This easy homemade pizza recipe, includes a pizza dough recipe, topping suggestions and even freezing instructions. Use this recipe to make family size pizzas, individual pizzas, or calzones. It’s a super versatile recipe.
Pizza crust is a great recipe for beginner bread bakers because it’s very forgiving. This recipe will result in soft chewy crust, although if you roll it out thinner you can get a thin crunchy crust…like I said, it’s super versatile.
Family Pizza Night
Traditions are a funny thing. Some you take from your childhood and incorporate them into your family, some you get from other people and you tweak them to fit your family and some just kind of happen.
It’s the last kind that to me are the most organic and meaningful for our family. They are the ones that we didn’t plan or dream up. We did it once and it just fit so we do it over and over again and before we know it, it is a tradition.
Every week on Friday nights we have homemade pizza- it’s a tradition. It’s something we all look forward to, it’s a fun way to end the work week and begin the weekend.
We’ve been doing this for over 20 years, some weeks we aren’t able to have it on Friday so we schedule it for Saturday or Sunday. It’s one of the little but meaningful things we do in our home.
Some weeks we have a small crowd and make a single batch of pizza dough and some weeks we have a large crowd and make a double batch of dough. We make individual pizzas so everyone gets to top their own and decide how big they want their pizza to be.
Ingredients for the Pizza Dough
Flour – while most bakers say that you should use bread flour for yeasted breads, I don’t ever buy bread flour, so we use all-purpose flour or freshly ground whole wheat flour – or a combination of them. It just depends on who is make the dough and what they decide to do.
Yeast – I usually use Red Star or Saf Instant Yeast but whatever yeast you have will work. Just make sure it’s not expired. I buy yeast in the 1 pound block and store it in the freezer to keep it fresh.
Water – I use hot tap water but if you’re tap isn’t very hot you’ll want to heat your water up. Ideally you’ll want it to be about 110F. Just be sure not to use water that is over 130F or it will kill the yeast.
Sugar – there is a small amount of sugar in this recipe. The sugar feeds the yeast and helps the dough rise. You can use honey if you prefer.
Olive Oil – the olive oil in the pizza dough gives the dough some flavor and helps the crust remain soft. You’ll also use the oil to oil the bowl, the pans or skillets,. If you don’t par bake the crusts, I suggest oiling it with olive oil before you add the toppings to help keep it from getting soggy.
Salt – The salt adds some flavor to the dough. We often forget to add salt and the recipe still tastes great.
Garlic Powder – The garlic powder adds some flavor to the dough without it being overwhelming. You can add other dried herbs if you prefer.
How to Make Homemade Pizza
- Make the dough according to the directions below.
- When the dough has risen for about 30 minutes preheat oven to 425F
- Get the toppings ready by opening jars of sauce, chopping any vegetables, and grating cheese.
- Oil the pizza pans so the pizzas won’t stick.
- Punch down the dough and divide it. This pizza dough recipe will make 2 large pizzas or 7 individual pizzas.
- Roll out the dough. We roll it out in the pan with a small rolling pin or by pressing it out with our hands.
- Par bake the pizza crust for 5 minutes or lightly oil the crust with olive oil.
- Top the pizza with your favorite toppings
- Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly, the pepperoni starts to curl, and the crust is brown.
- Remove from the oven and cut into slices.
Toppings for Homemade Pizza
In our home, I try to keep whatever people like on their pizza on hand. We don’t always have everything but I do try to have the most important things. Here are some of the things we’ll put on our pizzas (this is why we do individual ones)
Cheeses – mozzarella, parmesan, feta
Meats – pepperoni, ground sausage or hamburger, shrimp, chicken
Vegetables and fruit – onions, green onions, tomatoes, black olives, mushrooms, fermented peppers, tomatoes, pineapple, zucchini or yellow squash, fresh basil
Freezing Pizza Dough
Rarely do we make the exact amount of pizza dough for the number of people for pizza night. When we have leftover dough I make individual pizza crusts and freeze them.
There are nights when I just put the leftover dough in a freezer bag that I’ve oiled with olive oil. I remove all the air, seal the bag and toss it in the freezer. This is definitely works but isn’t as convenient as freezing par baked pizza crusts.
To freeze pizza crusts follow the pizza dough recipe below including par baking the pizza crusts. Let them cool completely. You can lay out the cooled pizza crusts on a baking sheet and freeze them. Once they are frozen they can be put in a freezer bag and put back in the freezer. This will keep the crusts from sticking together.
If you’re pressed for time, you can put a piece of parchment paper between the cooled crusts and put them in a freezer bag instead of freezing them on a baking sheet first. Or you can do what we do, just put the cooled crusts in a freezer, remove the air, and toss it in the freezer. Sometimes they stick a little but not enjoy for me to go to the extra effort to make sure there’s no sticking.
How to Defrost Frozen Pizza Dough
If you froze raw dough, the best way to thaw it is to put the bag on a plate on the counter and let it thaw at room temperature. Depending on how much frozen pizza dough there is it could take an hour or two to completely thaw. It will rise during this time and that’s totally fine. It will still rise after it’s been rolled out and baked.
If you froze pizza crusts, you can thaw them by putting them on a plate on the counter at room temperature. Or you can defrost them for a few minutes in the microwave or in the oven at 400F. If we have quite a few we use the oven but if my kids are making a pizza for a snack they’ll just do it all in the microwave.
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- 1 Tbsp. yeast
- 1 tsp. sugar (or honey)
- 2 cups warm water
- 5 1/2 cups flour (I use freshly ground whole wheat)
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 2 tsp. salt
- 1 Tbsp. garlic powder
- Combine yeast,sugar and warm water. Let stand for 5 minutes.
- Stir in 2 cups flour, olive oil, salt and garlic powder. Stir in as much remaining flour as possible.
- Knead in remaining flour until dough is smooth and elastic. (if using an electric mixer, knead with dough hook for about 8 minutes)
- Shape into a ball, place in a greased bowl. Cover and let rise for 40 minutes or until double.
- Punch dough down.
- Divide for individual pizzas or make 2 large ones. Par bake at 425 degrees for approx. 5 minutes. Remove from oven, top with toppings and bake until cheese is bubbly about 10 minutes
This recipe will make 2 large pizzas or 7 individual pizzas.
Favorite toppings: basil pesto, red sauce, alfredo sauce, tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, black olives, peppers, spinach, cheese, pepperoni, canned pineapple and even a little cayenne pepper.
To Freeze: I like to par bake individual pizza crusts and then let them cool. Once they're completely cooled, put into a freezer bag and freeze. You can put a piece of parchment paper between the crusts to keep them from sticking together.