Perfect for summer gatherings or everyday dinners, a grill is a great way to prepare a crispy pizza for your family. The heat stays outside and you will be able to cook the pizza in a matter of minutes on a flaming hot surface. The hotter the grill, the more flavor it will deliver in the form of a golden brown, perfectly charred pizza crust.
Why use your charcoal or gas grill instead of using your conventional oven? The crust will have much more flavor and you get to take your cooking outdoors to make a delicious homemade pizza. The result is an authentic coal fire taste without having to leave your house to go to an Italian restaurant or buy a fancy oven!
Even if you consider yourself a grill master, cooking raw dough on the grill requires preparation and attention to detail. Once you understand the process and makings of a perfect pizza, you will be one step closer to a mouthwatering grilled masterpiece.
The grill will become your new favorite place to prepare your homemade pizzas. You won’t need to stress the dough seeping through the surface as the grates will hold it in place for an even set of charred grill marks. Follow our ultimate guide to learn how to grill the best pizza.
The Secret to Delicious Pizza is Preparation
Using the grill to cook pizza can seem intimidating, especially when you are worried about the soggy or charred crust! After your first try, it won’t take long to become an expert at cooking pizza on the grill. Put your mind at ease by following this guide to learn the best method of preparing and grilling pizza.
The key to a successful experience is staying organized and having all of your ingredients prepared in advance.
When getting everything ready to go, know that less is always more when it comes to sauce and toppings. You won’t need to pile on loads of toppings to prepare a delectable pizza!
If you want to know the true secret to grilling a homemade pizza, make sure you read the entire guide before firing up your grill. The pizza will cook in a matter of minutes and you do not want to be reading through the recipe as you are trying to maneuver the dough and toppings on the grill. Take your time to absorb the information and decide on what ingredients you want to include before you start the grilling process.
What Does it Take to Make a Perfect Pizza?
Before we dig into the list of overall ingredients you’ll need, let’s talk about what goes into the perfect grilled pizza. When shopping for your cheeses, mozzarella or Colby jack may seem like a popular choice but it will likely leave your crust with too much moisture. To avoid a soggy crust, look for high-quality cheese that will hold it’s shaped. You don’t necessarily need fresh tomatoes, as one ladle of tomato sauce will do just fine for a single pizza. Freshly cut herbs are always preferable to prepackaged spices as they deliver a high-quality taste as opposed to a bland addition to your pizza.
When grocery shopping, pick out fresh ingredients such as crisp veggies, garlic, mushrooms and eggplant. The possibilities are virtually endless when it comes to your topping options, so you’ll definitely have the flexible to build your own pizza. If you are a meat lover, you can choose any meat and slice it into small pieces. Although be careful with too many preserved meats so you don’t overpower your pizza with a salty taste.
Ingredients You Need
- High-quality olive oil
- Toppings of your choice (sausage, pepperoni, green peppers, onions, mushrooms and more!)
- Cheese (parmesan, ricotta or fresh goat cheese)
- Tomato Sauce
- Pizza dough (1 pound of dough per pizza)
Add these ingredients if you are making homemade dough:
- Instant or active dry yeast
Tools and Utensils
- Grill (charcoal or gas)
- Brush for oil
- Metal tongs
- Large metal spatula
- Baking sheet or pan
- Knife or pizza cutter
Get Your Toppings and Utensils Ready
Before firing up your pizza on the grill, you want to prepare all of your toppings first. Slice up any meats and vegetables that you want on your pizza, cook the toppings as needed and place them close-by in small bowls. Chop some fresh herbs and make sure to grate plenty of cheese for the pizza.
Use a bench or table near the grill to keep your tools within arms reach as you will not want to be fumbling around when the pizza is ready to flip. It is helpful if your grill has shelves or tool holders built-in but that is certainly not a requirement for making a pizza.
Making the Dough
If you have the time to make homemade pizza dough instead of prepackaged dough, follow the steps below. For those who are using store-bought dough, skip down to the next ‘Instructions’ section to start preparing your grilled pizza.
- Mix the yeast and water: Start by mixing 2 teaspoons of yeast with ⅔ cups of warm water in a large bowl (double or triple the measurements if you are making multiple pizzas). If you plan to let the dough sit overnight and rise, you only need 1 teaspoon. Let it sit for up to 10 minutes or until the yeast dissolves in the water.
- Form the dough mixture: Next, add in 1 tablespoon of olive oil, a pinch of salt and a pinch of sugar. Slowly add in 2 cups of flour, 1 cup at a time while stirring the mixture with a spatula. You will know that you’ve added enough flour when it becomes difficult to stir.
- Knead the dough: On a floured surface, knead the dough by hand until it is tacky and longer sticky. If you have an electric mixer, use a dough hook to knead for about 5 minutes. Hand kneading will take between 6 and 8 minutes.
- Allow it to rise: Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise at room temperature for at least 1 hour. If you aren’t grilling the pizza right away, you can allow it to rise in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. If you are making enough dough for multiple pizzas, you will need to split the dough into lumps and put in multiple bowls.
11 Steps Instructions
Fire up the grill: You should turn on the grill to high heat, ideally between 550 and 600 degrees. If you have the option between indirect and direct heat, make sure your grill is set for direct heat. You will likely need to allow about 10 to 15 minutes for your grill to preheat, this may vary depending on your grill type and size.
Make sure your toppings are ready: We talked about preparing your toppings in advance, now make sure you’ve gathered all of the bowls and have them closeby. You won’t want to be scrambling to collect the toppings in the middle of grilling your pizza.
Stretch out the dough: Use your hands to flatten out the dough onto a lightly floured surface, preferably a large baking sheet. Work your fingers toward the edges of the dough to form your desired pizza shape, whether you prefer round or rectangular. Let the stretched dough sit for a few minutes and continue pinching out the edges until you are happy with the size. 12 to 14 inches will be ideal as it will be easier to flip while grilling.
Coat the grates with oil: Once your grill is fully heated, coat the grill grates with a small amount of olive oil. The most effective way to do this is if you have a heat resistant grill brush or even a paper towel will suffice.
Start cooking the pizza: Hold the baking sheet in front of the grill and gently slide the flattened dough onto the grill. Next, shut the lid of the grill and allow it to cook the first side for 2 minutes.
Check the bottom: Use a set of large tongs to peek underneath the dough and make sure it is turning golden brown. If you are finding that the grill is not delivering an even set of grill marks, you will need to gently rotate the pizza and allow it to cook for another minute or two. You will know that the bottom side is done cooking when the dough starts to bubble up slightly.
Flip and remove from the grill: Use tongs and a spatula to carefully flip the pizza over and remove from the grill surface. Keep the grill closed while you brush on a small amount of olive oil over the browned side of the pizza.
Add the sauce and toppings: Lightly coat with sauce and add your toppings sparingly in the following order: vegetables first, then cheese and meat on top. You don’t want to overdo the sauce and toppings as it will leave you with a soggy pizza, or even worse, a pizza that falls apart.
Grill the topped pizza: Carefully slide the pizza back onto the grill grates. To complete the grilling process, you will want to turn down the heat if working with a gas grill. For charcoal grills, adjust the vents to a nearly closed position. Shut the lid of the grill and allow the pizza to grill for another few minutes.
Remove and add the finishing touches: You will know that the pizza is complete when you see that the bottom is slightly charred and the cheese is melted and bubbly. Don’t let it cook too long or you will be stuck with a burnt crust! Turn the grill off and use the tongs and spatula to transfer the pizza back onto the baking sheet. Sprinkle on some herbs and your pizza will be complete!
Sit, slice and serve! : Let it cool down for a few minutes to allow the cheese and sauce to sit in the crust. Use a knife or pizza cutter to slice into pieces before you serve and enjoy the cheesy goodness!
Things to Keep in Mind
1. Get to know your grill: Every grill is different when it comes to heat, so you may have to experiment some to find out what surface areas have the most direct heat. Don’t be discouraged if your first try ends up being a sacrifice as it can take time to learn how your grill delivers heat to the pizza dough. Grilling a pizza will be a much different experience than chicken, steak or
2. Start small and simple: When learning how to grill pizza, you will want to start with a smaller size pizza first so you can get the hang of flipping the dough with tongs. Once you are confident in your skills, you can make larger pizzas and not have to worry about messing up the crust. Remember that you don’t need loads of sauce and toppings to make a great pizza.
3. You don’t need a thermometer: If you don’t own a thermometer or your grill doesn’t have a one built-in, don’t stress going out and purchasing one. You will initially want to have the grill turned on to between medium-high and high. It will be pretty easy to tell that it has reached the ideal temperature when it is delivering light brown grill marks to the bottom of the dough. Don’t forget to turn the temperature down after putting on the toppings as you don’t want to burn your masterpiece.
Grilled pizza is a meal full of flavor and it won’t overheat your kitchen on a beautiful summer day. Enjoy your backyard with a few friends and whip up a quick treat for everyone to enjoy. Make sure you follow each step to have your toppings ready and grill your own custom pizza.
We recommend using homemade dough as it is extremely easy to prepare and you will definitely taste the difference! Making the entire pizza from scratch from the dough to the toppings will surely make your pizza a dish to remember. This method of grilling pizza is all you will need to grab your ingredients and tools and get started!