The Best Store-Bought Ingredients for Killer Homemade Pizza

updated Aug 20, 2019
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Credit: Joe Lingeman

I know so many families that implement a Friday Night Pizza Night and, from what I can tell from listening to them, most of the fun lies in the making of the actual pizza. When was the last time you laughed driving to pick up food? But when your kid gets flour on his face while you guys work to stretch the dough? Well, that’s probably gonna be pretty funny! (And good Instagram fodder, while we’re at it!)

With that in mind, I hereby declare tonight Homemade Pizza Night. For everyone! You’re just going to need a few ingredients — and I’ve done the hard part of rounding up the very best ones.

Here’s what you need to make a homemade pie that’s not only more fun than a takeout order, but also more delicious.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

1. Cheese: Any Low-Moisture Mozzarella

We know what you’re thinking: You love the big slices of fresh mozz when you order from your local pizzeria, so why not recreate that at home? Well, professional pizza ovens get way hotter than your oven (even when it’s cranked way up to 500°F) and that heat can evaporate the water from the mozz as the pizza cooks. Because your oven doesn’t get hot enough, fresh mozzarella will give you a very soggy pizza. Instead, go for low-moisture mozzarella. Every time.

Credit: Amazon

The entire Kitchn staff is in total agreement: Rao’s Homemade Marinara Sauce is, hands-down, the best marinara sauce money can buy. It has a distinct, almost buttery taste and it’s NOT overly tart or acidic. And it has just eight oh-so-simple ingredients: whole peeled tomatoes, olive oil, fresh onions, salt, fresh garlic, fresh basil, black pepper, and dried oregano. That’s all.

Credit: Jelisa Castrodale

3. Pepperoni: Boar’s Head Pepperoni

Turns out there are some pretty wild differences between pepperoni brands! Some are way too bland, while others are so acidic that they burn going down! This stuff from Boar’s Head is the perfect balance while eaten on its own, with crackers, and, of course, on pizza.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

4. Dough: A Big Ball from Your Favorite Pizza Joint

Yes, your grocery store probably sells ready-to-go pizza dough, but so do most mom-and-pop pizzerias — and it’s probably way better there. Stop into your go-to place and see if you can buy a ball of dough from them. We’ve found that in over-priced New York City, a ball of dough is still just around $5. Fun fact: Even Giada approves of this dough-procuring method!

Do you have any other go-to ingredients for homemade pizza? Leave your suggestions in the comments below!