If you like your pizza crust crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside, then cast iron skillet pizza is your dream come true. In this post and video, you'll learn the basics of making pizza in a cast iron pan — from choosing the best pan to prepping your ingredients and achieving cheesy, crunchy perfection every time.
Close your eyes. When you imagine biting into your ideal slice of pizza, do you hear a crunch? If the answer is yes, then open your eyes, grab your cast iron skillet, and whip up a batch of dough. Once you discover how easy it is to make pizza the cast iron way, there's no going back.
Cast Iron Skillet Pizza 101
Why cast iron?
Cast iron pans hold heat really well. So, when you bake your pizza in the preheated skillet, it's like you've got another oven inside your oven. The super-hot iron creates a crispy layer on the outside of the crust while the inside becomes airy and chewy.
What's the best size pan for pizza?
You can use any size cast iron skillet for pizza, as long as it is not enameled on the inside. (An enamel coating will prevent the pizza from getting that evenly browned, crispy crust you're going for.) Just cut your dough ball in half if you're working with a pan that's 10 inches or smaller in diameter. My two favorite pans for pizza are a 12-inch skillet like this one* and a this 14-inch flat baking pan with loop handles*. Since cast iron pans are heavy, and you'll need to get your pan really hot before you assemble your pizza, those two handles are very helpful for transporting the pan in and out of the oven.
How is cast iron pizza different from baking stone/steel or baking sheet pizza?
Like a baking stone or steel, your cast iron pan needs to be preheated ahead of time. However, unlike a steel/stone, the iron skillet doesn't require any fancy pizza peel maneuvering. You simply take the preheated pan out of the oven, lay your stretched-out dough inside it, add the toppings, and return the whole thing to the oven to bake. The trickiest part of the process is making sure you don't burn yourself on the screaming-hot skillet! (I swear by these nonslip silicone BBQ gloves* for gripping hot pans. And to keep my fingers extra safe, I wrap the hot pan handles with thick kitchen towels when I'm topping the pizzas.)
Cast Iron Skillet Pizza
- Cast iron skillet or pan
- Cutting board and knife
- Paper towels
- Rolling pin (optional)
- Pizza Cutter
- 1 (14- to 16-ounce) ball pizza dough (I recommend longer-fermented doughs like my Overnight Dough, Sourdough Pizza Dough, or Neapolitan Style Dough, but any pizza dough will work.)
- Sauce and desired toppings (You'll need ½ to ⅔ cup of sauce, 4 to 6 ounces of cheese, and about 1 cup of chopped veggies or cooked/cured meats per 12- to 14-inch pizza.)
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Place your cast iron skillet or pan on the middle rack of the oven. Set the oven to bake at 500°F or the highest possible temperature (my oven goes up to 550°F). Let the oven and cast iron skillet or pan preheat for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
- If your dough was refrigerated, place it on the counter and let it come to room temperature while the pan heats up in the oven. If you are working with a 12- to 14-inch cast iron skillet, keep the dough ball in one piece. If your cast iron skillet is 10 inches in diameter or smaller, cut the dough ball in half to make two pizzas. (Cover the second half of dough with an upside-down bowl while you make the first pizza. Then, when the first pizza is done, quickly slide it onto a cutting board and assemble the second pizza using the instructions in step 6.)
- Mix your sauce, grate or cube your cheese(s), cook your meat(s), and/or chop raw veggie toppings. (See ingredient list above for general topping quantities for a 12- to 14-inch pizza.)
- Transfer the pizza dough to a lightly floured surface. Roll or stretch it out to the size of your cast iron skillet.
- Place a trivet or folded towel on your work surface, and make sure all of your prepped toppings are within arm's reach. Pour a little olive oil (2 or 3 tablespoons) into a small bowl or ramekin, fold up a few pieces of paper towel, and grab a pair of tongs (this is for oiling your pan).
- Using heavy-duty oven mitts, carefully transfer the cast iron pan from the oven to the trivet on your work surface. BE CAREFUL: THE PAN WILL BE VERY HOT. Grab the folded-up paper towels with the tongs, dip the paper towel wad in the olive oil, and wipe it evenly all over the inside of the hot cast iron skillet. Quickly lay the rolled or stretched-out dough in the skillet and press it out to the edges of the pan, being careful not to burn your fingers. Arrange the sauce, cheese, and toppings on top of the dough. If desired, season with a pinch of salt, a grind or two of black pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil.
- Put your oven mitts back on and return the cast iron skillet to the middle oven rack. Bake the pizza for 10 to 15 minutes, until the crust is golden around the edges and the bottom is evenly browned. (At the 10-minute mark, use a spatula to lift the pizza out of the pan and take a peek at the bottom of the crust.)
- Using your oven mitts, remove the cast iron skillet from the oven. Carefully slide the pizza out of the pan and onto a cutting board. Let it cool down for a few minutes, then slice and serve.
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