Perfect Pan Pizza

Here’s how to make the incredible pan pizza at home! It’s got thick pillowy crust and tastes like your favorite pizzeria…but even better.

Pan pizza

Eh ’em. Calling all lovers of thick, pillowy pizza crust! This epic homemade pan pizza tastes just like the thick crust pizza from your favorite pizzeria. The smell wafting from the oven is enough to make you visibly drool (we did!). Cooking in a cast iron skillet makes the crust crispy on the outside and soft on the inside: and the cheese goes all the way to the edges. These supreme-style toppings with gooey cheese and garlicky tomato sauce…well, it’s true perfection. Side benefit: it’s easy to make, too. Here’s how to make the best pan pizza!

How to make pan pizza: an overview

Alex and I have spent years honing the art of Neapolitan-style artisan pizza recipes and the perfect Margherita. But we’d never mastered American-style pan pizza: until now! While this style takes a little longer to make, it’s actually easier! You don’t have to shape the dough or worry about transferring it to a pizza stone. Throw it in a cast-iron skillet and let the oven do the magic! Here’s a basic outline of what you’re getting yourself into with skillet pan pizza:

Make the dough15 minutes active
Proof dough in skillet45 minutes to 1 hour, inactive
Proof dough again (and prep toppings)45 minutes, inactive (use time to prep toppings)
Top and bake pizza15 minutes, inactive
How to make pan pizza

You’ll need a 10″ cast iron skillet

The only equipment you’ll need to make pan pizza is a cast iron skillet! You’ll need a 10-inch skillet for this recipe, because the dough size is designed especially to fit this pan.

The trick to extra thick crust: two proofs!

If you’ve baked bread before, you’ll know the term “proof”. Proofing is when you let bread dough rest after you’ve added yeast, so that it rises. The trick to getting the extra thick crust in this recipe is proofing the dough twice. The downside is that you’ll need to wait for 45 minutes not once but twice. The up-side is that you’ll get super thick, pillowy crust.

Another pro to making a skillet pan pizza: you don’t have to worry about shaping the dough! No throwing pizza dough in the air, or getting frustrated when it tears. Just proof it in the skillet, then press it out into the dough. It’s so simple!

Dough in cast iron skillet

This pizza sauce is a must

When you think about toppings for pan pizza, you can use anything you like. Just make sure to make our Best Pizza Sauce! It is full of incredible flavor and makes any pizza taste like you just stepped into a pizzeria. Even better, it takes just 5 minutes to make. Please. We beg of you. Make this sauce! Go to Best Pizza Sauce for the recipe.

Top your pan pizza with these epic supreme toppings!

OK, so here’s the deal. You can top this pan pizza with cheese and pepperoni if you’d like. But might we suggest topping with these epic supreme toppings? Typically we encourage creativity (and we do!). But you’ve got to try these toppings at least once. They make your house smell like you just stepped into a pizzeria. And they taste, well…epic. Here’s the breakdown:

  • Mozzarella and Parmesan cheese (lots of it!)
  • Mushroom sauteed with fennel seed = tastes like sausage!
  • Bell peppers
  • Red onion
  • Dried oregano
Best skillet pan pizza

Pan pizza baking technique: stovetop then oven!

One last note about the technique for a pan pizza. The first thing you’ll do once you’ve topped your pizza is not put it in the oven. Nope, you’ll put it on a stovetop burner first and cook for 2 minutes. This makes sure that the bottom heats up just enough before it gets into the oven, making for the perfect crispy crust bottom. Trust us on this one!

Keep in mind: you can only make one (unless you have 2 skillets!)

This pan pizza recipe is made right in the cast iron skillet: you’ll rise the dough there for 1.5 hours, then press it in. Because of that, you can only make one pizza at once. Unless of course, you have two 10-inch cast iron skillets! (If so, can we be friends?)

That might not sound like enough. But guess what? The crust of a pan pizza is very thick, making it much more filling than a thin crust pizza. Typically Alex and I have at least 2 pizzas for our family (2 adults plus 3 year old), but with a pan pizza we can get by with one. Just make sure to accessorize with a salad or side. Speaking of…

Pan pizza

Ways to serve this pan pizza

Because you can only make one pan pizza at once, it’s an excuse to get creative on side dishes! It’s easy for Alex and me to load up on pizza, so we like the added challenge with this pan pizza. Here’s what we like to serve with it:

  • Perfect Italian Salad This salad will amaze everyone around the table! Homemade Italian dressing, crisp veggies and Parmesan cheese combine into one extraordinary salad.
  • Easy Arugula Salad The simplest salad you’ll ever make! This easy arugula salad is fool-proof: you don’t even need to make dressing. It comes together in minutes!
  • Spinach Apple Salad So easy and SO good, it will be your new go-to! No one will believe it took minutes to put together.
  • Simple Citrus Salad This refreshingly simple citrus salad features grapefruit and oranges topped with a tangy vinaigrette and fresh mint.
Best pan pizza

This perfect pan pizza recipe is…

Vegetarian.

Print
Pan pizza

Perfect Pan Pizza


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (13 votes, average: 4.62 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 1 hour 50 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours 5 minutes
  • Yield: 8 slices 1x
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

Here’s how to make the incredible pan pizza at home! It’s got thick pillowy crust and tastes like your favorite pizzeria…but even better.


Scale

Ingredients

For the pan pizza dough

  • 188 grams (1 1/2 cups) Tipo 00 or all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon instant or active dry yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 118 grams (1/2 cup) warm water
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil

For the topping

  • 4 baby bella mushrooms or one portabella mushroom
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1/2 bell pepper (or 1/4 green and 1/4 red)
  • 1 handful thinly sliced red onion
  • 1/2 cup Easy Pizza Sauce
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • Dried oregano

Instructions

  1. Make the dough (15 minutes): Combine the flour, yeast, salt, oregano and garlic powder 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Proof the dough (45 minutes to 1 hour): Generously the oil bottom and sides of a 10” cast iron skillet with olive oil. When the kneading is finished, use floured hands to gently shape the dough into a boule (ball shape) by folding the dough under itself. Set the dough in the center of the skillet and dab the dough with a bit of olive oil to keep it moist. Cover with a damp towel and allow them to rise until doubled in size and spread out, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  4. Press and proof again (45 minutes): Remove the towel and drizzle with a tad of olive oil. Use your fingers to press the dough out into a circle to the edges of the pan. Cover and rest for 45 minutes.
  5. Preheat: When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 475F.
  6. Prep the toppings: Slice the baby bella mushrooms. Heat the olive oil in a small skillet. Saute the mushrooms and fennel seeds for about 3 to 5 minutes, until they become golden brown and start to release moisture. Add 2 pinches of kosher salt and cook another minute, then remove from the heat.
  7. Finely dice the green pepper. Thinly slice the red pepper. Thinly slice the red onion.
  8. Top and bake the pizza (20 minutes): When the dough is ready, spread the pizza sauce over the dough using the back of a spoon to create a thin layer all the way to the edges of the dough. Add the mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese. Top with the mushrooms, peppers, and red onion. Sprinkle with dried oregano and a few pinches of kosher salt. Top with another light sprinkle of mozzarella cheese.
  9. Place the skillet on a stovetop burner on high heat for two minutes. Then transfer to the oven and bake 13 to 17 minutes until the cheese is browned. Run a butter knife around the edge of the pan so that the cheese doesn’t stick, then cool it to cool slightly. After a minute or so, remove the pizza to a cutting board and slice it into pieces. Serve immediately.

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Italian American

Keywords: Pan Pizza, Easy Pan Pizza

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

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

Cookbook Author and photographer

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.

11 Comments

  • Reply
    N Waldeck
    May 4, 2020 at 4:03 pm

    How could you make a thin crust pizza in a cast iron skillet?

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      May 4, 2020 at 4:40 pm

      We haven’t played with a thin crust version. I’d try about 2/3 of the dough and roll it out with a rolling pin before cooking.

  • Reply
    Suzie Swan
    May 6, 2020 at 8:57 am

    Is this the same as your other dough recipe?

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      May 6, 2020 at 9:20 am

      Hi! It’s a little bit different with some seasoning in it.

  • Reply
    Kristine L Wolff
    May 8, 2020 at 8:13 am

    Have you come up with a good gluten free pizza crust?

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      May 8, 2020 at 9:53 am

      We haven’t played with this, but we should add it to our list!

  • Reply
    Therese
    May 8, 2020 at 10:40 am

    Looks delicious! Do you think whole wheat flour would work? Or a mix of AP and WW? Thanks!

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      May 8, 2020 at 12:47 pm

      I’d add up to about 1/3 whole wheat.

      • Reply
        Therese
        May 8, 2020 at 1:35 pm

        Thanks! I’ll give it a try. Our AP flour is in short supply 🙂

  • Reply
    Greg
    May 10, 2020 at 10:59 am

    If the recipe only requires a 10” cast iron skillet, then in what pan are you sautéing the baby portobellos and fennel seeds while the dough is proofing?

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      May 11, 2020 at 9:03 am

      We use an additional small skillet :)

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