Genius Recipes

A Crispy, Cheesy Pan Pizza Anyone Can Make

This no-knead, beginners-welcome dough is King Arthur Flour's recipe of the year (so, of course, it’s a Genius Recipe).

April  8, 2020

Every week in Genius Recipes—often with your help!—Food52 Creative Director and lifelong Genius-hunter Kristen Miglore is unearthing recipes that will change the way you cook.

When King Arthur Flour’s team of bakers sets out to create their Recipe of the Year, they spend months developing and cross-testing to make exactly what they want—with the hopes of ending up with a recipe that will be loved by everyone who tries it, from pro bakers to first-time flour buyers.

Pizza night! Photo by Julia Gartland. Prop Stylist Sophie Strangio. Food Stylist: Samantha Seneviratne.

For 2020, inspired by the pizza nights they’re known for hosting in their local community in Norwich, Vermont, they were looking for a very specific type of pizza: one with the crispy edges of Detroit-style (or, yes, Pizza Hut-style), the fluff of focaccia, and the sauce-atop-cheese inversion of Chicago deep-dish (there’s a smart reason for this simple rebellion, as you’ll see).

Just five basic ingredients for the dough (plus toppings).

For this crispy-cheesy-floofy cloud of pizza, you won’t need any dough skills, but you will need a bit of time. Not active time, mind you—each step takes roughly 10 seconds of your attention. But the passive, let-it-be sort of time (namely, a cold rise overnight in the fridge, plus a two-hour rise before hopping in the oven) to make the dough do the lion’s share of the work while you settle in with a good book or puzzle (or follow your toddler from room to room, if you’re me).

Join The Conversation

Top Comment:
“It was more like a focaccia bread with cheese on top rather than pizza. Is that correct?”
— Greg M.

It’s the thoughtful, well-planned style of recipe that, in my tendency to not think about dinner until 9 p.m., I might have bookmarked and forgotten about. That is, until I made it three times in the past week. And I’m already wondering when I can have it again. (1)

There are so many Genius elements to this recipe that I feel compelled to write them in list form:

There’s no kneading, only folding.
Just like a T-shirt. This move is all you need to create enough structure for the dough to capture air pockets and puff up in a hot oven. In only four folds, you’ll see the dough turn from stiff and shaggy to glossy and loose (like the kind you might buy at the grocery store), as the flour hydrates and the gluten relaxes. (2)

A slow, cold rise makes for the best flavor and most flexible timing.
Because it has little risk of overproofing, the dough can hang out in your fridge anywhere from 12 to 72 hours before you pull it out to rise in the pan. So if you realize—oops—no time for that last 2-hour rise in the pan tonight? Tomorrow it is!

Crispy edges, here we come.

The pan is a very supportive friend to pizza (and you).
Baking in an oil-smeared pan means that there’s no need for shaping a very wet dough, or sliding it from peel to pizza stone. It also means the crispiest edges imaginable.

And while the recipe was designed for the heft and even heat of a cast-iron skillet, it will work in all sorts of square and round cake pans, too. “It’s pretty much indestructible,” King Arthur Content Editor (and longtime Food52 contributor) Posie Brien told me.

Cheese before sauce is a legitimate reordering.
Because a thorough melty barrier against sauce means no soggy crust. And by sprinkling the cheese layer all the way to the edges, it melts and toasts at the sides of the pan, forming the most glorious, crackly, frico-like crust.

You’ll only modestly dollop on the sauce, which won’t feel like enough, but it means you’ll get little caverns of tomato with molten mozzarella, and well-poufed cheesy focaccia all around them (you'll see exactly what I mean in the video above).

Technically, this sauce should be in dollops, not smears, but the pizza still came out A+.

Because it’s their Recipe of the Year, King Arthur has been making variations every month on their Instagram, from fennel and radicchio to chili cheese fries. So, while I’m partial to the pure joy of the jarred pizza sauce and gooey cheese, you can tap your own fridge stores and creativity every time you make it.

(1) If you’re in an area with yeast shortages, here are a number of breads you can make at home without store-bought yeast.

(2) We’ve seen this trick before, in Jessica Fechtor’s Five Fold Challah—another rewarding, very beginner-friendly dough.

Got a genius recipe to share—from a classic cookbook, an online source, or anywhere, really? Perhaps something perfect for beginners? Please send it my way (and tell me what's so smart about it) at [email protected]—thank you to King Arthur Flour Content Editor & Food52er-for-life Posie Brien for this one!

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Sue
  • Roro
  • donantonio123
  • Beth Bardin
    Beth Bardin
  • Barbara L Davis
    Barbara L Davis
I'm an ex-economist, lifelong-Californian who moved to New York to work in food media in 2007, before returning to the land of Dutch Crunch bread and tri-tip barbecues in 2020. Dodgy career choices aside, I can't help but apply the rational tendencies of my former life to things like: recipe tweaking, digging up obscure facts about pizza, and deciding how many pastries to put in my purse for "later."


Sue January 11, 2021
After you mix dough and it rests, do you add oil to that bowl that goes into the refrigerator ?
How would I freeze the dough?
Deleted A. January 11, 2021
I always drizzle a bit of olive oil into the bowl and roll the dough ball in it. This prevents it from sticking to the bowl and from drying out. If you want some great tips on freezing dough, watch this video on YouTube. He has the best pizza channel around.
Roro December 30, 2020
Love love love this recipe! Made it a few times and it’s delicious... however the last 2 times I made it, the crust stuck to the pan and was difficult to release. How can I correct this? TY
Deleted A. December 30, 2020
Try using just a touch more olive oil in the pan and be sure to make certain that it covers the entire pan. I have had that problem once or twice, in a pan that is over 100 yrs old that nothing ever sticks in, and it was because I missed a spot or two in the pan. Now I take a brush and make sure I spread the oil everywhere, all over the bottom and up the sides and have no problems since then. Don't worry about using a bit too much olive oil either, one time I thought my dough was swimming in oil, and it turned out to one of the best pan pizzas I ever made!
Roro January 1, 2021
Thanks for your response. Seems I oiled pan very well and also thought the dough was swimming in oil... but still at the end the crust stuck???!!! Yikes
Deleted A. January 1, 2021
Is it sticking around the edge or on the bottom? Mine always sticks a bit around the edge because I use some grated, fresh parmigiano around the edge to get a nice crispy edge, but I expect it to stick a bit. I've never had the bottom stick in any way. If it is your edge that is sticking a bit, I wouldn't worry about it.

One quick note about this recipe in general... as much as King Arthur like to take credit for it, there has been an almost identical recipe for cast iron pan pizza on the Serious Eats website since 2013, just want to give credit where it is due.

Happy New Year everyone! May 2021 be better than 2020, I can't see how it could ever be worse! LOL
Roro January 1, 2021
Sticking on the bottom. The sides are perfectly crisped. Happy New year!!
Deleted A. January 1, 2021
Wow! On the bottom. That's tough to figure out. Have you tried another pan? I have 4 cast iron frying pans in various sizes, but they are all at least 70 years old, so they are as smooth as glass inside and nothing sticks to them at all. Maybe it is a rough spot in your pan?

One thing I do is move my dough around in the pan, and lift the edges up to remove any large air pockets, before dressing it and putting it in the oven to make sure the oil has really spread everywhere. This is a tip I picked up on Serious Eats which I have found to be quite helpful.
Roro January 1, 2021
Thanks for the tips! Will try different pan and move dough around.
Deleted A. January 1, 2021
It's worth a shot! Hope it helps. If you do a search for 'foolproof pan pizza serious eats' on Google or Bing, you will find the recipe which likely is the inspiration for this one along with some other tips on how to make it. They have one of the best home pizza sections on the Internet. Also, look up 'Vito Iacopelli' on YouTube for another great source of pizza info for anyone serious about making great pizza at home!
donantonio123 October 13, 2020
Its very delicious,
Everybody loves Italian food!
Beth B. June 29, 2020
Made this for the 2nd time today. It is so good and really very easy to make (especially this time because I had fresh instant yeast). It's pretty much full proof. I made it the classic way, just added some very thin mandolin sliced sweet onions. Next time I will add more of those! I absolutely love your videos. Especially the ones from home during quarantine. Every day I search to see if there are more. Keep 'em coming! Thank you!
Barbara L. May 20, 2020
question! Have made this several times, every time to perfection. I have also made the dough and shared along with my cast iron pan for friends because I love sharing amazing food. Problem. I now need to make 3 pizzas for Friday night and only have one cast iron. Would this work in a well greased stainless pan?
Smaug May 20, 2020
As noted elsewhere, this is really just Detroit style pizza, which is traditionally cooked in blue steel parts trays scrounged from auto plants, and which are very much like a typical square cake pan- you should be fine.
Barbara L. May 20, 2020
Thank you very much. I will update Friday.
Andrew W. May 20, 2020
I would definitely keep a closer eye on the steel pan, since it conducts heat more rapidly than cast iron you are more likely to run into the issues with uneven doneness mentioned in step 11 of the recipe.

Also, if you want to add a little extra pizzazz to the steel pan pizza swap the olive oil for butter then dust that with Parmesan (like you'd use flour for a greased cake pan). That's how Chicago-style deep dish pans are prepped.
Smaug May 20, 2020
True, you'll need to keep an eye on the bottom, it will behave a bit differently, but that's going to be true anyway since ovens behave so much differently, especially cooking low in the oven this way- you can't rely on a number from a recipe to work the same in your oven.
Gary M. May 9, 2020
Hi Kirsten,
I saw the video, and had pre-read the instructions...Just finished making my dough. I liked this recipe, because I cannot have whole-wheat/whole-grain (gout), so AP is my friend. Easy is another friend of mine. And finally pizza is a realllly good friend of mine. I plan on making tomato based sauce, mozzarella, half mushroom, half pepperoni, and turkey sausage crumble.
I saw a very similar version of this on Jamie Oliver's show too....
Thanks, for providing this recipe and "how to"!!!
Karen B. May 2, 2020
Hi Kristen, I followed the directions up until the cold rise and only have 3 1/2 hours available, because I REALLY want to make this for dinner tonight. Will that amount of time work, in conjunction with the 2 hour room-temp rise? Loved your (and hubby's) video!!
Kristen M. May 2, 2020
Hi Karen, I don't think I caught this in time, but I'd love to hear how it went if you tried it! You'd miss out on some of the flavor, but if you added in a little more time to the room temp rise (in a warm enough part of the kitchen) I think you'd still get a good rise out of it.
Karen B. May 4, 2020
Thank you, but I chickened out and made something else for our dinner. I really wanted this pizza to be GREAT for my hubby cos he loves deep dish - LOL! BTW it was amazing and he love, loved it! I did scatter some slivered salami over top for extra flavor...big thumbs up!!
Layla97 April 24, 2020
I love your videos and the recipes you present. Thank you so much for this one. I make it at least once a week. This week I doubled the dough. I'll see how it bakes in a rectangular glass pan! Stay safe and keep filming!
Kristen M. April 28, 2020
Thank you, Layla—so glad it's been a hit for you.
Elaine April 22, 2020
Made this crust two days ago and pizza yesterday. We love it, ate the leftovers today and it is just as delicious. Will definitely be making this crust again. Thanks
Kristen M. April 28, 2020
Brdfitch April 18, 2020
Thanks for the recipe. It’s spot on and AWESOME! I can’t figure out how to post pics of my latest creation but it was so delicious. I topped mine with capers, bell pepper, sun-dried tomato, mushrooms, mini pepperoni, fresh mozzarella and basil.
Kristen M. April 28, 2020
margaret S. April 18, 2020
I don’t have yeast and probably can’t get any. Also not that much flour. I have ready made whole wheat pizza dough from Whole Foods in my freezer. Would I be able to make this type of pizza using that?
Andrew W. April 19, 2020
Probably not, unfortunately. This dough is really more like a focaccia than a regular pizza dough, and I can't think of any real benefit you'd get from cooking what you have in a cast iron pan. If you're looking for something different do with that dough though, maybe something in this article could help: (They also start with dough, so you'll want to skip about half way down the page)
Andrew W. April 19, 2020
Oh! and I don't know if you have access to squash or zucchini, but it's the perfect time of year for this recipe:
Karen April 16, 2020
I loved your video on making this King Arthur Pizza! You have a very sweet personality & nature about you! I have a question if I were to add toppings to this pizza say pepperoni or Sautéed sausage & peppers & onions. Where would I place them? In the pools of sauce or a random sprinkle? I don’t want to prevent the dough from rising up and around like it does with the sauce. Thank you!
Kristen M. April 28, 2020
Sorry for the delay, Karen—I would do a random, light sprinkle!
lwsmith April 16, 2020
In the video why did you put the dough in a baking dish then a cast iron pan?
Karen April 16, 2020
In the video she mentions this... she only had one cast iron and wasn’t baking pizza until next day, I guess she was already using it🤷‍♀️
lwsmith April 16, 2020
thanks I wasn't paying the best attention
Layla97 April 15, 2020
So, at the risk of sounding silly --- it seems in both written recipes that there is actually 8, five minute interval folds and you did only 4? Are there 2 sets of 4 folds or one ? Love your kitchen presentation BTW!
Patty H. April 17, 2020
There are 4 total folding sessions separated by 5 minutes of rest. In each folding session, you make 8 turns on the dough. It's a bit confusing! You can also check the King Arthur web site which has mini video's showing the details. Hope this helps.
Patty H. April 17, 2020
Oops, that's 4 turns in each folding session, not 8!
Layla97 April 17, 2020
Yes. So there are 2 folding sessions of 4 each -- that's what's in the printed recipe. Kristen only demonstrates one session of 4 folds, 5min apart, though I think my dough would have been fine with just one session of 4 folds.
Greg M. April 15, 2020
I made this last night for dinner. Prepped the dough on Sunday and left it covered in the refrigerator until around 4:30pm. I oiled my cast iron skillet and then added the dough. I dimpled it, but it was a little resistant so I let it rest as instructed. It was much more relaxed after the rest. Gave it a couple of hours to rise and then baked. It came out looking beautiful. But the dough had really increased in volume and was heavy. It was more like a focaccia bread with cheese on top rather than pizza. Is that correct?
steve April 16, 2020
Thats why I use half recipe for cast iron and save the rest in freezer.
Greg M. April 16, 2020
Hi Steve. I am new to bread making. At what step do you divide your dough?
steve April 16, 2020
I go through all the initial steps like you did just did not put all the dough in the pan because as you said it is more focaccia like than I prefer.
Greg M. April 16, 2020
Thanks Steve!
Greg M. April 23, 2020
I did what you suggested and it came out perfect. I am not sure what will happen with the dough I froze. But a half batch gave the perfect density. More of a Chicago or Detroit style pizza vs. a focaccia.
MPH108 April 13, 2020
Does this mean kosher salt or std table salt? I mixed it tonight and used a teaspoon of kosher salt, and I’m wondering if it’s too much..
Deleted A. April 13, 2020
A teaspoon of kosher salt is a lot less than a teaspoon of table salt, by at least half depending on the brand of kosher salt you use. I always use kosher salt when making dough.
This is why I always prefer such measurements to be provided in weight, preferably grams, instead of volume, especially when it comes to baking. It can make the difference between a successful outcome and wasted ingredients.
Ptpt April 13, 2020
Just tried making this and my dough came out really tough and not stretchy at all like in the video. It was super dry at first (after all the ingredients went into the mixing bowl), and during the folding process, I would add a bit of water as I Forcefully tried to “fold” it, but it just toughened up so much. Basically felt like a hockey puck as I put it into the fridge. Any ideas?!
Smaug April 13, 2020
The dough will probably soften a bit as it rests and hydrates more completely, but it sounds like you must have made some sort of mistake with the original measurements; this dough should be moderately high hydration as written. Mixing it with a spoon might be a bit much to ask of aging hands, but the dough shouldn't present any real difficulty.
Liz S. April 13, 2020
While I agree with Smaug that there was probably too much flour, it might not have been a measuring mistake. Different flours absorb water differently. If you measured by volume vs weight, with the small amount of flour here, a little bit off (it is VERY difficult to get accurate measure with volume) will be problematic. At any rate, next round, you might try holding back some of the flour, mix and go for the consistency shown in the video. If you get to that consistency without the entire amount of flour, that's ok. If after folding, etc. and refrigeration the dough seems too wet, you can add a bit of flour and lightly knead it before putting the dough in your oiled pan.
Smaug April 14, 2020
Well, something in that- though I'd count mismeasuring the flour as a measuring mistake, it's an easy enough one to make among inexperienced bakers. In my opinion, being able to judge the consistency of a dough by feel is always more accurate than any sort of measurement, but it takes experience and at the moment there are a lot of not-so-experienced bakers giving it a try. Differences in flours are an interesting problem- some say that stone ground flours require more liquid than others; I've found that European-style 00 flour hydrates more easily than American flours, but others have come up with the opposite. The differences among AP flours are pretty vast- one of many reasons why strict baking by the numbers is less dependable than is often claimed.
Ptpt April 18, 2020
Just had a thought because I read this somewhere.. is it possible that I used water that was too hot and that “shocked” the yeast, causing it to not allow for a stretchy dough? I ended up baking it and it came out rather delicious, but I’m still stumped as to why the dough was so tough (it was still tough even just before putting it into the oven).
Smaug April 18, 2020
It's possible to kill the yeast with too hot water, but that wouldn't make the dough feel drier such as you described- stretchiness is more a matter of producing gluten. People talk of "shocking" yeast with cold water, which I'm not so sure is a thing; yeast growth will slow down if you lower the temperature, or stop if you lower it enough, but from what I've seen it resumes as soon as it's brought back to temperature.
Amy C. April 12, 2020
Fingers crossed I can get yeast in my grocery order week to try this! Anyone have a favorite store-bought pizza sauce I could add to my order?
Deleted A. April 12, 2020
I always make my own pizza sauce, easiest thing in the world and a lot cheaper than store bought. Chef John from Foodwishes blog has a great one, you can find it on YouTube, and there are a ton of various pizza tips and recipes on Serious Eats, they have a dedicated pizza section. But for store bought, they are all pretty reliable and you can tweak them with a sprinkle of oregano or Italian herb blend to your taste.
Kristen M. April 13, 2020
Good luck, Amy! (But please don't go out shopping just for this.) I loved Rao's pizza sauce here. Various homemade sauces have been great, too (including just pureed tomatoes with a pinch of dried oregano and salt).
Andrew E. April 11, 2020
Made this yesterday/today. Wasn't super confident that the dough was doing what it was supposed to. It didn't really seem to be responding in the fridge the way recipe described it would. Nontheless, it made its way nicely into 9' cast iron pan and after about 18 minutes at 400 degrees (my oven takes forever to heat up and I didn't want to take another 30 minutes for it to reach 450) it came out looking luscious. Let it cool off for 10 minutes and it was just perfect. Perfect combination of crispy edges and doughy interior.
Kristen M. April 13, 2020
Wonderful! It's pretty inert in the fridge till that last 2-hour rise when it gets more poofy.
Sheri April 11, 2020
Made this last night for dinner. Excellent and easy. I had some in the freezer which made an excellent sauce for this pizza.
Kristen M. April 13, 2020