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Perfect Pizza Dough

Your search for the perfect Pizza dough recipe stops here! This easy Homemade Pizza Dough recipe is EVERYONE’s favorite – just read the reviews! It creates soft, FLAVORFUL pizza crust every time perfect for whatever type of pizza you’re making. I’ve included step by step photos of how to make pizza dough in the post and the notes include how to make ahead and how to freeze. So, skip delivery because you will never want to sink your teeth into another crust again!
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 2 hours 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 25 minutes
Servings 2 12" pizza crusts or 3 12" thin crusts


  • 1 1/2 cups warm water (105-110 degrees)
  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (plus more as needed)
  • Olive oil/nonstick cooking spray
  • Garlic salt
  • cornmeal

Topping Ideas

  • 6 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese (not packed in water) cut into 1/2-inch cubes or 1 cup freshly grated mozzarella
  • 1/2 cup pizza sauce <–click link for recipe


  • In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer (preferred), stir in water, sugar and yeast. Let sit 5-10 minutes or until the yeast is foamy and dissolved. Add olive oil, salt, and 1 1/2 cups flour and mix until combined with your hook attachment (or with a wooden spoon if not using a mixer).
  • Gradually mix in 2 more cups of flour until dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl. If your dough is too wet, add one tablespoon of flour at a time (up to 1/4 cup, more humid areas will need more flour) until dough barely sticks to your fingers. Once dough has pulled away from the bowl, knead in mixer on medium-low speed or by hand for 5 minutes.
  • Shape the dough into a ball and place back into your large mixing bowl that has been coated lightly with olive oil or nonstick cooking spray. Turn dough over to coat all sides. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled in size, 1-2 hours.
  • Guestimating 15 minutes before your dough is ready, preheat your pizza stone or baking sheet in middle rack of your oven for 30-60 minutes at 475 degrees F FOR NORMAL PIZZA CRUST or 550 degrees F FOR THIN CRUST/MARGHERITA PIZZA:
  • After dough has doubled, remove from bowl and knead a couple times. FOR NORMAL PIZZA CRUST: Divide dough into two equal balls. FOR THIN CRUST/MARGHERITA PIZZA: Divide dough into three equal balls. Cover dough balls with plastic wrap followed by a towel for 15 minutes. You can freeze one of the balls at this point if desired.* Prep all of your pizza toppings while the dough rests so you can quickly assemble the pizza once the dough is added to the pizza stone/pan.
  • After dough has been resting 15 minutes, roll each dough ball out onto a lightly floured nonstick mat or parchment paper into a 12-inch round circle; set aside.
  • Carefully remove your pizza stone/baking pan from the oven. GENEROUSLY grease the entire surface of the pizza stone/baking pan with olive oil or with nonstick cooking spray. Sprinkle with cornmeal.
  • Transfer pizza dough to your prepared pizza stone/baking sheet then pinch edges to create a rimmed crust (if you have trouble transferring, you can place your entire piece of parchment paper on your stone/baking sheet and bake directly on your parchment paper). Tip: if the dough slides easily you are good to go - if not, you need more nonstick cooking spray and cornmeal.
  • Lightly brush the top of the crust with about 1 teaspoon olive oil and sprinkle with garlic salt. Using a fork, prick several holes in the crust. Add pizza sauce and desired toppings (see recipe if using).
  • FOR NORMAL PIZZA CRUST: Bake assembled pizza for 12 minutes at 475 F degrees then broil for 2 minutes or until cheese is golden. FOR THIN CRUST/MARGHERITA PIZZA: Bake at 550 degrees F for 8-10 minutes or until cheese is bubbling and crust is golden.


*may sub instant yeast but won't be quite as chewy or flavorful

How to Refrigerate pizza dough/Make Ahead

After the 2 balls of pizza dough have risen (Step 4), you can refrigerate 1 or both of the balls of dough.
  1. Tightly wrap dough balls in plastic wrap.
  2. Refrigerate for up to 2 days.  For best results, use pizza dough or freeze beyond that.
  3. When ready to use, unwrap the dough and place it on floured surface or parchment paper.
  4. Let the dough come to room temperature (about 30 minutes) before rolling out.


After the 2 balls of pizza dough have risen (Step 4), you can freeze 1 or both of the balls of dough.
  1. Lightly spray all sides of the dough balls with nonstick spray.
  2. Place the dough into separate ziploc bags, squeezing out any air.
  3. When ready to use, thaw dough in the refrigerator for about 12 hours.
  4. Bring to room temperature by placing on your counter for approximately 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat pizza stone/baking sheet as in Step 3, then skip to Step 5.

Tips and Tricks

  • Proof yeast:  Make sure you proof your yeast. You don’t want to go through all the work of making pizza dough only to find it doesn’t rise!
  • Use an instant read thermometer to that end, an instant read thermometer allows you to make sure the water is in that tight range of temperature needed to activate yeast.  This way you know that if the yeast doesn't activate then it's not the water - it's the yeast.
  • Use correct flour.  I don't recommend bleached flour.  Stick with unbleached flour because it has a denser grain and will provide more structure.
  • Add more flour.  The amount of flour can vary depending on humidity and elevation, so add enough flour a little at a time so it is tacky but not sticky.  Before you add more flout, keep in mind it will become less sticky the longer it is kneaded.
  • Flour hands.  When working with the dough, whether rolling, kneading or pinching the edges to form the crust, dip your hands in flour first to prevent them from sticking.
  • Dough should be tacky not sticky.  The dough is done kneading when it is tacky, meaning it's soft but bounces back when pressed with your finger.  If it's sticky, meaning, your fingers are still  covered in a fair bit of dough, knead on.
  • Use active dry yeast.   Allowing the pizza dough to rise slowly allows time for fermentation, which really develops flavor.
  • Brush crust with olive oil.  Don’t forget to brush the dough with extra virgin olive oil before adding the toppings because it prevents the crust from getting soggy.
  • Use fabulous pizza sauce! I like to use my own marinara or store-bought marinara with added Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes.
  • Use FRESHLY shredded cheese.  Pre-shredded cheeses contain anti-clumping chemicals which prevent the cheese from melting as easily.  More importantly, freshly grated tasted better!
  • Don't burn pizza. Watch the pizza carefully, especially once you start broiling. The pizza goes from almost done to too brown fairly quickly -so be careful!
  • Let pizza rest.  To avoid burning your mouth on lava hot sauce, let the finished pizza cool for at least 5-10 minutes before cutting and serving. You will taste the flavors better when pizza is cooled.