Filed Under: How To | Pizza | Savory

How to Make Pizza Dough

By Tessa Arias
  |  
September 1st, 2021
4.81 from 106 votes
4.81 from 106 votes

How to make the BEST easy No-Knead Pizza Dough Recipe! This homemade pizza has a crispy crust and soft interior. Just add your favorite toppings like cheese and pepperoni for a delicious pizza night at home!

Yield: 4 balls of pizza dough

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Tessa's Recipe Rundown...

Taste: The longer you let this dough rise, the better flavor it develops. Even crust haters will actually want to eat the crust. Texture: The. best. part. This dough is crunchy, chewy, bubbly, light, and thin. It’s a million times better than most pizza doughs I’ve ever tasted. Ease: Seriously so easy. A few ingredients come together in less than 5 minutes.. Pros: Your new and easy go-to pizza dough! Cons: NONE. Would I make this again? I’ve already made this numerous times.

I first published this No-Knead Pizza dough recipe a decade ago in 2011. The fact that it’s been that long absolutely blows my mind.

I’ve learned a lot about baking over those years and have become increasingly obsessed with pizza making. Especially after my bestie Ashley (aka Baker by Nature) generously gifted me a Breville Pizza Oven for my 30th birthday. Don’t worry, you won’t need a pizza oven for this recipe!

Pizza became a recurring daily theme among my thoughts! I fell deep down a rabbit hole of researching everything I could about making pizza. This time, I was more inspired by Neapolitan-style pizza. I knew I wanted to tweak and improve this recipe that hadn’t been touched on the blog in so long.

So I made it my mission to find ways to add more chewy texture and better flavor from this recipe. It turned out to just need a few small changes. I also needed to test this recipe in a home oven and find the best way to make pizza without a pizza oven. The two keys? A pizza stone and the broiler (more on this below).

I returned to Jim Lahey and also to Kenji Lopez to help guide me on my pizza journey, as well as many other publications, videos, and articles along the way. Honestly… it’s all a blur. But the final result? A super easy pizza dough that takes minutes to make and sits in the fridge developing flavor until it’s pizza Friday. Or whatever day you’re ready for a pizza party!

How to Make No-Knead Pizza Dough

Pizza Dough Ingredients

  • Bread flour – you want that extra protein (compared to all-purpose flour) for a sturdy, chewy dough. If you’re able to get it, use more finely milled Italian 00 flour for the most authentic results.

Can I use all-purpose flour instead?

I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it, but if you must use all-purpose flour, you may need to slightly reduce the amount of water in the recipe. All-purpose flour has less protein content and will absorb less water.

  • Instant or active dry yeast – Either will work in the same amount.
  • Salt – I call for Kosher salt in this recipe, but it’s very important to know the brand of salt you’re using! If using Diamond Crystal kosher salt, use 4 teaspoons. If using Morton Salt kosher salt, use 2 slightly heaping teaspoons.
  • Water – make sure it’s lukewarm. If it’s too hot, it will activate the yeast too quickly (or even kill the yeast), which is not what we want. For this recipe, a longer and slower fermentation helps to develop flavor without needing a sourdough starter.
  • Semolina flour – a sprinkling of this for dusting your pizza peel makes it glide right off and onto your pizza stone. If you don’t have any, you can use bread or all-purpose flour.
  • Cornmeal – a very small amount of this also makes sliding your pizza off the peel much easier. Don’t use too much though as it’ll alter the texture of your crust and may scorch on your stone!

Since this is a Neapolitan-inspired pizza dough recipe, there’s no oil or sugar!

How to Make No-Knead Dough

It really couldn’t be easier. Simply combine all the ingredients with a wooden spoon and then your hands if needed. You truly don’t need to knead! It’s going to look rough and shaggy. If it looks extremely dry, don’t worry too much. It should absorb some moisture and hydrate up in a few minutes.

The next steps are what’s critical.

How to Rise & Ferment Pizza Dough

1. Shape the dough into a ball and transfer to a clean, large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature in a draft-free place until the dough is doubled in size. This may take 8 to 12 hours, depending on how warm your kitchen is. Don’t worry too much about the time as this dough is very forgiving. You can quickly bring the dough together before heading out to work, and it should be done by the time you get home!

2. Transfer the dough to a floured work surface. Divide into 4 equal portions (a bench scraper makes easy work of this). Take one portion of dough and gather 4 corners to the center to create 4 taut folds. Turn seam side down and roll into an even ball. Repeat with remaining portions.

3. Place each portion in its own quart-sized deli container or plastic container, or in a zip-top bag. Be sure to use a freezer-safe container if planning to freeze the dough. Let rise again for another hour.

4. Refrigerate the portioned dough for 4 to 5 days to allow it to cold ferment. This is going to produce the best flavor and texture and is worth the wait, I promise! Let the dough rest at room temperature for 1 1/2 to 2 hours before shaping to bake.

How to Freeze Pizza Dough

After the dough has fermented in the fridge, you can freeze the dough in freezer-safe plastic containers for up to 1 month. Defrost the dough overnight in the fridge, then allow it to sit at room temperature as directed above before shaping.

Equipment Needed for the BEST Pizza!

  • Large bowl – I prefer glass or clear plastic so you can see how much the dough has risen and grown in volume.
  • Bench scraper – this makes easy work of portioning out and working with the dough.
  • Deli containers, sealable plastic or glass containers, or zip top bags – whatever will fit best in your fridge!
  • Pizza Peel This is a game changer for getting pizza into and out of the oven without damaging it. If you don’t have one, a flat cookie sheet or the flat bottom of a sheet pan can work in a pinch.
  • Baking stone or steel – I don’t think this is optional. It makes SUCH a difference in achieving a crispy crust and fast baking time for your pizza. I like the Emile Henry pizza stone because I’ve had mine for years, but a baking steel is actually a better choice if you can handle the weight of it.

How to Stretch Out Pizza Dough

  1. Place a ball of pizza dough on a lightly floured work surface. Press into about a 6-inch circle with the palms of your hands.
  2. Pick the dough up and stretch it out by holding one end and letting the other end fall, rotating gently. Or, drape the dough over your knuckles and slowly use your hands to rotate the dough, allowing it to fall and stretch. Continue this until the dough is stretched into about a 12-inch circle.
  3. If at any point the dough springs back and doesn’t want to stretch out, simply cover it with a clean towel and let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes.

How to Assemble & Top Pizza

There are two rules to assembling a pizza.

Rule #1: Use slightly less sauce and cheese than you think. The last thing you want is your pizza to be weighed down so much that it is soft or gummy and undercooked in the center. The other issue too many toppings can create is they can slide off when you slide your pie onto the baking stone.

Rule #2: Assemble each pizza on the pizza peel moments before you plan to cook it. The longer your pizza sits on the pizza peel, the more likely it will get stuck to it and not slide off easily.

Since we’re cranking the oven and using the broiler (detailed below), it’s not a good idea to use parchment paper underneath your dough, unless you want your pizza glued to charred parchment.


Topping Ideas:

For a more classic Neapolitan pizza, I simply top with:

  • About ⅓ cup canned pureed San Marzano tomatoes, mixed with a splash of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt
  • 3 ounces (85 grams) fresh mozzarella (preferably Buffalo mozzarella), sliced into ¼-inch pieces
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh basil leaves (sprinkled on after cooking)

Super simple! If your cheese seems extra watery, blot the slices with paper towel and allow to sit for 10 to 15 minutes, then blot again.

If you prefer, here’s my more American-style pizza sauce recipe. I’ve also used this recipe to make pesto pizza with great success! Feel free to get creative!

How to Cook (Crispy) Pizza at Home

If you don’t have a pizza oven, here are the steps for achieving the crispiest crust in your regular oven.

  1. Adjust your oven rack to the top position (close to the broiler). Place your pizza stone or steel on that rack.
  2. Preheat the oven to as high as it’ll go for an hour. This will heat the stone and mimic the environment of an ultra hot pizza oven. In this time, you can allow your dough to come to room temperature and prepare all your toppings.
  3. Using the peel, quickly and confidently slide the assembled pizza onto the preheated stone. Be sure not to tilt the pizza up too much to avoid the toppings sliding off.
  4. Bake the pizza for 5 to 7 minutes or until the bottom crust is cooked through and beginning to brown. Switch to broil mode, and broil until the crust blisters and darkens and the cheese bubbles to your preference, 1 to 4 additional minutes. Keep an eye on your pizza during this time as walking away for even 30 seconds can turn your pizza from perfect to completely burnt.
  5. Use the pizza peel to remove the pizza from the oven. Let cool for a couple minutes before slicing and serving.

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4.81 from 106 votes

How to make
No-Knead Pizza Dough

Yield: 4 balls of pizza dough
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Inactive Time 4 days
Total Time: 4 days 5 minutes
How to make the BEST easy No-Knead Pizza Dough Recipe! This homemade pizza has a crispy crust and soft interior. Just add your favorite toppings like cheese and pepperoni for a delicious pizza night at home!

Ingredients

  • 4 cups (508 grams) bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon instant or active dry yeast
  • 4 teaspoons (11 grams) Diamond Crystal kosher salt (or 2 slightly heaping teaspoons for Morton Salt kosher salt)
  • 13 ounces (367 grams) lukewarm water
  • Flour (preferably Semolina), for dusting
  • Cornmeal, for dusting
  • Toppings of your choice

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the bread flour, yeast, and salt. Gradually add the water, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the water is incorporated and a shaggy dough forms. You may need to use your hands to fully incorporate the water. If it looks very dry, let it sit for a couple minutes to allow the flour to absorb the water. Just remember, you don’t need to knead!
  2. Shape the dough into a ball and transfer to a clean, large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature in a draft-free place until the dough is doubled in size. This may take 8 to 12 hours, depending on how warm your kitchen is. Don’t worry too much about the time as this dough is very forgiving.
  3. Transfer the dough to a floured work surface. Divide into 4 equal portions. Take one portion of dough and gather 4 corners to the center to create 4 folds. Turn seam side down and roll into an even ball. Repeat with remaining portions.
  4. Place each portion in its own quart-sized deli container or plastic container, or in a zip-top bag. Let rise again for another 45 to 60 minutes. Seal the containers, and refrigerate the portioned dough for 4 to 5 days to allow it to ferment. Let the dough rest at room temperature for 1 1/2 to 2 hours before shaping.

  5. After the dough has fermented in the fridge, you can freeze the dough for up to 1 month. Defrost the dough overnight in the fridge, then allow it to sit at room temperature as directed above before shaping.

To prepare the pizza:

  1. Place a baking stone or steel on the top rack of your oven (close to the broiler), and preheat to as hot as it will go for 1 hour. Do this while waiting for your dough to come to room temperature.

  2. Once ready to bake, prepare all of your toppings completely so you can assemble quickly.
  3. Place a ball of pizza dough on a lightly floured work surface. Press into a 6-inch circle with the palms of your hands. Pick the dough up and stretch it out by holding one end and letting the other end fall, rotating gently. Continue this until the dough is stretched into about a 12-inch circle.
  4. Lightly dust a pizza peel with the semolina flour (or AP flour) and cornmeal. Place the dough on the pizza peel. Immediately and quickly place your toppings on the dough. Use slightly less sauce and cheese than you would think. Avoid too much sauce in the center of the pizza.

To cook the pizza:

  1. Using the peel, quickly and confidently slide the pizza onto the preheated stone. Be sure not to tilt the pizza up too much to avoid the toppings sliding off.
  2. Bake the pizza for 5 to 7 minutes or until the bottom crust is cooked through and beginning to brown. Switch to broil mode and broil until the crust blisters and darkens and the cheese bubbles to your preference, 1 to 4 additional minutes. Keep an eye on your pizza during this time as walking away for even 30 seconds can turn your pizza from perfect to completely burnt.
  3. Use the pizza peel to remove the pizza from the oven. Let cool for a couple minutes before slicing and serving.
Course : Main Course
Cuisine : American
Keyword : pizza dough

Recipe originally published in 2011 and updated in 2021 with recipe improvements, more tips, and new photos. Photos by Ashley McLaughlin.

September 2021 Baking Challenge

This recipe was the September 2021 pick for our monthly baking challenge! Every month you can join the challenge by baking the recipe and snapping a photo for a chance to win prizes! Click here for full challenge details! Check out everyone’s pizzas:

Tessa Arias
Author: Tessa Arias

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

Tessa Arias

About Tessa...

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

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Recipe Rating




  1. #
    Mary — June 3, 2022 at 8:16 pm

    I’m planning on making this pizza dough in the next day or two and I want to make sure that the recipe calls for only one teaspoon of yeast? Not the usual 2 1/4 teaspoons? TIA

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — June 6, 2022 at 1:28 pm

      Hi Mary! One teaspoon is correct! Let us know what you think when you have made your pizza!! 🙂

  2. #
    Nancy Junqueiro — April 21, 2022 at 9:00 pm

    Has anyone tried this pizza crust on a stone on a weber bbq if so would love recommendations thanks

    • #
      Katie — August 25, 2022 at 6:23 am

      We have! I lit the charcoal in the chimney as usual and placed the lit coals under the bottom rack. Once they were spread, we placed the pizza stone on our top rack and let it heat up for about 45 minutes. In the mean time, we assembled the pizza. We threw some cornmeal on the stone and transferred the pizza quickly to the stone, covered, and let cook for about ten minutes. It was quite possibly the best pizza we have made at home! The 00 flour is certainly worth the splurge if you can find it. We threw some wood pellets on the coals for some added smoke, and man, it was divine!

  3. #
    Lainie — February 16, 2022 at 10:31 pm

    It says to put the dough in a clean bowl to rise. Do you not have to oil or grease the bowl, first? The dough doesn’t stick?

    • #
      Emily — February 23, 2022 at 10:56 am

      Hi Lainie! No need to oil or grease the bowl first, the dough should separate easily from the bowl 🙂 Same with the sealed containers as the dough ferments. I hope that helps!

  4. #
    Mae — September 30, 2021 at 10:55 pm

    I’m a fan of no knead pizza. The preparation was so easy. The only hard part is waiting to cold ferment the full 5 days but it’s worth the wait.

    • #
      Handy — October 19, 2021 at 8:16 pm

      How many days pizza last in the fridge ?

      • #
        Emily — October 20, 2021 at 11:57 am

        Hi Handy! We’ve tested this recipe up to 5 days in the fridge. We suggest to freeze the dough after that. Please check out the pink tip box above the recipe for more details. We also include this in the directions 🙂 Hope that helps!

  5. #
    [email protected] — September 30, 2021 at 8:43 pm

    How long is the dough good in the fridge?

    • #
      Emily — October 1, 2021 at 3:27 pm

      You want to ferment the dough for up to five days. After that, follow the directions on how to freeze your dough in the pink tip box above the recipe. Hope that helps!

  6. #
    Rachel C — September 30, 2021 at 7:36 pm

    We used our Ooni pizza oven (around 800 degrees) to cook these pizzas, and I wish we would have used the regular oven. The dough was just slightly undercooked in the middle of one of the pizzas when the crust was starting to burn. That being said, I LOVED that this was a no knead dough, and it has the perfect amount of chew. Definitely will try again in the house oven.

  7. #
    Ellie — September 30, 2021 at 7:22 pm

    Delicious!

  8. #
    Jaime Espinoza — September 30, 2021 at 6:37 pm

    This one taste sooooo good! Loved it

  9. #
    Heather Anderson — September 30, 2021 at 6:13 pm

    This pizza dough was crisp on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside. My family loved it! I wasn’t able to get a 12” pizza from one ball of dough, but that’s okay. We love homemade pizza. This recipe is a keeper!

  10. #
    Abigail Vasher — September 30, 2021 at 6:12 pm

    We loved this pizza dough! We topped ours with cheese and pepperoni, and everything turned out perfect. The instructions were easy to follow, and I loved how crispy the bottom turned out. Can’t wait to make this again!

  11. #
    Bonnie Cabrera — September 30, 2021 at 5:51 pm

    My pizzas might now have looked pretty but my family LOVED their pizzas! The crust is really good and easy to make.

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