Easy Italian Pizza Dough Recipe

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Well, it’s finally happened.  We have an Italian pizza dough recipe that is simple, easy, and quick to make. It can be made and baked the same day, plus the dough can be used for various types of pizza such as thin, thick or somewhere in between.

how to make Italian pizza dough

About My Italian Pizza Dough Recipe

My goal is to share with you this delicious easy pizza dough recipe that tastes amazing and is very simple to make. We use this recipe all the time for our pizzas. The best part of this recipe for homemade Italian dough is the convenience. You don’t need a bunch of special ingredients or unique cookware to make it come out amazing.

Sure there are lots of other recipes out there, but this is the recipe we use in our Italian house and we love it!

In fact, you can use this recipe to make a margherita pizza on the grill, a classic Romano pizza, or even a ricotta spinach pizza!

Ingredients

This pizza dough is so easy to make and includes basic ingredients probably already in your fridge or pantry.

  • sugar
  • salt – table salt or a pink Himalayan salt is what I use
  • water
  • olive oil – you don’t need to use extra virgin, but I use it anyway
  • yeast – active dry yeast will work.
  • all purpose flour – I literally use regular baking flour. You can certainly use 00 flour too if you have it, but it’s not always easy to find.

To make this recipe, it takes about an hour total from start to finish, plus baking time. This can be a same day pizza dough recipe that you can use. The only issue could be how long it rises if you don’t have the right atmosphere. But I explain all that later.

Pizza dough has multiple uses besides homemade pizza however. You can make focaccia from pizza dough, as well as calzones. I’ve even used it for fried dough.

Italian Pizza Dough Recipe Instructions

These are the exact steps I use every time I make our Italian pizza dough. It works every time and I’m sure it will work for you too. The exact measurements are further below, but this will give you a good idea of how easy this recipe is.

1- Using a large bowl mix sugar and salt in with the lukewarm water. Mix until the sugar and salt are fully dissolved.

yeast fermenting for pizza dough

2- Next, add in olive oil and the yeast. We use active dry yeast. Just dump these in and no need to stir. Let it ferment which will take about 10 minutes. You’ll see some bubbles forming and that tells you it’s ready.

TIP: if it doesn’t ferment, you either need to add the sugar or the yeast is old.

add flour to yeast for pizza dough

3- Slowly add in regular white flour one cup at a time. Stir as you add the flour to help incorporate the liquid with the dough.

NOTE: Some people prefer to add the liquids to the dry and that is fine too.

mixing Italian pizza dough
This is what it looks like as you start to mix it, but in time it will form a ball.

4- Then you knead the dough. You can do this by hand until it forms a nice smooth ball. If you are using a KitchenAid mixer use the dough setting and it should take 2-3 minutes. I personally prefer the manual method over using pizza dough appliances, but my husband is the opposite.

Sometimes I mix the dough on the counter and sometimes in the bowl itself.

TIP: If the ball of dough is too tough after kneading for a few minutes, add a Tablespoon of water at a time.

oiled pizza dough
This is a picture of the ball when done.

5- Rub oil around the inside of a large bowl. This keeps the dough from sticking to the sides as it rises.

pizza dough ready to rise
Example of our Italian pizza dough covered with plastic wrap. Notice the opening for air. You can use a cloth too.

6- Cover with a damp cloth and let it rise in a warm area. I’ve also used plastic wrap to partially cover it instead of cloth. I prefer a cloth, my husband prefers the plastic. Honestly, either way seems to work just fine as long as some air can get in.

Like most Italian pizza dough recipes, it won’t rise well in a cold area, so if it’s cold then heat an oven to 170F then turn it off. Place the bowl in there making sure your cloth isn’t touching anything in the oven.

pizza dough ball after doubled in size

The dough should double in size.

7- Next, oil your pizza pans. Don’t be shy doing it. The oil helps to crisp up the bottom.

spreading dough in pan italian pizza dough in pan

8- Add the risen pizza dough to the oiled pans. Spread them out using a roller or you hands. See additional notes below about how to prevent sticking.

You’re now ready to top with your pizza sauce and recipe toppings and bake.

TIP: Don’t add the cheese until 5 or 7 minutes before you are ready to take the pizza out, otherwise the cheese may burn.

How long to bake the Pizza Dough?

The default method for us has been to bake it with toppings for 15 min at 375F and then add the cheese for 5 minutes longer.

However, keep in mind that the times and temperature should be altered to accommodate thick or thinner pizzas.

If Your Pizza Dough Isn’t Rising

If it isn’t rising then you need a warmer area to help it rise, I have a tip my mother told me.

Try heating the oven to 170F with a small pan of hot water, then place the bowl with the dough in there. Turn the oven OFF.

Check on it to see how it’s rising. If it’s too moist remove the pan of hot water.

Prevent Pizza Dough From Sticking to the Pan

When using any Italian pizza dough recipe, you want to make sure to avoid having the dough stick to the pizza pan (a common issue). Here are two methods which I’ve listed below.

Cornmeal

One method is to use cornmeal on the bottom of the pan and press the pizza dough onto that.  We’ve done in the past, sometimes it worked sometimes not.

Olive Oil in the pan

My favorite and recommended method is using olive oil in the pan.  I don’t measure how much I add, maybe about a Tablespoon. I liberally add it and spread it around. 

With this recipe, it’s much better to have too much than adding too little and having it stick to the pan.  Talk about annoying!!

You can also rub olive oil over the dough itself to add even more flavor to the recipe.  

Italian Pizza Dough Sauce and Toppings

the pizza dough ball makes two pizzas
Here are two images of pizzas we’ve made at home. This recipe will make two pizzas.

For the sauce, we’ve used pizza sauce from a can (most convenient) but we’ve also used our homemade pizza sauce recipe which is very easy to make, and is more economical.

We use about 7 oz of sauce at least per pizza.  

We love adding toppings to this Italian pizza dough recipe to give the meal even more flavor.

homemade italian pizza with toppings
Here’s a quick snapshot I took of our delicious Italian pizza loaded with toppings and Romano cheese.

Here are some topping ideas and tips for when we’ve made our homemade Italian pizzas.

Italian pizza dough topping ideas

  • Olives
  • Garlic
  • Green peppers
  • Roasted Red peppers
  • Raw red peppers
  • Sweet peppers
  • Yellow Onions
  • Red Onions
  • Tomatoes (grape, cherry, regular,)
  • Mushrooms
  • Cheese (any of the following in any combo or individually – Romano, Parmesan, Mozz.)
  • Jalapenos
  • Banana Peppers

Vegetables with high moisture content

Quick note here, if you decide to use veggies that have high water content like mushrooms and onions or tomatoes, or ones that take a long time to cook, what we have started doing when we have the time is to cook them down on the stove to remove the excess moisture.  

Then we add it to the pizza and spread it around.

This won’t provide the crunchy texture of the onions you might enjoy, but it’s just another way to use toppings. When using onions directly on the dough and not sautéing them in a pan, make sure to slice your onions very thinly so they can cook more quickly and not taste raw.

Use for Thick or Thin Italian Pizza Dough

With this pizza dough recipe, we were able to make 2 or 3 average thickness pizzas in 9×13 stainless steel pizza pans or round pans. Depends on thickness of pizza. 

If I were to make a thick airy pizza where I use a 9×13 baking pan, I would follow my instructions for how to make a thick pizza crust. In summary, I let it rise in a mixing bowl, then transfer to a the pan and let it rise a second time, then press it down, add the toppings and let it rise a third time and then bake at 350F for about 25 minutes until done. 

Thin pizzas

For super thin pizza, I’ve learned the trick is baking it at a very high temperature. There are specific recipes for very thin pizzas, but I use this pizza dough recipe for just about everything.

We bought a steel pizza tray that helps increase the temperature of the oven by putting the pizza on that, but also putting a pizza stone on the rack above it.

This traps the heat and increases it to above 500F.   

It’s not easy for me to use and it’s not quick even the results on our last attempt were amazing. But if you want to check out the steel pizza trays on Amazon.

How to Freeze Italian Pizza Dough

So this recipe is really cool because you can freeze pizza dough in various forms to make it easier to cook later.  Here are ways you can freeze the dough:

  • In a ball before rising.  Take it out of the freezer the day before then let it rise at room temperature. 
  • In a ball after rising.  Same as above, you’ll need to take it out of the freezer so it has time to thaw and rise again at room temp. 
  • As a baked pizza without toppings. Meaning, you bake just the dough in the oven initially for a few minutes less than usual, let cool and then store in the freezer.  When the time comes just take it out, add the sauce and toppings and bake.  I basically treat this like a store bought version and it’s very convenient!
  • As a baked pizza with raw toppings and sauce.  This is really convenient too. It requires more prep time but it’s so awesome when you’re hungry for a pizza and all the work is already done.  Simply take the pizza out and pop it in the oven frozen.  

What to Serve with Your Pizza

italian chickpea salad

Add protein to your meal with this delicious Italian salad with chickpeas.

fried eggplant

Italian fried eggplant are always a great Italian side dish for this pizza dough recipe!

how to make fried zucchini

If you love Italian food, try this Italian fried zucchini recipe!

Other Types of Pizza Recipes

Romano pizza

Enjoy this simple Romano pizza that uses this pizza dough recipe.

Every tried eggplant on your pizza? It’s good!

pizza dough for the grill

Try making a Margherita pizza on a grill with this pizza dough recipe!

I hope you enjoy our Italian pizza dough recipe. It’s easy and can be made the same day for using. We do it many times! If you like this recipe or have tips of your own, feel free to let me know in the comments!

Video

YouTube player
easy Pizza dough video!
pizza dough

Italian Pizza Dough Recipe

We use this Italian pizza dough recipe every time we want a homemade pizza. It produces great results and we use it for both thin and thick pizza recipes.
4.73 from 11 votes
Print Rate
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Rising Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 2 pizzas

Ingredients

  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 1/2 TBSP sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 TBSP yeast
  • 3 cups flour all purpose is fine

Instructions

  • In a large bowl dissolve the sugar and salt in the lukewarm water.
  • Once dissolved, add in the olive oil and yeast and set aside to ferment. This takes about 10 minutes and will begin to bubble letting you know it's ready.
    yeast
  • When the yeast has begun to ferment after about 10 minutes, add in the flour 1 cup at a time. The amount of flour is typically 3- 3 1/2 cups.
  • Knead the dough until a smooth ball can be formed, about 5-8 minutes. If using a Kitchenaid, it would take about 2-3 minutes.
    pizza dough mixed
  • Next, oil a medium sized bowl and place the ball of dough inside the bowl. to the oiled bowl and cover with a damp cloth and let it rise in a warm area such as a preheated (and turned off) oven of 170F or a warm area of the house.
  • Cover with a damp cloth and let the dough rise in a warm area until double in size. A quick tip is to use your oven as a warm place by preheating it to 170F. Make sure to turn off the oven before placing the dough inside to rise.
  • Meanwhile, liberally oil your pizza pans.
  • When dough is ready, press dough in the pan and push up on the sides to form a crust
    pizza dough in pan
  • Top with sauce and your toppings and bake for 15 minutes at 375F on a middle rack
  • Add cheese and bake for 5-7 minutes more then remove from oven. If dough is not baked enough, cook until the middle of the pizza is not wet. This can sometimes occur when a lot of toppings are used.

Notes

  1. See my notes in the post itself but you’ll basically want about 7 oz or more of sauce per pizza
  2. Cook down high water content toppings in a pan and then add to pizza prior to cooking. the vegetable texture will be different but still nice flavors. 
  3. Slice hard vegetables such as onions and peppers thinly to help cook quicker if not cooking them down ahead of time
  4. For a thick pizza check out my article here but basically you’d want it to rise three times – first in the bowl, then in the pizza pan and then after adding toppings.  
  5. For the cheese, use what you want. I prefer Romano, but if you like a stringy cheesy pizza then use mozzarella.  I also add it at the end even if using toppings so the cheese does not turn burn or get hard.  This most likely won’t be an issue if using Romano grated cheese.    
  6. Experiment and have fun
  7. You can freeze the dough in it’s ball form before rising, after rising, after being rolled out, or even after baking just the dough and store it for later when you can add toppings and pop in the oven.  
Easy Italian Pizza Dough Recipe
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20 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Thank you,
    this is so simple, yet so easy to work with.
    i appreciate your recipes,
    i can’t wait to try the other recipes you have posted.
    thanks!

  2. 5 stars
    Crust was perfect. Tried making pizza couple of weeks ago and thought my yeast was not good. Turns out you need a bit of sugar to activate.😉 Am used to using my bread machine at home and haven’t made dough by hand in a bit. Great fun! Thanks!

  3. Recipe looks great, can I make dough day before and put in refrigerator overnight to cook next day.

  4. Hi Rose, yes you can. I usually lightly oil the ball of dough and wrap it in plastic wrap when storing in the refrigerator. Try to take it out 30 minutes or so before using so it can get to room temperature. Let it rise as usual and then use.

  5. I started to make my yeast mixture but was very confused if I should or should not mix the oil and yeast in the water sugar mixture. You did not say to mix the yeast/oil or just pour it in and let it sit without stirring. I already dumped the first batch not knowing if I should of stirred it which it did. Now starting over and not stirring, still confused because it is not bubbling and some yeast is still on top not dissolved.

  6. Hi Angie, yes you can mix the oil and yeast in the water sugar mixture. You can give it a stir when you add the yeast and oil in. The yeast should only start to bubble, it won’t do a major change but it will start to change in appearance. It’s okay if some of hte yeast is not fermented, does it look at all like my images? IF it’s 100% not dissolving at all then maybe your yeast is old?

    Let me know!
    Liz

  7. 5 stars
    So easy to work with!!! Have used this recipe to make pizza and Stromboli and bread sticks. It’s so versatile and good!!

  8. 5 stars
    Your recipe for piza dough is excellent I made it tonight and have half left in the freezer to amke another one.I posted the photo on facebook and everyone is commenting how good it looks.

  9. Can I make in the morning and use later? Would I let rise and then put in fridge? Or just mix it all together and put in fridge?

  10. Hi Candice, yes you can make the dough in the morning and put it in the fridge. I wrap it in plastic wrap in a ball. Then take it out and let it get to room temperature and rise. Use my trick above for speeding things up by putting it in the oven at 170F with a pan of hot water. Then roll it out as usual. You can also let it rise first, then put in in the fridge wrapped in plastic wrap. This makes it faster when you take it out to use. Hope that helps!
    Liz

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