Want to learn how to make authentic artisan pizza at home? Here’s everything you need to know: recipes, tools, and more!
On our honeymoon 11 years ago, Alex and I went to Italy and fell in love–for a second time. This time, it was with Italian artisan pizza: its supple, blackened crust, sweet tomatoes, and gooey mozzarella cheese.
Our first experience was at what Rick Steve’s claimed was “the best pizza in Rome”. To our surprise, it had minimal toppings and an egg on top, whose yolk spilled over the entire pizza. Genius! On the plane ride back to the States, we vowed to each other we would learn to make real artisan pizza: Italian style.
Learning how to make artisan pizza at home
It started with making pizza dough at home. After a while, we began to experiment and start to create our own recipe. While there were quite a few epic failures, our goal remained the same: enjoying high quality, delicious artisan pizza together with people we love.
As we went, we started to learn the best type of Italian flour, how to use a pizza peel, and what San Marzano tomatoes were. We found the best types of pizzas were those with just a few real food ingredients, and that compared to typical American pizza, artisan pizza could even be healthy (or healthyish). We read dozens of recipes, and talked to experts at pizzerias. Over time, we started to get the hang of it.
After years of research, here’s what we found…
Years later, we decided to go back to Italy for more research! This time it was to Naples, the birthplace of pizza. It was in Naples that we had the best best pizza of our lives at a pizzeria called Da Michele. At this ages old pizzeria, they served two flavors of artisan pizza baked perfectly for 1 minute in a hot wood fired oven. It was transcendental. It was at that moment we knew: this is not just an obsession. Artisan pizza is a lifestyle.
After 11 years of research, you could also call us unabashed homemade pizza experts. We may not be from Italy, but we’ve talked to top experts in pizzerias nationwide and spent lots of time in the trenches to uncover the secrets to making artisan pizza at home. And we want to tell you how to do it too! Here’s our list of the best gear, pizza oven, flour, tomatoes, and pizza recipes to use for making your own artisan pizza. Are you ready?
What flour should I use for pizza dough?
Over the years, we’ve found that if you want to make really great pizza dough, you’ll have to use the flour that professional pizzerias use! It’s called Tipo 00 and it’s a special Italian brand. We order ours online and use it only for our pizza dough.
What pizza sauce recipe should I use?
Our very best pizza sauce is incredibly simple, with just 5 ingredients and it takes 5 minutes to make. We also have a video to help convince you :) Try this Easy Pizza Sauce Recipe!
What is your best pizza dough recipe?
Here are our favorite pizza dough recipes! We’d recommend the Master Pizza Dough recipe as a starting point, then cook through the other variations!
What pizza gear do I need?
To make killer artisan pizza at home, you’ll need a few things. Here is the pizza gear we recommend (affiliate links included):
To transfer the pizza in and out of the oven, you’ll need a pizza peel. So the dough doesn’t stick, layer it with a thin layer of cornmeal or semolina before baking. Here’s are the pizza peels we use. We love the conveyor pizza peel because it makes it so easy to slide the dough onto the pizza stone. You won’t believe it until you see it in action!
If you’re using your standard oven for baking pizza, you’ll need a pizza stone instead! The pizza stone heats up while your oven preheats and makes for a crispy underside to your artisan pizza crust. We do not recommend baking pizza without it! Note that a pizza stone can break (we’ve had quite a few crack in the oven) — but you can still use the pieces next to each other in the oven.
When our artisan pizza is done, we slide it out onto a round pizza tray and let it cool for a few minutes. You could use a baking sheet instead, but the round shape is perfect for sliding the pizza onto and serving at the table.
Pizza oven (optional)
You do not need a pizza oven to cook artisan pizza at home! However, if you’re at all interested in really, really good artisan pizza with those lovely black char marks on the crust, consider a pizza oven! The key to great pizza is cooking at very high heat. Your standard oven can get only to 550 degrees F, but a pizza oven can get up to almost 1000 degrees F!
Until recently, we did not own a pizza oven. But we discovered a pizza oven called the Ooni. The Ooni is small, transportable, and heats up to 1000 degrees Fahrenheit in just 10 minutes, powered by wood pellets. The Ooni takes a bit of practice, but it’s revolutionized our homemade pizza. Here’s the Ooni pizza oven that we use and more on why we think it’s the best pizza oven.
What are some of your favorite pizza recipes?
So many! Here are some favorite pizza recipes to try:
- Classic Burrata Pizza
- 3 Cheese Shrimp Pizza
- Easy Cast Iron Pizza
- Ultimate Spinach Pizza
- Incredible Jalapeno Pizza
- Perfect Neapolitan Pizza Recipe
- Ricotta Pizza
- White Pizza (Pizza Bianca)
- Truffle Pizza
- Mushroom Pizza with Fresh Herbs
- Homemade Cheese Pizza
- Perfect Homemade Margherita Pizza
The most classic artisan pizza, this pizza recipe features a tangy pizza sauce, gooey mozzarella, and a perfect chewy pizza crust.
For the pizza dough
- 1 ball Best Pizza Dough (or Food Processor Dough or Thin Crust Dough)
- Semolina flour or cornmeal, for dusting the pizza peel
For the pizza sauce
- 1 small garlic clove (1/2 medium)
- 15 ounces crushed fire roasted tomatoes or high quality organic canned tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- Scant ½ teaspoon kosher salt
For the toppings
- 1/4 to 1/3 cup pizza sauce
- ¾ cup shredded cheese or 2 to 3 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese
- Parmesan cheese
- A few fresh basil leaves
- Make the pizza dough: Follow the Best Pizza Dough recipe to prepare the dough. (This takes about 15 minutes to make and 45 minutes to rest.)
- Place a pizza stone in the oven and preheat to 500°F. OR preheat your pizza oven (here’s the pizza oven we use).
- Make the pizza sauce: Cut the garlic into a few rough pieces. Place the garlic, tomatoes, olive oil, oregano and kosher salt in a blender. Blend until fully combined. (You’ll use about ⅓ cup for the pizza; reserve the remaining sauce and refrigerate for up to 1 week.)
- Prepare the cheese: If using fresh mozzarella cheese, slice it into ¼ inch thick pieces (see the photos of the pre-baked pizza above). If it’s incredibly watery fresh mozzarella (all brands vary), you may want to let it sit on a paper towel to remove moisture for about 15 minutes then dab the mozzarella with the paper towel to remove any additional moisture.
- Bake the pizza: When the oven is ready, dust a pizza peel with cornmeal or semolina flour. (If you don’t have a pizza peel, you can use a rimless baking sheet or the back of a rimmed baking sheet. But a pizza peel is well worth the investment!) Stretch the dough into a circle; see How to Stretch Pizza Dough for instructions. Then gently place the dough onto the pizza peel.
- Spread a thin layer of the pizza sauce over the dough, using about ¼ to ⅓ cup. Add the mozzarella cheese. Top with a thin layer of fresh grated Parmesan cheese and a few pinches of kosher salt.
- Use the pizza peel to carefully transfer the pizza onto the preheated pizza stone. Bake the pizza until the cheese and crust are nicely browned, about 5 to 7 minutes in the oven (or 1 minute in a pizza oven).
- Allow the pizza to cool for a minute or two before adding the basil on top (whole leaves, lightly torn, or thinly sliced). Slice into pieces and serve immediately.
- Category: Main Dish
- Method: Baked
- Cuisine: Italian
Keywords: Artisan pizza