Learn how to make pizza at home! This is the only guide you’ll ever need for making homemade pizza in the oven. There are just a few secrets and tips for making pizza at home with store bought dough. This recipe is so simple you can make pizza at home without a pizza stone or a rolling pin. You don’t even need to make homemade pizza dough! All you need is ~20 minutes, a sheet pan, pre-made store bought dough, and a desire to eat delicious homemade pizza.
With this step-by-step guide to making homemade pizza, you’ll learn:
- Where to buy fresh pizza dough pre-made
- How to store pizza dough so it’s ready for pizza night any day of the week
- Tips for getting pizza dough to rise
- Techniques for stretching store bought dough (once you learn my tips for how to stretch pizza dough for sheet pan pizza, you’ll be a pro)
- How to pre bake pizza crust before adding toppings
- Pizza toppings
- The best oven temperature for pizza made at home
At the end of this post is one of my favorite home pizza recipe ideas.
Ready for 10+ years worth of secrets and tips for making pizza at home with store bought dough?
First, you have to know how to get premade dough to rise… my method will help the ready made pizza dough double in size at room temperature.
Have frozen dough from the grocery store? Check out this tasty pizza with frozen premade pizza crust.
Shop at Whole Foods? Check out my BBQ chicken recipe on Whole Foods pizza dough.
How to get pizza dough to rise
Many people struggle with the very first step of making pizza at home with store bought dough. That’s because stretching store bought dough is difficult when it’s cold.
Pizza dough needs at least 30 minutes and up to 3 hours to rise, outside of the fridge.
Here’s an easy trick to allow the dough plenty of time to rise. Set it near a window or wrap it in a kitchen towel and set it on the counter. If you’re short on time, use a kitchen towel straight out of the dryer – a little heat will help.
Here’s another trick. If you’re making pizza at home soon after buying ingredients at the store, let the pre-made dough sit by a sunny car window on the ride home. Growing up, that’s what my mom always did.
See tips on choosing the best store bought pizza crust for pizza night.
Once the pizza dough rises, it’s time to shape the dough.
How to shape pizza dough
Shaping rectangle pizza for a sheet pan is very, very easy once you get the hang of it.
Watch the video with the recipe at the bottom of this page for step by step instructions.
Or follow these step-by-step photo instructions to lean how to stretch pizza dough.
Lightly flour a large work space like a butcher block, cutting board, or clean counter.
Press both sides of the fresh dough against the lightly floured surface.
First, work the outside of the pizza dough by pinching it with your fingers to make the crust.
Next, working against a flat surface, move to the center of the dough and push the dough outward to make a larger base. As you expand the dough, pick up a light dusting of flour, which will help the size of the dough grow.
Once the dough has spread as far as possible against the cutting board, gently pick up the dough.
With your hands under the dough, use your knuckles to stretch the dough in vertical and horizontal motions.
Adding a little flour will help the dough expand.
Work the dough until it is expands enough to cover your sheet pan.
Go back and forth between pushing the dough and using your knuckles as needed.
Add light dustings of flour as needed to help the dough retain the progress you’ve made. Don’t worry about the dough being a perfect shape. All pizzas are beautiful.
At any time, patch holes as they appear by folding over the dough.
Prepare a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and a drizzle of olive oil.
Gently transfer the pizza dough to the baking sheet.
Push out the premade dough as far as it will go towards the edge of the baking sheet.
Shaping round pizza is similar, but you will begin by forming the dough into a perfectly round ball. Follow the instructions above, but instead of pulling the dough in vertical and horizontal motions, you’ll want to stretch the dough in a circular motion. It’s easy to make a classic round pizza with this ventilated pizza pan.
Don’t add toppings yet! First, par-bake the premade dough
It’s super important to pre bake the pizza crust once before adding pizza toppings.
Follow the recipe at the end of this post for details on how to to par-bake the pizza dough at 450 degrees in the middle rack of the oven.
After the dough bakes “naked”, add the toppings and bake the pizza
When making pizza at home, it’s crucial to using a really high temperature, once you add the toppings, to get restaurant quality pizza.
After par-baking the pizza dough, add the toppings and finish baking pizza in the oven at 500 degrees until the cheese melts. This final bake will take about 7-10 minutes.
Where to buy premade store bought pizza dough
Buy fresh premade pizza dough at a local bakery, Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods.
Trader Joe’s also has a garlic & herb pizza dough that’s quite tasty. See my post on Trader Joe’s Pizza Dough Tips.
How to store pizza dough in the fridge or freezer
If you don’t plan to use store bought pizza dough for a few days or weeks, keep it fresh in the fridge or freezer.
In the fridge, premade pizza dough will stay fresh for a few days.
In the freezer, pizza dough can last a couple of months. When you’re ready to defrost pizza dough, move it to the fridge overnight. Then take it out in the morning to expand in time for dinner.
My freezer is always stocked with pizza dough and frozen cheese. And my pantry is always stocked with pizza seasoning and pizza sauce. And, thanks to my husband, my fridge is always stocked with craft beer to go with the pizza.
Pizza topping ideas
Sauce – Classic red pizza sauce, BBQ sauce, Alfredo sauce, or a simple garlic and olive oil for a white pizza, as used in this pear and goat cheese pizza.
Cheese – Traditional mozzarella is a popular melting cheese, as is fontina and cheddar. If you’re looking for a cheese with bold flavor, try bleu cheese, smoked gouda or goat cheese sprinkled on top of a melting cheese.
Meats, fruit and veggies – If you’re looking for something outside of traditional toppings (pepperoni, ham, sous vide chicken, sausage, sous vide bacon,), get creative with seasonal fruits and vegetables.
For fruits, try roasted cherry tomatoes, grilled pineapple, pears, cherries, and apples.
For vegetables, try butternut squash, zucchini and caramelized red onions. And don’t forget about fresh herbs for pizza! Add delicate herbs like basil after the pizza is done baking in the oven.
Here’s a unique way to add flavor… make Smoked Traeger pizza – right on the pellet grill.
The good ol’ beer & pizza pairing
Not a pizza ingredient, per se…. but beer can be a great addition to pizza, even if you’re no longer in college. Looking for a beer + pizza pairing?
My friend Sarah, another Portland blogger at Twenty Something and Tipsy has milkshake IPAs to share with you… She made her version of this homemade pizza recipe with store bought dough from Trader Joe’s.
Her premade grocery store pizza is topped with sauteed mushrooms and vegan sausage. Sarah likes to dip her pizza in ranch dressing.
My own big fat pizza fail…
I’ve been making pizza at home in the oven or on the grill for over a decade. (whenever I say something has lasted a decade I feel suuuuuuper old!) One time a grill accidentally caught on fire, but that was a manageable fail. My brother saved the day with a fire extinguisher and now we have an almost-caught-the-house-on-fire story to laugh about.
Another time, I left store bought pizza dough outside on a deck table to rise. Can you blame me? It sounded like a great idea to have the dough rise in the sun, mother nature’s original dough heater.
Well, this turned out to be a horrible idea due to a hungry critter. When I glanced out the window to check the progress of my dough, I found a squirrel eating the dough through the bag.
Long story short, don’t get rabies when making pizza at home with store bought dough. Let it rise inside.
I’m so excited to spread the word about this easy to make at home pizza recipe! I’ve made so many friends with readers who have successfully made this pizza, I hope you’re next on the list!
Tasty tips + notes for making homemade pizza
- Avoid the struggle of stretching pizza dough by letting it rise in advance.
- Never add toppings to raw pizza dough.
- Cook the pizza twice. First, cook the premade dough “naked” without any toppings. On the second trip to the oven, add all the ingredients and cook the pizza until the cheese melts and the crust is golden brown.
- Brush olive oil around the perimeter of the dough to create a golden crust.
- Season the crust. Sprinkle the crust with parmesan and a light sprinkle of salt.
- Add any fresh herbs, like basil, after the pizza is done baking (so the herbs don’t wilt)
- Pizza is great for game day served with sous vide chicken wings with bleu cheese dressing
One of my favorite pizzas is BBQ chicken pizza. Learn how to make chicken breast in under 20 minutes so you can add it to pizza, too.
The Perfect Pizza Setup
Want to make restaurant style pizza at home? I’ve got you covered! Here are some of my top tips, tricks, secret ingredients and tools for a pizza night everyone will look forward to, again and again.
- NEVER do this… Contrary to what most people believe, when baking pizza on a sheet pan, never add toppings to raw pizza dough. Instead, follow my recipe for making homemade pizza with ready made dough, which will teach you how to par bake pizza dough first.
- Get help from secret ingredients…- This dough seasoning is the secret to real Italian-tasting homemade pizza dough.- Add pizza seasoning to store bought pizza sauce. This makes the pizza taste really fresh!
- Herbs are for after… In my weekly pizza making practice, I’ve found that fresh herbs, like basil, need to be added to pizza after the pizza is done baking (so the herbs don’t wilt).
- Buy fresh dough and get amazing results. Yup, fresh dough from grocery stores is one of my favorite short-cuts. Learn how to use fresh Trader Joe’s pizza dough and Whole Foods pizza dough with my tutorials.
- Frozen pizza can taste amazing, too!! Learn how to spruce it up with this recipe for pizza using frozen crust.
- Slice pizza pies like a chef with just a few swipes, using big ol’ pizza cutters.
- Want to grill pizza? Here are some pizza grilling tools to check out.
- Do you really need to cook pizza on the rack? Nope! I basically never do. Here are tools you see me using in my tutorials on cooking pizza in the oven…- Bake pizza on a rimmed baking pan set to get a beautiful golden brown crust.- Love crispy crust? Let the air flow with this dishwasher safe pizza pan. – Get personal – let your fam / friends top their own pies with this set of personal pizza pans.
More pizza recipes from Sip Bite Go
- Cheeseburger pizza
- Philly cheese steak pizza
- Smoked Traeger pizza
- Chicken spinach pizza with bacon
- Homemade pizza dough
- Pizza sauce recipe
- White pizza sauce
- See tips for stretching pizza dough by hand
- Learn how to make frozen premade pizza crust taste better
- GUIDE: how to cook chicken breast for pizza
More Italian recipes people love…
- Cheesy Italian Stuffed Peppers
- Crispy Italian Chicken Breast with Tomato Sauce
- How to make pizza at home with store bought dough
- Baked chicken parmesan with vodka sauce
- Best Caprese Salad Recipe
- Croutons On The Stove
- 50+ gourmet grilled cheese ideas
Let me know when you make your tasty homemade pizza. Be sure to leave a comment and rate the recipe. It means so much to hear from Sip Bite Go readers and I love seeing photos of your food! Don’t forget to tag me @sipbitego on Instagram so I can see how the recipe turned out.
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