Whether you refer to it as Italian slab pizza, a thick crust pizza, bakery pizza recipe or the Best Homemade Pizza, you must use quality ingredients to make this family recipe!
So, what defines a pizza as being great? Is it the use of quality ingredients or is there more to it than that?
Is it the thickness of the pizza crust?
Or perhaps the type of flour used to make the best pizza dough? For example all-purpose vs whole wheat pizza?
Is it the variety of tomatoes used to make the pizza sauce?
What about the type of oven used to bake the pizza?
I’ve often wondered about what defines a pizza as being great. It doesn’t keep me awake at night, but the reality is that I had an Italian upbringing where my mom would make homemade pizza. It was a frequent occurrence and like all food that was served, it was taken very seriously.
Before I give you my definition of a great pizza, let’s take a closer look at the composition for this sheet pan pizza recipe.
The pizza sauce: It takes just 5 minutes to make this Homemade Pizza Sauce Recipe. I do not use my blender, nor do I strain the tomatoes. There is also no need to cook this tomato sauce for pizza.
Simply use high-quality ingredients and you will make the best pizza sauce! Although I often use commercially canned tomatoes, occasionally, I will use Roma tomatoes that I have personally canned. Just click on this link for a step-by-step photo tutorial on Canning Raw Pack Whole Tomatoes.
The pizza dough: Any great pizza starts with great pizza dough. I am partial to my family recipe. It is so versatile that you can make a thin-crust pizza or, if you prefer, a soft, chewy, thick pizza crust.
The combination of these two recipes, with the addition of a few other quality ingredients, results in an amazing pizza!
Ingredients for Homemade Pizza:
Go to the printable recipe card found at the bottom of the page for the specific amounts of each ingredient.
- Pizza Dough: Feel free to use your favorite recipe, homemade or store-bought. I am partial to my family recipe.
- Pizza Sauce: Once again, use any pizza sauce but I am partial to my mom’s recipe.
- Olive Oil: Just a drizzle and yes, please use extra virgin.
- Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese or Pecorino Romano Cheese: Or any other grated cheese, your choice!
- Mozzarella: Totally optional!
Are you ready to make the best pizza recipe?
How to make the best homemade pizza
Now that you know How to Make Pizza Dough, allow the pizza dough to proof for 3-4 hours or until it triples in size. That’s right! The first rise does require a little more time but you will be rewarded.
You will notice many tiny air bubbles that will cause the dough to inflate. Notice all of the gluten strands that have formed.
I almost forgot to mention…preheat your oven to 425 °F (220 °C) and place the oven grate in the bottom third of the oven. The oven needs to preheat for at least one hour so plan accordingly.
Gently bring the dough together and form a ball. Transfer the ball of pizza dough on a rectangular pan sheet (10 x 15 inches or 25 x 38 cm) that has been lightly greased with butter or olive oil.
Apply a thin layer of olive oil over the top of the ball of dough, cover loosely with plastic film and allow to rest for 10-15 minutes. This will make the dough easier to stretch.
The dough is now ready to be stretched. Prepare a small bowl with about 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Dip your fingertips and begin to push and gently stretch the dough to cover the entire pan. At the end of this process, there should be a thin layer of oil over the surface of the pizza. Cover lightly with plastic film. This will prevent the pizza dough from drying out.
Please note that if you are still having difficulty, allow the dough to rest an additional 5-10 more minutes.
Allow the dough to rise a second time in the pan for about 30 minutes or until visibly doubled in size.
With the help of a pastry brush, spread about 3/4 -1 cup of pizza sauce on top of the pizza dough.
Next, grate about 2 tablespoons of Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese or Pecorino Romano Cheese followed by a drizzle of olive oil (1 teaspoon).
Bake the pizza for about 20-25 minutes or until the crust is beginning to turn a golden brown.
Optional: During the last 5 minutes of baking, add about 1 cup of grated mozzarella cheese evenly over the top. Bake for 3-5 minutes until mozzarella is melted and slightly browned;
Remove from oven and allow pizza to set before slicing.
You need some patience, and a couple of hours for the yeast to proof this pizza dough. You will be rewarded with a thick, soft and chewy pizza crust. I think you will agree, it is definitively worth it.
- Always preheat your oven before baking your pizza.
- NEVER use a rolling pin to stretch out the dough as this will break all of the wonderful air pockets that are responsible for a light, airy pizza crust.
- For an extra crispy bottom crust: Use a pastry brush to spread a thin layer of room temperature butter on the pizza pan.
- For a thin and crispy pizza crust: Simply reduce the amount of time of the second rise; bake in an hotter oven, 450 °F (230 °C) for 15-20 minutes.
Can I use whole wheat flour?
Yes, you can replace one cup of all-purpose flour with 1 cup of whole wheat flour.
Why does my dough keep shrinking when I try to stretch it?
The gluten in the dough probably needs a little bit more time to relax. Let it rest for an additional 10-15 minutes and you should have an easier time stretching it out.
Why did my crust come out soggy?
When spreading the pizza sauce on your dough, don’t overdo it. Go easy on the toppings otherwise you are guaranteed a soggy pizza crust. Once you put the topping on the pizza, bake it immediately.
Why did my pizza come out dry?
The pizza was probably overcooked. As every oven is different, experiment with a lower temperature and different pans.
Is this Italian tomato pie pizza served hot or cold?
This pizza is usually served at room temperature. That being said, it still tastes great served hot or cold.
Easy homemade pizza recipes
For more recipes like this Seafood Pizza, go to my Pizza page!
If you have been here before, you probably know that I had an Italian upbringing and that I was born and raised in Montreal.
Still to this day, you can easily find this rectangular pizza in every Italian bakery in the city. If it looks familiar, it is because it is very similar to the sfincione recipe, aka Sicilian style pizza.
My mom’s recipe for this style of tomato pie pizza was a family favorite during my youth. I can’t tell you how many times I would have leftovers of this pizza for breakfast.
After all these years, this family recipe is still one of my favorites!
Super simple and tasty. Now you know how to make Italian pizza… Montreal style!
A soft, chewy, thick pizza using fresh ingredients is my definition of a great pizza.
THANKS SO MUCH for following and being part of the She Loves Biscotti community where you will find Simple & Tasty Family-Friendly Recipes with an Italian Twist.
Ciao for now,
★★★★★ If you have made this Italian pizza recipe, I would love to hear about it in the comments below and be sure to rate the recipe!
Best Homemade Pizza
- 1 ball pizza dough I use this recipe.
- 1 cup pizza sauce I use this recipe.
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil separated
- 4 tablespoons Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese or Pecorino Romano Cheese separated
- 1 cup freshly grated mozzarella cheese Optional
- Preheat your oven to 425 °F (220 °C) and place the oven grate in the bottom third of the oven. The oven needs to preheat for at least one hour so plan accordingly.
- Make the pizza dough the same day you are planning to bake your pizza. Allow the pizza dough to proof for 3-4 hours or until it triples in size
- Gently bring the dough together and form a ball. Transfer the ball of pizza dough on a rectangular pan sheet (10 x 15 inches or 25 x 38 cm) that has been lightly greased with butter or olive oil.
- Apply a thin layer of olive oil over the top of the ball of dough and allow to rest for 10-15 minutes. This will make the dough easier to stretch.
- Prepare a small bowl with about 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Dip your fingertips and begin to push and gently stretch the dough to cover the entire pan. At the end of this process, there should be a thin layer of oil over the surface of the pizza. Cover lightly with plastic film. This will prevent the pizza dough from drying out.
- Allow the dough to rise a second time in the pan for about 30 minutes or until visibly doubled in size.
- Use a pastry brush to spread pizza sauce over the top of the pizza dough. Spread 2 tablespoons of freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese over the top and drizzle with olive oil.
- Bake the pizza for about 20-25 minutes or until the crust is beginning to darken.
- Optional: When the pizza is almost cooked, remove from the oven, top with 1 cup grated mozzarella and bake for an additional 3-5 minutes until mozzarella is melted and slightly browned.
- Remove from the oven and spread the rest of the freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese over the top.
- Allow pizza to set before slicing.
- Prep time does not include proofing time for the pizza dough. Please plan accordingly.
- Always preheat your oven.
- NEVER use a rolling pin to stretch out the dough as these will break all of the wonderful air pockets that are responsible for a light, airy pizza crust.
- For an extra crispy bottom crust, use a pastry brush to spread a thin layer of room temperature butter on the pizza pan.
- For a thin and crispy pizza crust: Simply reduce the amount of time of the second rise; bake in a hotter oven, 450 °F (230 °C) for 15-20 minutes.
This post was originally published on April 29, 2017 and republished on July 25, 2019 with updated content and photos. Thanks for sharing.
As a widowed man and come from an Italian Family, I was asked to make pan pizza for a Christening Party…you know how us Italians are with food. I made 6 pans, using your pizza dough, pizza sauce recipe and can tell you your family
Recipe was awesome….It was enjoyed so much. Had no leftovers to bring home. Grazi, grazi….Will pass this recipe to any of my family who asks for it….I threw out my old and replaced it with yours….again, thanks for sharing
I am sorry for your loss Sylvester.
Thank you so much for sharing, your comment made my day. It truly is my pleasure!
Looks like a typo for the nutrition info. Thanks for updating when you get a chance
Nice catch Avie. The link to my mom’s pizza dough was not working and as a result, the program did not calculate the calories properly. Thanks again.
Just made this. Great pizza. Thanks for sharing!
Amazing Lucy! Thrilled to hear you enjoyed my mom’s recipe for homemade pizza! Thanks so much for stopping by.
This is by far the best the best pizza crust I ever made! I really appreciated the trick to quickly rising the dough in the oven. It worked! Thanks!
So glad you appreciated the recipe Felicia! Thanks for taking the time to comment, appreciate it ♥♥♥
Thanks for posting this recipe! Also the pictures are great!
Thanks Marsha! Enjoy 🙂
Pleas tell me what a pizza peel is?
Hi Joe, a pizza peel is used to transfer baked goods in and out of a hot oven, usually made of wood… looks like a flat shovel. Thanks so much for dropping by 🙂
Thank You! Have a great day!!jo
My pleasure Joe! Thanks again 🙂
As an avid pizza maker, complimenti on your tips for readers as they are spot on! The photos are all so inviting however the one featuring the dimpled dough with tomato sauce is absolutely spectatular.
Thank you so much Paula. Pizza is truly such a wonderful food. Thanks for taking the time to comment!
I made your pizza dough recipe on Thursday, stored it overnight in the refrigerator and used the dough for pizza last night. It turned out very well. We liked it a lot. Thanks for sharing.
So glad you enjoyed it 🙂 Thanks so much Jovina for taking the time to comment. Have a wonderful week-end ♥