How To Make the Best-Ever Focaccia Pizza

updated Sep 11, 2020
How to Make the Best-Ever Focaccia Pizza

This extra-cheesy, pillowy focaccia pizza is the ultimate homemade pie for your next pizza night.

Serves6

Makes12 squares

Prep40 minutes to 45 minutes

Cook17 minutes to 20 minutes

Jump to Recipe
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Hands taking slices of focaccia pizza.
Credit: Photo: Ghazalle Badiozamani | Food Stylist: Jesse Szewczyk

While it’s sourdough that reigned supreme during the early days of quarantine, freshly baked focaccia quickly followed suit. I’m guessing it’s because focaccia is a whole lot simpler to make (save for the focaccia gardens) and just as satisfying — even more so when topped with tomato sauce and three types of cheese.

Focaccia pizza just makes sense. A few simple additions let you enjoy the crisp, beloved bread as a dinner main instead of just a vehicle for your favorite olive oil. It’s all the comfort and indulgence of your favorite pizza pie, turned up to its highest volume (you may never go back to thin crust). This is a pizza you sink into, square by square, until your belly’s so full it just might burst. Here’s how to make the very best one, featuring a bright no-cook tomato sauce, melty mozzarella, and puddles of creamy ricotta atop a plush pillow of focaccia crust.

Credit: Photo: Ghazalle Badiozamani | Food Stylist: Jesse Szewczyk

Let Your Next Pizza Night Be Focaccia Pizza Night

When I set out to create this recipe, peak cozy vibes were top of mind. As we dip into fall and the transitions that come with it, I find myself wanting to dig into food that makes me feel happy inside. Pizza ranks number one in my book (so much so that it’s in my wedding vows), which means you better believe I’ll be digging into this focaccia pizza all fall long and beyond. I hope you do the same.

While this recipe is hardly the fastest way to get pizza on your table (you’ll need to get the dough started the night before or the morning of the day you plan to enjoy it), it’s a fun project you’ll most definitely be rewarded for. Here’s the play by play.

  • The dough: The no-knead, oil-rich focaccia dough can be made up to a full day in advance. This isn’t just for flexibility’s sake — the long rest in the refrigerator (anywhere from 8 to 24 hours) makes for a more deeply flavored crust. While it may be tempting to use the dough after its initial two-hour rise, it won’t have developed enough structure (and in turn will tear) since it wasn’t kneaded extensively.
  • The sauce: When you’re ready to bake, all that’s required are a few simple tasks. First, you’ll make a quick, no-cook sauce by crushing a can of tomatoes — you’ll want to crush them yourself so you get juicy bite-sized pieces throughout. Stir in garlic, oil, a splash of vinegar, and red pepper flakes, and you’re done.
  • The cheese: You’ll start by sprinkling a layer of shredded mozzarella directly onto the stretched-out dough, which prevents the pizza from getting soggy as it bakes. Spoon on the sauce, add more mozzarella, then dollop with ricotta. When the pizza is pulled from the oven, on goes cheese number three: grated Parmesan to seal the deal.
Credit: Photo: Ghazalle Badiozamani | Food Stylist: Jesse Szewczyk

Make It Your Own with Extra Toppings

After making this focaccia pizza a number of ways, I firmly believe simple is best. When topped with nothing but tomato sauce, cheese, and torn basil, the crust remains light and lofty and each topping shines bright. However, homemade pizza is all about experimentation, so don’t hesitate to sprinkle on extras. Pepperoni, cooked and crumbled sausage, and your favorite veggies are all great choices. If using vegetables that release liquid when cooked (mushrooms, spinach, zucchini), sauté them first and pat or squeeze out most of their liquid to prevent the focaccia pizza from getting soggy.

Credit: Photo: Ghazalle Badiozamani | Food Stylist: Jesse Szewczyk
1 / 11
Here's how to make the best-ever focaccia pizza.

How to Make the Best-Ever Focaccia Pizza

This extra-cheesy, pillowy focaccia pizza is the ultimate homemade pie for your next pizza night.

Prep time 40 minutes to 45 minutes

Cook time 17 minutes to 20 minutes

Makes 12 squares

Serves 6

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 4 1/2 cups

    all-purpose flour, plus more as needed

  • 3 teaspoons

    kosher salt, divided

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons

    instant or active dry yeast

  • 1 3/4 cups

    lukewarm water

  • 6 tablespoons

    extra-virgin olive oil, divided

  • 1 (14-ounce) can

    whole tomatoes, or 1/2 (28-ounce) can

  • 2 cloves

    garlic

  • 1 teaspoon

    red wine vinegar

  • Red pepper flakes

  • 8 ounces

    low-moisture mozzarella cheese, shredded (about 2 cups)

  • 8 ounces

    whole-milk ricotta cheese (about 1 cup)

  • 1 ounce

    Parmesan cheese, finely grated (about 1/2 firmly packed cup grated on a Microplane or 1/3 cup store-bought)

  • 4

    large fresh basil leaves

Equipment

  • Mixing bowls

  • Measuring cups and spoons

  • Wooden spoon or rubber spatula

  • Plastic wrap

  • 13x18-inch rimmed baking sheet

  • Chef’s knife

  • Microplane or grater (optional)

  • Pizza cutter

Instructions

  1. Mix the dough and let it rise. Place 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 2 1/2 teaspoons of the kosher salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons instant or active dry yeast in a large bowl and stir with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to combine. Add 1 3/4 cups lukewarm water and 3 tablespoons of the extra-virgin olive oil and stir until no dry flour remains and a shaggy dough forms. Knead in the bowl a few times, sprinkling with a little more flour if needed, until a rough, sticky ball of dough forms. Tightly cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature for 2 hours.

  2. Chill the dough. After 2 hours, the dough will have puffed and doubled in size. Refrigerate the bowl of dough at least 8 hours and up to 24.

  3. Turn the dough out onto a baking sheet. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of the extra-virgin olive oil onto a 13x18-inch rimmed baking sheet. Remove the bowl of dough from the refrigerator and use your hands to transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet (save the plastic wrap to use again to cover stretched dough and wash the bowl to use for making the sauce). Turn to coat in the oil, then gently press and flatten the dough until about 1-inch thick. (The dough will not reach the edges of the baking sheet.) Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, strain the tomatoes.

  4. Strain the tomatoes. Pour 1 (14-ounce) can whole tomatoes, or 1/2 (28-ounce) can with their juices into a fine mesh strainer set over the now-clean large bowl to drain the thin tomato water.

  5. Stretch and shape the dough. Uncover the dough and use your fingertips to stretch the dough to the edges of the baking sheet. If it starts to shrink back, let it rest for a few minutes, then try again. Cover again and let rest until puffed and slightly risen, about 25 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the oven and make the sauce.

  6. Heat the oven. Arrange a rack in the lower third of the oven and heat the oven to 475°F.

  7. Make the sauce. Discard the tomato water that has accumulated in the bowl and pour the strained tomatoes in their sauce into the bowl. Carefully crush the tomatoes with your hands into bite-sized pieces. Grate or mince 2 garlic cloves and add it to the bowl. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar, remaining 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and a generous pinch of red pepper flakes. Stir to combine.

  8. Assemble the focaccia pizza. Shred 8 ounces low-moisture mozzarella cheese (about 2 cups). Use your fingertips to gently dimple the surface of the dough. Sprinkle 1 cup shredded mozzarella evenly over the dough, leaving about a 1/2-inch border around the edges. Spoon the tomato sauce over the cheese and gently spread it the best you can with the back of the spoon (some spots without sauce are okay). Sprinkle with the remaining 1 cup mozzarella. Dollop 1 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese in small spoonfuls over the top.

  9. Bake the focaccia pizza. Bake until the focaccia pizza is golden-brown around the edges and the cheese has melted, 17 to 20 minutes. Meanwhile, finely grate 1 ounce Parmesan cheese (about 1/2 packed cup) and tear 4 large fresh basil leaves.

  10. Let cool, garnish, slice, and serve. Remove the pizza from the oven and sprinkle all over with the Parmesan. Let cool for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with the basil and more red pepper flakes, if desired. Cut into 12 squares and serve.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

At Kitchn, we know how important it is to find recipes that are worth your time. That’s why every tutorial — like this one — features recipes that have been tried and tested by our team of developers and at-home cooks from across the country. Questions or feedback for us? Say hello: recipes@thekitchn.com.