You CAN make amazing pizza at home, and I’m here to show you how. I’ve been making pizza at home for a LONG time. And over that time, I’ve found 5 key tips and tricks that really help if you’re looking for a perfect homemade pizza.
I’m talking about a pizza with a crispy on the outside, soft on the inside crust that isn’t wet and soggy in the middle (which can so often happen with homemade pizza!)
1. Make your own pizza dough
I know, I know. This might seem intimidating right? But honestly, it is SO EASY to make your own pizza dough. And the taste is so much better than using a base from the store (plus, you’ll get the satisfaction of knowing you made it all yourself!)
If you don’t believe me, I have 2 recipes that will change your mind.
- If you’re a total pizza dough beginner, try my recipe for 5 minute homemade pizza dough. It uses 2 ingredients (plus salt) and is truly foolproof.
- And if you’re looking for a more traditional, yeasted pizza dough, my easy sourdough style pizza dough is honestly the best. Plus, you don’t even have to knead the dough!
If you really don’t want to make your own dough that’s totally fine, the tips below will still help you make great pizza at home.
2. Temperature is king
Pizza is traditionally made in a VERY HOT (we’re talking up to 500C) wood fired oven and will literally cook in seconds.
Obviously at home, your oven is never going to hit that kind of temperature. But there are ways you can mimic this in your home oven.
- Preheat your oven. While it won’t be able to reach 500C, turn it to the highest setting (probably 250C/480F fan) for AT LEAST 30 minutes before you want to cook your pizza. If you can, try and heat it for even longer, up to an hour is ideal.
- Preheat whatever you’re cooking your pizza on. Much like making sure your oven is incredibly hot, heating the oven tray or stone you’ll cook the pizza on means that when that base hits it, it’s going to very quickly crisp up, cook and give you that lovely crispy crust you’re looking for. If you have a pizza stone, use that as it will retain heat much better than a traditional oven tray. You can also use a cast iron skillet if you have one. For a quick hack, you can turn your oven tray upside down to make a kind of makeshift stone and it will work really well.
3. Less is more when it comes to toppings
I know it’s incredibly tempting to just throw lots of lovely toppings on your pizza! But if you put too many on, you risk ingredients not cooking evenly and ending up with a very charred top but a raw base and middle.
Think about an Italian style pizza – they use very limited toppings – that’s what you’re after here.
3. Cook ingredients that release water first
This is another way to reduce the risk of your pizza going soggy in the middle. If you’re putting ingredients like mushrooms or peppers on your pizza, I’d always recommend cooking them first so that you get rid of the water content.
If you don’t, the water from the vegetables can pool in the middle of your pizza and will just make a sad, soggy mess.
4. Stick to low moisture mozzarella
Much like vegetables that release water, some mozzarella is VERY watery and if you use too much, you’ll end up with pizza soup instead of a lovely, melty cheesy pizza.
Big buffalo mozzarella balls, while gorgeous, can become super watery on homemade pizza. You can often find ‘pizza mozzarella’ in stores – it normally comes in a block rather than a ball. Or you can just use pre-grated mozzarella, I’ll often use it and it works wonderfully.
5. Assemble your pizza on baking paper
This is going to make your life so much easier! I like to roll out and shape my base on a piece of baking paper, then top it and transfer it directly onto the hot stone or tray.
It just means there’s no risk of the pizza sticking to a tray when you’re transferring it to the oven and makes things a lot simpler. And it still cooks perfectly.
Get started with pizza night
Now you have my 5 best tricks for the best homemade pizza, it’s time to put them to the test. My recipe for 5 minute homemade pizza dough is a great place to start – it includes the easy dough recipe, along with a great topping idea. But the best thing about making pizza at home is you can really let your creativity fly!
If you need some more pizza topping ideas here are a couple of my favourites:
- Spicy Hawaiian Pizza (because pineapple does belong on pizza, and I’ll be taking no further questions at this time)
- Peach, Blue Cheese and Sweet Chilli Pizza
- Spinach, Ricotta and Sausage Pizza
The last thing to say is don’t worry if your pizza doesn’t come out perfectly! I’m 99% sure it’ll still taste delicious, and you’ll have learned something to switch up next time.