How to Grill Pizza

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

Grilled Pizza: The Basics

Grilled pizzas are a specific style of pie: typically thin-crusted, they’re lightly sauced (too much liquid means a soggy crust) with minimal toppings. They also cook very fast.

Make the Dough

Use your favorite crust recipe. Divide the dough into two or more pieces and shape into balls for individual-sized pizzas. Set the dough aside to proof while you prepare your toppings.

Tip: If you have a heavy-duty mixer or bread machine, double the recipe. Divide and shape the dough, and freeze each portion in a plastic freezer bag greased with about a tablespoon of olive oil.

Plus: Put Your Pizza on a Diet

Assemble Your Toppings

With grilled pizza, the crust is the star. Choose a few simple ingredients that can showcase the smoky flavor and crispy crust. Or go for minimalism: top the grilled bread with a brushing of good olive oil, a sprinkling of coarse salt, and bit of chopped fresh herbs.

Suggested bases: marinara, pesto, flavored olive oil, barbeque sauce, guacamole, salsa verde

Suggested cheeses: mozzarella, fresh mozzarella, ricotta, goat cheese, Parmesan, Gorgonzola

Ideas for toppings: grilled vegetables, prosciutto and fresh figs, salami, chicken, fresh herbs, fresh arugula, toasted pine nuts, olives or capers, caramelized onions, roasted garlic

Grill the Crust

Prepare the grill for high heat.

Dust a baking sheet, a peel, or a plate with flour or cornmeal so the dough won’t stick.

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.

When the coals are hot, have all of your toppings ready near the grill.

The easiest method for grilling pizza is to par-bake the crust: 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.

Begin by placing one dough round on the grill.

  • You can oil the grill’s grate, but it’s not necessary; once the crust has set, after about three minutes, it should be easy to pull off the heat with tongs, a spatula, or your fingers.
  • Don’t worry if it droops a little through the grate–it’ll firm up fast.
  • After two to three minutes, give it a little tug–it should move easily. If it sticks, give it another minute or so.
  • When the crust is set, remove it from the heat and 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.
  • If this is a group effort, friends and family can start topping the pizzas while you grill the crusts.

Grill Your Pizzas

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).

Plus: Grilled Chicken and Red Pepper Pizzas