Best homemade pizza recipe – no pizza stone, no pizza oven, no problem!
Here’s the thing, I’m not a big fan of pizza. There, I said it.
There are two exceptions to this, I adore dollar slice New York pizza and I love my homemade pizza.
My homemade pizzas are rather simple and for me, that is the key to making perfect pizza each time. Keep it simple. Keep the ingredients to a minimum but make sure they are the best ingredients you can afford.
If homemade pizza is a real treat or luxury for you, then splash out on top-notch produce. However, if making pizza at home is a way for you to save money on takeout pizza, then just buy the products that save you the most money. You can always bump up the flavour with herbs and spices.
Dough, Sauce and Toppings, Oh My!
My best homemade pizza recipe goes through how I make my pizza dough from scratch, how I make pizza sauce from scratch and what pizza toppings work best. I also show you how to cook pizza without a pizza stone as well as how to cook pizza without a pizza oven. I don’t have either of these things and my pizza always turns out beautifully.
I’ll also share with you tips for how you keep your pizza base from getting soggy and how you make your pizza base crispy. Sound good? OK, let’s make some pizza.
First things first, I use a Kenwood Chef stand mixer to make my pizza dough. You absolutely do not knead (see what I did there?) a stand mixer to make pizza dough. You can make the pizza dough by hand. If you are making my best ever homemade pizza recipe by hand, have a read of my bread making tips and tricks blog post before you get started.
Best Homemade Pizza Recipe – The Pizza Dough
The quantities given make 800 grams of dough. I find this is enough dough for four small personal-size pizzas. However, if you do need to make more pizzas or you want to make bigger pizzas, the quantities can be multiplied. I often multiply the ingredients by 1.5 to make 1,250kg of dough. This much dough will make four thick-crust 10-12-inch pizzas.
Pizza Dough with Fresh Yeast
I make this recipe with both fresh yeast and the sachets of fast-action dried yeast. It just depends on what I have in my kitchen. As a rule of thumb, to work out how much fresh yeast you need, just multiply the fast-action dried yeast by 3. Therefore, 7 grams of fast-action dried yeast becomes 21 grams of fresh yeast. I find that fresh yeast adds flavour so if you add a little more, it really doesn’t matter.
Pizza Dough with Fast-Action Dried Yeast
If a recipe calls for fresh yeast and you want to work out the fast-action dried yeast equivalent just divide the amount by 3. So, instead of using 30 grams of fresh yeast, you use 10 grams of dry yeast. However, as most of the dried yeast is sold in 7g sachets, it is perfectly fine to use just one sachet of yeast rather than using one and a bit to get exactly 10g.
Homemade Pizza Dough Ingredients
500 grams of flour (I use plain all-purpose flour but you can use the fancy stuff if you have it)
1.5 tablespoons (21g) of salt
300-325ml of tepid water
1 (7g) sachet of dried fast-action yeast or 21g of fresh yeast
2 tablespoons (30ml) of olive oil
1 tablespoon (15g) of sugar (you can leave this out if you like but it can help to make the pizza base crispy)
Homemade Pizza Dough Method
Sieve the flour and salt into a large bowl.
In a jug mix 300ml of the water with the yeast, oil and sugar (if using). Let this is sit of a few minutes.
Making Pizza Dough by Hand with No Mixer
Make a well in the centre of the flour and gently pour in the water.
Use a fork and gently move the flour from the sides into the water and swirl it around. Keep mixing like this until it starts to come together.
Then mix the dough with your hands to work in any remaining flour.
If it is looking a little dry, add some more water. I always try to make a sticky but not wet dough.
Dust your work surface with some flour and dust your hands too.
Put the dough on the floured-surface and knead until you have a smooth, springy dough.
Making Pizza Dough Using A Stand Mixer
Fix the dough hook to the stand mixer and the splash guard (the Kenwood Chef has a very handy splash guard).
Sieve the flour and the salt into your stand mixer bowl.
In a jug mix 300ml of the water with the yeast, oil and sugar (if using). Let this is sit of a few minutes.
Turn your stand mixer on slow.
Gradually pour in all the liquid on top of the flour. Let this mix for about one minute.
Turn the speed on your stand mixer up to a medium-low setting. I usually turn my Kenwood Chef to number 3. Knead the dough for a further 7-8 minutes. Keep checking to make sure you do not over-knead the pizza dough.
How can you tell when pizza dough is kneaded?
The dough should look and feel smooth. When you lightly press the pizza dough, it should spring back immediately. Pizza dough shouldn’t tear when you pull it.
If you don’t knead pizza dough enough, the pizza base will be dense and hard when you bite into it.
Unless your kneading technique is super-advanced, or you are super strong, it is unlikely that you will over-knead your pizza dough if kneading by hand.
However, it is easy to over-knead pizza dough when making pizza dough in a stand mixer. That is why you need to keep checking on it every few minutes to make sure you don’t over knead.
Proving Pizza Dough
If you plan on using all the dough the day you make it, then place the dough in an oiled bowl and cover with a damp tea towel or oiled cling film. Leave in your kitchen to prove for at least an hour until the dough has doubled in size.
You can also portion out the dough and let some prove in the fridge if you don’t plan on using the dough that day.
I usually cut the dough in two and put one half in an oiled bowl and cover with cling film and leave it to prove for a few hours on my kitchen counter. I put the other half of the dough in an oiled bowl and cover with oiled cling film and place in my fridge. The cold temperate of the fridge helps to prove the dough very slowly. It also adds a lovely flavour to the dough. Almost sourdough like. You can keep the dough in the fridge for up to a week. So I only do this when I know I’ll be having pizza twice in the same week.
Freezing Pizza Dough
If you want to freeze pizza dough, let it prove fully first. Once it has doubled in size, usually an hour or so in the kitchen, portion the dough and lightly rub some oil over each piece. Place each piece of dough into a freezer-safe bag and squeeze out all the air. Pizza dough will keep for three months in the freezer.
When you want to use the dough, take it out of the freezer and put it in the fridge and allow to thaw out. It will take about 12 hours for pizza dough to fully thaw out and defrost. About one hour before you want to start making pizza, take the dough out and let it come to room temperature. This will make the dough easier to work with.
Best Homemade Pizza Recipe – The Pizza Sauce
For me, the sauce has to be simple and full of bright tomato flavour. I think this is where you really need to spend your money on great ingredients. Get the best tasting tinned tomatoes that you can afford. They need to be whole peeled tomatoes and if you are buying a supermarket brand look for at least 65% tomatoes on the label.
New York Style Pizza Sauce
As mentioned above, I adore New York-style pizza and the ingredient found in nearly all New York pizza sauce is dried oregano. I use at least 2 tablespoons but usually more of dried oregano in my best homemade pizza recipe.
If you do not like the taste of oregano, you can leave it out completely or use dried basil instead. You could also use thyme.
Oil in Pizza Sauce
I use a little bit of really good olive oil in my sauce to add flavour. The less oil you use the better chance you have of achieving a crispy pizza base. Too much liquid will make your pizza base soggy.
Same goes for drizzling oil over your pizza base before you add the sauce. I know they do this in New York and it tastes so good, but as we are using domestic ovens that don’t get a hot as pizza shop ovens, we have to make some concessions so that our pizzas turn out crispy. When making homemade pizza it is best to save the oil for after the pizza is cooked.
Pizza Sauce Recipe – Ingredients
1 tin (400g) of whole peeled tomatoes
1/2 tablespoon of olive oil
2 tablespoons of dried oregano
1 teaspoon of salt
Herbs, spices, aromatics to taste
Pizza Sauce Recipe – Method
Place the tomatoes in a sieve and using a fork gently press off the juice. You just want the tomatoes, not the juice. This is going to give you that lovely fresh, tomato flavour.
Place the pressed tomatoes in a bowl or jug and add in the olive oil, oregano and salt.
At this stage, you can go wild with your flavourings. Add in paprika, chilli, black pepper, basil, thyme, garlic, onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne pepper. Whatever you like.
Using a Nutribullet, blender, stick blender, fork or whisk, blitz the ingredients until you have the desired consistency. I like a really smooth pizza sauce.
Make sure you taste test when you are done but just remember that the longer you leave the sauce the more the flavours will have time to develop and mingle. This sauce tastes great a few days after you make it. So, if you can, make it in advance. It will keep in the fridge for about a week if stored in an airtight container.
Best Homemade Pizza Recipe – The Toppings
When it comes to toppings I keep it simple and just use cheese and fresh basil and a sprinkle of chilli flakes. If I have homemade wild garlic pesto I will drizzle that on top.
I use parmesan cheese on my pizza as I love the umami taste. It also acts as a buffer on top of my base before I add the pizza sauce to stop my base from going soggy.
I also use mozzarella cheese as I love how it melts. It is best to use low-moisture mozzarella, not the mozzarella balls in water, but sometimes in Ireland, it is hard to find low-moisture mozzarella. The mozzarella balls work perfectly fine, but they just aren’t are melty and can cause your base to go soggy if you don’t drain them and squeeze the moisture out of them.
Pre-cooking Your Pizza Toppings
When making homemade pizza, you have to remember that our domestic ovens don’t get nearly as hot as real pizza ovens. Therefore, to have a perfectly cooked pizza base and toppings, it is best if you cook pizza toppings before you put them on the pizza. It is only going to take about seven minutes for your pizza base to cook and sometimes this isn’t long enough to cook toppings all the way through.
Toppings like sweetcorn, pineapple, olives and cured meats don’t need to be pre-cooked. But toppings such as mushrooms, peppers, spinach, broccoli, bacon, onions and squash will taste a whole lot better if you cook them beforehand. And it goes without saying that raw meats should always be cooked beforehand.
No Pizza Oven – No Problem
First, take everything out of your oven except for your oven racks. Turn your oven to its hottest temperature. It could take up to 30 minutes or more for your oven to get to the right temperature so make sure you get your timings right. The oven has to be super hot so that you get a really crisp pizza base.
No Pizza Stone – No Problem
I have cooked pizza on hot and cold trays. I have placed the trays in the oven when the oven was heating and added the dough on the hot tray. Basically, I wanted to see if this would make any difference to the base crispiness. It didn’t. Not really. And trying to add soft pizza dough to a hot tray and then add sauce and toppings was very difficult.
So, for me, when I am making my homemade pizza, I use a cold tray. It is just much easier. But you should experiment with your trays as all ovens are different and you might get a super crispy pizza base using a pre-heated tray.
I use a non-stick round pizza tray with holes. However, I also use cookie trays and invert flat-bottomed roasting trays. You can use any flat tray you have. Make sure you just sprinkle some flour or semolina on your tray before you put your pizza dough on it. This will stop the pizza from sticking to the tray.
Shaping Pizza Dough
Flour your work surface and hands and take your dough that has been proving and put it on the work surface. Give it a little knead and divide the dough into balls for the number of pizzas you want to make. You need about 200-250g per pizza. Roll each piece into a little ball.
My pizza shaping skills are getting better the more I make homemade pizza. But as you can see from the photos they are all shapes and sizes. And that’s ok. They do not need to be perfect. They just need to taste good.
Thin Crust Pizza Recipe
For a nice a thin crust pizza, roll out your dough using a rolling pin. Simple.
Thick Crust Pizza Recipe
Form your pizza by shaping from the centre working your way out making sure you don’t touch the edges. You want to leave about a 2.5cm (one-inch) crust. You basically want to press dimples in the dough with your fingertips but stop about 2.5cm from the edge. This way the edge will rise and puff up higher than the centre of the dough. After dimpling, stretch the dough over the backs of your hands (like they do in the movies). Here is a link to a good YouTube tutorial showing you how to stretch pizza dough.
Best Homemade Pizza Recipe – Assembling The Pizza
So, your dough is ready to go. Your sauce is tasting delicious and you have your toppings all pre-cooked. You are now ready to make pizza, finally.
When my pizza dough is ready, I carefully roll it over the rolling pin and put it on my floured tray of choice.
Once my dough is rolled out and on the tray and ready to go, I work super quick. Ensuring that the dough isn’t sitting around for too long covered in sauce and toppings will help keep your pizza base crispy.
First, I sprinkle some grated parmesan on top of the dough. I think that this acts as a buffer from the sauce to keep my pizza base crispy. It does make it harder to spread the sauce though.
When it comes to adding the pizza sauce, I dollop the sauce around the pizza avoiding the centre. I then use the back of a spoon to roughly spread the sauce around the pizza avoiding the middle. This is to stop my pizza base from going soggy. The sauce will spread towards the middle when it starts cooking.
Then, I cover my pizza in mozzarella, again, avoiding the very centre to stop it from going soggy. Don’t worry, the cheese will spread into the centre as it melts. You won’t be left with a bald piece of base.
Which Comes First, the Toppings or the Cheese?
Then you add whatever toppings you like. I am a firm believer in cheese first and then toppings when it comes to this debate.
Put the pizza in the oven straight away and set a timer for seven minutes, but check after six. My pizza usually takes eight minutes to cook but if the crust is extra thick I’ll cook it for about ten minutes.
As soon as it is done, take it out and cut and serve. I like to transfer my pizza onto a wooden cutting board and serve it on the board.
I like to garnish with fresh basil leaves, more parmesan, wild garlic pesto, chilli flakes or a little chilli oil.
And there you have it, my best homemade pizza recipe for pizza dough, pizza sauce and pizza toppings when you have no pizza oven or pizza stone.
Remember my top tips for a crispy pizza base and to stop your pizza base from going soggy:
Work fast – do not leave sauce and toppings sitting on the dough.
Avoid the middle – do not put sauce, cheese or toppings smack bang in the middle. The sauce and cheese will spread whilst cooking.
No oil – do not add loads of oil in the sauce and do not drizzle oil on the base before cooking. Add oil after the pizza has been cooked.
Oven temperature – your oven has to be screaming hot and set to its maximum temperature.
Kenwood gifted me the Kenwood Chef stand mixer, but as always all views are my own and always honest.
Let’s Talk Pizza
So, what did you think of my best homemade pizza recipe? Do you have any tips for stopping pizza from going soggy or how to keep the pizza base crispy? I’d love to hear from you in the comment section below.
If you liked this pizza recipe, you might also like my recipe for easy white bread.
You might like my recipe for focaccia too.
If you are looking for another stand mixer recipe, you have to try my pavlova recipe.
Need something to wash down your pizza? How about some nice rosé wine recommendations?