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Making pizza at home with store bought dough
The only guide you’ll ever need for making homemade pizza in the oven. There are just a few secrets and tips for making pizza at home with store bought dough. Fortunately, this recipe is so simple you can make pizza at home without a pizza stone or a rolling pin. All you need is ~20 minutes, a sheet pan, pre-made dough, and a desire to eat delicious homemade pizza with a chewy, golden crust.
With this step-by-step guide to making homemade pizza, you’ll learn:
- Where to buy fresh pizza dough pre-made
- How to store pizza dough so it’s ready for pizza night any day of the week
- Tips for getting pizza dough to rise
- Techniques for stretching store bought dough (once you learn my tips for how to stretch pizza dough for sheet pan pizza, you’ll be a pro)
- How to pre bake pizza crust before adding toppings
- Pizza toppings
- The best oven temperature for pizza made at home
Plus, at the end of this post is one of my favorite home pizza recipe ideas.
Ready for 10+ years worth of secrets and tips for making pizza at home with store bought dough?
To make it easy, start with fresh store bought pizza dough
If you’re wondering where to buy fresh pizza dough, check a local bakery, Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods. Trader Joe’s also has a garlic & herb pizza dough that’s quite tasty.
How to store pizza dough in the fridge or freezer
If you don’t plan to use store bought pizza dough for a few days or weeks, keep it fresh in the fridge or freezer.
In the fridge, pizza dough will stay fresh for a few days.
In the freezer, pizza dough can last a couple of months. When you’re ready to defrost pizza dough, move it to the fridge overnight. Then take it out in the morning to expand in time for dinner.
My freezer is always stocked with pizza dough and frozen cheese. And my pantry is always stocked with pizza seasoning and pizza sauce. And, thanks to my husband, my fridge is always stocked with craft beer to go with the pizza.
How to get pizza dough to rise
Many people struggle with the very first step of making pizza at home with store bought dough. That’s because stretching store bought dough is difficult when it’s cold.
Pizza dough needs at least 30 minutes and up to 3 hours to rise, outside of the fridge.
Here’s an easy trick to allow the dough plenty of time to rise. Set it near a window or wrap it in a kitchen towel and set it on the counter. If you’re short on time, use a kitchen towel straight out of the dryer – a little heat will help.
Here’s another trick. If you’re making pizza at home soon after buying ingredients at the store, let the pre-made dough sit by a sunny car window on the ride home. Growing up, that’s what my mom always did.
How to shape pizza dough
Shaping rectangle pizza for a sheet pan is very, very easy once you get the hang of it.
Check out the video at the bottom of this page, or follow these step-by-step photo instructions to stretching pizza dough.
Step 1-2. Lightly flour a large work space like a butcher block, cutting board, or clean counter. Press both sides of the fresh dough against the flour.
Step 3-4. First, work the outside of the pizza dough by pinching it with your fingers to make the crust. Next, working against a flat surface, move to the center of the dough and push the dough outward to make a larger base. As you expand the dough, pick up a light dusting of flour, which will help the size of the dough grow.
Step 5. Once the dough has spread as far as possible against the cutting board, gently pick up the dough. With your hands under the dough, use your knuckles to stretch the dough in vertical and horizontal motions. Adding a little flour will help the dough expand.
Step 6-8. Work the dough until it is expands enough to cover your sheet pan. Go back and forth between pushing the dough and using your knuckles as needed. Add light dustings of flour as needed to help the dough retain the progress you’ve made. Don’t worry about the dough being a perfect shape. All pizzas are beautiful.
At any time, patch holes as they appear by folding over the dough.
Step 9. Prepare a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and a drizzle of olive oil.
Step 10. Gently transfer the pizza dough to the baking sheet. Push the edge of the dough as far towards the edge of the baking sheet as it will go.
Shaping round pizza is similar, but you will begin by forming the dough into a perfectly round ball. Follow the instructions above, but instead of pulling the dough in vertical and horizontal motions, you’ll want to stretch the dough in a circular motion. It’s easy to make a classic round pizza with this ventilated pizza pan.
Before you add toppings, par-bake the dough
When I first posted this recipe on Instagram, someone asked if they need to pre bake pizza crust before adding toppings.
YES. Yes. YES.
It’s super important to pre bake the pizza crust once before adding pizza toppings. Follow the recipe at the end of this post for details on how to to par-bake the pizza dough at 450 degrees in the middle rack of the oven.
Then add toppings and bake the pizza
When making pizza at home, it’s crucial to using a really high temperature to get restaurant quality pizza. After par-baking the pizza dough, add the toppings and finish baking pizza in the oven at 500 degrees until the cheese melts. This final bake will take about 7-10 minutes.
Tasty tips for making pizza at home
- Brush olive oil around the perimeter of the dough to create a golden crust.
- Sprinkle the crust with parmesan and a light sprinkle of salt.
- This dough seasoning is the secret to real Italian-tasting homemade pizza dough.
- Add pizza seasoning to store bought pizza sauce. This makes the pizza taste really fresh!
- Add any fresh herbs, like basil, after the pizza is done baking (so the herbs don’t wilt)Pizza professionals cut their pizza with just a few swipes, using big ol’ pizza cutters.
- Bake pizza on a rimmed baking sheet so the edges turn a beautiful golden brown. This baking pan set will enable you to make multiple pizzas at once.
Pizza topping ideas
Sauce – Classic red pizza sauce, BBQ sauce, Alfredo sauce, or a simple garlic and olive oil for a white pizza, as used in this pear and goat cheese pizza.
Cheese – Traditional mozzarella is a popular melting cheese, as is fontina and cheddar. If you’re looking for a cheese with bold flavor, try bleu cheese, smoked gouda or goat cheese sprinkled on top of a melting cheese.
Meats, fruit and veggies – If you’re looking for something outside of traditional toppings (pepperoni, ham, chicken, sausage), get creative with seasonal fruits and vegetables. For fruits, try pineapple, pears, cherries, and apples. For vegetables, try butternut squash, zucchini and caramelized red onions. And don’t forget about fresh herbs for pizza! Add delicate herbs like basil after the pizza is done baking in the oven.
The good ol’ beer & pizza pairing
Not a pizza ingredient, per se…. but beer can be a great addition to pizza, even if you’re no longer in college. Looking for a beer + pizza pairing? My friend Sarah, another Portland blogger at Twenty Something and Tipsy has milkshake IPAs to share with you… She made this homemade pizza recipe (and took the photo above) with store bought dough from Trader Joe’s. Her pizza is topped with mushrooms and vegan sausage. And she likes to dip her pizza in ranch dressing.
Notes + tips to avoid pizza fails when making pizza at home
One major pizza fail that happens all the time can be easily avoided. This is when the toppings fall right off the dough. Usually, this means home chefs added toppings to raw pizza dough. The result is a catastrophic, limp and floppy pizza experience. In this recipe, the store bought pizza dough cooks twice. First, the dough cooks “naked” without any toppings. On the second trip to the oven, ingredients are piled on and the pizza cooks to completion. This technique ensures a thick, solid dough so you don’t have to call for last-minute pizza delivery.
Don’t forget to season the crust. This recipe for homemade pizza creates a thick, golden and chewy crust. How? A light brushing of olive oil, and sprinkle of parmesan and salt before it pops in the oven. This step is important if you’re going for gourmet pizza at home.
Avoid the struggle of stretching pizza dough by letting it rise in advance. In the recipe you’ll find tips for stretching dough without a rolling pin.
My own big fat pizza fail…
I’ve been making pizza at home in the oven or on the grill for over a decade. (whenever I say something has lasted a decade I feel suuuuuuper old!) One time a grill accidentally caught on fire, but that was a manageable fail. My brother saved the day with a fire extinguisher and now we have an almost-caught-the-house-on-fire story to laugh about.
Another time, I left store bought pizza dough outside on a deck table to rise. Can you blame me? It sounded like a great idea to have the dough rise in the sun, mother nature’s original dough heater. Well, this turned out to be a horrible idea due to a hungry critter. When I glanced out the window to check the progress of my dough, I found a squirrel eating the dough through the bag. Long story short, don’t get rabies when making pizza at home with store bought dough. Let it rise inside.
I’m so excited to spread the word about this easy to make at home pizza recipe! I’ve made so many friends with readers who have successfully made this pizza, I hope you’re next on the list!
Your pizza-enthused blogger bud, Jenna
More recipes with cheese you might like…
- 50+ gourmet grilled cheese ideas
- Pear and goat cheese pizza
- Buttery sweet potatoes oven baked with bleu cheese
- Sous vide chicken wings with bleu cheese dressing
Making pizza at home with store bought dough (Sip Bite Go)
This guide to making pizza at home with store bought dough covers everything from stretching the dough, to cooking delicious crust in the oven for homemade pizza. Use this recipe as a base for pizza at home with any toppings you like!
- 1 bag pizza dough ( I use pre-made dough)
- 16 oz pizza sauce
- 2 tsp dried herbs pizza / pasta blend or oregano / parsley
- 3 tbsp flour
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp parmesan cheese optional, for the crust
- 1 pinch Salt
- 8 oz shredded mozzarella or fontina or cheddar
- ⅔ cup toppings ham, chicken, pineapple, onions, etc.
- 2 tbsp basil chopped
Let dough rise. Keeping the store bought dough in the bag, set it out on a counter for 30 minutes up a few hours. When you’re ready to make the pizza, preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
Stretch the dough. Place raw pre-made dough dough on top of flour, coating each side. Begin stretching the dough by pinching the outside in a circular motion to spread it out. Then you can alternate between pinching the dough with your fingers, pressing it out on your work surface, and using your knuckles to pull the dough from underneath in an outward motion. Usually a few motions work best! When it’s large enough, transfer it to a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and a light drizzle of olive oil.
Bake the naked pizza dough in the oven at 450 for 7 minutes. During this time, prep toppings.
Once dough is cooks for 7 minutes, take it out and preheat the oven to 500. Brush olive oil around the perimeter of the dough to create a golden crust. Add the sauce, any dried herbs, cheese and other toppings. Sprinkle the crust with parmesan and a light sprinkle of salt. Add pizza sauce, dried herbs, cheese and other toppings.
Bake the pizza at 500 for 7-10 minutes, removing when the cheese has melted. Sprinkle chopped basil and allow the pizza to cool a few minutes before slicing and serving.
Share your pizza with me! I'd love to see what you make. Find me @sipbitego on Instagram and tag #sipbitego with your pizza!
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