The Beginner’s Guide to Grilled Pizza

Now that it’s warming up, it’s time to break out the grill.

But this season’s barbecue doesn’t have to be all steaks or chicken (yawn!). Try a grilled pizza instead. It’s truly easy to make—but follow the directions to make sure the dough doesn’t stick—and a fun way to make perfectly crisp, custom pizzas for everyone at the table. 

Grilled Pizza
Makes: 2 pizzas (each approximately 9 x 13)
Prep time: 2-3 hours (mostly inactive)
Cook time: 10 minutes

  • 1 envelope yeast (2 1/2 teaspoons)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups warm water
  • 3 cups unbleached white flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1/2 cup whole-wheat or rye flour (or just use more white flour)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Toppings: traditional pizza toppings or for an appetizer, try fig spread, prosciutto and a little arugula or basil sprinkled on top


1. Mix the yeast, sugar, water, flours, salt and 2 tablespoons olive oil together in a bowl. You can get fancy and use a mixer with a dough hook or a food processor with a plastic blade, but I used a wooden spoon and it worked fine. Less to wash!

2. Put a little flour on a cutting board or your counter and give the dough a good knead. Nothing fancy, just fold it onto itself a few times. Great job for a child.

3. Oil a clean bowl, place dough inside and cover with plastic wrap. Leave the dough alone for a couple of hours. Then punch it down. Now, you can proceed with the recipe or refrigerate the dough for a day if you’d like. Just make sure to take it out of the refrigerator at least 1 hour before you’re ready to roll it out.

4. Make sure your grill is clean. Last week’s hamburger bits, won’t improve your pizza!

5. About 15 minutes before you’re ready to grill, light the grill and close the top so the grate gets hot. Roll out the dough into two rectangles. I used my hands and a little flour. You might not get too far at first. Just let the dough rest for a few minutes and stretch it some more. When the dough starts looking pizza like, put it on a rimless cookie sheet (or flip a rimmed cookie sheet upside down) that you’ve coated with the remaining olive oil. Then brush the top of the pizza with olive oil and cover with plastic wrap.

6. When the grill is hot, (500 degrees) you’re ready to cook. Have all the condiments nearby. I had the most success by gently sliding the dough off the cookie sheet and onto the grill, then peeling off the plastic wrap.

7. Close the grill top to let the dough really set. In about 2 minutes, flip the dough. This is easy, because the dough is already firmed up. If you feel it sticking, wait another few seconds and then flip. You can either spread the toppings while it cooks or take the dough off after the second side has cooked and add the toppings off the grill.

8. Repeat with the second pizza.

Complete the meal: Go the traditional pizza route with a salad and a beer, or if you’ve gone upscale with your toppings, go upscale with your accompaniments. We served Prosecco with our fig, prosciutto and arugula pizza.

Shopping List

  • 1 envelope yeast (2 1/2 teaspoons)
  • Sugar
  • Unbleached white flour
  • Whole wheat or rye flour (or just use more white flour)
  • Coarse salt
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Toppings of your choice

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