Who needs yeast when you have a bottle of beer in the fridge?! This beer pizza dough comes together in less than 30 minutes and will wow you with its soft, chewy texture and delicious flavor.
*Post, photo, and recipe updated on 1/5/2022*
My mother forced me to stay in Girl Scouts all the way through junior high school. And though it may have put a strain on my social status at the time (she made me wear my uniform to school on meeting days—sash, beret, and all), it definitely prepared me for nights like a fateful one back in 2015, when I opened the fridge to discover I was out of yeast. Normal people might have dropped everything and shlepped over to the store . . . or given up on pizza night all together.
But for better or for worse, my mother's voice was loud in my head: "Figure it out, Peg! Girl Scouts are always prepared!" I rummaged through the pantry and returned to the fridge, and that's when I saw it. All the way in the back corner, hidden by a giant bunch of kale, was a single bottle of home-brewed beer that John's friend had given us over a month before.
Necessity = the mother of invention
Beer is made with yeast, I reasoned. And the amount of water I use in my regular dough recipe is about the same volume as a bottle of beer, so why not sub it in and see what happens? I did a quick Internet search, and before long I stumbled on a few different recipes, which verified my hunch. Mix together bread flour, baking powder, and salt, stream in some beer until it forms a ball, and you're all set. Just let it sit for 15 minutes (or up to 2 hours), stretch it out, and top it to your heart's content.
I tweaked the Food.com recipe, adding more salt and flour. Then, I baked one pizza on a baking sheet and broiled the other on my baking steel. The crust wasn't as light as those made with yeast, but it had a nice chewiness to it with just the faintest hint of beer flavor, and it crisped up perfectly in the oven, both on the baking sheet and on the steel. If I had to choose, though, I'd say that the baking steel/stone is the way to go with this crust, since it is more dense and seems to benefit from a quick, super-hot blast in the oven.
So what's the moral of this story? As long as you've got a stocked pantry and at least one bottle of beer in the fridge, you'll always be prepared . . . for pizza night, at least. Thanks, Mom. It seems you taught me well.
Beer Pizza Dough FAQs
Lighter beers like lager, IPA, pilsner, saison, and hefeweizen work best, but feel free to experiment with any other beers you have on hand. I plan to experiment with a stout or porter soon — maybe for a dessert pizza — so stay tuned for that. And please comment below if have success with darker brews!
Not really. You might taste a subtle hint of beer flavor if you use a stronger brew like IPA or something with a high ABV. But if you use a light beer with a moderate ABV, it'll just taste like delicious pizza crust.
Use this dough in any pizza recipe! My favorite way to bake it is on my steel: Preheat the oven to 550°F for 30 to 45 minutes with your steel or stone in the bottom third, then switch the oven setting to broil on high. Shimmy the pizza from your peel to the hot steel (or stone) and bake until the crust is evenly browned on the bottom, about 6 minutes. Or, top and bake the pizza on an oiled baking sheet at 500°F for about 10 minutes.
After 15 minutes of resting time, the dough balls can be rolled or stretched out pretty easily. However, the dough does get more elastic the longer it sits. When I can, I like to let this dough rest for about an hour before I stretch it out and top it.
No-Yeast Beer Pizza Dough
- Large bowl
- Sturdy wooden spoon or dough whisk
- 3 cups plus 2 tablespoons bread flour dipped and leveled, plus more for dusting
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1½ teaspoons fine sea salt
- 1 (12-ounce) bottle or can light-colored beer (such as pilsner, lager, hefeweizen, saison, or IPA) at room temperature
- In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt with a wooden spoon, whisk, or dough whisk. Pour in the beer and continue mixing until a sticky dough forms and begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl.
- Dust a work surface generously with flour. Scoop the dough onto your work surface and knead it until it is smooth and elastic and no longer sticks to your hands, sprinkling with more flour as needed. Divide the dough into 2 equal pieces and form each one into a ball. Cover the dough balls with plastic wrap or a large upside-down bowl. Let rest for at least 15 minutes or up to 2 hours before using.
- Roll or stretch the dough as you would any other pizza dough, transfer it to an oiled baking sheet or floured pizza peel (if using a baking stone/steel), and top it with whatever toppings you like.
- If you're using a baking sheet, bake the pizza at 500°F for 10 to 12 minutes or until the crust is golden. If using a baking stone/steel, place the stone or steel in the bottom third of the oven, preheat to 500°F or as hot as your oven can get, and then turn on the broiler. Shimmy the pizza from the peel to the stone and broil the pizza for 5 to 7 minutes, until the crust and toppings have begun to blister.
Looking for more recipes? Click here to browse Thursday Night Pizza's dough recipe archive.