How To Grill Pizza

CATEGORIES: Grill, How To..., Pizza, Sara

If you’ve never grilled pizza before, now is the perfect time to try it! And if you have grilled pizza before, now is definitely time to do it again. This is my FAVORITE way to make homemade pizza because no matter how hard I try, most homemade pizza tastes, well, slightly homemade, even in the best of circumstances. This is because most of us don’t have the kind of equipment needed to bake pizza crusts quickly and evenly, so frequently taste a lot like bread instead of pizza crust. But if you have a grill, you can replicate individual-sized pizzas from your favorite brick- or wood-fired pizza restaurants! This is amazing party food because everyone can get exactly the pizza they want in just a few minutes.

Dough:

You’ll need pizza dough. Obviously. You can use any pizza dough- whatever you normally use to make pizza at home. Here is a great recipe for homemade dough and another for Neapolitan Pizza Crust (which is perfect for the grill.) If you’re planning on serving more than a few people, but even if you’re not, I highly recommend making the dough ahead of time and freezing it into individual crusts to prevent the dough from over-rising, especially on a hot summer night.. You could also buy dough. Many grocery stores, clubs like Costco and Sam’s Club, and bakeries sell fresh, raw pizza dough.


Toppings:

I suggest going a little lighter than normal on the toppings for a few reasons.

  1. It will keep the pizzas easy to work with and easy to move around, etc.
  2. The toppings will cook faster and be sure to be done if they’re not piled on heavy.
  3. (And probably the biggest reason)–the grill adds so much flavor and texture that you don’t want (or need) to overpower it. Grilled pizza works great sauce-less, or try it with this pizza sauce, bbq, pesto, or garlic alfredo.
  4. Some great toppings include…
    • Meats like pepperoni, Canadian bacon, bacon bacon, pancetta (Italian bacon), smoked pulled pork, grilled chicken, hamburger, Italian sausage, etc.
    • Fruits and veggies–traditional things like bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, olives, fresh basil (don’t add this until your pizza has cooked!) and pineapple (we know this is controversial, but it’s popular for a reason), but try some other, less traditional things like roasted red peppers, pepperoncini, and stone fruit like cherries or peaches (I’m dreaming of a peach/bacon pizza with alfredo sauce).
    • Shredded mozzarella cheese is a classic, but other great options are dollops of ricotta, fresh mozzarella balls or slices, pepper jack, or smoked gouda.

Let’s Do This!

    1. First, you need to preheat your grill. This is an important step. The rack needs to be nice and hot so the dough will start cooking immediately and the overall temperature needs to be hot in order to act like an oven when the lid is closed. I set my gas grill to medium-high heat and shut the lid.
    2. Get all of your toppings ready. You have to move very quickly while on the grill so everything needs to be prepared and easy to grab. If you’re making a single pizza or using all the same toppings, set up a platter with everything you need and keep it next to the grill, but if you’re having a party, provide bowls or small paper plates and let people pick out what they’d like on their pizza and then hand it to you when it’s their turn.

You’ll need

  1. Your toppings (cut, sliced, shredded, etc.) including sauce.
  2. Olive oil and a brush to brush it on (this is a great way to use our flavored olive oils!)
  3. A spoon to spread on sauce.
  4. A large spatula or pizza peel to flip the pizza

A Few Notes on Dough…

  1. You want this dough as thin as you can roll it–not any thicker than 1/4″ inch, but thinner if you can.
  2. Throw all of your preconceived pizza notions out the window. You don’t need to make round pizza. The irregular shaped dough is part of the rustic beauty of grilled pizza. No rules! We’re all wild and crazy.Like we said before, it’s easiest to make several small pizzas, especially if you’re trying this for the first time. If you want to go big, don’t go much larger than 2 9-10″ pizzas. I like to do 4 small pizzas. You get a good 6-8″ pizza that will easily feed one very hungry adult or a couple of hungry kids. Another benefit of doing several smaller pizzas is that you can try out a bunch of different topping combos. Everyone loves having their own!
  3. When your dough is flattened out, drizzle a little olive oil on one side and brush it around. If you’d like, sprinkle it with a little garlic or onion salt.
  4. Now comes the fun part. Toss that puppy (oil side down) straight on the grill and then shut the lid immediately. You’ll want the heat to stay inside so it acts like an oven and cooks the dough. The timing all depends on the heat of the grill and the thickness of the dough. But it usually only takes about 5 minutes or less. Have a spatula handy to lift up the dough and check it. You’ll want to see nice brown grill marks, but avoid burning it. If you can tell that your dough is cooking too fast and too hot, you may want to use indirect heat. For a gas grill with multiple burners, turn off the burner directly under the pizza, but leave the others on. For a charcoal grill, move the charcoal to one side of the grill and place the pizza on the other side.

These only need a few minutes–Check the bottom for nice grill marks and make sure it’s dry to the touch before flipping. Right before you flip it, brush a little olive oil on the uncooked side.

As soon as you flip the crust, grab that tray with your toppings and put them on the cooked side right away. Shut the lid again and leave it shut. The second side cooks pretty fast. If the bottom of your pizza is done, but the top still needs to cook, you can place it on an upper rack if you have one.

Take a peek at the bottom crust and as soon as it’s done and your cheese is all melty, grab a spatula and pull it off. You can place these right onto people’s plates or onto a large cutting board and let everyone snag their pizzas.


The only thing left to do is sit back and let everyone tell you how this is the most amazing homemade pizza they’ve ever had!

74 comments

  1. It’s so beautiful! And I’m sure yummy. I just want to reach through the computer screen and grab a piece. Too bad we have already packed our BBQ. Definitely after the move I’m giving this a try.

  2. Again, I can say from multiple personal experiences that this is the best pizza! And I am not usually a pizza fan… I love the garlic cream sauce, personally 🙂

  3. Ooh, I may just try this tonight!

    By the way, because I make homemade pizza fairly frequently, I went to my local restaurant supply and bought a wooden pizza peel. Best. Investment. Ever!

  4. Erika, your comments always make me do a double-take, because I know another “Erika and Ryan” lol. When you said you didn’t know us I was like, what are you smoking, we’re good friends IRL! Haha. Thanks for the comment and the shout-out!

  5. Tried it last night, and YUM! Unfortunately, our grill ran out of propane before they finished cooking (bummer) so we finished ’em in the oven, but they still had the yummy BBQ flavor. Thanks for the recipe!

  6. I have been gone for a long time, so I had some catching up to do as far as trying the new recipes that you post, but this pizza was amazing I used pesto fresh tomatoes from our garden some cheese and turkey pepperoni (so that it would have a little meat for my husband) and we loved it. I am not sure I will ever go back to making it in the oven. Thanks for the great lesson!

  7. My husband and I grill pizza all the time…and it’s fabulous. If you’re watching your calories, you can spray the dough with Pam instead of using the oil. It’s of course not quite as good, but still yummy! I just found your site…fun blog!

  8. This is perfect timing. We've been talking about grilling pizzas for a couple weeks. Now we just have to get rid of the stomach flu and we'll be heatin up the grill. Thanks!

  9. I always use your dough recipe and make pizza in the oven but I have yet to try it on the grill. Possibly tonight. Quick question.. I didn't see it mentioned how hot you want your grill? Low, med. or high. Scott usually does all the grilling so I would be stepping out of my comfort zone. So I do need tips. Do I keep the lid open or do I close it? When you say till the dough is crisp I understand that but how much time are we talking? A few minutes. 10 min.? See I really don't grill. Ha Ha! TIA

  10. I think I could just eat my computer screen for lunch and be good. This I must try. I love pizza. My whole family loved your Stuffed Pizza Rolls. They were so awesome.

  11. Shannon- make Scott put on a pink apron and make a fruit salad while you man the grill tonight! lol

    I didn't put on an exact temperature because I don't think grill thermometers are all that accurate. I set mine to medium-high. A real pizza oven is really hot- like 500 degrees or higher, so hot is good. The only problem is that the grates can get so hot that they can burn the bottom. That's why you have to kind of eyeball it. Or use that tip about using indirect heat. Medium-High heat should be good. Time depends on the size of your pizza, but usually about 5 minutes or so for each side. Just keep peeking at the bottom to make sure it's not burning, but it's browning and you'll be good!

  12. One thing I had to find out the hard way is that if you're going to err temperature-wise, err on the side of too low (but I would say no lower than the medium setting on your grill). You can always cook it longer, but once it's burned, it's burned.

  13. YAY! i LOVE pizza… like no other food.. and I have Wanted to grill it- since I saw Bobby Flay do it! Thanx for the tutorial. (not that it is hot enough here in Wash to avoid my oven, but I will still try it!)

  14. Made these for dinner last night YUM! I did a "test pizza" first though before putting all the dough on the grill (which was a good idea because I burnt it the first time!) You really do need to move quickly if the grill is super hot! I grilled chicken, pineapple and peppers to put on the pizza along with BBQ sauce, feta and mozarella it was awesome! Thanks for the great tips!

  15. I think this is my absolute fave of all the best bites recipes. We make this all the time. Everyone is happy – quick fix time, individualized to what each person wants, and totally amazing flavor. I have even convinced my non-cooking family members that it's worth it. I have to confess to screwing up the first few crusts, but once you get the hang of flipping the dough onto the grill rack, it's really easy. Thanks for opening up my pizza world :).

  16. I'm new to cooking. Not cooking persay, but the fancy schmancy stuff. I have to say after finding your blog, I've tried a few recipes so far and I LOVED this pizza! Absolutely delicious! So nummy! Thank you for sharing!

    Hugs,
    Heather

  17. Thanks for posting this, I never thought to try grilling pizza! We made it last week with fresh mozzarella, pepperoni and green pepper. Will definitely be making this again!

  18. Thank you for the post. My husband thinks I'm a great cook thanks to awesome recipes/tutorials like this. He wants me to make it into a calzone next time so I'll give it a try and let you know how it goes in case you haven't tried that yet. If you have, I'd love to know if it worked.

  19. Okay, I have been eyeing up this recipe for awhile and have finally gotten up the guts to try it today. Did I mention I've never grilled anything, at least on a gas grill outside…I'm feeling adventurous and it's a beautiful day so wish me luck!

  20. I love your website! Thanks for sharing all your wonderful recipes, I use them all the time! These pizzas were absolutely delicious! Your pizza dough is awesome too. Thanks!

  21. Just made it and it looks yummy…. we did learn an important lesson though: the grill pan on the stove cooks the dough VERY quickly… we COMPLETELY burned the first mini-pizza. Oops!

  22. Grilling a pizza is on my bucket list! I am so excited to see this on your “How to’s” and I am going to do this before summer is over! Thanks!

  23. I wish there was a way to print all of your recipes. If it doesn’t have the short printable version, I end up using all my colored ink printing all the beautiful pictures. Is there something I don’t know?

  24. We did this last night for the first time. They were awesome! My kids even liked them, and they don’t eat “regular” pizza very well. I did notice that you need less toppings for the pizzas, like you said. I made your recipe for pizza dough (which, by the way, is my favorite!) and we got six small pizzas out of it. We are definitely doing this again!!

  25. This pizza rocked! My whole family now prefers this grilled pizza over my oven baked pizza. I had read many articles on how to grill. But this by far made it seem so simple and less complicated.

  26. WOWZERS! I tried this for my family last night for our special “back to school” dinner and uhhhhh YUM! Everybody LOVED it! Thank you for posting such wonderful, detailed, delicious recipes for us! Things like this are “scary” for me to try but having your step-by-step instructions with pictures gives me the “courage” I need to step out of my cooking comfort zone! SO THANK YOU!

  27. We made these twice this week… yum! We just used the directions on the package of pizza yeast which didn’t require rising, but we had a lot of trouble with our crust sinking into the grill making it impossible to flip without losing parts of the crust. We ended up grilling the first side on aluminum foil and then flipping it directly onto the grill for the second side and they turned out perfect without the frustration! Any other tips to prevent the crust from settling into the grill? We tried smaller pizzas, thinner, thicker, placing it gently, slapping it on, etc etc etc- all ended up in frustration!

    1. Melody, it definitely sounds like your grill is not hot enough. It shouldn’t fall through at all. The only other factor I can think of is the actual dough you used; but I can’t be sure. I’d definitely try cranking up the heat!

  28. Finally got to try this tonight … YUM! Thanks for the great tutorial that gave me the guts to try it. I even started the gas grill myself for the first time in my life to make grilled pizza!

  29. All I can say is WOW. Seriously…WOW. I have had this recipe in my favorites for some time now, but I just got a grill. The first thing I cooked on it (that very same night!) was pizza. We are a big pizza family – I make it homemade every Friday night. There is absolutely no comparison between baking it in the oven and cooking it on the grill. Hands down, the grill produces the best tasting crust and pizza I’ve ever eaten. It’s gives it a brick oven type flavor. I have cooked it 4 more times since then – even inviting a group of friends over. It was such a hit! Thanks for this awesome tutorial on grilling pizza! My pizza eating will never be the same!

  30. I LOVE grilled pizza! I have never dared to do the whole process on the grill till the other day, though. I’ve always just grilled the dough and finished it in the oven. I decided to try it the other day and it worked! Thanks for the tutorial. I also wanted to share that we actually did this for a get together with friends last night. It was a big hit! I had everyone put all their toppings in a bowl and shape their dough. We had the sauce, olive oil, and cheese at the grill already. Then everyone grilled their own pizzas. I wasn’t sure how it would all go down, but everyone loved it, including the making part. You could tell who was not at all comfortable cooking! It was funny at times. Most people were uncomfortable to some degree since they had never done it, but everyone had fun and loved the pizza. I think we had the lids open too much and the heat too low, though. I will know to do it better in the future. Your tutorial helped a lot!

  31. For some reason, I can’t get the blue links in this post to work. I am going to attempt to make this for some friends on Conference Sunday, and I am still very much a beginner cook. I especially need to get into the “how to make the pizza dough” link. It would also be nice to see the “garlic alfredo” sauce link. I tried searching these out individually, but had no success. Thanks for all the yummy recipes!

  32. A little trick I learned….When I make mine, I roll out each individual pizza on its own little sheet of foil that I’ve sprayed with cooking spray. Then I just flip it over onto the grill, with the foil still attached, and let the first side cook that way. When the dough cooks a little bit it unsticks itself from the foil! I can then peel off the foil and flip the dough onto the foil again for each person to top as they please. It slides off the foil easily to cook the other side.

  33. Yum! I love grilling pizza. My grill has wide grates and the dough would sag between them before it cooked enough to stiffen up. We solved this by starting the dough on a piece of foil brushed with olive oil, then removing the foil when flipping it to the second side. If you’re making several rounds of pizza you can keep re-using the foil.

Leave a Reply

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

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