How to Grill Pizza

5 from 1 vote
Jump to Recipe

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

Grilled pizza is some of the best homemade pizza I’ve ever made. I’ve done lots of testing and experimenting in the pursuit of trying to make the best homemade pizza possible. Much of what makes restaurant pizza so delicious is the extremely high heat in which it’s prepared. Your grill is the secret to unlocking some amazing homemade pizza qualities!

Grilled margherita pizza sliced on a white surface.

Commercial pizza ovens reach upwards of 900°F and cook the crust very quickly, rendering that phenomenal cracker-like crust that is tender on the inside. The good news is that grilled pizza mimics some of the same brick oven tastes and textures you know and love. It’s much easier to perfectly char your pizza crust on very hot grill grates.

The golden brown crust on the bottom of grilled pizza.

Because a grill can reach hotter temps than a conventional home oven, it produces much better results. Cast iron grates have better heat transfer to help to create a crispy crust with beautiful charring. I’ve never been able to achieve similar results with a pizza stone alone. I’d also love to teach you how to grill filet mignon.

If you don’t yet own a grill, you can achieve a great crust when using a cast iron skillet for your pizza. No matter how you cook your pizza, Margherita is the ultimate classic style. And if this all seems overwhelming right now, it’s very easy to just let the family top their own flatbread pizzas today!

Ingredients

  • Pizza dough: Make your own or purchase store-bought. The only really important step is to make sure your dough is room temp before grilling.
  • Pizza sauce: Make your own for the best results. I’ve included a simple recipe below for a very simple Neopolitan-style pizza sauce.
  • Canned San Marzano tomatoes: Look for certified San Marzano tomatoes for the best results. These are imported from Italy.

See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities below.

How to Cook Pizza on the Grill

Grilling pizza is really simple and doesn’t involve any special equipment other than a grill. While some use their pizza stone in combination with their grill, I cook my pizza right on the cast iron grates. The process of grilling pizza moves very quickly and requires your full attention for the best results.

Step 1.

For the homemade sauce, combine tomatoes, oil, and salt in a small bowl. Blend with an immersion blender until smooth. You can also pulse a blender or food processor. Add more salt to taste as needed. This will render more sauce than you need. I use 1/3-1/2 cups of sauce for each pizza. For a more rustic sauce, you can hand-crush the tomatoes or use a potato masher.

Homemade pizza sauce using San Marzano tomatoes. Pureed in a small bowl.

Step 2.

Preheat the grill to high heat with the cover down. Clean the grates well. Allow the grill to heat up to at least 600°F.

Step 3.

Meanwhile, roll out the dough into a circle or oval. The dough should be room temp for easier rolling and optimal cooking. Use a pizza peel or well-floured flat baking sheet for easy transferring.

Step 4.

Brush the grates with oil using a basting brush. Transfer dough directly to the grill grates (remember, no toppings yet) and cook for 45-60 seconds with the lid closed. The crust should start to bubble all over.

A pizza crust cooking directly on the grill grates.

Step 5.

Once the crust is firm enough to lift off the grill, flip the crust with a pizza peel, large spatula, or flat baking sheet.

Step 6.

Drizzle the crust with oil and season with sea salt. Add pizza sauce, leaving a 1-inch crust all the way around. Add the mozzarella, close the lid, and grill until the cheese is fully melted; about 4-5 minutes.

A pizza being cooked on the grill with tomato sauce and fresh mozzarella.

Step 7.

Remove from the grill and top with fresh chopped basil. Slice and serve.

Tips & Tricks

  • A pizza peel, large spatula, or flat cookie sheet makes the flipping process easier. Luckily, once the crust starts to cook, it will be relatively firm and easy enough to flip.
  • Get the grill as hot as possible. Keep the grill on the highest setting and let it fully preheat before starting. I target 600°F or hotter.
  • It’s very important to thoroughly clean and oil the grill grates before starting. This prevents the dough from sticking. Use a basting brush or rolled-up paper towel gripped with tongs to grease the grates. Olive oil or canola/vegetable oil should work fine.
  • Get all your toppings organized and ready to go. Once the crust goes on the grill you need to be at full attention. You’ll need to top your pizza quickly so you can shut the lid and retain the heat.

Room Temperature Ingredients

Using room-temperature toppings (cheese and sauce) and pizza dough is arguably the most important step for a number of reasons. Room-temperature dough is much more malleable and less elastic. You will have a much easier time shaping the crust without the need to use a rolling pin, which forces out the desired air bubbles.

Overworking chilled dough will stiffen the gluten and will result in pizza that is bread-like, dense, and tough. Room-temperature dough will cook much faster and puff up around the edges when cooked, rendering a perfect light and airy crust with amazing texture.

If using refrigerated dough, place the dough in a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Let the dough rest on the counter for 2-3 hours so it can warm up prior to starting. This will relax the gluten, allowing the dough to maintain its shape without snapping back. If making your own pizza dough, here is a great 72-hour pizza dough recipe.

Neopolitan-Inspired Pizza Sauce

The homemade pizza sauce in this recipe is an added bonus. It’s my favorite pizza sauce because it’s very simple, delicious, and modeled after Neopolitan-style pizza sauce. I use a few canned whole plum tomatoes, fresh garlic, olive oil, and salt and pepper. The ingredients are blended together and then lightly simmered to cook and thicken. It’s the perfect sauce for more authentic Italian pizza and is complementary to crispy grilled pizza.

More Pizza Recipes

Enjoy this recipe? If you made this recipe, please leave a ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ star rating in the recipe card below & a review in the comments!
5 from 1 vote

How to Grill Pizza

Servings: 4
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
Grilled pizza shares some of the much-desired tastes and textures of your favorite crispy brick oven pizza.

Ingredients 

  • 16-20 ounces pizza dough, room temp
  • 1/2-3/4 cup pizza sauce or homemade pizza sauce
  • 4-5 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, cubed
  • 3-4 basil chopped basil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, for the crust
  • pinch of sea salt
  • Oil for grill grates

Homemade pizza sauce (makes 1 cup)

  • 3 canned San Marzano tomatoes + 2 tablespoons of sauce from the can
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • pinch of salt, to taste

Instructions 

For the homemade sauce

  • Combine tomatoes, oil, and salt in a small bowl. Blend with an immersion blender until smooth. You can also pulse a blender or food processor. Add more salt to taste as needed. This will render more sauce than you need. I use 1/3-1/2 cup of sauce for each pizza. For a more rustic sauce, you can hand-crush the tomatoes or use a potato masher.

For the pizza

  • Preheat the grill to high heat with the cover down. Clean the grates well. Allow the grill to heat up to at least 600°F.
  • Meanwhile, roll out the dough into a circle or oval. The dough should be room temp for easier rolling and optimal cooking. Use a pizza peel or well-floured flat baking sheet for easy transferring.
  • Brush the grates with oil using a basting brush. Transfer dough directly to the grill grates (remember, no toppings yet) and cook for 45-60 seconds with the lid closed. The crust should start to bubble all over.
  • Once the crust is firm enough to lift off the grill, flip the crust with a pizza peel, large spatula, or flat baking sheet.
  • Drizzle the crust with oil and season with sea salt. Add pizza sauce, leaving a 1-inch crust all the way around. Add the mozzarella, close the lid, and grill until the cheese is fully melted; about 4-5 minutes.
  • Remove from the grill and top with fresh chopped basil. Slice and serve.

Notes

The homemade pizza sauce in this recipe is an added bonus. It’s my favorite pizza sauce because it’s very simple, delicious, and modeled after Neopolitan-style pizza sauce. It’s a must-try!

Nutrition

Serving: 2slicesCalories: 384kcalCarbohydrates: 50.2gProtein: 10.2gFat: 11.6gSaturated Fat: 4.5gCholesterol: 23mgSodium: 788mgFiber: 4.2gSugar: 0.1g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Italian
Tried this recipe?Mention @kitchenswagger or tag #kitchenswagger!

About Shawn Williams

My name is Shawn, author behind Kitchen Swagger. I'm a food & drink enthusiast bringing you my own simple and delicious restaurant-inspired recipes.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating