Cast Iron Pan Pizza you say? Yup! And for those of you who haven’t tried it or haven’t found much success in making it on your own, here’s the scoop:
If you want a crispy crust, (like most of us do) you’re going to need to cook that pizza on the stove over medium-high heat for 5-7 minutes. Depending on your oven and your dough, you might also have to plop that pizza in the broiler for a few minutes after you bake it in the oven. Really, it all depends on how your oven behaves and no two ovens are the same.
For Chicago Style Pizza i.e. Deep Dish Pizza, just use more dough and adjust bake time to 25-30 minutes at 400 degrees. Bear in mind, I’m focusing on regular pizza here.
The Skinny on the Dough:
- Check out our recipe here (you need to make it a day ahead of time)
- Buy ready-made high quality dough from your favorite mom and pops pizzeria
- Get Trader Joe’s premade dough (plain works best)
Start with a cold 9-12” cast iron skillet. If you’re using store-bought pizza dough, you’re going to want to let it come to room temperature. Take it out of its wrapper and let it sit 20-30 minutes. You may see air bubbles form in the dough which is fine.
If you’re using TJ’s dough and like your dough really flavorful, you can take an extra step and roll in out on parchment paper and rub it down with olive oil. Let it rest for 10 minutes and repeat the process. You can even go one extra step and mix in a bit of dried parmesan cheese (1 tablespoon max) and garlic powder or garlic salt. Whatever you do, don’t overwork the dough. Give it the simple one-two and be done with it. Dough does not like to be overworked.
Grease your cold cast iron skillet with olive oil. Regular, not extra-virgin olive oil (called refined olive oil) is the preferred oil for cooking/baking at high temperatures. Grease the bottom and all the edges of your skillet with this oil.
Place your proofed, room temperature dough into the cast iron skillet. If you’re using a 9” skillet, you may find you have a bit more dough than you need. Push the dough down into a pizza shape until the crust edges meet the edge of your skillet. Simply remove the excess and pop any huge bubbles, leaving the smaller ones intact. I like my pizza pretty thin, so I press it down until I’ve got it as thin as two quarters on top of one another. Of course, I want some crust too, so I allow for more dough along the edges and just pull off whatever excess I have.
If you weigh that pizza down with lots of moist toppings, that moisture is going to seep down into the crust, resulting in a less-crispy texture. Want to top your pizza off with sautéed zucchini or ground beef? Cook it first and drain off the excess moisture! Even sausage can have a lot of oil that seeps through to the crust, so when in doubt, cook those toppings before you add them and you’ll have the crisp pizza crust you want.
Even though fresh mozzarella has a lovely texture, you may want to keep it to a minimum. Mixing it with a nice 4-cheese blend (again, TJ’s has one) will result in a more crisp cheese on your pizza. The sauce I use is pretty thick so I haven’t had problems with it seeping through. Again, you can cook off the excess moisture before you use it or throw it in the blender with a can of whole tomatoes to thicken it up a bit.
More ideas for toppings at this blog post.
This is going to feel kinda weird but you’re going to cook that pizza for 5-7 minutes on your stove. What you’re doing is browning the outside of the dough to ensure it crisps up nicely when you bake it in the oven.
Now Bake that Bad Boy!
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place your pizza in the center of your oven and bake for 20 minutes. You can check it at 15 minutes to see the edges aren’t burning. Most pizzas will take 20-23 minutes to bake to a nice golden brown color.
Remove pizza from oven and let sit for 10 minutes. Your pizza will continue crisping up during this time. Once ten minutes have passed, you can carefully knife around the edges of your pizza then slide it onto a plate. Alas, for some of you, your pizza will not be crisp enough. If this is the case, put it back in the skillet and plop it in your broiler for 1-2 minutes. It browns very quickly in the broiler so standby!
Once you find out how your oven behaves, making pizza in your cast iron skillet is easy any night of the week. Enjoy!