I Tried the Fried Pizza from TikTok and It Blew My Mind
If you’ve found yourself scrolling through TikTok drooling over the recent food trend of fried pizza dough, then know that you are not alone. And while it is extremely popular on the internet right now, the concept of frying pizza dough is nothing new. Nonnas and street vendors all over Italy, specifically Naples, have prepared this crispy and fluffy delicacy for generations.
Fried pizza dough, also known as pizza fritta (or pizza fritte, pizza frita), first appeared during World War II. Historically this deep-fried treat has been called the “pizza of the people” and was a direct result of air raids destroying the necessary ingredients and brick ovens for preparing traditional Neapolitan pizza. And even though we have everything we need to make classic pizza nowadays, it’s still enjoyed as a unique take on the dish.
I had to give the dish a try, and spoiler alert: It was gone within minutes after making its exit from the broiler.
How to Make Fried Pizza
For starters, this modern version of fried pizza making the social media rounds is slightly different from the classic pizza fritta. The traditional method simply fries the dough and tops it off with fresh marinara and mozzarella cheese.
I began this recipe by making pizza dough from scratch. (Before you get intimidated by the thought of homemade dough, I must note that it took less than 15 minutes to prepare and only called for a handful of ingredients — but you could certainly use store-bought.) After allowing my dough to rise for a few hours, I preheated my deep cast iron pan over medium heat and added about half an inch of olive oil.
After the oil reached 375°F and began to bubble slightly, I shaped and added in the dough. Staying true to the classic method inspired by nonnas in Naples, I spooned hot oil over the top. I flipped it over once to develop a crispy exterior while maintaining a fluffy interior. After cooking the dough for just a few minutes until it was slightly golden-brown, I removed it from the pan and poured out all of the oil. (I reserved the oil for later use because, as you know, good olive oil isn’t cheap.)
At this point, you could simply top your dough off with a spoonful of ricotta, marinara, and black pepper to stay true to one of the traditional ways of preparing pizza fritta. I took things a step further by preheating my broiler and placing the fried dough back into the pan to get topped off with sliced cherry tomatoes (they’re too perfect during this time of summer not to utilize), slices of fresh mozzarella, and pieces of Italian sausage. I placed it under the broiler and waited patiently for the cheese to melt. Finally, I topped it off with a few dollops of pistachio pesto and it was time to slice up the pizza and dive in.
Get the recipe: Fried Pizza
My Honest Review
If you couldn’t sense my excitement thus far about this recipe, then just know that I found this pizza to be ridiculously delicious. I rarely eat the crust of a pizza, but I ate every last bite of this one. The beautiful thing about this recipe is the ability to develop crispiness throughout the pizza’s top, bottom, and center while keeping a light and fluffy inside. This is entirely different from the classic Neapolitan-style pizza, as it usually does not maintain its crispiness when toppings are added.
Yes, this style of pizza requires the extra step of frying the dough before baking and uses way more oil than your average pizza — but the flavor and texture from the excess fat and effort are worth more than words could explain. I was afraid that baking the fried dough with the toppings would cause the dough to become soggy, but even with the juicy cherry tomatoes, fat from the Italian sausage, and water moisture from the fresh mozzarella, the dough kept its crispy and fluffy finish after its time under the broiler. It’s entirely worth saying that whenever it’s homemade pizza night in my kitchen, I’ll be taking inspiration from this fried creation.
My #1 Tip for Making Fried Pizza
Spoon the hot oil over the dough and flip once. When I was first attempting this method of frying pizza dough, I simply placed the dough in the oil to fry without flipping it or generously spooning the hot oil over the dough. Though the dough tasted delicious, I found that when I spooned the hot oil over the dough, it helped create more of a crispy outside and fluffy inside, and flipping it helped create an even color and texture on all sides of the finished pizza.