Step up your homemade pizza game! This cast iron skillet pizza is simple to make and easy to customize to fit your cravings.
This was the pizza recipe I desperately needed in college. For the first time, I was living in an apartment and had to fend for my own food. This would have saved me from many not so great pizza deliveries, as well as countless mediocre frozen pizzas.
No need for a fancy pizza oven or pizza stone. You can achieve amazing results by simply using a cast iron skillet.
This is a fast, easy, and foolproof way to cook delicious from scratch pizza in a flash!
Cast Iron Pepperoni Pizza
Cooking pizza in a cast iron skillet is a complete game changer. By utilizing the stove and the oven, you are able to achieve a crispy crust bottom and a chewy interior crust!
The recipe listed in this post for a pepperoni cheese pizza with standard tomato pizza sauce. The crust is sprinkled with parmesan cheese for extra flavor and punch.
There are many pizza sauce options:
- homemade or store-bought pizza sauce or marinara sauce
- basil pesto, red pepper pesto, or tomato pesto
- olive oil or flavored olive oil (such as garlic olive oil)
When it comes to cheese options, cheeses that melt well are best:
- shredded mozzarella, buffalo mozzarella, or fresh mozzarella
Here are some options for pizza toppings:
- vegetables such as mushrooms, onions, kale, zucchini
- fruits such as olives, bell peppers, tomatoes, pineapple
- meats such as sausage, bacon, ham, chicken
- additional flavors: garlic, oregano, basil
Easy Homemade Pizza Dough
You may opt to use store-bought pizza dough to save time. I recommend the refrigerated one pound pizza dough from Trader Joe’s!
However, for the truly homemade experience, I highly suggest making this easy pizza dough recipe.
Freeze Homemade Pizza Dough for Later
This homemade pizza dough recipe makes enough for two 12-inch pizzas. Use one now and freeze the other for later.
Frozen pizza dough will keep well in the freezer for up to three months.
To freeze dough:
- Individually cover dough in plastic wrap. Label and date. Place dough on a flat surface in the freezer (or on a baking sheet tray in the freezer) until solid. Transfer frozen dough to airtight ziptop bag.
To defrost dough:
- Do not unwrap frozen dough. Defrost in the fridge overnight. Then, let dough sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes. Unwrap dough. Stretch and roll to fit skillet.
Is a Cast Iron Skillet really necessary?
Yes! This recipe works best in a cast iron skillet.
Cast iron pans are great at retaining heat. They also distribute heat well. The cast iron pan acts like a pizza stone, giving the dough that nice crispy crust.
Best of all, cast iron pans can withstand high heat. The pizza is first cooked stove top, then finished in 500 degrees F oven.
When taken care of, cast iron pans will last you forever. The cast iron skillet photographed above belonged to my husband’s grandmother. It has been passed two generations with no sign of slowing down. I will be able to pass this skillet to my son when he goes away to college.
Cast iron pans range in price and features. I suggest purchasing one that is “pre-seasoned.” This will save you time and much effort.
One pound of pizza dough will fit in an 8-inch to a 12-inch cast iron pan. The crust will be thicker in an 8-inch pan. These photos feature an 12-inch cast iron skillet.
How to make Cast Iron Skillet Pizza
Start by preheating the oven to 500 degrees F. If your oven cannot go that high, try for at least 450 degrees F. If your pizza dough is chilled, let it sit at room temperature for 15-20 minutes to warm up.
The pizza will be assembled inside the skillet.
- Spread about 2 tablespoons olive oil in a 12-inch cast iron skillet. Place room temperature dough in skillet. Grease clean hands and fingers with olive oil.
- Using oiled hands, push and pull dough to fit skillet. No need to use a rolling pin.
- Be patient. Cold dough will spring back more than room temperature dough. Keep pushing and spreading dough to a diameter of 12-inches.
- Spread sauce on pizza dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edge of pizza. Sprinkle cheese all over.
When it comes to toppings, less is more. Do not overload the pizza with cheese and toppings! It will weight down the center of the dough and prevent the pizza from baking evenly.
For a 12-inch pizza, I suggest using a loosely-packed one cup of shredded cheese.
Sprinkle about 3/4 cup cheese over sauce. Then, follow with pepperoni slices.
Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of shredded mozzarella over the pepperoni. This will prevent the pepperoni from burning in the oven.
Sprinkle grated parmesan cheese all over the exposed crust. This will give the crust extra flavor and punch. If you’d like, toss some parmesan over the toppings as well.
Cook Pizza Over the Stove, Then Pop in the Oven
I first learned this technique back in 2013 from an issue of Cook’s Illustrated. This pesto pizza with basil salt was was first foray into cast iron skillet pizza.
Assembling the pizza inside the skillet keeps the nice round symmetrical shape of the pizza. No need to worry about transferring the pizza with a pizza peel (which can be quite stressful!).
Preheating the skillet over the stove serves two purposes:
- Cast iron pans benefit from preheating. Heating up the pan gradually over the stove will ensure the cast iron will evenly absorb and distribute heat once in the oven.
- The initial heat from the stove sets the bottom crust of the pizza.
The pizza cooks about 5 minutes over the stove. At this point you can lift the pizza to check that the underside dough has set. The oil along the outer rim of the pizza should be hot and bubbling.
Immediately transfer the hot skillet into the preheated oven. Place the skillet in the center rack. Bake for 10 minutes or so until the cheese has melted.
Remove the skillet from the oven. Allow pizza to cool for about 3 minutes before unmolding. Place pizza on a cutting board and slice into desired pieces.
The sky is the limit once you master this pepperoni cheese pizza! Go wild creating your masterpiece cast iron skillet pizza.
Cast Iron Skillet Pizza
- 454 grams (16 oz or 1 pound) homemade pizza dough
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 cup pizza sauce of choice
- 1 cup (100 g) loosely packed shredded mozzarella cheese
- pepperoni slices, as needed
- grated parmesan cheese, as needed
- Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.
- Let homemade pizza dough sit at room temperature for 15-20 minutes.
- Spread olive oil in 12-inch cast iron skillet. Place room temperature dough in oiled skillet. Gently push and pull dough to fit skillet. *Be patient. Cold dough will be more elastic and spring back. Keep pushing and spreading dough with your hands and fingers.*Grease fingers/palms with olive oil is dough is sticky.
- Spread pizza sauce (or desired sauce such as pesto) on pizza dough, leaving about 1/2-inch border around the pizza. Sprinkle about 3/4 of mozzarella over sauce. Arrange pepperoni slices on top and follow with remaining 1/4 mozzarella. Season with black pepper or crushed red pepper, if desired.
- Sprinkle parmesan cheese over exposed pizza crust.
- Place skillet over stove top set to medium heat. Warm up the cast iron skillet. Cook the pizza for about 3-5 minutes until the bottom of the curst has set and the oil is bubbling along the outer rim of the pizza.
- Transfer hot skillet to preheated oven. Place pizza in the center rack. Bake for 10-12 minutes until cheese has melted.
- Remove from oven and let pizza sit in skillet for about 3-5 minutes before unmolding. Place pizza on cutting board. Use a sharp knife or pizza wheel to cut into slices. Garnish with additional parmesan cheese, if desired.