How to Grill Pizza
Use your grill as a pizza oven to create deluxe, garden-fresh flatbreads. The hot surface gives better results, faster, than your oven.
Beyond a chance to get outside, learning how to grill pizza can result in the tastiest pizza recipe you've ever made. Lightly charred spots are just the beginning–by cooking your pizza on a grill (and benefitting from the extra heat that an oven can't match) you'll get a crispy crust and perfectly melted toppings.
The secret to grilling success? Have all your ingredients ready to go before you head out. Grilled pizzas cook quickly and there's no wiggle room for chopping extra veggies. You'll cook your dough for just a couple of minutes, then it's sauce and topping time. Finish with a closed-lid to cook for a few minutes more and, just like that, it's pizza night. Here's how to grill pizza on a gas grill.
Related: Our Best Grilled Pizza Recipes
Step 1: Preheat the Grill
Fire up your grill to medium-high before you start prepping, so it has plenty of time to get hot.
Step 2: Prep Your Ingredients
Measure out your tomato sauce. Chop your vegetables. Grate your fresh mozzarella (or get your mozzarella sliced). Brown your Italian sausage. Put the toppings on a large baking sheet or cutting board and add a small bowl of canola oil, a paper towel and tongs to oil the grill rack. Preparing different toppings in advance means you can make different pies for different tastes. Or make a host of personal pies: one to suit each person.
Roll and stretch 1 pound whole-wheat pizza dough into a 12-inch-long oval and transfer it to a floured baking sheet or pizza peel. This part is easier if you let the dough stand at room temperature for 30 minutes first. And if the dough starts fighting with you, let it rest for 10 minutes before tackling it again.
Step 3: Start Grilling
Holding the paper towel with the tongs, dip it in the oil and rub it on the grill rack. This prevents sticking and yields a crisper crust.
Transfer the dough to the grill, close the lid and cook until it's puffed and browned, 1 to 2 minutes.
Use the tongs or a large spatula to flip the crust.
Step 4: Top Your Pizza
Spread the crust with sauce, top with vegetables and sprinkle with cheese. Cook until the cheese is melted, 2 to 3 minutes.
Step 5: Eat Up!
Pictured Recipe: Grilled Garden Pizza
Transfer your pizza to a clean cutting board. Sprinkle the garnish on top, slice and serve.
Don't worry-your pizza dough won't fall through the grill grates. However, alternatively, you can use a pizza stone to make it a little easier. Keep in mind that not all pizza stones can withstand such high heat from the grill, so make sure yours is grill-friendly. You should also make sure the stone heats up with the grill so it doesn't crack
Cooking times may vary, however, depending on your dough's thickness and grill's hot spots. Consider your first grilled pizza a gauge for future no-stress dinners.
How to Make Pizza on a Charcoal Grill
Burn 6 quarts of charcoal until the coals are mostly white, about 20 minutes. Spread the coals in an even layer and place a grate over the coals. Let the coals burn until they are about medium-low (to test the heat, hold your palm about 5 inches above the grill rack; if you can keep it there for about 8 seconds, the fire is medium-low). Transfer your pizza crust to the grill rack, cover the grill and cook until lightly browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip the crust, add the toppings, cover the grill and cook until the toppings are hot and the bottom of the crust has browned, 5 to 8 minutes.
Pictured recipe: Grilled Pizza with Prosciutto, Corn & Basil
The Only Grilled Pizza Recipe You Need
A no-fail pizza formula! Add one or more items from each of these bulleted lists for the ultimate healthy pizza pie.
- Marinara (try this homemade version or opt for jarred)
- Hummus or baba ganouj (1/2 cup)
- Plain or flavored olive oil (3 Tbsp.)
- Thai peanut, BBQ, curry or pizza sauce (1/3 cup)
- Pesto, tapenade, salsa, romesco or chimichurri sauce (1/4 cup)
- Drained crushed tomatoes (3/4 cup)
Vegetables (2 cups total):
- Roasted fennel, broccoli or corn
- Dark leafy greens (cooked or raw)
- Sliced summer squash, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, peppers or zucchini
- Shredded carrots or cabbage
- Artichoke hearts
- Cooked eggplant
- Green onions or scallions
- Bell peppers
- Black beans
- Cooked shredded chicken
- Cooked ground beef
- Smoked sausage
- Thinly sliced prosciutto
Cheese (1 cup):
- Shredded Cheddar, Gouda, Gruyère, fontina or mozzarella
- Crumbled feta, blue cheese, goat cheese or queso fresco
Garnish (1/2 cup):
- Chopped herbs (fresh basil), scallions or nuts
- Ribbons of cured meat, such as prosciutto or salami
- Crumbled cooked bacon or sausage
Some original contributions to this article by Katherine C. Parker.