Think you have to spend a lot of money – or time – to have regular family pizza nights? Think again – this dough recipe is the answer to a pizza meal that won’t break the bank.
This pizza dough has been the basis for our standard Saturday pizza nights ever since our kids were little. Individual pizzas were one of the first recipes I posted back when I started this blog, and the dough is the basis for my favorite type of pizza – Chicken Pesto Greek Style Pizza. But I’ve never posted the pizza crust recipe alone, and since it’s such a big part of our regular menus, I thought it would make it easier for you to find and use just the dough recipe (which, by the way, I also use as the basis for this pesto bread recipe and this calzone recipe).
After discovering and adapting this recipe (originally in a Betty Crocker cookbook we got for a wedding gift a long time ago…), it was like I won the menu lottery or something – I would make individual mini pizzas and everyone could choose what to put on them. And when kids are little and picky, this was a wonderful thing! Brian and I would load up on the vegetables and they kids would have…cheese.
But as the kids grew older they started adding more vegetables until by high school we were all pretty much eating the same thing. And so I started making just one big pizza at that point, because it’s a little quicker than making the individual sizes.
But the individual pizzas? Those are still one of my go-to menus for company because everyone can choose what they want on it, which is so nice when you’ve got a mix of picky kids, vegetarian, or other special diets. Especially if you’re hosting new friends that you haven’t learned their tastes yet. They’ve been very popular for kid’s parties and sleepovers, too.
The best thing about this crust, of course, is that it can be ready for toppings in 15-20 minutes – or 30 minutes when pre-baking – which is quicker than going to buy a pizza for most of us (unless you live around the corner to a pizza place…). Not to mention it’s SO much cheaper to make your own pizza than buying one, even one of those ready-to-bake pizzas. In fact, the crust costs just pennies:*
- flour – .35-.40
- bulk yeast – .12
- honey – .05
- olive oil – .20-.40
- salt – .01
Isn’t that crazy? .73 to .98 for enough pizza crust to serve a family of 4 to 6! Puts those $20 to $30 pizzas in a whole new light – and even the $10 pre-baked varieties! Just for fun, let’s total the toppings for a basic cheese pizza to see how much that would add:
- 8 oz. cheese is around $2-2.50
- 8 oz. can of tomato sauce is usually around .40 (you can add garlic and your own seasonings to make it pizza sauce for a few more pennies).
So you can make a cheese pizza for less than $4. Of course you can add a lot more toppings to this basic pizza and the price will go up, but if you make a simple pepperoni pizza, it would only add about $2.00 for half of a typical package, which usually covers this size pizza, bringing the total well under $6.00.
*prices are generalized from a brief web search, but these are pretty close to the norm and give you an idea of how cheap pizza crust is to make.
How to Make Pizza Dough
You’re going to love how easy this is, too!
Mix up your ingredients – no kneading required, but do let the mixer run until the dough clears the sides of the bowl (or turn it over a couple times if making by hand). Let it sit for 15-20 minutes. It will rise a only a bit, but look puffier. You can let it sit for longer and it will rise more, but I’m always in a hurry, and we don’t really notice a difference in the finished crust when it’s risen longer.
I used to think you had to try to toss your dough and only use your hands to form the crust, or it was somehow ‘cheating.’ Duh. I now just shape it into a general rectangle (if I’m using a baking sheet like pictured – shape into a general circle if using a round sheet or stone) and let a rolling pin do the rest of the work to get the dough evenly flattened. Then just finish the edges by hand once the dough is rolled as much as it will go.
We’ve learned that pre-baking the crust is a key for us to be able to load it with toppings and still get it cooked all the way to the middle. Pre-baking is optional, but try it if you often have gummy centers!
Five dollars for a pizza with ingredients you control and feeds 4+ with a couple pieces leftover (sometimes…)? That’s pretty much the reason we’ve been able to have pizza nights for years and not go broke. Plus I’ve always felt good about serving our pizza with ingredients I can choose. Pizza is never a ‘junk food’ when you control the ingredients!