3 Ways to Bake Better Pizza at Home

© John Kernick
By Kristin Donnelly Posted December 05, 2015

Looking to up your pizza game? With a very hot oven or grill, you can!

1. The oven-only method
If you can crank your oven to 500°F without setting off a fire alarm, do it. And preheat for at least 30 minutes. The hotter the oven, the crisper the crust—and the less likely the pizza will stick. To help the oven hold its temperature, set a baking stone in the oven. Put it in the bottom of the oven if you want a well-cooked bottom crust, toward the center of the oven for more even cooking, or at the top for crisper, more browned toppings. Cook the pizza directly on the stone. (If you don’t have a stone, set a baking sheet upside down in the oven.) Try it:

Perfect Pizza Margherita 

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Clam Pizza with Salad

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Pizza with Charred Cherry Tomatoes and Pesto 

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2. The oven-broiler method
If your broiler is inside your oven’s main cavity (not a broiler drawer), take the oven method a step further: After preheating the oven with the stone, switch on the broiler five minutes before you plan to cook the pizza. The stone will cook the heat from the bottom and the flame from the top, resulting in a perfectly cooked pie. Try it:

Sausage and Olive Pizza with Capers and Pecorino Sardo

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Pizza with Garlic Cream and Nettles 

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Green Olive and Garlic Pizza 

3. The grilling method
A great grilled pizza can result in a crisp, beautifully blistered crust and a lightly smoky taste. (Plus, using the grill doesn’t heat up your house!) There are several tricks to getting it right. First, be sure your grill is clean and you oil the grates and dough so they don’t stick. Second, have all toppings at the ready because grilling moves fast. (And only use toppings that don’t need more than 3 minutes of cooking or reheating.) Third, before adding any toppings, cook the dough on one side (use moderate to moderately high heat) for a few minutes, until puffed. Flip it over onto a baking sheet or work surface and then add the toppings to the cooked side. Finish grilling, cooked side down. Try it:

Grilled Margherita and Olive-Fontina Pizzas 

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Gorgozola, Fig and Pancetta 

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Sausage Lovers’ Grilled Pizza 

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Kristin Donnelly is a former Food & Wine editor and author of the forthcoming The Modern Potluck (Clarkson Potter, 2016) and the blog Eat Better, Drink Better. She is also the cofounder of Stewart & Claire, an all-natural line of lip balms made in Brooklyn.

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