Does handmade pizza dough just seem like too much work? Here’s our favorite rustic pizza crust recipe – and how to turn it into an easy weeknight meal. This has been our go-to homemade pizza dough recipe for years.
Originally published in 2012; this post has been updated.
Homemade Rustic Pizza Crust
I have two teenage boys. Scratch that. Now I have two full-grown adults. Still, in their perfect world, they would eat pizza every single day. Happily, I have perfected a method of making homemade pizza crust – with homemade dough – that eliminates the takeout boxes (and the takeout expense) that’s easy enough for busy weeknights. Sorry, Domino’s!
This rustic crust pizza calls for simple ingredients and yields a somewhat chewy crust that’s crispy on the edges. We like to roll the dough out to make a thin crust pizza, but if you prefer a thicker crust, you can adjust that during the rolling process.
This homemade pizza dough recipe makes about a dozen individual sized pizza rounds (8-10″ diameter) when rolled out thinly. I like to stir in a bit of Italian seasoning or dried basil to give the crust a bit more flavor.
Flour — When I bake with all-purpose flour I opt for the unbleached version. Bleached flour is very white, but it’s also treated with bleaching agents that I don’t really need in my food. You can replace up to half of the all purpose flour with whole wheat flour if you prefer.
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Sugar — Adding a little bit of sugar helps to create a tender dough. Use your favorite brand of granulated cane sugar. I prefer organic.
Active Dry Yeast — This is the ingredient that gives the this rustic pizza crust a little loft. Those air bubbles in the dough are thanks to yeast. [Read more about using yeast in recipes here.]
Olive oil — Use a good quality extra virgin olive oil. The recipe doesn’t call for much, but the flavor of the oil will shine through.
Making this Pizza Dough
People who have never made a yeast dough tend to think it’s difficult. Please do not be afraid of yeast dough. This is easy stuff. You mix it, you roll it, you bake it. Totally doable.
Combine all of the ingredients except the flour in a large bowl (or the bowl for your stand mixer). Let this mixture sit for five minutes or so to let the yeast proof. You’ll see the liquid begin to bubble as the yeast starts to work.
Stir in the flour. You can do this with a sturdy wooden spoon or let your stand mixer do the work with its dough hook.
If you’re making this dough by hand: When the dough starts to get too stiff to stir with the spoon, put the dough on a floured flat surface and use your hands to knead the dough until it’s well combined and smooth on its surface.
In the mixer: Let the dough mix until it begins to form a mass and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. The dough should feel tacky to the touch, but not stick to your fingers. If it’s too sticky, add a little flour at a time.
Letting the Pizza Dough Rise
There are (again) two ways you can do this. One, let the entire batch of dough rise at once, or two, divide the dough into balls and allow those to rise individually.
To rise the dough in a bowl, grease a large bowl and transfer the dough ball into it, flipping it over once to coat the dough. This prevents sticking.
To rise individually, divide the dough and set balls of dough on a lightly floured baking sheet.
Making the Pizza Crust
Decide if you’d like two make two large pizzas or 10-12 smaller individual sized pizzas; divide the dough accordingly.
Place the dough on a Silpat baking mat or parchment paper. Press the dough into a flat disc with your hands. Drizzle the dough with a bit of olive oil and continue using your lightly oiled hands to press the dough into a round.
Alternatively, for a thin pizza crust, use a rolling pin. Instead of drizzling with oil, sprinkle the dough with flour to prevent sticking. Use the rolling pin to form the dough into a round 1/8″ thick.
Ready-to-Use Pizza Crusts
By par baking this homemade pizza dough recipe and then freezing the ready-to-assemble rounds, pizza is perfect for the last minute dinner emergencies that seem to happen with regularity around here.
Yep, THIS is my secret to making homemade pizza a possibility on busy weeknights!
How to Par Bake the Dough
There are two ways to par bake the dough. The first, which is actually baked, is to do it in the oven.
If you use a baking stone, put it in the oven and heat it to 400ºF. Slide each dough round onto the hot stone and cook for 5 minutes or so. The edges may begin to turn to a light golden brown. You can also just put the dough on a pizza pan or cookie sheet and transfer it to the oven.
Another way to do it is on the stovetop, on a hot griddle or cast iron frying pan. Again, heat the griddle and transfer the dough to the hot surface. Cook for about three minutes, then flip the dough over.
Top the dough immediately with your favorite pizza sauce and toppings, or transfer par baked dough onto a wire rack to cool.
Store the ready-to-use dough rounds in the freezer.
Homemade weeknight pizza
It takes about 15 minutes to mix the dough in my KitchenAid mixer and just under half an hour to prepare 10-12 rounds.
My family will eat about half of those in one sitting, so I generally do a double batch of dough (see notes below). We usually have pizza the same day I make the rounds, plus put enough dough in the freezer for three more pizza nights.
For roughly an hour’s worth of work, I’m set for four different meals – all I have to do to pull it together is corral my boys in the kitchen to chop toppings.
You can also use this recipe to make up a delicious hummus pizza flatbread!
★ Did you make this homemade pizza dough recipe? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below!
- 1 1/2 cups warm water, (120-130 degrees)
- 2 tablespoons granulated organic cane sugar
- 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast, (purchased in bulk OR 1 envelope)
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- 4 cups unbleached organic all-purpose flour, (can substitute up to 2 cups with wheat or spelt flour if you like)
Make the pizza dough:
- In a mixer: Mix together all ingredients except the flour in the bowl of your mixer. Let sit for five minutes to let the yeast start to work. Add flour and mix, using the dough hook. The dough will come together to form a ball and pull away from the side of the bowl. It should feel tacky, but not stick to your fingers.
- By hand: Mix all of the ingredients except the flour in a large bowl. Let sit for five minutes to let the yeast start to work. Add flour and mix, using a heavy wooden spoon. When the dough starts to get too stiff to stir with the spoon, put the dough on a floured flat surface and use your hands to work the dough into a nice ball. Add a sprinkling of flour if the dough gets terribly sticky.
- Set the dough aside to rise for 45 minutes or so. To rise the dough in a bowl, grease a large bowl and transfer the dough into it, flipping it over once to coat the dough. This prevents sticking. To rise individually, divide the dough into portions (this recipe will make 10-12 individual rounds) and set balls of dough on a lightly floured baking sheet.
Roll the dough:
- Divide dough in half and transfer dough to a Silpat baking mat or parchment paper. Press the dough into a flat disc with your hands. Drizzle the dough with a bit of olive oil and continue using your hands to press the dough into a round.
- Alternatively, for a really thin pizza crust, sprinkle flour on a smooth rolling surface. Pull off a piece of dough larger than the size of a golf ball, but smaller than the size of a tennis ball. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough out on your floured surface, creating a nice thin round. Turn the dough over frequently as you roll, adding more flour as necessary to prevent sticking. Add about a tablespoon of flour to your surface for each new ball of dough.
Par bake the dough (this is the secret to making it FAST):
- When the dough is rolled to the desired size and thickness, transfer it to a hot griddle or cast iron frying pan (dry, no oil). Cook for a minute or two, until bubbles start to form on the surface. Flip (I use my hands) and cook the second side for another minute. Alternatively, bake in a 400ºF oven for about five minutes, until the dough begins to get a bit puffy and lightly browned.
- Cool on a wire rack.
- At this point, you can either proceed with making pizza or -- here's my hot tip -- stack the precooked dough rounds and freeze for later. Having par-baked pizza dough in the freezer means it's probably just as quick to bake your own as it would be to head out for takeout.
Make the pizza:
- Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. If you have a pizza stone, put it in the oven as it heats. You want them nice and hot, so you'll get a crispy crust.
- Top the precooked pizza dough with pizza sauce (perhaps homemade from your garden?), cheese, and toppings, then slide it onto the hot pizza stone. If you're not using a stone, just make your pizza(s) on a cookie sheet and put them in the hot oven. Bake for 8-10 minutes.
**To make a double batch, measure the ingredients for a single batch except for the flour into your mixing bowl. At the same time, measure the same ingredients into another bowl. (A mixer won't accommodate a double batch all at once. Probably, your arm and a wooden spoon won't either.) Add the flour to the mixing bowl and mix as directed above. Once the dough is complete, transfer it to an oiled bowl. Pour the extra bowl of measured ingredients into the mixing bowl (and goodness, don't worry about washing the mixing bowl!) and add flour. Mix as directed above.
Nutrition information is for one entire 6-8" pizza crust.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1 grams
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 375Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 0gSodium: 395mgCarbohydrates: 70gFiber: 4gSugar: 4gProtein: 10g