In the hot, humid months of summer, turning on the oven can be a rare occurrence, nevermind cranking it up to 550 F for homemade pizza. But what to do when the craving calls? Use your grill! The same appliance that cooks up juicy burgers and blistered wings is also an excellent pizza maker, giving pies a smoky char and crispy crust that closely mimics that of a wood-fired oven.
There are two keys to making a great grilled pizza, starting with from-scratch pizza dough. It requires two hours to rise, so there’s a bit of advanced prep, but the dough comes together rather quickly. This recipe uses instant yeast, which can be added directly to the flour, and no special equipment is needed — ingredients are simply mixed in a bowl, then kneaded on a smooth countertop or cutting board. Once the dough has risen, roll it out, brush with olive oil and toss it on the grill. The second step to a picture-perfect grilled pizza is flipping the crust so both sides are cooked before you add the toppings.
A homemade sauce made from crushed tomatoes, garlic and onions adds a bright, lovely tang to the pie, but jarred marinara can be used in a timesaving pinch. Basil and mozzarella are classic margherita toppings, but this recipe is a great base for customization — add mushrooms, sliced peppers, pepperoni or whatever else your family prefers.
Technique Tip: This recipe makes enough dough for two pizzas, so you can freeze the extra one to enjoy at a later date. You’ll also have extra sauce, which is always handy for last-minute dinners.
Swap Option: If there’s no time to make the pizza dough from scratch, feel free to use store-bought dough or, better yet, get a ball from your local slice shop.
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
- 2 1/4 teaspoons (1 packet) instant yeast
- 2 1/4 teaspoons fine sea or table salt
- 1 1/2 cups warm (100-110°F) water, plus more as needed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 (28-ounce) can whole or crushed peeled tomatoes
- Olive oil, for brushing the pizza
- 8 ounces mozzarella, thinly sliced
- Fresh basil, torn, for garnish
Make the pizza dough:
Brush a large bowl with olive oil.
In a second large bowl, whisk together the flour, yeast and salt. Add the warm water and olive oil and use a wooden spoon to stir the mixture until a soft, slightly shaggy, dough forms. If the dough is too sticky, add additional flour, 1 tablespoon at a time; if it’s too dry, add additional warm water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead until it’s smooth and elastic, 10-12 minutes. Form the dough into a ball and transfer it to the oiled bowl. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and set the bowl in a warm place until the dough doubles in size, about 2 hours (or refrigerate for 6-8 hours).
While the dough rises, make the tomato sauce:
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion and sauté until translucent, 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for 2 more minutes. Add the tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Lower the heat and simmer until thickened, at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour. Season to taste with salt and pepper. For a smoother sauce, use an immersion or regular blender to purée the sauce. The sauce can be made ahead and stored, in an airtight container in the refrigerator, for 5 days, or frozen up to 3 months.
Make the pizzas:
Once the dough has doubled in size, turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface and divide it into 2 parts. (At this point the dough can be tightly wrapped in a double layer of plastic wrap and frozen for up to 1 month; defrost in the refrigerator for 6-8 hours before using.) Cover each piece of dough loosely with plastic wrap and let rest until slightly puffy, 10-20 minutes.
Grill the pizzas:
Heat a grill to high (at least 550°F).
On a lightly floured work surface, gently roll or stretch 1 ball of dough into a 12- to 14-inch circle or rectangle. Transfer the dough to a large baking sheet or pizza peel, stretching and reshaping it as necessary.
Brush 1 side of the dough with olive oil and then carefully place it, oiled-side-down, onto the hot grill grates. Close the grill and cook until the bottom of the crust is golden and taking on grill marks, 1-2 minutes. Carefully return the crust to the baking sheet or pizza peel, grilled-side-down. Brush the raw side with olive oil and then flip the dough so the grilled side is facing up. Spread a thin layer of tomato sauce over the dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border, then top with an even layer of mozzarella. Return the pizza to the grill, close the grill and cook until the bottom of the crust is golden and taking on grill marks and the cheese is bubbling, 3-5 minutes.
Sprinkle with fresh basil and serve immediately.