Get ready to transform pizza night with this cast iron pizza recipe! Whether you’re firing up the grill or using your home oven, this recipe will give you a perfectly crispy crust and melty, bubbling top!
Looking to get the perfect homemade pizza without investing in a baking steel or pizza stone? Look no further than your trusty cast iron skillet and this cast iron pizza recipe! Cast iron skillets heat up quickly and retain heat well. Cast iron is also able to transfer heat even more efficiently to the dough than a baking stone or steel. This results in a faster baking time and a crispy, evenly cooked crust!
Why make pizza in a cast iron skillet?
- High heat: Cast iron skillets retain and transfer heat well, creating an evenly-cooked and perfectly crispy crust.
- Texture: Cast iron pizza has a golden-brown exterior with a slightly charred and crunchy bottom. The interior of the crust is tender and airy, with just the right amount of chewiness!
- Versatility: Cast iron pizza can be made in your oven for a cozy meal on a chilly day. And during the warmer months? Place your skillet directly on the grill for an easy dinner that keeps the heat out of your kitchen.
- Easy cleanup: Making pizza is actually good for maintaining your cast iron skillet! Greasing the pan with a generous amount of olive oil and cooking the pizza at a high heat seasons the pan. Which just means that it creates a non-stick layer that protects the skillet. Plus, the pizza slides right out making for easy cleanup!
And if you’re looking to invest in a new cast iron skillet, make sure to check out this article for a good overview of your options.
You just need a few ingredients for this cast iron pizza:
- Olive oil to grease the pan
- Pizza dough
- Pizza sauce
- Your favorite toppings!
The Best Dough For Pan Pizza
While you can definitely use your favorite dough for this recipe, we always opt for our easy poolish pizza dough. If you want to know more about the how and the why of using poolish (a pre-ferment), check out this post. Just looking for a quick overview? We’ve got you covered:
- Poolish pizza dough is made using an easy pre-ferment, which adds a ton of flavor in a relatively little amount of time.
- It is a 70% hydration dough, which means the dough is quite wet. This is great for your home oven or grill, which can’t get as hot as a pizza oven. The additional water in the dough ensures that it bakes all the way through before burning on the outside.
- The quick fermentation of the dough contributes to a lighter, more airy crumb while the heat transfer from the cast iron skillet helps the crust to puff up quickly. The perfect combination!
Sauce and Toppings
Now it’s time to customize your cast iron pizza! Let’s start with the sauce. My go-to is a simple 3-ingredient tomato sauce that beats out any store-bought alternative I’ve tasted. To make it, just blend or crush a can of whole peeled tomatoes along with olive oil and salt. For extra flavor, you can throw in some garlic and herbs.
If you’re not in the mood for a tomato-based sauce, a spoonful of pesto or drizzle of olive oil also make delicious options!
And the toppings? That’s completely up to you! If you need a little inspiration, here are a few of our favorite pizzas to make:
- Margherita: tomato sauce, mozzarella, sliced cherry tomatoes, and basil (added after baking)
- Quattro formaggi: tomato sauce or a drizzle of olive oil, low-moisture mozzarella, gorgonzola, fontina, and parmesan (or substitute your favorite cheeses!)
- Prosciutto and arugula: tomato sauce, mozzarella, slices of prosciutto, and arugula (added in last minutes of baking)
- Gorgonzola and pears: olive oil, mozzarella, gorgonzola, pear slices, walnuts
How to Make Cast Iron Pizza
This recipe is proof that you can make a very good pizza in a home oven. Start by preheating the oven to 500°F (260°C). The high temperature is essential to helping the dough puff up quickly, giving the crust a more open, puffier texture.
Build your pizza directly in the cold skillet and then place your cast iron skillet in the oven for 12-18 minutes. Make sure to check often as the time will heavily depend on the thickness and hydration of your dough.
And if you want it extra crispy and charred, try finishing your pizza under the broiler for the last few minutes of cooking.
Pizza on the Grill
This is our preferred method for cast iron pizza, especially in the summer. You can cook at higher temperatures and you don’t have to worry about heating up the kitchen or setting off any smoke alarms!
Make sure your grill is preheated to at least 550-600°F (288-315°C). Then just place your skillet pizza directly over the flame and close the lid. You’ll need about 10-15 minutes until the cheese is bubbling and the crust is crispy and golden brown!
One note: you’ll definitely want to invest in a pair of silicone oven mitts if you’re making this recipe on the grill. They’re more heat resistant and offer a better grip than regular oven mitts, which is important when working with a heavy cast iron at high temperatures.
Cast Iron Pizza: FAQs
One pound (450 g) of dough is generally the perfect amount for one pizza baked in a 12-inch (30 cm) cast iron skillet.
If using our poolish pizza dough recipe, you’ll have enough dough for two 12-inch (30 cm) pizzas or about three 10-inch (25 cm) pizzas.
Nope! We’ve tested this recipe both ways and actually preferred the pizza built in a cold pan. It’s chewier and gets a better rise. Plus, transfering pizza dough and building your pizza in a hot skillet seems like a recipe for disaster.
We’ve included a link to a recipe for our favorite pizza dough, but you can use your preferred dough or even something store-bought. Just note that the baking time will vary depending on the thickness and hydration level of your dough.
Yes! Your favorite store bought pizza sauce will work great in this recipe.
Start by making sure your oven is clean of any leftover food spills or residue. Also note that we use olive oil to grease the pan as it infuses the crust with a beautiful flavor. Olive oil has a low smoke point, meaning it starts to burn and smoke at a relatively low temperature. Try using an oil with a higher smoke point, such as sunflower or avocado oil.
Make sure to lightly grease your pan with olive oil to ensure that your pizza will easily slide out of the cast iron pan.
Expert Tips & Tricks
- Make sure to oil the cast iron pan. This will keep the pizza dough from sticking to the pan.
- If the dough isn’t stretching well, let it rest. Ensure the dough is at room temperature and if you’re still having trouble, let it rest for 15-20 minutes. This allows the gluten to relax, making it easier to stretch.
- Don’t overload your pizza with toppings. While this is a pretty sturdy pizza dough and you can be pretty generous with your toppings, make sure not to get too carried away or your crust can be a bit soggy.
- Let your pizza rest for a few minutes before slicing. This gives the toppings a chance to set and makes it easier to cut.
Looking for more ways to use your cast iron pan? Here are some of our favorite recipes:
- Provoleta (Grilled Provolone)
- Creamy Spinach Artichoke Chicken and Orzo Skillet
- Reverse Sear Rack of Lamb with Dijon Mustard Sauce + Herby Farro
- Reverse Sear Steak
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