The best pepperoni pizza recipe features a crispy crust, tangy sauce, and the perfect amount of cheese and pepperoni slices. This recipe includes how to make homemade pizza dough and pizza sauce. And doesn’t require a fancy pizza pan or pizza peel!
Homemade Pepperoni Pizza
Next time you’re craving pizza, may I suggest skipping delivery and baking pizza at home instead? I promise, you won’t regret it! This recipe is a weekly staple and family favorite for us. My husband loves it just as much as my toddler! And I love eating it as much as I love making it!
So what makes it so great? Let’s start with the pizza crust, which is soooo crispy, chewy, and flavorful. The pizza sauce has incredible flavor and you can easily make it up to 3 days in advance! And finally, let’s talk toppings. I topped this homemade pepperoni pizza with the perfect amount of cheese and pepperoni! Enough to add flavor without making it too messy to eat.
Ingredients for Pepperoni Pizza:
- Bread Flour: You should easily be able to buy this at your local grocery store! But you can also purchase it online here.
- Granulated Sugar: You’ll need a small amount for both the pizza crust and the homemade pizza sauce.
- Instant Yeast: You might also find this ingredient labeled as “rapid rise” yeast.
- Salt: I prefer using fine sea salt for this recipe, but in a pinch, almost any salt will work.
- Warm Water: Be sure your water is between 110 and 115 degrees (F) for best results. Water much warmer could kill the yeast.
- Olive Oil: You’ll need oil for the pizza dough, pizza sauce, and for the pizza pan!
- Garlic: Be sure to use fresh garlic, and not garlic powder.
- Crushed Red Pepper Flakes: Adds the tiniest pop of spice without making the sauce “spicy”. You can leave this ingredient out if desired.
- Crushed Tomatoes with Basil: You’ll need exactly 2 cups for the pizza sauce. If you have leftover sauce, you can save it for another use.
- Balsamic Vinegar: This is the secret ingredient in the pizza sauce! Just a dash adds so much flavor and the perfect amount of acidity.
- Sliced Pepperoni: While you can use whatever brand pepperoni is your favorite!
- Cheese: For this recipe you’ll use sliced provolone cheese and cubed fontina cheese. If you really want to use shredded mozzarella cheese, feel free to use it instead of the provolone.
- Oregano Sprigs: 100% optional, but they add a nice pop of flavor and color.
How to Make Homemade Pizza Dough
Making homemade pizza dough is so easy you’ll want to do it all the time. But you will need some patience and special equipment to make this recipe a success.
- You’ll need a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment. If you don’t have one, you can technically knead the dough by hand. But it will be pretty sticky and take about 10 minutes of constant elbow grease.
- You’ll combine all the ingredients in the stand mixer bowl and knead the dough for about 8 minutes. Be sure it’s a smooth ball and there are no pockets of loose flour in the bowl.
- Generously grease a rimmed half sheet pan with olive oil. This step ensures a crispy pizza crust that doesn’t stick to the pan! Then dump the dough into the pan and cover it with a second half sheet pan. Set the dough aside until it’s double in size, about 90 minutes in a warm-ish climate.
How to Make the Best Pizza at Home
- At least 20 minutes before you plan on baking your pizza at home, preheat the oven! This gives your oven adequate time to get nice and hot.
- Stretch the dough to fit the size of the pan, then cover again and set aside for 30 minutes.
- In the meantime, you can make the pizza sauce! You can set it aside to slightly cool until you’re ready to use it.
- When you’re ready to bake, spread the pizza sauce on top of the homemade pizza dough. Then top with the cheeses and pepperoni.
- Bake your pizza for 18 to 20 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is bubbling. If it looks like your pizza is getting too brown early on, reduce the oven temperature to 450 degrees.
Can I freeze Pizza Dough?
You can freeze homemade pizza dough for up to two months. Thaw in the fridge overnight. Then let it come to room temperature for 20 minutes before pressing it into the pan. I still recommend letting it rise a second time in the pan for 30 minutes before baking.
I do not recommend doubling this recipe. Make one batch at a time for best results!
Can I freeze Pizza Sauce?
You can freeze pizza sauce for up to two months. Simply thaw the pizza sauce in the fridge before use. I like to make a big batch of pizza sauce every few months so I always have it on hand. So suffice it to say, you can double or triple the pizza sauce recipe as needed.
Special Equipment & Ingredients:
- Half Sheet Baking Pans (x2)
- Stand Mixer with Dough Hook
- Instant Yeast
- Bread Flour
- Balsamic Vinegar
- Digital Kitchen Scale
The Best Pepperoni Pizza Recipe
For the Crust:
- 3 and 1/2 cups (420g) bread flour
- 1 and 1/2 Tablespoons (21g) granulated sugar
- 2 packets (14g) instant (rapid rise) dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 and 1/2 cups (340ml) warm water between 110 and 115 degrees (F)
- 1/4 cup (57ml) extra virgin olive oil plus more for the baking pan
For the Sauce:
- 2 Tablespoons (28ml) extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic finely grated
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 cups (454ml) canned crushed tomatoes with basil
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
For the Toppings:
- 4 ounces pepperoni
- 6 ounces thinly sliced provolone cheese
- 8 ounces fontina cheese cut into 1/4-inch cubes
- fresh oregano optional
For the Crust:
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix the flour, sugar, yeast, and salt until well combined.
- Pour the water and olive oil into the bowl and – using a rubber spatula – gently mix all of the ingredients together. The dough will look shaggy here, that’s normal.
- Attach the bowl to the stand mixer and fit it with the dough hook attachment. Turn the mixer to medium speed and mix the dough for 7 to 8 minutes, or until it’s formed a smooth ball and no dry flour remains. The dough will be very sticky, resist the temptation to add more flour.
- Generously grease a rimmed half sheet pan (18-by-13-inches) with 3 Tablespoons of olive oil. Scrape the dough out onto the baking sheet and turn it once to coat the dough in the olive oil.
- Using an inverted second rimmed half sheet pan, cover the dough (think of this as your lid) and set aside for 90 minutes, or until the dough has doubled in size.
For the Sauce:
- In a medium-sized saucepan, warm the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and crushed red pepper flakes and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly, or until the garlic is fragrant but not golden.
- Pour in the crushed tomatoes and cook, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes.
- Add in the balsamic, salt, and sugar, and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for 5 more minutes.
- Remove from heat, scrape into a heatproof bowl, and set aside until needed.
Assembly and Baking:
- After 90 minutes, preheat the oven to 475 degrees (F).
- Remove the top baking sheet and, using your fingertips, delicately press out the dough until it reaches the edges of the pan. If the dough feels too sticky to touch, lightly coat your fingers with a little olive oil.
- Cover with the inverted rimmed baking sheet and set aside for another 30 minutes (this is a good time to make your sauce; recipe above).
- After 30 minutes, uncover the dough. If the dough shrank at all, delicately press it back out so it reaches all the edges of the pan again.
- Top the dough with the pizza sauce. Cover the sauce with the sliced provolone cheese. Then top the provolone with half of the pepperoni. Add the fontina cubes. Finally, top with the remaining pepperoni.
- Place the pizza in the oven and bake until the cheese is melted and the crust is golden brown, 18 to 20 minutes.
- Remove the pizza from the oven and let it rest for 5 minutes. Then slice in the pan or use a large fish spatula to transfer it to a cutting board. Top with fresh oregano, if desired. Cut into squares and serve immediately.