Pizza night is a Friday tradition in my house. Though, really, I don’t think my husband would be too upset if every night was pizza night. We love making all sorts of savory homemade pies in our kitchen, but our current go-to is this thick and chewy skillet pizza, which is easy enough to be a nightly affair.
This recipe proves it’s simpler to make pizza from scratch than you might think. Keep it classic with sauce and lots of melty mozzarella, or jazz it up with your favorite toppings!
Baking pizza in a cast iron skillet ensures the crust is ultra crispy and browned but still nice and pillowy when you bite into it. It’s a thick-crusted cheese pizza that’s perfect as-is but can also handle tasty toppings like pepperoni and mushrooms (my favorites).
The Best Pizza Dough and Sauce
If time allows, make the pizza dough and sauce from scratch. I suggest this Easy No-Knead Pizza Dough that can be made up to 2 days ahead or longer if it’s kept frozen. This red pizza sauce can be made in under 30 minutes, and you’ll have plenty leftover to freeze and use for future pizzas.
I often don’t want to be bothered with making either from scratch, so I’ve made this skillet pizza countless times with a one-pound store-bought pizza dough and jarred pizza sauce—I am never disappointed.
A note about store-bought pizza dough: Feel free to use regular or whole-wheat, refrigerated, or frozen. You’ll want to transfer frozen dough from the freezer to the refrigerator the night before to allow it to thaw. Let refrigerated dough sit on the kitchen counter for 20 minutes or so to let it come to room temperature. It’ll be easier to stretch.
The Best Pan for Skillet Pizza
For this recipe, I recommend a 10-inch cast iron skillet. When heated, cast iron retains heat better than other materials, which means it browns foods exceptionally well. That’s the secret to golden-brown pizza crust.
If you don’t have a cast iron skillet, make the pizza in an ovenproof skillet. The crust might not be quite as crisp, but it’ll be tasty.
While it’s tempting to serve the pizza straight from the cast iron skillet, a pizza cutter or knife will scratch and damage its surface, so I recommend transferring the pizza onto a cutting board to slice it.
How to Make Skillet Pizza
Making a skillet pizza is easy. Follow these simple steps:
- Add just enough olive oil to coat the inside of the cast iron skillet. This recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of olive oil for a 10-inch skillet.
- Form the pizza dough into a round disc, about the size of the skillet. Nestle the dough into the skillet. Use your fingers to stretch the dough to the outer edges of the skillet and create dimples on top with your fingers. This prevents the crust from puffing up too much when baked.
- Sprinkle shredded mozzarella cheese on the dough, which helps protect it from getting soggy from the sauce. Then on goes the sauce, followed by more cheese. Add other toppings, if using.
- Bake the pizza for 15 to 20 minutes, until the crust is golden-brown around the edges and the cheese is melted. Then broil it for one minute just so the cheese browns in some spots, making the pizza that much more delicious.
- The pizza will be piping hot out of the oven, so let it rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Pizza Toppings to Try
Experiment with toppings as you wish, but only use up to 1/2 cup total. Any more will make the pizza too heavy, dense, and potentially soggy. A few combinations to try:
- Pepperoni and thinly sliced white or red onion
- Sausage and sautéed mushrooms
- Sliced roasted red peppers and chopped black olives
- Crumbled bacon and caramelized onions
- Roasted eggplant and capers
Leftover Red Sauce? Use It For:
Cast Iron Skillet Pizza
The homemade pizza dough I recommend in this recipe can be made up to 48 hours in advance. If you’re making it the day of, you’ll need to budget about 2 hours of time to make it and let it rise.
Preheat the oven and prepare the skillet:
Position oven racks in the upper and lower third of the oven. Heat the oven to 475°F. Coat the inside of a 10-inch cast iron or ovenproof skillet with olive oil.
Stretch the pizza dough:
Lightly dust your kitchen counter or a large cutting board with flour. Place the dough on it and use your hands to stretch it into an 8-inch disc. Transfer it into the prepared skillet and use your fingers to stretch the dough to fit the skillet. Use your fingertips to gently dimple the surface of the dough.
Assemble the pizza:
Sprinkle half of the cheese over the dough. Spoon the pizza sauce over the cheese and evenly spread it with the back of the spoon. Some spots without sauce are okay. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the sauce.
Bake the pizza:
Place the skillet on the bottom oven rack and bake until the edges are golden brown and the cheese has melted, 15 to 20 minutes.
Broil the pizza:
Switch the oven to broil on high and transfer the skillet to the top rack. Broil until the cheese is browned in spots, about 1 minute, keeping an eye on it so that it does not burn.
Serve the pizza:
Out of the oven, sprinkle the pizza with Parmesan cheese, and let it cool for 5 minutes. Run a spatula around the edges of the pizza to release it from the skillet. Gently lift and transfer it to a cutting board. Tear and sprinkle the basil leaves on top. Cut into wedges and serve.
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 19g||25%|
|Saturated Fat 7g||35%|
|Total Carbohydrate 56g||20%|
|Dietary Fiber 2g||9%|
|Total Sugars 4g|
|Vitamin C 2mg||12%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|