I’ve been on a mission with my homemade pizza since visiting my friend Amy a few years ago. I had no idea homemade pizza could taste so good! Since then, mine has come a LONG way–and these five changes made the biggest impact. Try them for yourself and take your pie to the next level!
1. Find a new dough recipe.
Is your dough just so-so? A good dough recipe can make all the difference. Here are the three in heavy rotation here:
- Citizen Mom’s Homemade Pizza Dough (let your standing mixer do the kneading)
- Perfect Pizza Crust from Dinner: A Love Story (just stir in the bowl for 30 seconds)
- “Hometown Pizza” on page 52 of my book Cooking Light Dinnertime Survival Guide (mix the dough in your food processor)
Note: This is one place I usually go all-white flour (all-purpose or a combo of all-purpose and bread flour). I think it produces a more authentic pizza-shop crust. If you’d rather do whole grain, try subbing white whole wheat flour for half of the the white flour.
2. Get a perforated pan.
This was a game-changer for me. This $3 pizza pan transformed my crust from limp to crispy. The magic is in the little holes, which allow the air to circulate and bake the crust faster (solving the problem of browned toppings and an under-cooked crust). I bought my pizza pans at ALDI, but lots of places carry them, including Target (here’s an inexpensive one from Amazon).
Note: My ALDI pizza pan is non-stick but I still give it a generous spray with the Olive Oil Mister before putting my dough on, which also helps the crust brown.
3. Use fresh mozzarella.
I know the bags of pre-shredded mozzarella are a lot more convenient–and believe me, I still use them sometimes too. But fresh mozzarella takes the flavor and presentation of your homemade pizza up a notch. Here’s a trick: Freeze your ball of mozzarella for about 20 minutes before cutting it, so it’s firm and easier to slice.
4. Jack up the temperature.
Forget 400 or even 450. Cranking up your oven will help you achieve a terrific, golden crust (think about how hot those wood-fired pizza ovens get!). I set mine right around 500 but plenty of people go north of that (read thekitchn’s case for setting your oven “as hot as it will go” for homemade pizza).
5. Use the bottom oven rack.
I discovered this by accident when I was baking two pizzas at once and needed to use both racks. The bottom rack actually produces a crispier, browner crust–but you have to keep an eye on it. I typically rotate my pie 180 degrees after five minutes, then check it again after another five, sometimes transferring it to the middle rack for the last few minutes of baking. All ovens are different, so this is not a precise recommendation. Peek and rotate frequently, and it might take some trial and error to figure out your oven. But trust me, all of that fussing will be worth it!
If you have homemade pizza tips to share, I’d love to hear them!
Disclosures: I am a member of the ALDI Advisory Council, which means I am paid for doing occasional projects with them. However, I was not paid to mention them in this post–I just wanted to share where I got my pan. Also, this page contains Amazon Affiliate links. If you purchase a product through these links, your cost will be the same but I will receive a small commission to help with operating costs of this blog. Thanks for your support!