jim lahey’s potato pizza

[Note: This recipe got a refresh and several simplifications in 2016. Read it here.]

Although I keep repeating to myself “I am not obsessed with Jim Lahey. I am not obsessed with Jim Lahey…” the fact is, most evidence these days points to the contrary.

First there was his no-knead bread, and it’s not just me, given the fact that nearly two years later, not a week goes by when I do see a food blog creatively hatching a new, delicious adaptation of it. It continued in the the back of the cab a few months ago, where he so deftly showed off his Pizza Bianca for the cameras, it took restraint not to ask the driver to turn around and take me to the Sullivan Street Bakery, stat.

sliced potato macro

Once my hunt for his written recipe began I unearthed all sorts of additional goodies, including the fact that he was opening a pizza place> in MY neighborhood (still plywooded after all of these months, I wait and sigh…) and that he wishes to throw down the tomato-and-mozzarella hegemony in U.S. pizza, as tomatoes are not even indigenous to Italy, replacing it with what NYMag described as a “frilly radicchio number with red onion, chiles, and three cheeses that looks like a nest built by a slightly deranged bird,” and a seasonal zucchini blossom one and I’m sorry, what was I talking about again? Can’t talk, drooling…

pizza dough, man on moon

Right, so among all of the things I learned while stalking learning all that I could about Jim Lahey, there was one that, had it a soundtrack, it would have been that of a needle being torn across a record or a harried reporter yelling “Stop the presses!”–Jim Lahey’s Potato Pizza.

fifth soak and rinse

Problem was, I found this recipe only a day before we went on vacation, and there was no possible way to squeeze it in that short span of time otherwise devoted to packing and errands. I briefly considered canceling vacation, until Alex once again talked me down from my Crazy Ledge, temporarily at least. Shortly after we returned, however, I made the most auspicious discovery: the Whole Foods by us was now selling slices Jim Lahey’s Pizza Bianca. Just like that! There before my very eyes! The whole time!

forming logs

We brought some home and popped it in the oven until toasty and oh, people. It is just heaven on a piece flatbread. It could be the glint in the Mona Lisa’s eye. I know why birds sing… And it was clearly time to make my own.

Unfortunately, the recipe I’d found on Martha Stewart’s site is riddled with errors. The water level would make batter, not dough. It doesn’t mention the second bread rise. It seems to think that there is just one tablespoon of chopped onion on more than two feet of pizza, something my many sample slices have clearly shown otherwise. And, it seems to think that you can bake a 1/2-inch thick pizza at 440 degrees for 30 minutes and remove anything other than a burnt cracker.

jim lahey's potato pizza

With all of these adjustments–some I figured out as I went along–we did enjoy the results, especially with a sharp arugula salad on the side, but it just did not live up to the original [not that it could, what with the bird singing and Mona Lisa smiling]. It might take some more tweaking to get it right. What a bummer, huh? More potato pizza. Life is so unfair.

potato pizza, arugula salad

Jim Lahey’s Potato Pizza

[Note: This recipe got a refresh and several simplifications in 2016. Read it here.]

Makes two 8-inch pizzas or one 14-inch pizza

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon sugar
1 cup cold water
Olive oil, for bowl and pans
1 teaspoon instant dry yeast
2 potatoes, thinly sliced (about 2 cups) [I used Yukon Golds, and I believe this is what Lahey uses as well]
1/2 onion, diced into 1/4- to 1/2-inch pieces
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Fresh rosemary (optional)

1. Combine flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, sugar, and yeast in the bowl of an electric mixer, and slowly add 1 cup cold water. Mix on low speed until ingredients begin to combine. Switch to a dough hook and continue to mix for about 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic and cleanly pulls away from the sides of the mixing bowl.

2. Place dough in an oiled bowl, and allow to rest for 2 to 4 hours until it has doubled in size. Split the dough into halves, and form each into a log. Place each log on a generously floured surface, and allow it to rest until the formed dough doubles in size again, at least 1 hour.

3. While the dough rises for the second time, repare the potato topping. Slice potatoes very thin using a knife or a mandoline. Then soak them in several changes of ice water to remove excess starch and prevent discoloration. Drain slices in a colander, toss with 1/2 teaspoon salt, and set aside for 10 minutes. Drain any accumulated water. In a medium bowl, combine potatoes, onions, and 1 tablespoon olive oil, and set aside.

4. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Prepare two rimmed baking sheets with vegetable oil. Divide dough in half. Place each piece on its own baking sheet. Using the palms of your hands, flatten dough out to the edges of the pan. Evenly spread potatoes over the surface of the dough up to the very edge, or about 1 inch from the edge if you desire a crust on your pizza. Season with remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil. Sprinkle with rosemary if using.

5. Bake potato pizza until it has shrunk away from the edges of a pan and the bottom is golden brown, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven, and allow to cool slightly; slice into pieces, and serve. Potato pizza is also delicious served at room temperature.

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84 comments on jim lahey’s potato pizza

  1. I love veggie pizza, and this sounds even better! And, Deb, I have to thank you because I have a strawberry rhubarb pie in the oven RIGHT NOW, and just when I was going to give up on that crust… I remembered that I can’t let it know I’m afraid. With a stern voice that I use for the puppy in my house, we got through it. Love the site!

  2. There’s a place I used to go to in NYC called Serafina, that makes the absolute best potato pizza. the one we used to go to is off madison ave. paper thin slices of potato, creme fraiche, chives and caviar if you feel so elegant.
    but it was light as air, delicious, and with a thin crust like Lahey’s.

  3. Thanks for the recipe! I’ve tried a bunch of variations of Lahey’s no-knead bread and the newer Hertzberg version, but just loaves, all in enameled cast iron pots or a terrine (which makes a nice rectangular loaf for sandwiches). (Photos here.) But I had not done any of the flat breads because they all seemed to call for a pizza stone, which I do not have. Nice to know I can make this pizza in a pan!

  4. Looks delicious! Pizza dough is one of those things I could never quite get right until I came across Kim Lahey’s no-knead dough on your blog. I made a grilled lettuce pizza with it a few weeks ago that turned out quite well:-)

  5. There’s a joint in New Haven (a city known for its Pizza) that sells a to-die-for-mashed-potato-with-white-sauce pizza… it is salty and amazing. Better with Bacon. But it is so salty and so amazing with so many cups of salty mashed potatoes on it that a person generally feels terrible about 40 minutes after eating it

    So…I absolutely love the idea of an upgraded version of this treat, with potato slices! looks gorgeous…

  6. Stephanie

    We were making home made pizza one afternoon and realized that we had no sauce. The only sauce-like thing we had laying around was Hummus. OMG….Hummus, thinly sliced potatoes, choped herbs and a tiny sprinkle of cheese. Best, best, best homemde pizza we have ever made.

  7. deb

    Elaine — I used yukon golds, and I was convinced that they were what Lahey used as well from the samples I’ve had. However, the Martha recipe wasn’t clear on this either.

  8. deb

    Just use a really sharp knife. Slicing a small bevel along the bottom of the peeled potato will keep it from slipping. Good luck!

  9. Hi,
    My name is Alison, and I work at Martha’s website. We are always trying to clean up any errors on our site! One problem we have is that we have recipes coming from several sources being put online by a multitude of people. Not making excuses — we should still strive to be error-free! That being said, if something is made live on t.v., the t.v. staff generally makes tweaks to the recipe so it reflects what was actually presented on air. I’ll try to follow up with them to see if they have the original source of this recipe so we can get it fixed.
    Thanks for pointing out the error!

  10. Kitt: I make pizza all the time and I don’t have a pizza stone either (although I think I will buy one soon, just because I can bake bread on it too). I make my pizza (even round ones) and put it on a flat heavy cookie sheet or pan dusted with cornmeal and it comes out great. I also bake most of my pizzas at the highest temperature that my oven will go (500 degrees fahrenheit). Usually takes 10-12 minutes to get a great crust.

  11. That looks amazing. I leave for Italy tomorrow! Since beside the fact we will be on one of the most gorgeous coasts in the world—I am really looking forward to the food! Yum!

  12. Awesome! This was my favorite kind of pizza when I visited Italy as it was different from what we normally associate with the savory pie. I can’t wait to try this.

  13. Dima

    A friend of mine cooks the potato and onion topping before hand, and he must add something else, because they caramelize. Then he adds it to the crust and bakes it. It’s the most amazing pizza ever.

  14. desi

    hi, i left a comment on one of your old entries about the icebox cake. i was wondering which gristedes you found the chocolate wafers at?? i tried the one @ 8th ave and 21st with no luck


  15. Erin Kermanikian

    Can you tell me how this dough measures up to the one in your “pizza, updated” post? I ask because I make that pizza dough AT LEAST once a week. It’s become an obsession in my house…seriously, there is a big spot in my fridge that is taken up by a vat of Calputta 00 pizza flour….I’d like to try this but I don’t know if my husband will forgive me if it doesn’t live up to our current pizza staple.
    Also, and I don’t know why I’m sharing this, but at the restaurant I used to work at here in LA, I’ve always known that pizza with olive oil salt and rosemary to be called a foccacina – but we’re crazy out here..And we also used to take that pizza and lay thin slices of Bresaola on it top it with a mound of arrugula and some shaved parm.

  16. EB

    Oh how I love potato pizza. First introduced to me by a friend who happened to be a Neopolitan. And a chef. God bless her. This is truly a food of the gods.

  17. Interesting recipe, but is it at all dry? I feel like some kind of sauce would be desirable. Not to mention that is one starchy meal! I personally love pizza when it’s an entire meal all in one, with some veggies, protein and of course cheese. Although I’ve never had this so I shouldn’t knock it.

  18. Ann

    Looks wonderful. Here’s a bone to pick: I just posted a bit of a rant about a Martha recipe as well. And 3/4 of the comments were from people who never have success with her recipes. That just kind of bugs me, given all the perfections brew ha. Well anyway, your pizza looks just delicious.

  19. It looks yummy, so not fitting with my LAWL, but your site is amazing!

    have to ask, Jim Lahey, as in Trailor Park Boys Jim lahey?? ha! he lives not far from us :)

  20. beautiful. i’ve never had potato pizza before, but recently made a sort of egg, potato, and asparagus puff pastry that was really great. it makes believe that i would absolutely love potato pizza.

  21. Tres Amie

    LOL! How are (Peruvian/Bolivian) potatoes more Italian than (Central/South American) tomatoes?

    This idea sounds delicious but deadly, but so do many wonderful things :)

  22. Tamara

    Thanks so, so much for this! I was in Florence, Italy last summer and we went to a local bakery where I picked up some potato pizza! It was absolutely delicious and looked exactly like this. I’ve been searching for a good recipe since, so thanks!

  23. Potato on pizza is a gustatory miracle. I encountered a similar pizza in Rome a few years ago and have been lusting after it ever since. SO GOOD.

  24. Picot

    I tried to make the pizza bianca from the May 2007 issue of Martha Stewart Magazine. The pictures looked soooo good! Sadly, the recipe was a disaster. I am kind of relieved you had problems as well. You always think, what the heck did I do? It was really, really messed up. I will definitely give your recipe a try.

  25. ali

    I love potato pizza. Sally’s in New Haven makes a yummy potato and onion pizza, but if you happen to be passing through New Haven, stop by Bar (on crown street) — best pizza ever — and try a mashed potato and bacon pizza. I know, it sounds kind of nast, but it’s sooo good.

  26. Gigi

    Deb, this pizza – it was transcendent.

    The flavor is just phenomenal. If I hadn’t made it myself and known exactly what was in it I would have sworn there was another ingredient – there was so much depth of flavor. Wow. This recipe is an achievement!

    The only thing I changed recipe-wise was the potatoes. I didn’t have the right kind so I used purple potatoes, rose potatoes and a white & purple potatoes (so the end product looked like some sort of microorganism – in a good way) Needless to say it worked and again, wow.

  27. This pizza = amazing. We ADORED it. It was so amazingly flavorful and delish. And much easier than I had expected. My dough got a bit whacked, but all was fixed with a splash of water.

    Thank You for another fabulous meal :-)

  28. That is such an interesting idea for pizza. I think my husband would love it. Maybe he’d even make it for me!

    At this point I’m mostly a cook who follows the directions in recipes, for better or worse. I hope to get better at knowing if the recipe is actually any good or not, like you knew with the original recipe.

  29. Steph

    As I have written before, I’ll say again that Jim Lahey’s recipe on MS is correct, and Pizza Bianca dough SHOULD be more like BATTER and less like dough. The higher the hydration–and his nears 90% I believe, the more airy the crumb, and open the holes. Same concept as his no knead bread–only wetter.

    Your dough should only pull away from the mixer only after about 6 or 8 minutes of mixing on high (I generally use speed 8, since this dough is so loose it can be mixed on a KA mixer at a higher speed than firmer doughs) but when you turn the mixer off the dough will fall slack into the bottom again.

    When the dough rises it will be bubbly, and it doesn’t really need a second rising time, just about a 20 min. rest on the counter after spreading (not shaping like dough, it’s too slack) onto a baking sheet–if you can’t spread the dough right away, let it relax a few minutes then try again. Let it rest about 20 min. poke with holes then bake. However, a baking time of 15-17 minutes is more appropriate.
    Taking the pizza out, adding toppings, baking 5-10 min. more.

    Obviously your way makes a great pizza, much like the rest of your awesome recipes, but I would suggest trying it the other way once and see how it works out for you. Pizza Bianca has become a weekly staple thanks to a great recipe, I love drizzling it with some balsamic vinegar.

  30. sophia

    deb –

    i’ve enjoyed your website for quite some time now and have made a bunch of things – the lemon yogurt loaf (but turning it into the chocolate chunk cake variation – much easier!) or peanut butter chocolate brownies are probably my favorite!

    i was on martha stewart’s blog earlier today…you’re on her blog network! congrats!

  31. Sarah

    Yummy, the onions were sooooo good. Next time I plan to load up :) I also added some chives to mine for a bit of flavor/color- which worked out well.

  32. Niki

    I made this pizza tonight and it came out great! However, since my dough did not cover all of the baking sheet, the oil on the remainder of the sheet burned in the oven and smoked up my kitchen. This is something I’ll have to adjust for in the future. I also got a little confused with the recipe when it directs you to divide the dough in half after it’s already been divided in half for the last hour in two log shapes for the second rising. I assumed the second directive to divide in half was redundant since the recipe states it makes two 8″ pizzas.

  33. eg

    I made this too but on my mother’s no-knead crust that she kept telling me I had to try. I thought it was very good. I didn’t have a problem with burning; in fact, I could have left it in another minute or two. I was worried about the potatoes sinking into the crust but they didn’t. I wish I had had some rosemary, I think that would have made it even better.

  34. Niki

    I’ve made this pizza several times since I last commented and every time it comes out fantastic! However, I just noticed that the recipe calls for instant yeast and I’ve been using active dry yeast. I know, I’m a dough rookie! I wanted to note that to anyone who might be thinking that they can’t make this without instant yeast, you can substitute active dry yeast. I am curious though how much better this crust would be and how much faster it might rise if I used the correct yeast.

  35. Janyth

    I’m confused about the size of pan to use. If I make two 8″ pizzas, what size pans do you recommend, considering that the directions say” …flatten dough out to the edges of the pan” ? Thanks!

  36. Andrew

    I had a problem….the potatoes were sliced as thin as the picture but came out too uncooked….any solutions? 20 mins in the oven made a dark crust but a raw potato….

  37. Marion

    I honestly thought that potatoes on pizza would be disagreeable, until a recent trip to Escape from New York pizzeria in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury and tried the amazing potato-garlic-fontina pie, which I ate on the bus. Now I feel brave enough to try making one at home. Please take my advice and do not buy a pizza stone. It gets all stained and gross, and eventually breaks. I use a cast-iron griddle, preheated in the oven. Two smallish pizzas fit on there beautifully and make a crunchy crust. I recently ordered a more pizza-like round cast-iron pan with handles from a camping store and it’s awesome! Cast iron is much easier to care for than a stone and you can use it on your gas grill as well. Has anyone tried it?

  38. Josh

    Hi Deb,
    First time reader here. I was eating cold pizza for breakfast ( Kick ass I know) and all of a sudden wished that I could break away from PH meat lover’s and the sort. I thought about a pizza that would be enjoyable in taste, but also good for me (as in high starch). I can’t wait to try this recipe. Thanks for posting!

  39. davesmall

    So simple and yet so good. None of the goop that we see on most pizzas.

    My variation when making any kind of pizza is to prebake the dough until about half done and just beginning to brown on the bottom. Remove from the oven, flip it over, and apply the toppings. Return to the oven and continue baking until done.

    The reason for this is that the toppings act as an insulator. They can prevent the raw dough layer on top of the crust from fully cooking. If you hold a triangular piece of pizza and the point or tip of the piece droops, this is likely the problem. A really good thin crust pizza should not have drooping pieces. The ideal is for the bread in the pizza to be crispy with a bit of chew and zero droop.

  40. Juliana

    Is there any trick to get the crust that thin? I always aim for that end product, but somehow always end up with big, fluffy crust.

  41. emiko

    for this, or the pizza bianca, is there an okay stopping time? ie, can you make the dough the night before and bake the pizzas the next morning? if so, what would be an appropriate stopping time and how should the dough be stored? thanks!

  42. deb

    Any dough can be started the night before, and paused at any point. You just need to get it back to room temperature and proof it to where you left off when you take it out. It often takes an hour or two to get a dough back to room temperature…

  43. Kim

    Potato pizza has become my new favorite obsession and I’ve been ordering it everywhere to try different takes on it. So glad to see you have a recipe here for me to try at home as homemade pizza is one of my favorite things to make. I had one recently that had sour cream spread on the dough and then sprinked some crumbled bacon on top so I might make those additions.

  44. Hey! I could have sworn I’ve been to this site before but after reading through some of the post I realized it’s new to me. Nonetheless, I’m definitely delighted I found it and I’ll be book-marking and checking back frequently!

  45. In both the Lahey’s pizza recipes, it wasn’t included to cover the dough in plastic wrap before letting it rise, but I think you make a point to include that in your other pizza recipes? Was this just overlooked? Or are we not to do this? I didn’t do it for the bianca pizza, but the crust dried out in spots, so I’m doing it this time. Wasn’t sure if it was just assumed?

  46. brian

    I’ve been looking for a good dough recipe and this one I like very much. I’ve made the potato pizza twice now. Feel sorry for anyone that hasn’t tried it. The first time I peeled the Yukon Gold potatoes. The second time I didn’t. There was not a noticeable difference. It’s not worth taking the time to peel them. Besides the peel is good for you. And the second time I crummbled up some fried bacon and sprinkled it on top of the potatoes before baking. Was alright. Thank you for this pizza recipe. Brian

  47. Joe K

    Just made this today, it was great! I used a different dough recipe though, Wolf Gang pucks california pizza kitchen version, it’s made with honey to activate the yeast and I think the honey flavor is a really nice compliment to this pie. As a dairy free eater trying finding a good cheese-less pie is a difficult task, I’m always searching for new ideas to try.

  48. Patrick

    The sexy singles ad that populated between the comments and the body of this post was a little off putting. Consider a new provider?

  49. Heather

    I made this last night with about a dozen baby beets (chioggia and bull’s blood) from my garden and one russet potato, both thinly sliced with my vegetable peeler. I threw the slices into a bowl with a few glugs of olive oil, some salt and pepper, a couple cloves of minced garlic, a few sprigs of finely chopped rosemary, and a bunch of finely chopped flat-leaf parsley and mixed well, then let it sit while I rolled out the dough and pitted some green olives. I spread the beet-potato mixture evenly on the crust, added the green olives and some artichoke hearts and topped with a thin layer of mozzarella. I’m not really a fan of beets (I grow them for the leaves, which add nice colour to salad) but this was great. My husband said, “Wow. You could serve this in a restaurant.” :)

  50. ayl

    I’m a little late to this post– mainly the name caught my attention. I thought in some weird twist of events that it was the “Jim Lahey” from Trailer Park Boys; surprised that the actor may also dabble in pizza (while in character). But, alas, different guy.

    More to my point: I work at a somewhat upscale pizza place– we have a mushroom pizza that also incorporates potatoes (it’s extremely decadent: bechamel base, cremini, portabella, thyme/rosemary potatoes, basil– Deb, I think you would like it!) But, the most decadent thing we use on our version (and, a nice addition to this simple recipe…maybe, maybe not?) is a small amount truffle oil. I know it is crazy expensive, and I agree that only a few things in this world rightfully deserve the use of truffle oil (not a huge truffle oil fan, anyway). But, a small drizzle on potatoes specifically are really nice! Just a something fun to try with this. :)

  51. sal

    Are the two logs supposed to be combined together, and then re-divided? Just wondering why it says “divide the dough in half” if it already is in half from being made into the logs–kind of makes it sound like you are supposed to have 4 pieces of dough at the end….

  52. deb

    sal — You know, I think I divided mine in half again to make four smaller pizzas but in hindsight, that doesn’t make much sense. Sounds like two is closer to what he had in mind. Thanks for the heads up!

  53. When this advertising video starts it wont let me read the comments or your recipe. It jumps me back to it so I am forced to watch it. I love your site but that way of advertising is disappointing.

    1. deb

      I’m sorry there’s a problem with an ad. We will have it removed. Bad ads slip into the rotation all the time but we remove them when we find out about them.