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How to Make the Best Grilled Pizza

Want pizza with a crispy, chewy crust and wonderful smoky flavor? Then put your pie on the grill!


Three pizzas on the grill

Three pizzas on the grill | Photo by Meredith

Grilled pizzas are a specific style of pie: Typically thin-crusted, they're lightly sauced (because too much sauce spells a soggy crust) with minimal toppings. Also, they cook very fast.

With grilled pizza, the crust is the star. And the first step to getting perfect crust is to par-bake the pizza dough on the grill. (Check out how to make your own pizza dough.)


Grilled Pizza with Mushrooms

Grilled Pizza with Mushrooms | Photo by Meredith

Grill the Crust

  1. Prepare the grill for high heat. You can oil the grill's grate, but it's not strictly necessary. Pro Tip: Have all of your toppings ready near the grill because things move fast!
  2. Dust a baking sheet, a peel, or a plate with flour or cornmeal so the dough won't stick.
  3. Shape the dough into rounds, either stretching it by hand or using a rolling pin. Each round should be no more than ¼ inch thick. You can stack the rounds by layering waxed paper, parchment, or a clean well-floured kitchen towel in between the individual crusts.
  4. When the coals are hot, place one dough round on the grill.
  5. Grill one side just long enough to firm up the crust so you can move it easily. By taking it off the heat, you can take your time arranging the toppings and are less likely to burn the bottom of the pizza.
  6. After two to three minutes, give it a little tug -- it should move easily. If it sticks, give it another minute or so. Don't worry if the dough droops a little through the grate -- it'll firm up fast.
  7. Once the crust has set, it should be easy to pull off the heat with tongs, a spatula, or your fingers. Transfer it to a plate or peel; flip it over so the "done" side is up, and add the toppings.

Repeat the process with the rest of the dough rounds.


Grilled Pizza crust getting sauced

Grilled Pizza crust getting sauced | Photo by Meredith

Adding Toppings

For toppings, choose a few simple ingredients that can showcase the smoky flavor and crispy crust. Or go minimalist on it: top the grilled bread with a brushing of good olive oil, a sprinkling of coarse salt, and bit of chopped fresh herbs.

Or just make up your own combos:

Simple Sauces: marinara, pesto, flavored olive oil, barbeque sauce, guacamole, salsa verde.

Melty Cheeses: mozzarella, fresh mozzarella, ricotta, goat cheese, Parmesan, Gorgonzola.

Tasty Toppings: grilled vegetables, prosciutto and fresh figs, salami, chicken, fresh herbs, fresh arugula, toasted pine nuts, olives or capers, caramelized onions, roasted garlic.

Here are a few top-rated grilled pizza recipes, with even more ideas for toppings.

Grill Your Pizza

Now back to the grill! Grill the topped pizzas until the cheese melts and the toppings are heated through. Depending upon the heat of the grill and the size of your pies, this can take two to 10 minutes (if your grill has cooled dramatically, you might need to cover it with a lid to finish the cooking)


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