How to make restaurant-worthy pizza at home


Roll it thin

Roll it thin

We've made homemade pizzas for years.  In the oven. On the grill. On pizza pans. On stones. On pizza stones. No pan, just on the grill. We debated about getting an outdoor pizza oven but didn’t know where we should put it and they are expensive.

We bought a Lodge cast iron skillet this spring and use it a lot. When I was in a kitchen store, the Lodge pizza pan caught my eye. You can find them on Amazon and Target. This pan changed our pizza game. We loved it so much, we bought two so we can have two pizzas in the oven at once. The crust turns out perfect. It’s never burnt, the right amount of crispy and the entire pizza tastes like you should be in Italy (although, I’ve had pizza in Italy and haven’t found any as good there!)

What we use

What we use

Now, I could get all fancy and give you a homemade dough recipe that involves flour from Italy and yeast and letting it rest for hours. But that’s not how I cook. When we want pizza it’s usually a same day or spur of the moment decision. This is how we do it.

What you'll need

  • Crust – I like to use the pre-made dough from the grocery store. If you’re local, Byerly's has it in their cheese section and it’s all ready to go (unless they just put it out and it’s still frozen, then you’ll need it to sit out a couple of hours). It comes in both wheat and white dough options and for $1.99 it’s really good. I’ve also heard Trader Joe’s offers a similar, ready to go dough. (Hey, that rhymed).
  • Sauce – I like to get the strained tomatoes or unsalted tomato sauce and add our own salt and garlic. We use the Pomi brand.
  • Cheese – I’ve tried it with the buffalo mozzarella that I slice and the shredded mozzarella. To be honest, while I like the buffalo mozzarella it does add a certain level of moisture to the pizza and makes the top a bit runny. So lately, I use the pizzeria blend of shredded cheese.
Fresh basil, cut with scissors

Fresh basil, cut with scissors

  • Toppings – I tend to limit the toppings to keep it simple (and that way I can eat, like, 5 pieces). When you’re placing it on the grill without a pan, the more toppings you add the heavier it is and that can be a problem. With the Lodge pan, the crust is supported so top it with as many things as you want.
  • Garnish – I like to add fresh, cut up basil leaves to the finished pizza.

What to do

Preheat oven to 450 with the Lodge pan in the oven. Its important to have the stone hot. Sometimes it's in the oven for almost an hour before I get the pizza on the pan.

  • Cover the pizza peel with plenty of flour and then roll the crust as thing as you can get it with a rolling pin. Use some muscle, get it thin.
  • Top with sauce, toppings and cheese
  • Bake about 11-13 min. We haven’t found that the crust burns at all on this pan, but you may see bubbles in the crust. Don’t worry, they go down.
  • When the cheese is fully melted and the pizza looks done, remove from oven with a peel if you plan on making another pizza. If it’s only one, remove Lodge pizza pan too.
  • Top with basil, if you like.

Lodge pan care – after washing, thoroughly dry and then wipe lightly with a paper towel and olive oil. Don’t air dry the cast iron pan as it will rust. If it does show signs of rust, wipe it down and cover with olive oil. That should take care of the rust.

I hope you enjoyed this post and, if you try the Lodge pizza pan, let me know what you think. Like I said, it changed everything when it comes to pizza making in this house. And for summer, a glass of wine (or beer) and fresh pizza …. Invite some family or friends over and have a wonderful summer evening.