Ken Forkish's Hawaiian Pizza

January  9, 2019
16 Ratings
Photo by Rocky Luten
  • Prep time 1 hour
  • Cook time 10 minutes
  • Makes one 12-inch pizza
Author Notes

If you have a deep affection for Hawaiian pizza, this recipe will make the best and most thoughtfully balanced you’ve ever tasted. And if, instead, Hawaiian pizza makes you inexplicably angry—well, if any pie is going to change your mind, this is it. Regardless of which side of the salty-sweet chasm you find yourself on, any homemade pizza can benefit from Forkish’s technique—and the sneaky-genius trick of tucking a thin layer of bacon grease below the sauce. You won’t taste bacon, you will just taste *good*. Adapted slightly from The Elements of Pizza (Ten Speed Press, 2016). —Genius Recipes

What You'll Need
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Ken Forkish's Hawaiian Pizza
  • 1 pizza dough ball (see note below)
  • 1 whole pineapple
  • 1/4 to 1/2 sweet onion, preferably torpedo or Maui, or substitute Vidalia or Walla Walla
  • 1 tablespoon (15g) extra-virgin olive oil
  • Fine sea salt
  • Chile flakes
  • 1 tablespoon (15g) or less rendered bacon fat (optional, but not really)
  • 1/3 cup (90g) tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup (15g) Pecorino Romano cheese, finely grated
  • 2 ounces (50g) cooked (deli-counter) ham, sliced medium-thick in 2-inch-long, 1/2-inch-wide pieces
  • 1 1/2 ounces (40g) low-moisture, whole-milk mozzarella cheese, coarsely grated
  1. If you use a dough recipe (see note below) that calls for refrigeration, remove your dough ball from the refrigerator about 60 to 90 minutes before baking pizza. Put your pizza steel or stone (or, if you don’t have either, an upside-down rimmed baking sheet) on an upper rack in your oven no more than 8 inches below the broiler. Preheat the oven to 550°F (290°C) for 45 minutes.
  2. While the oven is heating, prep and roast the pineapple and onion. Peel the pineapple with a sharp knife, then cut the fruit away from its core. Cut the fruit into 1/2-inch squares. Slice the onion vertically into 1/2-inch-wide wedges, then cut into 1/2-inch lengths. In a large, heavy cast-iron pan, toss the pineapple (note: don't crowd the pan with pineapple or you won't get much browning—we wouldn't use more than about 4 cups in a 12-inch skillet) and onion in the olive oil with a sprinkling of fine sea salt and chile flakes to taste. Roast at 550°F (290°C) until tender and nicely caramelized, about 10 minutes, depending on the size of your pineapple and pan. Reserve 3 1/2 ounces (100g) of the roasted pineapple and onion mixture for topping the pizza. Snack on the rest or save for future pizzas.
  3. Set up your pizza assembly station. Give yourself about 2 feet of width on the countertop. Moderately flour the work surface. Position your wooden peel (or, if you don’t have one, another upside-down rimmed baking sheet) next to the floured area and lightly dust it with flour. Have the bacon fat, tomato sauce, pecorino, ham, roasted pineapple and onion, and mozzarella at hand, and a ladle or spoon for the sauce. Switch the oven to broil 10 minutes before loading the pizza.
  4. To shape the pizza, put the dough ball on the floured work surface and flip to coat both sides moderately with flour. For Neapolitan style (puffier crust), shape the dough with your hands and leave a puffy edge, as shown in the video above; for New York style (thin crust), roll out with a rolling pin. Transfer the disk of pizza dough to the peel. Run your hands around the perimeter to relax it and work out the kinks.
  5. Dab bacon fat evenly around the dough, then spread the dough with the tomato sauce, smoothed with the back of the ladle or spoon. Add the toppings in this order: pecorino, ham, roasted pineapple and onion, and mozzarella.
  6. Turn off the broiler, then gently slide the pizza onto the pizza stone. Close the oven door and change the oven setting to bake at 550°F (290°C). Bake for 5 minutes, then take a quick look at the pizza to judge its progress. Turn on the broiler again, and finish the pizza until the cheese is completely melted and the crust is golden with spots of brown and a few small spots of char, about 2 minutes. Use tongs or a fork to slide the pizza from the pizza stone onto a large plate. Serve.
  7. Note: Use your favorite pizza dough recipe here—we love Jim Lahey’s No-Knead recipe on Food52, or Ken Forkish has 13 different dough recipes in his cookbook The Elements of Pizza (linked in the headnote), including the same-day Saturday Pizza Dough, which we used in the photos and video:

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Lorrie Hanawalt
    Lorrie Hanawalt
  • Lizzie Greene
    Lizzie Greene
  • Gayle Jolley
    Gayle Jolley
  • judith@hudsonvalleycooking
Genius Recipes

Recipe by: Genius Recipes

7 Reviews

Gayle J. May 1, 2022
Absolutely the best pizza I have ever sunk my teeth. I have to refrain from making it too often! The Jim Lahey's crust is perfect and delivers a crisp crust with my heavy pizza stone. I questioned the small amount of cheese but found that quality pecorino romano and Parmigianno-Reggiano pull this flavor bomb over the edge. Roasting the fresh pineapple and sweet onion is genius, coaxing the sweet flavors to their max. I'm salivating as I write this and there's pizza dough in the fridge, fermented for five days!
I love food 52’s recipes and stuff but just the sight of pineapple on pizza for some some raised in Brooklyn in the 1940’s and 50’s is enough to never open the recipe I admit it is probably my loss but we all have our food prejudices.
crustncrumb July 2, 2019
Converted ! After being a staunch anti-hawaiian pizza person for 20 years I can't make this pizza enough. Its GREAT. I crave it. The pineapple/onion trick really seals the deal. You'll never go back to canned. I, personally, didnt think the bacon fat made a big difference and only use it if I have the bacon fat handy. It's as amazing with or without it. "Not worth the time & effort" in other review -- huh?? Minimal effort, imho. The Lahey's dough is excellent. I've made it and used immediately and stored up to 5 days in fridge. Delicious every time. And sorry to be one of THOSE people - but - a few substitutes - I use a few tablespoons of marinara or pasta sauce instead of bacon fat, and Asiago instead of Pecorino Romano cheese.
Lorrie H. February 7, 2019
We made this exactly as posted with Ken Forkish's Saturday pizza dough recipe. It was fabulous! Thank you!
reyna M. January 14, 2019
This is my absolute favorite pizza recipe! My Fiancé and I have made it quite a bit, the entire process only takes about 10 minutes (other than the dough), and bam! Best pizza ever!
Fresh T. January 9, 2019
I think Hawaiian pizza is funny. I live in Hawaii, and although they sell it here, it's mostly tourists and newly-moved-here that buy it (from what I can tell. I asked about it, I was told "no, we don't eat that stuff!"). Of course, part of the problem is the normally canned pineapple. Anyway, I love Ken's Saturday dough, that's actually what I've been using for the last year, but I do an overnight ferment in the fridge. His dough works for the climate here.
Lizzie G. January 9, 2019
I love his Saturday dough too! I've been getting into his 100% levain doughs lately though and it's a fun challenge.