Grilled pizza is a summertime meal that has everything going for it. Whip up the dough, top with your favorite cheese and goodies, and grill while hanging out on the back deck with friends, wine glasses in hand. It's easy, make-ahead, and elegant in all the right ways, and it doesn't heat up your kitchen. Bonus.
But to make a great pizza, you need a great dough. Here's our favorite dough recipe for grilled pizza — and I guarantee you have time to make it. Whether you're making pizza an hour from now, or later this week, this dough will suit your schedule.
Any time you dub something "the best" you naturally deserve to be quizzed on your rationale. Emma and I worked on this dough together, with much testing provided by Cambria (and Tyler, her husband!) during their Pizza Party on the Porch Gathering.
Why This Is a Good Dough for the Grill
Let me defend!
- Flexible in timing: There are two options for the yeast and timing of this dough. One offers enough yeast so you can use it almost immediately, after about an hour of rise time. The second option has you use less yeast, but instead you give the dough an overnight rise, which helps it develop even better flavor. So this dough is quick, when you need it to be, but if you have time it can just get better.
- Supple dough: This dough has a quantity of olive oil in it to make it supple and easy to work with. (It also leaves your hands feeling so nice.) In this we were very inspired by Peter Reinhart's wonderful pizza dough recipe.
- Thick, hearty dough: This is a thick dough for easy handling; it's not as delicate as our favorite super thin crust doughs. Grilled pizza needs just a little more heartiness.
- Small dough balls: We have you immediately divide the dough into small balls that can be handled easily on the grill.
Its flexibility really knows no bounds; like most pizza doughs, it can be left in fridge for several days or even frozen for later use.
→ Freeze pizza dough: How To Freeze Pizza Dough
Grilled Pizza Is the Best!
Of course, in the end, the best pizza dough is the one that makes you cook pizza confidently and frequently on the grill. This one is that dough for us — if you've never tried grilling your pizza why not give it a shot tonight? Everything you need is right here.
→ More on how to grill pizza: How To Grill Pizza
The Best Pizza Dough for Grilling
1 2/3 cups water
1 to 2 teaspoons active dry or instant yeast
1/4 cup olive oil
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
If you want to use the pizza dough that same day, use 2 teaspoons yeast. If you are going to let the dough rise overnight, use 1 teaspoon yeast.
Mix the water and yeast together in the bowl of a stand mixer or a large mixing bowl. Let stand for a few minutes until the yeast is dissolved. Stir the oil into the yeast mixture, then add the flour and salt. Mix with a spatula until a shaggy, floury dough is formed.
Knead the dough on low speed with a dough hook for 5 to 7 minutes, or knead by hand on the counter for 6 to 8 minutes. When kneaded, the dough should form a smooth ball, feel smooth to the touch, and spring slowly back when poked.
Use a pastry scraper or knife to cut the dough into 8 lumps. Grease a baking pan lightly with olive oil or baking spray. Place the dough lumps in the pan and turn them over so they are coated with oil. Cover the pan with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel.
To Make Pizza the Same Day
Let the dough rise at room temperature for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until it has doubled in bulk.
At this point the dough can be used immediately, or refrigerated or frozen for later use.
→ How long the dough lasts in the fridge: The dough can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. After that it should be cooked or frozen.
To Make Pizza the Next Day (or Later)
If you don't need the dough until the next day, place the covered pan immediately in the refrigerator and let it rise slowly overnight or up to 24 hours.
Before making the pizza, remove the dough from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for at least 1 hour.
You can also of course remove just one or two balls of dough and return the remaining dough to the fridge. If removing just part of the dough, prepare a baking sheet or countertop surface by greasing lightly with oil or baking spray. Place the dough balls on top, then cover loosely with plastic wrap or a damp towel while they rise.
To Grill the Pizza
Preheat your gas grill with all the burners on high 10 to 15 minutes before you plan to cook. (Alternatively, start a charcoal grill.) Once heated, turn off or lower half the burners, creating an area of direct heat and an area of indirect heat. (Alternatively, bank a charcoal grill to create areas of direct and indirect heat.) Set up a workspace near the grill with space for shaping the pizza and bowls with sauce and toppings.
Working with one piece at a time, pull and stretch a dough ball in your hands into a round. Once it becomes large, drape it over your fists to continue stretching it into a large, thin round. If it feels more comfortable, you can also do this on a greased work surface.
Flip the shaped pizza onto the grill over direct heat. Close the grill. Let the pizza grill until the bottom is just barely cooked and shows char marks, 1 to 3 minutes. Every grill is different, and depending on yours and how long you preheated it, this time could vary.
Use tongs to flip the pizza over and move it to the indirect heat. Quickly spread it with sauce and spread a thin layer of toppings over top. (Don't over-top the pizza as this will interfere with it cooking quickly and completely.) Close the grill and cook until the toppings are warmed through and the cheese is melted, another 2 to 3 minutes. Again, time on your grill may vary. Use your sense of smell; if the pizza smells like it's scorching, open the grill and rotate the pizza into a cooler spot.
Use tongs or a large spatula to slide the finished pizza onto a cutting board. Cut the pizza into slices and serve. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough; as you get into a rhythm, you can start a second pizza over direct heat while the first pizza is finishing over direct heat.