How to Make Homemade Pizza Amazing for National Pizza Day

Kimberly Ritter

Craving pizza, but want to make it at home? Here are our easy tips for making homemade pizza amazing just in time for National Pizza Day.

Image courtesy of bhofack2 via Deposit Photos.

Do you like to make homemade pizza? I admit it’s one of our favorite meals. We make our own pizza at least a couple of times a month and enjoy making different flavor combinations. Homemade pizza can totally beat delivery on taste and toppings, as long as you do it right. Here are a few tips for making your homemade pizza amazing!

Go with fresh and full-fat cheeses

While you can use low-fat and part-skim cheeses, for best results, use full-fat cheese for the best results. This will help your cheese melt, get crispy and golden, and avoid getting rubbery. I also like grating my own cheese fresh instead of using pre-shredded cheese. It brings better flavor without the extra preservatives and you can’t beat freshly grated mozzarella and parmesan on a pizza!

Keep the toppings simple

While one of the best perks of making pizza at home is adding whatever toppings you desire, adding too much can cause your pizza to get soggy and not bake properly. You also won’t be able to taste everything with too many combinations. To make the best homemade pizza, keep your toppings to 3 or 4 so that you can enjoy every flavor.

Image courtesy of AntonMatyukha via Deposit Photos.

Use a pizza stone or parchment paper

Want a nice crispy crust like your favorite pizzeria? Use a pizza stone to bake your pizza or (if you don’t have one), line your baking pan with parchment paper. Your pizza will bake better and be easier to remove from the pan.

Cook your toppings in advance

To make sure your toppings get cooked completely, you’ll want to make sure that most of your meats and some of your veggies are cooked ahead prior to pizza assembly and baking. Uncooked meats like Italian sausage and bacon need to be cooked before baking as well as some veggies like broccoli, spinach, eggplant and zucchini. Pepperoni and thinly sliced vegetables like onions and peppers can be put on the pizza raw. While you want to cook these toppings, leave them a bit underdone since they will cook some while the pizza is baking .

Think outside the sauce

When making your own pizza at home, there are so many different options that you can use instead of traditional pizza sauce. Alfredo sauce, pesto, BBQ sauce, ranch and more can all make fantastic homemade pizzas. Experiment and find new flavors your family loves!

Take it easy on the sauce (and the cheese too)

When it comes to toppings, more isn’t necessarily better. Take it easy when you apply both your cheese and sauce to prevent a soggy crust. As a general rule, you want to be able to still see some crust underneath if you apply both. If you are using tomato slices, be sure to keep them thin as well.

Split pizzas for different tastes

Does everyone in your home like a different kind of pizza? In our home, I love veggies and cheese, my daughter cheese only, my son pepperoni and my husband wants all the meats. When you make your own pizza at home, it allows you to customize for different tastes and you can make pizzas in sections for different tastes, go half and half or make personal pan pizzas to let everyone have their own.

Butter your crust after baking

Love the warm buttery flavored crusts from your favorite pizzeria? Lightly butter your pizza crust before baking and again after taking it out of the oven to add a perfect post-bake touch. Olive oil works great as well.

Knead your dough by hand

I admit I use my stand mixer whenever possible, but pizza dough can be easier to mix and knead by hand. If it’s sticky, use a bit of flour. You’ll also want to let the dough rise for 30 - 45 minutes if possible before baking.

Use warm dough

If you make and refrigerate your dough ahead of time, be sure to take it out of the fridge and let it warm up to your room’s temperature. This will make it easier to stretch the dough and shape it to the pan.

Bake it where it’s hot

Pizzerias typically bake their pizzas at a higher temperature and for best results, you’ll want to as well. Homemade pizza should be baked at least 450 - 500 degrees for the best results and make sure your oven is preheated before you put your pizza in to bake. For the best results, consider warming your pizza pan or pizza stone for half an hour before you bake your pizza.

Rotate while baking

To help make sure your pizza pie bakes evenly, rotate the pan part way through baking to make sure it gets heated evenly.

Add your herbs last

Add your fresh basil and other herbs like chives and basil after the pizza is done. It will help prevent them from getting wilted and keep the best flavor intact as well.

Whether you’re making homemade pizza for National Pizza Day or any time of the year, making your own pizza can be an easy and delicious meal. What are your homemade pizza tips?

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