Up your pizza game with this recipe for homemade pizza dough. If you love a pizza with ballooned and blistered edges and a crisp but pliable crusts, this is the pizza dough recipe you’ll come back to again and again. It’s no-knead, made with 4 ingredients, and a snap to throw together. 🍕🍕🍕

A homemade pizza dough recipe topped with kale and crème fraîche.

Listen up: Don’t let anyone tell you you can’t make great pizza from start to finish in three hours. This is a simple 4-ingredient pizza dough recipe. The proportions are based on my mother’s peasant bread recipe, a high-hydration, no-knead, quick-to-stir together dough. Grab a bowl, a whisk, and a spatula — let’s get slinging 🍕🍕🍕🍕🍕

This post is organized as follows:

High Hydration Pizza Dough

The first step to making excellent pizza at home is to get comfortable working with high-hydration pizza doughs. High-hydration doughs, such as Jim Lahey’s popular no-knead dough, this simple sourdough pizza crust, or the one from my cookbook, Bread Toast Crumbs (which is the recipe below), are doughs with a high proportion of water relative to the flour. The high proportion of water allows these types of doughs to be mixed together quickly and easily — no kneading or stand mixer required — and it also will create a dough (and, in turn, a crust) with beautiful air pockets throughout

(Incidentally, a high hydration dough is also the key to making excellent focaccia, like this simple sourdough focaccia or this overnight, refrigerator focaccia.)

#1 Tip for Working with High Hydration Dough

Handle it minimally.

Jim Lahey says:

“As soon as I began really paying attention to how I shaped my pizza rounds by taking care to use a gentle hand, I noticed a difference in the finished product. The air pockets pervading the unbaked round really affect the texture of the baked pizza.”

When you handle the dough minimally, you preserve the bubbles created during the rising. See these bubbles? …

High hydration pizza dough on a pizza peel.

Those bubbles become these ballooned textures throughout the dough:

Homemade pizza dough topped with fresh mozzarella and tomato sauce, freshly baked.


As noted above, you can mix and use this dough today — it does not require a long, slow rise. If you want to make it ahead of time, however, and stick it in the fridge until pizza night, that works, too:

  • Make it Tonight: Plan on 3 hours start to finish from when you mix your dough to when you turn out a freshly baked pizza.
  • Make it Tomorrow (and beyond): Mix your dough today, let it rise for 1.5 hours (roughly). Portion it into 4 balls; then transfer to the fridge for up to 3 days (or even longer). When using dough you’ve stored in the refrigerator, remove it one hour prior to baking.

The refrigerator is your friend: The two quart containers on the left are holding freshly portioned dough; the two quart containers on the right are holding dough after 2 days in the refrigerator. Look at those bubbles!:

Homemade pizza dough in quart containers.


My yeast preference for all bread recipes is SAF Instant Yeast. The beauty of instant yeast is that you can stir it directly into the flour — no need to “proof” or “bloom” it.

Active Dry Yeast works here, too: Red Star Active Dry is my preference. To use active dry yeast instead, simply sprinkle it over the lukewarm water and let it stand for about 10 minutes or until it gets foamy before adding to the other ingredients.

Store yeast in the fridge or freezer for up to a year. These quart containers are great for storing yeast.


UPDATE: My preference (March 2021) is King Arthur Bread Flour.

Several years ago, a series of delicious lunches at 2Amys Pizzeria in Washington DC convinced me it was time to get my hands on some tipo 00 flour, the flour requisite in the production of D.O.C. Neapolitan pizza. I ordered a few bags and couldn’t have been more pleased with the results: when made with tipo 00 flour, my homemade pizza dough felt softer, handled so nicely, extended so easily.

Contrary to popular belief, the “00” is not an indicator of protein content. It refers, rather, to the fineness of the milling, “00” being the finest grade in the Italian classification system.

Most recently, I haven’t been as taken by tipo 00 flour as I have in the past. I find I get better air bubbles when I use KAF bread flour. I also get great results with KAF all-purpose flour.

The key, in sum, is to use good flour: unbleached and unbromated flour. And I encourage you to experiment. What works best for me in my environment might not work as well for you in yours.

How to Make the Best Pizza Dough at Home

Invest in a Baking Steel

The single best and easiest/most affordable step you can take to make better pizza at home is to invest in a Baking Steel. In short, steel is a more conductive cooking surface than stone. This means heat transfers more quickly from steel to food than it does from stone to food. Why is this important for pizza? Serious Eats’ Kenji J Lopez Alt offers this explanation:

“How does the baking surface affect hole structure? Well those crust holes develop when air and water vapor trapped inside the dough matrix suddenly expand upon heating in a phenomenon known as oven spring. The faster you can transfer energy to the dough, the bigger those glorious bubbles will be, and the airier and more delicate the crust.”

I get the best results when I place my Baking Steel in the upper third of my oven, but every oven is different, so play around with placement till you find the sweet spot.

The original Baking Steel in the oven.

Keep These Kitchen Items on Hand

A pizza peel, parchment paper — I love these parchment rounds — quart containers for storing your pizza dough are all incredibly handy to have for this pizza dough recipe. Keep scrolling, I share instructions for when and how to use each of these items when preparing your pizza dough below.

pizza peel and parchment paper
  • A pizza peel. You need a mechanism to get the dough round from your counter to your Steel. A peel plus a sheet of parchment paper makes this easy.
parchment paper rounds
  • Parchment paper. For easy transfer of pizza from peel to Steel, my preference is to use parchment paper, which stays with the pizza in the oven. The alternative is to sprinkle your peel with cornmeal or flour or something to prevent it from sticking. These ingredients ultimately end up burning on the Steel or making a mess on your oven floor. No thank you. Recently, I’ve been buying these rounds, but standard rectangular sheets of parchment work just fine, too.
Quart containers in a stack on a counter.
  • Quart containers: These are the handiest containers for all sorts of things (soups, stocks, stews, storing yeast) but especially rounds of pizza dough. Dough can stay in the fridge for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months.

Can You Freeze Pizza Dough?

Yes! This has been a game changer. To freeze pizza dough, make it through step 4 in the recipe below or until after you transfer the portioned rounds to quart containers. At this point, transfer the quart containers to the freezer for as long as 3 months. To thaw, remove a container (or more) and let thaw in the refrigerator for 18 to 24 hours or thaw at room temperature for 4 to 8 hours. Then, proceed with the recipe.

PS: Easy, Homemade Pita Bread Recipe

How to Make Pizza Dough: Step by Step

1. Whisk together flour, salt, and instant yeast (SAF is my preference):

A bowl filled with flour, salt and yeast ready to make the simplest homemade pizza dough recipe ever.
A bowl with a whisk, flour, salt, and yeast.

Add water, and …

A bowl filled with dry ingredients and water to make a simple, homemade pizza dough recipe.

… mix to form a sticky dough ball:

A bowl filled with just-mixed homemade pizza dough.

Let rise in a warm spot till nearly doubled, about 1.5 hours.

A bowl holding homemade pizza dough, covered with a cloth bowl cover.
A bowl holding homemade pizza dough, doubled in volume after a 1.5 hour rise.

Turn out onto a floured work surface.

A floured work surface topped with homemade pizza dough.

Divide and …

A floured work surface topped with homemade pizza dough, divided into 4 portions.

… ball up, using as much flour as needed.

A floured work surface topped with 4 rounds of homemade pizza dough.

If you are baking pizza immediately, let the dough rest for 30 minutes to an hour before shaping or transfer the balls to quart containers and stick in the fridge.

Four quart containers holding rounds of homemade pizza dough.

This is dough after a night in the fridge.

Two quart containers holding refrigerated homemade pizza dough.

Turn dough out onto a floured work surface and use your fingertips to gently stretch the dough into small rounds.

Cold, refrigerated homemade pizza dough on a floured work surface.

After 30 minutes but ideally an hour, the rounds will have puffed slightly.

Pizza dough, on a work surface, 1 hour after being removed from the fridge.

Prepare your peel with a piece of parchment and an optional drop of olive oil — this helps spread the dough if you have difficulty stretching it with your hands in the air.

olive oil on parchment on a pizza peel

When you are ready to bake, gently stretch a round of dough with your hands (not a rolling pin) into an 11-inch (roughly) round, being careful not to deflate all of the air bubbles.

Pizza dough on a pizza peel.

Once your dough is stretched and on the peel, you can top it however you wish. This is one of my favorites: crème fraîche with kale, garlic, and parmesan. Step one, spread 2 tablespoons crème fraîche over the dough. Top with a minced garlic clove.

A round of pizza dough topped with creme fraiche and garlic.

Sprinkle lightly with freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano.

A round of pizza dough topped with creme fraiche, parmesan, and garlic.

Top with kale tossed with olive oil and sea salt.

A round of pizza dough topped with creme fraiche, parmesan, kale, and garlic.

Transfer to Baking Steel (that has preheated for at least 45 minutes at 550ºF or your hottest setting).

A homemade pizza baking on a Baking Steel in the oven.

Bake 5 – 6 minutes. Serve immediately.

Just baked kale and creme fraiche pizza on a peel.

The beauty to the Baking Steel + high hydration dough: oven spring.

A cross-section of a slice of freshly baked pizza revealing a beautiful hole structure as a result of great oven spring.

The “undercarriage”:

The undercarriage of a slice of caramelized onion and burrata pizza.

Six Pizza Recipes To Try

  1. Barely Cooked Tomato Sauce + Fresh Mozzarella
  2. Caramelized Onion, Fig Jam & Blue Cheese
  3. Arugula, Prosciutto & Lemon {Video}
  4. Summer Squash with Burrata & Basil
  5. Nectarine Pizza with Basil & Balsamic
  6. Lemon, Smoked Mozzarella & Basil
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pizza with kale and crème fraîche

Homemade Pizza Dough Recipe (Tons of Tips!)

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This is a double recipe of the peasant pizza dough in my cookbook, Bread Toast Crumbs.


This recipe yields 4 rounds of dough. Recipe can be halved; dough can be refrigerated for up to three days. I refrigerate individual rounds of dough in quart containers.

Dough can be frozen, too. After the first rise and after you transfer the portioned rounds to quart containers, this is your opportunity to freeze. Transfer the quart containers to the freezer for as long as 3 months. To thaw, remove a container (or more) and let thaw in the refrigerator for 1 day or thaw at room temperature for 4 to 8 hours. Then, proceed with the recipe.

Yeast: If you need to use active dry yeast instead of instant, sprinkle it over the lukewarm water and let it stand for about 10 minutes or until it gets foamy before adding to the other ingredients.

Warm place to rise:  Here’s a trick for making the perfect warm spot for the dough to rise. Turn the oven on and let it preheat for 1 minute; then shut it off. The temperature will be between 80° F and 100° F. you should be able to place your hand on the oven grates without burning them.

Flour: You can use bread flour and all-purpose flour here but if you live in a humid environment, I would consider using bread flour if you can get your hands on it. If you are in Canada or the UK, also consider using bread flour or consider holding back some of the water (see next paragraph). Reference the video for how the texture of the bread should look; then add water back as needed.

Water: As noted above, this is a variation of the peasant pizza dough recipe in my cookbook. If you are unfamiliar, the peasant bread dough is a very wet, no-knead dough. The key when handling it, is to use as much flour as necessary to keep it from sticking to the board and your hands. That said, you absolutely can start with less water to make the dough more manageable. If you live in a humid environment, if you live abroad, if you are using all-purpose flour, if you dislike handling wet doughs, consider starting with 4oo to 425 grams of water. Add water as needed to get it to the right consistency (reference the video). 

To make lukewarm water, use 1 part boiling liquid to 3 parts cold liquid. For 2 cups of lukewarm water, use 1/2 cup boiling, 1 1/2 cups cold water. You don’t have to be so precise, but using this rough ratio will give you perfectly lukewarm water. 

Parchment: These rounds are so handy.

Toppings: Below is a recipe for a kale, parmesan, and crème fraîche pizza. See above for 6 other favorite pizza recipes. Note: In the video I make this a little bit differently than the way it is written below. In the video I use mozzarella; in the instructions I do not. My preferred way of making the pizza is reflected in the recipe — I am constantly experimenting with various topping combinations; use this topping combination as a guide and adapt to your liking. 


for the dough

  • 4 cups (512 g) bread flour or all-purpose flour, plus more for assembly
  • 2 teaspoons (11 g) kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon (4 g) instant yeast
  • 1.75 to 2 cups (400 to 454 g) lukewarm water, see notes above

toppings for kale & crème fraîche:

  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • a couple handfuls of baby kale
  • 1 to 2 cloves garlic
  • Sea salt, such as Maldon
  • 2 tablespoons crème fraîche
  • grated Parmigiano Reggiano, about 1/4 to 1/3 cup


  1. To make the dough: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and instant yeast. Add the water. Using a rubber spatula, mix until the water is absorbed and the ingredients form a sticky dough ball. Pour a drop or two of oil over top and rub with your hands to coat. 
  2. Cover the bowl with a damp tea towel or plastic wrap and set aside in a warm spot to rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until the dough has doubled in bulk.
  3. If you are baking the pizzas right away (as opposed to refrigerating the dough for another day), place a Baking Steel or pizza stone in top third of oven and preheat oven to its hottest setting, 550°F. Be sure the Baking Steel heats for at least 45 minutes once the oven temperature reaches 550ºF.
  4. Cover a work surface or cutting board liberally with flour — use at least 1/4 cup and more as needed. The dough is very wet, so don’t hesitate to use flour as needed. Turn the dough out onto your floured surface and use a bench scraper to divide the dough into 4 equal portions. With floured hands, roll each portion into a ball, using the pinkie-edges of your hands to pinch the dough underneath each ball. If you are not baking the pizza the same day, transfer each round of dough to a plastic quart container, cover, and store in fridge. (At this point, transfer the vessels to the freezer for up to 3 months. See notes above for thawing.) If you are baking right away, let the balls sit on their tucked-in edges for at least 30 minutes without touching.
  5. To Make the Pizzas: If using refrigerated dough, pull out a pizza round from the fridge one hour before you plan on baking. Dust dough with flour and place on a floured work surface. Let rest for about an hour (a little less, a little longer is fine) untouched.
  6. Handling the dough as minimally as possible, shape dough into a 10″–12″ round. Lay a sheet of parchment paper on a pizza peel, and pour a few drops of oil into the center of it. (Note: the oil is optional. It’s especially helpful if you find shaping dough using the backs of your hands tricky.) Transfer the dough round to the parchment-lined baking peel.
  7. Top pizza as desired or to make this kale and crème fraîche pizza: Place the kale in a small bowl, drizzle lightly with olive oil, season with sea salt, and toss with your hands till the kale is coated in oil and salt. Spoon crème fraîche over the dough leaving a 1/2-inch border or so—I use 1 to 2 tablespoons per pizza. Sprinkle with the garlic and a handful of the grated Parmigiano Reggiano. Top with the kale. Shimmy the pizza, parchment paper and all into the oven.
  8. Bake pizza until top is blistered, about 5 minutes. Transfer to cutting board. Cut and serve. Discard parchment paper.
  • Prep Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Category: Pizza
  • Method: baked
  • Cuisine: American, Italian

Keywords: pizza, neapolitan, no-knead dough, kale, easy, simple