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Food & Wine Test Kitchen Pizza Tips

Chefs’ obsession with pizza has led us to great recipes for the home cook. While the toppings vary widely, the crust should be the perfect balance of chewy and crispy. Here, a few tools and techniques for making better pizza.

  • The longer you let your dough rise, the more complex it will taste (at least to a point).
  • To form the pizza dough into a round, use your fingers to press and stretch a dough ball, working from the center toward the edge. No tossing necessary!
  • Use a pizza stone and preheat it well. Some people prefer cement. Others ceramic. Others steel. Regardless of the material, a stone keeps your oven hot when the door is open and helps create a crisp bottom crust.
  • If you plan to make pizza often, think about investing in a pizza peel (they're not so expensive). It really is the easiest way to slide a pizza onto a hot stone. Dust the peel with a little flour or semolina so the dough slides easily.
  • Often, the best way to get a crisp crust and bubbling top on a pizza is to preheat the oven for at least 30 minutes before sliding the pizza onto the stone. Then, turn on the broiler and cook for about 5 minutes. —Kristin Donnelly

Vegetarian Pizza Recipes

Homemade Pizza Recipes: Perfect Pizza Margherita
Photo © James Baigrie.

Perfect Pizza Margherita

Grace Parisi tops homemade pizza dough with San Marzano tomatoes, milky buffalo mozzarella and fresh basil. Letting the dough rest in the refrigerator overnight results in a chewy crust with a slight tang.

Homemade Pizza Recipes: Eggplant, Pesto, and Goat-Cheese Pizza
Photo © Karen Mordechai.

Eggplant, Pesto, and Goat-Cheese Pizza

Tangy goat cheese, sharp Parmesan, tender sautéed eggplant and bold basil pesto cover this mouth-watering pizza.

Homemade Pizza Recipes: Pizza with Garlic Cream and Nettles
Photo © Fredrika Stjärne.

Pizza with Garlic Cream and Nettles

Nutty nettles and delicate green garlic make this an exceptional recipe for early spring.

Homemade Pizza Recipes: Portobello-Mushroom and Red-Pepper Pizza
Photo © Sara Forte.

Portobello-Mushroom and Red-Pepper Pizza

This pizza recipe showcases meaty portobello mushrooms, red bell peppers and basil. If you don't have fresh basil, stir some pesto into the peppers and mushrooms before putting them on the pizza.

Homemade Pizza Recipes: Summer Squash Pizza with Goat Cheese and Walnuts
Photo © James Baigrie.

Summer Squash Pizza with Goat Cheese and Walnuts

Zucchini and yellow squash can both be mild in flavor, but nothing about this tangy, herby homemade pizza is bland. The summer squash is sliced into slender coins, then roasted in a hot oven until it's lightly caramelized, bringing out its sweetness.

Homemade Pizza Recipes: Chris Bianco’s Pizza Rosa
Photo © Tina Rupp.

Chris Bianco’s Pizza Rosa

At Phoenix’s Pizzeria Bianco, pizzaiolo Chris Bianco tops his Pizza Rosa with rings of red onions, a sprinkling of chopped pistachios and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

Homemade Pizza Recipes: Hummus and Grilled-Zucchini Pizzas
Photo © Con Poulos.

Hummus and Grilled-Zucchini Pizzas

Prepared hummus that comes with a scoop of chopped garlic on top is the secret to this pizza recipe: The garlic gets mixed with oil to marinate the zucchini, while the remaining garlic and hummus flavor the whole pizza.

Porcini Pizza

For his pizza topping, Mario Batali pairs pungent Taleggio cheese with three types of sautéed mushrooms: porcini, Portobello and cremini.

Meat Pizza Recipes

Homemade Pizza Recipes: Pizza Vesuvio with the Works
Photo © Anson Smart.

Pizza Vesuvio with the Works

This half pizza-half calzone is stuffed with artichoke hearts, creamy ricotta, ham, salami, marinara sauce, mushrooms and olives.

Homemade Pizza Recipes: Leek-and-Pecorino Pizzas
Photo © Con Poulos.

Leek-and-Pecorino Pizzas

This homemade pizza gets richness from sweet, softened leeks and truffled pecorino cheese; ground lamb makes it a substantial and satisfying meal.

Homemade Pizza Recipes: Sweet Potato, Balsamic Onion and Soppressata Pizza
Photo © David Malosh.

Sweet Potato, Balsamic Onion and Soppressata Pizza

With ribbons of soppressata, mashed sweet potatoes, mozzarella cheese and balsamic-glazed onions, this clever, prebaked-crust pizza is a study in salty-sweet flavors.

Homemade Pizza Recipes: Roasted Chicken and Leek Pizza
Photo © Dana Gallagher.

Roasted Chicken and Leek Pizza

Store-bought rotisserie chicken, with its juicy meat, makes a great quick topping.

Homemade Pizza Recipes: White Bean and Pancetta Pizza
Photo © Tina Rupp.

White Bean and Pancetta Pizza

Grace Parisi tops pocketless pita or naan with cannellini beans, smoky pancetta and melty Fontina cheese.

Homemade Pizza Recipes: Andouille Pizza with Onion Confit and Fontina Cheese
Photo © Anna Williams.

Andouille Pizza with Onion Confit and Fontina Cheese

Spicy Andouille sausage is delicious with sweet onion confit.

Seafood Pizza Recipes

Homemade Pizza Recipes: Clam Pizza with Salad Topping
Photo © Susan Spungen.

Clam Pizza with Salad Topping

This garlicky clam pie is topped with a mound of salad greens dressed with oil and vinegar.

Homemade Pizza Recipes: Squid Pizza with Saffron Aioli
Photo © James Baigrie.

Squid Pizza with Saffron Aioli

Michael Emanuel (an alumnus of Berkeley’s Chez Panisse) tops this pizza with an irresistible mix of Provençal flavors: salty-sweet roasted squid, creamy aioli and crushed red pepper.

Shrimp-and-Chorizo Pizza with Escarole and Manchego

Michael Schwartz’s seafood pie features shrimp, garlicky escarole, nutty Manchego and spicy chorizo.

Grilled Pizza

Homemade Pizza Recipes: Grilled Margherita and Olive-Fontina Pizzas
Photo © Maura McEvoy.

Grilled Margherita and Olive-Fontina Pizzas

“This dough is not the kind you throw in the air like in the movies,” Mario Batali says. He grills the crusts until they’re delectably charred, then adds one of two simple toppings—a classic Margherita, and a pungent mix of Fontina, black olives and pine nuts

Homemade Pizza Recipes: Wrede’s Grilled Pizza with Grapes and Soppressata
Photo © Maura McEvoy.

Wrede’s Grilled Pizza with Grapes and Soppressata

After grilling rounds of pizza dough, Joseph Wrede tops them with creamy Gorgonzola dolce, diced soppressata, green grapes and chives.

Grilled Pizza with Asparagus, Scallions and Fontina

Cut into small squares, this fast vegetarian pizza makes a great spring or summer hors d’oeuvre.

Homemade Pizza Recipes: Gorgonzola, Fig and Pancetta Pizza
Photo © Anson Smart.

Gorgonzola, Fig and Pancetta Pizza

In this ingenious recipe, sweet fresh figs are perfectly played against creamy, earthy Gorgonzola cheese, milky mozzarella and salty pancetta.

Charlie’s Wood-Grilled Tailgate Pizza

Chef Charlie Palmer dreamed up this perfect tailgating pizza with three kinds of cheese, artichoke hearts, wild mushrooms and prosciutto.

Pizza Recipes from Around the World

Homemade Pizza Recipes: Turkish Ground-Lamb Pizzas
Photo © Michael Turek.

Turkish Ground-Lamb Pizzas

At her takeout shop in Istanbul, Semsa Denizsel tops her pizzas with ground lamb flavored with sweet sun-dried tomatoes and spicy red pepper. To make it even more substantial, bake it with an egg on top.

Homemade Pizza Recipes: Mexican Pizza
Photo © Pernille Pedersen.

Mexican Pizza

Deconstructed nachos were the inspiration behind this fun recipe, made with chili-spiced black-bean puree, tomatoes, olives, shredded lettuce and Jack cheese on a whole-wheat crust.

Alsatian Pizza

With lightly caramelized onions, thick-cut smoky bacon, and a tangy base made from fromage blanc and crème fraîche, this pie resembles the typical Alsatian tarte flambée.

Coriander-Lamb Nan Pizzas

Jehangir Mehta borrowed the flavors of an old Parsi lamb dish that is typically served as a main course with rice.

Pizza Dough Recipes

Mario Batali’s Pizza Dough

The superchef adds a touch of honey and wine to his foolproof dough.

Shea Gallante’s Pizza Dough

Italian chef Shea Gallante lets his dough proof in the refrigerator overnight, resulting in a pleasantly chewy, flavorful crust.

Crispy Pizza Dough

This simple dough produces an exceptionally delicious, crunchy crust.

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