Neapolitan Style Pizza Crust

This dough is perfect for at-home pizza ovens, and is also terrific baked in a traditional oven! With only 4 ingredients, it’s incredibly simple. It produces a crust similar to what you would find in a wood fired pizza restaurant with a chewy puffed edge and a thin, flat center. All you need is flour (preferably “00”), water, salt and yeast. This recipe does however, require time. A long rise in the fridge (a few days) is what develops both flavor and texture. Although it’s best if you make it ahead of time, I’ve also used it on a quicker timeline (next day) and it was still great. It cooks incredibly fast, in just a few minutes. Pair it with this simple sauce and top with fresh mozzarella, basil, and olive oil for one of the best pizzas you’ve ever had!

Neapolitan Pizza Dough

Ingredient Notes

This might be the easiest dough you’ll ever make.  There’s only 4 ingredients, and no mixer or kneading required.  

  • Flour – For best results, it’s worth it to buy what’s called 00 flour (commonly referred to as “double zero flour”. It’s a super fine white flour from Italy, and the gold standard for things like pizza crust and pastas. I purchase mine on Amazon. You can also use bread flour, or all purpose flour in this recipe.
  • Instant Yeast
  • Water
  • Salt

How to Make Neapolitan Style Pizza Crust

Step 1: Prepare Dough

  • You don’t even need to beat and knead it, just mix up flour, yeast, water, and salt gently with your hands until it comes to a ball and that’s it.  This literally takes like 3 minutes to make.

Step 2: Rest Dough

  • The real secret ingredient here is this:  Time.  That ball you just made needs to sit out on the counter for 8-12 hours.  I mix this together at night and then continue in the morning.  Or make it in the morning, and continue at night.
  • After it sits, separate it into 4 pieces and you’ll pop each into a ziplock bag or plastic container and toss it in the fridge for a couple days (2-4). If you don’t have a few days, I’ve made this overnight and it worked beautifully as well, you just get even better development if you can wait for the long rise. However in a pinch, I’ve mixed it up before I went to bed, formed it into a few balls mid morning, let it rise for 2 hours and then cooked it up for lunch.

Step 3: Prep Pizza

  • When pizza day arrives, grab the dough and let it sit out on the counter for a couple hours before you’re ready to make it.   Then you’ll stretch it out with your hands.
  • These dough balls will make 4 pizzas that are about 8-10 inches in diameter, which is really the size you want for this type of pizza.  To feed my family of 6 we definitely use all 4 dough balls.  Because these cook so fast you can whip them out back to back.  If you don’t have a pizza peel, it makes homemade pizza so much easier.  You just sprinkle the peel liberally with cornmeal or flour and then place your dough over it.  When it’s time to transfer it to your hot cooking surface, it just rolls right off.

Step 4: Cook Pizza

  • I have 2 great cooking methods I use.  One is with my backyard pizza oven.  I may not have an authentic brick oven from Italy but I swear this is the next best thing!  
  • I’ve also had just as great success with this dough in my home oven.  The secret in an oven is to do everything you can to mimic a pizza oven.
    • Preheat to the highest possible temperature your oven will go.
    • Place your pizza stone in the oven to preheat along with it.  If you don’t have a pizza stone, I love this cast iron pizza pan.  If all else fails, use a regular metal baking sheet.
    • Place your rack on the very top.  The pizza stone or cast iron pan will take care of getting the bottom side super hot, and placing it on the very top of the oven will give you reflective heat from the top.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make this ahead of time?

The dough is perfect for making ahead, since it requires so much rest time. It’s very flexible! You can make up a batch of Neapolitan Pizza Sauce ahead of time as well. These cook up fast once you’re ready to eat!

Why separate the dough into 4 containers? Can I just leave in one and use however much I want?

You are welcome to make one big container of dough. One helpful thing about separating it is that as it the portioned dough won’t need to be handled as much and it helps keep the beautiful texture that has been developing.

Neapolitan Style Pizza Dough

5 from 5 votes
A restaurant-quality crust perfect for at-home pizza! Pair with the perfect Neapolitan Style Sauce.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Refrigerated Resting Time 2 days
Servings8

Ingredients

  • 20 ounces 00 Flour or all purpose, or bread flour
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast 1 standard packet
  • 13 ounces slightly warm water 13oz by weight or volume, it’s the same in this case

Instructions

  • Combine flour, salt, and yeast in a large bowl and whisk until homogenous. Add water and incorporate into flour using hands at the end until no dry flour remains on bottom of bowl. Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap and allow to rise at room temperature for 8 to 12 hours. (I like to mix this at night and just leave it on the counter overnight).
  • Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface and divide into four even pieces. Form into a ball shape and place each in a covered quart-sized deli container or in a zip-lock freezer bag. Place in refrigerator and allow to rise at least 2 more days, and up to 4.
  • Remove from refrigerator, gently re-shape into balls if needed, and allow to rest at room temperature for at least 2 hours before baking. It's important the dough has rested and warmed up from the fridge or it will be hard to stretch.
  • Traditional Oven: When ready to bake, place oven rack on highest setting and place a pizza stone, cast iron pizza pan, or baking sheet on it. Preheat oven to highest possible temperature (with pizza stone, etc. in it).
    Outdoor Pizza Oven: Preheat pizza oven.
  • Spread cornmeal and/or a little flour on a pizza peel and stretch out dough by hand into an 8-10 inch circle. You should be able to shake the peel and have the crust shimmy back and forth completely loose.  If it's stuck to the peel, fix this problem before proceeding by lifting edges and tossing a little more flour underneath until it loosens.
  • Top as desired (remember with this style dough, less is more when it comes to toppings, including sauce.) and bake for a few minutes until cheese is melted and dough is bubbly and golden brown on the edges.

Notes

*nutrition info is for crust only. 

Nutrition

Serving: 0.5pizza, Calories: 269kcal, Carbohydrates: 55g, Protein: 9g, Fat: 1g, Saturated Fat: 0.1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 0.2g, Sodium: 585mg, Potassium: 108mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 0.2g, Vitamin C: 0.01mg, Calcium: 12mg, Iron: 3mg
Course: Main Courses
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: pizza oven dough
Calories: 269kcal
Cost: 5
Did You Make This Recipe?Snap a picture, and hashtag it #ourbestbites. We love to see your creations on our Instagram @ourbestbites!
woman in denim shirt holding a salad bowl
Meet The Author

Sara Wells

Sara Wells co-founded Our Best Bites in 2008. She is the author of three Bestselling Cook Books, Best Bites: 150 Family Favorite RecipesSavoring the Seasons with Our Best Bites, and 400 Calories or Less from Our Best Bites. Sara’s work has been featured in many local and national news outlets and publications such as Parenting MagazineBetter Homes & GardensFine CookingThe Rachel Ray Show and the New York Times.

Read More

Join The Discussion

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Questions & Reviews

  1. 5 stars
    This was really good. It didn’t turn out like your pictures but I only had a cookie sheet & 550 oven. I will definitely try it again after I get a pizza stone!

  2. 5 stars
    Perfect flavor and texture! Thank you so much for ending my ten year search for the perfect crust recipe.

    1. It would definitely work, but it’s not soft and pillowy (if that’s what you’re looking for), it’s more soft and chewy, if that makes sense 🙂 .

  3. 5 stars
    These were amazing! The flavor was delicious and I LOVED making the crust ahead of time! I’ll definitely be making this again and again!

  4. Is there a reason for dividing the dough in the fridge or could it be left in one large ball? I so want to try this!! Thanks for another great recipe!

    1. Well it just makes sense to divide it into the size you’ll actually be using, and 1/4 of the dough is a good size for a pizza of this style. If for some reason you want to leave it all together you certainly could.

  5. I’m so excited to try this!! I’d given up on the perfect pizza crust since I don’t have a pizza oven. I’ve made dough 24 hours in advance, but never days. And putting the rack with my stone on the top of the oven? Genius! I’m making the dough now so it will be ready for Friday night. I’ll report back!

  6. I am excited to try this. We make homemade pizza nearly every Friday and yet I still haven’t found the “perfect” crust.

    I do have one question:
    What is the purpose of dividing the dough and letting it sit in individual portions? Have you tried allowing it to rest for those 2-4 days in one large batch and then dividing it? I would prefer to rest it in one large batch, but not at the sacrifice of flavor or texture.

  7. This looks yummy! I have been experimenting with getting the perfect thin crust and have been using a hot oven with a pre-heated stone too. I’ll have to try the top rack trick. Have a fun trip.