How to Grill Pizza

The first time I heard of making pizza on a grill all I could think of was, why would anyone want to do that? Now that I’ve done it more than a few times I can think of several reasons. Who wants to heat up an oven to 450°F or higher on a hot summer day? If you use a grill to make pizza, you can keep the heat outside where it belongs. Grills also better mimic a wood fired oven than your conventional indoor oven. Whether using charcoal or gas, the smoke from the grill will help give your pizza more flavor. It’s also dead easy. No, the pizza dough does not fall through the grill grates. Assuming you’ve properly heated the grill, your dough will form a lovely lightly charred crust. The trick is that you cook the plain dough first, on one side, on the grill. Then remove it, flip it, brush the grilled side with sauce and toppings, and return the pizza to the grill for final cooking. Easy peasy.

This is a quick how-to on the grilling steps. I’m assuming that you already have pizza dough ready to go, but if not, we have a great recipe here on our homemade pizza post. Here’s a suggestion. Make a double batch of the dough, then divide it, wrap it in plastic and freeze it. Then, when you want pizza for dinner, take the dough out of the freezer and put it into the fridge before you go to work, and when you come home take it out of the fridge and put the dough on the counter to warm while you heat up the grill.

How to Grill Pizza

Make pizza dough from scratch using our pizza dough recipe. Alternatively, you may be able to find prepared pizza dough, in the frozen foods section, at your local supermarket.

Ingredients

  • Pizza dough (if using our pizza dough recipe note that it makes enough dough for 2 pizzas)
  • Olive oil
  • Standard toppings of tomato sauce, herbs, cheese (mozzarella is the best), and maybe some thinly sliced onions, tomatoes, mushrooms, or pepperoni
  • Some flour or corn meal for dusting the cookie sheet or pizza peel

Method

1 Make the pizza dough or use prepared pizza dough.

2 Prepare the grill for high direct heat. Prepare a small bowl with olive oil for greasing the grill grates and for brushing the pizza. Prepare the toppings so they are ready to go on the pizza - tomato sauce, cheese, and anything else you wish.

how-to-grill-pizza-3.jpghow-to-grill-pizza-4.jpg
how-to-grill-pizza-5.jpghow-to-grill-pizza-6.jpg

3 Shape the pizza dough by flattening it with your hands on a slightly floured surface. Either use your fingers to stretch the dough out, or hold up the edges of the dough with your fingers, letting the dough hang and stretch, while working around the edges of the dough. Once you've stretched the dough, let it sit for 5 minutes and then push out the edges with your fingers again, until you have a nice round shape, about 12-inches in diameter. Do not make a raised rim, it will interfere with the grilling process.

Note that if you are preparing the pizza dough for a party, you can make several pizza dough rounds, stack them separated by parchment paper, and keep them in the refrigerator for up to two hours before cooking.

how-to-grill-pizza-7a.jpghow-to-grill-pizza-7b.jpg

4 Once the grill is hot (you can hold your hands an inch over the grates for no more than 2 seconds), dip a tightly folded up paper towel in olive oil and use tongs to wipe the grill grates. Then place a pizza dough round on a lightly floured (or you can use cornmeal) rimless cookie sheet (or pizza peel if you have one). Let the dough slide off the cookie sheet onto the hot grill grates. Close the lid of the grill and let cook for 2 minutes.

how-to-grill-pizza-8a.jpghow-to-grill-pizza-8b.jpg

5 After 2 minutes, open the grill and check underneath the dough to see if it is getting browned. If it is on one side, but not another, use a spatula or tongs to rotate the dough 90 degrees and cook for another minute. If it is not beginning to brown, cover the grill and continue to cook a minute at a time until the bottom has begun to brown. It should only take a couple minutes if you have a hot grill. The top of the pizza dough will start bubbling up with air pockets.

how-to-grill-pizza-9.jpghow-to-grill-pizza-10.jpg

6 Once the pizza dough has browned lightly on one side, use your cookie sheet or pizza peel to remove it from the grill. Use a spatula to flip the dough over so that the grilled side is now up. Keep the grill covered so it retains its heat for the next step.

how-to-grill-pizza-11.jpghow-to-grill-pizza-12.jpg

7 Paint the grilled surface of the pizza with a little olive oil, then cover with 1 ladle of sauce – no more, or you'll end up with a soggy pizza. Sprinkle on your toppings, ending with Mozarella cheese (if using), and if using meat, put that over the cheese. Remember to go light on the toppings, or your pizza will be heavy and soggy.

8 Slide the topped pizza back onto the grill. If you are using a gas grill, reduce the heat. If working with a charcoal grill, close the vents on the cover almost all the way. Close the lid and cook for 2-3 minutes more, or until the bottom begins to char and the cheese is bubbly. Pull off the grate with a spatula onto a cutting board or other flat surface and let rest for a couple minutes before cutting into slices.

Slice and serve!

Hello! All photos and content are copyright protected. Please do not use our photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this recipe, please rewrite the recipe in your own unique words and link back to the source recipe here on Simply Recipes. Thank you!

grilled-pizza-b.jpg

58 Comments

  1. Nate @ House of Annie

    I love grilled pizzas. Anything done in an oven can be done (better) on a grill, I think.

    Good that you mention to use only one ladle of sauce and go light on the toppings. Less is more!

  2. Allen Wright

    If you don’t have a pan with no rim you can use the back of a cookie sheet.

  3. Matt

    I’ve been using the grill the past few years as well, and there is no other way to make pizza IMO. Here’s what I’ve found to work best…

    Get 4 equal sized cans…or maybe bricks and place them on the grill grate and put a pizza stone on top of them. Close the grill to make sure everything fits happily and your pizza won’t be smushed. Next crank the grill as hot as it goes for 30-45minutes(mind you you’re grill isn’t meant for this…don’t do it often), I have a webber that easily reaches 900+ degrees according to the thermometer in the front. This is the heat of your average pizza oven and will eliminate the need to par broil the crust which I used to think was necessary else It would turn out all soggy. Also keep in mind the cans are necessary to give enough space between the stone and the heating element so it doesn’t burn the bottom of the crust too quickly. Whenever I skipped them I’ve wound up with a burnt bottom and undercooked top.

    I’ve started making smaller 12″ pizzas as I can actually get those off of the peal without making a mess..used to try to cover the entire stone which just never worked out. The 12″ pies cook in about 7-10 minutes depending on how browned/burnt you like it. After about 5 minutes open the lid and give it a half turn

    Another tip would be if you make your own dough to leave it in the fridge a few days to ferment assuming you’re using a slow fermentation process. It gives the dough a far better flavor, I have had the best results from the ‘boulle’ bread recipe in “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day” by Jeff Hertzberg.

    Good luck! I’ll never use the oven again to make pizza.

    Great tips Matt, thank you! I had a friend put a pizza stone directly on the grates with the result being that the stone broke. Raising the stone onto cans would ensure air flow under the stone and fewer extremely hot spots. Also I do like making the dough a day ahead of time. The extra fermentation does do wonders for the flavor. ~Elise

    • Zebulon

      Really appreciate the comments by “Matt”. It was helpful to start with the simplyrecipes instructions first and then was able to appreciate the details Matt offers.

  4. Charlene

    Love grilled pizza! I have found it much easier to make several small (7″ or so) pizzas. Also, I heat the oven to 200 degrees to keep the first ones hot while I do the rest. It will be on the menu this week. Thanks for the reminder, Elise! I’ll be using a couple of your tips, I’m sure.

  5. newlywed

    Any idea if this would work on a grill pan indoors? We rent an apartment with no outdoor space :( But I do think the stove heats the house up less than the oven.

    Maybe. You would need a pretty big grill pan, or make your pizzas really small. Even then I think there wouldn’t be enough air in the pan (grill pans tend to be shallow) and the steam you would create from cooking the dough would keep the top of the pizza from browning properly. Personally, I would just use the oven. ~Elise

  6. Lisa

    I have been grilling pizza for a few years. This is the best way to cook pizza in the summer, as it doesn’t heat up your house. The kids like to see all the veggies out to decorate there pizza. Thank you so much for posting this.

  7. Pastor Ken

    More than 25 years ago on a church youth campout the “kids” wanted pizza. We had no ovens on site, not even a covered grill. We cooked the dough on both sides as you do, but because we had no lid on the open grill we found another way to melt the cheese and even brown it a bit … a blow torch. Ever since, generations of the church youth, and even my own children, often ask for dad’s/Pastor Ken’s “blow torch pizza.” At home throughout the year I just make it on a frying pan or griddle (in addition to the baked ones in the oven). There I speed up the process a little by putting the toppings on while the second side is cooking and when the bread is done I slide it onto a plate or platter and finish the cheese melting in the microwave; saving the torch just for the browning. At home, a little olive oil instead of dusting adds a nice fried bread flavor and makes for even cooking on the pan.
    We then serve both the oven baked on a stone and the “stove top”/”Blow torch” versions and watch them both get devoured by all.
    By the way, dusting with corn meal is OK, but the traditional Italian version gives a MUCH better finished flavor. Try using coarse semolina flour (the kind used for making the best pastas) instead. I think you will be delighted at the difference. It not only absorbs and draws away moisture and keeps the dough from sticking like the corn meal does, but as it slightly browns, it adds a great authentic flavor far tastier than dried corn.

    Brilliant! ~Elise

    • Zebulon

      This is great Pastor Ken.

      Grilling pizza for the first time, it was the mix of making a delicious meal, with multiple delicious ingredients, all needing attention at different times. And, at the most crucial moments of cooking folks are flocking to the table to watch and “help” and…

      I like your method providing food and eating up front and some of the novelties can be done as a final fun thing. Would love to pull off five fantastic pizzas from the grill at one time while allowing all to choose their toppings and “make” their own pizzas.

  8. nick

    This is great using Monterey Jack and Colby as the cheese, with grilled veggies (peppers, red onions, …) and no sauce (or maybe a little BBQ!). The smoky flavors imparted from the grill go really well with these cheeses.

  9. Elizabeth

    I’ve been wanting to try grilled pizza for a while and this post has inspired me. I think we will have grilled pizza this weekend since I hate how hot the kitchen gets when I make it in the oven. Of course I still have to stand over the stove to make the sauce. :)

  10. Jay

    This works so well, I believe, is because pizza is best when the heat comes from below. Just be carefull not to burn the crust or over do the toppings. Is that fresh mozzarella I see in the pictures? Mmmm.
    Thanks!

    Yes indeed it is. ~Elise

  11. My Kitchen in the Rockies

    Thanks. Just bought a new Weber and wish I could prepare every meal on it. This one is perfect!

  12. Amy

    One of our favorite ways to cook pizza. For those that haven’t done it and are a little afraid I always have them start with the rhodes frozen dough and make mini pizzas. That way they get a feel for how the dough will cook.
    Keep cranking out those great recipes!! Love it!!

  13. Vegas Shopper

    Every Friday when I do my weekly shopping I buy a “take & bake” pizza. This means I have nothing to do that night but take it out of the box and put it in the oven. It’s my night to relax. Do you think I could cook it on the grill since it’s already assembled?

    May as well try it, though you might want to put it on indirect heat otherwise the bottom crust will be burnt before the top is browned. ~Elise

  14. Paula

    I love making pizza on the grill. I’ve been experimenting with various pizza doughs for a year or more (I’m a slow learner!) and I think I’ve finally found a favorite. The key to making it the best pizza ever though is cooking it on the grill. We love it this way and it comes out perfect every time (although first we had to decide on the correct temperature to use with our gas grill. I doubt very much I’d be brave enough to try it on a charcoal grill.) I simmer a little chopped garlic in the oil that I brush on the top before I put the toppings on – either that or some basil pesto (light brushing) depending on the toppings we decided on. I cook a lot but I felt as though I had climbed Mt. Everest when I finally hit upon the right pizza dough recipe and this spectacular cooking method. Amazing how simple in the end!

  15. Gaelle

    It’s funny because I would have never thought about grilling pizza (while it totally makes sense, especially in the Summer)… but in the Alsace part of France, they cook Tartes Flambees (Flammkuchen) on a grill! If only I had a garden to grill!!!

  16. Anna

    I haven’t grilled pizza in a long time, but it’s a great technique. Living in So California, I can use my grill year-round. I used to grill pizza a lot before I began to eat Low Carb and the whole family went GF.

    I’ve done the bare grill thing, but I preferred using preheated unglazed tiles (4 or 6 placed tightly together) on the grill, just like I did in the oven on the lower rack.

  17. Norah

    I just made this for dinner and it turned out wonderfully! The crust has great texture and it’s so so easy to make. Thanks for another fantastic recipe!

  18. Monica

    I discovered grilled pizza this summer, and we’ve been having it almost every week. I agree that it is a great way to keep heat out of the kitchen, and the crust is SO yummy. My favorite toppings are pesto, shrimp, and mushrooms, with just a little mozzarella. Delish. Your step-by-step photos are great! Thanks.

    I love pesto with a little goat cheese and some caramelized onions as a topping. So good! ~Elise

  19. CJ McD

    “Get 4 equal sized cans”

    Empty cans. Otherwise you’ll have a terrible explosion.

    We just started making pizzas on the grill this summer. The flavor of grilled pizza knocked us out. It is now our favorite way to make pizza.

    Great photo illustrations of the steps Elise.

  20. Maria

    This is so cool! I can’t wait to try it. I think I will grill some veggies first and then put it on the pizza to really get the most out of my coals. Thank you for sharing!

  21. Katie @ The Well-Fed Newlyweds

    Thank you so much for this post! I have been wanting to try grilling pizza all summer, but I have been afraid to give it a go. With your help, I think I’ll be eating grilled pizza in the near future!

  22. David Sandford

    If you like extra sauce (like I do) but worry about soggy crust, here’s a trick.

    Build the pizza backwards:
    Put the toppings on the crust 1st.
    Top them with the cheese, and then put the sauce on top of it all.

    The sauce will cook down through the cheese and other ingredients infusing them with the sauce’s flavor, and leaving the crust crispy.

    I built the first pizza I ever cooked from scratch this way. I was following the recipe in a book called “Goldberg’s Pizza” (now out of print-I just bought a copy from eBay).

    This was over 30 years ago and since then I’ve built many different styles of pizzas, but I still think it’s a superior way to make a pizza.

  23. boB not Bob

    During the summer I use a pizza stone on the grill which keeps from firing up the kitchen stove which in turn heats up the house. Ours is a gas grill so there are not the flavors you would get when using charcoal or wood fuel.

    The trick to grill pizza cooking is to evenly spread cornmeal over the stone before placing the pizza on it. This allows you to easily remove the pizza from it once it’s ready to come off.

    The second trick is to closely watch the bottom of the crust so that it doesn’t burn.

  24. Patty

    Elise, I made this last night and it was wonderful. Living in AZ, I’m always looking for ways to avoid using the oven in the summer, and this was one of the tastiest, and fun, ways to do it. Since I do have a “stone,” I’d like to try Matt’s technique and see how that works as well…perhaps with the other half of the dough that’s in the freezer.
    I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect dough, and I do believe that I’ve found it in yours, so thanks for that as well. Next time, I’ll plan ahead and try letting it rest in the refrigerator for longer, as you suggested.

  25. Jan

    I’ve only done quick, not really pizza pizzas on the grill using tortillas. The bread thing sounds so much better. I’m sorry the obvious had never occured to me! I’ll start with the Rhodes rolls since I’ve got some and because if I don’t do it NOW, I’ll forget!

  26. Rachel

    You guys are making it too hard! We just use one of those trays made for grilling veggies. Roll out the dough, throw it on the pan, put on the toppings, and cook it on the grill. Couldn’t be any easier. No pre-cooking, cans, pizza stones, or fuss.

  27. Ceceilia Gallo

    Hi, I have been grilling pizza for years. I bought a Weber barb and it was like magic.

  28. Peggy

    This is our favorite way to make pizza and also a favorite company dinner in the summer as everyone can make their own creations. I have to say that this year we made the best pizza I have ever eaten – including those in Italy. It was the Sunset Magazine pizza dough recipe with my freshly roasted tomatoes in olive oil (from the garden), basil, and buffalo milk mozzarella. Incredible.

  29. TheGrillingGuy

    We have made pizza the same exact way as this so many times before. We really enjoy making this type of pizza as the grilling can give it an amazing taste that you just can’t get in the oven. We always add in some Pleasoning pizza seasoning on the top of it to add some spice. We also let the kids pick out their toppings for their “portion” of the pizza. It is a great way to get the kids involved.

  30. sinister lobster

    Only problem with grilling is that if the heat is too hot, the toppings don’t get done; so you must keep it simple and/or turn the heat down once you add the toppings to the pizza crust.

  31. Teresa

    This is the second summer that I’ve made grilled pizzas. They are so good! It is best to have simple and few ingredients. It isn’t really the place for the kitchen sink combo. I just tried the BLT pizza that king arthur flour blogged about. I used a creamy peppercorn dressing instead of the blue cheese dressing they used. Oh my was it good! Homemade pesto and some mozzarella make fabulous appetizer pizzas!

  32. Dana

    I love grilled pizza!! Thanks for reminding me… I actually may do this tonight!

  33. Jude McIntyre

    This looks fabuous and so practical in the summer. I was just talking about grilling pizza’s last night – thanks for the tutorial – I will give it a go.

  34. shannon abdollmohammadi

    So that is how to do it!! LOL…I always burned mine (really bad) because I did not flip the dough. Thanks for sharing…I am super excited to go try it again.

  35. Stasha

    Long time reader, first time poster! I’ve been thinking this over since you posted it and just made it. I used whole wheat dough, my family’s secret recipe sauce, mozzarella, goat cheese, bacon, and caramelized onions that I cooked in the bacon drippings. Absolutely divine! I made it for a first date, and the guy was ready to propose after trying it! Thanks for making it so easy.

  36. debbey

    hello,
    I am from india and i make my pizza dough and bake pizza at home .next time i want to grill pizza, i am going to follow the steps which you have given but
    i have a open grill so how can i melt the cheese while grilling.can you please give me any suggestion on this?

    You need to find a way to redirect heat to the surface of the pizza. The best way to do that is with a cover. You might try taking a large roasting pan and turning it upside down over the pizza on the grill. ~Elise

  37. debbey

    Thanks a lot. I grilled pizza according to your guideline and it tuned out delicious.

  38. Amy Baker

    oh my goodness—

    this was a culinary adventure that ended in awesome.

    At first i thought—-grilled pizza—what?

    ITS SO MUCH BETTER THAN OVEN BAKED PIZZA.

    that is all.

    just do it.

  39. jtdriver

    Thanks for the tips here both in the article and the comments. A technique that worked well for me on a good-sized Weber gas grill: make small pizzas, use half of the grill to get the dough browned on one side. Place a double layer of heavy duty foil on the other side to give the toppings a chance to cook before the crust burns. This meant I could do a little assembly line of pizzas with one getting browned, one getting toppings, one cooking on the foil, and one cooling down for eating. Best grilled pizza I’ve made and some of the best pizza of any kind I’ve made (or bought).

  40. Lucua

    So glad I found this post, tried this tonight and turned out so great! We did caramelized onion, sliced tomato, asiago and mozzarella. Everyone loved them, thank you!

  41. Lulu

    This was so much fun! When I told the bfriend that I wanted to do pizza on the grill, he was like really?? When I showed him your instructions, he really got into the idea and said it didn’t look as hard as he would have imagined. It wasn’t. Maybe a little awkward the first time around, but not hard at all.
    I made the dough the night before in the bread machine and got all our toppings chopped and shredded and ready to go so we were all set for lunch the next day.
    I’d say definitely keep a close eye on this, because the dough can start to burn really quickly. The method of pulling the dough off onto the back of a baking sheet made it pretty easy to handle, and we only had one incident where the dough sort of folded, so that particular pizza came out a little wonky, but the second one came out better. I guess it’s just a matter of getting the hang of it.
    We both thought the pizzas came out delicious this way and it was so much fun to do. We’ll definitely be doing this again.
    Thanks, Elise!

  42. Joanne

    Wow, this recipe was great…I’ve been wanting to make grilled pizza for a while but kept wondering if the dough would fall through the grates! I kept my pizza pretty simple with fresh mozzerella, tomatoes, basil, garlic…delicious…can’t wait to make another batch…plus it was fun to make!

  43. Janet

    I tried this tonight and it was by far the best pizza I have ever made at home. What an easy and flavorful way to cook pizza. Will definitely do this again. Happy tummies tonight in our house. Thanks for the great tips.

  44. Mary S

    Grilled pizza for the first time last night – our family agrees it’s the best pizza we ever had – fresh veggies on one and garlic chicken alfredo on the other – yummy! Thanks Elise.

  45. heidi

    Pizza was delicious but we burned the crust ! Should we decrease time that we place crust on in beginning ?

    • Elise

      You kind of have to play it by ear. Peak and see if the crust is browned, if it is, then take it off.

  46. alexandra

    we made it ! it was delicious !!!!

  47. Laura

    Young and old have declared it the best pizza ever. Thanks for the recipe and idea!

  48. Deborah

    I don’t know why this happened, but when I tried grilling pizza last year the dough slid right through the (Weber gas) grill bars. What a mess! Undaunted (well, daunted for only a year!) I’m giving it another go this evening. Two smallish pizzas, one with Mozzerella and arugula (the latter thrown on after grilling) dressed with a splash of lemon juice and olive oil, the other with simple tomato sauce and mozzarella. Fingers crossed and Plan B -dinner at a favorite restaurant where I can forget and move on – in place.

    • Elise

      Hi Deborah, maybe the grill wasn’t hot enough? Or the pizza dough too thin?

      • Deborah

        Hi Elise –
        It worked this time! Probably the grill wasn’t hot enough, as you note, and the dough too wet. This time it went very well indeed! Yum. What a revelation is grilled pizza – the best. I’d be interested in knowing what toppings you think are terrific. Thanks, Elise.

  49. Margie G.

    Hi Elise,
    We had a pizza disaster with our Weber charcoal grill last night … but even in the charred shambles of the pizza I could see it could be quite tasty. .. I used your recipe for the dough and it turned out great ..
    This is what happened ..my husband lit the charcoal and it became quite HOT. He then put the olive oil on the grill and he had a blazing inferno. … Should we have let the fire burn down or maybe put the oil on grill before starting the fire? … well he put the pizza dough on the grill and covered for 2 minute … then lifted the lid and scooped up the crust with pizza peel and placed on a platter .. burnt I mean crispy side up and then we then put ingredients on (margherita pizza.. ). He put pizza back on grill covered and cooked for another 2 minutes…. well it could have been better. Are we bar b que dumb dumbs ? I hope our snafoo will help those doing this for the first time annnd any suggestions you can give would be much appreciated.
    Thanks,
    Margie

    • Elise

      Hi Margie,
      Wow, it sounds like you got your grill a little too hot! The test is hold your hand 1 inch over the grill grates. If you can hold it there for 1 second (say “one thousand one” out loud), that’s the right amount of heat. If it’s too hot to hold it there for 1 second, then it’s too hot and you should let it die down a bit. Regarding the olive oil, you don’t want a dripping paper towel, you just want to lightly brush the grill grates with oil so that the pizza dough is less likely to stick. Do that right before putting the pizza dough down.
      With grilling you need to make adjustments for your particular grill, especially the first time you try something. I would peek after the first minute to make sure that the dough is cooking and not burning.
      Don’t give up! The grill does take some practice to master. I still manage to burn things, especially if I haven’t grilled for a while.

  50. Jeanne

    EXCELLENT directions. Worked perfectly. We did find that frozen dough is better thawed out same day of service than in fridge the night before.

    • Jeanne

      We also found about 350 degrees on the grill temperature gauge was about perfect.

Post a comment

Your comment may need to be approved before it will appear on the site. Thanks for waiting. First time commenting? Please review the Comment Policy.

Some HTML is OK. URLs are automatically converted to links. Line breaks are automatically converted to paragraphs. The following HTML tags are allowed: a, abbr, acronym, b, blockquote, cite, code, del, em, i, q, strike, strong