Homemade Frozen Pizza

Taylor and I have a tradition of always having an “Emergency Pizza” on hand. Dubbed as such after one evening where we were both hungry and cranky and could not agree on where to go eat and did not want to cook. We wanted real pizza but ordering it would cost more than two college kids really wanted to pay for an impromptu dinner. Finally, after probably a good 30 minutes of bickering, we found a frozen pizza buried in the freezer. We joke that that frozen pizza saved our relationship.

Since then, we’ve made sure there was always a frozen pizza stashed away for nights like that one. The problem with frozen pizza, however, is that it always seems to taste like frozen pizza. Shocker, I know.

Homemade Frozen Pizza

So when I signed up for a meal train for a food blogger friend and new mommy, Beth, I started wondering if something as mundane as frozen pizza could be made from scratch. Grocery store frozen pizza can’t hold a candle to a fresh, homemade pie, and I wanted to see if was possible to freeze it, toppings and all, without losing the integrity and flavor that makes homemade pizza so gosh darn delicious.

Homemade Frozen Pizza

Turns out, it’s way easier than you might think.

The trick, I think, is to pre-bake the crust ever so slightly. Just a few minutes on a hot pizza stone is more than enough. But the difference between a pre-baked crust and a raw crust, after being frozen and baked fully, was night and day. Pre-baking was the difference between a rubbery and lackluster mess, and a deliciously golden and crispy foundation. You could use your own favorite pizza crust recipe, but if you’re wondering, I’ve printed mine below. It’s thin and crispy, Neapolitan style, speckled with fennel seed and dried thyme.

As for toppings, I think Beth and her husband are a lot like Taylor and I (and probably many of you and your significant others) in that our tastes in pizza toppings are polar opposites. I like light and white, cheesey and green. Taylor likes what most boys like, marinara and meat.

So we made two pizzas, a his and hers of sorts. Hers was topped with a spicy arugula and pistachio pesto, and ricotta, mozzarella, and parmesan cheeses. His was a classic marinara, mozzarella, and pepperoni. A solution that made everyone happy, proving, once again, that the key to a lasting relationship is, in fact, pizza.

Homemade Frozen Pizza

Yield: 3 (9-inch) pizzas

Total Time: 24 hours

Ingredients:

For Crust:
2 1/4 cups bread flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon whole fennel seed
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
7/8 cup (7 ounces) cold water
Cornmeal, for dusting

Directions:

Stir together the flour, salt, and instant yeast in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add the oil and the cold water and stir on low speed until the flour is all absorbed. Switch to the dough hook and mix on medium speed for 5 to 7 minutes, or as long as it takes to create a smooth, sticky dough. The dough should clear the sides of the bowl but stick to the bottom of the bowl. The finished dough will be springy, elastic, and sticky, not just tacky.

Transfer the dough to floured work surface. Lightly oil a baking dish or platter. Cut the dough into 3 equal pieces, and gently shape each piece into a ball. Arrange the dough balls on the prepared dish. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. At this point the dough balls can also be frozen; simply wrap each ball individually in plastic wrap and place inside a zippered freezer bag. Transfer to the refrigerator the day before you plan on baking them.

Remove dough from refrigerator and let rise at room temperature for 2 hours.

At least 45 minutes before making the pizza, place a baking stone either on a rack in the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F, allowing the baking stone to heat for at least 30 minutes.

On a lightly floured work surface, gently press and stretch the dough into disks about 9 inches in diameter. Generously dust a peel or the back of a sheet pan with semolina flour or cornmeal. Lay the stretched dough on the peel or pan, making sure there is enough semolina flour or cornmeal so it doesn’t stick. Gently slide the crust on to the hot stone (or bake directly on a sheet pan). Bake until crust just starts to puff, about 3 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough balls.

Once crusts are cooled, arrange them on a baking sheet that has been lightly dusted with cornmeal. Top with desired toppings. Place pizzas in the freezer, uncovered, until completely frozen, 4-6 hours, then wrap in a double layer of plastic wrap and place inside a large zip-top freezer bag, removing as much air as possible. I also found that using a 9-inch cake round covered in foil worked well as a sturdy base for the pizza.

To bake, preheat oven to 425ºF. Transfer frozen pizza to a pizza pan or baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until crust is golden and cheese is bubbly and starts to brown.

Crust adapted from from The Bread Baker's Apprentice.

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94 Comments Leave a Comment »

  1. his & her pizzas. I’m drawn towards your version!

  2. We do his and her pizzas too:)

  3. such a sweet post and of course a great food idea.

  4. This is genius! I’m always buying frozen pizza, but homemade pizzas are always ten billion times better. Thank you for the awesome recipe!

  5. This could be the best idea since… well, frozen pizza! I think I am going to make some dough right now and put some pizzas away for future use! What a perfect home made solution for those lazy nights. Thank you!

  6. I love this idea! Frozen pizza is always a great go-to for quick dinners and even better when you know exactly what’s in them so they can be somewhat healthy!! Thanks for posting!!

    :D

  7. That is a great tip, to pre-bake the base a little.

  8. Yup – I need to do this. I’m so burned out by the end of my week (or heck even week nights) that by the time I hit the kitchen I just stand there unblinkingly. Go figure for a blogger. Love it girls, love it.

  9. Could. Not. Agree. With. You. More.

  10. Oh I love this idea (although I like man pizzas and boyfriend likes lady pizzas, what this says about our relationship, I don’t know). Having a frozen pizza on hand would be perfect for the end of a busy day.

  11. What a great idea! I’m going to be a first-time mom in two months (yikes!) and have been trying to think of make-ahead meals aside from the usual suspects like soup and casseroles. Thanks for posting this!

  12. How cool is that! I had no idea that was possible :) Great idea!

  13. Awesome idea! I’ll be stocking my freezer with pizza soon! Any idea how long they will keep? It would be awesome to freeze a pizza with fresh tomato, basil and mozzarella in late summer and enjoy it in the middle of winter!

    • I’m sure they’d keep fairly well for a few months depending on what you put on them, although I’d probably try to use them within a month or so.

  14. Pure brilliance!! I also have a frozen pizza in my freezer at all times for emergencies. But it would be so much better (and healthier) if it was homemade. How long do you think they would last/still be good?

    • Well, mine were consumed within a few days of freezing, so I can’t say for sure how long they’d keep. I’d guess 2-3 months, though probably best to use them within a month or so for the best results.

  15. I never make pizza dough but you may have inspired me!

    • I was so excited to try this and didn’t want to fuss with dough so I bought some from my favorite pizzeria. Put 3 small in the freezer today. Can’t wait to try them.

  16. Ah perfect timing on this post! My boyfriend just moved to a different city and we’ve been both feeling too lazy to cook (cooking for one is not much fun!) and I think we’ve both been surviving on frozen pizzas for the past week. I’m visiting him this weekend and was planning on making a few things for him to put in the freezer and now I can make him some homemade frozen pizzas instead of the store-bought kind!

  17. This is such a great idea – I always think I want frozen pizza, but like you said…it’s frozen pizza. This is perfect. We could spend a Sunday putting a bunch together and then have them in the freezer for a busy work night!

  18. What a stellar idea! I’ve tried to pre-make “frozen” pizzas at home before, but I didn’t pre-bake the crusts and I always waffled about how to store them without inviting freezer burn. So! cardboard round + plastic wrap + Ziploc bag seems to work? Good.

    Thanks for sharing this. My husband and I can now swap OUR emergency Totinos Party Pizzas for this healthier alternative.

    Kate

  19. Great idea home made frozen pizzas!
    Big hugs!
    Inés

    SimplyClassyMe.blogspot.com

  20. This is amazing! I almost bought a frozen pizza at the store today to have in case of emergencies, but for $5 I couldn’t justify the cardboard dinner. This is genius!

  21. Good to know I can freeze a couple of extras, after pre-baking, next time. I also made his and her pizzas this past weekend. I with you and made your swiss chard, goat cheese and garlic pizza for me. Made 3P pizza for your dad. Pepperoni, red and yellow peppers and pepperocini!!!! Happy household!!

  22. Great idea…couldn’t love this more. And you hit the nail on the head with the polar opposites thing. His and hers pizzas are the way to go!

  23. Definitely going to keep this in mind next time I’m making pizzas. An extra 2-3 pizzas in the freezer would be amazing!

  24. What a great idea. I will try it as soon as possible!

  25. I’m so happy you did this! I need to get on this right away. My boyfriend and I make a LOT of pizza!

  26. Such a great idea! And good to know that pre-baking the dough is important. Love this!

  27. LOL pizza saved my relationship many times, this is a great recipe since I dont like the frozen pizza from the grocery store, love that you have a lot of cheese on them!

  28. Great idea. I was waiting for the recipe to make the pesto sauce! Rats. Now I am going to crave a pesto pizza until I have one. ;-)

  29. What a neat idea and so thoughtful to make and share it with a friend! I’ll have to give this a try sometime.

  30. The way you have the pizzas wrapped up in plastic wrap and on that circular foil-y thing really makes me crave bad frozen pizza. Your pizza looks fantastic but I can’t you tell how badly I want frozen pizza now! I haven’t had a frozen pizza since college so maybe I’m just missing my life prior to doing actual… work.

    Thanks for this idea! When I finally have a freezer big enough to accommodate something like a pizza I will definitely be doing this. :)

  31. Great idea!!! I am yet to make homemade pizza dough! Yours looks wonderful!!

  32. LOVE this idea! I’ve been using your Pizza Bianca recipe as my go-to dough for those times I want to make homemade, but we still sometimes buy frozen pizzas for those days when things are just too crazy to see straight, let alone plan ahead and make the dough in the morning.

    Now the Mr. can have his onions and I my feta :)

  33. I forgot to ask: for those of us without an electric mixer, could we just knead the dough by hand and for how long?

  34. This idea couldn’t have come at a better time- I have two friends who will be resting due to surgeries and another with a baby on the way! I’m going on a pizza making spree tonight. But, gosh, why did you tease me with the idea for the pesto and then not share the recipe? Please? Pretty Please?

  35. I super puffy heart this post. I have been wanting to try my hand at homemade frozen pizzas for seemingly ever, but never got around to it. Thank you for the inspiration (and the kick in the pants)!

  36. What a great idea Lindsay! I also love Green one :) Going to try this.

  37. Great idea! I always seem to have frozen balls of pizza dough, but nothing as instant as a pre-made pizza. Such a good idea if you’re strapped for time.

  38. Utterly inspired idea. All the yumminess of the homemade and all the convenience of the ready-made.

  39. the pre-baking is such a good tip! what if i don’t have a baking stone? any alternatives? thanks!

  40. I’ll take one of each, please!

  41. Sheer brilliance! We have a teenaged son who, despite being a good cook, tends to go thru many pizzas per week. He’ll love this idea.

  42. Great post! I had wondered about par-baking the crust. Harry and I are the same – homemade pizza is the best but with his work schedule, sometimes it’s just hard to fit it in. I’m going to try your technique this weekend.

    PS ~ LOVE your photos!

  43. What a totally cool idea! Love your creativity :)

  44. I could not figure out exactly what was in mine, but now it makes perfect sense. A nuttiness was definitely coming thru- pistachio! Genius.

    Thanks so much Lindsay, we really loved them!

  45. A good girl scout should always be prepared with some hand made pizzas in the freezer! Good idea for those “I must have pizza” emergencies!

  46. Luv thw idea!! One of the best ideas for weeknight dinner preps that I have seen in a while…

  47. I am in the Land of Oz and would love to make your recipe. I’m trying to work out what cornmeal is over here. we have polenta which says it is a type of cornmeal which is yellow, coarse and grainy and cornflour which more a flour… which sounds closest to what you use?
    I’ve never made a pizzabase before. My husband is a pepperoni pizza addict… and I’m hoping these frozen emergency pizza’s will curb his need to get takeaway :)

    • The cornmeal I use is finer than polenta but not as fine as corn flour. It’s basically just to keep the pizza from sticking, so either would probably work. Semolina flour works as well!

  48. What a genius idea. I have frozen dough, but never would have thought of freezing the whole thing. Love it.

  49. I printed this out, because I am always trying new pizza crust recipes. The best one I have found so far is from Cooks Illustrated.

    Do you have a link for your own marinara sauce? Or for your pesto?

  50. AWESOME idea!!!!!!!!! love love LOVE this.

  51. Perfect! I’ve been meaning to figure out a good way to do this – now I don’t have to. ;)

  52. i love this idea and i dont know why people havent thought of it before! this will be perfect for us gluten free people because so often gluten free pizza can be so gross. so when i find a good one i can make a bunch and freeze it!

  53. My beef with frozen pizza is that most of them cost almost as much as just ordering pizza and they don’t taste nearly as good. This is such a great plan-ahead idea! Love it!

  54. This is a rad idea, especially because my boyfriend and I have completely different topping preferences when it comes to pizza. I roughly followed your pizza dough recipe, although I didn’t quite read the part about refrigerating it for 24 hrs prior to baking until I was in the middle of making the dough. I thought this setback might be detrimental to the recipe, but it actually turned out more like flatbread, which is what I prefer when it comes to pizza crust. Thanks a lot for the idea….do you mind if I add your blog to my blogroll (I’m new to this blogging thing, not sure if it’s correct etiquette to just add the blogs I like, or ask beforehand)?

  55. when are the herbs spices in the recipe added?

  56. I have never thought of this before, but what a fantastic idea!! xx

  57. Brilliant idea! I always have frozen pizza dough, but it takes forever to defrost. This is a much better way.

  58. I just linked this post as one of my favorites from the week on my blog. Such a cool idea and much tastier than store bought frozen pizzas I’m sure. Thanks for sharing!

  59. This is absolutely brilliant! I’ve been making pizzas for about a year now and I’ve wondered about freezing but afraid to attempt it. I am soooo doing this tonight. Thanks!

  60. I just did this with a double recipe of the dough I usually use. Worked great baked in 9″ cake pans.

  61. Great post! That pizza dough looks great & your pesto sounds amazing! What did you use for the foil covered circles to hold the pizza on? Did you cut up cardboard?

  62. I don’t have a pizza stone – is there a way to par-cook the crust on just a baking sheet instead? For how long would you cook it and would you still have the oven up to 500 degrees?

    • The hotter the better. Use your heaviest baking sheet almost as if it were a pizza stone, letting it preheat in the oven before putting the crust on it.

  63. THANK you….I was just thinking how I could make frozen pizza’s rather than buying them for the hubby when I’m working all the time. PLUS I can make them specialty rather than just having to amp up the frozen pizza’s I get on sale that we always end up adding additional ingredients to! Awesome site by the way!

  64. Great dough recipe! I like thin crust and, as thin crusts go, this is a really tasty recipe.

  65. Found this on Pinterest tonight, so I’m a little behind your other commenters. What is the purpose of refrigerating the dough? I make my dough in the bread machine and it comes out ready to go. Should I go ahead and par-bake it or chill it?

  66. I gather the fennel and Thyme for the dough go in at the same time as the olive oil and water? I missed it completely, as it was not written in the directions. Too bad, it sounds like they would have been a nice addition. I’ll try to remember next time!

  67. Why do you freeze the dough balls then work with them another day? Is that a way to do this in smaller chunks of time? I’d love to make frozen pizzas for my kids so they are ready to pull out and pop directly into the oven. Any reason why I can’t let the dough balls raise for 2 hours, then shape, par-bake, top the pizzas, and freeze on the same day that I start the dough?

    I might also just put crust, sauce and cheese in the freezer and let them add their meats (frozen) and veggies (fresh) when they get ready to bake them. That would allow the frozen pizzas to be more versatile. We, too, often add ingredients to frozen pizzas and I haven’t noticed it having a huge impact on the final product to mix some frozen and some fresh ingredients.

    • Refrigerating the dough overnight allows the yeasty flavors to further develop. You can surely try leaving this step out, but I’m convinced it’s one of the reasons this crust tastes so good. :)

  68. I am so excited to try this idea. I have been trying to amp up my freezer meal stockpile. I am thinking these would also be fun to make smaller personal sized pizzas for my kiddos. They can feel special having their own pizza and they could even help put the toppings on (2 and 3 years old). We eat a TON of frozen pizza at our house and we love Digornio’s but can’t afford to eat them all the time. Thank you for the inspiration and I can’t wait to whip some of these up.

  69. Looks great! Do I have to blanch the veggies before freezing them?

    • Not unless you’d blanch them before putting them on a pizza. Remember it will bake when it comes out of the freezer, so any toppings will get cooked at that point. BUT if it’s something that’ll need more than 7-8 minutes, like a thick slice of potato or something, then you may want to pre-cook it.

  70. Is there any reason this dough couldn’t be made in a bread machine, using the dough cycle?  My mixer is not strong enough to handle any kind of bread dough.

    • Is there any reason this dough couldn’t be made in a bread machine, using the dough cycle?  My mixer is not strong enough to handle any kind of bread dough.

      After getting ahead of myself and posting the question, I finished reading the rest of the posts and saw one that said the poster makes hers in a bread machine.  I’m going to try this later this week.

  71. Amazing! I made these today and I absolutely loved it! Looking forward to a day we need to make a quick dinner so I have an excuse to pull them out of the freezer. You should stop by my blog to see how they turned out.

    Keep cooking!

  72. Can this be made with regular flour?

    • Yes, it can, but crust made with AP flour won’t be quite as chewy. The extra protein in bread flour promotes gluten which leads to a chewier crust. This process works with any pizza crust recipe though!

  73. Has anyone tried using fresh tomato slices in frozen pizza? Does it hold up well?

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