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If you’ve been searching for a great thick crust pizza recipe, look no further! This quick and easy dough is perfectly soft, chewy, thick, and hearty.
Add your favorite toppings for the best homemade pizza you’ve ever made.
Are you tired of flimsy, cardboard-like pizza crusts that just don’t deliver the satisfying chewy texture you crave? I know I am.
But once you have a good homemade thick crust pizza, you’d know that nothing else compares. My family loves this veggie pizza, and I’ve even got the kids eating artichokes with this Artichoke and sun dried tomato pizza.
And you’d think making a good thick crust pizza would take a lot of effort and skill, but it really doesn’t. Five pantry ingredients plus your toppings are all you need!
What Makes Homemade Thick Crust Pizza So Irresistible?
If you’re a pizza lover like me, then you know that a slice of homemade American-style thick crust pizza is something truly special.
But what is it about this particular style of pizza that has us all reaching for seconds (and thirds)?
Well, for starters, there’s the texture. A thick crust pizza has a satisfying soft chewiness that you just can’t get with a thin crust. It’s substantial enough to hold up to all your favorite toppings, but still light and airy enough to avoid feeling too heavy.
And then there’s the flavor. When you make your own pizza dough, you have complete control over the ingredients – no more mystery additives or preservatives. Plus, there’s something truly magical about the way fresh-baked bread smells and tastes, and that’s exactly what you’ll get with a homemade crust.
But perhaps the best part about making your own thick crust pizza is the customization. Want to load it up with veggies like in this veggie pizza? Go for it.
Want to go all-out with a meat lover’s dream? You got it. When you make your own pizza, the possibilities are endless. You can even make a Buffalo chicken pizza.
So whether you’re a seasoned pizza pro or a newbie in the kitchen, there’s no denying the appeal of a homemade thick crust pizza. Give it a try and see for yourself – I promise you won’t be disappointed.
What makes this thick crust different from regular crust?
The ingredients for this thick crust pizza dough are the same as my favorite all-purpose pizza dough recipe. The difference is with two small but crucial changes in the method.
- Instead of forming the dough into an extra large 14-inch circle as I normally do for a regular crust pizza, I form the dough into a slightly smaller 12-inch circle, for more dough per inch.
- I let the dough rise briefly for a second time, AFTER it has been formed into a circle. This results in a soft, thick dough, for a heartier bite than you get without that extra rise.
This flour is made from a blend of hard and soft wheat and is the most common type of flour used in pizza dough recipes. It has a protein (gluten) content of around 10-12%, which helps to keep the thick crust pizza soft and tender.
Bread flour is a type of flour that is made from hard wheat and has a higher protein content than all-purpose flour. This higher protein content gives the thick crust pizza its structure and chewiness.
If you prefer a denser, chewier crust, you can use only bread flour instead of all-purpose flour, but I prefer the softness that this blend of flours imparts.
Semolina is most often used in pasta making, but it can also be added to pizza dough to give it extra texture, even more chew, and a hint of crispiness.
Semolina a much coarser flour than either all-purpose of bread flour and contains more protein.
I use quick-rise yeast (also know as bread-machine yeast), as it is designed to work quickly, so it’s perfect for this thick crust pizza dough. It doesn’t require “activating” with a water solution first, so you can just mix it right in with the dry ingredients.
You can absolutely use active dry yeast in this recipe instead of quick-rise if you prefer. The only difference is that you will need to activate the yeast first by combining it with the water and sugar and allowing it to “proof” for 10-15 minutes before combining it with the remaining ingredients.
I prefer to use this homemade pizza sauce for all my pizzas! You can also use store brought if you have a brand that you love, or just want to keep it simple!
This is the classic pizza cheese, and it’s what gives the pizza its gooey, melty goodness. I recommend shredding your own cheese from a block. Pre-shredded cheese contains anti-clumping substances that prevent it from melting as well as freshly shredded cheese.
Parmesan cheese adds a nice salty, nutty flavor to the pizza. Be sure to grate it finely so that it distributes evenly over the thick crust pizza. You can also use other types of hard cheese, such as pecorino romano or asiago.
Step by Step Instructions
1. Whisk together the flours, semolina, yeast, sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixture.
2. Now add in the warm water and stir, until it starts to come together.
3. Attach the dough hook to the stand mixer and mix on low for 5 minutes, or until the dough forms a smooth ball. The dough should still be sticky and stick to the bottom of the bowl, but if it won’t come away from the sides at all, add additional flour, one tablespoon at a time, and stir until it comes together. Too much flour will result in a tough crust.
4. Drizzle some olive oil down the inside of the bowl and roll the dough ball around to coat it and the interior of the bowl.
5. The bowl should be covered with a tea towel and left in a warm place for 45 to 60 minutes or until it has doubled in size.
6. About halfway through the rising time, place the pizza stone on the middle rack of your oven, and preheat the oven and pizza stone to the highest temperature your oven will go (mine goes to 550F).
7. When the dough has doubled in size, punch it down and re-form it into a ball. On a large piece of parchment paper, sprinkle some semolina. Form the dough into a 12-inch circle on top of the parchment paper using your fingertips.
8. Allow the dough to rest for 10-15 minutes before putting on the toppings. This will allow your dough to rise somewhat more, resulting in a soft, thick crust pizza.
9. Spread pizza sauce on top of the dough. Add a layer of toppings (if using). Over the toppings, sprinkle the mozzarella. Add a second layer of toppings and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
10. Transfer the pizza to a pizza peel, wooden cutting board, or the back of a big baking sheet, using the parchment paper to lift. Put on some oven mitts, open the oven door and very carefully transfer the pizza AND paper onto the hot baking stone.
11. Bake for 8-12 minutes, or until golden and cooked through. The time will vary depending on how hot your oven is and whether you’re baking on a prepared stone or in a pizza pan. Mine takes 8 minutes at 550F on a preheated pizza stone.
Tips to Make the Best Thick Crust Pizza
Use a scale to measure your ingredients: Using a kitchen scale to measure your ingredients instead of using measuring cups will give you more consistent results. If using cups, always use the spoon and level method for measuring flour.
Don’t overwork the dough: When you’re shaping the dough, be careful not to overwork it. This can cause the gluten to become too elastic, which will make it difficult to shape and result in a tough crust instead of a thick crust pizza. I like to just use my finger tips to gently shape the dough into a circle.
If you find your dough springing back a lot while you’re shaping it, that’s the gluten acting up. Let it rest for about 10 minutes before trying again. Honestly, you shouldn’t have that problem with this dough if you haven’t overworked it though.
Don’t overload your pizza: A sturdy thick crust pizza can handle a larger amount of toppings than a thin crust pizza, but it’s still best not to overload your pizza with too many toppings. Stick to a few high-quality toppings and spread them evenly over the pizza.
Let the pizza rest before slicing: After you’ve baked your pizza, let it rest for a few minutes before slicing it. This will allow the cheese to set and the crust to cool slightly, which will make it easier to slice and serve.
Yes, you can use only all-purpose flour if you prefer. However, using bread flour or a combination of all-purpose and bread flour will give you a chewier crust with more structure. Semolina is optional, but after much experimentation, I have found this blend and these ratios to be my personal favorite.
Yes, you can make the pizza dough ahead of time and refrigerate it for up to 3 days. This will actually give the dough more time to develop flavor. Just be sure to let the dough come to room temperature before shaping and baking.
Yes, you can freeze the pizza dough for up to 3 months. To use frozen pizza dough, simply thaw it in the refrigerator overnight, and allow it to come to room temperature before shaping and baking.
No, you don’t need a pizza stone to make thick crust pizza. You can use a baking sheet or a pizza pan instead. However, using a pizza stone will help to give your crust a crispier texture and more even heat distribution.
Yes! Just combine the yeast with the water and sugar and let it sit for about 10 minutes to activate before adding the remaining ingredients.
Absolutely. If you don’t have a stand mixer, just combine the ingredients in a large bowl with a wood spoon, transfer the mixture to a well-floured work surface and knead the dough for about 5 minutes until you have a smooth, elastic ball.
To speed up the rising time a little for the first rise, I like to turn the oven on for a couple of minutes, then turn it off so that the inside temperature is like a hot summer day, and let the dough rise in there for the first few minutes to kickstart it. I then remove the dough from the oven to preheat the oven and pizza stone for the pizza.
Thick Crust Pizza
Tools for This Recipe
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup bread flour
- 1/2 cup semolina
- 2 teaspoons quick-rise (bread machine) yeast
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup warm water
- olive oil for coating the bowl
- 1/2 cup pizza sauce homemade or store bought
- 8 oz mozzarella grated
- 2 oz Parmesan cheese finely grated
- other toppings of choice optional
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the flours, semolina, yeast, sugar and salt.
- Add the warm water and stir, just until it starts to come together.
- Fit the dough hook to the stand mixer and mix on low speed for about 5 minutes until the dough comes together in a smooth ball. The dough should still be a little sticky and will stick to the bottom of the bowl, but if will not come away from the sides at all, add more flour, one tablespoon at a time, mixing until it comes together. Do not add too much flour or the crust will be tough.
- Drizzle a little olive oil down the inside of the bowl and roll the ball of dough around to coat the dough and the inside of the bowl.
- Cover the bowl with a tea towel and put in a warm place to rise for 45 minutes to an hour, until doubled in size.*
- Towards the end of the rising time, place a pizza stone on the middle rack of the oven, and preheat the oven and pizza stone to the highest temperature it will go (mine goes to 550F).
- Once it has doubled, punch the dough down and form it back into a ball. Sprinkle a little semolina onto a large piece of parchment paper. Using your fingers, form the dough into a 12-inch circle on top of the parchment.
- Let the dough rest for 10-15 minutes before adding the toppings. This will allow your dough to rise a little more and ensure a soft, thick crust.
- Spread pizza sauce over the dough. Add a layer of toppings if using. Sprinkle the mozzarella over the toppings. Add a second layer of toppings if desired, and sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese.
- Using the parchment paper to lift, transfer the pizza and parchment paper to a pizza peel, wooden cutting board, or the back of a large baking sheet. Open the oven door and carefully slide the pizza and parchment onto the hot baking stone.
- Bake 8-12 minutes until golden and cooked through. Time will depend on how hot your oven is, and on whether you are baking on a preheated stone or using a pizza pan. At 550F, mine takes 8 minutes.