This beer pizza dough gives you a crisp, thin crust with those delightful air bubbles and just the right amount of chew. The beer adds a depth of flavor, and who doesn't look cooking with beer? Plus, you can make this dough three days ahead, and it freezes beautifully, so you'll always have homemade pizza dough on hand for that impromptu pizza night or easy entertaining.
Why You Need to Make This Recipe
If you're looking for the perfect homemade pizza dough, you've come to the right place. With its crisp texture and wonderful flavor thanks to the beer, this is the pizza dough of your dreams.
If you've never made dough from scratch, the process may seem intimidating, but I promise this recipe is plenty forgiving and simple for even the novice bread-maker. Matt and I are huge fans of at-home pizza nights, so I've made this beer pizza dough recipe many times over, and it always comes out perfect. I have no doubt anyone can successfully put together this easy pizza dough.
A KitchenAid mixer makes the process even simpler, but you can still make this recipe without one and still get a tasty crust. You'll just have to hand knead instead, which is simple and actually therapeutic. As much as I love my mixer, sometimes I like to ditch the KitchenAid just to get my hands in there and really feel the dough.
I also love that you can turn this into a make-ahead pizza dough recipe. Want to prepare the dough and bake the same day? No problem. But you can also make this recipe up to three days before baking or even store in the freezer. It makes entertaining as easy as it gets.
Let's get organized. Here are our beer pizza dough ingredients.
- Bread flour: Why bread flour? Bread flour has more protein than all-purpose flour, which gives us more gluten power for a chewier crust.
- Beer: I recommend an amber ale.
- Instant yeast: We use instant rather than dry active, so make sure it's the right type.
- Salt: To enhance the flavors.
- Olive oil: I love the flavor olive oil adds, and it makes the dough super easy to handle.
- Cornmeal: This keeps our dough from sticking when transferring it for baking.
- Desired toppings: Feel free to get creative here or stick with the classics -- your choice.
- Egg wash: Made of egg yolk and water, this gives us the perfect brown crust.
For the beer, I used Pretzel Amber from Denver Beer Co for this batch. Amber ales are malt-forward beers with a bread-like quality and just a touch of sweetness, so they're perfect for this homemade pizza dough. If you don't have access to Pretzel Amber, just about any amber ale should do. Fat Tire from New Belgium Brewing is widely available and a great option.
How to Prepare Dough
Let's get started, shall we? We begin by mixing together bread flour, salt and instant yeast. Now we add olive oil and beer and mix just until it all comes together and forms a shaggy dough.
If using a KitchenAid, attach the dough hook and knead on speed two for about five minutes. For those kneading by hand, flour your countertop or a pastry board and place the ball of dough on top. Now fold the dough ball in half and press down with the heels of your hands. Give the dough ball a quarter turn and repeat until the dough is elastic and tacky. This should take about seven minutes but judge by the state of the dough.
We now divide our dough into five even pieces --- about half a pound each -- and shape them into balls. I like to weigh my dough balls to make sure they're the right size, but you can certainly eyeball them if you don't have a kitchen scale.
For making ahead, we tightly cover each ball with plastic wrap and let them sit in the refrigerator for a minimum of overnight, but it's ideal if we can give our dough three days to age. The flavor and texture improve if we give the dough more time to ferment, so let's try to plan ahead if possible.
However, if we want to bake right away, we place the number of dough balls we plan to use in a mixing bowl, tightly cover with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm spot until the dough about doubles in size, approximately an hour. If you'd like, you can bake some right away and place the others in the refrigerator for another day. What you don't use in three days then goes to the freezer but more on that later.
How to Hand Stretch Pizza Dough
After our dough rests, we're ready to start making pizza. For refrigerated dough, we need to place it on a floured surface, gently press into a 5-inch circle, cover with plastic wrap and let it sit for two hours to come to room temperature. This not only makes the dough easier to shape but it also serves as the dough's rise, so don't skip this step.
If your dough didn't go into the refrigerator, it's already risen and the right temperature, so you can hand stretch right away.
To shape our dough, we hand stretch it. Please do me a favor and don't use a rolling pin to shape and flatten the pizza dough. That will push out all those delightful air bubbles. Hand stretching is easy and fun, so put down the rolling pin.
We start by using the beds of our fingers rather than our fingertips to press into the dough, working our way to the edge. Don't press your fingers too much in the center. We really want to focus on working away from the center to the edge for a better structure. Otherwise, we'll break down the middle of the crust and end up with limp pizza.
As we stretch the dough, we can also pick it up on the edge and let the rest of the dough hang down. That allows gravity to work its magic. We keep moving our hands along the edge to uniformly stretch the dough. The process is similar to turning a steering wheel.
Our dough is perfectly hand stretched once it hits 10 inches in diameter. If any holes form in the dough, just pinch them back together.
How to Bake
Now we move our crust to either a corn meal-dusted pizza peel or parchment paper on the back of a baking sheet. Despite making a lot of homemade pizza, I don't have a pizza peel. Very sad. But corn meal-dusted parchment paper works well, so I'm not crying too hard.
We add our toppings, brush the edge of the crust with an egg wash and place the pizza on our stone that's been preheating in a 500-degree oven. If you're using parchment paper on the back of a baking sheet, I like to pull out the oven rack so that the baking sheet is even with the pizza stone, grab the edge of the parchment paper and smoothly glide the pizza over to the pizza stone and then bake it for two minutes.
After two minutes, we remove the parchment paper by holding the edge of the crust with an oven mitt while sliding out the parchment paper with the other hand. Parchment paper can catch on fire, and we're using a blazingly hot oven, so we don't want the parchment paper spending too much time in there.
After our pizza finishes baking, we give it a few minutes to cool and set and then dig in for one tasty homemade pizza night.
How to Freeze
After the beer pizza dough has a chance to age in the refrigerator for three days, we can freeze the dough balls we don't plan to use right away. They should last in the freezer about three months.
We simply wrap each dough ball individually with plastic wrap and store them in an airtight zipper freezer bag. And that's it. Easy, huh?
Typically, I thaw my pizza dough by placing it in an airtight container with the plastic wrap in the refrigerator overnight. But sometimes I'm forgetful or those last-minute engagements come up. In those cases, you can leave the frozen pizza dough ball wrapped in plastic on the counter for an hour or two. Once it thaws, store it covered in the refrigerator until you're ready for it.
If you need a quicker thawing method, you can also place the frozen pizza dough in an airtight zipper bag and submerge it in a bowl of warm water. Your pizza dough should be ready to go in about 15 minutes. Just make sure water doesn't seep into the bag. Honestly, I can't tell you how many times having frozen pizza dough has saved me, and I'm sure you'll find it as handy as I do.
Expert Tips and FAQs
- A pizza stone makes a big difference in the end results. That’s not to say you can’t use a large baking sheet, but if you enjoying making pizza at home, a baking stone is well-worth the purchase. It gets so much hotter than a baking sheet, which makes for a crisper crust.
- If you plan to bake the dough immediately, we want to warm the beer to 105-110 degrees, but if you'd like to make it ahead of time and keep in the refrigerator, cold beer is fine. It will slowly ferment in the refrigerator.
- When measuring the beer, allow the foam to dissipate to ensure you're using enough liquid. We want measurement to be actual beer, not foam.
- To ensure the pizza stone is sizzling hot for the perfect crispy crust, heat it in a 500-degree oven at least 45 minutes before baking.
- This recipe calls for ½ pound of pizza dough, which makes a 10-inch pizza. This size is a bit easier to stretch for beginners, but feel free to use more dough for a bigger pizza and adjust the topping measurements accordingly.
- A 10-inch pizza makes a good-size meal for two or an appetizer for four. If you need multiple pizzas, simply remove one pizza from the oven and serve. As everyone is enjoying the first pizza, you can bake your next pizza, and it will be ready to go by the time everyone finishes round one.
Ultimately, the perfect pairing for pizza really comes down to your toppings. If you asked my dad, he'd tell you pepperoni and sausage are the only acceptable pizza toppings, but he's wrong. (Sorry, Dad! ❤️) Pizza is a beautiful blank canvas for so many toppings, and they all command their own pairings. That said, I'm happy to give some general pairing ideas.
- Pepperoni: Double IPA or American brown ale for beer; chianti or shiraz for wine.
- Sausage: Belgian pale ale or dunkel for beer; zinfandel or syrah for wine.
- Margherita: Hefeweizen or pilsner for beer; rosé or chenin blanc for wine.
- Vegetarian: American wheat ale or kolsch for beer; sauvignon blanc or unoaked chardonnay for wine.
- White pizza: Witbier or pilsner for beer; Champagne or pinot grigio for wine.
- Mushroom/truffle pizza: Doppelbock or stout for beer; chardonnay or Burgundy for wine.
- Pesto and chicken: Biere de garde or tripel for beer; sauvignon blanc or vermentino for wine.
- Buffalo chicken: An IPA or pilsner for beer; riesling for wine.
If you love pizza as much as I do, I hope you try your hand at this homemade beer pizza dough. I'm sure you'll find this recipe surprisingly simple yet delicious. Please let me know how you enjoyed this recipe in the comment section and don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter. You can also catch me on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter.
Looking for More Pizza Ideas?
- Prosciutto and grilled peach pizza with pesto
- Mexican beef pizza with corn and green chiles
- Coq au vin pizza
- Pulled pork BBQ pizza with potatoes and caramelized onions
- Smoked salmon, avocado and pesto pizza
Beer Pizza Dough (With Make-Ahead Directions)
- Pizza stone
- Parchment paper
- Pizza peel or large baking sheet
- 4 ½ cups bread flour 1 ¾ cups amber ale
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon instant yeast
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 ¾ cups amber ale foam dissipated (see note regarding temperature)
- Cornmeal for dusting
- Desired toppings
- 1 egg yolk
- ½ tablespoon water
- In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, salt and instant yeast until combined. If using a stand mixer, use the paddle attachment and mix in the oil and beer on a low speed until everything combines and forms a shaggy dough. If mixing by hand, lightly oil a wooden spoon and mix until you get that shaggy dough.
- For those using a stand mixer, attach the dough hook and knead on speed two for about five minutes to create a smooth, elastic, tacky dough. If kneading by hand, turn the dough into a ball shape onto a floured surface. Fold the dough in half and push down with the heels of your hands. Give the dough a quarter turn and repeat until it becomes smooth, elastic and tacky. This should take about seven minutes, but take as long as you need to get the dough to that smooth and tacky stage.
- On a floured surface, divide the dough into five even pieces. Each piece should be about ½ pound of dough. Round each piece into a ball.
- If baking right away, place in a mixing bowl, tightly cover with plastic wrap and allow it to rise in a warm spot until about doubled in size, approximately an hour. After rising, proceed to step 6.
- If you plan on baking later, wrap each dough ball in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator at least overnight or up to three days for best results. Freeze the balls you don't use in a freezer-safe zipper bag with the plastic wrap. Two hours from when you plan to bake the pizza, remove the dough ball from the refrigerator and place on a floured surface and gently press into a 5-inch flat circle. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for two hours to come to room temperature.
- About 45-60 minutes before baking the pizza, place a pizza stone in a cold oven and set the oven to 500 degrees. You want to heat the pizza stone with the oven to prevent cracking. If you don't have a pizza stone, though recommended, turn a large baking sheet upside-down and use that as your baking surface. For the baking sheet, preheat in the oven for only 30 minutes.
- Hand stretch the dough using the bed of your fingers rather than your finger tips to pat the dough outwards toward the edge. Don't pat in the center of the dough, or you'll get limp pizza. Really focus on staying outside of the center and work toward the edge. After you work the dough, grab the edge of the pizza and lift it in the air. Allow it to quickly hang down and keep rotating the pizza crust through your fingers to allow the rest of the pizza to have a chance to hang. Do not use a rolling pin to shape and flatten. The dough is stretched when it's 10 inches in diameter. If any holes form, pinch the dough back together.
- Coat a pizza peel or the back of a parchment paper-covered baking sheet with cornmeal and place the hand-stretched dough on top. Adjust the shape if necessary. Add desired toppings. In a small bowl, beat together the egg yolk and water and brush onto the crust.
- If using a pizza peel, slide the pizza onto the stone and bake for eight to 10 minutes. If using a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, pull out the oven rack to make the baking sheet even with the pizza stone. Grab the edge of the parchment paper and smoothly glide the pizza over to the stone and bake it for two minutes. After two minutes, remove the parchment paper and bake for another six to eight minutes.
- When the crust is perfectly browned, remove from the oven and transfer to a cutting board. Let the pizza sit for three to five minutes to set and cool and cut. Enjoy!
- If you plan to bake the dough the same day, heat the beer to 105-110 degrees. However, if you plan to make the dough ahead of time and the dough is going into the refrigerator after kneading, cold beer is just fine. You also have the option to bake some dough balls right away and refrigerate the others. In that case, use the heated beer.
- Adapted from Peter Reinhart's Napoletana pizza dough recipe.
- For full tips, please see blog post.
- Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.