Everything you need to learn how to make the BEST Homemade Pizza. Making Pizza at home is actually pretty simple once you know the elements of good pizza like ingredients and a super hot oven!
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How to Make the Best Pizza at Home
Pizza at home doesn’t have be hard, it can seem a little intimidating if you haven’t made it before but once it is broken down into the different elements pizza becomes an easy family dinner option.
There are a few elements that can help you make the best pizza at home. So in this post I will walk you through those.
I try to include as many tips as possible for making homemade pizza. I also include how to make the best pizza at home if you have all the special equipment or if you don’t!
Pretty soon you won’t even think about ordering out anymore because it will become so easy to make at home.
The Elements of making good Pizza at Home
There are a few elements that can make a difference in your homemade pizza, some are super simple, some require a little more effort (like buying stuff). The following are some of those elements that can make a difference.
- Ingredients – Good dough, sauce, and cheese.
- Hot Oven – Turn that baby up, you will want it at least at 450ºF.
- Special Equipment – Pizza Stone, Pizza Peel, & Pizza wheel/cutter. These help make a better pizza, for example the pizza stone will give that crispy crust whereas a sheet pan might not, more on that below. But with that being said it is not necessary if you don’t have it!
Pizza Making Supplies & What To Do If You Don’t Have Them
I am the type who doesn’t often tell people to buy things unless they really need it. So naturally I am going to say you don’t need special pizza making equipment, BUT if you are someone who enjoys pizza and plans on making it at home on the regular then I would high recommend getting items like a pizza stone and pizza peel.
So what are these so called special equipment for pizza?
- Pizza Stone – A pizza stone (also called a baking stone) is a large slab of usually stone or ceramic that gets preheated in the oven as a surface to cook the pizza on. The stone’s properties will absorb moisture from the food, aka give your pizza a crispy crust. Using a pizza stone will mimic the affect of a pizza being cooked in a brick oven. The pizza stone will work best when it is put in a cold oven then warmed up until hot. If you dislike soggy crust, this is a must have.
- Pizza Peel – A peel is a flat shovel shaped tool used in the kitchen to transfer baked goods to and from the oven, in this case pizza. Some of the main functions of a peel are to transfer delicate or hard to carry items (like a big pizza) and to keep hands out of the hottest part of the oven. You will want to keep a good dusting of cornmeal on the peel so your pizza can easily slide.
- Pizza Wheel – aka pizza cutter, the special tool you probably do have thanks to frozen pizza 😉
Like I noted before you don’t NEED these items, you can easily just use a sheet pan for the whole process. I have even included that process below.
If you are intent on making the best pizza at home get your hands on a pizza stone and pizza peel.
Ingredients (Way less then you would think!)
It is easy to think of pizza as over complicated but in reality it only has a few ingredients. Sure if you are making your own dough and sauce that might not be true but those are easy to make ahead of time so when it is time to get cooking you can. For pizza at home you need:
- Cornmeal – Cornmeal is simply for dusting the peel, stone, or sheet pan so the pizza doesn’t stick. It is a handy ingredient to have on hand in the pantry.
- Pizza Dough – You can use my recipe for Pizza Dough, this makes enough for two pizzas. In my Pizza Dough recipe post I go into detail on how to Make Ahead and Freeze the dough for your convince. You can also get dough at your nearest grocery store or even local pizza shop. If you get a refrigerated dough from one of these places let the dough come back to room temperature before you start cooking.
- Pizza Sauce – Again you can use my recipe for 5 Minute Pizza Sauce. Or feel free to grab a jar at the store.
- Mozzarella Cheese – I highly recommend grabbing a block of low-moisture mozzarella cheese. This cheese usually comes in a little square block, half the block works for one pizza. This cheese is a little hard to grate, but it melts incredibly well.
- Toppings! – Whatever you want really! If you are just a pepperoni family go with that, if you like a lot more go crazy! We tend to typically do pepperoni and olives at our house. My only word to the wise is to not overload the pizza to the point that it will get heavy in the center and make it soggy.
For a complete detailed list of the ingredients continue towards the bottom of the page.
Preparing the Pizza
I include two ways. First up how to make pizza with a pizza stone. Then I will go though and give advise for making it on a sheet pan.
When using a pizza stone add it to the middle rack of the cold oven. Preheat oven to 450ºF. You will want to give the oven plenty of time to come to temperature and give the stone time to really get hot. Luckily it does take a few minutes to prepare the pizza.
To start making your pizza roll/stretch out the dough on a clean and well floured surface. If dough starts to get a little sticky sprinkle more flour.
If you are just starting out it might be easiest to use a rolling pin to assist you. If you are looking to hand toss the pizza a good trick to start is to make fists with both of your hands, keep both of your hands on the outer edge of the dough and gently pull your fists apart a few inches and then shimmy them over and back together, inching around the dough until a circle takes shape. As another option is on a well floured surface you can also gently use your fingers pushing the dough into place.
Once the crust is formed sprinkle about half the cornmeal onto the pizza peel, enough to lightly cover it. The other half will go on the pizza stone right before you put the pizza on it.
Lay the shaped dough overtop the corn meal on the pizza peel. At this point I like to give the peel a little shake to make sure the pizza isn’t sticking and will slide off onto the stone when the time comes.
Using the back of a spoon spread the sauce evenly over the center of the pizza, leaving just a little crust space. Don’t over sauce your pizza or it might get soggy, you may not use all your pizza sauce.
Next add the cheese in a single layer covering the sauce. Add all your favorite toppings, but be cautious not to add too much so that it gets too heavy.
Toss some of the cornmeal onto the pizza stone. With much caution gently shake the pizza off of the pizza peel and onto the pizza stone.
Cook 10-12 minutes until the cheese on the pizza is melted and starting to turn golden brown. Carefully remove from oven. Transfer to a cutting board, let rest for at least one minute then cut it and enjoy! Repeat process for more pizzas!
Making a Pizza on a Sheet Pan
Not a lot of different steps but here are somethings to note.
First off you will need to pay attention to the shape of your pizza, make sure it is more of an oval/rectangle shape so it can fit on the pan.
Once you are done stretching the pizza dough into shape. You will lightly coat the sheet pan with cornmeal before adding the dough.
Add the dough to the sheet pan and proceed with adding the sauce, cheese, and toppings.
Transfer the sheet pan to the oven and cook 10-12 minutes.
It really isn’t that different right!?
Tips, Trick, & Questions
I don’t have cornmeal, what else can I use?
If that happens no fear I would recommend using parchment paper under the pizza for cooking, this will keep the pizza from sticking just like the cornmeal.
How do you make leftover pizza crispy again?
Great question, use the stone! Sure it isn’t going to be as fast as a microwave but a big plus of having a pizza stone is that it can bring leftover pizza back into a delicious meal almost as good as it is fresh baked.
Place as much pizza as you can fit onto a pizza stone. Place the stone with cold pizza into the oven. Bring oven to 350ºF.
Keep and eye on the oven because reheat can differ with the size of the slices and how much you put in but it should only take about 10 minutes!
Some Pizza Recipes to Try!
- How to make the BEST Grill Pizza at Home
- Weeknight Personal Pizza Recipe
- Pesto Pizza with Prosciutto, Tomatoes, & Mozzarella
- How to make Heart Shaped Pizza with Cheese Stuffed Crust
- Loaded BBQ Chicken Pizza
- Cheesy Buffalo Chicken Pizza
- If using* a pizza stone add it to the middle rack of the oven to heat up. Preheat oven to 450ºF.
- On a floured surface stretch/roll out the pizza dough into a large circle. If dough starts to get a little sticky sprinkle more flour. If you are just starting out it might be easiest to use a rolling pin to assist you. If you are looking to hand toss the pizza a good trick to start is to make fists with both of your hands, keep both of your hands on the outer edge of the dough and gently pull your fists apart a few inches and then shimmy them over and back together, inching around the dough until a circle takes shape. Another option is on a well floured surface you can also gently use your fingers pulling the dough into place.
- Once crust is formed sprinkle about half the cornmeal onto the pizza peel. The other half will go on the pizza stone right before you put the pizza on it.
- Lay the dough overtop the corn meal on the pizza peel. I like to give the peel a little shake to make sure the pizza isn't sticking and will slide off when the time comes.
- Using the back of a spoon spread the sauce evenly over the center of the pizza, leaving just a little crust space. Don't over sauce, your pizza might get soggy. You may not use all your pizza sauce.
- Next add the cheese in a single layer covering the sauce. Add all your favorite toppings, but be cautious not to add so much that it gets heavy.
- Add the cornmeal to the pizza stone. With much caution gently shake the pizza off of the pizza peel and onto the pizza stone.
- Cook 10-12 minutes until the cheese on the pizza is melted and starting to turn golden brown. Carefully remove from oven. Transfer to a cutting board, let rest for at least a minute then cut it and enjoy! Repeat process for more pizzas.
*If you do not have a pizza stone or pizza peel follow the directions above for making the pizza on a sheet pan.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 2 slices
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 250Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 45mgSodium: 603mgCarbohydrates: 16gFiber: 2gSugar: 3gProtein: 15g
Nutritional data is automated, final nutritional information will depend on ingredients used and any changes made.
Peace & Love
Lauren, The Schmidty Wife