My kids love pizza, so pepperoni pizza is usually a surefire dinner win. But if I’m being honest, I rarely make pizza for my kids. I view pizza as a cheat night for me, and I get delivery.
So when I decided to make pizza at home, I knew it needed to be better than your average delivery. It needed tons of pepperoni, a nice crust, great flavor, and maybe even a surprise or two to put it over the top.
Video! How to Make Pepperoni Pizza
THE BEST DOUGH FOR PIZZA
First, on the dough: Don’t get overwhelmed! If it’s your first time making pizza at home, just buy the dough. You can usually find pizza dough at the grocery store, or some pizza places will sell you a one-pound ball of dough for a few bucks.
If you want to try homemade pizza dough, start with a no-knead version. It’s very easy to make and practically failsafe.
TWO OPTIONS FOR A CRISPY CRUST
I don’t believe this pizza works well as a deep dish, Chicago-style pizza, but there are still two baking options I’d recommend. (There are more, but let’s keep it simple!)
- Use a pizza stone: This is my favorite way to get a great crust, but it does require some equipment. You need a pizza stone and a pizza peel (the thing you use to slide the pizza onto the stone). If you have those two things, though, you can open up a pizza joint in your kitchen! This is a reliable, low-stress method once you get the hang of it. The pizza ends up being a bit more freeform, and you can make the crust nice and thin, which I like. A large pizza cooks in 12-14 minutes on a hot stone.
- Use a cast iron skillet: If you don’t have a pizza stone, put your dough into a large cast iron skillet, and press it out and up the sides a bit. You’ll get a slightly thicker crust than you would with the pizza stone, but not deep-dish thickness. Set the skillet on your stovetop for two minutes over high heat (this helps form a crispy crust), then transfer it to your oven to finish baking.
ANOTHER TIP FOR A GREAT CRUST: A SUPER HOT OVEN!
When you get a really good pizza from a brick oven pizza place, the ovens are HOT—way hotter than you can realistically get from a home oven. But the rule still stands that the hotter your oven, the crispier and more delicious your crust will be.
So, crank up your oven to 500˚F or even 550˚F if your oven can handle it. If you are using a pizza stone, let the stone preheat for 20 minutes so it gets nice and hot as well.
THE SECRET FOR BEST PEPPERONI FLAVOR
There are so many different kinds of pepperoni in the store these days, and you can use any of those options for pizza. For my money, though, I prefer small, thinly sliced pepperoni so they get a nice char on top. If you go with thicker pepperoni slices, you’ll have a chewier texture. It’s personal preference!
I always find it lame when I get a pepperoni pizza that has, like, five pieces of pepperoni on it. But if you pile on a ton of pepperoni, you end up with a greasy mess.
So what to do? Chop up half the pepperoni and add it in a layer under the cheese with the sauce!
This gives the pizza amazing pepperoni flavor. I call it my “Bonus Pepperoni” layer!
THE BEST WAY TO REHEAT LEFTOVER PIZZA
Please, please—don’t microwave pizza! Eat it cold before you microwave it. If you microwave it, the crust becomes a soggy mess.
The best way to reheat pizza is in a skillet, cast iron or similar. Add a drizzle of oil over medium heat, and then add the pizza. Then cover the skillet, and cook the pizza until the cheese has melted and the crust is crispy again, about three to four minutes.
The DAD ADD: HONEY BUTTER
This is something I picked up from a local Colorado pizza spot. (Shout out Beau Jos Pizza!) They serve their pizza with honey butter on the side, which is great for dipping the crust. I made the honey butter for me, but my kids were happy to scarf it down, too.
THE REPORT CARD
I can always count on my kids to eat a pizza, but since they normally eat delivery, it was nice to show them that pizza can be made at home, too. And it turns out Dad makes a good pizza! I used my trick of hiding pepperoni under the cheese to tell my kids there was Bonus Pepperoni on the pizza, and could they find it?! (Yes, yes they could.)
When I served this to my kids, I half hoped they would reject it for some reason so that I’d have a curveball for the report card, but nope. Pizza is pizza. It’s always a winner.
MORE GREAT PIZZA RECIPES:
- Meat Lovers’ Sheet Pan Pizza
- Grilled Pizza with Red Peppers, Broccoli, and Onions
- BBQ Chicken Sheet Pan Pizza
- Sheet Pan Pizza with Roasted Cauliflower and Greens
- Spinach and Artichoke Sheet Pan Pizza