A pizza at home. Nick Gatlin/PSU Vanguard

Quarantine Cuisine

How to make pizza better than delivery in your home oven

Plenty of us have been ordering takeout since the stay-at-home order started. It’s usually easier than cooking every meal for yourself, and you get to help out your local businesses. But let’s be honest, ordering food can be pretty expensive. A 14-inch pepperoni pizza from Domino’s Pizza is $15.99! Luckily, you can make pizza at home for a much better value. All you need is dough, tomatoes, cheese and toppings of your choice.


Simple Pizza Dough


  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast or instant yeast
  • 7/8 to 1 1/8 cups (198g to 255g) lukewarm water
  • 2 tablespoons (25g) olive oil
  • 3 cups (361g) all-purpose or bread flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt

This recipe, courtesy of King Arthur Flour, is the base of all your pizza endeavors. Just dissolve the yeast in water, then mix in the olive oil, flour and salt. At this point, you have two options; you can knead the dough until it’s glutinous—gluten-y? glutenized?—and let it rise for a few hours on the counter until doubled, or alternatively, you could mix it until it just comes together, then throw it in the fridge for a few days. When flour and water sit for a while, the gluten kind of develops itself. When you’re ready to use it, you can just pull it out of the fridge and bake as-is.

Neapolitan Pizza


  • Dough
  • Crushed tomatoes
  • Mozzarella
  • Toppings 

This is, by far, the easiest pizza recipe I’ve ever made. There’s little to no prep, no pans to clean and no fancy wood oven. You will, however, need a pizza stone, or pizza steel.

Preheat your oven to its highest setting, with the pizza stone on the middle rack, for about 60 minutes. When it’s almost ready, shape your dough into 10-inch rounds. The exact size and thickness don’t matter too much—shape it to your preference. 

When your dough is shaped into a circular shape, put it on a sheet of parchment paper and thinly spread some raw crushed tomatoes over the round, up to the edge. Yes, this is a matter of preference. I happen to prefer raw tomatoes. Cooked tomato sauce tastes too much like pasta sauce to me. Find yourself a tomato that tastes good enough raw.

Then, sprinkle, if using low-moisture mozzarella, or splotch your cheese sparingly, if using fresh mozzarella, around the pizza. Add your toppings—remember, less is more—and you’re done!

Place the whole thing, pizza and parchment paper, on your preheated pizza stone. No, the paper will not burn. Bake it for 8–10 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and slightly brown and the crust looks cooked.

The beauty of the parchment paper method is that you never need to use a peel. I’ve tried countless times to shimmy a pizza into the oven, and in the process burnt myself and horribly misshaped the pizza. Do yourself a favor and get some parchment paper.

Sheet-Pan (Grandma-Style) Pizza

The ingredients for this pizza are the same as before. The only difference is this time, instead of stretching the dough into rounds, you’re going to stretch it to fit a sheet pan. Put your dough in the pan, stretching and shaping the dough into all four corners of the pan, making sure it covers every inch. Then assemble your tomatoes, cheese and toppings like before. 


Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Cook the pizza for about 20–30 minutes, or until the cheese is browned and the crust is done. Remove from the pan and serve. This style of pizza works really well as a loaded dipping stick. Cut it into long rectangles and serve it with cheese and marinara—it’s delicious.


Cast-Iron Pizza


Okay, I’ll be honest. I’ve never actually made this in a cast-iron pan.


I know, I know. But trust me, you can make it in any circular pan you want, like a stainless steel pan or oven-safe nonstick skillet. Cast-iron will provide you superior browning and flavor. But I use a pie plate because it’s so much easier to clean. I don’t have time for pans I can’t put in my dishwasher. 


Assemble your pizza exactly as you did the Neapolitan pizza, except this time, assemble it in your pan of choice. Preheat your oven at its highest setting for an hour with the pizza stone on the middle rack. Bake the pizza, this time for 12–14 minutes or until it looks done. Everyone’s oven is different, but eventually, you’ll learn intuitively when your pizza is done.


I haven’t done the exact calculations, but I’m pretty sure making all three of these pizzas costs less than one delivery pie. Trust me, making your own pizza is cost-effective, it tastes better and it’s a fun way to learn a new skill and pass the time during quarantine. God knows we all need a distraction.


More like we all knead a distraction, right?


God, this quarantine is getting to me.