Grilled Pizza

How to make grilled pizza and everything you need to know to get it right - with topping ideas!

Grilled Pizza

When you pair a hot grill with great pizza dough plus a handful of seasonal toppings, your meal game is going to be next level. Grilled pizza season is on and this post covers everything you need to know to about how to get it right.
Grilled Pizza topped with Corn, Chiles, and Mozzarella”   border=

How to Grill Pizza: The Basics

To grill great pizza start with a hot grill that has been cleaned well with a brush. Also key, it helps to be organized. Have your pizza dough, pizza sauce and all toppings ready. Like, right next to the grill. Once you slide your pizza dough onto the grill, the next steps come in rapid succession. This means, whether you're ready or not. Brush one side of the pizza dough with olive oil and cook that side first, flip it, brush the grilled side with sauce and toppings. Then finish cooking. If you’re a bit on the slow side arranging toppings, you’ll want to pull the pizza off the grill for this step. This helps to avoid the potential for burning. Return the topped pizza to the grill for final cooking. Happens in a flash!

Grilled Pizza topped with Kale, Tomato Sauce and Mozzarella” border=

General Grilled Pizza Tips

  • Start with a good pizza dough foundation. This is my go-to homemade pizza dough, and it works well on the grill.
  • Similar to baking pizza in an oven, you want to achieve medium-high to high heat here. Pre-heat the grill as long as possible and check the temperature before starting the pizza. I aim for 450-500F-ish. You can go hotter if you’re baking your pizza on an upper grill rack, but run the risk of scorchy (burnt) grill marks if it’s in a more direct spot. If you’re using a pizza stone, ignore this and get your grill hot hot hot.
  • Pizza on the grill differs from baking pizza in the oven in that with grilled pizza you generally flip the dough once before adding toppings.
  • Consider pre-cooking any veggies or other toppings if needed. They won't have much time to cook on the grill. Arrange each in an individual bowl along with the rest of your toppings bar.  
  • Use a bit of olive oil on the pizza dough to prevent the first side from sticking to the grill.

Close-up photo of a white pizza topped with corn, chiles, and mozzarella” border=

Grilled Pizza: The Dough

Start with the right dough: As I mentioned up above, you need to start with a pizza dough that is on your team. I love this pizza dough. It's the one you see in the pictures here. You can read all about why I like it, in short: the flavor is great, it’s easy to work with, you don’t need a mixer, and there is no need to proof the yeast you’re using. Great in an oven or on a grill. It's super flex and adaptable. Alternately, you can experiment with doughs purchased from local pizza spots or stores.

Grill Temperature

Temperature: This is the second pillar after good dough. Controlling the grill temperature is key to your success - and, I'll be honest, there can be a bit of a leaning curve. If you’re having trouble with pizza dough sticking to the grill, dial up the heat. And when using a gas grill, the lid is your friend. 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. If you’re worried about burning pizzas, you can move them to the upper rack if your grill has one.

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. If you have a grill with dual burners, or a way to set up a hot zone, and a not-so-hot zone, moving the dough around can also be helpful.

Grilled pizza dough arranged on sheets of parchment paper before baking” border=

The Parchment Technique

When grilling pizzas this is the approach I like. First, pull the dough out and shape it on a sheet of parchment paper that has been spritzed with a bit of olive oil. Unlike oven-baked pizza you skip the flour here. You can then gently flip the dough onto the grill with the parchment providing a nice amount of structure (see below). Peel the parchment paper away and proceed.

Placing dough on hot grill

Do you need a Pizza Stone to Grill Pizza?

If you have and use a pizza stone in your oven, you can use it on the grill. That said, you don’t need a pizza stone to grill pizza.

Pizza toppings arranged on a baking sheet

Best Toppings for Grilled Pizza

This is the fun part. The rule of thumb here is to use toppings that really sing after a just a couple minutes on the grill. This means you might want to pre-cook (or pre-grill) any toppings that would take longer than that. Use flavor-packed, fast cooking ingredients that have a tendency to melt (or cook) quickly for your toppings. Don't go overboard, thoughtfully curate each pizza so the flavors of each ingredient have room to speak. Some favorites include:

  • Vegetables: corn, thin asparagus, roasted cherry tomatoes, peas, roasted mushrooms, caramelized onions, olives, fava beans, citrus zests, grilled artichoke hearts, sautéed thinly sliced potatoes.
  • Cheeses: ricotta, fresh mozzarella, gruyere, feta, freshly grated Parmesan or Pecorino
  • Finishing touches: lemon olive oil, tangerine olive oil, makrut lime oil, chives and chive flowers, hot honey
  • Herbs: a sprinkle of fresh herbs like oregano, thyme, fresh basil, minced chives, lemon verbena

Spreading tomato sauce on pizza dough” border=

  • Topping Combinations:
    - tomato sauce, mozzarella, crushed kale chips, lemon oil (pictured)
    - mozzarella, roasted corn, pickled serrano chiles, chive flowers, pine nuts (pictured)
    - caramelized fennel & olives
    - spinach/pea & ricotta pesto, potatoes & smoke chile sauce
    - tomato & roasted red peppers with goat cheese
    - For more ideas, check out this page of more grilled pizza ideas, as well as this big list of pizza topping ideas
    - And, this is my go-to pizza dough.

Pizza dough on grill prior to adding toppings” border=

Thick or Thin Pizzas?

Play around with how thick or thin you pull your pizza dough. You'll get widely varying results. As far as the thick or thin debate goes, I tend to lean into thin. 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.

Make-Ahead Crusts

You can pre-grill pizza crusts up to a few hours ahead of time. For example, if you’re feeding a crowd and want to get a bit of a jump start. Lightly grill both sides and then allow to cool on a rack. The key is to go light, knowing they will be going back on the grill later. When you’re ready for prime time, sauce and top each pizza and do the final grilling.

If you've never tried this, give it a go! It's fun to set up for a small crowd because everyone can take a turn making their own custom pizza. Let me know your favorite topping combos in the comments.

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Grilled Pizza Recipe

5 from 4 votes

I’ve included many pointers in the main entry of this post about temperature, dough, toppings and the like. Be sure to read through it before you get started.

Pizza Dough
  • use a favorite pizza dough or the one I've linked to up above

Toppings (for ex:):

  1. Have your pizza dough and toppings ready. Heat the grill to high heat.

  2. While the grill is heating, shape the dough on pieces of lightly oiled parchment paper. Try not to over handle the dough, but attempt even thickness throughout. This way you aren't fighting parts that are burning, while other parts are still doughy.
  3. Brush or spray olive oil on the top side of the dough 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.
  4. Get the toppings on quickly, or if you’re a bit slower, pull the pizza off the grill and top it on the side before returning to the grill (to avoid burning).
  5. Check on the bottom of the dough regularly, and when it is deeply golden remove. Repeat with the remaining dough and toppings.
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
5 mins
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We finally tried this out on our first summer camping trip and it will become a camping staple! I made a sourdough crust, stretched it with oil, and we had no problems with sticking. Thank you for the pro tips!


    Sounds fantastic Courtney!

    Heidi Swanson

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!


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!


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

It looks beautiful and delicious!


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!


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.


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


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.


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


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 yum!


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

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


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

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!


Yammy!!! 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!!!!!


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.


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


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.


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!


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.


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. 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!


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


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.


Definitely something I want to make this summer!


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


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

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.... Cheers Cathy

Cathy C

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.


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

    Hi Jason, I shoot for 450F -500F...

    Heidi Swanson

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.



YOYO's Cooking

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!


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!


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!


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


Those pizzas look fantastic! Perfect and ever so scrumptious! There's nothing better than homemade pizzas! Cheers, Rosa


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

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!


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!


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


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...


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.


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


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?


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.


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. Thanks!


    Yes, and just be sure the grill is hot enough.

    Heidi Swanson

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...


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.


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

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.


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...


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!


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...)


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