Make pizza at home that tastes just like Pizza Hut!! This Cast Iron Pan Pizza Recipe is unbelievable, you guys. A super tall, ciabatta-like crust with gorgeous crispy edges and a pillowy soft interior. The key to homemade pan pizza is a slow rise time and a heavy cast iron pan. Top with sauce, mozzarella, and pepperoni for pan pizza heaven! Originally published April 30, 2020.

pan pizza recipe
Table of Contents
  1. Pan Pizza Recipe
  2. Cast Iron Pizza Recipe Ingredients
  3. How to make Cast Iron Pan Pizza
  4. Cast Iron Pizza: The only way to get crispy edges
  5. What to serve with Homemade Pan Pizza
  6. How to store Leftover Pan Pizza
  7. Pan Pizza Common Questions
  8. Cast Iron Pizza Recipe Recipe

My BFF Sarah and I have been friends since college. She and her husband live in Japan, and Eric and I went to visit them last fall. One day we talked about maybe getting some pizza. Sarah mentioned a quote I had told her years before: “Pizza is like sex. Even when it’s bad, it’s good!”

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cast iron pan pizza with pepperoni.

She said the quote as if I was the one who came up with it. I had to regrettably inform her that no, the pizza-sex analogy is not something I just randomly made up one day, it’s a famous quote from a movie star. Haha!! How did I get credit for this for so long?? Poet and I didn’t know it. Sorry Sarah, I’m way less cool than you thought I was!!

cast iron pan pizza cut into slices on parchment paper.

But don’t worry, there is nothing bad about today’s handmade pan pizza recipe. It is simply phenomenal. It’s basically the runway model of pizzas, if we’re going with the sex analogy.

This stuff LITERALLY tastes like it came from Pizza Hut. It is so good! Where are all my pan pizza people? I am a pizza hut pan pizza girl for life. It is the BEST. The crispy, fried edges. The fluffy interior with the perfect chewy texture. The cheese for days and days. It’s just the best!

a slice of pan pizza with stretchy cheese.

Regular pizza crust has it’s place in life, especially for a last minute homemade pizza situation. But in my opinion, pan crust always wins. And anything that is so worth the calories is worth putting in the time to get it done right!

Pan Pizza Recipe

Today’s pan pizza recipe is from my friend Rebecca’s new cookbook! Rebecca blogs over at Foodie with Family. I have been following her blog for nearly 10 years! She is one of the bloggers who inspired me to start my own food blog! Her recipes are so fabulous.

ready set dough cookbook.

She recently wrote her second cookbook, Ready, Set, Dough! It is a beginner’s guide to breads for all occasions. It is such a fun book! It is perfect for beginner bread makers, but also has tons of new ideas for those who are more experienced with yeast. Click here to purchase!

handmade pan pizza cut into slices.

I flipped through the book, landed almost immediately on this pan pizza recipe, and knew I had to try it out! It is even better than I thought it would be, no joke. Rebecca also has The Best Pan Pizza recipe up on her blog, click over to check out more pictures!

Cast Iron Pizza Recipe Ingredients

Here’s a quick shopping list to help you gather your ingredients. See the recipe card below for the full ingredients and instructions!

  • Active dry yeast
  • Bread flour
  • Kosher salt
  • Light olive oil
  • Pizza sauce (14 oz., jarred or homemade)
  • Sliced mozzarella cheese (string cheese works too!) 
  • Shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Pepperoni
  • Parmesan cheese

How to make Cast Iron Pan Pizza

Making homemade pan pizza is super easy, you will be surprised. All you need is some time to plan ahead. Rebecca’s recipe calls for an initial rise time of 8-24 hours, with an additional 2 hour rise plus bake time.

copycat pizza hut pan pizza  cut into slices on parchment paper.

I am one of those people who usually remembers about dinner when it’s already dinnertime, but when I’m really on my game, I remember to prep for dinner around lunchtime. But definitely not 24 hours in advance! I tested out a few ways to shorten the rise and have found a pretty easy hack to get it done. Today’s pan pizza recipe can be done in about 6 hours start to finish. Perfect for remembering to start around noon and eating by 6.

mixing dry, then wet ingredients for pan pizza crust.

First up, make the dough. All you need is warm water and a little yeast, then bread flour and salt. You don’t need to knead it. Just mix it together until combined. You can use active dry yeast or instant yeast, just make sure you dissolve the yeast in warm water to get it started.

You need 14 ounces of bread flour for this recipe. Bread flour has more gluten than all-purpose, and makes for a chewier and holier crust. It’s best to use a scale if you have one. Too much flour will make your dough less tender. But if you don’t have a scale, it’s 3 cups plus 1 tablespoon.

pan pizza dough rising in a tupperware container.

Here is the dough before and after the rise. Cover it loosely so that the gas has room to escape. The trick to getting it to rise quickly is to preheat your oven, then turn it off so that it is very warm but not hot. At room temperature, this dough needs at least 8 hours to rise. But in a warm oven, you can get the job done in about 4 hours. If you have more time for this initial rise, great. The longer the better. If not, 4 hours works.

dividing risen pizza dough in half.

Split the dough in half with a well oiled spatula, and divide between two well-oiled cast iron pans.

Cast Iron Pizza: The only way to get crispy edges

You need two cast iron pans for this recipe, because the dough rises right in the pan. If you don’t have 2 pans, you can either half the recipe, or bake the other half in an 8 or 9 inch cake pan. The results won’t be quite the same but it will be pizza at the end of the day!

placing dough for pan pizza in a well oiled cast iron skillet.

Once you have the dough in the pans, use well-oiled hands to lift one edge of the dough and tuck it into the center.

shaping pizza dough in a well oiled cast iron skillet.

Do this several times until a loose ball has shaped itself. The dough is super sticky. Don’t worry, it’s supposed to be that way!

pressing pizza dough into a well oiled cast iron skillet.

Spread the dough out with your hand until it reaches the edges, or nearly reaches the edges.

letting pizza dough rise and then spreading it with sauce.

Then let the dough rise in a warm oven for about an hour and a half, or up to two hours if you have time. The dough should have reached the edges of the pan by now. Top with sauce, but not too much; you don’t want to weigh down the dough.

placing sliced and shredded mozzarella cheese on top of pizza.

Then cover with cheese. I love to add sliced mozzarella cheese in addition to shredded cheese. It gives your pizza this added element of cheesiness that you don’t get from just shredded cheese. I actually didn’t have any sliced mozzarella the day I made this, so I used my favorite hack of using my kids string cheese! Works like a charm.

arranging pepperoni on top of a cast iron skillet pizza.

Top with pepperoni and a little bit of parmesan. Again, don’t add too much or it will weigh down your dough.

pan pizza with pepperoni baked in a cast iron skillet.

Then bake your pizzas in a SCREAMING hot oven. Turn your oven up as high as it will go, 550 degrees F, if possible. A super hot oven makes your crust nice and crisp on the outside, and gives your dough that holey, chewy texture that makes pan pizza so amazing. Observe:

slices of homemade pan pizza stacked up.

I like to slide my pizza out onto a cooling rack within a couple minutes of taking it out of the oven, to make sure the crust stays super crispy. Then after a few minutes, slice and serve! Technically these are not Personal Pan Pizzas like the ones at Pizza Hut, but I can pretty much eat an entire one of these pizzas single handedly. Don’t judge me. Join the dark side. It’s quarantine anyway, calories don’t count.

sliced cast iron pan pizza.

What to serve with Homemade Pan Pizza

Personally I don’t need anything fancy with my pizza. Like, a paper plate maybe? A napkin, because I eat this pizza like an animal? But if you’re serving a group who gets fussy when there’s nothing green on the table, then try one of the following light and fresh options to balance out all the glorious cheese.

Green Salad with Feta and Beets << if you hate chopping this salad is for you. Super easy!

Strawberry Cucumber Salad with Honey Balsamic Dressing << this dressing is so refreshing.

Pineapple Spinach Salad << a compromise between those who like pineapple on their pizza and those who don’t–just serve it in the side salad.

Spinach Bleu Cheese Salad (with Copycat Zupas Poppyseed Dressing) << cinnamon candied almonds, fresh berries, and homemade dressing?? Yes please.

How to store Leftover Pan Pizza

You don’t want leftover slices to dry out, AND you don’t want them to get soggy. So here’s the strategy. Get a container that fits your remaining pizza and stack slices with layers of paper towels, parchment paper, or waxed paper in between. Then make sure the lid is on tight. If you don’t have a container that fits the pizza, then you can layer as before, but on a plate. Just wrap the whole thing in plastic wrap when you’re done. 

Can Homemade Pan Pizza be frozen?

Yes, absolutely. You can wrap the slices in plastic wrap, put them on a baking sheet in a single layer, and freeze. When they’re frozen, you can transfer them to a ziploc bag or a leftover container. They’ll be best if you eat them in the first 1-2 months, but are still safe to eat for 3-6. 

Best way to reheat Cast Iron Pizza

Look, the microwave works. It totally does. But if you want to reheat your pizza to “fresh” level, you’ll want to use the oven. Just put the slices under the broiler for a couple minutes (watching them super carefully so they don’t burn, tragic!!). 

Pan Pizza Common Questions

Will pizza dough stick to cast iron?

No, it won’t stick as long as you oil it. You will need about two tablespoons of oil per pan. Cast iron is naturally pretty nonstick, as long as it’s seasoned well. 

How do you prepare cast iron for pizza?

A well seasoned cast iron skillet is naturally nonstick. To prepare it for pizza, all you need to do is swirl a little light olive oil around the pan (light, because regular extra virgin olive oil will make your kitchen smoky when you’re cranking the oven up this high).

More pizza ideas you will love!

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Cast Iron Pizza Recipe

4.83 from 23 votes
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 9 minutes
Rise Time: 4 hours
Total: 4 hours 29 minutes
Servings: 2 small pizzas
Make pizza at home that tastes just like Pizza Hut!! This Cast Iron Pan Pizza Recipe is unbelievable you guys. A super tall, ciabatta-like crust with gorgeous crispy edges and a pillowy soft interior. The key to homemade pan pizza is a slow rise time and a heavy cast iron pan. Top with sauce, mozzarella, and pepperoni for pan pizza heaven!


For the dough

  • 1 & 1/2 cups warm water
  • 3/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 14 ounces bread flour, 3 cups + 1 tablespoon*
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt

To assemble the pizza

  • 4 tablespoons light olive oil, to coat cast iron pans**
  • 14 ounce jar of pizza sauce, or homemade
  • 4 ounces sliced mozzarella cheese
  • 3 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 3 ounces pepperoni
  • 2 tablespoon parmesan cheese, shredded


  • In a large bowl, add 1 and 1/2 cups warm water and 3/4 teaspoon active dry yeast. (Instant yeast can also be used.) The water should be warm but not hot, about 105-110 degrees F. Stir in the yeast and let it sit for 5 minutes until it is dissolved. It will not be bubbly, but make sure to stir any lumps of yeast so that the mixture is uniform before moving on.
  • Use a scale to add 14 ounces of bread flour* to the bowl. If you don’t have a scale, carefully measure out 3 cups plus 1 tablespoon bread flour by spooning the flour into the measuring cup and leveling off the top. It is important to measure the flour precisely for this recipe. Don’t be tempted to add more.
  • Add in 2 teaspoons of kosher salt and stir the mixture together with a spoon. Do not knead it. Mix until it is all combined and no further.
  • Use oil or nonstick spray to grease a large bowl or tupperware. Scrape the dough in and spread it out as much as possible. Cover loosely with a lid or with plastic wrap. Make sure the lid is not too tight, you need some of the gases to be able to escape.
  • Turn your oven on to 350 degrees F for about 1 minute, then turn the oven off. Open the door and feel the rack. If it is too hot to touch with your fingers, then leave the door open and let the oven cool a bit. You want the oven nice and warm but not so hot that you can’t touch the inside with bare hands.
  • Place the rising dough in the oven and shut the door. Let rise for 4 hours. After 2 hours, remove the dough from the oven, turn the oven on again for a minute, and then return the dough to the oven when it has warmed up again. Make sure it is not too hot. After 4 hours, your dough should have at least doubled in size and should be airy and bubbly.
  • Divide the 4 tablespoons oil** between two cast iron skillets and swirl to coat. You can use 10 or 12 inch cast iron skillets for this recipe.***  You need two skillets because the dough rises in the pan. If you only have one skillet, you can half the recipe, or see the recipe note about using round cake pans.
  • Dip your hands and the end of a rubber spatula into the oiled pans to coat well. Use the oiled spatula to divide the risen dough into two. Scrape half the dough into each oiled pan.
  • Use your oiled fingers to lift up an edge of the dough and bring it toward the center. Repeat this process a few times until the dough has formed a loose ball. (see photos) Flip the ball over so the smooth side is on top and everything is completely coated in oil. Press your hand down on top of the dough and gently spread it out as much as you can toward the edges of the pan. Repeat with the other half of the dough.
  • Cover each pan loosely with plastic wrap, making sure the plastic does not touch the dough.
  • Repeat the oven-warming process for the second rise. Turn the oven on for about a minute, turn it off, and put the cast iron into the oven when it is warm but not hot.
  • Let the dough rise in the warm oven for about an hour and a half. It should have spread to the edges of the pan completely and look bubbly.
  • Remove the pans from the oven and keep in a warm place. Preheat your oven as hot as it will go, 550 degrees F if possible. Let the oven preheat for at least 20 minutes to make sure it is seriously hot. Arrange the oven rack in the lower third of the oven. If you have a pizza stone, place it on the rack.
  • Meanwhile, top the pizzas. Add about 3/4 cup pizza sauce (half of a 14 ounce jar) to the top of each pizza and spread on top, all the way to the edges.
  • Add a few thin slices of mozzarella to the top of each pizza, only about 4 ounces all together. (Or use string cheese if you are weird like me). You don’t want to weigh down the dough too much.
  • Sprinkle about 1 and 1/2 cups of shredded mozzarella on top of each pizza.
  •  Divide the pepperoni between the pizzas. Remember not to add too many so you don’t weigh down the dough.
  • Sprinkle each pizza with a tablespoon of shredded parmesan cheese.
  • When the oven is super duper hot, put the pizzas into the hot oven, on the pizza stone if you have one. Bake the pizzas for about 9-12 minutes. The pizza is done when the edges are starting to look brown and the cheese on top is becoming golden. The surest way to test for doneness is by lifting the edge of the pizza with a metal spatula to make sure that the bottom of the crust is a deep golden brown.****
  • Remove the pizzas from the oven and let set for 2 minutes. Then use a spatula to slide under the pizza and edge them out onto cooling racks. This helps ensure that the crust stays crispy. Let the pizzas cool on the racks for a few minutes, then slide onto cutting boards, slice and serve.


*If you do not have bread flour, you can make it at home by combining Vital Wheat Gluten with regular all-purpose flour. For this recipe, replace 2 and 1/2 tablespoons of the flour called for with Vital Wheat Gluten. 
**Light olive oil is great for frying and baking because of it’s high smoke point. Extra Virgin Olive Oil has a much lower smoke point and if you put it in a 550 degree oven, you will have a smokey kitchen. Other oils with high smoke points that you can use for this recipe: canola oil, peanut oil, vegetable oil, avocado oil, grapeseed oil,  or regular (not virgin) olive oil. 
***If you do not have a cast iron skillet, you can use THREE heavy 8-inch cake pans, but the results won’t be quite as amazing. Adjust the recipe as necessary: Line each pan with parchment paper to make sure it doesn’t stick. Divide the 4 tablespoons oil between the 3 pans and coat the parchment paper well. Divide the risen dough into 3. Distribute the sauce and cheese and pepperoni evenly over the 3 pizzas. 
****If the top of your pizza is as golden and cooked as you want it, but the bottom doesn’t quite look golden, remove the pizza from the oven and place it on your burner. Turn the heat to medium and continue cooking the bottom of the pizza until it is golden brown. If your oven does not get that hot (450 degrees or less) then this is probably the best method for getting a nice crispy crust 
Source: This recipe is lightly adapted from my friend Rebecca’s cookbook, Ready Set Dough! Rebecca blogs over at Foodie with Family. I have been following her blog for nearly 10 years! She is one of the bloggers who inspired me to start my own food blog! Her recipes are so phenomenal. She also has The Best Pan Pizza recipe up on her blog, click over for even more photos and details!


Serving: 0.5pizza | Calories: 1930kcal | Carbohydrates: 162g | Protein: 89g | Fat: 102g | Saturated Fat: 41g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 8g | Monounsaturated Fat: 43g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 226mg | Sodium: 5619mg | Potassium: 1193mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 2421IU | Vitamin C: 14mg | Calcium: 1267mg | Iron: 6mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Italian
Calories: 1930
Keyword: cast iron, pan pizza
Did you make this? I’d love to see it!Mention @thefoodcharlatan or tag #thefoodcharlatan!

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  1. Amazing! Only thing I didn’t do exactly as recipe stated was the double rise on the dough and it worked fine. Did my favorite toppings and used my homemade roasted tomato sauce. Closest I’ve had to Pizza Hut Pan Pizza at home. Also baked crust at 550 for 5 minutes before I put the toppings on. I pressed the dough down. Sooo Good!
    Thank you!

  2. 5 stars
    I’ve tried a few “dupe” pizza recipes and this is by far the best! It really is almost exactly the same.
    For the oil, I used beef tallow in my pan and then topped it off with tomato purée, you mozzarella hack, Italian sausage, red onions, mushrooms and goat cheese…soooo delicious! Thank you for the recipe :)

  3. I’ve made this before in your pizzas were hit at a party. I need to make these in bulk. Have you ever par cooked them then reheated in oven?

    1. Hi Jill, so glad they were a hit! We haven’t tried par cooking them and then reheating them before. If you try it, come back and let us know how it turns out!

  4. Thank you so much for the cast iron pizza recipe.

    I noticed that under the cast iron pizza recipe, you omit the sugar in the yeast bowl. Was it on purpose or you forgot to add sugar in the recipe. I tried it without sugar according to the recipe and noticed that the yeast solution wasn’t bubbling after five minutes. 

    1. Hi Khanh! There is no sugar called for in this recipe! “Step 1: In a large bowl, add 1 and 1/2 cups warm water and 3/4 teaspoon active dry yeast. (Instant yeast can also be used.) The water should be warm but not hot, about 105-110 degrees F. Stir in the yeast and let it sit for 5 minutes until it is dissolved. It will not be bubbly, but make sure to stir any lumps of yeast so that the mixture is uniform before moving on.”

    1. So fun, I just made this for pizza night last night! So glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for taking the time to review :)

  5. 5 stars
    Live in Stuttgart Germany , only 1 Pizza Hut, Not the Same as in the States. This recepie is awsome! Feels and tastes Like Home! Let the dough rise over night. Perfect!

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