THIS POST IS SPONSORED BY
DeLallo Foods, who I’m so excited to partner & share with you all throughout 2020. DeLallo’s pizza dough kit it is one of my all-time favorite pizza night secrets! All thoughts & opinions are my own.
A New At-Home Pizza Night Fave – Cast Iron Skillet Pizza
If your house is anything like mine, pizza night is a treasured weekly ritual.
Chris & I have had a weekly pizza date night ever since we started dating. We used to always go out to our favorite local pizza spot, but, in the past year or so, we’ve been having a lot of fun with having our hand at making restaurant-quality pizzas at home.
ICYMI, I shared our at-home pizza set up last year. We’re still totally 100% obsessed with it, though I’ll be the first to admit that it has a couple of drawbacks: it’s not especially weeknight-friendly (our wood-fired pizza oven requires a bit of time to preheat) & it’s not ideal for cold weather (ahem, such as the middle of January in Minnesota…). Plus, not everyone has a wood-fired pizza oven – an especially troubling detail to me, someone dedicated to making tasty recipes anyone can make.
So, earlier this year I made it my mission to develop a pizza night alternative, sans fancy equipment & gadgets: a damn good, damn easy homemade pizza recipe, perfect for last-minute pizza cravings. In the past 6 months, we tested a lot of different methods & recipes (#QuarantineProject), & have landed on the perfect easy & approachable homemade pizza recipe: Cast Iron Skillet Pizza.
Having tried just about every method out there for homemade pizza, cast iron pizza is easily the best non-wood-fired pizza I’ve ever made. The heavy weight of cast iron helps a skillet retain heat incredibly well, yielding pizza with crust that is perfectly chewy & has crisp edges.
Get ready to ditch your pizza stone, because a simple cast iron skillet is the secret to making restaurant-quality pizza at home! ♡ Read on to learn more about this Skillet Pizza recipe, or jump straight to the recipe & get cookin’!
A few quick notes before we get started…
First, it’s worth noting this cast iron pizza is not similar in style to thin Neopolitan-style pizzas. If that’s what you’re after, you’ll definitely be better suited with a wood-fired pizza set-up. Personally speaking, the ease & simplicity of cast iron skillet pizza helped me, a Neopolitan pizza superfan, level set my expectations. Skillet pizzas are different, with a slightly puffier & chewier crust, but they’re really, really good nonetheless.
Second, this particular cast iron skillet pizza recipe is our favorite to date: Cast Iron Pizza all’Amatriciana. All’Amatriciana (ah-lah-mah-treech-ee-ah-nah) simply refers to the style of toppings on this particular pizza; a nod to pasta all’amatriciana, a classic Italian pasta dish with spicy, pancetta-infused tomato sauce. You can make this skillet pizza recipe work with any toppings you love most – I have a few of our other favorite toppings variations included at the end of this post!
Lastly, this is admittedly a lengthy post – I’ve jokingly begun referring to it as PWWB’s Pizza Dissertation – but not without good reason. This post covers absolutely everything you need to know about how to make pizza in a cast iron skillet, including:
- Our preferred pizza dough.
- How to properly handle & shape pizza dough.
- How to prep your skillet for pizza night.
- Pizza toppings galore!
If you nerd out about the hows & whys behind a recipe, trust that you’re in very good hands. 🤓 But, if you feel super confident about all of these aspects of pizza making, here’s another friendly reminder that you can jump straight to the recipe & get your pizza on!
It all starts with the best cast iron skillet pizza dough. (A PWWB Fave!)
The heart of any pizza is its foundation: the crust. Good crust, of course, starts with good dough, & that’s when I always turn to DeLallo. DeLallo’s Pizza Dough Kit is the secret to whipping up seriously restaurant-quality pizzas on a whim. It’s my favorite pizza night shortcut – if it’s new to you, you’re seriously in for such a treat.
The kit consists of a carefully crafted flour mixture & yeast. The flour mixture is made with Type 00 flour, a superfine Italian flour crucial to creating dough with good elasticity, which in turn creates a pizza crust that has the perfect chewy texture & is strong enough to hold up to any toppings your pizza-loving heart could want.
All you have to do is mix the kit contents together with a little warm water, give it a quick knead & let it rise – 10 minutes of active work, tops!
The dough is pillowy soft & creates pizza crust that is perfectly light & chewy all at once. It’s the best store-bought dough I’ve ever worked with (& if we’re being honest, it’s better than my homemade attempts, too!). I 1000% suggest ordering a couple of pizza dough kits to keep stocked in your pantry!
Handling Pizza Dough – Tips & Tricks:
Whether your cast iron skillet pizza dough is store-bought, semi-homemade or homemade, the difference between good skillet pizza & great skillet pizza lies in handling the dough with proper technique. Here are a few of my best pizza dough tips & tricks for success:
#1 – Always start by shaping the pizza dough into a ball.
Once risen, divide the pizza dough into 2-3 pieces depending on your preferred crust thickness (see below). Before rolling it out into crust, you’ll want to shape each piece into an individual pizza dough ball, which makes the crust a bit puffier & creates those addictively crispy air pockets along its edges.
To form the pizza dough balls, grab an edge of the dough portion & fold it back into its center, continuing until the dough is shaped into a nice, taut ball (see photos, above – I learned this technique from Handle the Heat). Once the pizza dough balls are shaped, set aside to proof for 5-10 minutes.
Note: You will need 12 ounces of dough for this cast iron pizza recipe, which is about 1/3 of the DeLallo Pizza Dough Kit & yields a 10-inch cast iron pizza with a decently thin crust. I do not suggest making your crust any thinner than this, as it will cook too quickly, hardening & drying out (I learned this the hard way!). If you prefer cast iron pizza with a thick crust, use 16 ounces of dough (1/2 of the DeLallo Pizza Dough Kit).
#2 – How to roll out pizza dough properly:
Your hands, & maybe a little patience, are all you need to roll a pizza dough ball properly. (No need to use a rolling pin or a wine bottle to help get the job done!) This is what you’ll want to do:
Place the dough ball on a lightly floured surface. Use your palm to press down on its center, creating a disc. Using your fingers, work the dough at the center of the disc out towards the edge, making the disc larger & larger.
Once your disc of dough is about halfway there, pick it up. Holding the dough by its edge, rotate the dough as though you’re turning a steering wheel. Gravity will help stretch the dough into a larger round.
Pizza dough troubleshooting:
- Stubborn dough: If at any point your dough is snapping back into a certain shape or size despite your best efforts in shaping it, the best thing you can do is give it a minute or two to breathe. The stubbornness means proteins holding the dough together just need a minute to relax. Let the dough rest for a couple of minutes & try again – it should be much easier to handle.
- Holes in the crust: If a hole shows up as you roll out the dough, that’s totally fine. Use your fingers to pinch it closed. Problem solved!
#3 – Manage your time – make-ahead & freezing for later:
Make-ahead pizza dough: You can prep fresh pizza dough up to 3 days in advance. To do so, shape the dough into individual dough balls (see #1, above). Rather than proofing & rolling out the dough immediately (#2, above), transfer to an airtight container & store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. The night you plan to make pizza, let the dough balls come up to room temperature & proof for about 30 minutes before rolling it out.
Freezing pizza dough for later: Since this cast iron skillet pizza recipe only uses a portion of the pizza dough you’ll prepare from the DeLallo Pizza Dough Kit, you can freeze any extra dough for an easy pizza night down the road.
To freeze, place any extra pizza dough balls in a freezer bag & freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight OR thaw quickly by placing the dough (still in the freezer bag!) in a bowl of warm water. Once thawed, let the dough come up to room temperature & proof for about 30 minutes before rolling it out.
TL;DR: It’s all about the dough.
While the toppings may get all the glory, the crust is really the heart of a pizza. Good crust starts with good dough & proper technique. Learning how to handle pizza dough well is a surefire way to take your at-home pizza nights from good to great.
With that out of the way, we can move on to the fun part!…
How to make skillet pizza:
With the dough prepped & ready to go, skillet pizza can begin!
Note: full Recipe Directions provided in the Recipe Card, below.
Cast iron pizza FAQ: Do you have to preheat a cast iron pizza pan? A: Yes, but…
As I began exploring how to make pizza in a cast iron skillet, one of my biggest questions was whether the skillet should be preheated before baking the pizza. Many skillet pizza recipes call for doing just that – treating the skillet sort of like pizza stone & preheating at a very high temperature in the oven before assembling & baking the pizza in it.
After testing it a few times, I found this method of preheating to be excessive, especially for pizza with a slightly thinner crust. Because of its heavy weight, a preheated cast iron skillet retains so much heat, causing the crust to cook very unevenly – the bottom & edges of the crust cook much faster than the top & center, ultimately drying out & becoming far too crisp.
What works amazingly well is starting on the stovetop instead, browning or sauteing any toppings that need to be cooked or par-cooked directly in the skillet. The skillet preheats to a temperature that is just hot enough without being so scorching hot. As a bonus, the residual oil in the skillet from cooking the toppings helps create the perfect golden-brown crust. So, that’s exactly how we will preheat the skillet for this pizza recipe…
Step 1: Preheat the skillet on the stovetop, cooking any pizza toppings.
Begin by browning or sauteing any toppings that need to be cooked or par-cooked prior to pizza assembly in the skillet you plan to bake your pizza in. We have a ton of toppings ideas at the end of this post. For this particular Pizza Amatriciana, that’s pancetta!
Just as the pancetta (aka Italian bacon, aka heaven) finishes rendering, toss some garlic & chili flake into the skillet. The chili flake releases its oils & the garlic melts into the pancetta fat. It’s so good! Transfer the pancetta mixture to a plate & set aside, leaving a little of the rendered fat in the skillet. It’s time for pizza assembly!
Step 2: Assemble the pizza in the skillet.
Carefully transfer the prepared crust into the preheated skillet. I like for the the crust to partially come up the sides of the skillet, which creates deliciously puffy & crispy edges.
Working quickly, add the toppings: a thin layer of pizza sauce, the Amatriciana pancetta mixture, & a combination of low-moisture mozzarella & grated parmesan. If we’re feelin’ like a little extra something-something, we finish our Pizza Amatriciana with some pepperoni & sliced calamata olives.
A couple of pizza assembly tips:
- Anchor the cheese on the crust: Sprinkle the cheese beyond the edge of the pizza sauce, such that the cheese comes into direct contact with the crust. This prevents the cheese & all the toppings from sliding off as you take your first bite of a slice. (Isn’t that the worst?!)
- Brush the crust with olive oil: If you want your crust to get really beautifully golden-brown, brush the outer edges with a little olive oil. If you want to take things to the next level, sprinkle some flaky sea salt over top – so, so good!
Step 3: Bake!
Transfer the skillet to a 475-degree oven & bake for 12-15 minutes, until the cheese is melted & the crust is golden brown.
Not in the mood for Pizza Amatriciana? NBD – A few skillet pizza variations!
The Recipe Card, below, details how to make our favorite cast iron pizza to date, Pizza Amatriciana. This skillet pizza method will, however, work with any number of different pizza toppings!
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Sausage & Pepperoni Pizza (Chris’ fave!): Brown a little Italian sausage in the skillet. Sauce & cheese the pizza & top with sausage, pepperoni, & thinly sliced banana peppers. Finish it off with a drizzle of balsamic glaze just before serving.
- Vegetarian Pesto Pizza (my fave!): Saute mushrooms in the skillet. Sauce the pizza with pesto, then top with cheese, mushrooms, artichoke hearts & castelvetrano olives. Finish with a squeeze of lemon juice just before serving.
- Chicken Ceasar Pizza: Brown finely chopped chicken breast in the skillet. Sauce the pizza with caesar dressing, then top with cheese & chicken. Serve topped with greens tossed in Caesar dressing & plenty of freshly grated parm.
- Sausage & Peppers Pizza: Brown a little Italian sausage in the skillet. Sauce & cheese the pizza & top with sausage, roasted red pepper, crushed red chili flake. Finish it off with a drizzle of honey just before serving.
- Buffalo Chicken Pizza: Brown finely chopped chicken breast in the skillet. Sauce the pizza with olive oil & top with cheese. Toss the chicken in buffalo sauce & add to pizza. Serve topped with chives & extra buffalo sauce.
Whether Pizza Amatriciana or other toppings you love most, I can’t wait for you to try this this Cast Iron Pizza recipe. I’m pretty sure that once you do, you’ll be slinging amazing homemade pizzas all the time!
If you do give it a try, be sure to let me know!: Leave a comment with a star rating below. You can also snap a photo & tag @playswellwithbutter on Instagram. I LOVE hearing about & seeing your PWWB creations! Happy cooking! ♡Print
Everything you need to know about how to make pizza in a cast iron skillet! Cast iron pizza is the simplest, quickest, & easiest way to make the perfect homemade pizzas without any special equipment or gadgets: you need a cast iron skillet, pizza dough, & your favorite pizza night toppings!
This particular skillet pizza recipe is all’Amatriciana-inspired, with spicy, pancetta-infused tomato sauce with plenty of cheese & pepperoni. See the blog post, above, for more pizza toppings ideas!
- 1 17.6-ounce DeLallo Pizza Dough Kit
- 1 1/4 cups warm water
- kosher salt
- 6 ounces pancetta, diced into 1/4-inch cubes
- 4 large cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
- 1/2–1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/3 cup DeLallo Pizzeria-Style Pizza Sauce
- 1 cup shredded low-moisture mozzarella or shredded pizza cheese blend of choice
- 2 heaping tablespoons grated parmesan
- optional: 1/2 cup sliced pepperoni
- optional: 1/2 cup sliced calamata olives
- for serving, as desired: grated parmesan, crushed red pepper flakes, etc.
- Prepare the pizza dough kit: At least 1 hour before you’d like to start prepping your pizza, prepare the DeLallo Pizza Dough Kit according to package directions: combine the kit contents in a large bowl, seasoning with a pinch of salt. Add in the warm water, stirring until the dough begins to come together. The mixture will be very shaggy & wet. Turn it out on to a lightly floured surface. Knead until the dough comes together in a soft & smooth ball, 2-3 minutes. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased mixing bowl. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel & set it in a warm place in your kitchen to rise until the dough has doubled in size, about 1 hour.
CAST IRON SKILLET PIZZA:
- Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F. Once the dough has risen & you’re ready to start prepping your cast iron skillet pizza, preheat the oven to 475 degrees F, with a rack positioned in the center of the oven.
- Prepare the crust. Using a knife or a bench scraper, divide the dough into 2-3 equal pieces. Form each piece of dough into a ball, tucking the edges back into the center of itself until a smooth ball forms. Set aside to proof for 5-10 minutes. Roll 1 of the dough balls into a 12-inch round. Set the remaining 1-2 dough balls aside for later use. See Recipe Notes, below, for tips for rolling out pizza dough & pizza dough storage. See blog post, above, for step-by-step photos.
- Cook the pancetta. Add the pancetta to a 10-inch cast iron skillet over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until the pancetta is rendered & crisp. When the pancetta is about 1 minute away from being ready, add the garlic & crushed red pepper to the skillet, stirring constantly until fragrant & sizzling. Transfer the pancetta mixture to a plate, leaving a little of the pancetta renderings in the skillet, & set aside.
- Assemble the pizza. Carefully transfer the prepared crust into the skillet used to cook the pancetta. The edges of the crust will come partially up the side of the skillet – this is totally fine. Working quickly, spread the DeLallo Pizza Sauce over the crust. Top with half of the pancetta mixture from Step 4. Sprinkle the cheeses over top. Finish with the remaining pancetta & any additional toppings you’d like.
- Bake the cast iron skillet pizza. Transfer the skillet to the preheated oven & bake for 12-15 minutes, until the cheese is melted & the crust is golden brown. Remove from the oven & set aside to cool slightly, 1-2 minutes, before slicing.
- Slice & serve: Carefully slice the pizza on a cutting board. Slice into 6-8 pieces. Top with additional grated parmesan or crushed red pepper flake, as desired. Enjoy!
Pizza dough tips & tricks for success:
- Rolling out pizza dough: Lightly dusting your work surface with flour to help prevent any sticking. Use your palm to press down the center of your dough ball, creating a disc. Using your fingers, work the dough at the center of the disc out towards the edge, making the disc larger & larger. Once your dough is about halfway there, pick it up. Holding the dough by its edge, rotate the dough as though you’re turning a steering wheel. Gravity will help stretch the dough into a larger round.
- Stubborn dough: If at any point your dough isn’t really working with you & it’s snapping back into the same shape/size despite working at it, the best thing you can do is give it a minute or two to breathe. The stubborn proteins holding the dough together just need a minute to relax – how high-maintenance of them, ha! Let the dough rest (ahem, pour yourself a glass of wine while you’re at it!) & try again in a couple of minutes – should be much easier!
- Holes in the crust: If a hole or two shows up when you’re rolling out your dough, that’s totally fine. Use your fingers to pinch it closed. Problem solved!
- Make-ahead pizza dough: You can prep fresh pizza dough up to 3 days in advance. Divide the dough into individual dough balls according to Step 2 of Recipe Directions, above. Rather than proofing & rolling out the dough, transfer to an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To use, let the dough balls come up to room temperature & proof for about 30 minutes before rolling out the dough.
- Freezing pizza dough for later: This cast iron skillet pizza recipe only uses 1/3-1/2 of the pizza dough you’ll prepare from the DeLallo Pizza Dough Kit. I suggest freezing extra pizza dough for the easiest pizza night ever down the road. To freeze DeLallo’s Pizza Dough Kit pizza dough, place your extra pizza dough balls in a freezer bag (Step 2 of Recipe Directions, above). Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight OR thaw quickly by placing the dough balls (still in the freezer bag!) in a bowl of warm water. Once the dough balls are thawed all the way through, set them on the counter for about 30 minutes to come up to room temperature before rolling out the dough into rounds & assembling your pizzas.
Keywords: cast iron pizza, skillet pizza, pizza recipes, skillet recipes, Italian, easy
Recipe & Food Styling by Jess Larson, Plays Well With Butter | Photography by Rachel Cook, Half Acre House.
Love all things Italian? Here are a few more recipes you have to try!
- A PWWB Signature Recipe: Pasta Bolognese
- Or try a lightened-up version: Healthier Turkey Bolognese
- Want to try ragu? Start here: Braised Pork Ragu Pappardelle & Slowly Braised Lamb Ragu with Gnocchi
- Quick & easy: 5-Ingredient Pomodoro Sauce
- Perfect for weeknights: 20-Minute Spicy Italian Sausage & Peppers Pasta
- An Italian-American staple: Pasta Marsala
- Instant Pot magic: Instant Pot Chicken Cacciatore
- A classic, with a twist! Gnocchi all’Amatriciana
- All PWWB Pasta Recipes
- All PWWB Italian Recipes