Homemade Thin Crust Pizza {the best EVER!}

by amy on 17 August 2012

I love pizza. You’re probably thinking, ‘who doesn’t?‘ but really, I’m pretty sure I love pizza more than the average joe. We eat it at least once a week, sometimes more. Bad day at work? Send the husband out for pizza! Great day at work? Let’s celebrate with pizza! Mediocre day at work? Seems like a good time to eat some pizza! You get my drift. =)

While I’ll eat any type of pizza you put in front of me, I’m partial to thin crust – the crispier, the better. I’ve made many different pizza dough recipes in the past, but this one? Is truly amazing. My absolute favorite + THE BEST I’ve tried. Really! It’s so easy to prepare, requires ZERO rising time, + takes less than 10 minutes to bake from start to finish. The result? A light, crisp, flavorful pizza crust that provides the perfect base for whatever toppings fit your fancy.

Note: This recipe makes enough dough for two 12″ pizza crusts. Each pizza serves roughly 2 adults, so if you only need to feed two people, you have two options. 1) Halve the recipe. Easy peasy! Or my preferred option: 2) Use one pizza crust for dinner, put the rest of the dough in a ziploc in the fridge, then use it within the next few days for lunch. We used our first crust to make a pepperoni pizza for dinner, then I used the rest the next day to make a tomato, basil, asiago + mozzarella pizza for lunch. (For lots more food pictures, you can follow me on instagram.) YUM!

Homemade Thin Crust Pizza

makes TWO 12″ pizzas, adapted from the kitchn

Ingredients

For the Dough:
3/4 cups (6 ounces) of water
1/2 teaspoon of active-dry yeast (if using instant yeast, you don’t need to dissolve it during the first step)
2 cups (10 ounces, by weight) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp kosher salt
optional: 1/2 tsp italian seasoning (or any dried herbs of your choice) – i like to work herbs into the dough, but it’s wonderful without the herbs, too – your choice!

For the Toppings:
your choice – go wild! here’s what it takes two of the pizzas pictured above:
1/2 cup marinara sauce (1/4 cup per pizza), either homemade or store-bought
3 cups of cheese (1.5 cups per pizza) – i used a blend of mozzarella + asiago
1 thinly sliced tomato, about 6 slices on each pizza
12 basil leaves, chopped, divided between the two pizzas

Directions

Making the Dough:
About 30 minutes to 1 hour before baking, preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. If you have a baking stone, put it on a rack in the lower-middle part of the oven before preheating.

In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, heat the water until it feels barely lukewarm when you test it with your finger (if the water is so hot that you can’t leave your finger in it, wait for it to cool down). Add the yeast to the water + use a fork or whisk to stir it into the water. Set this aside for a few minutes + allow the yeast to dissolve. It’s okay if the yeast doesn’t bubble, but it should be entirely dissolved.

Measure out the flour into a large mixing bowl. Add the salt + dried italian seasoning/herbs (if using) + use your hand or a whisk to combine.

Make a well in the center of the flour + pour in the water-yeast mixture. Use your fingers or a wooden spoon to combine everything together.

When it comes together into a cohesive ball, turn it out onto the counter along with any extra flour in the bowl that hasn’t yet gotten worked in.

Knead the dough until all the flour is incorporated + the dough is smooth/elastic to the touch–about five minutes. The dough should still feel moist +  just slightly tacky. If it’s sticking to your hands + counter-top like bubble gum, work in more flour one tablespoon at a time until it’s smooth + silky.

Divide the dough in two.

Shaping the dough:
Tear off two pieces of parchment paper roughly 12-inches wide. Work one piece of the dough in your hands + form it into a large disk. Lay the disk of dough on the parchment paper.

Working from the middle of the dough outwards, use the heel of your hand to gently press the dough outward until it’s about 1/4 of an inch thick or less. You can also use a rolling pin for this part. You can make free-form pies, or if you’d like a circular pie, you can trace a large circle on the back of the parchment to use as a guide.
Repeat with the second piece of dough.

Note: The dough will stick to the parchment paper, making it easier for you to roll out. You’ll bake the pizza right on the parchment paper. As it cooks, the dough will release from the parchment, + you can slide the paper out before serving.

Topping + Baking the Dough:
Spoon ONLY the sauce into the center of each pizza + use the back of a spoon to spread it out to the edges.

Using a bread peel or the backside of a baking sheet, slide your pizza (still on the parchment) onto the baking stone in the oven. If you don’t have a baking stone, just bake it right on the baking sheet.

Bake for about 5 minutes, then rotate the pizza 180-degrees (most ovens have ‘hot spots’ + your pizza will bake unevenly if it’s not rotated). Bake for another 3 minutes, then sprinkle the cheese + any other toppings over the top. Bake for another 2-3 minutes until the edges are golden brown and crispy. If you like your cheese browned slightly, broil for a minute or so.

Remove your pizza from oven + let it cool on a wire rack. At this point, you can slide the parchment paper out from under the pizza. Repeat with second pizza.

Let both pizzas cool for about five minutes + serve.

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{ 210 comments… read them below or add one }

201 Dee June 30, 2014 at 2:21 pm

Hi amy, I’m really excited to try this! I have a few questions, though.
I know this is a no-rise dough you can make right away, but I’d like to make the dough a few hours in advance. If I do, and it sits out and rises, will it still come out as thin and crisp when I make the pizzas later? I also plan on tripling the recipe… :)

202 amy June 30, 2014 at 2:28 pm

Hi Dee! You can make it a few hours in advance, no problem. I put it in the fridge if I’m going to do that, though – if you let it sit out in a warm kitchen, it will rise and give it a different texture (not as crisp). And make sure you roll it nice and thin! I’ve doubled and tripled it with great results. =) Do report back how it turns out! =D

203 Dee July 1, 2014 at 1:43 pm

So I made this yesterday and ended up just making it right away instead of storing it in the fridge like I had originally planned. It was alright, but the only problem for me was that although the edges were crispy, rest of the pizza wasn’t. The middle of it was very soft, and I don’t know why. I tried cooking one pizza without the parchment paper but still, the bottom of the pizza would not get crispy while the edges would. Did I do something wrong?

204 amy July 1, 2014 at 3:13 pm

Hi Dee, When the edges get crispy but the middle of the pizza doesn’t, it’s usually one of three things. 1) The pizza wasn’t rolled thin enough – it has to be reeeeally thin throughout. Which brings me to 2) Was the middle of the pizza thicker than the edges? A lot of times people think the whole thing is equally thin, while it’s actually rolled much thinner on the edges than the middle. or 3) Too many toppings. Some readers have told me if they over-top it, the crust won’t crisp up as well. A thin, crisp crust like this cooks up best when the toppings are moderately light. I hope that helps!

205 Michelle July 3, 2014 at 5:28 pm

I just finished trying this recipe and I am a bit disappointed. Of course it cooked much better and more evenly than the other homemade pizza recipes I have tried. Unfortunately, the parchment produced a lot of smoke when cooking. When the pizza was completely finished baking the parchment did not seem to separate from the crust. In fact, it is now completely fused with the bottom of the crust. Hopefully it doesn’t have an obvious taste. Overall though, I’d still choose this recipe above all others. Maybe next time I will try cooking it on a pan without the parchment.

206 amy July 3, 2014 at 8:00 pm

Hi Michelle, I’m so sorry to hear that you’re disappointed, but i AM happy that it’s your favorite of all the pizza recipes you’ve tried. What brand parchment paper did you use? My pizza literally slides right off my parchment once it’s cooked (so much so that I have to be careful when I pull it out of the oven to not slide the pizza onto the floor). I’m wondering if it has something to do with the brand of parchment I use? (Reynolds brand). My parchment also doesn’t smoke at all – it does brown during the cooking, but no smoldering or smoking. I wonder if your parchment might have a different oven-safe temperature than mine? (And no, I’m not being paid by Reynolds, lol). I’d love to fix the problem so that this can be an utter success for you next time! Cheers, Amy

207 Erin July 13, 2014 at 2:58 pm

I love love love this recipe!!! :-) I’ve used it many times, using different toppings and variations to the things I add to the crust, herbs, lives, cheeses. It’s awesome!!

208 amy July 13, 2014 at 6:56 pm

YAY, I’m so thrilled to hear it, Erin! It’s one of my all-time favorite recipes, too. Thanks for popping by with your fab feedback! =)

209 Calie M. July 21, 2014 at 8:59 am

Hi Amy!
So I commented back in early June and have finally had success!! Now I did try to tape the parchment paper to the counter but it just ripped. Now, this is unconventional but I bought a pasta roller/maker and I used the roller part to make the pizza crust and it came out very thin! It was a long rectangle pizza but it was finally thin and crispy and so good, and the best part is I can make it for lunch at lunch time. No need to start making lunch when I wake up!! Thank you so much for your help and this amazing recipe.

210 amy July 21, 2014 at 9:03 am

Oh, awesome, Calie! I am SO thrilled that you came back + updated me. And how clever to use the pasta roller to get it super thin – brilliant!

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