Make a cast iron skillet pizza with a deep dish style dough that’s crispy on the outside but chewy on the inside. A no-knead dough that can can stay fresh for three days, giving you flexibility on when you’ll have pizza night.
I’m one of those people who could seriously eat pizza every night and never get tired of it. Deep dish is my favorite with crispy edges and a chewy dough. If you love those crispy edges you need to make a cast iron skillet pizza.
This cast iron pizza dough is easy to make but takes some planning. For the dough to develop maximum flavor, it needs a slow rise overnight in the refrigerator and then a two hour rise before it bakes. While it takes time, it doesn’t take much effort.
Mozzarella cheese sprinkled over the crust before adding sauce and toppings keeps the dough from getting soggy and cooking this in a hot oven in an iron skillet gives the crust that sought after crispiness that’s so hard to find. Sink your teeth into this crust and you won’t even care about toppings!
What you’ll need
- Flour – Just regular all purpose flour
- Instant/rapid rise yeast – you only need ½ teaspoon, there are 2 and ¼ teaspoons of yeast in a packet so you’ll have enough for future batches.
- Olive oil – it helps make the crust crispy and won’t smoke at high temperatures.
- Mozzarella – the block kind, not wet mozzarella. You will sprinkle this over the crust before adding the topping to keep the crust from getting soggy.
- Tomato sauce – use your favorite jarred sauce, I don’t like much sauce on my skillet pizza, but most like a little sauce.
- Pancetta – I love the saltiness of pancetta on pizza, a little goes a long way. You can also add any of your favorite toppings like mushrooms, peppers, pepperoni, pineapple the list goes on and on.
How do you make the dough for a skillet pizza
Step 1: Start the dough at least 1 day before you want to eat pizza, it needs an overnight slow rise. Combine flour, yeast, water and a little olive oil and beat with a stand mixer for about 30 seconds to combine or mix by hand with a spoon. It will not be soft like bread dough.
Step 2: You need to repeat this next step four times with 5 minutes between. Instead of kneading the dough, use a bowl scraper or your hand and reach down under the dough and pull it over the top on all four sides. Let it rest for 5 minutes and repeat a total of four times.
Step 3: After folding the dough, cover it and let it rest for 40 minutes on the counter. Then refrigerate overnight or up to three days.
Step 4: Three hours before you want to eat, take the dough out of the refrigerator. Add oil to a cast iron skillet and add the dough gently pushing it out to the edges of the pan. If it doesn’t stretch, let it rest for 15 minutes and try again. Cover and let it rest for 2 hours. It won’t get much bigger.
Step 4: 30 minutes before you’re ready to eat, preheat the oven to 450º.
How do you assemble a deep dish cast iron pizza
Step 1: Sprinkle mozzarella cheese over the dough so that it’s completely covered, this will keep the crust from getting soggy. Spoon the sauce over the cheese and sprinkle with cooked pancetta or any other toppings you want. Top with more mozzarella, you can use wet mozzarella for this part or regular mozzarella.
Spoon the sauce over the cheese and sprinkle with cooked pancetta or any other toppings you want. Top with more mozzarella, you can use wet mozzarella for this part or regular mozzarella.
Step 2: Bake on the bottom rack of the oven for about 20 minutes. Check the bottom of the crust by lifting it up with a spatula to see if it’s golden brown.
Step 3: Let it cool for a couple of minutes and then slide it out of the skillet onto a wire rack and cut into slices. It will need to cool a little before eating.
While this may seem like a lot of steps, there is nothing like a cast iron skillet deep dish pizza and it doesn’t take much hands on work. Be prepared for the best pizza crust you’ve ever had.
FAQ’s and tips
For this skillet pizza recipe, you don’t heat the pan, just place it in a hot oven.
A cast iron skillet retains heat and gives the crust crispy edges.
When the edges have started to brown, take a spatula and pull up the edge of the crust to see if the bottom is golden brown.
Cast iron will give you the crispiest crust, but this pizza dough is so good it will still give you a great pizza if you use an oven proof 10 inch skillet or even a 9 inch cake pan.
Let it sit on the counter for about 15 minutes and try again.
Fresh mozzarella has too much moisture to use on the bottom of the pizza and it will result in a soggy crust. Use regular mozzarella and top with fresh mozzarella if you want.
I have found that this dough does NOT freeze well.
If you love pizza, try some of these Italian inspired dinner recipes
- Pasta alla vodka
- Old fashioned lasagna
- Penne with artichokes
- Creamy Italian sausage pasta
- Sunday sauce
- Stuffed shells
Cast Iron Skillet Pizza
- 2 cups flour
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon instant or rapid yeast
- ¾ cup water lukewarm
- 2 ½ tablespoons olive oil divided
- 1 ½ cups Mozzarella cheese grated
- 1 teaspoon Red pepper flakes
- ⅓ cup tomato sauce
- 3 ounces pancetta
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine flour, salt, yeast, water and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Beat for about a minute until the flour is incorporated, form it into a ball, cover the bowl and let it rest for 5 minutes.
- Take a a bowl scraper down the side of the bowl and lift the dough up and over the top, turn the bowl 90º and repeat this 3 more times for a total of four. Cover the bowl and let it rest 5 minutes. Repeat this step 3 more times for a total of four.
- After you have folded the dough over itself 4 times, cover and let it rest for 40 minutes and then refrigerate over night and up to 72 hours.
- 3 hours before serving, pour 1 ½ tablespoons of olive oil into a 10 inch iron-skillet, spreading the oil over the bottom and up the edges. Transfer the dough into the oiled skillet pressing it to the edges of the skillet. If it resists, cover and let it rest for about 15 minutes and try again. Press your fingers into the dough, dimpling it all over.
- Cover and let rise for 2 hours at room temperature. It should look soft.
- Preheat oven to 450°F.
- An a small skillet, saute chopped pancetta until slightly crispy.
- Sprinkle about a cup of mozzarella cheese directly onto the dough so that no dough is showing, cover the entire crust. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes and add spoonfuls of sauce and pancetta. Top with remaining mozzarella cheese.
- Bake on the bottom rack of the oven for 18-20 minutes until the cheese is bubbling and the crust is golden brown. Remove from oven and run a spatula around the edges of the pan and let it cool briefly. Transfer to a cooling rack and serve.
Barbara’s Tips + Notes
- For this recipe I used an iron skillet that measures 9 inches on the surface. You can use smaller skillets for individual servings.
- Do not use wet mozzarella to cover the dough, use a regular block of mozzarella and save the wet mozzarella for a topping.
- If the bottom of the crust is not completely brown, let it cook for a few more minutes.
- The dough is even better if it refrigerates for 2 days.
- This dough does not freeze well.