So I have this trick. And it might change your homemade pizza game forever.
Here in the South, everyone owns a cast iron skillet, and they cook everything from chicken to cornbread in it. Many people even have well-seasoned ones that have been passed down to them. But my mom never cooked in cast iron so I bought my first one about a year ago to teach myself how to cook in one. What my mom did teach me though (among many other things) was how to make homemade pizza. She would make the dough and we would help roll it out and choose our favorite toppings. Homemade pizza night was always a favorite night in our household, and I still like to make it for myself.
One night last year, after moving into my solo apartment, I realized my roommates were always the ones with pizza pans and I didn’t actually own one myself. I had already bought all the ingredients to make pizza and wasn’t going to give up on this. I thought about making it on a baking sheet but then I caught a glimpse of my cast iron skillet and thought “…what if?”
I don’t want to brag, but it.was.genius. The crust turned out so much crispier than pizza made on any pizza pan or pizza stone I’ve tried. The crust edges were perfectly crisp to bite into and chewy on the inside and the bottom crust was so crispy that you could hold up your piece of pizza and not worry about it flopping over and losing your toppings. Now, baking my pizza in a cast iron skillet is the only way I do it.
I’m not really giving you a recipe here for pizza, but this is more of a technique post. You can use pre-made (not pre-cooked) fresh pizza dough from your grocery store’s bakery or your favorite dough recipe, and choose whatever toppings you like. Here, I’m demo-ing with a margherita pizza and just used pre-made dough for ease (but homemade is always better).
First, and probably most importantly, you have to grease your skillet, and grease it well. I pour a little olive oil into the pan and then rub it all over the bottom and up the sides with a paper towel. If you don’t do this, your pizza will not come out easily.
Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Roll out your dough to desired thickness and fit into greased skillet. Fold over edges for crust (I like a thick crust). Using a fork, poke holes in dough all over. Put skillet with dough in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. This helps to crisp the crust a little first so the toppings don’t make it soggy.
Take skillet out of the oven very carefully using oven mitts, as skillet will be EXTREMELY hot. Put on a heatproof surface and top your crust with desired toppings. I did sauce….
…cheese (in this case, I used fresh mozzarella)…
…and more cheese (Parmesan this time) and seasonings.
Return skillet to oven and bake for another 15 or so minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly and crust is golden brown.
Remove skillet from oven and let cool for a few minutes. Transfer pizza to a cutting board (it should slide right out if you greased your pan well) to slice it (you should not attempt to use a knife or pizza cutter while pizza is still in the skillet). Enjoy!
Here are those steps condensed:
Cast Iron Skillet Pizza
1. Grease skillet well with olive oil.
2. Preheat oven to 475 degrees.
3. Roll out dough and fit into skillet. Fold over edges. Poke holes all over in dough using a fork.
4. Bake dough in skillet for 10 minutes.
5. Remove from oven and top with desired toppings.
6. Return to oven and bake for another 15-20 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly and crust is golden brown.
7. Slide pizza out of skillet and cut on cutting board.
Some of my favorite topping combinations are as follows:
Italian red sauce
Fresh basil (when I have it)
Barbecue (sorry I don’t have a pic!)
Shredded cooked chicken
Fig and Goat Cheese
Olive oil as sauce base