Sep 17 2009

Make-Ahead Pizza Crusts

Published by at 8:00 am under Quick Meal,Spring

I’m about to share with you an easy make-ahead recipe that could potentially save you from losing your mind during the middle of a busy week: the make-ahead pizza crust.

par-baked pizza crust

Think about it. The crust is often the part that has you nixing the thought of making homemade pizza during the week, and good intentions for a fun Friday night dinner might fly out the window when you’re simply too tired or hungry. Enter the make-ahead crust.

pre-baked pizza crust

All you need to do is take an extra hour or two on the weekend to make your crusts, then pop them in the freezer until an emergency strikes. Of course, these crusts are so awesome that you just might have an emergency a few nights in a row. Not that I’m speaking from experience or anything.

Make-Ahead Pizza Crusts
makes 3 pizza crusts

1 package active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1 tablespoon honey or sugar
1 1/2 cups bread flour*
pinch of salt
1 tsp dried Italian herbs (optional)
1 tablespoon olive oil

Combine yeast, water, and honey in a liquid measuring cup. Let sit for 10-15 minutes. You will smell the yeast and the mixture will look very foamy on top – if this does not happen, toss it and start over – the yeast was bad. (By the way, this step will ensure a perfect pizza crust for you, since you’ll know right away whether or not your yeast will give you any trouble. So for those of you afraid of trying anything with yeast, trust me on this, you’ll get good results from this dough.)

Meanwhile, combine the flour and salt (and herbs, if using) in a medium-sized bowl. With a spoon, make a well in the middle of the bowl and add the olive oil. Pour the water into the well. With a spoon, stir the flour and water. When it gets difficult to combine the flour and water (usually after five or six strokes), use your hand to mix. If the dough seems a bit dry, add a small sprinkle of water. When the dough comes together in a ball (the texture will still be rough), knead the dough about 10 times or until smooth. I have a shallow enough bowl that I can knead the dough right in the bowl, but kneading on a floured board works as well.

Coat the same bowl with olive oil. Toss the dough in the bowl so it’s evenly coated with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let sit for 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 475*F. Spray large baking sheet with cooking spray or brush with oil.

Divide dough into 3 balls and press into circles on baking sheet for a rustic look (if you want more perfect looking circles, go ahead and use a rolling pin). Bake on lowest rack for 6 minutes.

Cool crusts completely on a wire rack. Freeze until ready to use (I just put them all in a large plastic bag with waxed paper in between the crusts).

To make a pizza: Take out the number of crusts that you need. Preheat oven to 450*F. Top each crust with desired sauce and toppings, bake for 7-8 minutes on the middle rack for a cheese pizza, more like 9-12 minutes if you add toppings.

Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes. Cut and enjoy!

*You can substitute half of the bread flour with whole wheat flour. You can also use 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour in place of the bread flour. Don’t, however, do half all-purpose flour and half whole wheat flour…there’s just not enough gluten to produce gread results.

par-baked pizza crust

21 responses so far

21 Responses to “Make-Ahead Pizza Crusts”

  1. Vanessaon 17 Sep 2009 at 7:04 pm

    I always have some pizza dough in the freezer! It’s a great idea and such a time saver! Maybe I’ll have to start baking them off. I bet that would take up less space and save a step! Thanks!

  2. Donnaon 17 Sep 2009 at 10:06 pm

    What a fantastic post.. great idea for busy weeknights.

  3. Barbaraon 18 Sep 2009 at 9:06 am

    What a super idea- and I agree- I might have several emergencies in a row!

  4. BBQ Chicken Pizzaon 20 Sep 2009 at 12:31 pm

    […] going to seed; I had very little time left to take advantage of this flavorfull herb. If I had some pre-baked crusts, I certainly would have used them, but that particular night, I had planned on making a flatbread. […]

  5. Saraon 21 Sep 2009 at 6:12 pm

    Vanessa – I guess you could say I graduated from the pizza dough in the freezer to the pre-baked crust. Hey, anything to give a quick dinner option is fine by me.

    Donna & Barbara – Thanks!

  6. Mushroom and Goat Cheese Pizzaon 06 Jul 2010 at 8:26 pm

    […] shredded whole milk mozzarella soft fresh goat cheese shaved parmesan extra virgin olive oil chives pizza crust salt […]

  7. Steak Sandwicheson 04 Nov 2010 at 6:07 am

    […] same meal. But both are easy and quick, especially if you take advantage of your freezer: freeze pre-made crusts, marinara, and taco […]

  8. Alexon 08 Jan 2011 at 1:48 am

    I haven’t tried freezing these crusts yet, but I used it to make fresh pizzas and it was delicious! I’ve been using the Pioneer Woman’s pizza crust recipe for a long time, but yours is definitely my go-to recipe now. Everyone loved it!

  9. Saraon 08 Jan 2011 at 10:08 pm

    I’m so glad you like them. One of these days I plan on posting my thin, crispy crust, as well.

  10. Christineon 29 Jan 2011 at 12:51 pm

    Sara – we loved these crusts! We had them for my son’s make-your-own pizza party for his eighth birthday. It was so much easier! One issue I had was that some of them puffed up like balloons (like they do when you make pitas). Poking the dough with a fork (at least 10 times) fixed this. Thanks for the great, easy recipe!

  11. Saraon 30 Jan 2011 at 6:40 pm

    Christine, I’m glad they worked (mostly) well for you. I’ve had a bubble or two in the crust before but never had it all puff up like that. Maybe I’m taking my frustrations out on the dough more when I’m flattening it. :)

  12. Sweet Ponderingon 19 Apr 2011 at 10:49 pm

    […] My links weren’t working for this post for some reason, so here are the URLs for the links. […]

  13. Memorial Day Recipeson 26 May 2011 at 12:08 pm

    […] Pre-baked Pizza Crusts – top with your favorite pizza sauce, cheese, and toppings, then grill until cheese melts […]

  14. Grilled Pizzaon 05 Oct 2011 at 11:29 am

    […] made in my life. Yes, ever. And I’ve made a few pizzas, even going so far as to store my own partially-baked crusts in my […]

  15. […] section of your grocery store) but making your own is not too hard if you plan ahead.  I used this recipe for pizza dough not too long ago and it was easy to make, easy to work with and tasted great.  I […]

  16. Darrenon 08 Aug 2012 at 7:23 pm

    I pre-bake my cupcakes as well…this gives them the chance to burn all the way through.I dont like school buses…or is it busses?

  17. Deweyon 08 Aug 2012 at 7:24 pm

    that Darren sure is silly……….wwweeeeeeeeeee

  18. dr peter osborne quackon 15 May 2014 at 2:20 pm

    • Tapioca Flour – light, white and very smooth flour from cassava roots.
    She provides useful advice on such things as gluten-free baking
    flour, in detail, to communicate her full knowledge. If you visit your local grocery store, you will discover that a lot of products like cereals, baked goods, pastas and many more are now coming in a
    gluten free version.

  19. Chef Willieon 22 Dec 2015 at 2:41 pm

    Do you let the crusts thaw before going in the oven

  20. SDon 09 Dec 2016 at 5:18 pm

    This is the best recipe for pizza crusts. I have been using it for a couple of years now, and every time people love the crusts. They freeze well too. Thank you for the recipe.

  21. Colleenon 25 Mar 2017 at 3:32 pm

    I have been testing out make-ahead pizza crust recipes and I like this one the best. Really nice dough. I decided to only cook them for 3 minutes before freezing and I am very happy with the result as the first pan I cooked for 5 min and found it already starting to brown on the bottom. (Also for my second pan I moved the rack back to the middle.) I need individual pizzas of about 8″ size and I found this recipe makes 4 pizzas of about 8″ that are not too thick or too thin. I am not sure how you would ever get 3 full size pizzas out of this much dough.

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