The key to a really good pizza is, of course, the crust. I make pizza at home at least once a week, so you can be sure this recipe comes to you after years of very meticulous kitchen testing!
Also, the fact that this dough comes together in just a few minutes and doesn’t need time to rise means that you can have pizza for dinner any night of the week. It really is that fast and easy, which is why we believe this is the very best thin-crust pizza dough for a home cook on a weeknight.
This crust has a nice bit of crunch, but it’s pliable enough to fold in half if required. The mild wheat flavor is a nice backdrop to whatever toppings you want to layer on top.
Since we’re keeping the crust on the thinner side, this dough doesn’t actually require time to rise. You roll it out after kneading it briefly and let it rest on the counter while you prepare the toppings. When it goes in the oven, the heat gives the bread a quick burst of rising, so it will still have some chew when you bite into it.
This said, letting the dough rise a little or even refrigerating it overnight gives the dough even more depth of flavor and a crackling crust. Once you’ve finished kneading, let it rise until doubled, divide it in two, and store the balls of dough in separate containers. When you’re ready to make your pizza, take the dough out of the fridge and let it warm up a bit while you prepare the toppings — 10 minutes or so should do it.
I never knew a simple pizza dough could be so versatile, but this one truly is. By cutting a corner and skipping the rise, this oven-baked crust straddles the line between crisp and chewy. Baked on the back of a preheated baking sheet, this thin crust is deceivingly sturdy — strong enough to hold traditional toppings or a brush of jam and a curl of prosciutto to serve as a fancy flatbread at your next dinner party. If you have an hour or less, this is the pizza to make at the last minute for family and friends.
–Patty, March 2018
Homemade Thin-Crust Pizza
Yield: Serves 4, Makes 2 (10-inch) pizzas
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 16 minutes to 24 minutes
For the dough:
- 3/4 cup lukewarm water
- 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
For the toppings:
- 1/2 cup pizza sauce, such as classic red sauce or a white sauce
- 1 to 2 cups shredded cheese: one or a combination of mozzarella, provolone, Parmesan, fontina, romano, or asiago cheese
- Topping options: sautéed onions or mushrooms, sliced red peppers, pepperoni, cooked sausage, cooked bacon, etc.
Arrange a rack in the bottom third of the oven, place a rimmed baking sheet on the rack, and heat the oven to 450°F. Meanwhile, make the dough.
Pour the water into a medium bowl. Sprinkle the yeast over the water, and let stand until the yeast is dissolved and foamy, 3 to 5 minutes.
Add the flour and salt. Mix with a stiff spatula or wooden spoon until floury, shaggy dough forms. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and knead until it forms a smooth, slightly tacky ball that springs back when you poke it, 5 to 8 minutes. If the dough sticks to your hands like bubblegum, add a tablespoon of flour at a time until it’s easier to work with; avoid adding too much flour if possible.
Cover the dough with the upside-down bowl or a clean kitchen towel and let sit while you prepare the pizza toppings, about 10 minutes.
Divide the dough into 2 equal pieces. Working with one piece of dough at a time, stretch or roll it into a thin, 10- to 12-inch round. Form from the middle of the dough outwards, using the heel of your hand to gently press and stretch the dough until it's about a 1/4-inch thick or less. For an extra-thin crust, roll it with a rolling pin. If the dough starts to shrink back, let it rest for 5 minutes and then try rolling again.
Carefully remove the preheated baking sheet from the oven and place it upside down on a wire rack. Transfer the dough directly onto the upside-down baking sheet. Brush the dough with 1 teaspoon of the oil. Spread 1/4 cup sauce into a thin layer onto dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Sprinkle on the cheese and other toppings.
Bake until the crust is golden-brown and the cheese is melted and browned in spots, 8 to 12 minutes. Remove the pizza from the oven and cool for about 5 minutes before slicing and serving. Repeat with the remaining dough and toppings.
Storage: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 4 days.