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.
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!
This pizza dough is so easy to make and includes basic ingredients probably already in your fridge or pantry.
- salt – table salt or a pink Himalayan salt is what I use
- 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.
Using a large bowl mix sugar and salt in with the lukewarm water. Mix until the sugar and salt are fully dissolved.
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.
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.
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.
Rub oil around the inside of a large bowl. This keeps the dough from sticking to the sides as it rises.
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.
The dough should double in size.
Next, oil your pizza pans. Don’t be shy doing it. The oil helps to crisp up the bottom.
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.
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
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.
Here are some topping ideas and tips for when we’ve made our homemade Italian pizzas.
Italian pizza dough topping ideas
- Green peppers
- Roasted Red peppers
- Raw red peppers
- Sweet peppers
- Yellow Onions
- Red Onions
- Tomatoes (grape, cherry, regular,)
- Cheese (any of the following in any combo or individually – Romano, Parmesan, Mozz.)
- 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.
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.[mailerlite_form form_id=4]
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
Add protein to your meal with this delicious Italian salad with chickpeas.
Italian fried eggplant are always a great Italian side dish for this pizza dough recipe!
If you love Italian food, try this Italian fried zucchini recipe!
Other Types of Pizza Recipes
Enjoy this simple Romano pizza that uses this pizza dough recipe.
Every tried eggplant on your pizza? It’s good!
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!
Italian Pizza Dough Recipe
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- See my notes in the post itself but you’ll basically want about 7 oz or more of sauce per pizza
- 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.
- Slice hard vegetables such as onions and peppers thinly to help cook quicker if not cooking them down ahead of time
- 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.
- 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.
- Experiment and have fun
- 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.