Best Homemade Pizza (It’s not even hard!)

One of our favorite meals on a weekend day when we’ve been outside adventuring is homemade pizza! It’s a lot easier than it sounds (as long as you have a stand mixer) and it’s such a fun and social way to eat dinner. We sometimes have it for just two of us (then we have an extra crust to put in the freezer for another night) but often we do it with friends or family and it’s even more fun. We have been working on perfecting this pizza for years and this is truly the best homemade pizza ever! This recipe is pretty easy, but there are shortcuts to make it even easier. For example, you could buy premade pizza crusts and sauce and then it would be REALLY EASY. We think it’s worth the effort to make the crust and the sauce, but we don’t judge! It does take some time (a couple hours) for the dough to rise, but you could also make the crust and dough along with the sauce the day or week (if you freeze it) before and then you could whip it up in literally minutes.

Several bowls of different sizes containing different pizza toppings
Pizza toppings are ready for pizza decorating!

When we do it, the ideal is that the dough and crust get made before people come over, which sometimes means the night before (see above). I added a few basic toppings as a suggestion but this is YOUR BEST HOMEMADE PIZZA AND YOU CAN HAVE ANY TOPPINGS YOU WANT!! Even better, you’ll be making multiple pizzas so everyone can put on theirs (or their half) WHATEVER THEY WANT. It’s amazing! You want loads of cheese? Pile it on! No dairy? Skip the cheese! Love vegetables? Pile a whole salad on top! Meat only? You go. If you’re having guests and they want to bring something, they can bring anything special they want. In our family we always have sauce, cheese, mushrooms and garlic and the rest is flexible. This recipe serves four hungry people or six slightly less hungry people (especially if you have chips and salsa or guacamole while making the pizzas or have a salad along with it. Everyone gets to have fun decorating pizzas and then eating them! I suggest not trying to keep all the pizzas separate and eat them communally if that’s ok with the group. Kids really enjoy this too (especially the part where they can put whatever toppings on they want!).

A pizza with cheese, tomato sauce, pepperoni, peppers and arugula ready to be baked
Pro tip: Put the cheese and meat UNDER the vegetables to keep the pizza from getting soggy

In this recipe, we suggest using a stand mixer, a pizza stone and a pizza peel. You do not absolutely have to have these tools to make this pizza, although it will definitely be slightly less easy. A lot less easy without the stand mixer. We have this Kitchen Aide one, which has been a solid faithful appliance for more than 18 years. There’s no need for an expensive pizza stone, one like this will work great. Same for the peel, we use a wooden one but a metal one is just as good. You could even get a set that has both. We find we rarely use a pizza cutter (we just use a knife) so don’t bother with that gadget unless you already have it or you buy a set that includes it.

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Best Homemade Pizza

Delicious homemade pizza is easier than you think! We make this pretty much every weekend, just for us or with friends or family. Everyone can put on exactly what they like…no rules!

  • Author: Jennie and Jay
  • Prep Time: 2 hours
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: American
Scale

Ingredients

Crust

  • 2 cups hot tap water
  • 1 Tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 1 Teaspoon brown sugar
  • 4 1/2 cups all purpose flour (you can substitute up to a third of it with whole wheat, masa (corn) or any other flour-we like to use 1 cup of whole wheat flour and 1/2 cup of masa and then 3 cups white flour)
  • 1 Teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

Sauce

  • 2 cans of diced tomatoes
  • 1 can of tomato paste
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of Italian seasoning (or whatever seasonings you like)

Toppings

  • ANYTHING YOU WANT! But here are a few ideas…
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • parmesan cheese
  • greens (like arugula, kale or spinach that hold up in the oven)
  • any other vegetables
  • some type of meat if you’re a meat eater
  • mushrooms, capers, pickled peppers
  • roasted vegetables (this takes more time but is REALLY GOOD)
  • ANYTHING YOU WANT! NO RULES!

Instructions

Crust:

1. In the stand mixer, dissolve a generous tablespoon of yeast in 2 cups of hot tap water and add brown sugar.

2. Add all the flour.

3. Add the salt

4. Add the olive oil (reserve one Tablespoon)

5. Turn on stand mixer with dough hook, mix 3-4 minutes.

6. Cover dough and let it rest for two hours (ideally! less time will make the crust more cracker-y, two hours will make it chewy and bready, so this is also somewhat based on your preference. Make sure it’s at least 30 minutes).

7. Preheat oven (with pizza stone inside) to 450 degrees F

8. While oven is preheating, spread the remaining olive oil on silicone baking mat. Divide dough into 4 balls and press each ball one at a time into the largest circle you can.

9. Lay the first crust on the heated pizza stone in the oven and bake for 5-8 minutes (watch for it to turn slightly brown). Use the pizza peel to remove the crust from the stone and place it on a plate or cutting board

10. Repeat for the other three crusts (you can do this step the day before or the week before and freeze the crusts). 

Sauce: 

1. Add all the sauce ingredients to a saucepan or skillet on medium, stirring occasionally

2. Simmer all sauce ingredients for 15 minutes

3. Put sauce on table with other toppings

Toppings:

  1. Prepare toppings (great activity for kids or guests!), place in bowls or on plates at the table 

Final Pizza Assembly and Baking

  1. Get all the pre-baked crusts on the table along with the sauce and toppings
  2. Decorate pizzas with whatever you like! One tip from our experience is to put vegetables on TOP (not under cheese) because their moisture content can make the pizza soggy
  3. Use the pizza peel to put the pizzas one at a time on the pizza stone in the oven. Bake an additional 8 minutes per pizza
  4. Remove pizzas with pizza peel and place on a cutting board. Allow to rest a couple minutes before slicing. 
  5. DISH UP AND ENJOY!

 

Notes

If you use alternative flours (such as whole wheat or masa), let the dough rise at least two hours. Remember! You can make the dough the day before or the week before (and put it in the freezer).

Olive oil is used on the baking mat instead of flour, this makes the moisture content more predictable and yields a crispy outer crust (if you use flour instead of olive oil it makes it more like a bread loaf).

You can also make the sauce ahead of time (up to a week).

Have fun experimenting with toppings!

 

Keywords: Homemade pizza

A pizza on a table. Text reads How to make the best homemade pizza

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Jennie Flaming
Jennie Thwing Flaming, Chief Adventure Officer: Jennie's life has been a continual quest for adventure (of the non-adrenalin inducing kind) from birth till now. Professionally, she pursues adventures in teaching, counseling and working to obliterate institutional racism for students in our region's public schools and also works as a tour and hiking guide. Previous professional adventures include working in schools in Seattle and Alaska, leading tours and managing tour guides and presenting traveling science shows and lessons with Pacific Science Center. She believes in sharing her beloved Pacific Northwest home with visitors. She likes to be outdoors and spend time with the people she loves. Jennie is born and raised in Seattle and has also lived in Alaska and the Netherlands.