Hosting your own pizza party doesn’t have to be a stressful affair. With the right tools and a killer recipe, you’re sure to host a successful get together!
Over hundreds of years, pizza has grown from a lowly peasant Italian food to a worldwide phenomenon. There’s variations of all kinds, from frozen to delivery to deep dish. But our favorite is the Italian-style: a thin, supple crust seared in a blazing hot oven, topped with simple, quality ingredients like peppery garden basil, sweet, juicy tomatoes, Pecorino cheese, and gooey fresh mozzarella.
Pizza is endlessly versatile; nearly anything you can find in your pantry or farmer’s market can transform into a topping. Pizza Friday is one of our favorite ways to end the week, just the two of us or with friends, as we contend for the most creative and satisfying flavor combinations. Our love for the Italian pizza was solidified on our honeymoon in Rome (which we revisited 7 years later). Since then, we’ve been working to perfect the art and science of pizza making at home. To help you with your own pizza party, we’ve got a full list of resources below.
How to make pizza dough
The key to a great pizza is first in the dough. Dough making takes a bit of time to perfect, but practice makes perfect! Since the texture and feel of the dough is so important, Alex created a video a few years ago that shows the optimal texture. We’ve also included our two tried-and-true methods for dough-making, one with a food processor and one with a stand mixer.
Here are all our secrets to making perfect pizza dough:
Essential pizza tools
The two essential tools for great pizza at home are a pizza stone, which makes for the perfect crisp crust, and a pizza peel to slide the pizza onto and off of the stone. And if you really want to nerd out on pizza, a portable outdoor pizza oven. But only the stone and peel are essential; here are our recommendations:
To slide your homemade pizza onto that pizza stone, we recommend a pizza peel. What’s a pizza peel? It’s a paddle shaped wooden tray with a handle: you’ve probably seen people in pizzerias use them! They’re essential to using a pizza stone. You can use a rimless baking sheet instead, but it’s much more difficult. Standard pizza peel $21
To step up your pizza game a bit, try this conveyor pizza peel! It makes it very easy to slide the pizza on and off the pizza stone. Conveyor pizza peel $57
To make really, really good homemade pizza, you’ve got to have a pizza stone! You’ll preheat your oven with the pizza stone inside, which then makes the pizza crust perfectly crispy. Round pizza stone $36
Our favorite pizza recipes
With literally thousands of pizza topping combinations, there’s endless variety of pizzas you could serve at your pizza party. Here are a few of our favorite pizza topping recipes! Or, you could do a Make Your Own Pizza party: see below.
- Perfect Neapolitan Pizza
- White Pizza with Egg
- Best Pizza Margherita
- Spicy Vegetarian Diavola Pizza
- Pesto Pizza
- Best Ever Taco Pizza
- Veggie Pizza with Avocado
- Mexican Pizza
- Greek Pizza
- Kale & Pistachio Pizza
- Thai Curry Pizza
- Our Best Vegan Pizza Recipe
Make your own pizza party
Instead of making a bunch of different pizza flavors for your pizza party, why not let your guests join in the fun and do a Make Your Own Pizza party? This way, you can just have a bunch of pizza toppings and let guests decide what they’d like to add. Here are a few ideas for toppings to have on hand:
- Sauces: Best Homemade Pizza Sauce, Basil Pesto, Olive oil for brushing
- Shredded mozzarella cheese
- Feta cheese, goat cheese, burrata cheese, Parmesan cheese, or Pecorino cheese
- Chopped spinach leaves, chopped bell peppers, sliced red onions, thinly sliced tomatoes, avocado
- Olives, roasted jarred red peppers, artichokes
- Sauteed mushrooms
- Fresh basil, fresh thyme or fresh oregano
Appetizers for pizza party
Once you have all your pizza gear and toppings decided: what kind of appetizers for a pizza party? Here are a few salads and appetizers that would be perfect for a pizza party:
- Healthy Greek Yogurt Ranch Dip and veggies
- Classic Hummus or Glowing Green Hummus and veggies
- Burrata Salad with Arugula and Tomatoes
- Famous Tomato Dip with Grilled Bread
- Strawberry Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette
- Radish Chopped Salad Recipe
Sides for a pizza party
And what about side dishes? Check out our 10 Best Sides to Go with Pizza. It also includes specific pairings for some of our favorite pizza recipes.Print
- 500 grams* Tipo 00 or all-purpose flour (3 1/3 cups)
- 8 grams instant or active dry yeast (2 teaspoons)
- 7 grams kosher salt (1 teaspoon)
- 338 grams warm water (1 1/4 cups + 3 tablespoons)
- 13 grams olive oil (1 tablespoon)
- Combine the flour, salt, and yeast in a bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer. Stir to combine. Add the water and olive oil and stir until a raggy dough forms. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface.
- Knead the dough by pushing with the base of your palm, then reforming it into a ball. Continue kneading for 8 minutes until the dough feels pillowy and has a smooth, stretchy exterior. If the dough is very sticky, add a small amount of flour while kneading. Alternatively: attach the dough hook to a stand mixer and start the mixer on medium-low speed, then allow the mixer to knead for 8 minutes.
- After the kneading is finished, divide the dough into 3 equal pieces. Using floured hands, gently shape each half into a boule (ball shape) by folding the dough under itself. Set each boule on a floured surface and dab the dough with a bit of olive oil to keep it moist. Cover all boules with a damp towel and allow them to rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
- The dough can be used immediately. However for the BEST flavor, transfer the dough to separate sealed containers, large enough for the dough to double in size again, and store in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days. (Alex and I don’t always do this, but we try when possible because it makes for a noticeably nutty, unique flavor that truly is the best homemade pizza dough you’ve ever had.)
- **If you’re using the dough after refrigerating: The day of serving, remove the dough from the containers, place it on a lightly floured surface covered with a towel, and allow it to come to room temperature before stretching, 30 to 45 minutes.
- To stretch the dough, place it on a lightly floured surface and gently press it into a circle, flipping several times and adding a pinch of flour if it is too sticky. Once you have about an 8-inch circle, pick up the dough and gently drape it over the knuckles on both of your hands. Slowly rotate it around, allowing gravity to stretch it into a circle about 11 inches in diameter. Do not overwork or fold the dough. If the dough starts to resist stretching, put it down and allow it to rest for a few minutes, at which point it will stretch more easily.
- We bake our pizzas at 500F and use a pizza peel to transfer it to a preheated pizza stone in the oven: the bake time is around 5 to 7 minutes. See our pizza recipe posts for baking instructions.
*Using a food scale will ensure you have consistent results every time! We use this one.
You can make 6 personal pizzas or 3 medium pizzas with this size of dough. If you’re making personal pizzas, you can cook 2 at a time on a pizza stone. Or, cook them to order!
- Category: Main Dish
- Method: Baked
- Cuisine: Italian
Keywords: How to Throw a Pizza Party, Pizza Dough, Pizza Dough Recipe
About the Authors
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.