If you’re looking for the absolute best way to make pizza at home, say hello to pan pizza. I’ve tried all the tricks — an upside-down baking sheet, a preheated pizza stone — and trust me when I say that this lofty, crispy, extra-flavorful pan pizza is far superior (and way less fussy) than any other method, giving you a crunchy crust and perfectly golden top every single time. There’s a reason you’ve seen it all over social media!
This step-by-step recipe will guide you through making the fluffy, chewy, four-ingredient crust (no mixer required) and a simple no-cook tomato sauce, as well as teach you a few smart tricks for pulling it all together. Here’s how to do it.
What’s the Difference Between Pan Pizza and Hand-Tossed Pizza?
Pan pizza isn’t just dough baked in a skillet — it’s got a number of unique characteristics that make it utterly crave-worthy. Here are the main distinctions between pan pizza and your classic hand-tossed pizza.
Can I Make This Pizza with Store-Bought Dough?
Yes! Although store-bought dough won’t bake up as light and airy as our from-scratch one, you can absolutely swap it in to save time. You’ll need a 12-ounce ball of fresh pizza dough to make one pan pizza (this is the size sold in most grocery stores).
If starting with store-bought dough, you’ll skip the first few steps of the recipe and start with the assembly. Just remove the store-bought dough from the fridge 30 minutes before you want to bake your pizza and let it come to room temperature, which will make it easier to stretch. Then, place the dough in your skillet along with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and stretch it out using your fingertips so it fits in the skillet from edge to edge. Proceed with topping the dough with the sauce and cheese and bake as directed.
4 Tips for Making Perfect Pan Pizza at Home
If you want to make a foolproof homemade pan pizza every time, keep these tips in mind.
1. Use a heavy cast iron pan. Cast iron pans conduct heat well and will make the sides and bottom of your pizza nice and crisp. A well-seasoned cast iron pan has a naturally nonstick surface, so you don’t have to worry about the dough or cheese sticking.
2. Place half the cheese on top of the dough before adding the sauce. This creates a barrier between the dough and the sauce, preventing it from getting soggy.
3. Bake the pizza in the lower-third of your oven. The bottom of your oven is often the hottest part (it’s where the heat comes from), so baking your pizza close in the lower third will give you the crispiest crust.
4. Don’t under-bake it. If you’re used to making hand-tossed pizzas, you may be used to a super-short bake time. But pan pizza requires patience — it will take about half an hour for the bottom of the crust to get nice and brown. If you’re worried it’s getting too dark, use a thin, flexible spatula to gently lift up the crust and check on it during baking to see if it’s done.