How to Make Perfect Pizza at Home

Everything you need to know to make a pizzeria-quality pie
How to Make Perfect Pizza at Home

The perfect pie is only a few expert tips away.

There are few things as deliciously satisfying as pizza. Warm, salty, and full of flavor, a pizza crust is the perfect foundation for just about any flavor combination you can dream up (it's no wonder pizza is known to many as "the world's most popular food"). Whether you like your pizza crust thin, crispy, and topped with tomato sauce or prefer a buttery, deep dish-style dough layered with shredded mozzarella, pizza is nearly always delicious. But if you've ever tried to make your own at home, then you know that it takes a few expert tips to pull off the perfect pizzeria-quality pie.

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If you’re going to make the perfect pizza at home, the first thing you’ll need to do is decide what style of pizza you want to make. We asked Craig Whitson, author of Passion for Pizza: A Journey Through Thick and Thin to Find the Pizza Elite, about the various styles of pizza, and here’s what he had to say:

“There are actually many styles of pizza. The original pizza as we know it today is the Neapolitan pizza. Many people think that Italian pizza has a thin crust while American pizza has a thick crust. This is not the case (though it is true to a certain degree). There are other classic Italian pizzas, such as the pizza metro from Rome, the Roman pizza al taglio, the farinata (made from chickpea flour), the Sicilian sfincione, and the pizzas frita and Montanara (both are from Naples, but they’re not the usual Neapolitan pie). Another important pizza style is the pizza bianca (white pizza), which can be found both in Italy and the United States.

“Some of the best-known American pizza styles include New York, New York Sicilian, Chicago (both thin-crust and deep-dish), California, Grandma-style, New Haven-style, Detroit-style, St. Louis-style, tomato pie, and D.C. jumbo slices. 

“Not to overcomplicate the issue, but there are also regional pizzas from several other parts of the world: French pizzas (the pissaladière from Provence and the Alsatian flammekueche), Arabic pizzas, Australian pizzas, a number of Asian pizzas, Zanzibar pizza in Tanzania, the Macedonian pastrmajlija, and so on and so forth...”

So how do you choose between all of the unique styles and achieve pizza perfection in your own kitchen? According to Whitson, some styles are better suited for home cooking than others; read on for his expert tips that will help you craft an amazing pie at home.

Find a Dough You Like

According to Craig Whitson, author of Passion for Pizza, one of the keys to great pizza is finding a dough recipe that works for you. As he says, “many doughs can be rolled out for a thin crust or pressed for a puffier, thicker crust. Mastering the dough is key to the world of pizza”. If you need a great, all-purpose pizza dough, try the recipe for "Our Favorite Dough" from his book. “This dough can be made using pretty much any type of flour and a simple starter. What is good about this dough is that it requires little work, it is flexible, and it tastes great. The only disadvantage is that it has a long rise, but the slow rise gives this dough such great flavor.

Plan Ahead


That being said, homemade pizza requires a bit of planning, regardless of the dough you choose. Whitson says that making dough a day ahead and giving yourself time to shop for high-quality ingredients are both essential for a great pizza.

Kristie Collado is The Daily Meal’s Cook Editor. Follow her on Twitter @KColladoCook.