baked home made Italian pizza dough

Making pizza dough is not as difficult as I once thought.  I have a cousin who owned a pizzeria that was able to whip up a delicious pizza in pretty much no time at all when we’d go for a visit. Once I made it a couple of times I realised there’s really nothing to making pizza dough at all.  This recipe needs 1-2 hours to rise. As for toppings, I’ll leave that up to you.

Additional uses for home made pizza dough:

Cheesy bread sticks, quick focaccia, garlic bread.

Here are some pizza dough topping ideas:

green peppers
Kalamata olives
green olives
Jalapeno peppers
Hot peppers
Caramelized Onions
Ground beef
Cheese Toppings:

Why is there less yeast than most other pizza dough recipes?

I find that too much yeast gives the dough a yeasty taste. But the dough will rise quicker with a bit more yeast. A longer rise with less yeast makes for a tastier crust. Putting 2 teaspoons of yeast into this recipe will still be great and the crust will rise quicker.

Why put sugar?

Home ovens bake pizza differently than a professional oven. The professional ovens bake at a much higher heat and can brown a pizza crust easily. A little sugar helps to brown a crust at a lower temperature and also helps activate the yeast.

Can I use a rolling pin?

The best way to flatten out your dough is pressing it out with your fingers and gently stretching to preserve some air bubbles from the rise. Using a rolling pin will push out the air and most likely result in a cardboard crust.

Best temperature for baking pizza

High heat is best. You want your oven preheated to about 450°F with a pizza stone on the bottom rack. High heat gives pizza a crispy outer crust and a soft and tender inside. Heat the pizza stone while the oven is heating, or a cold pizza stone will likely crack if you place it in a hot oven. Having a hot stone to place the pizza on will help give it a crispy bottom crust.


A pizza lifter or pizza peel is very useful for moving pizza in and out of an oven. Parchment paper under the pizza helps also. Parchment can withstand high temps for the time it takes to cook the pizza. Once the pizza crust starts to firm up the parchment can be slid out from under the dough, useful tip if barbecuing your pizza on a preheated pizza stone.

Basic Pizza Dough

Prep Time2 hours
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time2 hours
Course: Dinner, lunch, Snack
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: pizza dough recipe, thick crust pizza, thin crust pizza


  • 1 ½ teaspoon instant dry yeast
  • 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 ¼ cups warm water, not hot
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour for dusting the counter
  • 1 teaspoon sugar for crispier crust


  • Combine yeast, warm water, salt, and oil in a bowl and stir with a fork. Slowly add flour a little at a time and continue to mix until it starts to form a ball. Don't add all the flour at once. Knead directly in the bowl and keep adding flour if dough is too sticky. Some flour may be left over. We are aiming for a somewhat moist dough at this point. When the dough is smooth, but not hard and dry, lightly pat the dough on top with a little more olive oil then cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let it rise in a warm place for 1 – 2 hours.
  • When dough has doubled in size, remove from bowl onto a floured surface. Use half of the dough and flatten with fingers into a somewhat round shape. Dough can be made with a thick or thin crust. If flattened dough is left to rest before baking, it will start rising again which will result in a nice puffier crust.
  • Top with any choice of toppings.
  • For the pizza in the picture I used salsa and mozzarella cheese and topped with chili pepper flakes.
  • Place pizza on a parchment lined cookie sheet, or preheat a pizza stone in the oven. I highly recommend the pizza stone. Bake on the lowest rack of the oven to lightly brown bottom.
  • Bake at 450°F for about 10 – 12 minutes.
pizza dough with toppings

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