grilled pizza

Before we snuck a grill onto our balcony one glorious day last May, I would regularly show up at friends-with-grills homes with prepared pizza dough and a few toppings in the summer; I love grilled pizza so much that I’d feed a crowd just to get my fix. It was one of the first things I made when we bought our own. The benefits of cooking pizza outside are manifold. With heat circulating all around the pizza and the dough resting on open grates instead of a flat tray, I find that you can get more texture — crisp on the outside but staying stretchy within — and flavor — charred spots that will immediately remind you of your favorite brick-oven pizzeria, without heating up your apartment, pretty much the last thing any of us want to do in the summer. Plus, it’s really quick. Once your dough is purchased or prepared, you could be eating your pizza in 10 minutes; not bad for a homemade dinner after a long day.

white and whole wheat flours, salt, yeastmix itit can help to drain canned tomatoes a littlewhat you'll need

I’ve already discussed at length my favorite homemade margherita — my preference is for mozzarella that is packed dry, not the fancy stuff in water (despite what you see in the early pictures; promise you’ll save the fancy, ultra-tender stuff for serving cold and fresh with appetizers and salads, please) and for “raw” sauces, blended from canned or fresh tomatoes with some liquid poured off and then doctored up and seasoned well, for the best flavor — and I follow the same rules here. In the oven but especially on the grill, you must keep your toppings thin, light, and pre-sautéed or they simply will not cook before the crust is done; it also leads to puddled and wet pizza tops, something I’m sure we’ve all experienced.

doughybrush top with oilbrush back with oilfirst side grilled

While the upside of grilled pizza is a more nuanced crust and flavor, the downside is that it’s very hard to get the cheese on top browned. It’s just not what a grill (or really, most ovens) do well. Running the pizza under your broiler* back inside defeats the whole not-heating-up-the-kitchen agenda, but we do it once in a while as a finish. I’ll leave that up to you. Even if you skip it, you’re going to be happy with the results. Eating pizza outside on a warm evening with a fizzy drink or cold glass of rosé (and in our very spoiled case, a freshly-picked salad, perhaps the last of them as I think our lettuce is about to bolt) is pretty much a summer Top 10 for us. What’s on your list? I hope you get to at least two of those things this weekend.

saucedcheese-dyessgrilled pizza

* just to confuse, I’ve learned these are called grills in the UK; how fun this post must be to decipher from across the pond!

Grilled Pizza

  • Servings: 4
  • Print

For a lengthier conversation about pizza dough and how and why I make margherita pizzas the way I do, read here. This post is just for the purpose of cooking pizza on an outdoor grill, one of my favorite summer meals.

To doctor a can of tomatoes into a great pizza sauce, drain or pour off some (but not all) of the extra liquid in the can, and blend the tomatoes to your desired texture. Season with a few fine gratings of fresh garlic, salt, and red pepper flakes. Sometimes, a pinch of sugar helps overcome the acidic flavor of canned tomatoes. You also might use a few drops of red wine vinegar. Do not cook this sauce; it will cook on the pizza.

One of the most common things I’ve read about grilling pizza, and what used to be my least favorite thing about it, is that you have to be hyper-organized and ready to work quickly. I disagree; I grill the first side then, if I don’t have enough space to spread out outside, take it back inside, top all the pizzas at a normal pace — set the table, toss the salad, etc. — and finish grilling them when we’re ready to eat.

As written, this makes 4 thin, smallish pizzas. For us, this is an un-heavy meal with a big salad. But I know it’s a bit scant for heartier eaters. If you double it and find it’s more than you need, the extra dough will keep in the fridge for at least a day, sometimes two, and longer in the freezer. I don’t think anyone will mind if you have to make this again .

  • 1 fully risen pizza dough (below) or about a 2/3 volume of my lazy fitted-to-your-schedule favorite or your favorite, whichever it may be
  • Olive oil, for brushing
  • 1 generous cup prepared tomato sauce (see note up top about doctoring your own)
  • 8 ounces aged mozzarella (sold in plastic, not water) (this amount is light on the cheese, use more if that’s your preference)
  • 1/4 cup finely grated parmesan or pecorino romano cheese
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • A few leaves of fresh basil, torn or sliced

Heat your grill over medium-high.

Divide your dough into four quarters. Use your hands to gently stretch it into a thinner blob — it doesn’t need to be round — then lay it on a plate where you can stretch it further. We’re looking for a thin dough but it doesn’t need to be paper-thin or it might get too cracker-like once cooked. For this reason, I absolutely prefer hand-stretched over rolling pin-rolled for grilled pizza. You want an uneven, hand-stretched, thinness with some thicker spots. Repeat with other three quarters.

Brush tops of each thinly with olive oil. Place doughs oil-side-down on the grill (it will not fall through, promise) and cook for just a minute or two, until lightly browned underneath but still very doughy and soft on top. While they’re cooking, brush the tops of the doughs lightly with olive oil.

Once undersides are lightly cooked, remove doughs from grill and place cooked-side-up on a large tray. Thinly coat each cooked top with prepared sauce, then scatter with cheese. I like to season my pizzas at this point with a little salt and pepper before cooking them.

Slide each pizza back onto the grill and cook, lid down, until undersides are browned with a tiny char spot or two, and cheese has melted. If you abhor a pale pizza top, you could run these under your oven’s broiler for a minute for a toastier lid, but we rarely bother as the whole point is to cook and eat outside. Finish with fresh basil and eat immediately.

A Couldn't-Be-Simpler Pizza Dough

  • Servings: 4, petitely
  • Print

  • 2 cups (260 grams) all-purpose or bread flour, feel free to swap out some (I do 1/3) with whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons (half a packet) instant or active dry yeast
  • A heaped 1/4 teaspoon fine sea or table salt
  • 3/4 cup room temperature water

Mix everything together in a big bowl with a spoon. It’s going to be craggy and messy. Get your hands in there and knead the dough together into a single, even mass, about 1 minute. If you’ve used whole wheat flour, I recommend 2 to 3 minutes of kneading, however, it helps soften it up faster. Place in a covered bowl and set it aside at room temperature for 2 hours.

Not using it right now? Place it in the fridge for up to 3 days until 1 to 2 hours before you need it, then bring it back to room temperature.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

New here? You might want to check out the comment guidelines before chiming in.

161 comments on grilled pizza

  1. Brittany W.

    In the past when I have tried to grill pizza, the dough kind of slid through the grate on the grill, so I had to put a layer of aluminum foil down first. Is this dough sturdy enough that that doesn’t happen, or do you think the grill was just too hot?

    1. Sarah C.

      your dough had too much moisture, to grill you need a less “wet” dough

      Also try to start with a smaller pizza! Good luck!

    2. deb

      I haven’t experienced this but I’m not sure if I’ve only worked on grills (although I’ve tried this on many) where the grills were tighter than you might have.

    3. Mel

      This used to happen to me all the time when I used my regular oven pizza recipe. I haven’t made this one yet (def next on the list!), but I often use The Kitchn’s pizza for grilling recipe, and it’s been turning out fantastic. I also find that stretching the dough on a sheet pan, greasing the bottom, and then freezing it for ten or so minutes makes the process MUCH easier–it doesn’t stretch when I lift it off the pan to put it on the grill. Still gets big and poofy and everything.

  2. Michael Walker

    I’m interested in sneaking a grill onto my balcony as well. What kind do you have, and would you recommend it?!

  3. Deb, do you have a secret for grilling your lazy pizza dough? My dough is always wet enough that I couldn’t possibly get it into a round and slide it onto the grill. With the aid of an oiled/cornmealed peel, it goes into the oven delightfully and is the perfect texture, but I’ve just been too scared to try to get it on the grill!

    1. Jen

      How I’ve done it is to start by grilling on a piece of foil, then slip the pizzas off the foil directly into the grate for a minute or so to get a little char and finish them off. You can also close the lid of the grill at this point if you need your cheese more melty.

    2. deb

      No need to slide, no need for a peel, no need for it to be round. Just pick up, no matter how droopy and worrisome it feels, and toss it onto the grill. It sets up the moment it hits the heat and from that point forward, will be easy to move around as needed. Promise.

      1. And quite literally, “tossing it” is the key! And kind of fun, since you’re outside, who cares about the mess.

        I use the dough from my old-school Kitchen Aid mixer cookbooklet. It’s perfection every time.

  4. McKenna

    We put our dough on a long piece of tin foil that we’ve sprayed with cooking spray and put all the toppings on right then. We bring it out to the smoking hot grill, put it on for a few minutes, and it’s done. Really easy, gives you ends to pick up the pizza with, still gets the char marks from the grill on the bottom. So easy and we love that it keeps our house cool!

  5. Bethany

    I lay a pizza stone right on the grill and I love that — like Deb says, it gets hot enough for beautiful crust. I top them ahead of time, but I think you could also use the system she’s describing.

  6. Robyn Hughes

    We love grilling our pizzas. Everyone in the family makes their own. I have an issue with putting the dough on the grill. It gets stretched out and misshapen. That’s not all bad but sometimes it tears. What is the best way to “throw it on”?

    1. deb

      I am 100% for/unbothered buy misshapen doughs so I’ve never tried to get them exactly round. I just toss the dough on like you’re throwing a sheet across a bed to make it.

  7. I’ve been grilling pizza using your lazy pizza dough for ages and it works perfectly every time. I find that it’s even better if you sub half the AP flour for whole wheat – it’s a little sturdier. For a party, I’ll par-grill the dough and keep it on racks and when it’s time to eat, I’ll put the grill on a medium-low heat and put the now-topped crusts back on to warm through and melt the cheese. These are a huge hit and so impressive to guests – people cannot believe how the dough doesn’t stick or become a huge mess, and the versatility is great – everyone can make their own little grilled pizza with almost no extra effort by the hostess!

  8. JP

    Looks really yummy and you promise it won’t fall through the grill grates? That is the part that has scared me off in the past. Maybe this will make summertime pizza making time after all! Thanks!

    1. deb

      I have done this on many, many grills — not all, of course, it’s entirely possible there’s some super wide-grate grill that could be problematic — and I’ve never had a pizza dough fall through. It sets up the minute it hits the heat; it’s only scary/worrisome before you put it on. Softer doughs grill up great and don’t get too crisp too soon.

  9. Katrina

    Longtime UK reader checking in! Please rest assured that regular food blog readers are more than used to the broiler/grill language barrier – see also cilantro/coriander and zucchini/courgette!

    Your lazy pizza dough has been by go-to for years, and we finally got a garden last summer and enjoyed many a grilled pizza with it. Thank you!

  10. eclecticdeb

    I’ve been grilling my pizza’s ever since we had a heat spell and the a/c was broken. NEVER going back. Aside from the classic Margherita, another favorite is a Thai Chicken. Instead of a tomato base, I cheat a bit and use dressing from Trader Joes. I also toss some shredded rotisserie chicken in the dressing. On top of the “sauce”, i lay down some shredded carrots, the chicken, some cheese, and cilantro. Yum.

    The other one is the corn and bacon, topped with arugula. This one is sauceless. Shredded cheese, bacon, corn. After it’s cooked, I top with some fresh arugula that has been tossed with good olive oil and some salt.

    I think I know what we are having for dinner this weekend.

  11. Jenny

    Deb, want to hear something to blow your mind? On our (Italian) honeymoon, we took a wonderful cooking class, and she said to buy regular fresh mozzarella, drain off the water, and stick it in your refrigerator in a tupperware for a day or two, where it will release even more water you can pour off. Then you have dried out mozzarella, but don’t have to go find the aged stuff (which is harder to find down here in Austin TX).

    *doesn’t my honeymoon mention sound braggadocios? I don’t mean it to, just want to confirm the advice credentials! LOL

    1. deb

      I feel so validated because I do this! Here, mozzarella in water is usually more fresh and expensive, so I’d rather buy the dry-packed unless I need the nicer stuff for something. It’s a great trick to keep in mind.

    2. Gerley

      This is incredibly useful to know because all supermarket mozzarella comes in water here (Germany) even the most basic ones. I made the broccoli pizza from this site and it was sad and soggy in a lot of places so I will definitely be trying this.
      Only drawback is that I would have to actually plan ahead then which is not my strong suit! Thanks for the honeymoon advice :)

  12. Ashley

    Grilled pizza + a cold drink are definitely some of the best things in life. My husband and I try to do this at least once a week during when weather permits. We’ve had success with or without a pizza stone and with all types of pizza doughs (though the lazy/overnight dough is our all time favorite for flavor and texture!). My favorite trick is to brush the edges of your crush lightly with olive oil and sprinkle generously with kosher salt. Bonus points for using a garlic infused oil. I also love adding thinly sliced onion or peppers (hot peppers or jarred pepperoncini) to my pizza, and a post-grill sprinkle of dried oregano or roughly chopped fresh herbs (basil, oregano, mint). You’ve prompted me to get pizza on the menu for tomorrow night!

  13. We grill pizza all the time because we don’t have air conditioning and it gets warm in southern France. It is interesting to hear you say you don’t feel the pressure to be super-organized, because I sure do. I will think of you and try to be zen next time. Maybe because we grill with wood charcoal?
    I find that the indispensable item is a wooden pizza paddle. Our grill is big and made of special bricks, so it’s hard to get close without the long handle, both for putting the crust on and getting it off.

  14. Ann

    A pizza sauce tip my sister got from her college boyfriend’s Italian grandma (and that we still use to this day) – rather than put sugar in the sauce to cut the acidity, sprinkle a pinch or so of cinnamon on the crust before spreading the sauce. It doesn’t taste cinnamony, it just balances the flavors.

  15. Sarah

    What fantastic timing! I just so happened to have half a ball of the Jim Lahey Lazy dough sitting in my fridge already when you posted this! I have always been nervous about grilling pizza, I guess fearing that the dough would be unwieldy on the grill grates, or maybe even melt down between them? Well I tried it anyway, finally with your encouragement, and it was a raving success. On my gas grill, it takes FOREVER to heat it above 350, so it took me a bit longer per side to grill the dough. Probably 7 minutes per side, and 5 once I put the toppings on (pesto, charred cherry tomatoes, and mozz). Nevertheless, it got charred on the outside and chewy on the inside and I couldn’t be happier!

    1. Liane

      If it takes forever for your grill to get to 350, it’s time to repair your grill. New burners are likely needed, maybe a new regulator line too. My Weber gas grill was doing the same thing. I swapped out the old parts and now it gets above 500 in just five minutes or so. It wasn’t hard to do (watch a youtube video) and what a world of difference, especially for pizza making!

  16. oh thank you for cracking the grilled pizza code!!! I rely on your lazy pizza dough – it’s my go-to recipe and we eat it at least once a week in the winter, but I have tried to grill pizza before and got bad results (burned bottom, cool toppings). so, thank you so much for this. I have been grilling bread, so that made my family happy, but pizza will make them even MORE happy.

    1. deb

      Yes and yes, best to drain them a little for pizza. You can half blend/chop and drain a little, then blend more to your desired consistency.

  17. Charlotte Traveler

    We make pizza either on the grill or in the oven about every other week. One trick my husband just created was to grill it on parchment. This means you don’t have to flip it, you can use a wetter dough, and it is easy to slip off the grill to top. The bottom still got crispy and the excess just burned away.

    1. We also put the dough on parchment sprinkled with cornmeal. I put a round pizza stone on the grill to p;reheat about half an hour before I start cooking. Nothing sticks and it;s easy to pull the dough off with the paper. Just trim the parchment a bit to avoid having it catch fire!!

  18. ciddyguy


    I just sat down with a homemade pizza of my own and then this post was at the top of my Feedly feed…

    I made a half and half pizza, one half is pepperoni the other half is Hawaiian. I had some pepperoni leftover from last week and the mozzerella cheese, yes, the dry stuff that comes in a brick vacuum packed into a plastic pouch, no water and made by Kroger and it was leftover from last week’s pizza. The same with the pizza sauce, again the Kroger brand I had in the fridge.

    Then bought the Canadian bacon and a small can of pineapple chunks.

    The dough is the recipe on the back of the Yeastman’s yeast packet for no rise pizza dough using their pizza yeast (requires absolutely no rising at all) and boom, I had dough in minutes using my food processor and just cranked the oven to 550F and piled the toppings on and baked it using a wire pizza screen onto my pizza stone I keep in there on the bottom rack and in about 10-12 minutes, I had a yummy pizza to eat.

    I say, good minds DO think alike! :-)

  19. Rachel T

    Anybody made this in a Traeger or similar wood pellet grill? Would it get hot enough to actually cook the pizza?

  20. Erin

    Long time pizza griller over here: I have a thermometer on the grill and try to let the grill come up to 450 or 500 degrees before ever putting the dough down on the grill (I swear by Trader Joe’s dough. Also keeps in freezer and just thaw out in fridge the night before). One the toppings are on, I usually close the lid to get the cheese to melt fast enough before the bottom is too done. Deb is so right: grilled pizza is AMAZING and totally impressive for a party!

  21. Ann Conroy

    I made pizza on the grill last week using the NYTimes Roberta’s pizza dough. It was similar to yours but uses a cup of 00 flour. It was delicious. i wanted to be ready for guests so I rolled out the dough and put it on greased pizza screens. When I went to flip the dough onto the grill it stuck a bit, but I did manage to get it off. I’m wondering what you did once you have formed the dough into a pizza. Do you put it on parchment? on an oiled cookie sheet? Do you lift it up on the grill or flip it over? I’m trying again tonight- my favorite toppings were a pizza with caramelized onions, nuts and blue cheese, and the Barefoot Contessa pizza with arugula. I’m going to try your recipe for sauce. Love your recipes!

    1. deb

      I put it right on a plate (the white glaze platter you see in the pictures); it didn’t stick but I also don’t have it on there very long — less than 10 minutes. We’re oiling the tops so they don’t stick to each other either, or not if used within a short window of time once stretched out.

  22. Robin

    Not using it right now? Place it in the fridge for up to 3 days until 1 to 2 hours before you need it, then bring it back to room temperature.

    I have always wanted to make grilled pizza and have actually never really worked with dough. This may be obvious to those that make pizza and bread but……
    Three questions
    1) do I put it in the fridge before it rises or after?
    2) can I cut into 1/4’s before putting in fridge so I can grab one at a time say
    3) can the dough be frozen – and if yes instructions please on how to use.

    Thanks so much.

    1. deb

      1. You can do either or even in the middle. The less rising time it has before it goes in, the more time it will need when it comes out.
      2. Absolutely.
      3. I don’t freeze pizza dough often but you can definitely do it, again, before or after rising but I think I’d probably go somewhere in the middle so that the yeast activates a little but you’re not at risk for it over-proofing before it’s done defrosting.

        1. deb

          I haven’t done this on charcoal in a few years but I know people recommend having a hot area and a less hot area so if it’s cooking too fast, you can slide it over. Hope that helps.

        2. M

          We made this last night on a charcoal grill. I was incredibly nervous but took courage from Deb. We used a two-zone fire: all the coals on one half-moon of the kettle, no coals on the other. Get the fire really hot, then toss the dough onto the grate above it. When the underside of the dough was firm and a bit toasty, I oiled the top, flipped it, and grilled that side. Then I moved it to the cold zone to top it while I grilled the other dough round.

          For what it is worth, Steve Raichlen recommends a three-zone fire but I can’t really figure how that would work in a standard 22-inch Weber kettle, and this worked just fine.

          Next time, I will play a bit with the thickness of the dough, etc. Also want to work on using the extra dough to make mini foccacia, which I often do with our pizza dough in the oven — using the same seasoned olive oil as for the pizza crust.

  23. Kathleen Hammerlind

    To brown the cheese on top of the pizza at the end, could you use a kitchen blowtorch. Like you use for brûlée, if you are that obsessed?

  24. Bernadette DeMone

    This is going on our camping food list this year. For the first time in years we are going for 8 whole days so have to have a few more meals planned. We love pizza and have made our own for years and this will just carry on the tradition.

  25. Sandy

    Thank you for posting this!!! We’ve made a tradition of making pizza from scratch on July 4th, but we justmived into a new house without a working kitchen. The grill is our everything (because it takes 10 minutes to boil water on a hot plate!). My 9 and 7 year old girls were upset there would be no pizza this 4th. Well, Smitten Kitchen saves the day! Perfect timing!

  26. Tiffany

    Have been on a homemade pizza obsession since recently reading the magical “Pizza Camp” by Joe Beddia. Am dying to try the pizza on the grill way, since Im currently stuck in the cast iron skillet method. Will give it a whirl despite my anxiety about gloopy dough falling through the grill, but only because you say it works Deb!

  27. Liane

    I have been in love with pizza on the grill for years, following the Cucina Simpatica dough recipe and advice from the Providence restaurant that started the trend years ago. George and Johann recommended fontina instead of mozzarella and I find it works great. Sometimes I use both, a fresh mozzarella or even buffalo, but the grill melts the fontina better. Second, the hottest grill possible is best for cooking the dough. It only takes a minute or two, then I pull it off and invert onto a cookie sheet. Next, reduce heat of gas grill to 350 or raise grate height. Brush top with olive oil, sauce if using and then always the cheese before other ingredients to advance melting better. Sometimes I precook the one side, brush with olive oil and let it sit until ready to finish — easier to do this for a crowd, I find — and people can top their own. Finishing the pizza at a lower heat allows top to cook and bottom to brown not burn. I have even done clam pizza this way a la New Haven. A large flexible metal spatula will serve as well as a peel for this.

  28. Sarah

    1 can tomato any form
    1 tablespoon Tomato paste
    1-2 cloves garlic
    1 Tablespoon salt
    1 teaspoon dried oregano
    Freshly ground pepper

    Put it all in a processor or blitzer and then store in a jar for any use.

  29. Sherry

    Hi, I have been freezing pizza dough for a while. I hope these tips help you Robin. I freeze in smaller batches, it seems easier to defrost and does not get gummy by the time it thaws. Punch the risen dough down before freezing. Spray the inside of whatever vessel you choose to use with oil before you feeze it. I use ziplocks and make sure all of the air is pushed out. I open the bag and let it thaw in the fridge ( another reason to do small batches). Try to remove it as soon as it thaws or it will crawl out of the bag. I finish the rise in a covered bowl. I have found six months about as far as I can push it in an upright freezer with a relatively constant temperature, less in a freezer attached to a fridge due to the changing temps. Sorry this is so long…..don’t forget to label and date. It is so worth it to have it handy. Good luck!

    1. Robin

      Thank you so much. I love the detail. I’ve been trying to do more make ahead and freezing. This info def helps!!!

  30. Hello Deb, In terms of taste, how does this dough recipe compare to your slow-rise pizza dough recipe? I agree with you about the superior taste of a slow-rise, but maybe that type of dough is too wet for the grill? I failed miserably with grilled pizza last summer, and your post is giving me courage to try again this summer!

    1. deb

      The goal of that dough is, indeed, a deeper flavor but I usually don’t even plan that far in advance — my “oops, what’s for dinner” panic begins at 4 p.m. hence I’ve been making a 2-hour dough these days. This one is very straightforward, seems to be soft without making people nervous so… I think you’ll be happy with either.

  31. JJ Avinger-Jacques

    Never grew up eating pizza, so taking this on was interesting. After dividing the dough I simply put one portion on an olive oil shined dinner plate and worked it, flipping every so often to get the most stretch…AND that way, both sides were oiled, so one can skip that “brush oil on other side” step. Then took it outside to slip onto the hot grill grates….now this part was fun since that nice round shape on the plate turned into a lovely amoeba free-form on the grill…ha!
    I made this a two day experiment….day one was your fresh tomato sauce, mozzarella and basil leaf combo. Day two was BBQ chicken with sauteed red onion and cilantro and cheese…..both really lovely and so FAST!!! I can see a fun dinner party with “Diners choice” pizza toppings in the near future. Thanks.

  32. Anjali Shah

    Smitten kitchen: the most reliable source for recipes on this planet. Fantastic recipe. I think they are the best pizzas I have ever made, and I make a lot of them. The crust, sauce, and technique all were incredible and on point! Thank you Deb!

  33. I literally started having hunger pangs halfway through the post. It looks amazing and I bet it also tastes delicious too. It is the perfect dish to cook up in this rainy season. Thank you for sharing this interesting dish- can’t wait to try it . Looking forward to reading more delectable recipes in the upcoming posts.

  34. Robin

    Some followup to my earlier post and of course another question.
    Made these and they were amazing. I am very unskilled when it come to working with dough and while there was some frustration when stretching the dough this was amazing (thank you deb!)
    I used RAO’s pizza sauce. I also made some pesto and we drizzled that on once the finished pizza’s came off the grill.
    So I am hoping someone can give me some pointers with stretching the dough. So I let it rise two hours and then put in the fridge. I took it out two hours before I was going to use it. It was a drop sticky when I took it out of the bowl (should I have oiled the bowl first) so I added a bit of flour to the work surface. I formed it into a ball cut in four and started to make my pizzas. I started pressing it out with my fingers and it would just snap back. This is the issue I always have when I have tried to make pizza in the past. I finally got it into thin amoebas and just went with it (note for other novices there were def holes. I just pinched it together and moved on) Any tips would be appreciated.
    And these are so doable for entertaining. Grill up the first side before guests arrive and then finish a few minutes before ready to serve.
    Deb if you ever do a video i would love to see one of this.

    1. deb

      I got to the part where you said “formed it into a ball” and shouted (even though you can’t hear me) “no! don’t!” No need to. You don’t want to deflate the dough — it’s going to make it hard to stretch. I just cut the blob/ball into four puffy pieces and use that air to stretch it. Hope that helps for next time. And yes, I need to do more video! I wish it were simpler to set up…

    2. Kristin

      I read a tip somewhere that if you start to stretch your dough and it snaps back, like you described, stretch it as much as you can, let it rest for five minutes, and
      It will relax so you can stretch it more. Seems to work for me.

  35. Alex

    Just made this today and it was perfect. First time ever grilling pizzas and there was no learning curve at all. Thanks for the perfect dough and sauce, Deb!!

  36. Erin

    We made this tonight (hubby and I – he grills, I prep) with your lazy pizza dough recipe. Delicious! Bonus: Our toddlers ate it! One tip: my husband asked what medium-high meant in terms of temperature. After tinkering with the first 2 pies we found 400 degrees to be ideal. Still took less than 10 minutes for pies to be done. So so good!!

  37. The first time I made grilled pizza, I aimed for our usual 12-14-inch pizza. The dough circle was so large, it collapsed into a silly putty mess on the grill. I learned the hard way that you must keep each pizza to a small, individual size.

  38. Hahah I loved your “broilers are called grills in the UK!” comment. It’s true, I wandered here thinking “WHY would you put a pizza under the grill!?” but now, all is revealed (as soon as I remmebered that what we call a BBQ, you call a grill, and what you guys calle barbecue we… get confused by).

    ANYWAY the point of this comment was to say that an ex of mine and I used to cook pizza on his chiminea (do you have those out there?) and it was SO delicious and SO fun! I think anything cooked outside tastes way better than its oven cooked counterpart.

    Aaaand now I want to buy myself a BBQ for my little London garden just so I can do this!

  39. Katrina Harvie-Watt

    I’ve been making your lazy pizza dough recipe (all three variations with your tomato sauce) at least once a week for the last six months……my family LOVES it. Of course, I couldn’t resist trying it on the grill this weekend. But, no……it was fine, don’t get me wrong, but I guess the combination of the pale toppings (no bubbly brown cheese) and the less than crispy crust simply didn’t cut it for my family. And it was a little more complicated than baking in the oven.
    So worth a try, but can’t imagine why I’d mess with perfection again.

  40. JoAz

    Deb – any chance you’ll offer signed copies of the new cookbook via your blog for those of us who would like a signed copy? Ina does this I bought her last book via her site. I’m going to do that for those special books – I’m in the desert I’m guessing you won’t be signing books anywhere near me.

    1. deb

      Of course! We totally did this last time too. We work with an independent bookstore I can get to quickly/easily. They sell it but you’ll have an option to write down what you’d like written in the book. I stop by as often as a can. I should have more details about this in September. Currently, the first book can be custom inscribed through McNally-Jackson. [Also, thanks for lumping me in with Ina! Not worthy!]

  41. Kristin

    I wonder whether you have ever investigated whether using partial whole wheat flour increases the water needed for the dough? I made the dough recipe above as written with all white flour and it was a gloppy mess. I had to add another 1/2 – 1 cup flour in order to work with it. But sometimes I’ve swapped in whole wheat flour and the dough has been dry and needed more water. I haven’t always used the same recipe so it’s not an apples to apples comparison, but I wondered whether anyone has any thoughts on this?

    1. deb

      I could see it making a pizza dough a little more dry or resistant to absorbing water. Mostly, I find that when using whole wheat flour, the texture is far better if you knead it a little, or a little longer than suggested. Seems to take more to get the gluten going.

    2. Chelsea

      I do think ww flour absorbs more water – think I read out on the KAF website and it’s held true for me with ww bread. There are, though, many reasons why flour absorbs more or less water.


    This pizza turned out perfectly on the grill. I used Mario Batali’s granite piastra and kept the grill on low as I grilled the dough and also after topping it and the cheese melted into a beautiful gooey mess. Thanks, dEb!

  43. Tracy

    Our favorite grilled pizza is very simple – nothing but olive oil, prosciutto and fresh mozzarella. After the pizza comes off the grill, we top it with arugula that has been tossed with more olive oil and salt and pepper.

  44. Kat S

    I developed a wheat allergy about a year ago – I’m now one of those obnoxious people who makes everything gluten-free. I had used your Really Simple pizza dough recipe about once a week for a few years before the allergy descended on my life, and just recently felt brave enough to try making pizza crust again, except its been too hot out to cook inside. This worked surprisingly well – thanks for the push I needed! Although I have to admit I was a bit afraid and used foil under my pizza on the grill since my dough is, inevitably, a bit crumbly. I’m now feeling more confident and am going to try Friday’s pizza without the foil. Can’t wait until I can get pizza back in the oven to get the cheese browned too!

  45. Jennifer

    I made this with white whole wheat flour (from Trader Joe’s, which can be a little grainy) and I’m delighted to say the dough turned out really well: stretchy and lovely. (I did use a rolling pin to get the shapes going.) Also made with tomato paste (which my younger prefers and which comes out of the can pretty thick, so no additional steps). Everything turned out lovely, and I’m already strategizing for how I can use this as part of an outdoor dinner party, since if I pre-grill the first side ahead of time I can have everyone assemble their own. (We have a larger grill, so can do several at a time.)


  46. Laura

    We just got a new grill (one of those serious business ceramic ones), so I’ve been thinking about trying this! I’m nervous, though. I’m used to cooking my pizza on a baking steel in the oven on parchment paper, because I can’t for the life of me get it to slide nicely off a pizza peel. Obviously I can’t use parchment paper at the kinds of wonderful high temps a ceramic grill/smoker can get to, so I am going to have to bite the bullet and pray I get a pizza off the peel and not a pile of pizza ingredients. Do you have any ideas about using a baking steel on the grill for pizza, instead of putting it directly on the grill?

    1. Michelle

      I used to have a lot of trouble with the pizza peel as well. I’ve found that the following things help a lot:
      1. Sprinkle the pizza peel with cornmeal first.
      2. Roll/stretch the dough on a different surface and transfer to the pizza peel. Then add toppings.
      3. When it comes time to transfer the pizza, don’t be tentative. Give it a strong confident shake, show that pizza who is boss!

      1. Laura


        I did all of those things, but man, I still had SUCH issues! Ah well. Maybe one day I’ll get it to work. Also, maybe I need to do some research on the best pizza peel to get.

  47. Clare

    I read all through you pizza making links and articles, and while I didn’t grill the dough (I used an eipcure ‘crisper’ sheet) and I just bought my dough from a pizza place, the home made sauce and all the other tips CHANGED MY (pizza) LIFE. Thank you!

  48. JJ Avinger-Jacques

    As a newbie to the pizza eating and making world and especially to GRILLING pizza, I have a question about one particular topping…..pepperoni.
    I find pizza meat disgusting, but a friend loves pepperoni and so I want to make this grilled pizza with pepperoni for him….HOWEVER…..from my observation of pizzas in restaurants, the oven type of pizza is cooked longer I think, and when the pizza comes to table, it’s kinda shiny with grease and slightly curved up from the cooking and I’m wondering with the very short cooking time once the toppings are applied, will this meat be able to cook long enough to heat up? get shiny with grease? taste properly????

    1. deb

      I suspect you have no interest in reading an essay-length thinkpiece on pepperoni curling on pizza, especially one that refers to it lovingly as a “grease chalice,” but I found this fascinating when it was published (

      But that’s not what you asked. What you asked was whether you should get this effect from the grill and I’m not positive, but I’m not totally confident you will. However, I think you could pre-cook the pepperoni slices in a pan on the grill so they’re 90% crisped and then toss them on the pizza before you cook it the last time. Hope that helps.

  49. Judy

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I love the Couldn’t Be Simpler Pizza Dough. I’ve made pizza dough many times in the past, but this one is much better, and easier. I love being able to make it, let it rise a bit, and stick it in the fridge for up to 3 days. I kept it in one day and it was so easy to work with the next day – not sticky as other recipes have been. I used my ceramic wood fired grill, the Primo (akin to the Big Green Egg) and it came out great. I also love the tip of cooking one side first and then removing and topping. It was so much easier to work with and took out the stress. I think I’m ready for a pizza party! Thanks again.

  50. Marilyn McCaulley

    This is awesome and SO easy! I love grilled pizza. It always seems scary, but always works, and everyone loves it! Heading to the lake now with my paddleboard, portable grill and pizza!

  51. Julie

    Wow! Just had these from the grill. They are so delicious. Nothing stuck to the grill, just as you promised. It smelled like my favorite pizza place (Salvatore’s in Halifax, NS, Canada) while it was cooking. My son wants these for his birthday party food. Thanks for another great recipe. J

  52. Grilled pizza is one of my favorite summer things!! My husband has a friday night pizza tradition and I usually stop at some point once the weather gets warm, but grilled pizza, man. I need to get on that train again this summer!

  53. Chelsea

    Loved how fast it was and the crust texture. Next time I’d start with the grill lower (we had dark char marks after maybe a minute? Didn’t bother us much though) and maybe buy crushed or chopped tomatoes in the hope they’d shed more liquid before cooking (still had the liquidy top problem). Overall, though, will definitely switch to grilled pizza for summer!

  54. andrew

    this was without a doubt simple, quick and delicious. until tonight, i have never grilled a pizza. i relied on my oven, and given i live in new orleans, that meant homemade pizza was not a late spring/summer/fall/early winter meal. this recipe has forever changed that narrative. i did everything as written, and based on comments, relied on a 450-500 grill and it eventually took close to 6
    minutes after adding the sauce and cheese. i also made the dough into two pizzas v. four. oh, and while the two hour rise does indeed require time, i am used to 30 minute meals taking hours to prepare and my husband was simply shocked i could heat the grill, prep ingredients, and get the pizza ready in less than 20 minutes. thank you!

  55. Serenity

    I grilled pizza last night and it was amazing! I had a ball of pizza dough in the fridge so I used that… but otherwise followed your instructions (including the directions for pizza sauce) and it was perfect. I love rustic, wood-fired pizza with this kind of tomato sauce and I found this to be on par with and very similar to that.

    So so happy I tried it, thank you!!!

  56. RO

    Just stopped by SK as my usual Monday morning ritual dictates, so when I found no new recipe, I clicked “Surprise Me!”, for a little inspiration. Lo and behold, it was the fried provolone and tomato sandwich, the first recipe you posted after Anna’s born day, JULY 10, which happens to be today!

    Happy 2nd Birthday, Anna! Can’t wait to see what your mum came up with for your, no doubt, delicious celebration!

    1. deb

      Thank you so much! Yes, we’ve been so busy with her birthday and July 4th and the end of school/beginning of camp, I’m slow to get a new recipe up. Hopefully a very special birthday cake tomorrow. :)

  57. Gerley

    Is it weird I just re-read Anna’s birth announcement? When I don’t even know you guys personally? Happy Birthday, Anna! Silly strangers across the pond are thinking of you and wishing you well .
    I will try to make this tomorrow and feel terrified cause it’s my FIRST TIME using yeast. EVAR! In my 37 years on the planet. Also, I fear the Pizza will stick to the plate…BUT I WILL DO THIS CAUSE DEB SAID IT WILL BE FINE! I shall lose my yeastyginity and report back

      1. Gerley

        Thanks- it wasn’t a great success unfortunately. The yeast part was okay (yay) but the dough was so soft that it stuck to the oiled plate and tore to pieces when I tried lifting it. We still ate the pizza blobs and they were delicious but it was such a shame cause they were so unevenly cooked. I used regular supermarket wheat flour that they sell here (Germany). It’s the only thing I can think of that maybe American flour is different? People said that whole wheat was “drier” so maybe I will try that.
        We loved the recipe so I just used storebought dough this weekend BUT it just tasted bland and isn’t worth repeating. I am sorta obsessed with getting this right now cause it’s such a nice family meal and such a great Sunday-night- I-don’t- feel-like-cooking fall back!
        Aren’t zere any fellow Tschörmans around who have insight?

  58. Rocky Mountain Woman

    I have not tried pizza on the grill yet which is really amazing considering my advanced age and how long I’ve been cooking.

    You’ve inspired me though to try it for my grandson’s birthday this Sat. He’s asked for pizza and it’s supposed to be about 95 degrees so this may be perfect.

  59. Suzanne Guertin

    Grilled pizza is the best, but I have used store-bought dough until today. I will try this b/c I make your oven pizza dough often! Thank you, Deb!

  60. Theresa

    Tried this last night and despite us being at the bottom of the grilled pizza learning curve (so many lessons learned!!) it was still delicious. Especially the raw sauce – I’ve been making your easy basic pizza/marinara sauce with onion and butter for years but the raw sauce was surprisingly good!

    Word to the wise: do not get your dough all nicely stretched, oiled and ready to go, and then take it outside before the grill is ready. It was a hot humid day and the dough got super wet and sticky (we have a new charcoal grill and are unused to the time it takes to heat up), and we basically ended up tossing it on and making pizza on hills and valleys of dough. Still good though!

  61. jkharnagel

    I am accustomed to making pizza dough from scratch. This dough was dry enough as advertised, so not a sticky mess as we put it on the grill BUT I found it only made 2 small pizzas. When I tried to make 4 they were smaller than a salad plate. Glad I made an extra batch of dough or my guests would have gone hungry. Other than that, the instructions and dough were spot on!

  62. Lovely recipe. Will definitely try it here in the U.K. And to confuse you more, grills are called barbecues here and yes, broilers are grills! When I started reading this recipe, I thought you meant the pizzas were cooked under the grill (broiler)!

  63. Jen

    Grilled pizza seems to be the only good pizza to come out of our household (after failed oven attempts with pizza stones, etc.). Our one modification is we pop the rolled out dough into the freezer for a bit before grilling because it makes the dough easier to slide onto the grates.

  64. Kiani

    I made this for a large group last night and made four of the dough recipe. I definitely learned a few things. First, we tried hand pulling the first few pizzas, but after grilling they came out awful. Very uneven, and looked more like naan bread. Close to unusable for pizzas. We couldn’t get a very good size either. Then we started rolling them out with a rolling pin and they were perfect..a good size and even. The only other comment I had was that the yeast amount called for (1 1/4 tsp) is not half an envelope. An envelope of yeast has 2 1/4 tsp if you’re using standard fleischmanns active yeast envelopes. So if you’re doubling the dough recipe, you’ll need more than one envelope.

  65. Barbara Hollister

    I’ve made this twice now and it’s absolutely delicious, but I had a major problem today. I thought I could put the doughs on parchment paper prior to grilling, but huge mistake. The dough stuck to the paper and was impossible to remove without tearing. What surface can I put these doughs to get the olive oil on them and to the grill without them sticking??

    1. deb

      You might also try it the old-school way, putting them on a cornmeal-coated tray — but I’d still oil them first. Should be less likely to stick.

  66. I’ve read that on grilled pizza it is best to put the cheese on the bottom, next to the crust and the sauce on top. That way the cheese is closer to the heat. This won’t brown it but does make it more bubbly. My tomato harvest is in full swing so I’m definitely going to give the grilled pizza a try!

  67. Once again, a great recipe for those who live on boats, as we do. While some liveaboards grow a few herbs (as I think you do) I haven’t perfected it. But we are able to get most things we need for a simple pizza anywhere we’ve traveled. Thanks to your blog, I’m learning that cooking in a small NYC apartment is very much like cooking on a boat.

  68. 4wallz

    We also love to grill pizza on the BBQ. The one thing we do for flavour is to oil the uncooked side before flipping it over AND then sprinkle it with corn meal.

  69. Sarah

    This is great and you hit all the points. I came home to my parents house from college (long ago far away) and tried to convince them that grilled pizza was the only way. They resisted until I brought it indoors. Now when I visit my mom lets me know well ahead of time that Sunday night I have to make dinner. Summer, fall or dead of Maine winter, I’m out there grilling the goods.

  70. I grilled both plain cheese pizzas and blue cheese, fig and prosciutto pizzas on a large communal grill at one of our favorite marinas over the weekend. Have to admit, it got a lot of attention (either because it looked so good, or I was taking up a bit too much real estate on the grill :)

  71. Kylie

    This pizza dough worked perfectly despite all of my best efforts. I refrigerated it overnight, took it out to the woods, put it back in the fridge and finally cooked it two days later and it was amazing! I kind of threw it in the general direction of the grill and it set immediately, held all of the toppings well and was amazingly charred and a little chewy. Thanks Deb!

  72. I just made grilled pizza for the first time ever and it was crispy and so good! I used my low-sodium dough which is so wet, it sticks to everything unless I use cornmeal and I usually have to put in the fridge half-way into stretching it out because it gets too sticky. But you were right! It didn’t fall through the grate.

    I made it over a charcoal grill. I put it first on the hot part above the coals for a couple of minutes, took it off, put the sauce and toppings on the cooked part, then put it back on the grill over the warm part until the cheese melted and then brought it closer to the hot part, turning it every minute or so, until I got even browning on the bottom. Once it was back on the grill with the toppings, the pizza cooked in about 6 minutes.

    I also use fresh tomatoes for the sauce, but I reduce it on the stovetop with spices for at least half an hour. I sautéed the other toppings (mushrooms and shrimp) for about 2 minutes each and used mozzarella from the deli that comes wrapped in cellophane only a little wet. But I do put the mozzarella on paper towels first, as you recommend.

    Thank you for this post, which gave me the courage to try grilling pizza for the first time! Can’t wait to make it again.

  73. Amy

    I tried to make this and it just about broke up my marriage (just kidding, but it proved very stressful to make the grilled pizza and we ended up yelling at each other). In the end it wasn’t worth the hassle in my opinion. Husband and I are still together (happily) but “Grilled pizza” has become a running joke for situations that strain a relationship. Not gonna try again. Glad it works for you though!

  74. familyoffduty

    I make grilled pizza using pita bread when we go camping with the fam as I have tried to make my own dough and they seem to go wrong… and this one looks so easy though. I want to try and make a sweet topping pizza using this dough (for dessert).

  75. We have made this multiple times, following the recipe exactly, and it’s always delicious! As with all grilling recipes – your individual heat levels may differ from the instructions, so keep an eye on it. The dough can go from raw to burnt really quickly.

  76. Susan

    I did My first grilled pizza last year using lightly grilled sliced fresh peaches, cooked chicken breast, and then Brie broken into small chunks threw it on while the bottom side was cooking close the lid so cheese would melt then threw on sprinkles of whatever herbs I had in my garden amazing

  77. Jill

    Yum! I’ve made this several times now and it is always a hit. My husband was very skeptical at first that the dough would fall through the grates of the grill, but it remarkably does not.

    Each batch of dough yields 4 (10″ish) pizzas. We olive oil a large baking sheet and put the dough on and then immediately flip it over so both sides are oiled. My husband grills the first side and brings it back in the kitchen where we top the pizzas – sometimes immediately, sometimes much later. Then he puts them back on grill for another 5 mintues…done.

    We usually do 4 different pizzas, cut each in fourths so we get a little of each kind. These are our favorites:
    1. Margarita…just like Deb’s :)
    2. Simple Pepperoni….cause men like meat.
    3. Fig & Prosciutto (a light spread of store-bought fig preserves, carmelized onions, shredded mozz, sliced prosciutto)
    4. Bianco….(Deb’s homemade ricotta mixed with 1 clove minced garlic, 1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes, salt & pepper; shredded mozz; grated Romano; fresh basil)

    This has become our favorite Friday night meal with friends.

    Thanks Deb for creating and fine tuning this easy and delicious recipe!

  78. Julia Rashty

    Although I believe I need a tutorial on hand-stretching pizza dough, these pizzas came out perfect! Great recipe!

  79. Julia

    I have made this recipe a few times already and I LOVE IT! I noticed that the recipe calls for 1 1/4 teaspoons of yeast (half of a packet). However, one packet (at least one of my packets) is 2 1/4 teaspoons. So to double, would you use one packet or 2 1/2 teaspoons?

  80. Jill Castaneda

    In Deb I trust! My husband was skeptical of the dough not falling through the grill, but he’s a convert now. Made this with some thinly sliced mushrooms, zucchini, and sautéed spinach and it was perfectly crispy and flavorful. I find that Deb’s instructions to let the dough come to room temperature, slice toppings thin, and cook toppings first always leads to a perfect pizza.

  81. Lisalen

    When looking back at this recipe this morning, I noticed that oversized rectangular tray holding pizzas. This would be perfect for me – I had cutting boards all over the place after making this last night! Brand? Store? Thanks!

  82. Susan H Schilder

    We like “stuff” on our pizza, so I put cooked sausage, mushrooms, onions and shredded cheese in a bowl. When we got to the second side, quickly spread the sauce and and all the stuff on top, put lid down, and it worked!

  83. Julie

    I’m amazed at how well this works! And it’s so delicious. A little messy but well worth it, and hopefully I can learn to keep things cleaner as I make it more and more.

  84. Kerry O’Shea

    I have been making grilled pizzas for a few years now. We use a gas grill that gets nice and hot.
    Stretch the pizza dough out on lightly oiled parchment paper. Put the parchment paper and pizza dough on the grill. In a minute (or less if the grill is hot) the paper will slide right out and the dough will be cooked enough/firm enough to handle easily. This parchment paper method works in the oven as well. No trying to slide wet sticky dough onto a pizza stone or grill. It works like a charm. And once the parchment paper is gone you get the flavour benefit of the dough being directly on the grill or stone.
    I spread out my pizza dough on parchment paper and freeze them too. Just pull them from the freezer, let them defrost a little and away you go.
    The freeze method is a great do-ahead for a camping trip – or a pizza party.
    Show the dough no fear and all will be well.

  85. Sarah Slaght

    I make pizza on the grill all the time. I make a slightly sweet sauce, smoked mozzarella and sundried tomatoes. It is simply delicious!

  86. Karen Hitchcock

    LOVE this recipe. Thank you. I’ve been wanting to grill pizza for some a while now and, after reading through your post, I knew it was time! So much better than anything I’ve made in the oven….I love the smoky flavor of the grill coming through.
    AND one of the best parts is that I can decide mid-afternoon to start the dough and it will be ready in a few hours. Perfecto!