Grilled Pizza

Grilled Pizza Recipe

A few nights ago we made the first grilled pizzas of the summer. With fog enveloping San Francisco, Wayne and I bundled in our best jackets and scarves and clambered up the steepest hill in the neighborhood, our bags packed with an assortment of pizza toppings. Our friends Aaron and Malinda have an outdoor oven in their backyard and the plan was to give it a good workout. A parade of pizzas commenced until the fire died out. With many summer nights ahead, I thought I'd pass along a few of the things I've learned about getting grilled pizzas right.

Grilled Pizza Recipe

The dough: I've done grilled pizzas with a range of pizza doughs. If you're looking for a dough made with whole grain flour, try this one. It's a riff on Peter Reinhart's Napoletana Pizza Dough recipe I wrote about a few years ago - I've had success with both on the grill. As far as the thick or thin debate goes - I like to pull my dough out parchment thin - to the point where it almost rips and you can see through it. That being said, leaving the dough a bit thicker yields a pizza with a different personality, still delicious - try both to see what you like. I haven't had any trouble with my dough sticking to the grill, start with a clean gill and I'd try adding a bit of heat if you are having any trouble with sticking.

Temperature: Controlling the temperature of the grill is key to your success - and I wish you luck. That being said, if your luck and skill is anything like mine - this is a battle that some nights you'll win, and some you'll lose. The heat from the oven we used this time was nice and round - I'd qualify it as medium-hot. We didn't have any trouble with burning, and the dough crisped up nicely. When using a gas grill, the lid is my friend. I use the lid to control the heat, and to get the hot air circulating all the way around the dough. If you need your toppings to cook/melt more quickly - slap the lid on for a bit. Keep in mind, you have to be particularly vigilant with pizzas you've pulled parchment thin - they'll burn through in a flash. Broadly speaking, whatever type of outdoor oven/grill I'm using I obsessively check the bottom and top of the dough and let it tell me what it needs - more time, more heat, a flip, etc.

Grilled Pizza Recipe

Be organized: Once you throw that dough onto the grill, the next steps come in rapid succession whether you're ready or not.

Toppings: Use flavor-packed, fast cooking ingredients that have a tendency to melt quickly for your grilled pizza toppings. This time around we did a range - Aaron made the caramelized fennel & olives (pictured above), we also had spinach/pea & ricotta pesto, potatoes & smoke chile sauce, and tomato & roasted red peppers. I like thinly sliced potatoes on my pizza, I also like them creamy and tender, so I saute them ahead of time. As far as cheeses go, it's hard to go wrong - I like salted ricotta, good mozzarella, and shredded aged gruyere. Don't be afraid to pre-cook ingredients if needed. And lastly (I almost forgot this one), don't go overboard with the toppings - thoughtfully curate each pizza so that the flavors of each ingredient have room to speak. You want to avoid the kitchen sink approach.

If you've never grilled pizzas before, give it a go. It's fun for a small crowd because everyone can take a turn making their own custom pizza. If you have favorite topping ideas, give a shout out in the comments - I suspect this won't be the last time we grill pizzas this summer.

Grilled Pizza Recipe

I included many pointers in the main entry for this post about temperature, dough, toppings and the like - so, be sure not to miss that before you get started. The pizza in the photo was made with my favorite tomato sauce, Aaron's caramelized fennel & olives, and a bit of grated Gruyere cheese.

Pizza dough:
I've had success with White Whole Wheat Pizza Dough or Peter Reinhart's Napoletana Pizza Dough recipe.


- my favorite five minute tomato sauce

- caramelized fennel & olives: Made by slicing fennel thinly, but not paper thin (a mandolin does the job). In a large skillet over med-high heat, saute the fennel in olive oil for 3 or 4 mins, to brown a bit. Turn down the heat to low and cook for another fifteen to twenty minutes. A few minutes before the fennel is done, toss in a handful of your favorite pitted olives.

- Gruyere cheese, grated

When you are ready to pull out the dough, go for it. I try not to over handle the dough, but like it to be an even thickness throughout (so you aren't fighting parts that are burning, while other parts are still doughy). Brush olive oil on one side, and turn that side down onto the grill. Now that the dough is on the grill, brush the side that is face up with olive oil. If you are on a gas grill, this is when I'd slap on the cover in 20-30 second stretches. Check on the bottom of the dough often, and when it is deeply golden, flip the dough.

Get the toppings on quickly. In this case, brush a thin layer of tomato sauce across the pizza, a dusting of cheese, and a generous tangle of the fennel and olives. Check on the bottom of the dough regularly, and when it is deeply golden use a baking sheet or pizza peal to remove. Dust with a bit more cheese, a drizzle of olive oil and enjoy.

Experiment with different toppings, that's half the fun. One of the other pizzas we did (not pictured) was with a spinach & pea ricotta pesto, thin slices of new potatoes, Gruyere, and a drizzled of this hot sauce from SNC.

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!
weeknight express

WEEKNIGHT EXPRESS features 10 Vegetarian, Plant-centric Recipes for Feel-Good Food — Fast!

Subscribe to get 32-pages of recipes to view on your tablet, e-book reader or phone.

weeknight expressweeknight express


Oh, yum! It seems a little daunting, but definitely worth trying! And perfect for a hot day when you don't want to cook in the house.


Oh darn. I don't have a grill. But after discovering your brussels sprouts recipe, I'm currently obsessed with my cast-iron skllet and universal lid. I am going to try making pizza in it and I will let you know whether it turns out to be totally awesome or the most horrifically burnt doughy mess ever.


Cast iron skillets are the very best for reheating pizza: a dry skillet with a lid, and the heat on pretty much as low as you can make it, and pizza will be much better than fresh in about 10 minutes.

I've made pizza in cast iron before, but -- at least if you're doing it on a stovetop -- you have to not pre-heat nearly as much as you would either for cooking pizza in the oven or for cooking anything in cast iron. (Well, maybe if you had a literally parchment-thin crust...)


Your pictures are making my mouth water! This is my second summer with my Weber charcoal grill, but I've not yet tackled pizza. Would you suggest putting it directly on the grill or using a pizza stone to keep a bit of control in the burn department?


this looks amazing! a great recipe for my oldest child to help me with now that she's on summer holiday. yum!


I've been wanting to try grilled pizzas for quite some time, but since I don't have a grill I'll have to rely on the kindness of friends. We've been meaning to get a grill, but I suspect we won't, again, this year.
As for favorite toppings, I love caramelized onion on top, a good mozzarella and a few slices of good chouriço (or chorizo). Since I'm Portuguese, we can get a really good one around here.
On a vegetarian approach, I'll still have the caramelized onions, the good mozzarella, paper-thin sliced mushrooms and maybe some rocket on top. Hmmm, I'm getting hungry! :)

Hug *


Those pizzas look fantastic! Perfect and ever so scrumptious!

There's nothing better than homemade pizzas!




It can help greatly if your grill is big enough to have a side that's hot and a side that's cooler in case you need to move it around to get things even. This works in gas grills with dual burners.

off topic, cast iron is an awesome launching/lunching platforms for pizzas. I use a 10" Lodge for deep dish, and I picked up one of those super-cheap after closeout flat "emeril" branded chinese ones for thin and regular crust. I'll NEVER go back to the old stones.

You've got to have some Muenster love to give your pizza an extra mile of delicious!


Such a wonderful summer dish, nice idea with the caramelised fennel :) Question - the little Italian stand in our local market, recommends using a large quantity of flour when rolling out the pizza dough to be cook in an oven. Does this work well for your grill technique ?

Erika of SWEET PEA blog

I love fresh pizza... I know this will probably sound like a poke in the eye to the rest of you, but I have a real, built-in, Italian wood-fired pizza oven in my basement. Of course my basement is located in real, built-in Monte di Procida, Italy... we're about 30k outside of Naples, so pizza in my area is spectacular. I do love to make pizza, but with Lo Sfizio and Salvatore's about a 10 minute walk from our place I've become lazy. They cook in stone ovens, and because they keep them at a constant temperature all night I can watch Salvatore throw the dough, make the pizza, and have it hot at my table all in a matter of 10 minutes - it really is incredible, and until I experienced it I would probably have said that this was against the laws of Physics. The fast cooking time might be due, in part, to an ability to read the paper through Salvatore's crusts after he throws them (ok, not literally, but you get the point) he's a master. Another reason why I often prefer to head to town on Pizza night... I've not yet mastered the ultra-thin part of the thin Naples style pizza...


Love pizza on the grill - so much more flavor then the oven. Your toppings look good, never tried caramelized fennel. My favs are feta, tomatoes, black olives/kalmata, zucchini and red onion.


Great photos.


Awesome! I was planning on making grilled pizza Friday night and was looking for tips.

Smoked chiles? Do you buy them or smoke them yourself? If you do buy them, where?

Thanks :)


Our favorite pizza-on-the-grill topping so far is preserved Meyer lemon, Parmesan, roasted garlic, and olive oil. Really, anything that looks good on pasta looks good on pizza, that's my rule of thumb.

Katie in Berkeley

Hi Heidi,

Your site is one of my favorite ones. I like very much the way you write and the recipes are so nice. I have already tried some and it was really good.

I bought your book too. :)

I saw in some of your recipes the indication of King Arthur Flour, but I am not in the United States and I would like to ask you if I can use a regular whole wheat flour instead of King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour.

Thank you!



I would never think to put fennel and olives on a pizza. I've never even had grilled pizza before, this is some great advice. The best pizza ever is with ground beef, canned black olives and fresh mozz.


Great advice on how to grill a pizza and I love the pictures. What is the ideal temperature to get your grill to?

Jason Adams

We've been making some delicious grilled pizzas w/whole wheat dough for a couple of years. One of my favorites has a pesto sauce with fresh tomatoes, but it's not August yet, so we have had caramelized vidalia onions with olives and blue cheese. A big hit even with those who are committed to a red sauce on pizza ( my husband). I wish I had read your idea about fennel and olives a few days ago - we just ate the fennel from our garden-I'll buy some for this-it sounds delicious. Thanks for a great read and some really amazing recipes.


I always thought it was ironic that when tomatoes and basil are ripe and ready, it is too hot to turn your oven on to make pizza. I suppose this is the solution...


What technique do you use for keeping the paper thin dough from sticking to the grill grates? Have you found the the brushing of olive oil is enough? I am just afraid that I will char my dough while trying to get it to loosen from the grates.



My all time favorite pizza toppings? Carmelized onions, broccoli sliced thin, roasted red peppers, toasted garlic and goat cheese and a dusting of parmesan. Yum!

We've been talking about grilling pizzas for awhile now, thanks for the tips. I'll definitely try it.


Pizza on the grill is so amazing it tastes so much better that oven baked.

A fun Entertaining with Pizza idea - We had a bunch of friends over one night and some did not know one another so as a way to get everyone interacting we just put out all the ingrediants and let everyone build their own pizza. There were about a dozen different toppings and a couple sauces to choose from. It was really fun to see the creations and it really got everyone interacting.... That and a few great bottles of wine that is....

Cathy C

ooh! we just received an indoor grill as a gift. it's not the same as a 'real' grill, but worth a shot all the same! when it comes to pizza toppings it is hard to go wrong but i like trying to keep it vegan.

Michelle @ What Does Your Body Good?

This is a timely post -- we just attempted our first grilled pizzas of the season last weekend. It takes some warming up each year I think. The first pizza crust, well, caught on fire. So you might imagine that the crust cooked faster than the toppings, and then some. The second one never quite cooked in the middle, even though the toppings were perfect. I am going to have to get better with controlling temperature. In the end, we cooked them mostly inside and then finished them up outside for that smoky flavor -- not ideal, but it worked.

Becky And The Beanstock

Definitely something I want to make this summer!


We have been grilling pizzas for a few years and got the recipe from Raichlen's Barbeque Bible. The dough recipe is nice, incorporating a little whole wheat flower and corn meal. But our local pizza joint sells their dough too for a quick, unplanned meal! The cheeses that we use (from his recipe) are fontina and pecorino Romano.


Weber makes a stainless perforated baking sheet that is intended for grilling veggies of seafood, but is perfect for grilled pizza and bread dough. I got one this spring and the dough was perfectly cooked the first time. I am using it on a gas grill, but I expect it would moderate the heat on a charcoal grill just as well, no burnt crust ffor me ever again. Bought it at my local hardware store.


Weber makes a stainless perforated baking sheet that is intended for grilling veggies or seafood, but is perfect for grilled pizza and bread dough. I got one this spring and the dough was perfectly cooked the first time. I am using it on a gas grill, but I expect it would moderate the heat on a charcoal grill just as well, no burnt crust ffor me ever again. Bought it at my local hardware store.


Mmm, grilled pizza.. I've got to give this one a try!


I just got a new gas grill, I must agree with you, getting the right temperature is soooo hard, but, patience, love and a wonderful dough make grilled pizza better than any other pizza!!! the flipping can get a little tricky, but, not flipping the first couple of times I made it was a terrible mistake!!! I think I am going to try some flavored brickets next time too, how do you get the pizza dough so thin, yet, stays intact, no holes? mine is never that thin, I want to be able to do that...


Sorry...I meant to say thank you for all the fabulous and delicious recipes!!! Heidi you are a class act!


I love grilled pizzas! Thanks for the inspiration to get started on these again. Sometimes when we go camping I buy the premade pizza dough - I've seen nice spelt ones - to make it easier (making dough the while tenting seems too hard core for me!). I love Asiago - on everything!


I love making pizza on an open fire. I learned to have the bottom of a terra cotta flower pot (a big one) handy. We stoke the coals, put on the dough, cook it a few minutes, flip it over, add the toppings (off the fire works best), return it to the fire - place the bottom over to kind of make an oven to help melt the cheese and cook the toppings. Takes only a few minutes and its delicious. Enjoy!


We just discovered grilled pizza and I love it! I can't wait to try the caramelized fennel and olives next. Also want to say thanks for your white whole wheat pizza dough, can't live w/o it!


I love you Heidi! I have shared this blog w/ so many friends. I love your style, it is so great!! Thanks sister!

Kelly Smith

that seems absolutly delicious, too bad my little apartmet does not have a grill....

delicious chronicles

I have been looking for a good crust recipe. I am looking forward to grilling my pizzas! I grill naan all the time and I am sure that I will enjoy the grilled pizzas as well.


.....thinly sliced potatoes, fresh rosemary, roasted garlic, a bit of pancetta, bleu cheese mixed with a little ricotta and dolloped around.....OMG.


Heidi! I have been reading your blog for over a year and I always enjoy what you're cooking up!

Pizza on the grill is a favorite treat in our summertime household. I do agree that it's tough to maintain the perfect temperature. The key is to have all ingredients within easy reach.

I also took the leftover dough, basted it with a butter and crushed fresh garlic, wrapped it in foil and stuck it on the side of the grill while the pizzas were cooking. These fantastic breadsticks were the hit of dinner!


This recipe looks amazing. After my last interesting experience with the grill, I am a little intimidated, but I always use pizza as an excuse to eat a lot of veggies. Toss on some broccoli for a healthy dose to a food we all love.


Looks delicious. I love real thin and crispy pizzas too :)


I haven't grilled a pizza in many moons - this post has inspired me to get busy with it and soon.


We tried grilling pizza for the first time last week, with not a great outcome. I am thrilled that you wrote about this, because we knew that there was a way to do it and we want to try again. Thanks!


Thanks for your take on the grilled pizzas. I look forward to trying the caramelized fennel topping. Yum.

I think for most of us grilling a pizza is going to be as close as we can get to the charing one gets from a wood burning oven.

Coincidently I went to a grilled pizza demo last night at Macy's in SF. A friend had co-written a book on the topic -- Grilled Pizzas and Padinias -- and the chef (Craig Priebe) was in town demonstrating.

He used the same techniques for grilled pizza on an indoor grill, cast iron grill pan and a panini grill. It's nice to know grilled pizza is possible even on those nights we don't feel like "lighting" up.


My husband & I have tried grilled pizza a few times and it's really good. For anyone who hasn't tried it, go easy on any sauce you use. Actually, we just use chopped tomatoes and forego sauce altogether. Just a few ingredients is all you need. Cooks Illustrated (America's Test Kitchen on PBS stations) has a pretty good dough recipe. I think it's from an issue from 2006?


Confession and apologies: I'm only just now beginning to share you! Sorry! I've enjoyed your site for quite some time now, and have decided to comment here because, your pizza entry brought back sweet memories of my kiddies and my grill a few years ago. We went six months with nearly no kitchen (husband remodel...oy vay...), and grilled EVERYTHING that needed to be cooked. LOVED IT. Thanks for the salivations!


Ohh, that sounds so good. I know this is sort of cheating, but a friend recommended buying dough from a pizzeria (for about $3/lb) and spending your time and energy on topping prep. This makes me want a grill!


to mike's comment about controlling heat, i find that using the indirect method--with gas or charcoal--makes this possible. if your grill is charcoal, build a circle of charcoal on the outside perimeter after the charcoal is heated through, or bunch it up on one side of the grill to easily move it away from direct heat as it cooks. with gas, they often have two or three "zones" of heat--you can heat the outside two zones and keep the middle "off", which helps control cooking a great deal. but definitely use high heat, as it's how the best wood-fired pizza ovens do their magic!


Greetings from a Brazilian vegan that loves your recipes, you give me so much inspiration

and even the non-vegan ones makes me want to find a vegan way to cook them ;)


mmm toppings? it sounds granola crunchy but broccoli and shredded carrots are EXCELLENT especially after they've crisped up on the edges.


My family discovered this a couple years ago and it's been a monthly staple since then. Just be careful not to coat too much olive oil on the bottom of the dough or you might flare up the grill.

You also might want to think about indirect heat by ringing the outside of a charcoal grill instead of putting the pizza right over the coals. Someone else suggested that, I'm agreeing and reinforcing the idea.



I'll give it a look so tasty and delicious.
i've tried several pizza recipe but this looks like a most simple one enough for my little family.
love it!!!!!


Great post!

Angel Funk

This looks so good! I have always wanted to try grilled pizza, so thank you for the directions. My only problem is that I can't have tomatoes OR dairy. Does anyone have any suggestions for me?

Kimi @ The Nourishing Gourmet

I have been meaning to try this for quite some it's definitely in my weekend plans. Thank you for the inspiration!


We just posted a recipe for grilled pizza as well. Our blog is a new and we only have a few posts, but grilled pizza has been one of our favorites. We did it for lunch and dinner. The crust we used was amazing and no tomato sauce was necessary for these pizza's because the toppings and cheese steal the show. We recommend trying grilled pizza for anyone who has a grill. I went to school at Berkeley so I definitely feel the cold summer grilling, but out here in DC, it's a hot humid story. I would make the grilled pizza any day for a great gourmet meal!

Whitney and Katie McFadden

Great ideia! I love pizza and BBQ
now I can have the best from two worlds!!



You might want to try the white bean & kale pizza on another awesome food blog I discovered:

The white bean sauce was so creamy and delicious so I just sprinkled on a light dusting of parmesan (which obviously could be omitted to avoid dairy).

Heidi - great post again! I'm in SF as well and I love that your recipes are so well-timed with our unpredictable weather! It's really a treat to read these recipes, thank you again for sharing.


So yummy. Too bad, i don't have a grill, but i can try this at my mom's house. This is gonna be a perfect reason to bond with my mom because we're both pizza lovah!

Melanie D

So yummy. Too bad, i don't have a grill, but i can try this at my mom's house. This is gonna be a perfect reason to bond with my mom because we're both pizza lovah!

Melanie D

i absolutely love grilled pizza. this is a great step-by-step guide.

The Spotted Apron

My favorite toppings are simple: a little drizzle of sauce, some mozerella, grape tomato halves, and one or two chopped leaves of Cuban oregano. I have Cuban oregano in a pot about six feet from my grill, so it's always ultra-fresh, and it's so bold that I love using it on pizza - seriously, this stuff is, to me, a botanical miracle that everyone should try at least once.


I like Anne's suggestion of Cuban oregano- is it similar to Mexican oregano? My favorite toppings are either tomato, mozzarella and basil (keeping it simple), or just thinly sliced zucchini. I just love the cream that is released from melted mozzarella, and how it interplays with tomatoes.
Fennel and olive sounds also sounds simple and delicious, and definitely great for summer. Thanks for another great post!

Sophia from Kitchen Caravan

I have been dying to try grilled pizza!You make it sound and look HEAVANLY.I've got to get an out door grill!THANKS!!!!!!!

karen thompson

I've never grilled a pizza because we 3rd floor urban dwellers are sadly without grill. But last week i did make a pizza using the "hottest oven + broil high + cast iron pan" trick to simulate a restaurant oven and it worked surprisingly well.

Erin @ The Skinny Gourmet

Heidi, this would be good with your blackberry-lime sparklers as mocktails. Pizza is great on the grill when it is way too hot to be firing up the oven to 400 F! I adapted a Bobbly Flay (yes, celeb chef, but he's the grill guy) some years ago and having been making variations of it.

Favorite toppings: pesto (drizzle over after it's cooked), dollops of ricotta, re-hydrated, sun-dried tomatoes, and a spicy, homemade sauce as a base. I also like to top the pizza with my own turkey sausage (w/imported hot Italian spices via my sister).


Your world is a fiction world to me--wood-fired pizza stove in the basement?! What the! Either way, sounds like you can't go wrong in your area with pizza.


Not having King Arthur flour isn't such a desperate situation--I only recently started using it, and with the increased price in most staples, I don't always have it. It is a good, quality flour, though. Just use regular whole wheat flour, another good-quality type where you are.

Good luck to all! Grilled pizza *is* tricky, but learnable.

Sprouted in the Kitchen


Thanks for the suggestion! I will definitely check it out!

Kimi @ The Nourishing Gourmet

What a great idea


2 of my thin crusted favorites:

Fig preserves topped with proscuitto, gorgonzola, flat leafed parsley

Cream sauce (season up some greek yogurt for a great shortcut), roasted garlic, chipotle rubbed flank steak, roasted red peppers, fresh cilantro



wow if we were at the technology that could be tasted

David Panjarian

My favorite topping: sliced tomatoes, some gorgonzola cheese cubes, grated mozzarella on top of it, thin onion slices and oregano.


Yum. I've tried 5 cheese and onion. Was not a success, thanks to the brie not working well with the gouda.


For Kimi and other non-dairy people like myself, I like using slices of ripe avo in place of cheese. Throw them on just as the pizza comes off the fire so that they are warmed but not cooked. Totally works for me. I also use pesto's and tapanade's in place of sauce and never miss it. And Carmelized onion puree is totally divine as a spread in place of sauce.


Good recipe. If you roll the dough on parchment paper you can get it quite thin.
btw I hope you and Wayne clambered up the steep hill, instead of "clamored." ("Clamor" means "loud noise.")


Wow that looks so good!

Wheeler's Frozen Dessert Co.

so i'm coming a bit late to this party but this looks so delicious! I'm going to have to borrow my neighbors' grill and give this a go. for a no dairy no tomato pizza- i used to get a slice with potato (creamy) and chopped rosemary (savory) at the bakery next to the place I got my hair cut. it was my ritual- my slice of pizza when i felt all pampered and pretty. think i might have to try to make that on the grill now that i've moved away.
Thanks for the inspiration.


Nice, I really enjoyed this post. Things that catch my eye are usually the simple recipes, the simple pleasures, and this is certainly one of them. We can be so creative with Pizza, and everyone has thier own recipes/ideas. That's so great! Nice post!


It looks beautiful and delicious!


I love grilling pizza's, I think the dough comes out wonderful, and yours looks extremly good! I wish I was in San Francisco right now, just came back from a vacation there in May and miss it already!


Don;t you love grilled pizzas, we did it all last summer and just had our kick-off for this year, as well. So Yum!

Chez US

I've been dying to make grilled pizza...just lacking the grill...whoops! :)


Thank you so much for this great idea! My husband and I used it for a casual night with friends and family to celebrate our daughter's 1st birthday. It was easy and fun and she could enjoy it too. We discovered that the dough did really well without any oil but it may have been the dough we used (local pizza joint). It's definitely something we'll do again and again!


this is so perfect. i just got tons of garlic scapes from my CSA share, and made pizza dough to put them on for tomorrow night before i checked your post. i was planning to use the oven, but the grill is so much better as it won't heat up the house. i used a straight forward recipe from the angeli caffe cookbook (pizza pasta panini). i have never used it on the grill before, but hopefully it will work well. thanks for making me remember the grill!


Post Your Comment

More Recipes

Popular Ingredients