouble making the dough – sometimes you can simply go to your local pizzaria and ask if they will sell you dough. You can often get it fairly cheaply for $1-2 a pound. I find that half a pound works for a my round pizza pans (about the size of a medium pizza). For me, a buck or two for perfect dough is well worth not having to deal with making dough myself, but if you like making dough, that works two.

    What I often do when I buy dough is separate it into 1/2 pound segments in produce bags and let them resettle into ball shape in the fridge (to let the cut edge mush back into the rest of the dough). When the dough has resettled (a few hours later), I put the individual bags into the freezer. When I want to use one, I put the frozen bag into the fridge in the morning to defrost and then an hour before I’m ready to cook, I set it on the counter so that it reaches room temperature. Dough is more elastic at room temperature – it will be more likely to rip if it is cold.

    Then I toss until it has stretched to the desired size and shape, and I place it on a greased pan. I spread an even layer of sauce on the dough, pre-bake for about 10 minutes at 425. when it comes out, it’s ready for a bit more sauce, cheese and other toppings. This way, the dough cooks all the way through without burning anything on top or getting too soppy if the toppings are wet (like when using many veggies).

  18. KC says:

    Now, as far as I know, you are neither a chef or Italian. So should you be giving us advice on making pizza? ;) J/K!! Sorry I couldn’t resist after your last post.

  19. FI says:

    Before putting the dough down on the tray, instead of just putting flour down to prevent the dough from sticking, I like to mix flour and a bit of paprika – it adds a nice flavour to the pizza.

  20. Doug says:

    If you happen to have a bread machine give it a try. I make my crust with a very similar recipe to yours. However, I use 1.5 cups bread flour and 1.5 cups whole wheat. I also warm the water in the microwave. Put everything in the bread maker, set it to dough and in 70 minutes I get a perfect crust every time.

    We’re also once a week pizza makers and have been for years.

  21. Colleen says:

    Thanks for the post! I am always looking for tips for homemade pizza. I’ve been trying to perfect my technique for months now.

    I’m with you completely on the pre-baking. I was getting doughy pizza all the time before I started using that step. Another tip I picked up from the Cook’s Illustrated folks is to give the sauced crust a couple minutes in the oven to dry it out a bit. It helps keep the toppings from sliding off. Another sauce tip came to me from the former manager of a Domino’s – when you spread the sauce, aim to get more on the edges than the middle because it tends to slide to the center.

    The beer sounds like a great idea to up the yeasty flavor of the dough, so now I must try that next time. I’d suggest subbing in half whole-wheat flour in your crust like we do. It adds some extra nutrition, yeah, but we like especially how it gives the dough a wheatier flavor (without bitterness for sensitive folks since it’s only half whole wheat) and, most important for me, how it makes the crust a lot easier to roll or stretch out. The rough bran in the whole wheat flour seems to cut some of the gluten strands that make white pizza dough spring back so much while you’re stretching.

    Here’s a pizza topping possibility, too: We spent a lot of our honeymoon in Italy, and our favorite pizza variety was the sort sold from a lot of carts and storefronts. Instead of a little cooked-down, smooth sauce and lots of cheese, it had a thick layer of plain crushed tomatoes (no visible herbs or other seasonings to it, maybe a little salt or sweetener could have been in there) with just a few torn pieces of fresh mozzarella thrown around for accent (but most of the surface was red, not cheesy). Those tomatoes in Italy are fabulous!

  22. Ro says:

    LOL @ KC!!!!!! Heeeheee!!!

    Emjoyed this post quite a bit. I’ve made them from a kit before (not great!) but have been hesitant to take the next step. Hopefully this will inspire my courage!!

  23. Homes says:

    Great post, Trent! I LOVE homemade pizza. Mom used to make it all the time and now I make it for my roomie and myself. Our go-to sauce is the following:

    Toss a couple cloves of garlic in a food processor and chop. Add one medium to large onion and puree. Add one can tomato sauce and a handful each oregano, parsley, and basil and process it all together. This makes for a very saucy flavorful pizza, which is the way I like it! Also, pizza sauce is an excellent place to hide veggies, if you have picky eaters. Mom used to puree carrots or zucchini and you couldn’t tell it was in there.

    Also, a tip for reheating. I’ve found that leftover pizza (homemade or not) tastes best when heated on a stone in the oven. Keeps the crust from getting soggy or tough.

  24. Evan says:

    BBQ chicken pizza! Leftover chicken (shredded), black beans, corn, and BBQ sauce instead of tomato sauce! So good!

  25. Ali says:

    Thank you so much! This was a fantastic tip!

  26. Nice – I love home made pizza! This looks like a good recipe.

  27. Jacqueline says:

    Nice tutorial! One more thing that makes homemade pizza even more “restaurant-like” is a quick minute under the broiler after it’s done baking. With a gas oven, this doesn’t even add calculable expense in energy. Just make sure you keep your eye it on it, it only takes 45-60 seconds. Another frugal tip is to make a second batch of dough since you already have the ingredients out, and take advantage of having the oven on to bake the second crust and stick it in the freezer. Infinitely better than frozen pizza and it helps avoid the temptation to order-in too.

  28. Fern says:

    Great idea and recipe!
    I have only made pizza one time, and one thing to watch out for is watery vegetables. I just about ruined one veggie pizza because it was dripping so much that all the toppings fell off. I would advise avoiding using too many tomatoes, bell peppers, and other watery vegetables. If anyone else has suggestions for drier vegetable options, I’d love to hear them!

    Also, if you are going to use leafy vegetables or herbs, be sure to wait to add them 1-2 minutes before you take the pizza out of the oven, so that they don’t wilt/burn.

  29. Amber says:

    We make a lot of pizza at our house too. I’ll make a big batch of dough on the weekend (I use the overnight fermentation method) and divide them into balls. The ones I don’t use right away go into individual bags in the freezer — it works better to freeze the dough than par-baked crust.

    Also, if you make smaller pies, perhaps more than one, it’s easier to stretch the dough without holes and to get it thinner so you don’t need to par-bake the crust (and you can cook it at a higher temperature).

    In terms of sauce, I find it tastes bests to cook down a can of whole tomatoes to make a sauce. You don’t have to add much — Marcella Hazan just uses butter and half of a whole onion. The cooking makes for a richer sauce though.

    Oh, it’s also great to increase the olive oil in the dough to a quarter cup. It gives the dough great texture, flavor and adds to the browning.

  30. Danielle says:

    I buy the dough at either Trader Joes or Fresh and Easy for a dollar. I used to make it in my bread machine until it died. The dough freezes well too.

  31. Michele says:

    I have been experimenting with pizza for months and have found if you preheat the oven for 45 minutes to an hour you do not need to prebake the pizza dough. Oh, and it is so good. Also, I do not add oil to the crust – I think it takes much better without. If you want to find out the best way to make pizzas, check out this site. I found their information invaluable when learning how to make a “NY Pizza Pie” (is there any other kind?)


    I am not associated with the site at all. I just read it over and over when learning to make a GOOD homemade pizza.

  32. Beth says:

    This is awesome!

    Just out of curiosity, has anyone tried this with a different kind of flour? I don’t eat wheat, so I’ve been thinking of trying spelt or oat flour. Any suggestions? :)

  33. CPA Kevin says:

    Make a double batch of dough and freeze one for next week….that’s what we always do. I need to try beer in the crust though, that does sound excellent.

  34. Dan the Man says:

    How many pizzas do I have to make before I break even on that $250 mixer?

  35. SP says:

    My dough usually sucks, probably because I haven’t been prebaking and I don’t have a stand mixer.

    It is quite cheap to buy the dough (and sauce–in the non-refridgerated section, not refridgerated stuff) at TJ’s but homemade does turn better. But i’d disagree it is the same amount of work, esp without a mixer! Been thinking about a pizza stone for awhile.

    Nice though. Tips I will try: prebaking and the beer in the crust.

    PS, if this kind of thing is what you decided for your friday series, it was a very very good choice. Love it.

  36. dinah says:

    i wish i had a mixer like that…i’m super jealous.

  37. Alex Knapp says:

    Nice recipe! My only change would be to suggest that you grate your own cheese rather than getting pre-shredded in the bag cheese. Not only is grating your own cheese less expensive, but pre-shredded cheese has additives put in in order to prevent the cheese from sticking together. So grating cheese is more economical and healthier.

  38. dr_pizza says:

    I find that sauce too liquid so I mix in one “mini” of tomato paste per “regular” can of tomato sauce.

  39. Allison says:

    I got into artisan bread baking a few years ago for fun (I’m returning to it for frugality this year!) and got into making sourdough pizza dough- a natural progression from making my other breads. Talk about a hit! My family loved the pizzas and everyone chipped in. My partner made the tomato sauce, the teenager sliced the mozarella and veggies- it was a delicious family affair. I look forward to making pizzas again.

  40. 444 says:

    Looks good, but just wait till your kids are teenagers. That pizza will last about 2 minutes and by the time you pour a glass of water and turn around, there won’t be any left for you.

    (I’m saying you’ll have to triple the recipe.)

    But seriously… $5 or $6 and you put meat and cheese on it? Are you sure you computed those ingredients accurately? Cheese costs a lot, and I wonder how many ounces of cheese per serving is included at that price for a whole pizza.

  41. imelda says:

    That looks delicious, and I can’t wait to try this recipe myself!!

    Did you include the cheese in your price, though, Trent? That’s the main thing that puts me off from making homemade pizza–cheese is so damn expensive!

  42. BonzoGal says:

    444 and imelda, you can get cheese for a pretty cheap price at the warehouse shops (CostCo or Sam’s Club) or even at grocery stores, then either freeze it whole or grate it and then freeze. Cheese freezes well. You might not always get the exact cheese you want, but I don’t mind having pizza with cheddar or Jarlsberg once in a while. Plus you’re sprinkling the cheese, not using a huge lot of it, so it brings the cost down.

    I’m not sure about the cost of the pre-sliced pepperoni that Trent has in the photo above, but I’ve used leftover meat from other dishes. And I find it cheaper to buy a whole salami and slice it really thin with my mandoline slicer- you still get the taste but not the cost or as many calories.

    These have all been great tips! It’ll change the way I make pizza, for sure. Can’t wait to try some of them soon!

    Anyone use cornmeal in their crusts?

  43. Vanessa says:

    I love homemade pizzas! However, I can’t help but notice the bag of pre-shredded, packaged cheese in your photo. Didn’t you once submit a post saying what a bad deal it is?? ha ha – just teasing!

  44. deb says:

    I can say that Trent is spot on on the price – I make pizza almost every Saturday and it’s always about $5. My tips are:
    If you’re having trouble with the dough it may be too dry or too cold.
    Heat the water for the dough in the microwave as the water from the hot water tank is not fit for consumption (really – DON’T consume it, ever).
    For richer sauce use a jar of tomato sauce with a healthy tablespoon of tomato paste, add seasonings and don’t forget a spoonful of sugar.
    Costco has big bags of shredded mozzarella – get it and split it into smaller ziplock bags and trow them in the freezer. You can even use it frozen, just whack the bag on the counter to loosen.
    The person who said watch out for teenagers was absolutely correct, just make double the amount.
    Use up leftovers for the weekly pizza – veggies, ham, salami, hamburger, chicken – anything!

  45. JC says:

    Hmm… why not just buy a cheap frozen pizza on sale (4 for $10) and then add whatever you want to it? It might be even cheaper than $6 and less work =)

  46. Will says:

    You whole family only eats HALF?

  47. Lauren says:

    Awesome tutorial! Makes it look very simple. I will be trying this in the near future!

  48. Kristin says:

    My husband and I are newlyweds, and one of our gifts was a pizza stone. It is a Marvel. We will make a large batch of dough, divide it into four parts and freeze the other three. We usually have frozen “homemade” (read: sautee meat, throw in cans of tomato sauce and season liberally) sauce. And recently, my husband spotted a great deal on frozen mozzarella, bought several bags, subdivided it into four parts, and froze that as well. It’s a great new twist on “frozen” pizza, the ingredients, maximized with a few fresh vegetables, is as good as homemade with a minimum of effort!

  49. ngthagg says:

    I recently discovered pesto as a replacement for tomato sauce. It’s much more viscous sauce, and helps the toppings adhere to the dough. My local grocery store carries only two flavours: basil and sundried tomato. But since pesto is basically finely chopped vegetable and oil, I suspect anyone with a food processor could easily make their own varieties.

    Pizza is a great centerpiece for a party: prepare all the ingredients beforehand, then assign a quarter of a pizza to each guest to assemble their own. Bake and serve.

  50. AnnJo says:

    For those questioning Trent’s use of shredded cheese – I used to buy the bricks and shred it myself until I found to my surprise that Costco sells shredded mozzarella in a 5 lb. bag for less per pound that the 2 lb. bricks.

    The shredded cheese freezes well. The label says “cellulose powder added to prevent caking.” Cellulose powder is simply insoluble plant fiber, often sold on its own as a nutritional supplement to people trying to increase their fiber intake, and it’s not something to be afraid of.

  51. The liquid to flour ratio seems a little ‘short’ to me. Too much dry to wet. Cooks Illustrated has a wonderful recipe for pan pizza. Which has 2-1/3 cups flour to a combo of milk and olive oil equalling 1 cup. If you’re mixing by hand (because I don’t own a Kitchen Aid) the wet, loose dough is much easier to mix and slowly knead. Adding flour as you go gets it to just the right amount of stickyness (just barely sticky, but not sticking to the counter top). This loose, sticky dough rises well, and is much softer easier to roll out than a short, stiff dough.

  52. Another Elizabeth says:

    I also enjoy making my own pizza. My only suggestion to Trent (and the rest of you) is to try sprinkling your pan with cornmeal rather than flour. I like the texture and the taste it imparts. Thanks for the nice post.

  53. Jill says:

    Thanks for inspiring your readers! I like to use cornmeal on the pan first, too, like some commenters. Some suggest to cook the pizza at the highest temp you can. I don’t prebake and haven’t had a problem with soggy crust and it may be because of the high temp. For my sauce I sautee garlic in olive oil, use canned tomato sauce and use italian seasoning, fresh black pepper and salt.I like dicing fresh jalapenos, bell pepper, fresh spinach, whatever I find for toppings. Because I don’t put meat on my pizzas I estimate they cost around $2. Thanks for all you do.

  54. R. Layden says:

    I was with you up till you talked about the mixer. Without directions on how to do it without the mixer I am sure I would mess it up. I guess I will have to keep buying pizza.

  55. Geoff says:

    I have a couple of recommendations based on my experience working in a friend’s pizza place.

    1) Cook at 550F. If you find you need to “pre-bake” your pizza crust, then your oven is too cold. Most commercial pizza ovens can get much hotter, but 550F works.

    I make homemade pizza often, and it only takes about 5-6 minutes for my pizza to be completely cooked through with all of the toppings. No pre-baking necessary.

    2) Use a baking stone. You can pick one of these up for about $10 – $20 at any retail kitchen store. Bigger is better, but any one will do. Just follow the directions for seasoning it before use. I’d also recommend investing in a pizza peel (one of those wooden paddles). They really help in getting the pizza on and off the stone.

    3) Add bread flour. The protein in bread flour is what will make the crust crisp. You could easily replace 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour in Trent’s recipe with 1/2 cup of bread flour to gain this effect.

    4) Completely cover the sauce with cheese. If you let the sauce peek out from under the edges of the crust, you are more likely to let the toppings slide. If the cheese completely covers the sauce you don’t run into this problem. When it comes to sauce and cheese, err on too little sauce and too much cheese.

    Todd – The reason your pizza dough keeps springing back is because is is elastic instead of plastic. If you find it springs back you haven’t let your dough rise a second time long enough. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes and try again. You should find that it is much easier to work with.

    Want to learn how to toss a pizza? At my friend’s shop everyone there was trained using damp dishtowels. Hold the towel up with your knuckles about 6″ apart (or so) and toss it in the air while moving your hands in a clock-wise (or counter-clockwise I guess) motion. It does take practice, but can be an impressive way to show off to your friends and family.

  56. Jules says:

    Funny; I just made a homemade pizza last weekend!

    I make our own sauce. Sandwich salami also makes a decent substitute for pepperoni.

  57. ErikW says:

    Nice recipe, but to make things easier for us Europeans could you please also add the different measurements in metric. 1 cup= 2,4 deciliter and so on.

  58. Ram says:

    is there a way to make the bread/crust without adding salt? I am on a low/no sodium diet, and have stopped eating pizza for 2 years now. Someone mentioned in these comments about pizza without cheese, I can try that option if the crust doesn’t need salt. I have heard someone saying that “Salt” is one of the key ingredients to make bread/pizza crust.

  59. Mardi says:

    Great idea. My daughter and her husband do this often, we do it sometimes. Do you pre-cook the meat? They do. I usually just use pepperoni from the deli along with lots of veggies.

  60. Kara says:

    @ Ram–

    Unfortunatley, salt is an essential ingredient in all yeast bread recipies. Without salt (which kills yeast), the yeast in the bread would rise too high. You would have a real mess on your hands. The only thing that I can think of in your case is to adjust the amount of yeast. But, if you are careful with all the other areas of your diet, there really isn’t a lot of salt in bread. Just my thought.

  61. Mary says:

    We have homemade pizza quite often at our house, too. Trent, invest in a pizza stone – you won’t be sorry… no need to prebake the crust and it make the crust incredible!

    My favorite pizza is Margherita – fresh tomato, fresh basil and mozzarella. Simply delicious!

  62. Dave says:

    My wife and I like to find pizza as a good Lent Alternative on Fridays (we just make cheese pizza)since it’s already on our menu. We just found the breadhook for our kitchen aid so the wife is all excited about making dough. But we ususally just use part of a jar of Pasta sause when making our pizza instead of using pizza sause. It’s already seasoned, has chunks of tomoatoe if you get the right kind, and always on hand. Since we make a pasta dish once a week we don’t worry about the jar going to waste. Saves another jar in the fridge and wasting expenses on something so simple.

  63. Jessica says:


    Have you heard of the book ARTISAN BREAD IN FIVE MINUTES A DAY? It is a really simple method of making homemade bread using a refrigerator dough. Anyway we use it for pizza and since the dough is always on hand, it makes the pizza a true “takeout alternative”- very little planning.

    Check it out at the library!


  64. Ann says:

    Thanks, Trent. The pizza looks delicious. Must try this one.

  65. Kate says:

    Shredded cheese is often the same price or cheaper than the blocks of cheese. I stock up when it is on sale, separate it into smaller bags and freeze it–when I empty the bag I just stick it back in the freezer so it is ready for another fill-up. Shredded cheese molds much more quickly than block cheese.

  66. The Redhead says:

    Great post! My husband makes a mean homemade pizza, and it’s such a great dish to have when we invite friends over. Casual, easy to customize to other people’s tastes, leftover cold pizza tastes great…what’s not to love? I’ll have to pass on the tip about adding beer instead of water to him. Bet that gives it a really deep taste.

  67. Julie says:

    Pre shredded cheese contains an additive that prevents it from clumping. This is why when you shred your own cheese, it melts better.

    I love making homemade pizza. I sprinkle cornmeal instead of flour onto the cookie sheet before putting the pizza on.

  68. Karin says:

    Ram – No Salt Works,
    I have been making pizza and bun dough for three months now without salt. At first the buns were a bit dense, so I added a little more yeast and sugar to the dough recipe, but it’s not required because it worked before as well.

    Also, I make a sauce using no salt tomatoe paste, olive oil, water, and spices.

    Awesome website!

  69. ChrisD says:

    Short answer: You can easily leave out all the salt, it will just taste bland.
    Long answer: With salt, I always assumed that getting too much salt is because many preprocessed foods use poor quality, tasteless ingredients and makes up the difference with salt. I heard that a cheap egg sandwich can have all the salt you need for the whole day. Thus I always assumed that when you cook from scratch with fresh ingredients (with no salt) and add salt to taste (i.e. actually taste it and don’t just add a ton because that’s what you always do), then you will not get more salt than you need.

    We always made pizza at home when I was a teenager, making dough and tomato sauce from scratch (tinned tomatoes). It was great Must try this again once I have an oven.

  70. Matt says:

    We have a Papa Murphy’s just around the corner from our house and they give away great coupons where we can often pick up a large or family size for $6-7, hard to beat.

  71. Karin says:

    p.s. I also put eggs in my dough, have been for years because I live at a high altitude – it helps the yeast rise as well (without salt).

  72. MarthaO says:

    Loved that you highlighted this easy and fun activity. I actually felt that $5-$6 was an overestimate of the cost. We make two pizzas on Fridays for our family of 7 and I estimate that the cost is $5 total for both pizzas.


    1. Use leftover spaghetti sauce. I use Old World Ragu for Spaghetti once every two weeks, and always leave enough in the jar for pizza. Add a little basil and garlic to spice it up.
    2. Melted cheese on a pizza LOOKS like a lot was used, but it truly is not very much. Like other readers, we freeze large bags of shredded cheese and just use bits as needed.
    3. Knowing there will be pizza on Friday, hold back a few vegetables and a little meat from other meals. A little goes a long way. ENJOY!

  73. Scott C says:

    I’ve just been using your bread recipe for pizza dough and it makes for a great greek pizza.

    @Todd: The trick to getting your dough to stay stretched is using your fingers. I think what you really need to do when you stretch the pizza is create micro tears in the dough.. that is, you stretch it beyond the point at which its elasticity will allow it to reform (there’s some physics term for this). To do this, flatten your ball of dough on the tray with your palms, and once you can’t get it any larger or flatter like this, start from the middle and work toward the edges by repeatedly pushing your fingers deep into the dough and slightly towards the edge. You’ll see that you don’t create holes, but that the dough also won’t reform. Work all the way to an edge, then start from the middle towards another edge. It works great!

  74. Lynne says:

    Fun post! I use my Mom’s recipe for sauce -includes one small can each of tomato sauce and tomato paste. Mix with a wire whip. Add oregano, basil, garlic powder, celery salt, and parsley. Yum!

    @Todd, Try getting a dough roller to spread out the dough. It looks like a small pie crust rolling pin. I’d be lost without it!

    Oh, another thing – my kids always liked the pizza sauce on top of half of an English muffin. Cook for about 5 minutes and add the cheese for another 5-10 minutes. Instant little pizzas, different for each kid!

  75. Gigi says:

    Keep an eye out at thrift stores for large round pizza pans with all the little holes in them. I picked up 2 at my favorite thrift store for less than a dollar each. I then bought one at Target for about $4 (didn’t have the holes). Or maybe invest in them at a kitchen equipment store. They make the crust great, and seem more like a restaurant or take out pizza. When my daughter had her 16th birthday party (for about 10 girls), I made 3 pizzas (then as the pans were emptied, I took the empty pans and having crust and ingredients ready, made more, girls can eat!) and they were fabulous, the kids loved them. I couldn’t tell you what they cost me, but it was a tiny fraction of what it would have cost me for take-out, or even Papa Murphy’s.

    Another way to make really large pizzas for a crowd is to buy those aluminum liners that are sold for lining the bottom of your oven. They’re pretty cheap, and you can make huge pizzas that feed a larger crowd more efficiently. I’ve reused and saved them. They get a little bent, and you can see the cut lines from the previous pizzas, but they’re pretty sturdy and should last a least a couple of uses.

  76. Kelly says:

    My hubby swears my homemade pizza tastes WAY better than delivery pizza. Of course he’s biased, but I have to agree! We started making pizza last year to save money, and now we do it practically every week (Friday!) because it’s so yummy! I learned a lot of useful suggestions with this post, I’ll be glad to try making the crust the night before and letting it rise in the fridge, and play with making my own sauce. Yummy post~! More food posts please!

  77. Kathy says:

    My kids are now grown and out of the house- but this is a fond memory for both of them. You can’t buy stuff like that!!

    One hint that we discovered was:
    if you adding lots of veggies to your pizza- add it on top of the cheese. They tend to get soggy under the cheese- but finish nicely on top.
    That’s how the pizza parlors do it.

  78. Jon says:

    Jeff Varasano enlightens the world with the real secrets to making pizza at home, here is an excerpt:

    “Second, I want to say that there is a LOT of misinformation out there. Take a tour of the World’s top pizza places (there’s a list at the bottom of this page). None of these places publish their recipes. They don’t write books. You are not going to see any of these places represented at the “U.S. pizza championship” where they compete at dough tossing or who makes the best smoke pork mango pizza.. The real pizza places are not at some trade show out in Vegas where they hawk automatic sauce dispensers and conveyor belt ovens. But somehow though, all the attendees of these shows declare themselves experts and write books and spread the same false ideas. There are about a hundred books and internet recipes that claim to give an authentic or secret pizza dough recipe. Oddly, while many claim to be secret or special, they are practically all the same. Here it is in summary. If you see this recipe, run screaming:

    Sprinkle a yeast packet into warm water between 105-115 F and put in a teaspoon of sugar to feed it. Wait for it to foam up or ‘proof’. Add all your flour to a Kitchen Aid heavy duty mixer, then add the yeast and salt. Now mix until it pulls away from the side of the bowl. Coat with oil and leave in a warm place until it doubles in bulk, about 1-2 hours. Punch down, spread on a peel with some cornmeal to keep it from sticking and put it on the magical pizza stone that will make this taste just like Sally’s in your 500F oven.

    I assure you, this will not make anything like a real pizza. It’s weird – even chefs whose other recipes all come out pretty good, like Emeril, simply pass around more or less this same terrible recipe.

    Pizza is a true specialty item and a real art. It takes passion to make it right. I am not a restaurateur. But I do have a passion for doing this right. I’m not going to give you the ‘easy home version’. I’m going to give you the version that makes the best pie I know how to make, even if it takes a bit more effort (ok, more than just a bit)”

    For the rest, go here:


  79. Wendy says:

    @Todd- I’ve seen a few others comment on your problem with tearing the dough, but I have a different suggestion: make sure you let the dough rise enough, such that poking it with your finger 1/2″ deep leaves a mark that doesn’t quickly go away. Then, move the dough to your work surface and flatten the ball, and cover let it rest another 10 minutes. If is still pulls back on itself when you’re halfway through, cover it and let it rest again. Or, use a lower protein flour that won’t develop as much stretch, or don’t knead quite as long.

  80. Trish says:


    We have found that tomato paste, mixed half and half with water makes a much tastier sauce than tomato sauce. Our favorite herb combination is sweet basil, oregano, & granulated garlic.

    Long live Friday night Pizza Night!

  81. Lola says:

    Hi Trent,
    This post arrived on the very day that I decided to try homemade pizza dough for the first time. I really appreciate the tips, especially the one about pre-baking the crust. Seeing the photos of the process is very helpful. Thanks, I enjoy your blog.

  82. mrsmonkey says:

    This is for Todd, who has problems handling dough.

    one of the biggest problems people making yeast doughs may have is letting it rest once it’s made. When you first deflate your finished dough and start handling it will stiffen up – let it rest ten/fifteen minutes and it will become pliable enough to roll out or press out.

    the more you handle dough, the stiffer it will get, so work fast. try not to use too much flour on the workspace…I keep a small brush and after I flour my dough, I will brush off the excess, just to keep it fluid.

    when I first started baking, I was terrible with breads and pizza and didn’t do it for 40 years, sticking to cakes and cookies and quickbreads. bread and yeast can be intimidating, but after a little practice it’s actually quite simple and basic and fun. keep in mind, human beings have been carting around wheat and corn flour and water and making breads and doughs for all eternity. cowboys and desert people and pioneers would make doughs, let them dry up and then tear or grate off pieces and throw them into a liquid or a fire and eat.

    holes in your pizza are fine. if you can’t press them together and you think they’ve wrecked your pizza, if you haven’t put your topping on, roll up your dough and let it rest and try again. if you’ve already put on toppings, put a tiny bit of water on your fingers and try pressing the hole together, but honestly it’s not necessary.

    pizzas and breads are forgiving. they rise, fill in holes and just become so beautiful and smell so inviting, dive in to your finished product and don’t worry. practice makes perfect. eventually.

  83. Kneading the dough by hand is not hard or much work at all. While the yeast is fermenting, I measure out the flour and salt in a bigger bowl. Then I add the oil and yeast to the flour and mix well. Once well mixed, take the ball and knead it on a well floured surface. I have a pie sheet and it works well. It really doesn’t take much kneading. I think about 30 seconds. Then put it in the bowl (I cover it with a clean dish towel) and let it rise. I let mine rise for 45 minutes. It really tastes like a nice hand tossed crust. It’s not too thin or too thick.

    I also use a little cornmeal on the pan, and punch the ball in the middle of the sheet. I agree that starting in the middle makes a nice uniform crust. It won’t shrink when parbaking. I use a 375 oven for about 8 minutes, and then turn it up to 400 for 15 minutes for the actual assembled pizza. It comes out nicely browned and a little crispy. I also have a gas oven.

    I use Hunt’s 100% Natural tomato sauce with oregano and garlic. I can use it for 2 pizzas from one 34 cent can! That’s pretty cheap at 17 cents. I buy the store brand 5 blend Italian cheese for $1.70 a bag which makes 2 pizzas. I buy the Hormel pepperoni in a bigger bag for $3 on sale. I buy several and freeze them. I can get enough for 4 pizzas from one bag. Total cost for one pizza is about $2.50 which is cheaper than most frozen and tastes so much better. One pizza feeds all 3 of us which includes one growing boy.

  84. mrsmonkey says:

    one last thing…I realize cooking your dough ahead of time is a time saver, but I would suggest trying this instead for an authentic brick oven pizza with those giant dough bubbles on a crispy chewy crust:

    if you don’t have a pizza stone, buy a few clay tiles at your hardware store…one big one or a few that fit together to make a flat surface are GREAT for making authentic pizza. (To go a step further: I always keep them at the bottom of my oven, they add an element of stability to my heat as they distribute the heat more evenly across the bottom. I experimented with putting more tiles across the top shelf to try to create a brick oven effect when I make pizza in my little electric oven. )

    To make authentic brick oven pizza, heat your stones or tiles for at least a half hour. Turn up your oven to 500 degrees ten minutes before it’s time to bake. quarter fill a cup of water and place it handy by the oven.

    okay..your oven is heating up, you make your little pizza (dough ball should be appx the size of a hardball baseball, roll, stretch or press it out as thin as you can comfortably do so.

    carefully put your dough on a peel or a flat plastic cutting board that has been covered in cornmeal. gently add your toppings, don’t overload the dough with stuff. then slide your pizza on to the stones, grab that quarter cup of water and quickly spray the bottom of your oven with the contents and close the door quickly.

    after five minutes, lower the heat to 475. if you have a window, by now you are seeing those wonderful bubbles as your pizza bakes itself.

    I like to take a big fork and prick a few holes in it as it bakes, but it’s not necessary. I do it to let the moisture rise off the bottom of the dough.

    I have a big spatula to remove the pizza, but a small one or use a fork and slide your pizza off the stones/rack and onto a plate.

    (you’ll find your own method)

    the point is, dough is a living thing. you want it to maximize the flavor of it, getting it hot and fresh from the oven. there’s nothing wrong with making it beforehand, but I think it’s more like a reheating process, like making a toast…it’s good, but making it fresh and hot is better. and those bubbles are to DIE for!!

    mangia. :)

  85. a faithful reader says:

    Thank you Trent for adding to my wifely duties :)

    Hubby saw your post and goes, “Hey, we have a bread hook right?” We also havea kitchenaid, which is possibly the only way he knew what he was talking about.

    Someone was asking about freezer storage and if they make tupperware for pizzas, we just use a tupperware pie/cake bucket. (Big, round, fits a 9’pie plate). Just make sure to make the pizza small enough to fit in it (about med size from a pizza shop). Works great!

  86. Jon says:

    Modify your oven to use the cleaning cycle to cook with. This way you can reach temps close to 900 degrees. A proper dough on a stone at this temp will yield a fairly authentic pizza in less than 2 minutes.

  87. Robin says:

    We have little kids and make a lot of pizza at our house using a remarkably similar recipe (with 1 c. beer, never water). I use mostly (or all) whole wheat flour and we think it has more flavor than white flour (plus, my 3yo thinks that’s how it’s supposed to be). Another tip I’d recommend to add some nutrients is to mix 1/2 cup or so of pureed sweet potatoes to the sauce. It makes the sauce sweet, but kids like that so it’s a win-win. I puree sweet potatoes regularly for my baby (microwaved whole for a bout 7 minutes, then cooled), but if you don’t you can always get a jar of baby food. Also, cooking (and draining) pepperoni will cut down on grease if you use it.

  88. Patti says:

    I also do not have any problems with a “doughy” dough when using the pizza pans that have the tiny holes in them.
    I use a dough similar to Trents, however I use an actual bread recipe and it uses just a pinch of sugar. (I like the idea of using whole wheat flour for half of it, however the rest of the family would throw a fit)
    I use Marinera sauce instead of homemade – then I actually use it as my spaghetti sauce too – and for a jar it is only $.99 for 26 oz. and I usually get three pizza’s out of it
    We too have it once a week but usually on Sunday nights.
    We live on an acreage and are able to raise our own hog/goat/rabbit/beef/chicken and each of these is wonderful on our pizza.

  89. Melody says:

    Wow. I honestly had no idea it was easy to do this! I feel like I learn something every time I read Trent’s posts and all the helpful comments!

    I’m definately going to do this – we’ve been going cheap by getting the Costco Kirkland pizzas at the take-out window, but those are still $10 for 3 people. If I could do the same thing for even $7 a pizza, it’s better for us and a bit cheaper!

  90. Sarah says:

    Why do you buy all those name brands? Store brand tomato sauce tastes the same as Hunts. Store brand cheese tastes the same as Kraft. I occassionally get name brand things cheaper than store brand with coupons, and I can honestly say that we can’t tell the difference with 99% of the food we buy. Your pizza would probably be half the price if you bought store brands.

  91. Ann says:

    Here are some tips. You can make pizza dough without salt. Obviously, there is a little less salty flavor but the pizza crust I make without salt is a delicious and has a great texture. I also use whole wheat flour instead of white. If you have extra time and patience you can ‘cook’ the plain tomato sauce. You add garlic, onions, bell peppers, and whatever herbs you like to the mix. Cook it in a pot for about 15 minutes or until the vegetables are soft. It makes a wonderful Italian tasting flavor-filled homemade sauce. It also makes the pizza more flavorful when you add no salt to the sauce and/or crust. It can be stored in refrigerator or freezer if needed. Just some helpful hints for people out there that are trying to lower salt intake.

  92. MeekWoman says:

    I agree with the question asked previously—why do you buy all name brands? I come from a different perspective–I feel like there are healthier, tastier options available that cost just as much as the name brands!!!

  93. Jon says:

    @Sarah Please read the entirety of this blog. Trent’s frugality should not be in question. Perhaps Kraft cheese was on sale and he had a coupon. Please inquire before you judge.

  94. Lady says:

    Trent, Thanks for all the recipes recently…I’m glad you’ve included so many on your site. Does anyone know if the rising/baking time would be different if I used 100% whole wheat flour, and no white flour? I believe whole wheat flour is more dense, and I just don’t know if it would work.

  95. steve says:

    ” No matter how hard I try, I always end up tearing the dough and can never get it to roll out well. I pull and tug and tear it, then put it down and watch it shrink back into a little ball”

    the problem you are experiencing is caused by the gluten in the dough being too developed for use as pizza dough.

    Pizza made by the pizza shop uses a special low-gluten dough (say, 9% gluten for pizza dough vs 10-11.5% gluten content for bread dough. This lower level of gluten helps the dough stay more relaxed after it is formed.

    Since you don’t have access to the special flour, you can get by by making sure you are using all-purpose flour rather than bread flour and using a brand that has the least protein. Alternatively, you could mix a small amount of, say, rye or corn flour into the dough (less than 15%), which will slack the dough.
    Also, put a small amount of olive oil in the flour as that will surround some of the flour bits and slacken the dough as well.

    Also, don’t knead pizza dough very long, as that will form longer strands of gluten and cause the dough to “snap back”.

    Low protein wheat flour, or a combination of wheat and rye or wheat and corn, maybe some olive oil in the dough, and minimal kneading is the answer to make the dough keep its stretched or rolled shape.

  96. steve says:

    ok, after my last post I got on Google and saw that my solution for pizza dough “snap back” is incorrect in some respects. Apparently, pizza dough is made with HIGH-protein (11-14%) flour, not low protein. The snap-back could be caused by a number of factors though, and you could try any of the suggestions below that I have cut-and pasted of a dough troubleshooter:

    Possible Causes

    Flour’s protein level is too high
    (1) Switch to a flour of 1 to 2 percent lower protein content, or (2) blend a lower protein flour with the current flour.

    Dough under-mixed
    Mix dough longer (try 10 to 20 percent more time).

    Dough unrelaxed
    (1) Let dough relax for 30 minutes after mixing. (2) If feasible, flatten dough balls 2 to 3 minutes before final rolling or pressing.

    Too cold
    Warm the dough (balls) to 60 to 70 degrees F before using.

    Protein too strong
    If reducing the flour protein content is undesirable, (1) increase the oil or shortening level up to 4 to 5 percent of flour weight, or (2) use a dough relax­er—i.e., reducing agent—such as L-cysteine (see Comment below).

    Inadequate fermentation
    Increase fermentation or rise. See previous section on Under-risen Dough Balls.

    Too stiff
    Increase amount of water in dough formu­la. See previous section on Dough Too Stiff.

    COMMENT: There are several types of dough relaxers, each one affecting dough a different way and at a different time. Check with the manufacturer(s) to find out which type is best suited for your production system.

  97. I have to disagree that ALL store brands taste the same as name brands. I do normally use store brand tomato sauce, but on some things I really prefer the name. If I can catch a good sale with coupons, then I am usually spending less than store brands. I find the Hunt’s 100% Natural has a better taste than most store brand sauces.

  98. Jon says:

    I’m just curious, but when you normally read a blog post, do you read them all? Or, as I would assume, do you continue to the last post and make your comment based on such? Just curious (redundant).


  99. honestb says:

    @Ram, “is there a way to make the bread/crust without adding salt? I am on a low/no sodium diet, and have stopped eating pizza for 2 years now. Someone mentioned in these comments about pizza without cheese, I can try that option if the crust doesn’t need salt. I have heard someone saying that “Salt” is one of the key ingredients to make bread/pizza crust.”

    No, unfortunately salt is a key ingredient in any bread, however, you might be able to cut the salt down. Bread without any salt won’t rise very well, will have poor texture, and will have a vaguely “off” flavour.

    Note that, if you’re eating bread at all, you’re getting around the same amount of salt that needs to be in Pizza dough at minimum. Some Pizza recipes call for extra salt to give the dough more flavour, but I suspect you could get away with as little as half a teaspoon for a 12 inch Pizza. If you only eat half of that Pizza, (half a 12-inch is usually enough dinner for me) that’s only a quarter-teaspoon of salt. Obviously consult your doctor about what’s safe for you and what isn’t, but I think that this might be a pretty low-sodium meal.

    “Does anyone know if the rising/baking time would be different if I used 100% whole wheat flour, and no white flour? I believe whole wheat flour is more dense, and I just don’t know if it would work.”

    While it might be possible, with the right combination of ingredients, to make a 100% whole wheat Pizza, the simplest answer is that you need at least some white flour for there to be enough gluten for the dough to rise properly. You can experiment with using a high proportion of WW if you like, and see what the upper limit is that you like, but bear in mind the more WW there is, the more kneading you have to do to develop gluten. Your first rise should be until its doubled in volume, however long that takes, it might take longer with more Whole Wheat.

    I don’t generally add any WW flour to my Pizzas, but I do sometimes add Rye (replacing maybe 1/4 C of White) But if you want some of that WW flavor without losing the texture of White Flour, try replacing about 1/3 of the flour with WW and add a bit of Wheat Bran, as well (no need to be too precise, a couple loose handfuls).

  100. Georgia says:

    My mother-in-law gave me a recipe for Refrigerated Donuts. She told me that you can do the fridge thing with any rising dough. For the donuts, you make up the dough and put it in the fridge for up to 18-10 hours. Yeast rises regardless of where it is. We usually put it in a warm place to make it rise faster.

    I would make this dough one night and at supper time the next night would punch the dough down, divide into four parts, and begin to spread out and cut the donuts. By time you had the 4th section cut, the first would be risen enough to pop into the hot oil. She said bread dough would rise the same way. When women work, this is a good way to have something nice. I would do these donuts and they would be ready for a quick dessert after supper. And so yummy.

    I will try to do the pizza recipe. But, since I am only one, I will freeze the dough for other times, or for company. Thanks for all your help.

  101. Michele says:

    For anyone looking for a good deal on shredded mozzerella, Trader Joe’s sells it for $2.99 for 16 ounces. That’s a great price and it’s hormone-free, too!

  102. I find homemade pizza to be the one place where it is tough to beat the supermarket. There are some really decent frozen ones out there nowadays and you can frequently find them for below what it would cost to buy the ingredients yourself. I usually pick up a couple when they’re on sale for $4 or $5 apiece.

    I used to be easy to justify homemade pizza: The stuff from the store tasted like kaka and pizzaria was $20. $5, an hour’s time, and a bit of a mess, could get you almost as good as a restaurant. Was really worthwhile if you were making 2 or 3. But now it’s cheaper, cleaner and faster and tastes justabout as good to have one of the rising crust or thin crust pizzas out there.

  103. michael bash says:

    It’s interesting how our financial guru – magically turned to one who deigns to give advice on cooking – “tosses” things around in his kitchen. I suppose he “grabs” stuff from the fridge as well. His pizza sauce is a good step up from a joke. The best recipe I’ve found is in the TIME-LIFE Italian cookbook.

  104. Jen says:

    If you grow basil this summer, you can sub in pesto for the sauce. It is great with lots of veggies and thinly sliced fresh mozzerella. Your kids might not like it but you can always make two small pies instead of one big one.

  105. Ginny B. says:

    I love homemade pizza and have been doing it for about the past year. Often times I decide to do pizza last minute and have not been able to do the dough ahead of time. The following is a recipe you can do with your hands and it only takes 5 minutes to rise.

    Dissolve 1 tablespoon yeast in 1 cup warm water
    Mix 1 tsp sugar, 2 tbsp oil (I use olive oil), dash of salt, and 2 1/2 cups of flour (you can use 1/2 white and 1/2 wheat if you want, I have done both). Add water/yeast mixture and stir together. I have found the best way is to just get my hands in there until it forms a ball. (It takes no more than a minute or two). Adding a little oil to my hand helps. Let it rise in the bowl for 5 minutes. Spread onto your pizza pan. Precook like Trent suggests. Then add your sauce your toppings and cook.

    I have also added seasonings to the crust such as garlic powder, onion powder, basil, Italian seasonings, parm. cheese, parsley, or a host of other things I happen to have on hand. The crust is good, although next time I will try substituting beer for the water and see what happens.

    I have also found that when I roll the crust out with my marble rolling pin that if I add some olive oil to the rolling pin it makes rolling a breeze.

  106. Lynne says:

    @Georgia – No fair! Now I’m hungry for donuts! Could you share your mother-in-law’s recipe? We were just looking for one last night. Since we’re not buying as much pre-made foods, I would love to add donuts to the list!

  107. Great post!

    I’ll have to try it!

  108. Jen says:

    @michael bash: Why are you here? I can think of many better things to do than waste time not only reading, but leaving rude comments on blogs I don’t enjoy.

    We love homemade pizza! My husband says mine is better than take out too. I use cornmeal sprinkled on a greased pan. It gives the crust a wonderful flavor and helps crisp it up, I think. After getting the dough formed on the pizza pan, BEFORE pre-baking, I prick it thoroughly with a fork. I make sauce similar to Trent, with 1 can tomato sauce, 1 can tomato paste, and a little water to get the desired consistancy. I spice it up with salt, pepper, oregano, thyme, red pepper flakes, marjoram, garlic, basil, and parmesan cheese. YUM! This is enough sauce for 2 pizzas.

    Our favorite toppings: pepperoni, green pepper, onion, mushrooms, green olives, black olives, and bananna peppers.

    I second the request for the donuts!

  109. Christine says:

    I second Jen with pricking the dough before pre-baking it. And I third the request for the donut recipe!

  110. SA says:

    I’ll try out your way tonite for dinner-thanks Trent! BTW, any leftover chicken i have marinated Tandoori style with fresh or dried herbs is a great pizza topper and it uses leftover like veggies as well. I often don’t use a lot of cheese and it is a nice brushetta style taste for a change.

  111. Jane FairlyPrice says:

    Great post! for great pizza!

    I’ll have to try it!

  112. ancienthomesteader says:

    @lady- we started growning our own wheat last year (our acre patch gives us a ton) so we are now using whole wheat for everything- including pizza dough. We use the pizza dough recipe in the KitchenAid mixer cookbook. It is actually the recipe I use for everything. It makes great pizza dough, but I also use it for bread, pretzels, flatbread, etc.

  113. Nancy says:

    I was so glad to read this article, because it helps me (and those I try to convert) explain what true frugality and happiness is all about.

    While I’m sure making a terrific looking pizza for $6 (does that include cooking fuel?) pleases you, your family and your wallet, I do not wish to go thru all of that for pizza.

    I live in a New York City suburb where the best pizza in the world is made. My favorite places have special nites ($7.99) or coupons for pizza.

    To me, being frugal is waiting for one of those nites and picking up a pizza or two then. I don’t mind spending $2 more.

  114. Equalknight says:

    That looks like some SUPER damn fine pizza.

    The best part is you can health is up as you like – use diced tomatoes instead of sauce, add spinach, broccoli, etc.

    Thanks Trent. Have a pizzalicious day!

  115. Equalknight says:

    And Jon, you’re kind of an Ass. Leave other posts alone, see your comment #59, Jesus, we’re just all trying to make pizza here! Quit being so sanctimonious and let it flow, don’t put other posts down, try to LEARN. What you don’t like, don’t incorporate. Peace.

  116. Thanks for sharing.

    I cook my pizza @450 for 8 minutes. I’m amazed that you cook your so long. And they are the same size, judging by the amount of flour you use.


  117. Lindsay says:

    I read your post and decided this was something I needed to try. I’ve never made pizza from scratch. Tried it tonight, I followed your process step by step, except the beer because I didn’t have any on hand, and it turned out awesome! Crust was great, sauce was great. Thanks!

  118. Maggie says:

    This looks like a really good pizza recipe. We’ve just started back to homemade pizza days so I have bookmarked it to try.

  119. Battra92 says:

    If you guys enjoy it, that’s fine. Personally I’d be shredding my own cheese (preshredded cheese is just a step up from wood chips) and Pepperoni which is pork in base (none of this turkey nonsense.)

    Still, not bad for a start. Have you ever thought of making more of a stone type pizza? You can use a terra-cotta drip pan upside down if you don’t want to shell out the $11 for a pizza stone.

  120. Liz says:

    Also, if you’re up for more experimenting and interested in a healthier version, look into wholewheat pizza dough. My mother used to make this and it was just as delicious as white dough, but more satisfying.

  121. Jessica says:

    Glad to see this post. My husband and I were just talking about making a homemade pizza, but I didn’t quite know how to go about it. I will be making this for sure!

  122. Sherri says:

    A fun activity for kids (big or little) is cut the crust dough into 4 pieces and let the chefs create their own pizza’s. For the pan use a 9″ cake pan, greased and sprinkled with cornmeal.

    I use a food processor for my pizza crust, and if you are having trouble with the dough being too stretchey let it rest for at least 10 minutes, this will relax the dough for rolling.

  123. Maha says:

    I also found a recipe on recipezaar for making pizza lunchables. Basically, bake your pizza dough on a rectangular pan. Cut into 2×1 inch squares. Put two into a quart or sandwich baggie. In a snack bag, add about 1/4 cup shredded cheese, in another snack bag, add some triangle slices of salami. Add these two bags to your other bag. In a small container, put about 1/4 cup pizza sauce. Add that to your big bag. Freeze. The night before, put in your child’s lunch box in the fridge. It’ll be defrosted by lunch time. Don’t forget to add a spoon for getting the sauce on the crust! Obviously you can use whatever toppings you want.

  124. ann says:

    Great post. We love homemade pizza. I can never plan ahead enough to do it the night before, so this is our go-to, night-of dough:

    It’s amazing and is SUPER easy (written with novices in mind).

  125. Jon says:

    @ Equalknight Sorry, I was just trying to stick up for Trent and in the process sounded like an ass. My bad.


  126. zargon says:

    If you are looking into making home made pizza, I highly recommend the following book: American Pie: My Search for the Perfect Pizza.

    It covers a wide spectrum of doughs, sauces, toppings and how to put it all together (which is obviously subject, but gives you a good start). I have since perfected a few of the dough recipes and have been churning out great pizza. I wouldn’t say I am at restaurant quality, yet (may never be), but my friends and family throughly enjoy it. My next step is working with my grill or possibly build a brick like oven.

    To those saying talking about name brand ingredients not being important, I have to mostly disagree. Quality ingredients make for a better product, quality does not mean name brand or paying more, but a lot of the times… it does. Especially when it comes to cheese. My wife grew up in Wisconsin right near a dairy, so we frequently get good and fresh cheese from there. The from this dairy cheese is hands down better than Kraft, Crystal Farms, Sargento, any non-name brand I have have, etc…

  127. Lia says:

    Hi, great suggestions, thanks. Before I try this, what about the ground turkey – should it be pre-cooked or can I put the raw meat on the pizza to bake it?

  128. Wolfsvein says:

    I have a bread maker so it makes it real easy to make the dough and does all the rising needed. I just through everything into the breadmaker and it makes the dough in about an 1 that’s including rising time. I would recommend setting it up to do a delayed start in the morning and the dough will be ready for you when you get home from work.

  129. evie says:

    Todd — two suggestions:

    1) Make sure you let the dough rest for a couple of hours at room temperature to relax the gluten. I like to put mine in the part of the kitchen with a touch of sun to get a nice rise as well.

    2) Try rolling it out between two pieces of parchment or wax paper. It’s very easy that way.

  130. Dereck Curry says:

    Steve (comment #57), it was my understanding that high-gluten flour is used by pizza restaurants.

  131. Frank says:

    I put malt syrup in my dough. It feeds the yeast and gives it a good flavor. Also, corn meal keeps the crust from sticking.
    Pre baking is the secret though.

  132. Kat says:

    I’m not much of a cook, ok I can’t cook, but this definitely looks doable! I kinda made cookies the other day so I feel like I could do this. And…surprisingly…I have all the ingredients (and I’m a broke college student!) Thanks Trent!

  133. geekraver says:

    For sauce I use a can of fire roasted tomatoes, blended with a dash of salt, some herbs, a bit of fresh crushed garlic, and some red wine vinegar. Takes a couple of minutes to make and it is great.

    For cooking the pizza itself though, I highly recommend using a pizza stone rather than a cookie sheet.

  134. Doctor S says:

    I been making my own homemade pizza for a long time, my dad used to work in a shop when he was younger! It is a great meal, a fun activity, and a frugal method! Great post!

  135. La casalinga says:

    Voi americani non capite una sega di come si fa la pizza… fatevelo dire…

  136. Fatty says:

    It might not help me lose some weight, but I’ll give it a try, anyway. Thanks for the great recipe!

  137. kat says:

    Thanks for this, Trent! I tried it with my BF and roommate this weekend and it was fun, though the results were only mediocre. (The dough didn’t rise as much as it should’ve for some mysterious reason… I don’t understand yeast. :/)

    We’re going to experiment with our ingredients/process and hopefully make better pizzas in the future. :)

  138. Shannon says:

    I sat down and figured out how much it costs to make just a pizza crust and it is very inexpensive.

    I make pizza every Friday night. I’ve also used this crust recipe for calzones. For extra flavor sometimes I add 1/2 a tomato bouillon cube (adds 4 cents to price.)

    Here’s the recipe I use:

    Pizza Crust (51 cents for a 14″ crust):

    1/2 cup water (free)

    1 tablespoon vegetable oil (.05)

    1 teaspoon vinegar (.05)

    1/2 teaspoon salt (.01)

    1 tablespoon white sugar (.01)

    1/4 cup milk (.06)

    2 1/4 cups flour (.18)

    1 teaspoon active dry yeast (.15)

    Place ingredients in order listed in a bread machine and use the dough cycle.

    When dough cycle is done place pizza stone in oven and preheat to 450 degrees.

    Form the crust and prebake on pizza stone for 5 minutes.

    Remove prebaked crust from oven and place the toppings on the crust.

    Bake at 450 degrees for an additional 5 – 10 minutes.

  139. PBreen says:

    Great post. Been meaning to do this for years. (We’ve actually had a pizza stone for at least a decade!)

    Nancy, not to be a jerk, but WADR New Haven isn’t really a New York suburb.

  140. Carl says:

    I like a thicker crust, so I usually add more flour (general purpose flour) and water for that thicker crust. I also add a tablespoon of sugar to the warm water and yeast and allow the yeast to brew about 15 minutes before adding to the flour mixture and oil.

    Another thing I do since I like the thicker, chewier crust, is I often put down a layer of cheese next to the crust. This partially melts into the top layer of the crust, both adding to the flavor and the chewiness (is that a word?)

    I have been making my own homemade pizza for about 30 years.

  141. Equalknight says:

    Hi Jon, all is good! Love, peace and PIZZAAAAAAA
    You are very nice for replying and that shows you are a very good guy – sorry if I read u wrong!

  142. drew says:

    Awesome and incredibly easy recipe. Made it with beer, and the crust was incredible. Only thing I would do differently is perhaps put some olive oil on the crust before putting on the toppings to crisp it just a bit more. Thanks!

  143. Amber says:

    I made this pizza tonight and it was FANTASTIC. Boyfriend and I have very different views on what should go on pizza so this actually saves us from buying TWO. I couldn’t be more pleased with myself and the recipe. I’ll have to try the beer crust next time. Sky’s the limit, as far as I’m concerned. Thank you!

  144. Rebecca says:

    I started making “homemade” pizza about a month ago…couldn’t afford the Schwan’s anymore. I’ve been buying one roll of storebrand pizza crust in the can (about $1.50, one can of tomatoe sauce, .50 seasoning for sauce in pantry, 1/2 bag of cheese, $1.00. I then throw lunch meat or some type of leaftovers on one side. The kids think it great and we’ve had pizza for $3.

    Now I’ll have to try the homemade dough and see if I can get the cost down even more. Thanks, great post.

  145. Sherie says:

    We buy our dough from the local pizza place and cook it on the grill. You throw it on for a couple of minutes, until one side is a little brown. Take it off the grill and put the cooked side up on a cookie sheet…make sure the sheet is oiled and then put your toppings on the cooked side. Slide the pizza back off the cookie sheet onto your well oiled grill, close the grates and the lid and cook over medium low heat for about 10 minutes. It’s SO much better than any homemade pizza in the oven. W/ summer on the way, it’s the perfect friday evening…just sit out on the deck w/ a bottle of vino and wait for your pizza to grill!

  146. corina says:

    We had a great time making this with my family.
    Variation: We used the beer instead of water and did a 1/3 part whole wheat flour and it was awesome! We stuck left overs in the fridge and reheated on the skillet 2 days later and it was still great! So easy to make!!

  147. Chris says:

    I followed these instructions last night. It was really easy, cheap and quick. I learnt that hand kneeding is much easier and quicker than using the machine. Watered down tomoto paste worked a treat too. I had it for dinner with my wife, and we had 5 friends over who had a couple of peices each, using the same amounts specified in this recipe. It was very popular.

  148. Kasandra says:

    What a great post and thanks to everyone for their ideas! One sauce we love (not as healthy but put lots of vegetables on it, lol) is called Tomato Basil pizza. The sauce calls for:
    2c. shredded mozzarella cheese
    1/4 cup parmesan cheese
    2 tsp basil
    2/3 cup mayonnaise
    1 garlic clove crushed

    Mix all these together and put on pizza crust. Add 4 sliced roma tomatoes on top (and whatever other vegetable you want, I sometimes add chicken if I have it).
    My kids absolutely LOVE this pizza and it never lasts long.
    Happy PIZZA night!

  149. Abi says:

    I made your pizza recipe this weekend! It was awesome! By far my favorite pizza in a long time and I can’t wait to make it again w/ different toppings.


  150. Tina says:

    I just made this tonight and it turned out great! I felt like Tom Hanks in ‘Castaway’ when he made fire. I made Pizza!!
    I used a cup of beer for the crust and it did turn out very flavorful.

  151. Jules says:

    So simple, even I can do it! I even have photos as evidence. :D



  152. Lisa W. says:

    Love the recipe, thank you! I posted a link and a review to my blog, devilsworkshopcrafts.blogspot.com.

  153. Jenna says:

    I’ve never had trouble with dough. I always use the recipe here: http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/001506.html.

    I don’t have a pizza stone yet so I cook them on a cookie sheet turned upside down. works fine, dough gets crisp. for toppings, experiment with whatever toppings you have in the house. I like a blue cheese, fennel, turkey bacon combo on a thin base of apricot chutney.

  154. I’ve started doing this, thanks for the idea. I got a pizza stone, and since I don’t have a mixer I just bought the pizza dough from Bertucci’s (about $3 each small pizza). It’s been yummy so far. I’m planning on getting on Craigslist a small-loaf bread maker, which according to Amazon comments can be used to make pizza dough too. Thanks for the post! (see, you wrote this in March, I didn’t get around to doing it for over a month… you plant seeds in our minds, you know!)

  155. Ram says:

    @Kara, @ChrisD, @honestb, @Karin, @Trent
    Thank you so much for tips around no-salt recipe. We tried a few weeks ago and turned out great. I have posted my changes and pictures here

  156. J. says:

    The biggest thing you can do to keep the cost of the pizza down is to buy yeast in bulk. Either go to a health-food store or to a warehouse store- just be sure to follow the storage instructions. Sam’s Club sells yeast for 2 lbs for $5- even if you have to throw away half of it, you still save a ton of money over grocery store prices. Cheese can also be bought in bulk and frozen. I also buy canned tomatoes and paste in bulk and make a three-month supply at once to store in the freezer- saves time as well as money. Finally, buying generic flour in 10 or 25 pound bags, depending on your needs, also saves money.

  157. Palomita says:

    I made this pizza for a party this past saturday :) it was delicious! It was the first food item to go. The beer in the pizza is a great touch. Next time I might try motzarella/tomato/basil leaves toppings :d mmm! <3

  158. MP says:

    I make my own because it tastes better and is better for you.

  159. Sarah W. says:

    I use whole wheat flour for my crusts.

    but when i’m lazy, I rely on Trader Joe’s 99 cent refrigerated whole wheat dough :)

  160. firefly says:

    As an experienced dough maker I will tell you that warm tap water is all that is needed, microwaving water is never applied in pizzerias. And par-baking the crust for a few minutes before adding sauce and toppings is an excellent way to get great pizza at home. I always cook at at least 500 degrees and preferably 550 because that’s what most pizza places cook at.

  161. FoodieMom says:

    Great recipe! I have worked at a local Papa Murphy’s for the last 2 years and I have picked up some tips for some great pizza. Say what you will about PM pizza, but their crust is awesome in my opinion, and I’ve learned a lot about topping preparation. They put the maximum amount of everything possible on their pizzas and have a system worked to make sure that, although their supreme is mounded over with meats and veggies, the pizza is not too “soupy” after baking. First, this is decent dough, but letting it slowly rise overnight in the fridge is a VERY GOOD thing. This period of slow yeast activation allows the dough to develop a much better flavor than mixing the dough and baking with it in the same day. Trust me, it’s worth the wait! Second, at work we chop all of our veggies the day before using so that we can air chill them overnight. This means that your mushrooms, peppers, onions, etc. will retain all their flavor while contributing MUCH less water to the finished product. Anyway, happy pizza making! Or, if you’re pressed for time, come see us at Papa Murphy’s!

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