I love this Easy Homemade Pizza Recipe! I have been perfecting this recipe for years. It is quick to put together and so versatile. I'll give you lots of tips, tricks, and ideas to get the best homemade pizza to ever come out of your wimpy, not-wood-fired oven!
5ouncesshredded mozzarella cheeseabout 1 and 1/4 cups
2.5ouncespepperoni about half a 5 oz package
2tablespoonsshredded parmesan cheese
NOTE: The ingredient list has the amount of toppings you need to make one 12-inch pizza. If you followed my pizza dough recipe, you will have 2 balls of dough. If you want to make them both right away, be sure to double the topping ingredients shown here. Place a pizza stone in the bottom third of your oven. (place a rimmed baking sheet or a pizza pan in the oven if you don't have a stone.)
Preheat your oven to 550 degrees F, or as high as it will go (at least 475.) Let the stone preheat for 30 minutes. I don't care when your oven beeps to tell you it's at temperature. Set a timer, 30 minutes at least!
Prepare a work surface. I prefer to rub my counter with oil, but you can lightly dust it with flour if you have a very sticky dough. (Too much flour can turn your dough tough.)
Roll out the dough. Place your ball of pizza dough in the center of your prepared work surface and use your hands to press it down, starting from the center. Keep gently patting out the dough, moving the dough outward from the center. I usually use my hands for pizza dough, gently patting and stretching (and yes, picking it up and maybe even tossing!), but you can also use a rolling pin. Make sure to keep rotating the pin so that you get a roughly circular shape. It doesn't have to be perfect! Even if you have used a rolling pin, I like to use my fingers afterward to shape the edges into a thicker crust. See photos. Continue patting and stretching the dough gently with your hands until it is about 12 inches across.
Transfer the dough to a square of parchment paper. I highly recommend using parchment paper because it’s SO much easier transferring your pizza into the oven. You can pick it up carefully with your hands and rearrange it on the paper, or wrap it around your rolling pin to help transfer. (I've tried rolling the dough out directly onto parchment paper. It doesn't work well.) Make sure you stretch out the dough so that it is about 12 inches.Drizzle about a tablespoon of olive oil over the top of your dough. Use your hands or a pastry brush to rub the oil all over the top of the dough, especially the edges of the crust. This layer of oil helps provide a barrier between the toppings and the dough, helping it cook more evenly.If you love a thicker crust pizza, let the rolled-out dough rest for 10 minutes. You can skip this rest no problem.
Par bake. Once the oven is up to temperature, we are going to do a 1 to 2 minute par bake. This step is technically not necessary, but I never skip it. It guarantees not only a thoroughly cooked crust, but a nice and crispy one. Nobody wants a doughy pizza, yuck. (If you want to skip it, you can proceed with topping your pizza). Pulling on the edge of the parchment paper, slide your pizza dough onto your pizza peel or flat baking sheet. Open the oven and pull on the parchment paper again to slide the pizza dough and the parchment paper onto the hot hot pizza stone (or pizza pan). Your whole body is basically inside the oven during this procedure so please be careful and make sure there are no toddlers running around who could climb right in and burn to death (these are the thoughts that keep me up at night).Shut the oven door and par bake for 1-2 minutes, until the dough is slightly puffed. Set a timer, don't walk away!Pull on the parchment paper again to transfer the half-baked dough back onto your pizza peel. Keep the oven door shut as much as possible so you don't lose heat. Poke down any large bubbles on your crust.
Top your pizza. Leave the crust on the peel while you add your toppings. Add 1 cup of pizza sauce (I like to spread it around with a ladle). Add 3 ounces thinly sliced mozzarella, and then top with 5 ounces of shredded mozzarella. I like a lot of cheese and this is about the max amount you can add without weighing down your pizza so much that it doesn't cook all the way through. This isn't the Bible, you can eyeball the amounts on cheese, just keep in mind there is a limit if you want a properly cooked pizza. Add about a half package of pepperoni (or olives, mushrooms, ham and pineapple, sausage, red onions, or literally any toppings you want. See post for ideas.) Sprinkle 2 tablespoons shredded parmesan cheese over your toppings.
Bake the pizza. (See note if you don't have a pizza stone*) Transfer the pizza back onto the pizza stone (or pan), this time without the parchment paper. You want the pizza to do its final bake directly on the stone. (The stone is porous and absorbs moisture, giving you a crispier crust.) Your crust is sturdy enough after the 1-2 minute par bake that it shouldn't be too hard to push the pizza onto the stone without the paper. Bake the pizza for about 8-12 minutes. This is going to depend on how hot your oven is, and how thick your pizza is. The edges of the crust should be golden brown, and the cheese should be bubbly and also starting to lightly brown. If you don't have a pizza stone, use a spatula to lift the edge of your pizza to make sure that it is browning all across the center on bottom. If the bottom is still white, you are looking at a doughy pizza. No thanks. Leave it in longer.If the top of your pizza is browning too quickly but the bottom crust isn't done, tent the top of the pizza with foil to slow browning.
Remove your pizza from the oven using the pizza peel. Slide it directly onto a cooling rack to help keep that bottom crust from getting soggy. Let cool a couple minutes, then transfer to a cutting board. Slice into 8 pieces and devour!
*If you do not have a pizza stone, you should dust whatever you are baking your pizza on (pizza pan, baking sheet) with cornmeal. This will help prevent sticking.