(Updated From May 12, 2014)
Thin crust pizzas have become a recent favorite here at Prepared Pantry. They aren’t as rich and heavy as their thicker deep-dish counterparts, but they still taste just as great without all the guilt. We’ve also found that thin-crust pizzas are much faster to make.
Debbie is the thin crust pizza queen. She’s gotten it down to a science in making three crusts out of just one pizza dough mix and pulling her famous thin crust pizzas out of the oven in just 15 minutes. In this article, we’ll tell you how to do just that along with a few bonus recipes.
The Secret to the Fifteen-Minute Pizza
The secret’s in the thin crust. Thin crusts don’t have to rise, and they bake in minutes. Sounds simple. But the gluten in the dough makes the elastic and hard to work—it springs back. It’s hard to get a really thin, uniform crust that will bake quickly.
Dough Relaxer for Your Thin Crust Pizza
The commercial bakeries have a magic ingredient—it’s called a dough relaxer. Dough relaxer relaxes the strands of gluten so they are not so spring-like and make the dough soft and easy to work with. With dough relaxer, you can roll the dough as thin as you like, as thin as a cracker.
All of our pizza mixes include dough relaxer in the mix. That’s why Debbie is able to make three crusts out of one mix so easily.
- See a selection of pizza dough mixes with dough relaxer >>
- Check out this pizza flour blend with dough relaxer >>
It’s possible to get a thin crust without a relaxer, but the dough relaxer makes it much easier. A pizza roller also makes it easier to get a super thin crust.
Pizza Roller for a Thinner Crust
A pizza roller makes life so much easier when you’re making thin crust pizzas. With the pizza roller, you can put more muscle into flattening out the pizza dough and still get a uniform thickness. It also allows you to make the crust much thinner than you could with just using your hands. You can even roll the crust right in the pan.
How thin do we roll the dough? One of our pizza mixes makes a 15-inch thick crust pizza. To make thin-crust pizzas, we split the dough three ways and make three pizzas.
The Right Amount of Heat to Bake Thin Crust Pizzas
And you need to bake ‘em hot to get ‘em crisp. You need a hot oven and you need to pipe heat to the bottom of the crust. That’s best done with a pizza stone or a perforated pizza pan. The perforations let the heat through for crisp crusts and no more soggy bottoms. A pizza stone puts direct heat on the crust and tends to cook it faster. Debbie prefers pizza stones. I, Dennis, prefer perforated pizza pans. Either will do.
How to Make Your Pizza in Just Fifteen Minutes
Mix the dough, roll it out, load it up and bake it. Because it’s thin, you don’t need to let it rise. Because it’s thin, it bakes in a hurry. Because it’s made with yeast, you’ll get some inflation while you’re handling the dough, while you’re loading on the toppings, and while it’s baking. That’s enough. It’ll be crisp and light, a delightful platform for your toppings.
- Mix the dough with a stand-type mixer or by hand. We use our pizza dough mixes mixed in a stand-type mixer with a dough hook. These are just-add-water mixes that take about three minutes to mix while we are assembling and chopping the veggies.
- Roll out a thin crust. Debbie, who uses a pizza stone, rolls her crusts on the counter, loads them, and transfers them to the oven and hot pizza stone with a pizza peel. I roll the dough right in the pan with a little pizza roller.
- Load it with sauce and goodies. Be careful not to overdo it because that will make for a soggy crust. We like to just sprinkle our thin crusts with cheese and stick them in the oven.
- Bake until the crust is crisp and the cheese is bubbling. With a hot stone or a perforated pan, the crusts are cooked in minutes and the cheese is melted. Time to serve.
What to load them with
It’s amazing what you can put on a pizza. You can serve many of your favorite garden vegetables on a pizza, everything from tomatoes to potatoes and broccoli to beans. Some may seem a little strange, but if you like the veggies, chances are—you’ll like them on a pizza.
Most pizzas are made with a red sauce, a marinara sauce, but it doesn’t have to be a red sauce. White pizzas are made with a white sauce, Alfredo, ranch dressing, the onion dip you purchase at the grocery store, or simply a nice coating of olive oil. You need enough that your pizza is not dry but no more, especially if you want a crispy crust.
Tomato and Basil Thin Crust Pizza
While most of the time, we load all of our toppings on the crust and bake, with fresh tomatoes, we make an exception placing the tomatoes on the pizza for only the last few minutes. We prefer fresh tomatoes to cooked ones.
Instead of a tomato base of marina sauce, we use a French onion dip and like it very much. This is a great pizza.
- 1 thin pizza crust, about 14 inches
- 5 tablespoons French onion dip
- 1 teaspoon Zesty Italian spice blend or other
- 5 medium-sized red and yellow tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves snipped into pieces
- 1/4 teaspoon salt or to taste
- 1/8 teaspoon coarse ground pepper
- 2 teaspoons virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
- Bake the crust for about ten minutes, until it starts to brown. Remove it from the oven.
- Spread the onion dip on the baked crust. Sprinkle the spice blend evenly over the onion dip.
- Cut the tomatoes into quarter-inch thick slices. Lay them on paper towels as you cut them to soak up part of the juice.
- Layer the tomatoes on the crust. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Sprinkle the freshly cut basil over the tomatoes and drizzle with olive oil. Spread the parmesan cheese over the tomato slices.
- Return the pizza to the oven. Bake only until the cheese is melted and bubbly, about five minutes. Serve hot.
Summer Squash Thin Crust Pizza
This is another great thin crust pizza that you can make in a hurry.
The squash cooks more quickly than the peppers and onions, so we only partially cook the onions and peppers in the microwave until they are crisp-tender. Then we load all the veggies on the crust at once.
This is a surprising pizza and an excellent way to use the zucchini that grows so abundantly in your garden. Because it’s a mild-tasting pizza, even your kids will eat it.
- 1 thin pizza crust
- 1 medium zucchini, sliced
- 1 medium crookneck squash, sliced
- 1/2 medium red pepper, chopped
- 1/2 medium sweet onion, chopped
- 1/2 cup marinara or red pizza sauce
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon Zesty Italian seasoning
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
- Form a very thin pizza crust, one that will cook quickly in the oven.
- Spread the crust with the marinara sauce on the unbaked crust. Sprinkle with Italian seasoning. Toss the vegetables in olive oil.
- Layer the vegetables over the marina, distributing them evenly. Sprinkle salt over the vegetables. Spread the cheese over the vegetables.
- Place the pizza in the oven and bake for eight to twelve minutes or just until the crust is crispy and the cheese is melted and bubbly.
What to Do with Leftover Pizza Dough
As mentioned earlier, you can make three pizza crusts with just one pizza mix. You can either enjoy the three pizzas all at once and save the leftover slices in the fridge, or you can save the extra dough for later.
If you have extra pizza dough but would like to save it for later, you can put it in the refrigerator for up to three days. Be sure to put it in a glass or metal mixing bowl and cover it with plastic wrap to keep it from drying out.
The dough will be dense when it’s first taken out of the fridge, so you’ll want to let it rise and thaw for about an hour to make it light and fluffy again. You can then treat it like normal pizza dough, add toppings, and bake it normally.
Read this article for more information.