Pizza night is a favorite here at the farmhouse. I’ve made all sorts of homemade pizza over the years from traditional to taco pizza, grilled pizza, and homemade calzones. Lately, we’ve been making our homemade pizza in a cast iron skillet with amazing results. I should have known that creating a homemade pizza in my favorite type of pan would create a delicious, comforting meal to serve at our family table.
Preparing pizza in a cast iron skillet is so simple. The crust bakes up beautifully thanks to the even heat in the skillet. Once we have all helped ourselves to a slice, the remaining pizza stays warm and delicious until we’re all ready for seconds.
I make one large pizza for our family in a 12 inch cast iron skillet. You can also scale down your pizza to fit a 9 inch cast iron skillet. The baking times remain the same; simply reduce the amount of toppings to create a slightly smaller pizza with equally delicious results. If you prefer a thinner crust, less dough can be used to create a pizza just to your liking.. If you love a thick crust, do the opposite and use more of the dough to create a thick crust for your pizza. This crust also makes a delicious traditional style pizza baked on a pizza pan.
This recipe makes enough dough and sauce for two 12 inch pizzas. The dough stores very well in the refrigerator for a few days or in the freezer for weeks. I make a batch of dough and sauce one week and have enough of both leftover to make our pizza the following week.
I have used both homemade pizza dough and the store bought varieties to make great pizzas in my cast iron skillet. Our favorite is the recipe I have included below. It’s simple to make and tastes delicious. If you prefer to use a store bought pizza crust, you will need around 14 ounces for a 12 inch skillet and 10 to 12 ounces for a 9 inch skillet pizza.
We like to fill our pizza with a combination of 8 ounces local sausage, a sautéed red bell pepper, and a generous handful of sliced black olives. Precooking the sausage and peppers ensures that they will be fully cooked and will not add too much moisture to the finished pizza which can result in a soggy crust. This step also greatly reduces the baking time for your pizza. On busy weeks, I often precook the toppings the night before or in the morning so that assembling our pizza at dinner time will be even easier. You can substitute your favorite toppings for your pizza, precooking any raw ingredients and preparing them ahead of time if that suits your schedule.
I hope that you will gather your favorite pizza dough, sauce, toppings, and cast iron skillet for a farmhouse style pizza night at your house. I know that you’ll find that this simple recipe will make pizza night into a homemade feast that you’ll love serving to your family and friends week after week.
- 14 ounces pizza dough
- 1 teaspoon olive oil to prepare the pan before baking
- 1 – 2 cups pizza sauce
- 16 ounces mozzarella cheese, grated
- Your favorite pizza toppings
- dried oregano
- 3 ½ - 4 cups Bread Flour
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- 1 packet active dry yeast or 2 ¼ teaspoons instant yeast
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons warm water
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
- 28 ounces tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon sugar or honey
- salt and pepper to taste
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine water, honey, salt, and olive oil. Sprinkle the yeast on top of liquids and allow to sit for 5 minutes to activate the yeast.
- Add 3 ½ cups of flour to bowl and fit the mixer with a dough hook. Mix on low-speed for three minutes. The dough will begin to gather together and form a shaggy ball. Turn mixer off and allow dough to rest for five minutes.
- At the end of the rest period, mix the dough for another three minutes at medium low-speed. Add up to ½ cup additional flour if necessary to bring the dough together. At this point, the dough will be transformed into a ball.
- Remove the dough from the mixer and knead by hand until it is elastic and smooth. Divide the dough into two portions and form each into a ball by tucking the ends underneath as you turn it in your hands. Place each ball of dough in a medium bowl, coating the bowl and ball of dough with a bit of olive oil to prevent it from sticking or drying out. Allow the dough to sit at room temperature at least 15 minutes. Cover the bowl and store the dough in the refrigerator until ready to use. The dough will keep in the refrigerator for several days or in the freezer for several weeks.
- In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring to prevent burning. Add the oregano and tomato paste and stir to combine. Cook for 1 minute before adding the tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes. Bring the mixture to a simmer. Add the sugar and season with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. The sauce should reduce slightly and thicken. Remove the pan from the heat and taste for seasoning, adding salt, pepper, and oregano as needed. If you prefer your sauce to have a bit of spice, you can add a dash of dried red pepper flakes with the garlic and oregano.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. If you have a pizza stone or baking stone, this is a great time to use it. Position an oven rack in the middle of the oven. Add 1 teaspoon of olive oil to your cast iron skillet. Use a pastry brush to coat the bottom and sides of the skillet with the oil. This will prevent the dough from sticking to the skillet as it bakes.
- As the sauce is reducing, I cook my pizza toppings. In a medium skillet, I brown 8 ounces of sausage removed from its casing before adding sliced bell peppers. Once the peppers are cooked, I remove the skillet from the heat, add the sliced black olives, and stir to combine. Precooking any raw ingredients will prevent the pizza from becoming soggy from the moisture released from raw ingredients as they bake in the oven.
- Press the pizza dough into the oiled cast iron skillet. The dough should evenly cover the bottom and the sides of the skillet. As you press the dough, it should keep its shape in the skillet, holding itself up against the side of the skillet. Place the skillet on a burner set at low heat as you assemble the pizza. The heat will help to warm the cast iron skillet and sear the bottom of the dough. This will help to ensure that the crust bakes evenly and has a nice crunch on the exterior. The pizza should spend about 5-7 minutes on the burner as you assemble the pizza before being transferred to the oven.
- Add half of the grated cheese to the skillet, spreading to evenly cover the bottom of the pizza crust. Add half of the pizza sauce, spreading it evenly on top of the layer of grated cheese. Add your toppings followed by the remaining grated mozzarella. Sprinkle with dried oregano. Allow the pizza to remain on the warm burner for a minute or two before transferring it to the hot oven.
- Bake the pizza for 18 - 20 minutes, turning it after 10 minutes to promote even browning and baking. Remove the pizza from the oven and allow it to cool for a full 15 minutes. This cool down period will allow the pizza toppings to set up slightly, making it much easier to slice and serve.
- During the summer, I cook our pizza on the grill. It bakes up beautifully and we don't heat up the farmhouse by running the oven. Simply heat the grill to around 425 degrees before placing the prepared skillet directly on the grill. Cover and cook for 12-14 minutes. Remove the pan from the grill and allow to cool for 15 minutes before slicing and serving.