Complete with from-scratch pizza dough and dump-and-stir marinara sauce, this easy recipe is your go-to template for homemade pizza night . . . any day of the week.
Pizza, the Easy Way (plus a recipe video)
Yes, from-scratch pizza is a thing you can do. Though it might seem intimidating, with the help of instant (a.k.a. rapid rise) yeast, a super-simple no-cook marinara sauce, some savvy time management — and an easy-to-follow, no-nonsense recipe and video — it could even become part of your weekly mealtime repertoire. Really.
Scroll or skip to the directions if you're short on time. But, if you've got a few moments to spare, I've outlined a handful of tips and advice that will guarantee success, especially if it's your first time using my easy pizza recipe.
The Dough Recipe
I included my 1-Hour Pizza Dough in this all-in-one pizza recipe for three reasons. First, it's simple to make. Second, it tastes great and is thick enough to handle any combination of toppings. And third, it can be whipped up just an hour before you plan to bake your pizza, so there's no advance-planning step.
However. If you want to shave an hour off this recipe's prep time, set a tickler on your calendar and make a batch of Neapolitan, Overnight, or Sourdough pizza dough a day or two ahead. Or, amp up the easy factor by subbing in my No-Yeast Beer Pizza Dough, which only requires only 25 minutes total of prep and resting time.
Prep and Toppings
Full disclosure: The only way you can make this recipe from start to finish in 1½ hours or less is if you manage your time wisely. Read the instructions, then read them again. Before you begin, make sure everything you need (ingredients and equipment) is out and ready to go. While the dough rises, preheat the oven, make the sauce, prep all your toppings, and wash the dishes. After you put the first pizza in the oven, start stretching or rolling out the dough for the second one. Channel you're inner Girl Scout: Be prepared.
Does that seem too intense? Don't worry. Once you master the rhythm of the recipe, homemade pizza is an easy, straightforward process. Just like stir-fries, pizza is only stressful if you're flying by the seat of your pants.
Need some topping inspiration? There's a search field at the top of the right sidebar on this page. Type in any ingredient or season, and chances are at least one of my pizza recipes will pop up. Otherwise, wander through the Thursday Night Pizza homepage, or visit your local farmers' market and see what's fresh. Many of my favorite topping combos have been inspired by an armful of local veggies and my weathered copy of The Flavor Bible*.
(In case you were wondering, according to a recent poll, chicken and ham are currently the most popular pizza toppings in the U.S.)
Easy Homemade Pizza Recipe
- Large bowl with lid
- Sturdy wooden spoon or dough whisk
- Medium bowl
- Cutting board and knife
- Large rimmed baking sheet or baking stone/steel
- Pizza peel (optional)
- Pizza Cutter
For the pizza dough (makes two 14- to 16-ounce balls)
- 3⅓ cups (dipped and leveled) bread flour or all-purpose flour (490 grams)
- 1 packet instant dry yeast (2½ teaspoons)
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1½ teaspoons fine sea salt
- 1¼ cups warm water (280 grams)
- Extra-virgin olive oil
For the sauce (makes about 3 cups)
For the toppings
- 8 ounces fresh mozzarella (cut into 1/2-inch cubes) or low-moisture mozzarella (shredded) * You'll need about 4 ounces of cheese (or 1 cup shredded) per pizza
- Thinly sliced veggies, olives, cured meat, etc.
- ½ cup finely shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (optional)
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 handful torn fresh basil or chopped fresh parsley
To make the pizza dough
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, yeast, salt, and sugar. Stir with a wooden spoon or dough whisk until everything is mixed together.
- Pour in the warm water and stir with the wooden spoon or dough whisk until a shaggy dough forms and there is only a little bit of dry flour at the bottom of the bowl.
- If you're wearing any rings on your fingers, take them off. Knead the dough in the bowl or on a floured work surface with both hands until no more dry flour remains in the bottom of the bowl and the dough comes together into a ball. Start by poking the dough with your fingertips and squishing it through your fists, and then, when the dry flour is incorporated, keep folding and pressing it down with the heel of your hand until the dough doesn't stick to your hands and stays together in a smooth-ish ball. (This whole process should only take a few minutes.)
- Grab a large bowl (preferably one that has a lid) and drizzle in some olive oil to coat the inside. (Or, you could clean the bowl you made the dough in and use that.) Place the dough ball in the greased bowl, cover tightly with the lid or plastic wrap, and put it in a warm place to rise for at least 45 minutes or up to 2 hours, until it has not quite doubled in volume and has little bubbles on the bottom.
- Let your oven get super-hot while the dough rises. If you're baking the pizzas on a baking sheet or pizza pan, preheat the oven to 500°F. If you're using a baking stone or steel, place it in the bottom third of your oven and preheat to the hottest-possible temperature (my oven goes up to 550°F).
- Dust a clean work surface lightly with flour. Divide the dough into two equal pieces, and form each piece into a ball by stretching the edges underneath and grabbing the bottom of the ball with your fist. Place the dough balls on your floured work surface and cover with an inverted bowl or a piece of plastic wrap. Let rest for 10 to 15 minutes or until the balls puff up a bit. (If you're in a hurry, you can skip this extra resting time and roll out the dough balls right after you form them.)
To make the marinara sauce and prep the toppings
- Dump the tomatoes into a medium bowl and add the oil, salt, garlic, black pepper to taste, and the dried herbs (if using). Use a fork or whisk to stir everything together until all the oil is incorporated. (You'll have way more than you need for 2 pizzas; store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 6 months.)
- If you're using a baking stone or steel, switch your oven to Broil on high. Let it heat up for another 10 minutes or so.
- Set the marinara sauce aside, then prep your other toppings. Shred or cube the cheese, slice and/or chop veggies or cured meats, and arrange the toppings in separate ramekins or on a cutting board.
To assemble and bake the pizzas
- To stretch/roll out the dough: Grab one dough ball and place it on a lightly floured surface. Set the other dough ball aside, still under the bowl so it won't dry out. (Or, if you're only making one pizza, freeze the other ball of dough for up to 3 months.)
- Flatten the dough a little with your hand or a rolling pin. (This will help keep it even as you stretch or roll it out.) Pick up the dough disk and tug gently on one side. If it gives easily, then you should have no problem stretching it out: keep turning and tugging gently on the edges, letting it hang from your forearm to let gravity do its work, gently moving your fist underneath from the center to the edges until you have a 12- to 14-inch round. If the flattened dough disk barely gives at all when you give it that first tug, you might be better off rolling it out instead.
- Place the dough round on a baking sheet or pizza pan. Or, if using a baking stone or steel, lay the dough on a floured pizza peel. Spread the sauce on the dough, leaving a ½-inch border all around. Top with whatever you've prepared: shredded/cubed cheese, sliced veggies, cured meats, etc. Sprinkle with a pinch or two of kosher salt, a grind or two of black pepper, and the Parmigiano-Reggiano (if using).
- Transfer the topped dough to the hot oven and bake until the bottom is evenly browned and the cheese has begun to brown in spots, 10 to 15 minutes on a baking sheet/pizza pan, 5 to 8 minutes on a baking stone or steel.
- Remove the pizza from the oven. Drizzle it with a little olive oil, scatter on the fresh herbs, and cut it into slices.
- Repeat the last 5 steps to make your second pizza.
Switch it up by mixing and matching my most popular homemade pizza dough and sauce recipes:
- Grilled Tomato Marinara Sauce
- BBQ Pizza Sauce
- Mint and Arugula Pesto
- New York Style Pizza Sauce
- Sheet Pan Pizza Dough
- Neapolitan Pizza Dough
- Easy Overnight Pizza Dough
- 100% Whole Wheat Pizza Dough
- No-Yeast Beer Pizza Dough
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