Let’s be honest: without a specialist pizza oven, you’re never going to make an absolutely perfect pie at home. However, if you’re willing to compromise slightly, you can make a delicious homemade pizza with a frying pan (ideally cast iron) and a very hot conventional oven.
This frying pan pizza features homemade pizza dough that’s fried for a couple of minutes in a hot pan, then topped with a simple tomato sauce, mozzarella and any other toppings before being finished in the oven preheated to its highest setting. Ready in just 15 minutes, it’s a quick, delicious pizza that won’t necessarily rival Napoli’s finest, but doesn’t require any specialist equipment.
Frying Pan Pizza Cooking Tips
For this pizza, any dough recipe will work, but you can also use pre-made shop-bought dough if you need to be.
This recipe makes enough dough for four pizza bases. Unused dough can be frozen, otherwise reduce or increase the quantities to suit.
The tomato sauce is very simple to make at home, but shop-bought pizza sauce is also fine, at a push.
As for toppings, this pizza recipe is versatile. Personally, I like to keep things traditional with just good tomato sauce, high quality mozzarella, fresh basil leaves, and just a scattering of thinly sliced salami, pepperoni or Italian sausage if the mood dictates. Absolutely any toppings can be added, however, from the more classic through to a selection of less typical, even controversial toppings. The pizza can also be made with a white base (sans tomato sauce) or with the tomato sauce and toppings on top of the cheese. As long as it’s cooked properly and the pizza dough recipe is followed, the whole dish is entirely open to interpretation and innovation.
Using a cast iron skillet isn’t absolutely necessary, although ideal considering they get extremely hot and are non-stick. Alternatively use an oven-safe frying pan that’s at least 10-inches in diameter and ideally non-stick.
When cooking, try to avoid constantly opening the oven door as the temperature will drop significantly.
Depending on the temperature of your oven, the pizza can take anywhere from 10-20 minutes to cook, but will likely take no longer than 15 minutes if sufficiently preheated. Check after 8-10 minutes and keep an eye to make sure the crust doesn’t burn.
Optionally brush the crust with a mixture of 1 tbsp honey, ½ tbsp water, ½ tsp chilli flakes and a generous pinch of salt once removed from the oven.
Services: 4 (with extra dough)
Heavy based frying pan, at least 10” in diameter (ideally cast iron)
Blender (if making your own sauce)
For the dough (makes enough for 4 bases)
- 500 g ’00’ flour
- one tsp dried instant yeast
- 300 ml cold water
- one tbsp jump
For the pizza sauce
- one small onions finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic finely sliced
- one small bunch basil stalks only, finely chopped (reserve leaves for topping)
- one tsp dried oregano
- one tbsp tomato puree
- two 400g tin high-quality tomatoes
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Sea salt
Toppings (per pizza)
- 125 g buffalo mozzarella drained and ripped into pieces no larger than a 10p coin
- one handy slice pepperoni or salami optional
- one handy fresh basil leaves ripped
- Parmigiano Reggiano to taste (optional)
To make the pizza base
Begin by making the dough for the pizza base. Dissolve the yeast in 300ml cold water and tip the flour onto a clean work surface and make a well in the centre.
Slowly pour the water and yeast mixture into the well, just a little at a time, using your hands to bring the walls of the flour into the centre, slowly making a thin dough. Add the salt then continue to bring in the rest of the flour until a relatively firm dough forms. Knead for 10-15 minutes, or place in a stand mixer with a dough hook and knead for 5-8 minutes.
Once kneaded, cover the dough and leave to rest for 10 minutes, then quickly knead again to develop the gluten. Divide the dough into 4 equal balls and leave to rest for at least 2 hours, but ideally up to 8 hours, in a sealed container, leaving space as the dough will expand.
To make the pizza sauce
While the dough remains, make the tomato sauce. Add a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil to a heavy-based sauce pan and heat over low until shimmering.
Add the diced onion to the pan and cook over low heat for 5-10 minutes until soft and translucent. Add the garlic, chopped basil stems and oregano to the pan and increase the heat to medium-high. Continually stir for 30 seconds or so until the garlic is fragrant but not coloured. Add the tomato puree to the pan and continue to cook for another minute, stirring often. Pour the tinned tomatoes into the pan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for anywhere between 10 and 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. The longer the sauce cooks, the better it will taste, so it’s worth making time for this.
Once the sauce is cooked, use an immersion blender or regular blender to blitz to a relatively fine paste. Set aside until ready for assembly.
Preheat the oven to its highest setting and place a baking tray on the top shelf.
Remove the dough from its container and place on a floured work surface. Use your fingertips to press the dough ball in the center, working out to the edge. Ideally leave around a centimeter around the rim untouched as this will work as your crust. Turn the dough over and repeat on the other side. Firmly press down the middle of the dough with the palm of your hand, then lift and stretch the dough without tearing, until it’s approx. 10-12 inches in diameter and even thin.
Prepare your toppings so you’re ready to quickly assemble the pizza in the pan.
Heat a heavy-based pan (ideally cast iron) until screaming hot but not smoking. Gently place the pizza base into the pan, being careful to avoid burning your fingers.
Ladle some of the sauce onto the base, leaving space for the crust, and spread evenly with the bottom of the ladle. Then add a pinch of basil leaves, the cheese, and any other toppings you plan on using. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.
Cook for 1-2 minutes (from the time the base went into the pan), then carefully transfer to the oven. Place the pan directly on top of the preheated baking tray and cook for 10-15 minutes or until the cheese has melted and the crust begins to color (see photo for reference).
Remove from the oven once cooked, optionally finish with a sprinkling of grated Parmigiano Reggiano and a fresh basil leaf. Leave to cool for a few minutes and repeat the cooking process with the other pizza bases if using*.
*This recipe makes enough dough for four pizza bases. Unused dough can be frozen, otherwise reduce or increase the quantities to suit.
Related: London’s best pizzerias