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How to Make Pizza at Home

Freezer-Friendly Mix-and-Match Pizza
With premade pizza dough, the hard work is already done. Here’s how to make delicious pizza at home whenever the craving strikes.

How to Make Pizza at Home

I have yet to meet a person who doesn’t adore pizza. Though pizza is originally Italian, it sometimes feels classically American with different regions of the U.S. putting their own spins on it, claiming to have the best recipe around. No matter where you grab a slice, I think we can all agree on one thing for certain: Pizza is one of the best food ideas out there.

For those of you who love pizza as much as we do, we have some good news: There’s no need to go out to enjoy a good slice. You can make a restaurant-worthy pie right at home—easily! And we’re going to show you how.

First thing’s first. Whichever recipe you use, you can’t really call a pizza “pizza” if you’re missing the basics: the crust, the sauce or the toppings.

The Crust

Luckily you don’t need to know how to make pizza dough, because with Pillsbury pizza crust the hard work (plus some of the waiting) is already done for you. And if you want to pass it off as your own, we won’t tell! However, if you insist on making a scratch pizza crust, our sister site,, has a great recipe for homemade pizza crust.

Even with a premade crust you have a few methods to choose from when baking it. You could play it safe and bake on a baking sheet based on the package instructions. (Ain’t nothin’ wrong with that.) If you’re craving a crispier crust, a baking stone or pizza crisper are both good tools to keep on hand. Using a stone? Make sure to heat it in the oven 10-30 minutes before you plan to bake so the stone is piping hot. You should probably also make your pizza on top of a pizza peel sprinkled with a little cornmeal to make it easy to transfer your pizza to the oven. If you don’t have a pizza peel, an upturned baking sheet (flip it over and sprinkle with cornmeal, then assemble your pizza on the bottom) works too. We’ve even got an easy step-by-step guide on how to grill pizza for that smoky flavor and lightly charred crust.

For a Crisper Crust
Pre-bake dough for 8-9 minutes. Flip crust with spatula. Top with pizza sauce, cooked meat, cheese and other toppings as desired. Bake 6-10 minutes longer or until crust is deep golden brown.

For Soft Crust
Do not prebake dough. Spread with sauce and top as above. Bake 9-13 minutes for cheese pizza, 13-17 minutes if additional toppings are added, or until crust is deep golden brown.

Depending on your crust preferences you could choose whole grain, classic, or thin crust.

The Sauce

It’s easy to buy your favorite sauce, but with just five minutes and a few simple ingredients, you can make a tasty pizza sauce at home. Mix it up to suit your family’s tastes with your favorite flavor of canned tomatoes. Fire-roasted crushed tomatoes or crushed tomatoes with basil used in the recipe below both make an excellent marinara.

Start with about two tablespoons of sauce in the middle of your pizza crust, then spread it out using the back of a large spoon or ladle for the best coverage.

Make this recipe your own! If you like a little spice, throw in a 1/4 tsp of crushed red pepper flakes to add an extra bit of warmth and flavor. Basil and oregano are traditional pizza sauce flavors, so add in a little of one or both to taste. If you like your sauce with a little texture, you can leave it as is, but if your family prefers a smoother sauce, you can blend it with a stick blender or in an upright blender. For a regular blender, simply pop open the pour spout and cover it with a kitchen towel when you blend to avoid exploding sauce all over your kitchen.

While store-bought pizza sauce does not need to be heated before use, cooking your own tomato sauce helps the flavors to meld together and the tomatoes to break down.

If you’re not a huge fan of tomato sauce, you can also make a “white pizza,” which is made with a sauce that’s typically just a bit of olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper.

The Toppings

When making your pizza at home, it can be easy to get carried away adding a ton of your favorite toppings. But don’t top to excess! It will prevent the crust from cooking evenly and you may end up disappointed with the result. Spread out the toppings and don’t go overboard on cheese or sauce for a well-balanced pizza—sometimes less is more

Whether you love to cover your pizza with meat, vegetables, only cheese or sans cheese (yes, you can), there’s a pizza for pretty much everyone. It’s also fun to push your boundaries and try a combination of toppings you might not normally go for. Here are a few of our favorite twists on classic pizza that go beyond pepperoni. Who knows, maybe you’ll surprise yourself and find your new favorite way to make pizza!

Extreme Pizza

Pepperoni Pizza Cake

There are those who love pizza. And then there are those who love pizza so much they take it to extreme levels. We are those people. The king of extreme pizza recipes is our epic pizza cake—which practically broke the Internet. We’ve also made a bundt cake out of pizza rolls, wrapped pizza inside pigs in a blanket and stuffed it into pizza pretzels. We’ve even made pizza into a bubble ring pull-apart, tucked it into savory pizza cupcakes and made pizza rolls into nachos! Our pizza love knows no bounds.

Here’s how to make our famous Pepperoni Pizza Cake for yourself!

How to Make Pizza Everyone Will Love

So what to do when everyone in your house has a different favorite pizza? Get the whole family involved in making this easy 4-Square Family Pizza

4-Square Family Pizza


Does it matter what order I build the pizza?
When making pizza at home, I’ve found that it’s best to top in the following order: crust --> sauce --> cooked meat and/or vegetables --> cheese.

Adding the cheese last ensures that all your toppings will stay safely on the pizza once the cheese melts. At restaurants, deep-dish pizza is sometimes topped with sauce last, followed by a sprinkle of parmesan cheese, but at home I go the safe route.

If you plan to add some fresh green leafy vegetables or delicate herbs to your pizza, add them at the end, after the pizza is fully cooked. The residual heat will lightly wilt the greens and help bring out their flavor. Fresh basil and arugula are my favorites. I love to dress some arugula with a little vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper then top the pizza with it for a pizza-salad combo.

If you’d rather add leafy greens to your pizza before baking, try adding them on top of the sauce. That way, there’s less risk that they’ll burn in the oven.

Can you make pizza without cheese?
Absolutely. Many people avoid dairy for dietary reasons, and some people prefer to have their pizza more flatbread style, without cheese. Whatever your reasons, it’s absolutely acceptable to make pizza without cheese. Just proceed as normal when making it at home, but skip the cheese step. Be careful when cutting into the finished pie, because the toppings will move around more easily without a layer of cheese to hold them on.

For those looking for a dairy-free cheese alternative, Daiya is a popular (and tasty!) dairy-free and vegan cheese substitute.

How can you tell when pizza is done?
As long as the crust is golden brown and cooked through, when you take your pizza out of the oven is a matter of personal preference. Some people prefer their cheese golden brown and bubbly, some like it just barely melted.

When you remove the pizza from the oven, let it rest a few minutes so the cheese can set and then cut, serve and eat to your heart’s content!

What should I serve with homemade pizza for a complete meal?
Pizza is awesome because it usually has most of the food groups already in it. If your pizza doesn’t have any veggies, try serving it with a large green salad. Spinach-strawberry salad or spring salad with ginger dressing make perfect complements to a pizza. You could stick with the Italian theme and serve a caprese-style pasta salad.

Breadsticks are also a natural side dish for pizza and our twisted garlic bread recipe made with pizza crust is a big win with kids. It’s easy to make and fun to dip in your homemade pizza sauce! This 5-Ingredient Crescent Cheesy Bread is also a nice addition to homemade pizza.

How long does leftover pizza last?
Like any food, be sure to refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours of the end of the cooking time. According to the USDA, leftover pizza can be kept in a refrigerator for 3-4 days. In the freezer, it can last 1-2 months. For best results, store leftover pizza in an airtight container.

What’s the best way to reheat refrigerated pizza?
Day-old pizza reheats well in a dry nonstick skillet. Cover and cook over medium-low heat for 5-10 minutes (watch carefully so it doesn’t burn) to crisp the crust and help the cheese regain its freshly melted, ooey goodness.

Reheating on a pizza stone or pizza crisper is another option, but it certainly takes longer to get the pizza hot.

Our advice: Unless you’re in crisis and have no time to wait, avoid a nuked nightmare and never microwave your pizza.

All Pizza Everything

Pizza is utterly delicious in many forms. It can be eaten as stromboli, calzones, and even as a fruit pizza for dessert. Here are some of our favorite ways to eat pizza.

Craving more pizza? Well, how about flatbread!