how to make a skillet pizza | kelly’s kitchen

Hello and happy Saturday! Welcome back to Kelly’s Kitchen, I’m so happy you’re here.  Last week, we walked through how to make popoversThis week, I have been thinking a lot about comfort food. We all have our favorites; whether it’s a new favorite or a classic recipe from our childhood, comfort foods transport us to a place of safety, of easier times laden with memories. Comfort foods can feel like a generous warm hug, and for this reason can be therapeutic.  Often times, our favorite comfort foods are not the healthiest choice. But that’s ok, because it’s likely we aren’t eating them everyday. But every now and again, it’s ok to indulge. And this makes them even more special!  So join me today and learn how to make a skillet pizza

how to make a skillet pizza

Pizza IS one of my most favorite foods. Along with tacos, I could eat pizza everyday and never get tired of it. That said, as I have become more conscientious about maintaining a healthy diet, pizza has become more of an occasional treat for me.

There are so many styles of pizza and I love them all! Today though, we are doing a skillet, or pan pizza. It’s similar to a Chicago style pizza: a puffy thick crust topped with cheese, then sauce. 

This recipe is a two-day process because the dough needs to sit in the fridge overnight. Here’s how you do it, step by step:

Day 1: Dough

Step 1: In a large bowl, add your 2 cups (240 grams) all purpose flour. To this mound add ¾ teaspoon of fine sea salt to one side of the flour. Then add ½ teaspoon active dry or instant yeast to the side opposite the salt. Pour ¾ cup (170 grams) lukewarm water into the center of the flour. To this, add 1 tablespoon olive oil.

Step 2: Using a wooden spoon or silicone spatula, mix ingredients together to form a sticky shaggy dough. This will take about 1 minute by hand. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and form a rough ball. Cover with a towel and let sit for 5 minutes.

Wooden Spatula/Spoon Set | Serving Bowl with Lid | 8 oz Measuring Glass | OXO ¼ Cup

Step 3: After 5 minutes, uncover and grab the side of the dough furthest from you and fold it over the center of the ball towards you. Turn the bowl 90 degrees and do the same. You will do this a total of four times. Four 90 degree turns, Four folds. Then cover and let sit for 5 minutes. 

We will repeat Step 3 three more times.

Step 4: After the fourth and last folding, cover the bowl and let sit at room temperature for 40 minutes. 

Step 5: Refrigerate, covered for at least 12 hours, but it can sit for up to 72 hours. 

Cambro 6 qt Container  | Cambro 2 qt Container  

*Pro tip: I prefer to transfer my dough to a fresh bowl or container (Cambro is my favorite) for the overnight rise. If you have another large bowl, coat it with a little olive oil and place your dough ball in, turn it once to coat in olive oil and leave it to rise, seam side down. Sweet dreams, dough ball. 

Day 2: Toppings and Pizza Assembly

Step 1: About 3 hours before you want to serve the pizza, take it out of the fridge. The dough ball should be roughly double in size. 

 Cast Iron Skillet | Cambro 6 qt Container  | Dish Towel | Oil Bottle

Step 2: Prepare your pan: your pan can be a 9 to 11 inch cast iron skillet (this is the best option for a crispy crust). I am using an 11 inch cast iron that my mom handed down to me, but you can use any oven-safe, heavy bottom skillet, or a 9 to11 inch round cake pan. Use about 1 tablespoon olive oil to grease your pan, be sure to grease the sides as well as the bottom. 

Step 3: Place your dough ball in the pan and turn once to coat both sides. Press the dough out from the center to reach the sides of the pan. As you’re pressing out the dough, use your fingertips to dimple the dough. If your dough wants to shrink back, cover it and let it sit for 15 minutes. Then it should be more pliable and reach the sides, but if not, cover it and let it sit for another 15 minutes and try again. By now, your dough should reach the sides and you can push it up the sides a little to create the outer crust, like a pie. 

Step 4: Cover and let dough sit at room temperature for about 2 hours

While the dough is having its second rise, let’s prep our toppings. Because the sauce goes on top of the cheese, I am making a chunky, meaty sauce to account for the toppings I would normally add to a thinner crust pizza. 

*Why does the cheese go under the sauce? We don’t want to hinder the dough rise with liquid, nor do we want a soggy bottom. So the low-moisture mozz works as a barrier to keep the dough from getting too wet with sauce.

For my sauce, I am browning one pound ground Italian sausage (you can use links, just squeeze the sausage out of their casings). Once cooked through with crispy brown edges, I am adding 6 to 8 very roughly chopped crimini mushrooms. Add a generous pinch of kosher salt. Once the mushrooms are cooked through, reduce heat to low and wait about 3 minutes while the pan cools down slightly, this will hopefully keep the tomato sauce from splattering when it hits the pan. Pour in one jar of your favorite store-bought sauce, add another generous pinch of salt. Let this simmer, stirring occasionally until your dough is done proofing. 

*Optional: about 5 minutes before the sauce comes off the heat, I like to add a generous sprinkling of thyme, fresh garlic, fresh cracked black pepper and crushed red pepper.

About 40 minutes before your dough is ready, arrange your oven racks so that you have one on the bottom for the pizza, and one about 5 inches from the top. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.

At the two hour proofing mark, check your dough. You will know your dough is ready when it’s a little more puffy and/or when you poke it with your finger it springs back very slowly and leaves an indentation.

Pizza Assembly

Evenly sprinkle your shredded low-moisture mozzarella on the dough. I used about a cup of cheese, add as much as you like. I put cheese all the way to the edge because I like the crispy cheese bits, but you can leave some naked crust if you like.

We like pepperoni, so it’s at this point (after the cheese, but before the sauce) when I add the pepperoni.

Evenly dollop your sauce on top of the cheese (and pepperoni). You don’t want to heavily spread the sauce because you want to keep your cheese layer evenly distributed under the sauce. 

Bake on the bottom rack for 18-20 minutes. When the cheese is bubbly and the crust is browning, use a spatula to check the bottom of the pizza.

Fish Spatula | Cast Iron Skillet | 2 Handle Cast Iron Skillet

If the bottom is golden to your liking and the top is also looking good to you, you’re all set and you can place the pan on the stove top to cool slightly. If the bottom is golden but the top could use a little more time, you can place the pan on the upper rack for a few minutes. All ovens cook a little differently, so just go with what looks good to you.

After your pizza has cooled for about 3-5 minutes, use your spatula to ease the pie out of the skillet or pan and place on a wire rack or cutting board for a few more minutes before cutting. 

Top with grated cheese, crushed red pepper, fresh basil… whatever you like!

Thank you for checking in this week. I really enjoyed sharing how to make a skillet pizza. What are some of your favorite comfort foods? Let me know in the comments and be sure to let me know if there is anything in particular you’d like to see in this column. You can also find me on facebook and instagram. Thanks so much – I look forward to seeing you again next week!  xo Kelly

*Editor’s note: As much as I love to make breads, pizzas, biscuits, etc., I am not super great at getting dough to come out right. I struggle with over-proofing, under-proofing, working my dough too much…you name it. But, here’s the thing: I don’t let it discourage me from trying again. So while this particular dough worked out the first try, I worried it wouldn’t the whole time! But if it hadn’t worked out, I would have tried it again, and again, until it did. It’s all an adventure!


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  1. I’ve made pizzas in a grill pan on the stovetop before, but never in this way – so interesting to place the cheese first! Will definitely try this recipe – thanks, Kelly!

    Posted 4.18.20
    • Good morning Anne! Thank you for checking out today’s recipe. I am sure you will like this method of cooking pizza, it’s so simple and delicious. xo Kelly

      Posted 4.18.20
  2. Marcie wrote:

    Kelly, I love Chicago style pizza. Thank you for your lesson and great tips for the perfect pizza pie. Love that you have a cast iron skillet handed down from your mom.

    Posted 4.18.20
    • Hello Marcie, thank you so much! You know, I use that skillet for just about everything I cook on the stovetop. I absolutely love it! Enjoy your weekend, xo Kelly

      Posted 4.18.20
  3. Julie Greene wrote:

    Hi Kelly,
    You scored another winner. Your pan pizza tutorial is fantastic. All our questions were answered as you went along. Can’t wait to try it.

    Posted 4.18.20
    • Oh, Thank you so much Julie! I am so happy to have addressed possible questions in my tutorial. That is a big success in my book! Thanks again, do let me know how your pizza comes out, xo Kelly

      Posted 4.18.20
  4. Nancy P. Phillips wrote:

    Next to Friday’s with Oscar this is a delightful new addition. Thank you Kelly

    Posted 4.18.20
    • Thank you so much, Nancy. 😉 xo Kelly

      Posted 4.18.20
  5. NC Rabe wrote:

    Kelly, Great pizza recipe. Thanks for the tip about letting the dough rise a bit more to get it more pliable to spread out on the skillet or pan. Making it this weekend! Many thanks

    Posted 4.18.20
    • Hey there NC, thanks so much! Please do let me know how it turns out for you! Enjoy, xo Kelly

      Posted 4.18.20
  6. Deanna wrote:

    Oh MY! This looks delicious and doable! I think I have everything but cheese here at the house. But I like the idea of overnight dough, so by tomorrow I should have the rest of the ingredients to give this a whirl! Stay safe and have a great week!

    Posted 4.18.20
    • Wonderful, Deanna! You will love it! Be sure to Let me know how it goes for you. Take care and enjoy your weekend, xo Kelly

      Posted 4.18.20
  7. Carroll Niesen wrote:

    That looks delicious!! The things you cook look so beautiful!

    Posted 4.18.20
    • Thank you, Carroll, that’s so kind of you to say. I hope you give the pizza a try, I’m sure it will be great! Have a beautiful weekend, xo Kelly

      Posted 4.18.20
  8. Kelly wrote:

    This looks amazing Kelly! We will definitely give this a try. Right now, yeast is impossible to find in our grocery stores so may need to wait a while. My husband and I made a delicious chicken pot pie for our comfort food this week. Made a chicken stock with carrots, onions and a very little Knorr’s bullion cube. Then added cooked potatoes and made a roux with butter, flour, milk and the stock. Put in the pie crust and topped with another crust. So good. Have enjoyed all your tutorials!

    Posted 4.18.20
    • Hi Kelly, I have been experiencing a yeast shortage here in Athens, too. Luckily we managed to find a big bag of Bob’s Red Mill yeast a while back…Chicken pot pie is such a perfect comfort food. Your recipe sounds great! Beth ordered take out pot pie from Lindsey’s Culinary Market for Fridays with Oscar and it was such a joy! Thank you so much for tuning in today, have a wonderful weekend. xo Kelly

      Posted 4.18.20
  9. Paula wrote:

    This looks really good I’ll have to give it a try. Not too good with dough but I’ll try it because it looks so good. Thanks!

    Posted 4.18.20
    • Thank you Paula, I’m not awesome with dough all the time either, but I am happy you will give it a go! Take care, xo Kelly

      Posted 4.18.20
  10. Terry wrote:

    Looks delicious Kelly! I love Italian sausage pizza. We eat pizza very rarely but now it is comfort food time. Thank you.

    Posted 4.18.20
    • Thank you so much for tuning in, Terry. xo Kelly

      Posted 4.18.20
  11. Sangita Madan wrote:

    Thanks again Kelly for yet another great recipie. Loved your note at the end. Isn’t that life though? You do your best and sometimes things don’t always turn out the way you expect, but it doesn’t mean it’s bad right?
    Always look forward to your recipies!
    Be well.

    Posted 4.18.20
    • Hi Sangita, Exactly! One always has to keep on, keepin’ on. 🙂 Thank you so much for reading my post today. Take care and be well, xo Kelly

      Posted 4.18.20
  12. Sandra wrote:

    Can I use bread flour

    Posted 4.18.20
    • Hi Sandra, Yes you can definitely use bread flour instead of AP. In fact, your crust will likely have a bit more chew. Should be pretty perfect! Be well, xo Kelly

      Posted 4.18.20
  13. Beth Crawford wrote:

    This looks fabulous! I have to be gluten free so I’m not sure if this will work with gluten free flour. We are in Florida getting ready to travel home to Michigan. When I get home and settled I will give it a try. Thank you for sharing your recipes with us I really appreciate it !

    Posted 4.18.20
    • Thank you for tuning in, Beth. I haven’t tried it with gluten free flour, but it’s worth a shot!
      Take care, xo Kelly

      Posted 4.18.20
  14. Suzanne M Smith wrote:

    Mmmm. Sounds fantastic. I love a home-made pizza. That looks delicious! I haven’t done one in a pan before–I’ve done them on a stone in the oven, but this is a great idea. I like the cheese under the sauce, too. I’m a huge marghareta pizza fan, with fresh mozzarella, tomato, basil. But that said, I’ve never turned any pizza down! I’ll have to try your pan method. Your directions are excellent and easy to follow.

    Posted 4.18.20
    • Hi Suzanne, I love marghareta pizza too – absolute perfection! This pan pizza is nice because it’s less finicky than a thin crust. I hope you give it a try and let me know what you think. Like you, I can never turn a pizza, no matter what! Thank you so much for all your support, it means a lot to me. Have a lovely weekend, xo Kelly

      Posted 4.18.20
  15. Lee wrote:

    That looks fabulous!

    Posted 4.18.20
  16. Eve wrote:

    This looks so good. I probably won’t try it because I’m not much of a cook with with anything made from dough but there is one comfort food from my childhood I would love to know how to bake. My Mom made tea cakes that were chewy in the middle and crispy around the edges and big. They were popular during the depression. In some ways, they resemble a snickerdoodle. No cinnamon though. Can you help?

    Posted 4.18.20
    • Hello Eve, I will certainly dive into this tea cake idea, it sounds heavenly. I am not always successful with dough either. But, when it works out it’s very rewarding. Stay tuned… I will see what I can come up with for your tea cakes. Take care, be well, xo Kelly

      Posted 4.18.20
  17. Kristine wrote:

    Thank you for making this so clearly step-by-step. This looks way above my skill set but with every step so specific, I may have the gumption to give this a try!

    Posted 4.18.20
    • Hi Kristine! You should definitely give it a try, it’s more forgiving than you might think. Plus, when topped with cheese and sauce, even a dough that doesn’t rise to its highest potential is still going to be good! Thank you so much for stopping by today, xo Kelly

      Posted 4.18.20
  18. Susan wrote:

    Kelly thanks for sharing one of my favorite foods. I will have to give this a try.

    Posted 4.18.20
    • Hi Susan, you’re a woman after my own heart! I love pizza so much! Give this method a try and let me know how you like it. xo Kelly

      Posted 4.19.20
  19. Andrea wrote:

    Can hardly wait to try this, Kelly! Love making homemade pizza, but lost my old crust recipe and this looks perfect. Thanks, stay safe and healthy 💪

    Posted 4.18.20
    • Hi Andrea, I found this dough recipe to be pretty darn easy. Definitely give it a go and let me know how it goes for you. xo Kelly

      Posted 4.19.20
  20. pamela wrote:

    i can’t wait to try this because i love thick crust. i’m also going to make a GF version & hope that turns out. thank you.

    Posted 4.19.20
    • Hi Pamela, do let me know how the GF version turns out for you. Enjoy your day! xo Kelly

      Posted 4.19.20
  21. Heidi wrote:

    I have wanted to learn to make your pizza for years! Thank you for sharing your recipe, tips and tricks. I don’t have a cast iron pan, but now have a reason to invest in one. Let me know if you have recommendations on pans–is there a difference between expensive and less expensive brands? Thanks, Kelly! Love being in your kitchen with you. 🙂

    Posted 4.19.20
    • Hey Heidi! So good to see you here, Ms. Bohi. I recommend cast iron for everything! I love Field cast iron pans. If that’s too pricey, then go for Lodge, I have a few Lodge products and I love them too. I got a Field pan as a wedding gift last year and I use it all the time; in fact pan I am using for my sauce in this post is my Field pan. Perfectly seasoned. They get better the more you use them so…Talk soon, Heidi. xo Kelly

      Posted 4.19.20

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