You can make delicious pizza at home without the hassle of making your own dough. After trial and error, I’ve discovered some great techniques for making amazing homemade pizza using store bought dough.
Until recently, my attempts at making homemade pizza have had drastically varying results. I’ve tried frozen dough, ready-made crusts, Pillsbury pizza dough, naan, and flatbread. The pizzas have all been edible — some were pretty good — but none of them have blown me away with their awesomeness.
Then, a few months ago I picked up a bag of refrigerated dough that our grocery store sells. The first time I used it, the pizza was alarmingly good. The crust had that perfect crispy/chewy texture with bubbles in all the right places. “This is like a $15 fancy restaurant flatbread pizza!” I proudly exclaimed. My husband agreed.
I had done a few things differently than usual, so I scrambled to write down how I’d made it. A few weeks later, I tried it again, and it was just as delicious. Now that I’ve made a third pizza with wonderful results, I can say with confidence that I have mastered the delicious semi-homemade pizza.
Where to buy pizza dough:
My local grocery chain sells balls of refrigerated pizza dough in the area where they sell take-and-bake pizzas. Sometimes stores also sell frozen balls of dough that need to be thawed.
Another option is to check with a local pizza shop to see if they sell balls of dough. You may be able to buy several at once and freeze some for later.
Thawed/refrigerated dough should keep in the refrigerator for several days, up to a week or more depending on when it was made. So grab a ball or two when you’re at the store so you have some on hand for a quick dinner that week.
How to Make Homemade Pizza with Store Bought Dough:
1) Use dough that’s almost past its prime.
The first time I made pizza with this dough, I’d been about to throw it away because it was one day past its “best by” date. Since that pizza ended up being so good, I now purposely wait until the expiration date, or one day past, to use it. I read up on this, and apparently it’s an actual scientific thing.
2) Let the dough sit out at room temperature for 30 minutes or so before rolling.
When it warms up, it’s a lot easier to roll out smoothly.
3) Use flour to prevent sticking.
Before rolling out the dough, spread a thin layer of flour on your cutting board or rolling surface. This will keep the dough from sticking to the board or to your hands.
4) Roll it thin if you like a crispy crust.
If you love a super crispy crust on your pizza, take the time to roll it out as thinly as possible without breaking it.
5) Don’t use a ton of sauce.
The pizzas I’ve made have either had a thin layer of pizza sauce as a base, some pesto, or just a little olive oil. Too much sauce makes it hard to get the bottom crust really crisp.
6) Use olive oil
Spread a thin layer of olive oil on the baking sheet before pre-baking the dough, and also spread a small amount onto the edges of the crust before baking.
7) Pre-bake the crust for 3-4 minutes before topping.
This helps seal the dough so that the toppings don’t make it soggy.
I don’t have any sort of fancy pizza pan or baking stone, so I just used a regular old cookie sheet. You can top your pizza with whatever you’d like, or have everybody make their own.
8) Get the oven HOT.
For best results, set your oven to 475 – 500 degrees (you may need to experiment to find the oven temperature that works best for your particular oven). A hot oven is key to getting a crispy crust, but you don’t want it to burn.
9) Experiment with toppings.
Part of the fun of making pizza at home is using flavor combinations and ingredients you wouldn’t find on a traditional restaurant pizza.
Unique Pizza Topping Ideas:
- My current favorite is a combination of Brie, Sage, and Prosciutto. If you’ve never tried these ingredients together, you’re in for a treat!
- BBQ Chicken Pizza: BBQ sauce, cooked chicken, sliced red onion, cilantro, and cheese
- I love making a “Salad Pizza” by topping cooked pizza with lightly dressed arugula.
- Use pesto in place of sauce and top with chicken, fresh tomato, and buffalo mozzarella.
- If you love spice, try a Mouth on Fire pizza topped with spicy marinara, spicy Italian sausage, sliced jalapenos, and red pepper flakes.
Since I’ve discovered the trick to getting that perfect crust, we almost always make pizza at home instead of ordering out. Try this out, and come back to let me know what you think!