Simple Saturday: The Secret to Perfect Homemade Pizza

perfect pizza

Good morning, all!

Sorry this post is a bit late on the schedule. I had every intention of getting up around the 8 a.m. hour and then somehow I slept until 10. I guess I’m still trying to prove that I’m young and can sleep late with my 27th birthday coming up this month.

Today, I would love to share a few secrets I’ve learned after making many dozens of homemade pizzas over the past few years.

In our house, homemade pizza is a great throw-together meal that we usually have the ingredients on-hand to make. It’s also fun to play around with cheeses and toppings depending on what you’ve got in the fridge and pantry.

Here are my secrets:

1. Hot Pizza Stone

It really is best if you can use a pizza stone or baking stone to cook your pizza on. One of the keys is to get your oven really hot (we usually do around 450) and put your pan in at least 10 minutes before your ready to assemble the pizza on the pan. Just make sure you don’t leave it in too long that it starts smoking. Having your stone already hot will help your crust start cooking and crisping immediately.

2. Store-bought Dough is OK

I’ve tried and failed a few times to make homemade pizza dough, so I’ve learned to rely on good store-bought dough. I buy mine at Trader Joe’s, but I hear you can also buy dough at your local pizza shops. And if you’re into making your own dough, then by all means go for it!

3. Simple Pizza Sauce

Your pizza sauce really doesn’t have to be complicated. I mean, hey, if you have some leftovers of this pasta sauce then use that, but if not store-bought tomato sauce dolled up with garlic, salt and pepper works. Or, I just recently tried a recipe for simple sauce from The Kitchn Cookbook where you blend 1 (15-oz.) can of diced tomatoes with 4 cloves of garlic, 1 tsp. of balsamic vinegar, a drizzle of olive oil and salt and pepper. It was fresh and garlicky! Other sauce options are pesto or barbecue sauce mixed into the tomato sauce (like on the pizza pictured above).

4. Combine Cheeses

Cheese is serious business when you’re making a homemade pizza, and I feel like the sky’s the limit here. While we usually stick with a base of shredded mozzarella, we’ve had fun experimenting with goat cheese or burrata or Parmesan on top of that.

5. Not Too Many Toppings

This is crucial. You don’t want to overcrowd your pizza or cause it to be watery or the dough to be uncooked at the end. Some of our fave toppings are pieces of kale (they get crispy and so tasty), chopped artichoke hearts, sliced onions or shallots, spinach leaves, and bbq chicken. We usually stick to 2-3 toppings per pizza.

6. Eyeball It for Done-ness

After you’ve made a few pies, you’ll start to just know when they’re done, no timer needed. You’ll want your crust to be a little crisp and browned on the edges and the cheese (if mozzarella) to be melted and a little bit bubbly or browned. Fresh basil is also a good last topper, too!

I hope you and your family can enjoy homemade pizza night as much as we do!

Here are some of our favorite combination pizzas:

Mozzarella + Marinated Artichoke Hearts + Spinach + Black Olives

Mozzarella + Goat Cheese + Kale + Onions

BBQ & Tomato Sauce + BBQ Chicken + Shallots 

Mozzarella + Burrata + Artichoke Hearts