Making pizza at home with store bought dough

Avoid all the major home pizza fails, even if you’ve never had success 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 a sheet pan and a desire to eat delicious homemade pizza with a chewy, golden crust.

Things to know about make pizza at home:

  • How to store pizza dough

  • Tips for getting pizza dough to rise

  • Techniques for stretching store bought dough

  • Pizza toppings

  • Oven temperatures for making pizza at home

Fortunately, you’re in the right place to learn all of this!

Plus, at the end of this post is a step by step at home pizza recipe. 

The secrets to making pizza at home with store bought dough

Storing 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.

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. It needs 30 minutes, up to 3 hours, to rise. To allow the dough plenty of time to rise, set it near a window or wrap it in a kitchen towel. Bonus points if the towel is straight out of the dryer. The heat will help. Likewise, if you’re making pizza at home soon after buying ingredients at the store, let the dough sit by a sunny car window on the ride home.

Shaping a pizza

If you’re shaping a round pizza, start by forming the dough into a ball. 

Work the outside of the dough, pinching it with your fingers to make the round crust. Working against a cutting board or flat surface, move to the center and push the dough outward. Continue pushing out the thick center of the dough in a circular motion so the dough. Once the dough has spread as far as possible against the cutting board, gently pick it up and use your knuckles and the back of your hand to stretch the dough in a circular motion.

Shaping a rectangle pizza is similar, but you don’t need to begin with the dough in a perfect ball. Use your fingers to pinch the dough into a log shape before moving to the center. Instead of stretching the dough in a circular motion, focus on pulling it in two directions – vertically and horizontally. 

 

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 perfect 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 recipe for homemade pizza and topped it with mushrooms and vegan sausage. Photo below…

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. If you’re the visual type, see this YouTube pizza stretching video.

The best temperature for making pizza at home

When making pizza at home, it’s crucial to using a really high temperature to get restaurant quality pizza.

One key secret to fluffy pizza crust is cooking pizza dough before toppings. In the recipe at the end of this post, you’ll par-bake the pizza dough at 450 degrees in the middle rack of the oven. Then add the toppings and finish baking pizza in the oven at 500 degrees until the cheese melts. 

A big fat pizza fail…

I’ve been making pizza at home in the oven or on the grill for over a decade. One time a grill accidentally caught on fire, but that was a manageable fail.

Another time, I left store bought pizza dough outside on deck furniture 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.

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Making pizza at home with store bought dough from trader joes or whole foods

Making pizza at home with store bought dough

Ingredients

  • 1 bag pizza 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
  • cup toppings ham, chicken, pineapple, onions, etc.
  • 2 tbsp basil chopped

Instructions

  1. 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. 

  2. Stretch the dough. Place raw 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.

  3. Bake the naked pizza dough in the oven at 450 for 7 minutes. During this time, prep toppings. 

  4. 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. 

  5. 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. 

Recipe Notes

video - http://bit.ly/making-pizza-video

Secret ingredients + helpful tools

If you lived close enough, I’d let you borrow them. Here are ingredients and tools to make your pizza extraordinarily delicious. Affiliate links included.

In my video, you’ll notice I add pizza seasoning to store bought pizza sauce. This makes the pizza taste really fresh!

This dough seasoning is the secret to real Italian-tasting homemade pizza dough.

Professionals cut their pizza with just a few swipes, using big ol’ pizza cutters

It’s nice to revamp your pan collection every couple of years. This baking pan set will enable you to make multiple pizzas at once.

Make a classic round pizza with this ventilated pizza pan.

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