Easy Cast Iron Skillet Pizza (22 minutes)
A simple cast iron skillet pizza takes just 22 minutes to make – faster than delivery! This delicious easy pizza has a very crispy crust (thick or thin – your choice) and no pizza stone is needed.
Yes, we use a store-bought dough, but you would never know it. It’s a perfect tailored-to-your-taste meal, appetizer or snack.
I did a ton of research on the many different techniques for skillet pizza and settled on a blend that gets the job done well in the fastest and easiest way possible.
After half a dozen pizzas, I can honestly say the recipe is pretty much foolproof. Make it the first time and you’ll be a pro from then on.
Method – 4 simple steps
- Shape dough: Stretch your pizza dough into a circle to fit your skillet
- Heat skillet on stovetop: Heat a cast-iron skillet and sprinkle cornmeal on the surface
- Build pizza in skillet on stove: Place pizza dough in hot skillet, then add toppings.
- Bake in oven: After 3 minutes, transfer skillet to hot oven to bake for 10-14 minutes.
Ingredient notes – tailored to your taste
Dough – I use a fresh or frozen store-bought dough. I figure a store that makes hundreds of pizzas doughs a week probably has the recipe nailed. Thaw the dough if frozen and let the dough rest and relax at room temperature before you stretch it out. If you want to make your own homemade dough, here’s one of the best homemade pizza dough recipes. And another recipe for a gluten-free pizza dough.
Sauce – I use a simple marinara sauce such as White Linen from Costco or Rao from the grocery store. Use whatever tomato or pizza sauce you like best. Variation – skip the tomato sauce and use a thin layer pesto, garlic oil or ricotta.
Cheese – Mozzarella cheese is the standard and what I use. The best kind for pizza is low moisture to avoid a soggy crust. Other cheese options are provolone, cheddar, monterey jack and asiago. Some people like a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese as well.
Cornmeal – this is used to prevent sticking to the bottom of the pan and a bit of crunch. Substitute with flour or oil if you don’t have cornmeal.
Other toppings – I keep it simple with cheese, fresh basil and sometimes black olives, but the sky is the limit. Just keep in mind that the pizza cooks for only a short time so the toppings need to be very thin or pre-cooked. Here are a few suggestions:
- thinly sliced fennel or arugula
- thinly sliced garlic
- white or red onion
- red peppers or a green bell pepper
- roasted eggplant or zucchini
- pineapple (for a Hawaiian flare)
- for a supreme pizza (also called all-dressed), add cooked sausage, ham, bacon, pepperoni or other meats plus the veggies you like.
Garnish options: fresh chopped basil, Parmesan cheese, goat cheese, hot chili flakes, pesto, a drizzle of olive oil.
Tips for Success
- Use the right amount of dough for the crust you like – thin or thick. Details are in the recipe notes. Store bought dough comes in various sizes – some make two 10-inch pizzas. Some make one 18-inch pizza.
- Skillet: Use a 10-12 inch/25-30 cm skillet that can stand high oven heat.
- Toppings: Don’t overload the pizza with toppings or they won’t cook in the short time. Alternatively, see recipe notes for precooking certain toppings.
Step by step instructions
Let dough rise and relax a bit, then stretch it into a circle. Heat cast iron skillet and sprinkle on cornmeal (or flour) to prevent dough from sticking.
Place dough into bottom of the pan, pushing dough up the edges of the pan. Careful not to burn your fingers!
Brush oil over dough. Add sauce, cheese and toppings, then transfer skillet to a very hot oven. Bake.
This skillet pizza has a thicker crust (edge of the dough is puffier).
The thicker crust pizza is crispy on the outside, pillowy on the inside.
This skillet pizza uses less dough and has a crispy thin crust.
Thin crusted pizza slice
- Buy the pizza dough.
- Buy your favorite pizza or tomato sauce. I use White Linen or Rao. If you want to make your own, try our San Marzano tomato sauce.
- It’s fine to use the pre-shredded cheese in the package if you don’t feel like grating a ball of fresh Mozzarella cheese.
Cast iron pans are excellent for heat retention and distribution. This helps create a well cooked pizza with a crispy crust.
No. Many recipes do, but in this recipe, you heat the skillet on the stove and start cooking the crust for just a few minutes. It gets perfectly crispy this way.
Start with the sauce, then add the cheese, then other toppings. This gives a chance for the other toppings to crisp up.
Sprinkle the pan with cornmeal. If you don’t have cornmeal, use a tablespoon of flour or oil instead.
A Medium 12″ inch Pizza is typically cut into 8 slices and serves 3-4 people. A larger 14″ inch Pizza is typically cut into 8-10 slices and serves 3-5 people.
About 10-12 hours in the fridge or 2 hours at room temperature on the counter.
- Skillet Pizza is best fresh, but leftovers can be rewarmed in a 350-375F/177-190C oven for about 7-10 minutes. It can also be frozen in a ziplock bag or airtight container. Makes a great kids lunch.
- To partially make the pizza ahead: you can do the stove top portion ahead of time, then transfer the pizza for the oven portion 10-14 minutes before serving time.
Enjoy this cast iron pizza recipe for breakfast, lunch, brunch, dinner, snack or appetizer. And for something different, try our delicious grilled pizza where you can use pizza dough or our homemade naan recipe for the dough.
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Easy Cast Iron Pizza (22 minutes)
- Cast iron skillet, 10-12 inches (25-30 cm) in diameter. Other skillets that can withstand high heat will work too.
- 1 store-bought pizza dough, Note 1 for prep, Note 2 for amount needed for thick or thin crust
- 1 tablespoon all purpose flour (to shape dough into circle without sticking)
- 2-3 teaspoons cornmeal to prevent sticking (substitute with flour or 1 tablespoon oil if you don't have cornmeal)
- 2 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 cup (8 oz, 225g) tomato sauce, marinara sauce or pizza sauce, Note 3 (use less if preferred)
- 1/2 cup (112g) shredded Mozzarella cheese (or more to taste)
- Additional toppings: Note 4
- chopped fresh basil, pesto, red pepper flakes, goat cheese, grated Parmesan cheese, drizzle of olive oil, sprinkle of salt
- HEAT OVEN to 550F (287C) or 500F/260C if your oven doesn't go that high.
- SHAPE DOUGH TO FIT SKILLET: Scatter a tablespoon flour on work surface and move dough around in it. Flatten dough into 8 inch/20 cm circle with fingers. Lift up by the edge, letting dough hang, and stretch it all around edges to make a larger circle. Place back on work surface and stretch into 14 inch/35cm circle (if using 12 inch/30cm skillet) or 12 inch circle (if using 10 inch skillet). No need to measure perfectly. Here's a video on how to shape the dough.
- BUILD PIZZA IN SKILLET ON STOVETOP: Heat a 10-12 inch (25-30 cm) cast iron skillet to medium high on stovetop. Scatter corn meal evenly to cover bottom. Place dough in preheated skillet, pushing edge of the dough 1 inch/2.5 cm up sides of the pan. CAREFUL not to burn your fingers! Brush olive oil on dough. Add tomato sauce (leaving a 1 inch/2.5 cm edge of dough plain), then Mozzarella cheese, then toppings (only add fresh basil after cooking). Important: Once the dough is on the heated skillet on stovetop, the entire cooking time should be no more than 3-4 minutes. This will start cooking the bottom and edges of the crust without burning. If it's taking longer, lower stove top burner to medium heat so crust doesn't burn.
- TRANSFER TO OVEN AND BAKE: Transfer skillet with pizza to middle oven rack and bake. Timing depends on oven temperature and amount of dough used. You may need plus or minus 1-2 minutes. °Thin crust pizza: 10-12 minutes. °Thick crust pizza: 12-14 minutes.
- SERVE: Remove from oven. Use spatula to gently lift pizza off skillet to cutting board. Sprinkle with garnishes of your choice if using. Slice with pizza cutter, scissors or large knife. Serve immediately.
- Preparing the dough: If frozen, defrost in fridge for 10-12 hours or at room temperature for 2 hours. Dough should be soft and relaxed to allow for easy stretching. Let pre-made dough sit at room temperature, in bag or covered with plastic wrap, to relax. It should stretch easily. TIP: To speed things up, I heat the oven to Warm, turn off the oven, place dough in a bowl sprayed with oil, cover loosely with plastic wrap (also sprayed with oil), place bowl in oven for 10-15 minutes.
- Thick or thin crust pizza – amount of dough to use:
- Thick crust: use 3/4 pound/340 grams/12 ounces of dough for a thicker chewy crust.
- Thin crust: use 1/2 pound/225 grams/8 ounces of dough
- Substitute for tomato sauce: If you don’t like tomato sauce, try a thin layer of pesto, garlic oil or ricotta cheese.
- Toppings options: thinly sliced fennel, thinly sliced garlic, onions, arugula, red peppers or green peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, pineapple (for a Hawaiian flare) For a supreme pizza (also called all-dressed), add cooked sausage, ham, bacon, pepperoni or other meats plus the veggies you like.
- Vegetables that need to be pre-cooked: It’s better to pre-cook certain vegetables (sauté or roast) such as onions, peppers, eggplant, mushrooms since the cooking time is so short. Alternatively, slice the veggies very thin. If you have to pre-cook toppings, the pizza will take longer than 22 minutes of course.
- How many servings per pizza: A Medium 12 inch/30cm Pizza is typically cut into 8 slices and serves 3-4 people. A Large 14 inch/35cm Pizza is typically cut into 8-10 slices and serves 3-5 people.
- To Make Ahead:
- Skillet Pizza is best fresh, but leftovers can be rewarmed in a 350-375F/177-190C oven for about 7-10 minutes. It can also be frozen in a ziploc bag or airtight container.
- To partially make the pizza ahead: you can do the stove top portion ahead of time, then transfer the pizza for the oven portion 12-14 minutes before serving time.
This recipe was initially published in Feb 2017 and has now been updated with recipe tweaks, new pictures and additional information.