How to Make Homemade Pizza Dough

It's always more fun to DIY. Every week, we'll spare you a trip to the grocery store and show you how to make small batches of great foods at home.

Today: With Amber Wilson from For the Love of the South's step by step instructions, making pizza dough no longer has to be reserved for special occassions.

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Growing up, there were those sweet traditions that only summer would bring. And on a stifling summer day in Louisiana, one of the greatest traditions came in the form of lunch. As a special treat for killing banana spiders, devouring honeysuckles, and kicking over crawfish holes, my grandmother would reward me with a pizza made with her homemade bread dough.

More: You've got the dough. Now you need to learn to make the perfect pizza

She patiently rolled out her dough and let us gently stretch it onto a pizza pan as little puffs of flour clouded the air. The homemade dough was soft and smooth except for the sweet dimples made by the impressions of my tiny fingertips around the edges. Grandma popped the pizza in the oven, and when it came out, we all breathed a sigh of delight.

I’ve met many people who long to learn how to make dough but are completely intimidated by the process. I know that not everyone had a grandmother who patiently took the intimidation factor out of making dough, so here’s a guide intended to take you step by step, the same way my grandmother once taught me. I hope to arm you with the confidence to create pizza dough any day of the week, and to even stash some in the freezer for a quick weeknight dinner. Here’s to a lovely summer, y’all! 

Homemade Pizza Dough

Serves 8

2 cups of warm water (100 to 110º F)
4 1/2 teaspoons (2 packets) rapid-rise yeast
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing the bowl
2 tablespoons kosher salt
6 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

Preheat the oven to 200º F. Once the oven has preheated, immediately turn it off.


Combine the water, yeast, and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a hook attachment. Gently stir to dissolve the yeast. Let the yeast sit for 5 to 10 minutes, until the whole surface of the mixture begins to get foamy.

Turn the mixer to the lowest speed and add the olive oil and salt. Slowly add in the flour: I usually add in half, let it incorporate slightly, then pour in the other half.

Increase the mixer to medium speed and mix the dough until it begins to form a ball and wrap itself around the hook, about 2 minutes.

Allow the mixer to knead the dough for another 5 to 8 minutes. The dough should be smooth and elastic.

Form the dough into a ball and place it into a large bowl coated with olive oil. Flip the dough a few times to get it evenly coated in the oil. Then cover the dough with a tea towel and let it rise for 1 hour in the warm oven.

Once the dough has risen, punch it down and cut it into 8 equal-sized pieces, each of which is one serving (or cut the dough in half for 2 large pizzas). 

If you don't plan to use the dough immediately, you can freeze it by wrapping each piece in cling wrap and stacking the covered pieces in a gallon-sized freezer bag. When you’re ready to make pizza, take out however many individual balls you may need and let them come to room temperature for 2 to 3 hours on the counter. The dough will stay good in the freezer for 3 months. 

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Photos by Amber Wilson

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A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).

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  • Christine Cooper
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Southern storyteller, freelance photographer, and recipe developer. Author of the Southern memoir-style food blog, For the Love of the South. Bringing Southern memories to the table.


Christine C. January 6, 2018
Going to give this recipe a go. Was wondering about the flour. I have the 00 flour. Will this make a difference? Or can I just stick to using my basic white flour?
amber W. January 6, 2018
I've used OO flour and all-purpose flour for this recipe, and they both work great! The OO flour is a little more difficult for some people to source, so I try to stick with a/p flour for most recipes! x Amber
travelbyrecipe April 25, 2017
Hi Amber, 2 things, I make doughs in the bread machine, adding all liquids first. I have tried this on several types of dough. I will try your recipe for pizza dough! We allow banana spiders alone, they eat undesirable bugs suck as wasps and flies in their huge webs. They are not interested in humans and while they might bite just don't put your hand in the webs. I encourage you and others to read about them.
amber W. April 25, 2017
We always left the banana spiders alone that were off the pathway as my grandparents taught us that they were great to have close to the house to eat unwanted pests! The only ones we took down were the ones on the foot trails. Thanks so much for sharing the importance of these spiders! x Amber
Allison C. January 8, 2016
Is there any way to do this if you don't have a stand mixer!
amber W. January 8, 2016
Of course! You can always use a bowl and your hands to prepare this dough. All you need is a little upper body strength and patience!
mimi June 16, 2015
I use lahey's recipe and other no knead preparations but sometimes you need pizza NOW and can't wait on a 20 hour rise. This recipe is wonderful, Amber, thank you so much for sharing! I used instant yeast and mixed it into the sugar and flour, added the warm water and mixed to combine it all. Then I turned it out onto my work space and added the salt and olive oil and kneaded by hand for ten minutes. It doubled beautifully within an hour and tastes amazing! Thanks again!
I_Fortuna January 9, 2016
Make it before you go to bed in the evening and it will be ready in the morning or anytime later in the day. Easy.
You can make it during the day and let it rise in the fridge. Also, easy.
It will last in the fridge for about 3 days. Just take it out and let it come to room temperature and prepare as usual. And, you can freeze it.
Just wrap it well in wax paper and plastic wrap or a freezer bag which can be reused. : )
I_Fortuna September 28, 2014
This is kind of an outdated home chef way to make pizza dough and a recipe not many professional pizza chefs use. Most professional chefs that I am aware of, mix their dough and let it proof overnight or for many hours. This eliminates the kneading process completely. Time does the work.
When I am making pizza I mix the dough before I retire at night, cover it with plastic wrap and let it proof about 14 or more hours. By dinnertime the next day I have perfect dough for pizza or bread. This also makes the dough more digestible as the gluten has had time to break down which is the purpose of kneading. The flavor the time imparts is delicious and more authentic. Left over dough can be refrigerated and use within about 2 to 3 days. It will continue to proof in the fridge, just more slowly.
Just do a search for no knead breads and no knead pizza dough to find a recipe.
By the way, 1 in 105 people have a gluten sensitivity or celiac disease. Celiac is an autoimmune disease where the villi or lining of the small intestine are are destroyed by consumption of gluten. This prevents the body from absorption of vital nutrients which may cause health complications and other autoimmune diseases.
Michael T. September 3, 2014
For a better chew and more legit pizza crust, try subbing 5 cups of bread flour and 1 cup of semolina in place of the 6 C of AP.
Cassie August 14, 2014
I'm trying this out for dinner tonight. It looks super easy and I'm hoping to add it to my regular rotation to break my reliance on store bought dough. Thanks for the recipe!
amber W. August 14, 2014
It's so easy! I hope you enjoy!
DebbyB July 30, 2014
This seems to be working great but I thought two tablespoons salt seemed liked an awful lot. I used two tsp instead and am waiting to see how that turns out. I am sensitive to salt taste, probably more than most people.
amber W. July 31, 2014
No worries! What I like about this recipe is that it's a canvas that you can adjust to your own taste! I've had to scale down the salt before for people that are sensitive to sodium, and it came out great! I
cafemom July 28, 2014
For my teenager to prepare a pizza quickly, I add a 1/3 cup serving of sauce in a zip-lock sandwich bag for each of the frozen dough balls. When she makes a pizza she pulls a dough and a sauce out of the freezer bag. Individual bags of other ingredients could be added also. These dough balls have been a lifesaver!
amber W. July 29, 2014
What a great idea! I love that! I'm thrilled to know that this recipe has come in handy in your house!
kpfears June 6, 2014
I thought rapid-rise yeast was made to be added to dry ingredients with no proofing required. Can one do that with this recipe?
amber W. June 8, 2014
I've always used rapid-rise for my doughs (it's what my grandmother uses as well!) She taught me to always allow the yeast to bloom in the sugar and warm water before adding the rest of the ingredients, so that's what I do! I've never tried creating this recipe without allowing for the yeast to bloom, so I'm not quite sure!
kpfears June 8, 2014
Okay, thank you. I've been using rapid-rise yeast with the dry ingredients, for years. I'll try it here too and let you know!
bri June 6, 2014
I have been experimenting with many pizza dough recipes over the last year, and have never been able to duplicate that thin, chewy yet crispy crust I like. I have tried using semolina flour, which is good but something is still not quite right. I will give this recipe a try.
amber W. June 8, 2014
I have been making this dough at least once a week for over 2 years and it has always produced a lovely thin, crispy crust! I hope you enjoy!
Allyn June 6, 2014
I recently made pizza for the first time ( but with a 22 hour rise. It was crazy and intimidating and awesome. For real. I love the idea of freezing them in personal pan pizza size!
amber W. June 8, 2014
I think making bread has to be the number one thing people want to make in the kitchen but are completely intimidated by! Once they end up actually trying to make it though, everyone says how easy it is! I love freezing the dough... It's been such a lifesaver for so many meals. I can prepare a homemade pizza in less than 30 minutes if I want to. I love that!