Easy Homemade Pizza

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If you love cheesy pizza with tons of mozzarella, a simple classic sauce, and a chewy crust with a crisp bottom – this easy homemade pizza recipe from scratch is for you!

A slice of pizza on a plate with the best pizza dough.
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An easy homemade pizza with cheese and herbs on a plate.

Homemade Cheesy Pizza

As a busy mom, finding that perfect balance between healthy, tasty, and kid-approved meals can often feel like navigating an obstacle course. When it comes to a dish that brings everyone together, my homemade pizza reigns supreme! There’s something magical about the aroma of dough rising and sauce simmering that transforms our kitchen into the heart of our home – plus this recipe is easy enough for the kids to get involved, too!

What truly makes this pizza special is how simple and easy this recipe is – and the difference fresh flavor makes for pizza!

I love knowing exactly what goes into the food my family eats, and there’s a certain pride in watching them devour slices of something I made entirely from scratch. Plus, the versatility means each child can personalize their toppings – from the classic pepperoni for my son, or dotted with black olives for my daughter.

But the real win? The flavor. There’s a depth and richness you just don’t get from store-bought or takeaway pizzas. The kids say it’s the best pizza in the world, and who am I to argue? After all, in our busy lives, these moments of shared joy and deliciousness are what we cherish the most.

A person grabbing a slice of pizza from a pan.

How to Make Easy Pizza

First assemble the following ingredients:

  • Corn meal (2 tbsp) – I like to use corn meal instead of flour to roll out the pizza dough.
  • Pizza crust (1) – Provides a neutral, slightly yeasty base that allows the flavors of the toppings to stand out. Our homemade pizza crust is the best easy recipe!
  • Marinara sauce (1/4 cup) – Adds a tangy and slightly sweet tomato flavor, enhancing the overall richness of the pizza.
  • Mozzarella cheese (1 cup) – Offers a creamy, mild, and slightly tangy taste, contributing to the gooey, stretchy texture of the pizza.
  • Parmesan cheese (½ cup) – Imparts a salty, nutty flavor, adding depth and a savory note to the pizza’s taste profile.
  • Italian seasoning (½ tsp) – Bring a fragrant and herby aroma, with hints of oregano, basil, and thyme, infusing the pizza with classic Italian flavors.

After gathering your ingredients, we will use this method:

  • Prep. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Spray a perforated pizza pan with cooking spray. 
  • Roll out Dough. Spread the cornmeal on a clean countertop. Press and roll out the pizza crust until thin and spread the dough onto the prepared pizza pan. 
  • Pre-Bake. Bake in the center rack of the oven for 3-5 minutes just until the dough moves freely when shaken on the pan. You may need to run a spatula around it but the dough should be partially cooked and shift independently on the pizza pan. 
  • Assemble and Bake. Spread the marinara sauce evenly all over the partially cooked dough, Spread the mozzarella and parmesan cheese evenly over the marinara sauce then sprinkle with Italian seasoning. Bake in the oven for 8 minutes. 
  • Finish on Baking Rack. After 8 minutes use an oven mitt to shift the pizza off of the perforated pan and straight onto the oven rack (this will help cook the bottom of the pizza). Let it cook another 5-10 minutes or until at the desired doneness.
An easy homemade slice of cheese pizza on a plate.

Tips and Tricks for Perfect Pizza

Sauce Simplicity: For the sauce, simplicity is key. Use high-quality canned tomatoes, crush them, and add a bit of salt. Cooking the sauce isn’t necessary as it will cook on the pizza.

Less is More with Toppings: Overloading the pizza with toppings can result in a soggy crust. Keep the toppings light and balanced. For the best flavor and melting quality, use fresh mozzarella rather than pre-shredded cheese.

Stretching the Dough: Avoid rolling pins as they can deflate the dough. Instead, use your hands to gently stretch the dough. This method preserves the air bubbles in the crust.

Oiling the Crust: Brush the edges of your crust with olive oil before baking. This helps in achieving a golden and crispy crust.

Even Distribution: Distribute the sauce and toppings evenly. This ensures each slice has a balanced flavor and cooks uniformly.

Baking Time: Keep an eye on the pizza as it bakes. The baking time will vary depending on your oven and the thickness of the crust. It usually takes about 10-15 minutes.

Resting Time: Let the pizza rest for a few minutes after taking it out of the oven. This helps in setting the cheese and makes it easier to slice.

Experiment with Flavors: Don’t be afraid to experiment with different toppings and flavor combinations. Homemade pizza is a great opportunity to tailor it to your personal taste preferences.

FAQs

How thin should I roll out the pizza dough?

This depends on personal preference. For a thinner, crispier crust, roll it out to about 1/4 inch thick. For a thicker crust, 1/2 inch is a good guideline.

What’s the best way to stretch pizza dough?

Use your hands to gently stretch the dough from the center outwards. Avoid using a rolling pin, as it can deflate the dough.

Can I use store-bought pizza dough?

Yes, store-bought dough is a convenient option and can yield great results. Let it come to room temperature before stretching.

How do I prevent the pizza from sticking to the pan?

Use parchment paper beneath the dough or a well-oiled pan to prevent sticking. Cornmeal or flour can also provide a non-stick surface.

What are some recommended toppings for homemade pizza?

Popular options include pepperoni, mushrooms, onions, bell peppers, and olives. Fresh basil, arugula, or a drizzle of olive oil can be added after baking for fresh flavor.

An easy homemade pizza on a pan with a slice taken out of it.

What to Serve with Pizza

Pizza is a versatile dish that pairs well with a variety of sides, drinks, and even desserts. Here’s a list of items you can enjoy with pizza to enhance your dining experience:

Salads: A fresh salad with a light vinaigrette dressing is a great way to start. It adds a crisp, refreshing contrast to the rich, savory flavors of the pizza. Classic options include a Caesar salad, a simple arugula salad, or a Caprese salad.

Garlic Bread: Garlic bread, with its buttery, garlicky flavor, is a classic accompaniment to pizza. It complements the pizza’s taste and is great for dipping in marinara sauce.

Wings: Chicken wings, whether spicy, barbecued, or plain, are a popular side with pizza, especially during game nights or casual gatherings.

Beverages:

Wine: A glass of wine can elevate your pizza experience. Red wines like Chianti or Merlot pair well with meaty or hearty pizzas, while white wines like Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc complement lighter, veggie-heavy pizzas.

Beer: Beer is a classic pairing with pizza. A lager or pilsner pairs well with most pizzas, while an IPA can complement spicier toppings.

Soft Drinks: Colas, root beers, and lemon-lime sodas are common choices for a refreshing drink alongside pizza.

Sparkling Water: For a lighter, non-alcoholic option, sparkling water with a slice of lemon or lime is refreshing and helps cleanse the palate.

Dipping Sauces: Offer a variety of dipping sauces like ranch, blue cheese, honey mustard, or extra marinara sauce to add more flavor to each bite.

Vegetable Sticks: Slices of bell pepper, carrots, celery, or cucumber served with a light dip can provide a crunchy, healthy balance to the meal.

Pickles and Olives: A small bowl of pickles or assorted olives can add a nice tangy contrast to the flavors of the pizza.

Antipasto Platter: A selection of cured meats, cheeses, and marinated vegetables makes for a great starter or side and pairs wonderfully with pizza.

Desserts:

Gelato or Ice Cream: A scoop of gelato or ice cream is a delightful way to end a pizza meal, especially if the pizza was particularly spicy or rich.

Tiramisu: This classic Italian dessert is a great follow-up to pizza, offering a sweet and creamy contrast.

Chocolate Brownies: For those who prefer a richer dessert, chocolate brownies can be a decadent finish.

Coffee or Espresso: A hot cup of coffee or a shot of espresso is a nice way to conclude your meal, especially if you had a heavy pizza or a rich dessert.

Try these other recipes next:

A slice of pizza on a plate with the best pizza dough.

Easy Homemade Pizza Recipe

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Easy homemade pizza from scratch.

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An easy homemade pizza with cheese and herbs on a plate.
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Easy Homemade Pizza

Homemade pizza offers a symphony of flavors, from the rich and tangy marinara sauce to the gooey, stretchy mozzarella, all harmonizing atop a warm, slightly chewy crust infused with a hint of yeasty goodness.
Course Main Dishes
Cuisine Italian
Keyword cheese, main dish, no pizza stone, no pizza stone pizza, pizza night
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 8 servings, 1 pizza 12″
Calories 250kcal
Author Courtney O’Dell

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp corn meal
  • 1 premade pizza crust see my recipe
  • ¼ cup marinara sauce
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese shredded
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese shredded
  • ½ tsp Italian seasoning

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Spray a perforated pizza pan with cooking spray. 
  • Spread the cornmeal on a clean countertop. Press and roll out the pie crust until thin and spread the dough onto the prepared pizza pan. 
  • Bake in the center rack of the oven for 3-5 minutes just until the dough moves freely when shaken on the pan. You may need to run a spatula around it but the dough should be partially cooked and shift independently on the pizza pan. 
  • Spread the marinara sauce evenly all over the partially cooked dough, Spread the mozzarella and parmesan cheese evenly over the marinara sauce then sprinkle with Italian seasoning. 
  • Bake in the oven for 8 minutes. 
  • After 8 minutes use an oven mitt to shift the pizza off of the perforated pan and straight onto the oven rack (this will help cook the bottom of the pizza). Let it cook another 5-10 minutes or until at the desired doneness.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 250kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 15mg | Sodium: 506mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g

About Courtney

Courtney loves to share great wine, good food, and loves to explore far flung places- all while masting an everyday elegant and easy style. Courtney writes the popular creative lifestyle blog Sweet C’s Designs- a site devoted to delicious everyday recipes, home decor, crafts, DIY inspiration, and photography tips to help make your every day extraordinary.

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2 Comments

  1. Shery Sullivan says:

    If I add Italian sausage would I cook it before adding it or put it on raw?

    1. Katherine says:

      I would cook it ahead of time. Good question!