Make-Ahead Pizza Crust

Shows texture of pizza crust.

I love homemade pizza. It is something I like to make on Saturday nights for a fun treat. Pizza dough only has a few ingredients, but the magic happens when you give those ingredients time to do their magic.

What ingredients are in Make-Ahead Pizza Crust?

Pizza crust is made from:


Coarse Sea Salt

Rapid Rise Yeast


How do you make Make Ahead Pizza Crust?

Make ahead pizza crust is simple to make! Simply mix flour, salt, yeast, and water in a bowl to form a craggy and rough dough. Let it sit covered at room temperature for 24 to 48 hours. The yeast will work magic and transform the craggy dough into soft and elastic dough full of bubbles and flavor. 

Time is the key to making great pizza crust dough. You only need a little yeast and a lot of time to get a pizza dough with amazing flavor and lots of bubbles.

Why does the pizza crust dough smell like alcohol?

Pizza dough actually goes through a fermentation process that is similar to making beer. If your dough smells like alcohol, it will likely have lots of great yeasty flavor.

How do you get a crispy pizza crust?

The secret to the balance between crispy and chewy in pizza crust is to have a high ratio of water to flour. The wetter the dough, the crispier the crust will be. It is a delicate balance, because you also want dough that is easy to work with and not too sticky. 

One thing that really helps is to let the pizza dough ferment for a long time. I like to make it at least one day, but up to three days in advance. The crust will develop more flavor and gluten the longer it sits at room temperature.

Can I freeze make-ahead pizza crust?

Yes! After the dough has fermented for 24-48 hours, you can freeze it. I like to put it in a zip top bag that has been coated on the inside with a tablespoon of olive oil to keep the dough from sticking to the bag.

How do I use frozen pizza crust?

Remove the frozen crust dough from the freezer 24 hours before you plan to bake the pizza. Three-four hours before you plan to bake the pizza, take the dough out of the zip bag, place it in a medium bowl that has been coated with a tablespoon of olive oil, and cover with a lid or plastic wrap. Let the dough sit a room temperature for three to four hours, then form into pizzas and bake as usual.

How do you shape the pizza crust?

This recipe will make three 12-inch round pizzas or one sheet pan pizza.

  • To make 12-inch rounds, divide the dough into three parts, roll gently into a ball on a floured surface and let rest for 30 minutes to an hour. Gently use your hands to stretch each dough ball into 12-inch rounds. Place each round on parchment paper or a pizza peel, top with pizza sauce, toppings, and cheese, then transfer to a preheated pizza stone and bake in the oven at 550 degrees Fahrenheit for five to seven minutes. 
  • To make a sheet pan pizza, coat a rimmed baking sheet with two tablespoons of olive oil. Transfer the dough to the oiled pan and gently pull the dough to stretch it toward the corners. (See video.) Let it rest five minutes and stretch again. Repeat the stretching and resting process several times until the dough reaches the edges of the pan. Top with your favorite toppings and cheese and bake on the bottom rack of a 500 degree oven for 10-15 minutes until the crust is browned on the bottom and the cheese is melted and browned on top.

Can you refrigerate pizza crust dough after it rises?

Yes! You can refrigerate for up to two days after it sat at room temperature for 24-48 hours. You want to take it out of the refrigerator three to four hours before baking to let it come back to room temperature. 

Shows texture of make ahead pizza crust

Make-Ahead Pizza Crust

Yield: 3 12-inch or 1 sheet pan
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Additional Time: 1 day
Total Time: 1 day 25 minutes

This simple pizza crust is delicious because the yeast has time to work it's magic. Add that to the convenience of making it a day or two ahead of time and you have a winning recipe!



  1. In a large bowl, mix all ingredients to form a shaggy dough.Shows the dough is not smooth.
  2. Cover the bowl with a lid or plastic wrap and let sit a room temperature for 24-48 hours. It will hydrate, and ferment to form an elastic dough with lots of bubbles. Shows the bubbles in the Make Ahead Pizza Crust Dough
  3. Preheat oven and optional baking stone to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
  4. Remove dough from bowl and shape into 3 balls for 12-inch round pizzas. Or, place in a rimmed baking sheet sheet with 2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil. (See video and notes.)Shows how to form 3 dough balls.
  5. Shape the pizza (See Video) and top with pizza sauce and your favorite toppings.
  6. Bake 12 inch round pizzas on a pizza stone for 5-7 minutes.
  7. Bake Sheet Pan pizza for 10-15 minutes on the bottom rack.
  8. Remove from oven and cut with pizza cutter and serve.


  • This dough makes three 12-inch round pizzas or 1 sheet pan pizza.
  • Watch the video to see how to shape the dough.
  • For the round pizzas, gently use your hands to stretch the dough into a 12-inch round. Place the dough on a piece of parchment or pizza peel to transfer to the preheated pizza stone.
  • For the sheet pan pizza, place 2 Tablespoons of olive oil in a sheet pan. Add the dough and gently stretch. Let the dough rest five minutes and gently stretch again. You will need to continue to stretch and rest several times to get the dough to fill the sheet pan.
  • You can make the dough ahead. After it has risen for 24-48 hours you can transfer it to the refrigerator or freezer. It will last in the refrigerator for two days.
  • To freeze the dough, place it in a zip bag that has been coated with a tablespoon of olive oil, then freeze.
  • To thaw the dough, remove it from the freezer 24 hours prior to baking. Three-four hours before baking, remove it from the refrigerator and place in an oiled bowl. Cover and let come to room temperature and then shape and bake.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 228Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 532mgCarbohydrates: 48gFiber: 2gSugar: 0gProtein: 7g

Nutrition information is provided as a courtesy and may not be completely accurate.

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Marie Fiebach is a married mother of four active kids. She helps busy families plan and execute weeknight dinner so they can recapture a little calm in the crazy. You can see her every week on KAKE TV’s Good Morning Kakeland or listen to the Feed Your Family Tonight Podcast.