This thin crust pizza dough is easy to make and a dream to work with! Deliciously light and crispy, yet slightly chewy throughout — it’s the only homemade pizza dough you’ll ever need!
Having a good go-to pizza dough in your arsenal is essential when you love pizza as much as we do. And while everyone is entitled to their own opinion on what makes the perfect crust, for me it has to be thin and crispy while keeping a chewy texture. But it seems like every time we make pizza at home we use a different recipe — there was never one that had us wanting to come back. Some recipes resulted in crusts that were thin, but way too tough. Others had an okay texture, but were quite difficult to work with. So we finally set out to create our own perfect pizza crust and, after quite a bit of trial and error, I think we’ve cracked the code!
ingredients: flour, yeast and substitutions
When it comes to ingredients, there are a few choices you’ll need to make. The first (and maybe most important) is which type of flour you’ll be using. I’ve tested this recipe with both all purpose flour and bread flour and I have to say that I really think bread flour is the clear winner. Bread flour will give you a chewy texture while still remaining crispy on the outside, which I think is especially important for a thin crust. That being said, you can substitute all purpose flour with about a 1:1 ratio, but may need to add a bit more flour if the dough is too wet.
And the second choice you’ll need to make is which yeast to use or if you even want to use yeast at all! There are a ton of recipes out there for no-yeast pizza crust, but I have yet to find one that I truly love — the taste and texture of no-yeast doughs just can’t compare for me. So which yeast do I use? I tend to use whatever I have in my cupboard and that’s generally active dry yeast. It’s the most common and easily available where I live, but you could easily substitute instant yeast in equal proportions. If using instant yeast, you won’t need to activate it in warm milk so you can just add the milk and yeast right in with the rest of the ingredients!
how to make thin crust pizza dough
After activating your active dry yeast in warm milk with a bit of sugar, combine the mixture with flour, salt and water. Start stirring the mixture until the dough begins to form. At this point, you can decide if you need a little extra flour. The dough will be quite sticky at first, but if it’s sticking to your hands and you’re having trouble working with it you can add a few more tablespoons of flour.
Now add a tablespoon of vegetable oil and continue kneading the dough for about 5-10 minutes. Once it’s smooth and elastic (you should be able to stretch it pretty well without tearing), you can place it in a greased bowl, cover and leave it to rise until it’s doubled in size. This generally takes about an hour or a bit less for me.
After the dough has risen, separate it into two pieces and roll each piece out on a lightly floured surface. You’ll want to get the dough super thin — about ⅛ inch (3 mm) or even less as it will puff up a bit during baking. I’ve found using a rolling pin to be the quickest method, but stretching the dough by hand also works if you have a bit of extra time (or are a pizza pro)!
Now the fun part: transfer the dough to a greased pan and top with your favorite sauce and ingredients! For this version we made a pizza margherita with just tomato sauce, mozzarella and a drizzle of olive oil. Then we topped it with fresh basil right out of the oven!
And the last step: baking to perfection! To get a super crispy crust I recommend placing the pizza in the lower third of your oven and baking at a high temperature (450 F or 230 C) for about 15 minutes. The time will actually depend pretty heavily on what sauce and toppings you use, so keep an eye on it!
tips + tricks for the best homemade pizza
So you’ve tried a million recipes, but you still can’t get the perfect pizza at home? No worries — it can take a lot of trial and error especially when working with dough! Here are some of the tips and tricks we’ve learned along the way:
- Over-measuring flour is one of the most common reasons for dough that’s dry, tough and difficult to work with. Some methods used to scoop flour (when using American cups) can result in adding way too much flour. I always recommend investing in a cheap kitchen scale for accuracy, but if you’re going to use cups make sure to use the spoon-and-level technique and start with a bit less flour than you think you’ll need.
- Pizza dough that won’t stretch. This was one of my very first issues when making pizza. Everything seems to be going great until it’s time to roll out the dough. Luckily this was an easy fix: make sure to give the dough enough time to rise. I was trying to use the dough a bit too early. If you’re having the same problem try coming back to it in 15 minutes.
- Soggy pizza? No thank you! The most common cause for sogginess is simply an undercooked pizza — make sure to give it a few minutes after the cheese has melted so that the crust has time to get crispy throughout. Also think about your toppings: too much sauce, veggies with a high moisture content and even fat from certain ingredients (bacon, etc.) can all weigh your pizza down.
- Undercooked and overcooked: time your toppings carefully! For the perfect pizza you may need to pre-cook or stagger your toppings a bit. For example, this pizza is only in the oven for 15 minutes so if you want to use something like italian sausage or eggplant you’ll need to partially cook them before adding them to the pizza.
For more of our go-to dinner recipes, check out these!
- easy tortellini in white wine cream sauce
- lemon arugula pasta + parmesan crusted chicken
- grilled salmon + horseradish dill butter
- baked coconut shrimp + mango habanero dipping sauce
- milk ⅓ c (80 ml)
- sugar 1 tsp
- active dry yeast 1.5 tsp
- bread flour 2-2¼ c (270 g)
- (spooned and leveled*)
- salt ½ tsp
- water ½ c (120 ml)
- vegetable oil 1 tbsp
- Heat the milk until slightly warm. Add the active dry yeast and sugar and let stand for 10 minutes or until foamy.
- Mix together the flour and salt in a separate bowl.
- Pour the milk and water over the dry ingredients and mix the dough until it begins to form. If the dough feels too wet, add a few more tablespoons of flour as needed (but it should still be quite sticky at this stage).
- Add the vegetable oil and knead for 5-10 minutes or until smooth and elastic.
- Shape the dough into a ball and place in a greased bowl. Cover and set aside in a warm space for about one hour or until it doubles in size.
- Preheat oven to 450 F (230 C) and grease a baking sheet or pizza pan.
- Once the dough has doubled in size, punch it down several times with your hands. Separate into two pieces.
- Turn each half of dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll into a thin circle (about ⅛ inch or 3 mm thick).
- Transfer the dough to the prepared pan and add your favorite sauce and toppings.
- Place the pan on a rack in the lower third of the oven and bake for 14-17 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.
- Spooned and leveled: Scooping a measuring cup into a flour container can result in much more flour than intended, which can affect the success of your pizza dough. To get a more accurate measurement, use a spoon to scoop flour into the measuring cup until it's completely full. Then run the back of a knife over the cup to gently scrape off any excess.
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