This crispy and tender easy thick-crust pizza dough recipe is made using our favorite 00 flour pizza dough recipe and it makes the best thick-crust pizza! We’re surrounded by delicious pizza here in Italy, but we also make homemade pizza at least once a month (sometimes more often) because it’s really delicious. As with all of my pizza dough recipes, this one is a super easy pizza recipe that even your kids can help make.
In fact, if you’re new to making homemade pizza or working with yeast pizza dough, this is one of the best pizza recipes to start with. Because not only can you use this pizza dough recipe to make this thicker chewy pizza dough recipe, but you can also make our favorite thin-crust pizza too (see photos below).
Watch This Quick 00 Flour Thick Crust Pizza Dough Video Below
If you’re at work or the kids are trying to sleep, turn off the volume on your phone or computer before you hit play!
What to Expect When You Make This 00 Thick Crust Pizza
This is the best homemade thick crust pizza dough! This easy recipe includes 5 ingredients (plus water): flour, yeast, extra virgin olive oil, salt, and sugar. We’ve all eaten bad pizza dough before. You know the kind — bad bready texture (stodgy), overpowering yeasty taste, so dry it feels like you can’t swallow it and once you do, it feels like it’s just sitting there in your throat. This pizza dough is not that! But you’ll need to plan on at least 2 1/2 hours to make a great homemade pizza from start to finish. And it tastes even better if you plan ahead and make the dough the night before and allow it to cold ferment).
This super quick pizza dough recipe only takes 15 minutes to measure and fully knead! If you use a stand mixer it’s only about 5 minutes of actual hands-on time needed to prep this dough. But for any good yeast pizza dough to be digestible, flavorful (and not take like yeast), it needs ample time to proof (ferment) and rise. This is yet another secret to getting the best-tasting and best-textured pizza dough. You can read all the science’y reasons why proofing is necessary for making good pizza dough over here.
Thick crust pizza dough timeline at a glance:
- 5 minutes to measure and mix the ingredients
- 10 to 12 minutes of kneading the pizza dough (by hand or in a stand mixer)
- 1 1/2 hours for the first rise
- 1/2 hour for the second rise
- 5-8 minutes to stretch, sauce, and top each pizza
- 10-12 minutes to bake
For anyone just learning how to make homemade pizza (or who really wants to up their homemade pizza game), you’ll find all my best pizza-making tips and techniques below so you can make the best thick-crust pizza dough and ditch the pizza dough mix forever!
This Is Not A Deep Dish Pizza
This pizza recipe is not like Pizza Hut’s pan pizza, but rather it’s a hand-tossed (aka hand-stretched) chewy, crispy, and tender pizza. It’s also not dense or heavy like a lot of homemade pizza dough recipes tend to be. Instead, it’s a highly digestible, light, and airy pizza dough made just the way Italians intended it.
Once you learn how to make a really good thick-crust pizza, all you have to think about is which pizza sauce and pizza toppings you want to use. If you love more cheese than I’ve added to the pizza photographed in this post, go for it (this pizza crust can handle it)! If you’re in the mood for pizza Margherita this is the perfect easy dough for that. You can make it a veggie pizza like this, or a meat-lover’s pizza like this, and have Pizza Night more often for a lot less money.
*If you’re looking for the best Pizza Hut Style pan pizza recipe I’ll be posting that recipe soon so stay tuned.
What’s the Difference Between Pan and Hand Tossed Pizza?
The main differences between pan pizza and hand-tossed pizza come down to crust thickness, crust texture/level of crispiness, toppings that can be accommodated, and even sometimes the pizza dough ingredients. You’ll often find recipes online that confuse these two types of pizza crust, but they are very different (and each delicious for its own reasons). Besides hand-tossed pizza making a healthier pizza as compared to classic pan pizza, here are the other main differences between these two styles of pizza:
- Crust thickness: Pan pizzas have a thicker, fluffier, chewy crust compared to Hand-tossed pizzas which have a thinner crust that’s floppier and delightfully chewy. Hand-tossing pizza dough deflates some of the air in the risen dough rounds, which means at least the bottom crust will not be thick or have a lot of air bubbles like pan pizza (which is similar to focaccia dough).
- Crust texture/crispiness: Both pizzas have a super crispy crust but they’re very different. Pan pizza dough is essentially fried in oil that’s been added to the baking pan (or cast iron skillet) before the dough is stretched out, topped, and baked. This extra oil renders a super golden brown, crunchy delicious pizza crust (like we’re familiar with in Pizza Hut pan pizzas). A well-made hand-tossed pizza should also have a crispy bottom and crust, but it’s much thinner, drier, and softer than pan pizza.
- Pizza toppings: The crust on a pan pizza is thicker and more bread-like so it usually holds more pizza sauce and toppings in order to balance the dough-to-toppings ratio.
- Pizza dough ingredients: Both doughs use the standard ingredients of flour, salt, yeast, oil, water, and sometimes sugar. However, pan pizza dough often contains a lot more oil than hand-tossed. And often it also includes the addition of milk (powdered or regular) in the dough to make it soft and fluffy. Whereas hand-tossed pizza does not.
Why You Should Use Italian 00 Flour to Make Thick-Crust Pizza Dough
If you haven’t already, I encourage you to check out my 00 flour thin-crust pizza post, to learn everything you ever wanted to know about Italian 00 flour and why it’s so highly prized for making excellent pizza. I also go into detail about the 3 most common types of 00 flour found in grocery stores here in Italy.
The gist of 00 flour’s pizza-making benefits lies mostly in the type of soft wheat used to make it (grano tenero), how refined it is (contains no germ or bran), and the way it’s milled (almost powdery in texture). It makes a softer pizza dough that’s still crispy on the outside and super tender and chewy. I’ve used a basic Barilla 00 Flour (tipo 00) with 11% protein for this thick-crust pizza dough.
Can I Substitute All-Purpose Flour for 00 Flour?
As discussed in my thin-crust 00 pizza dough post, you can substitute a high-quality all-purpose flour (like King Arthur’s or Heckers unbleached with 11.5-11.7% protein) for 00 flour. In fact, both of those brands make a really good substitute especially if you’re planning on making a thin pizza crust (see photo on the right just below). However, when making thick-crust pizza, all-purpose flour only makes a so-so pizza. In other words, it’ll do the trick, but it’s not optimal.
This is because all-purpose flour doesn’t give you the same soft chewy texture with a golden crispy crust that 00 flour gives you (or even bread flour). Not to mention, 00 flour is more elastic and is easier to stretch and shape. You can read all about the benefits of using 00 flour versus AP and bread flour in the link I mentioned above.
If you have to make a substitution for 00 flour when making homemade pizza, I recommend using high-quality bread flour instead of using all-purpose flour. But don’t be afraid to use what’s available to you and what you can afford. We also eat a lot of 100% whole wheat pizza because it’s more delicious than you might imagine and makes a healthy pizza.
What Temperature Should I Bake Thick-Crust Pizza?
The higher the temperature your oven gets, the more oven-spring your pizza dough will have. This results in a lighter and more airy pizza dough which equals delicious softness. Oven-spring is what happens during the first 10 minutes or so after adding the pizza (or any yeast bread dough) to the oven. During this initial stage of baking, the yeast feels the burst of heat and reacts by speeding up its fermentation process. This is expressed by the yeast letting out as much carbon dioxide (C02) as it can before the yeast dies. The higher the oven temperature, the more oven-spring your pizza will have giving it a softer, lighter texture.
Therefore, I highly recommend baking your pizza at the highest temperature your home oven will go, or even higher in an outdoor pizza oven, Ooni, Weber Pizza converter kit, etc.
- For this post, I’ve used my European Whirlpool conventional home oven to bake this pizza at 482°F/250°C for 10-12 minutes.
- If your oven reaches 500°F-550°F (260°/288°C), bake it at this temperature for 7 to 10 minutes and you’ll get an even better oven-spring.
- You can even bake this pizza in a 450°F-475°F preheated oven (or even a toaster oven) for 12-14 minutes with great results if this is as high as your oven will go.
Another secret to getting the best pizza crust is making sure you preheat the oven and pizza stone (or use my DIY pizza stone substitutes) for at least 30 minutes prior to baking the pizza. It makes all the difference in how good the crust is, trust me!
Overview: Best Thick-Crust Pizza Dough Ingredients (Using 00 Flour)
This is an instant yeast pizza dough recipe that cuts out about 10 minutes of prep time because you don’t have to bloom the yeast first. But you can just as easily substitute active dry yeast. And you can find those instructions in the recipe card notes.
Here are the pizza ingredients you’ll need to make this dough :
- Yeast: SAF Instant Yeast and Red Star Instant Yeast are my go-to yeasts for making pizza. They’re both high quality and save you at least 10 minutes because it’s added directly to the dry ingredients without any need to bloom it first. Plus, it’s one less bowl to have to wash.
- Flour: 00 Italian flour with 11 to 11.5% protein (or in a pinch substitute King Arthur’s Bread flour, or KA’s or Hecker’s unbleached all-purpose flour with 11.7% protein). Better flour equals a better-quality pizza crust.
- Water: Use gently heated warm water between 110°F-115°F (43°C-46°C). Yeast dies at temperatures of 130ºF (54°C) or higher so if you don’t have a thermometer, think of the temperature as needing to be just slightly warmer than the milk you’d feed to a baby.
- Salt: Every good pizza dough contains salt because, without it, it won’t taste great That said, I started making healthy low-sodium pizza dough for my Mom after her cancer diagnosis and I just used much less salt and it was still delicious. Use Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt as I have, or sea salt.
- Sugar (sub honey or maple syrup): I’ve used 2 teaspoons of sugar in this pizza dough to add better color to the finished dough without affecting the flavor of the dough at all. If you have dietary restrictions and can’t use sugar, simply omit the sugar altogether or substitute it with honey or maple syrup). Adding sugar to pizza dough helps with browning (see photo comparison below), but it’s not a necessary pizza dough ingredient.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil: We add 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil to this pizza dough which adds fat that the pizza dough needs when being baked for longer periods in a conventional home oven. Because homemade pizza requires a longer time to bake than in a brick oven or commercial pizza oven, it needs the addition of fat to render a soft chewy dough. In fact, olive oil isn’t added to pizza dough for flavor as you might expect (you won’t taste it at all) which means you can use any vegetable oil you have on hand, but don’t leave it out. For a little extra gusto (flavor) I recommend drizzling extra virgin olive oil over the top of the assembled pizzas just before baking. When you use EVOO this way it does add extra flavor.
Understanding Pizza Dough Point Helps You Make Better Homemade Pizza
The dough point is the time when you decide three things with regard to pizza dough (or any yeast bread dough): elasticity, softness, and hydration. Being able to identify the dough point gives you the ability to make better yeast bread without relying so heavily on the recipe itself.
Why this matters: Have you ever made pizza dough before and followed the recipe exactly to the letter but still ended up with a bad pizza crust? While this is less likely to occur when you use a scale and measure everything in grams, it can still happen. The reason for this is that flour varies from brand to brand (including protein percentage), and the humidity % of the flour also varies from bag to bag.
Plus, if you use measuring cups instead of the more reliable scale, there’s even more room for inconsistent measurements. And because of all of these factors, there’s no way to ever get the exact measurement of flour or water as the person who made the recipe you’re using. Instead, you need to know what to look for to understand if you need to add a splash more water or a sprinkle of flour. And you need to know when it’s been properly kneaded. Therefore, if you understand what the dough should look and feel like when it’s perfectly hydrated, elastic, and well-kneaded, you’re odds of making perfect pizza exponentially increase.
Head to this link to watch the video for what the dough point should look like.
Overview: How to Make Thick-Crust Pizza Dough (Using 00 Flour) (see step-by-step photos below)
Here’s a quick recap of how to make easy thick-crust pizza using Italian 00 flour. Full recipe instructions, plus the video pizza recipe can be found in the recipe card.
- Make the dough: Mix the dough ingredients together by hand or using a stand mixer. Do this in the order described in the recipe card.
- Knead the dough: Knead by hand or in the bowl of a stand mixer. I like doing this by hand for 10 to 12 minutes, but the stand mixer takes all the work out of it for you.
- Let the dough rise (1st rise): Place dough into a lightly oiled mixing bowl, cover tightly, and set aside to rise for about 90 minutes, or until doubled in size.
- Punch down the dough and form the dough balls: Punch down the dough to remove air bubbles and divide into 4 equal pieces. Roll each piece of dough into a uniform ball, and place them onto a lightly oiled baking pan, then brush them lightly with a little oil, and cover the dough with sustainable cling film, OR place them onto a lightly floured baking pan, dust them with a little more flour and cover them with a clean lint-free kitchen towel.
- Let the dough rise (2nd rise): Allow the covered dough balls to rise for about 30 minutes in a warm environment (like the oven with the light turned on).
- Stretch and shape the dough: Place a dough ball onto a lightly floured surface. Using your lightly floured fingers, create a 1-inch border around the pizza dough (which will be your pizza corniche or actual crust around the perimeter). Then press down on the middle of the pizza (which will become the bottom of the pizza) being careful not to deflate the outer crust ring. Stretch the pizza dough turning it to stretch each side evenly until it’s 11 to 12 inches in diameter. Transfer the dough to a piece of parchment paper or onto a pizza peel dusted with semolina flour or cornmeal.
- Top the pizza and bake the pizza: Top the pizza with your favorite homemade pizza sauce, add grated Parmesan, Parmigiano-Reggiano, or Grana Padano, sprinkle with mozzarella cheese, and add your favorite pizza toppings. Drizzle the pizza with a little extra virgin olive oil and bake in a preheated 475°F/250°C oven (or as high as your oven will go) for about 10-12 minutes or until golden brown and bubbling. Bake a few minutes longer if you’re baking pizza at a lower temperature like 450°F/232°C.
00 Thick-Crust Pizza Step-by-Step Recipe Photos
How Thick Should Pizza Crust Be?
How thick you want this pizza dough to be is really up to you. The smaller the diameter that you stretch the pizza dough, the thicker the pizza will be and the puffier the corniche (or pizza crust perimeter) will be.
Below are 3 photos showing you how small or large you can make this thick crust pizza. We went for the full 12-inch pizza dough (stretching the dough just one inch more than what’s shown in the middle photo. But one of our Italian friends (who makes really delicious pizza) typically keeps her pizzas on the smaller side so her corniche is always puffy and very pronounced. This is really up to you.
An Easy Pizza Recipe For Kids
This pizza crust recipe is so versatile that you can make it a one-bowl pizza dough and mix and knead it by hand, or use your stand mixer and save yourself 12 minutes of hands-on time. You can even use your bread machine or food processor to make this easy yeast pizza dough.
And if you have kids, they love to help measure, mix, and knead pizza dough, but their favorite part is topping the pizza! Kids can make mini-pizzas, or just add the sauce and pizza toppings if they’re really small.
In fact, this dough was a favorite recipe used in my kids’ pizza-making classes at my cooking school in Chengdu. They loved making self-portrait pizzas using all kinds of veggies and/or meats to make hair, eyes, noses, eyebrows, and mouths. They had SO much fun! An important reminder for parents: It doesn’t matter what your child’s pizza looks like as long as they had FUN making it because this pizza is delicious!
- It’s important not to overload your pizza with too many toppings (even if it’s really hard to resist the temptation)! You can easily make a thick-crust pizza soggy by adding too much sauce because it won’t cook properly. Add just about 1/4 to 1/3 cup of sauce or crushed fresh peeled whole tomatoes per 12-inch thick-crust pizza.
- Pro Tip: Slice all the veg pizza toppings paper thin and pat them dry which allows them to cook more quickly and evenly and removes excess moisture.
If you’re wondering what are the best pizza toppings combinations or what pizza toppings go well together, here are a few of our favorites to get you inspired:
Pioppini mushrooms and olives, Pizza Marinara, Pizza Margherita, Sausage and mushrooms, Hawaiian pizza, Spicy Abruzzo Ventricina and olives, prosciutto and arugula, prosciutto cotto and funghi (Italian ham and mushrooms), veg pizza with artichokes and olives, breakfast pizza with pancetta (or bacon) and eggs, quattro formaggio (4-cheese pizza), three-cheese pizza (Grana Padano, mozzarella, and buffalo mozzarella or provolone), pesto pizza, pepperoni pizza, supreme pizza, meat lover’s pizza.
FAQ: Do I Have to Add Sugar To Pizza Dough?
To make this a no-sugar pizza dough, simply omit the 2 teaspoons called for in the recipe. Head over to this link to see my photos of what baked pizza with sugar added to the dough looks like versus what baked pizza dough without added sugar looks like. The only real difference you’ll notice is that adding sugar creates a nicer golden brown color to your finished pizza.
What Are The Best Pizza-Making Tools?
The best tools for making homemade pizza are simple and straightforward. Head over to this link to see the basics so you don’t go crazy buying things you don’t need.
Pizza Pro Tip (Money-Saver): Best Pizza Stone & Pizza Peel Substitutes
You can make homemade pizza very easily without a pizza peel (I do it all the time, because like most people I know, kitchen storage is limited). I go into detail in this link (including photos) about my two favorite baking stone substitutes and how to make the best pizza crust using them: a 12 to 14-inch cast iron skillet turned upside down or a heavy-duty grill pan that came with your oven, or a heavy-gauge 1/2 sheet baking pan.
FAQ: What Are The Best Pizza Pans to Bake Pizza?
My favorite way to bake thin-crust and thick crust hand-tossed pizza in the home oven is directly on a pizza stone with parchment paper underneath it. But I go into detail (including photos) in this link that talks about the best pizza pans to use depending on what style of pizza you’re making. For instance, for deep dish pan pizza (Pizza Hut style), I prefer blue carbon steel, cast iron, and regular carbon steel.
FAQ: Can You Make Thick Crust Pizza Dough In Advance and Refrigerate It?
You can make thick crust pizza dough 1 to 3 days in advance and refrigerate it, or after the dough balls have risen for the last time, pop them into an oiled bag and into the freezer for up to 3 months. Again, head over to this original post to get the various ways you can refrigerate pizza dough and learn all the different stages at which the dough can be refrigerated. These tips help if you get interrupted in the middle of making pizza dough, or your schedule changes. You have many options for how to prepare pizza dough in advance.
FAQ: How Do You Temper Refrigerated Pizza Dough?
When you’re ready to use refrigerated pizza dough, allow it to come to room temperature first by letting it rest on the counter for 30 to 40 minutes, or until room temperature. If you try to stretch pizza dough that’s cold, it won’t stretch properly.
FAQ: Can You Freeze Homemade Pizza Dough?
Yes, you can freeze pizza dough so go ahead and double this recipe so you have pizza dough ready to go any night of the week or to make weekend dinners even easier.
As described in my previous post, lightly oil the inside of a large freezer bag covering the entire inside surface area. Place the dough balls an equal distance apart leaving room in between them. Squeeze out all the air, seal them, and place pizza dough into the freezer for up to 3 months. There are no negative effects of freezing pizza dough whatsoever (head over here for photo proof!).
FAQ: How Do You Thaw Frozen Pizza Dough?
There are 3 easy ways to thaw frozen pizza dough:
- The quickest way is to place the bag with frozen pizza dough in it, into a bowl with hot tap water. After 20 minutes on one side, flip the bag over to let the other side have direct contact with the water and leave for another 20 minutes. After a total of 40 minutes, the dough will be thawed, but still too cool to stretch. Let it rest for another 30 to 45 minutes on the counter before stretching. If you want to see photos of this process, head over here
- Remove the pizza dough from the freezer and place it into the refrigerator overnight to thaw. Allow it to rest on the counter at room temp for 45 minutes to 1 hour in the sealed bag before you want to make the pizza.
- The slowest way is to place frozen pizza in the bag on the counter at room temperature for about 8 hours until it’s room temperature and can be stretched easily.
FAQ: What Is The Best Way to Reheat Leftover Pizza?
Head over here to learn about the 4 easiest ways to reheat leftover pizza and how to use each of them:
- Emergency (microwave)
- Oven Broiler
- Regular Oven
Uses for Homemade Thick Crust Pizza Dough
You can use this homemade thick-crust pizza dough for so many recipes that aren’t pizza: calzone, stromboli, garlic breadsticks, garlic knots, homemade pepperoni hot pockets, homemade sausage pizza rolls, and so much more.
Looking For More Easy Pizza Recipes?
Below are a few of our favorite pizza night recipes including real deal Italian pizza, 20-minute no-yeast St. Louis-Style pizza (aka magic pizza), the most delicious whole wheat pizza, pumpkin focaccia pizza, and easy leftover naan pizza.
- Easy 4-Ingredient Homemade Pizza Sauce
- Ultimate Thin-Crust 00 Flour Pizza Dough Recipe
- Whole Wheat Thin Crust Pizza (Better Than Takeout)
- Best Thin-Crust Pizza Dough Recipe (Using Bread Flour)
- Authentic Italian Pizza Fritte (Pizzonte Frittelle Abruzzese)
- Best 20-Minute Thin and Crispy St. Louis-Style Pizza (No Yeast )
- 20-Minute Quick and Easy Valentine’s Day Heart-Shaped Pizza
- Easy Pumpkin Focaccia Bread (Focaccia alla Zucca)
- Easy 20-Minute Thin & Crispy St. Louis-Style Whole Wheat Pizza (No Yeast)
- Fluffy Whole Wheat Naan Bread Pizza
I’d love to hear how this recipe turned out for you!
Did you make this recipe and LOVE it? Please leave a star ⭐️ rating and/or comment below the recipe card to help other readers. I absolutely love hearing from you and do my best to answer all your questions and comments. Plus, I love seeing when you make my recipes, so please tag me @BitingAtTheBits on Instagram and I will repost your beautiful Thick Crust 00 Flour pizza!
Let’s get started!