Homemade Pan Pizza with Perfectly Crispy Crust
The process of how to make pan pizza with a perfectly crispy crust is actually quite simple to do at home! This recipe and tips will show you exactly how you can make a crispy crust pan pizza and I dare say it is better than take-out!
I haven’t met too many pieces of pizza I didn’t like. Even crappy pizza is good pizza in my book. Especially at 2 am…
Now that football season is in full swing and Mr. BB’s Sundays are devoted to obsessing over his fantasy team, he has been asking for game day food.
This week his request was for “pan pizza like the kind they make at Domino’s or Pizza Hut.” Requests like this make me just want to prove that I can do it better. Let’s just say, Mr. BB was pretty pumped with the results of this endeavor.
The crust came out slightly thick and crispy and chewy. And when we make it at home we can add toppings that those chain pizza places don’t offer, like cream cheese. Our favorite pizza topping. You definitely need to try it!
What is Pan Pizza?
Pan pizza is a pizza that is baked in a heavy metal pan, like a cast iron pan, that has high sides. The pan is typically greased heavily and because it has high sides the pizza crust is thicker and chewy in the middle while being very crispy and almost fried on the bottom.
How to Make Pan Pizza
STEP 1: GATHER YOUR INGREDIENTS (MISE EN PLACE)
Before you start making the dough for your pan pizza, measure out all of your ingredients: yeast, sugar, dry milk powder, canola or vegetable oil, warm water (105-110ºF), all purpose flour, and salt.
Dry milk powder can be easily found in the baking aisle of the grocery store. If you prefer to use regular milk you can substitute it for the water and milk powder. You just need to scald it first. I like to keep dry milk powder on hand so I can omit the scalding part, but it will work well either way.
STEP 2: HYDRATE THE YEAST AND MILK POWDER
In a large bowl, if you have a stand mixer use that bowl, Stir together the yeast, sugar, milk powder and warm water. Let the mixture sit for about 2 minutes. If it begins getting a little bubbly and frothy then you are good to go. This means the yeast is alive and feeding! Add in the oil and mix together.
Remember you want warm water (about 110ºF) but not hot water. Warm water will wake the yeast up and it will begin feeding on the sugar and growing. But if the water is too hot it can kill the yeast.
STEP 3: Knead the Dough
Add all of the flour and the salt into the mixing bowl and stir together. At this point if you have a stand mixer fit it with a dough hook and knead on medium speed for about 8 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic and cleaning the sides of the bowl.
If you do not have a stand mixer, give the dough a few turns in the bowl until it begins forming into a ball. Turn out on a clean lightly floured work surface and knead by hand for about 10 minutes until smooth and elastic.
STEP 4: LET DOUGH RISE IN PANS
This dough will make enough for about 2- 12″ pizzas. You need to use either cast iron or a non-stick skillet that can go in the oven. I only had a 12″ non-stick and a 10″ cast iron skillet, so my 10″ pizza was a little thicker.
Liberally oil your two skillets with about 3 oz of oil each. I know that sounds like a lot, but this is what helps get that crispy crust. use your fingers to make sure the oil is spread all around the skillet and up the sides.
Divide the dough in half and spread out to about the width of the skillet (it doesn’t need to be completely to the edges, it will spread during rising). This dough is loose enough that you should be able to do this with your fingers, but if you find it easier you can use a rolling pin.
If the dough is springing back a lot while trying to stretch it, cover it with plastic wrap and leave it alone for about 15 minutes. The glutens will relax and it will be easier to stretch.
Cover the skillets with a lid or with plastic wrap and let them rise in a warm place for at least an hour and up to 1 1/2 hours. During the last 20 minutes of rising time, preheat your oven to 500ºF.
STEP 5: TOP THE DOUGH
After the dough has risen, add your favorite toppings. Be fairly gentle when spreading the sauce out on the dough as you don’t want to deflate it.
STEP 6: JUMP-START YOUR CRISPY BOTTOM
Before you put the pizza in the oven, start it out on the stove top. This will get your skillet good and hot so that the pizza doesn’t just steam in the oven while the skillet is still heating up and it will also get the bottom of your crust going so that it is crispy. Put the skillet over high heat on the stovetop for 2 minutes.
You can’t really tell it is on the stove, but this is our sausage, onion, and cream cheese pizza getting heated on the stove before going into the oven. You can see a little steam coming out of the side there.
STEP 7: BAKE AT HIGH HEAT
Put the pizza in the 500ºF oven and bake until golden brown and crispy. This took about 15 minutes in our oven. I would suggest just keeping a fairly close eye on it. With this high of heat it can go from perfect to burnt pretty quickly. But you want the high heat to get that crispy golden crust.
Be very careful taking it out of the oven. I know from a lot of experience and learning the hard way that we forget those skillet handles are hot when the excitement of homemade pizza is on the brain. I have grabbed and have seen many people grab those skillet handles. BE CAREFUL!
STEP 8: STUFF YOUR FACE!!
I have said this many times, but one of the main reasons I hardly ever post savory food is because I am too impatient for all of the food styling and taking good photographs.
I run around the dish trying to snap a few shots while Mr. BB is standing over my shoulder trying to snatch a few pieces. It feels like this frantic frenzy of me trying to force myself to work while I’m starving and fresh hot pizza is my subject.
This is the ultimate “food blogger problem.” But I did what I could. You understand.
Homemade Pan Pizza
Homemade pan pizza with a perfectly crispy crust can be achieved at home! This recipe and the tips above will show you exactly how you can do it and I dare say it is better than take-out!
- 1/4 cup nonfat dry milk powder (see note for substituting regular milk)
- 1 TBSP sugar
- 1 package (0.25oz) active dry yeast or 2 1/4 tsp if measuring from bulk yeast
- 1 1/3 cup warm water (about 110ºF)
- 2 TBSP vegetable or canola oil
- 4 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 6 oz vegetable or canola oil for greasing the pan
- your favorite sauce
- your favorite toppings
- Put the dry milk, sugar, yeast and warm water in a large bowl and stir together. If you have a stand mixer, use that bowl. Let sit for about 2 minutes. Add the oil and stir again.
- Add the flour and the salt into the bowl and stir until it begins forming into a ball. If you are using a mixer, fit with the dough hook and knead on medium speed for about 8 minutes, until a smooth dough forms and it cleans the sides of the bowl. If kneading by hand, turn out onto a clean lightly floured work surface. Knead by hand for about 10 minutes until a smooth elastic dough forms.
- Divide dough into two balls. In two 12" (or 10") nonstick or cast iron skillets, put 3 oz of oil in each making sure it is spread evenly and up the sides. Spread the dough out to about the size of the skillets using your fingers or if you need to, a rolling pin. If the dough is snapping back quite a bit, cover it with plastic wrap and let it rest for about 10-15 minutes. Then stretch again. Place the dough in the skillets (it doesn't have to go all the way to the sides, it will grow during rise time). Cover the skillets with a lid or plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for at least 1 hour and up to an hour and a half.
- During the last 20 minutes of rise time preheat the oven to 500ºF.
- Top the dough with your favorite sauce and toppings. Place the skillets over high heat on the stovetop for about 2 minutes. This will heat up the skillet and get the bottom of the dough crispy. Place the skillets in the oven and bake until golden brown and crispy. This should take about 15 minutes, but watch it closely.
If you would like to use regular milk instead of milk powder, eliminate the dry milk and water from the recipe and substitute for 1 1/3 cups milk. Scald the milk (meaning heat it up to simmering on the stove) and let it cool to about 110ºF before adding it in the first step of the recipe.
61 Comments on “Homemade Pan Pizza with Perfectly Crispy Crust”
You’re amazing. True story. I don’t even like pan pizza but THIS?! I can get behind!
I admit, pan pizza isn’t my favorite kind of pizza either. My favorite style is Neapolitan/wood fired oven. Super thin and crispy and charred. But I’ll eat any kind of pizza!
I have been craving pizza for DAYS and deep-dish is my favorite. We don’t use white flour, I’m going to make this with spelt flour instead and see what happens. I bet it’ll still be perfect. And I love the kneading mini-video!
Ooooh, I’d love to hear how that turns out! Have you used spelt flour in yeast dough recipes before?
Hi, would LOVE to try this, I’ve never made pizza at home but with this method, I hope I can wing it. The yeast I use is instant yeast and it says on the pack to add with flour; do I still follow your directions? Thanks
Hello. Yes, use the instant yeast, but follow my directions. It will work out great! Good luck!
I don’t know if this is the worst recipe I’ve ever tried or just the worst instructions; after 30mins of trying to knead this dough, I ended up with a bowl of flakey dough that wouldn’t stick together no matter how hard I tried. I wouldn’t bother even trying it. Now I have to look up another recipe to find out how to fix this mess.
Sorry to hear this didn’t work out for you Janice. This is a tested recipe that I specifically put detailed step-by-step instructions for so it can easily be successful. I would love to find out what about the instructions you found difficult to follow so I can remedy. It sounds to me like the ratio of flour to liquid may have been off in your dough. How did you measure your flour? It is common to improperly measure and wind up with too much flour in your dough. In a yeast dough recipe this can cause all kinds of problems. Here is a post about measuring by volume that can help resolve that issue. https://bakerbettie.com/how-to-measure-flour/
Did you struggle assembling LEGOS? Simple instructions, great recipe!
Hey I’m planning to make half this recipe but only have two 8 inch pans. Should I make one really thick pizza or two thinner ones?
This is my go to pizza recipe. Thanks so much for putting it out here Baker Betty. I make it a couple of times a month, so I should know the recipe by heart by now, but your detailed instructions make it so easy to follow each time.
When I was in 1st grade we went on a field trip to Pizza Hut and they let us make our own pizzas. I remember even then being surprised by how much oil they put in the pan. I’m pretty sure they put like half a cup of oil on top of the pizza as well before they put it in the oven, and the oil they use is orange. It’s been like 30 years though so I may be wrong, but with that fried crispy crust it wouldn’t surprise me.
Thank you so much for the recipe… My first ever try and nailed it… Your step by step explanation really helped…. Though it turns a little soggy later…. Any remedy for that?
I made this last night and the family and I loved it! It came out as crunchy (more?) than Pizza Hut! I was so happy it came out so amazingly but delicately crunchy! Thank you so much! This will go into regular rotation at lur house 🙂
Thank you! I, literally, just finished baking this pizza. It is perfect. I even have a little burn on my hand from accidentally grabbing the hot skillet. (That is what I get for not reading the entire recipe at the start!) I used a slightly different crust just because I started with another recipe but didn’t like the result with the first half of my dough. That is when I sought out this recipe. This pizza looks amazing. It really has everything to do with the oil and the timing – oil enough for a cast iron cornbread, start with high heat on the stove, 15 minutes in the 500F oven. Crust is like a dream about pizza crust. And, NB, I am a Chicagoan; my pan pizza standards run very, very deep! Thank you.
I had accidently left my pizza dough on the counter top as I wasnt able to make it the same day. It smelt totally fermented. Kept in the fridge for a day after that. What do you think Bettie? Am making it now..hoping it turns out ok
It would probably taste more like a sourdough crust! How did it turn out?
Can I use lactose free milk?
Yes you can!
I make this recipe a lot and we love it. I prefer using the dried milk powder to regular milk. Each time I love how golden and crispy the bottom turns out and I love the olive oil-y-ness of it. Great recipe!
The olive oil adds such good flavor, doesn’t it?! I’m so glad you enjoy it, Dana!
It kind of fries the bread a little on the bottom. Its a killer.
Hi Dana! You are correct, the crust is essentially frying in the pan which is what gives it that signature crispy crust of pan pizza! If you prefer a less crispy crust, you can use a little less oil and skip the stove top step and go straight into the oven! I hope that helps!
This is the best pizza dough ever! Five out of five stars! For the past year I have tried a half dozen pizza dough recipes only to feel something was missing. This one is the best. Tastes just like pizza hut used to taste (when they were the best) and it was super easy to make. Dough came out soft, not sticky at all and easy to stretch. Easiest recipe by far that I’ve come across to make and the best tastig, thank you!!
Hooray! Thanks so much, Hollie! So glad you found the one you love 🙂
Beautiful and simple instructions led to the best pizza I’ve ever tasted. Pizza Hut couldn’t pay me enough to lose this recipe and buy their pan pizza.Thank You!
I’m so glad to hear that you enjoyed this pizza! It is also one of my favorites!
This crust is IT! I had to take a picture so everyone could see the bottom of crust. Fried crispy like Numero Uno. I have to say that when I added that 4th cup of flour I started to worry. It looked dry. I trusted you. I kneaded that bad boy for ten minutes. It became soft and supple. Like everyone says follow the recipe as written ( Don’t be afraid of the directions.) Use correct measurements, temperature, timer, and knead correctly and enough. I had to use less dough due to size of cast iron skillet. I also make your rolls, my son says they are like store quality, but better.
Hi Jerline! This makes me so happy! I love this pizza so much, I’m glad you do too! Your crust looks perfect!
This. Pizza. Is. Amazing.
Im blown away
That makes me so happy Keri! Your pizza looks so amazing!
Can I substitute with bread flour? Same measurements?
Great and easy recipe!! Loved it! Will make often. Thanks.
That is so great to hear Jennifer!
Has anyone tried putting the cast iron skillets in a grill instead of the oven to bake?
Hi Niki, I have not tried it but I suspect it would work. Let me know if you do try it!
Will cutting the ingredients in half effectively allow me to make one serving, or will it not meassure out properly?
Sorry, not meant as a reply to this question.
Hi Todd! Yes, you can cut the recipe in half and it will work for one pizza!
Easy recipe to make. Crust was crispy. Rose to a nice height, but was not dense. I think you could make 3 large pan pies from the dough. I did 1 large and 2 small based on the pans I had. Thanks for posting this wonderful recipe that allowed me to make dinner in 90 minutes!
So glad you enjoyed it Gerry!
an you freeze the dough? for how long?
Hi Ana! I don’t recommend freezing raw yeast dough. You have to be really careful not to wake up the yeast too much or it will die and it is a bit tricky to do so successfully. You can however, make the dough and put it in the refrigerator before letting it rise for up to 3 days. It will slowly rise in the refrigerator. Before using it, let it sit out at room temperature for about an hour.
Can I use my bread machine to make the crusts?
I can’t wait to try this recipe however I only have a nonstick skillet (oven safe up to 350 degrees). Will I still be able to achieve the same results at a lower oven temperature?
Hi Kendall, you really want to use a heavy metal pan like cast iron. The high heat is necessary to achieve a crispy golden crust.
The recipe I’ve been looking for!! I have never kneaded a dough that was so easy to work with! Your instructions are wonderful! I want to try this in my deep dish pizza pan, would appreciate any suggestions you might have!
I’m so glad you like it! I think this will work well in a deep dish pan, you may just have to bake it a little longer. let me know how it turns out!
Can’t wait to make this next week! Can I use bread flour instead of all-purpose flour?
I liked how you mentioned that pan pizza is known to have a thicker crust. My wife is wanting to improve her cooking skills and she was wondering how she could make the crust thicker on her pizza. I’ll be sure to tell her that she should learn to make pan pizza. http://www.oiplockhaven.com
Excellent recipe! Easy to follow instructions. The dough was easy to work with – much easier than other pizza doughs I’ve made. Luckily, I had the right size skillets and the pizzas fit perfectly. I make a lot of pizza and this was one of the BEST! I love this type of crust but didn’t think I could make it at home. Thank you so much for a terrific recipe!
It would be nice to know the calories please
I’m sorry I don’t have that information. You can input the ingredients into an online calculator.
This is an updated comment because I posted about 6 mos ago. I have to say again, this is a GREAT recipe! I LOVE everything about it, from the way the recipe is written and explaimed, the amount of time it takes to make, how easy the dough is to work with, and how DARN good it is!!! Seriously, I’ve made it enough times to know that if it doesn’t turn out fur you, it’s something you did wrong. You have to try it if you like this type of pizza! Thanks SO much, BB!❤
Thank you so much for your review! I’m so glad you like it!
Huge Fail! I have tried many of the recipes on here and they always work out. I leaned on Baker Bettie heavily as I learned to make sourdough. Unfortunately, I have to say this was an utter mess and a complete fail for me and my family.
The dough was super hard to get to come together. I had to add some water for it to come together. Then the kneading in the machine wouldn’t work. It got stuck a couple times and after 8 minutes you could tear it apart like it hadn’t been kneaded at all. I tried it by hand and the dough was dry and super tough. I broke it in half and tried the machine again, half at a time with some more water. Finally, it looked something like what it should. The end product was just way too doughy. I would use the recipe to make 4 pizzas not 2! Something is off with the recipe or instructions.
Hi, I’m so sorry you didn’t like it! This recipe has been tested many times over. Did you weigh our your ingredients? That can make a big difference in the dough.
So I love, love. love this recipe (like all you others!) but find myself craving the sausage, onion and cream cheese pizza pictured above! I searched but did not find a recipe in your list. any chance you can share?
For the toppings: add a small amount of tomato pizza sauce, mozzarella, cooked italian sausage, thin raw white onion, and then dollop cream cheese all over the top. That’s it!
Thanks! going to try it this weekend!