This homemade pizza dough recipe really is the best! Here’s how to make pizza dough with the perfect fluffy, chewy texture—every time.

How to make pizza dough

Are you ready for next level pizza dough? Here at A Couple Cooks, we’ve spent the past decade becoming homemade pizza experts. We’ve interviewed chefs, completed endless research, and even made a few trips to Italy to taste the real thing. So it’s with pleasure that we share our very best pizza dough recipe! You don’t even need special equipment: just your bare hands and a passion for pizza. Here are all our secrets on how to make pizza dough⁠!

Best flour for pizza dough

What makes best possible homemade pizza dough recipe? Using great flour. Our top choice is the flour that professional pizzerias use, called Tipo 00. But you can use other types of flour if you have them on hand or can’t find Tipo 00. Here’s what to know about types of flours for pizza dough:

  • Tipo 00 flour is a highly refined, finely ground flour often used in Italian cuisine, and is the best choice for pizza dough. It is known for its strength and elasticity, which makes it ideal for creating a light and airy crust with a crispy texture. The high gluten content in Tipo 00 flour allows the dough to stretch easily without tearing, which creates a fluffy, chewy texture. Tipo 00 is becoming more widely available at American grocery stores, or you can order it online.
  • Bread flour is a type of flour that is high in gluten and protein, making it ideal for baking bread. It can also be used to make pizza dough. The high gluten content makes it an ideal choice for creating a light, airy crust with a crispy texture. Additionally, the high protein content in bread flour helps to create a nice chewiness in the dough. The main disadvantage of this type of flour is that while it contributes a chewy texture, it’s not as light and airy as Tipo 00. But, it’s preferred over all-purpose flour.
  • All-purpose flour also works for this homemade pizza dough recipe. The main advantage of using all-purpose flour for pizza dough is that it is widely available and inexpensive. However, the gluten content in all-purpose flour is not as high as Tipo 00 or bread flour flour, so the pizza crust is slightly more dense and crumbly. However, all-purpose flour still makes for an excellent homemade pizza dough!
Kneading pizza dough

How to make pizza dough

Making homemade pizza dough is a fairly simple process. The only part that requires some skill is the stretching. There is also some proofing time involved, so make sure to factor that in to your pizza night! Here are some things to note about how to make pizza dough:

Knead the dough by hand, or use a stand mixer.

Contrary to what you might think, you don’t need any special equipment for pizza dough. You can knead it by hand! We love the tactile nature of hand kneading and it comes out great. However, if you do have a KitchenAid or stand mixer, it does a fantastic job and is totally hands off. The kneading time in both cases is 8 minutes.

Allow the dough 45 minutes to rise.

Kneading takes only 8 minutes, so most of the time required for making pizza dough is letting it rise or “proof.” This recipe requires a proof time of 45 minutes. So, make sure to start making the recipe about 1 hour before you’d like to eat your pizza. You can also make it in advance and refrigerate: keep reading!

Refrigerate the dough 1 to 3 days prior to baking (optional!).

Here at A Couple Cooks, we’ve interviewed some top rated pizzeria chefs in America and they all agree. For the best pizza dough, make it in advance and refrigerate it for 2 to 3 days before baking. This naturally ferments the dough, infusing a nutty, complex flavor. Of course, thinking ahead by 2 to 3 days is not always possible! You can skip this step and the dough still tastes incredible. (Promise.)

Tips for stretching the dough

Do you have to throw homemade pizza dough into the air like in your favorite pizzeria? While it looks fancy, this type of stretching is not required for homemade dough! Here are a few tips for stretching pizza dough:

  • Prep the dough: Place the dough on a lightly floured surface. Dust the top of the dough with flour.
  • Pat into a circle: Pat the dough into a circle, then drape it on your knuckles to stretch it. If the dough resists stretching, set it down and let it rest for 1 minute. Once you pick it up again, the gluten will have relaxed and it will be possible to stretch.
  • Drape the dough over your knuckles: 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. If it resists stretching, put it down and allow it to rest for a few minutes, at which point it will stretch more easily.

Because the stretching process is so tactile, it’s easiest to learn by watching. Watch our How to Stretch Pizza Dough video!

Kid kneading dough
Even kids can help with this pizza dough recipe!

Can you freeze pizza dough?

Yes! You can freeze any pizza dough balls you don’t plan to use the day of. After it rises, place it in a freezer proof bag and remove extra air with a straw. Freeze for up to 3 months. Go to How to Freeze Pizza Dough for more about how to defrost the dough when using it.

Pizza dough variations

This homemade pizza dough recipe produces a deliciously fluffy pizza crust that’s crisped on the outside and chewy on the inside. It’s perfect for a standard, artisan-style pizza. But if you’re looking for something different, here are a few variations on this pizza crust recipe:

  • Thin crust: This Thin Crust Pizza Dough is similar to this recipe, but with a thinner crust! It’s slightly easier to make because you can roll the dough out instead of stretching it.
  • Pan pizza: Try Perfect Pan Pizza, with a thicker crust made in a cast iron pan.
  • Focaccia pizza: This Focaccia Pizza is simple to make with an extremely thick, fluffy crust.
  • Sheet pan pizza: Make a big Sheet Pan Pizza, the equivalent of 3 medium pizzas.
Best homemade pizza dough recipe

This pizza dough recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based and dairy-free.

Best Margherita pizza
This pizza dough makes the BEST margherita pizza
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How to stretch pizza dough

Best Pizza Dough Recipe


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 3 medium pizzas (about 11 inches in diameter) 1x

Description

This homemade pizza dough recipe really is the best! Here’s how to make pizza dough with the perfect fluffy, chewy texture—every time.

For the best possible pizza dough, we recommend this pizza stone. Here’s why we love it.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 500 grams* Tipo 00 or all-purpose flour (3 ⅓ cups)
  • 8 grams instant or active dry yeast (2 teaspoons)
  • 7 grams kosher salt (1 teaspoon)
  • 338 grams warm water (1 ¼ cups + 3 tablespoons)
  • 13 grams olive oil (1 tablespoon)

Instructions

  1. 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.
  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. 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.
  4. 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.) You can also freeze pizza dough you don’t plan to use that day.
  5. **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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

Notes

*Using a food scale will ensure you have consistent results every time! We use this one.

  • Category: Essential Recipes
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Italian

Keywords: How to make pizza dough, Best homemade pizza dough, Best pizza dough recipe, Making pizza dough

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About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you'll want to make again and again.

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144 Comments

  1. That’s the secret I don’t think I leave mine long enough also do you have to let it come back to Rome temputure or can you use it straight out of the fridge

    1. Hi! You do need to let it come to room temperature before cooking, otherwise it’s too hard to stretch!

      1. Hello, I absolutely love this recipe. The only change I make is that I use whole wheat and I lil dab of honey I always make 2-3 days ahead of time and the reward is AMAZING!
        Thank you so much for all the tips.. oh I should add that I pre bake for 2-3 minutes then top and bake for 7 minutes at your recommended temp of 500°. oh I just can’t say enough how great it is!

  2. Quick question! The recipe in your book uses instant yeast, and this one uses regular active dry yeast… what is the reason for this difference?

      1. Thanks for the quick response! Making the dough today to have pizza on Friday – will update you on how it goes!

    1. I would love a gluten free, vegan, vegetarian pizza recipe that’s a safer alternative for Autism. Thank you.!

  3. If I am to refrigerate the dough do I still need to cover it with a damp towel and allow it to rise before putting it in the refrigerator or I just put it in directly?

  4. I just mixed my dough following your instructions, and did not activate the “active dry yeast” which was against my instincts. I haven’t done a slow ferment before though so thought it’d be best to follow the instructions. Now I see graduals of yeast on my dough… do I need to start over? If so, it’s be helpful to make it clear to people that it needs to still be activated first!

      1. It is rising! Thank you, and sorry for the spelling errors (autocorrect!). I’m shocked and stoked, I had no idea it would still work without activation. Should I have activated it first for the most optimal results? Thanks!

          1. Hello! When I clicked on the Tipo 00 link you provided, it took me to Amazon with a listing of a brand called Antimo Caputo soft wheat flour. Is this the brand you use for your pizza dough? There seem to be so many different brands out there. I want to make sure I use the same one you use. If you can send a screenshot of the exact one that would be great. Also, I tried your pizza sauce recipe and love It! Sad to say I am not very good in the kitchen, but I like your simple recipes and the pizza sauce was a hit! Thank you for providing such wonderful tried and true recipes that are easy enough for me to try.

          2. Hi! Yes, the Antimo Caputo brand is the one that we usually buy. We’ve tried several brands and they’ve all worked well. If you try the Tipo 00, definitely do the slow rise in the fridge for 2 to 3 days, it makes a HUGE difference on flavor.

            Happy cooking!

  5. Have you tried making pizza using a GF flour? Costco makes a really good all purpose GF flour and there are also several other specialty kinds as well. Curious how this would turn out with GF flour???

    1. Hi! I’ve not tested five days, but I think it maybe end up overproofing a bit and could expand beyond your containers…

  6. I’m excited to try this recipe. I have one concern though. The amount of yeast is 8 grams, where most recipes I’ve tried require much, much less. Will this amount have any affect on the taste of the dough? With so much yeast, will it just keeping rising through the 2-3 days of fermenting?

  7. I tried this recipe, due to the simple calzone recipe. I did not let it sit a day or more in the fridge but I did start it early and let it sit in the fridge for 6 hours. This was the first time i have ever made pizza dough at home and it turned out perfect texture/feel wise. I had only wished I had tried adding some flavor into the dough like garlic powder, basil flakes, and a bit of extra salt maybe. Next time I try to do calzones again and I use this recipe for the dough I may experiment. I didnt even taste salt from what was listed in the recipe. Was just flavor of plain dough and of course what was added inside. But I loved how when I followed the directions it came out perfect to work with. I’ve tried different bread recipes and even when following directions stuff doesnt seem to turn out as great. A lot of messy recipes had me staying away from anything online for a good while. This one was perfect and easy to work with. Thank you so much for sharing it and glad i took a chance on it.

  8. Thank you for your recipe,
    I will be using fresh yeast instead of instant or active dry, so I am wondering about the conversion.
    You mention 8 grams of either active dry or instant. Now for active dry I would need to use twice as much fresh yeast, and for instant four time as much. Therefore could you tell me which one you used?
    Thank you,

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