How To: Grill Pizza on the BBQ

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

You should know by now that Kate and I are big pizza fans. Actually, we’re fans of most everything in the white-starchy-carb family and also the hot gooey cheese family. So naturally, pizza finds its way to our hearts. You should also know by now that I’m kind of obsessed with the grill and I’ll try to find a way to cook just about anything on it. Grilled pizza is waaaay up high on my list of favorite summer foods. Not only will it save you from heating your oven to 500 degrees in the middle of the summer, but it tastes AmAzInG. The dough puffs up and cooks to a perfectly soft/chewy consistency. The smokiness of the grill adds an extra dimension of flavor and the end product is something you won’t believe. It reminds me of the pizza that comes out of an old brick oven, or something you’d get sitting outside at a quaint Italian Bistro. Not that I’ve ever eaten at a Bistro in Italy- I don’t even know if that’s Italian, but it totally sounds like it would work, right?

I posted about this last summer, but I thought the tutorial could use some re-vamping and certainly some new pictures. I’m going to give you a ton of tips and show you how to do this step-by-step so you’re sure to have success on your first try! Here we go.

You’ll need pizza dough. Duh. You can use any pizza dough- whatever you normally use to make pizza at home. (What? You don’t make pizza at home? Shame on you! You need to read this.) You could also buy dough. Many grocery stores and bakeries sell fresh, raw pizza dough. I’ve never grilled the kind in the tube, but even that would probably work if you’re in a pinch. I use this recipe and it makes 2 medium/large pizzas or 4-6 smaller personal pizzas.

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. 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 marinara, bbq, or garlic alfredo.

Alright- let’s do this step-by step.


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 leave the lid shut.

Next, 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. I usually set up a platter with everything I need and keep it next to the grill.

You’ll need:
1. Your toppings (cut, sliced, shredded, etc.) including sauce.
2. Some olive oil and a brush to brush it on.
3. A spoon to spread on sauce
4. A large spatula to flip the pizza

When your dough is ready, roll it out with a rolling pin, or even just use your hands to press and stretch it. Now listen. Throw all of your preconceived pizza notions out the window. You don’t need to make round pizza. I did for these pictures, but normally, I actually make them more rectangular because I have a giant rectangular shaped spatula to flip them with. The irregular shaped dough is part of the rustic beauty of grilled pizza. No rules! Don’t you feel daring??

I find it 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 pizzas per this recipe. That’s about a 9-10″ max. 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. Kids love having their own!

Once your dough is flattened out, drizzle a little olive oil on one side and brush it around

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.

Look at this picture:

Can you see the difference? If you look closely (you can click on it to enlarge) you’ll see that the top pic is all doughy on top and the bottom one is puffed and you can tell it’s dry to the touch. That’s a good sign it’s ready to flip. Check the bottom for nice grill marks. Right before you flip it, brush a little olive oil on the uncooked side.

As soon as you flip it 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. I like to make a bunch of small pizzas and throw them all on cutting boards in the middle of the table and just let everyone cut into them.

You can make the dough as thick or as thin as you want. I did a couple of thinner crust ones in the picture below, and a thicker crust in the one above.

The only thing left to do is sit back and let everyone tell you how amazing you are.

So have you ever grilled pizza? If not, have I talked it up enough to inspire you to try?? If you have, what’s your favorite topping combo? It’s Monday- speak up!

Related Recipes:
Asian BBQ Grilled Pizza


  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!


  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!

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