Grilled Pizza

Not too long ago I did a tutorial on my favorite homemade pizza dough.  Baked on a pizza stone, I honestly didn’t think homemade pizza could get better.  I was wrong.  It turns out that cooking pizza on the grill takes it to a whole new level.  I’m sorry I didn’t try it sooner, but I don’t think anyone could blame me after hearing all the horror stories that often accompany grilled pizza attempts.  Cracked pizza stones, dough and toppings sinking through the grates and onto the coals, or having a completely cooked pizza that gets dropped on the ground or falls apart during transfer.  It’s understandable to be intimidated but I’m here to tell you, it’s time to get over those fears because this meal is too good to miss.

My issue of Summer Entertaining from Cook’s Illustrated arrived last month and as soon as I saw that they had a recipe for grilled pizza, I was pumped.  Problem solved, no more fears, Cook’s Illustrated never fails me.  When I got into the kitchen after a long work day and was ready to make dinner, I realized that they called for an entirely different dough recipe than my standard – the one I had thawed in the fridge ready and waiting.  It irked me a little because I don’t want to have to make a different dough just for grilling.  I want to use the staple dough that I keep in the freezer at all times.  So, I decided to wing it.  Essentially all I took from the magazine was a general method, but that is really all I needed to make this meal a success.  You can read the recipe for all the guidelines but the main strategies I took away from this was:
1. Oil the grill grates well,
2. Make individual pizzas.  They transfer more easily and are sturdier in general.
3. Cook the dough rounds alone prior to flipping and adding the toppings.  This provides the structural integrity to allow the pizzas to finish cooking with the toppings in place.

There is really not much to it besides that.  I have written the recipe with the toppings that I used, but feel free to use whatever toppings you prefer.  If you decide to go the route of lots of veggies as I did, I recommend salting them to extract some of the excess liquid.  I don’t think it’s absolutely necessary if you are crunched for time, but I think it helps prevent a soggy end result as some veggies (especially the ones I used) can hold a lot of water.  Happy summer everyone!

Grilled Pizza
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Thinly sliced zucchini and yellow squash
Thinly sliced cherry tomatoes
Kosher salt
½ batch homemade pizza dough, at room temperature*
Olive oil
Thinly sliced red onion
Fresh basil, minced
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Crumbled feta cheese
Freshly ground black pepper

Heat a grill to medium-high heat.   Place the slices zucchini, yellow squash and tomatoes in a colander set over the sink or a large bowl.  Toss with ¾ teaspoon kosher salt.  Let sit 20-30 minutes to drain excess liquid.

Meanwhile, transfer the pizza dough to a lightly floured work surface.  Divide the dough into four equal portions.  Let rest 10 minutes.  Meanwhile, shape each piece of dough into a flattened round, about 6-7 inches in diameter.  When the coals are heated, generously oil the grates (I use a wad of paper towels dipped in olive oil, and hold it with tongs).  Carefully place the shaped dough rounds onto the grill and cover.  Let cook until nicely browned on the bottom surface, and large bubbles appear on the top surface, about 3-4 minutes.  Carefully remove the partly cooked dough rounds from the grill for topping.

Transfer the dough rounds to a work surface so that the cooked side is facing up (this is the side that will hold your toppings).  Top evenly with sliced zucchini, yellow squash, tomatoes, and red onion.  Sprinkle with minced basil, freshly grated Parmesan and crumbled feta.  Season with pepper, to taste.  Carefully return the topped pizzas to the grill, cover, and let cook until the bottom surface is nicely browned and the cheeses are melted, about 4-6 minutes.  Remove from the grill.  Serve warm.

*This is a recipe where sturdy pizza dough is a must, so I don’t think the store-bought kind from a can would suffice.  I do think something like Trader Joe’s would work, though I have not tried it myself.

Source: inspired by Cook’s Illustrated and everyone who raves about grilled pizza

30 Responses

  1. I love such pizza`s topping 🙂

  2. I love grilled pizza! And yes, Trader Joe’s dough works wonderfully! That was always my go to dough until I met your Basic Pizza Dough, Annie. Thanks!

  3. Haha so funny I just grilled pizza for the first time last night. I did use Trader Joe’s whole wheat pizza dough since I didn’t have time the night before to make some and it worked great. I was scared to grill the pizza directly on the grill so I put the pizza on a grill pan – but maybe I’ll try directly on the grates if it worked for you. Since we only have a gas grill we put some wood chips in foil and put them in the grill for a more authentic taste.

  4. I just gave grilled pizza a try a few weeks ago and!!! I didn’t know pizza could taste this good. Thanks for the topping ideas 🙂

  5. Everyone needs to try grilled pizza and pan-fried pizza at least once … gives you a whole new appreciation for the genre. Cheers!

  6. I have recently re-discovered that I LOVE homemade pizzas.
    Im not too fond of Pizza ingeneral, especially ones from restaraunts, or Pizza Chains.
    I like having the control of how much sauce, cheese, toppings, etc.
    and I LOVE creating my own new combinations!

    LOVE making my OWN pizza:)


  7. #2 (individual pizza) really is the key. I curse myself (and sometimes out loud!) every time I try to do it any other way.

    And those toppings look awesome!

  8. Annie! I just posted about grilled pizzas today too! Crazy! They are so amazing, but I agree with your tips (important to avoid a total mess).

  9. We LOVE grilled pizza! I like all the veggies you used this one…I’ll have to try it out! This Bobby Flay recipe is a favorite of ours if you’re looking for other flavor combos –

  10. Thanks for a wonderful idea. I don’t grill anymore, but I think I could use my stovetop grill pan. What do you think?

    • Honestly I wouldn’t bother and would just bake it in the oven. I think the authentic grilled taste is what makes it so great, but with a grill pan you really just get grill marks and that’s all.

  11. Isn’t it amazing how good grilled pizza is? Love your toppings!

  12. We love grilled pizza too. Margarita is my favorite — all those flavors taste so good with smoking tones added. I find our grill is too hot, even on low, and usually burns the crust before all the toppings are ready, so I use a metal pan specially made for grills — with holes in it.

  13. how funny — i was just coming to your blog to tell you how much i enjoyed your pizza dough recipe! i doubled it, then had friends over and we made four individual-sized pizzas for the grill!

  14. We’ve been obsessed with grilling pizza since summer started! We have a pretty large charcoal Weber, which gets really hot- if you know your grill gets super hot, don’t bother covering it to cook. As long as your grill is seasoned and you put a little oil on the dough you will not have a problem with sticking. Oh, and we have been very disappointed with Trader Joe’s premade dough- it is tough and tastes off when grilled. Whole Foods has a very good premade dough but our location doesn’t have wheat dough. Homemade dough is the best! I’m going to try Jim Lahey’s no-knead pizza dough this weekend.

    • I agree, homemade dough is always the best way to go. I only mentioned Trader Joe’s because if I hadn’t, inevitably I would have had questions “Can I use refrigerated dough?”

  15. Looks great. I’ve been making grilled flatbread recently, so next in the cue is grilled pizza. Thx for sharing!

  16. That looks fabuloussssssssss! I have been wanting to try grilled pizza for a long time now, YUM!


  17. I’m so glad you posted this. I LOVE grilled pizza. This looks awesome.

  18. Do you have to rinse and dry the salted vegetables once they’ve drained?

    • I just kind of shake off the excess water. I leave the salt, and then don’t really add any additional salt to the pizza.

  19. Just found your website via a suggestion made by someone on ask metafilter. Love, love, love your website! The recipes are of things I’d actually eat and the photos are outstanding.

  20. I can’t eat pizza out of the oven anymore, it has to come off of our Big Green Egg. I’ve seen pictures of broken pizza stones but the people that I know who had this happen did not preheat the pizza stone before putting it on the hot grill.

    Spectacular looking pizza! I bet you loved it.

  21. I gave this a try for lunch today with a girlfriend and we LOVED it. I never would have had the guts to try and make grilled pizza without your help, Annie! 🙂 I used Trader Joe’s whole wheat dough and we were very pleased with it (I rolled it very thin but used your timing suggestion so scorched the first batch, but the second try was perfect). The fresh basil really made it shine! Now that I have a little confidence, I’ll try making your dough recipe next time.

  22. I’m pretty sure I’m going to try grilling pizza this weekend. I grill pita (which I make using my pizza dough recipe) all the time, and it seems like pretty much the same method, except with toppings added after it’s flipped. The only thing is, and maybe this is related to what Cait said about her Weber getting really hot, but 4 minutes per side would pretty much give me charcoal, not pizza. I usually cook my pita rounds for only 1-2 minutes per side. Maybe I’ll have to let the coals burn down a bit more for pizza so that the cheese has time to melt before the crust burns.

    By the way, if you haven’t tried cooking pita dough on the grill, oh my god, you’re in for a treat.

  23. Thanks for the recipe. This was fabulous (as usual)!

  24. Been seeing grilled pizzas all over the internet – I am just waiting for summer to try this out! Thanks for the tips, they’ll come in handy.

  25. Looking forward to trying the grilled pizza out! Will let you all know how it goes.

  26. What a clever idea. I LOVE IT!

  27. Tried this a couple of weeks ago – grilled pizza is officially amazing!

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