Cast-Iron Skillet Pizza Margherita is the ultimate in simplicity and taste. It’s crisp crust is topped with a simple home-made pizza sauce, parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, and fresh basil. One bite of this classic pizza and you’ll never opt for the store-bought pizza again!
I wish that I could say that cooking pizza in a cast-iron skillet was my idea, but it wasn’t. I was inspired to make this wonderful pizza after watching an episode of America’s Test Kitchen. In the past when I’ve made pizza, I’ve cooked it on a pizza stone in the oven. While this worked, the pizza stone consistently smoked and smelled up the kitchen to the dismay of the Master Taste Tester. The cast-iron skillet not only solved this problem, but also produced a superior crispy crust.
Making the Pizza Dough for Cast-Iron Skillet Pizza Margherita:
I started by making the pizza dough consisting of bread flour, instant yeast, salt, olive oil, and water. The beauty of this crust is that the food processor does most of the work. I added the bread flour, yeast, and salt to the bowl of the food processor fitted with a steel blade. Then, I pulsed the ingredients 5 or 6 times to ensure that they were well combined. Next, I added the olive oil and water, and processed the dough until a rough ball formed. This took about 40 seconds. After letting the dough rest for about 2 minutes, I processed it for 30 more seconds.
I transferred the dough to a floured surface, and formed it into a round ball. Finally, I placed it in a greased 4-cup measuring cup, covered it with plastic wrap, and let it rise until doubled in size. This took about 1-1/2 hours. Sometimes, I make the dough ahead of time. Rather than letting it rise, I roll it in a bit of olive oil, place it in a ziploc bag, and refrigerate it until I’m ready to use it.
Making the Simple Home-Made Sauce for Cast-Iron Skillet Pizza Margherita:
While the dough was rising, I made a simple pizza sauce consisting of canned whole tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, white wine vinegar, and dried oregano. First, I drained the canned tomatoes. Then, I placed them to the food processor fitted with a steel blade and added the remaining ingredients. I processed the sauce until it was smooth. This took about 30 seconds. Finally, I seasoned it to taste with a bit of salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Ingredients for Cast-Iron Skillet Pizza Margherita:
I used the following ingredients for the pizza: Pizza dough, simple home-made pizza sauce, grated fresh parmesan cheese, whole milk mozzarella, and fresh basil.
Building the Cast-Iron Skillet Pizza Margherita:
The first thing that I did was to divide the dough in half. Then, I pressed and rolled one piece of dough into an 11-inch round on a floured piece of parchment paper. I actually traced an 11-inch circle on the other side of the parchment paper to serve as a guide. Next, I greased a 12-inch cast-iron skillet with olive oil. I placed the dough in the skillet, and pushed the dough to the edges to completely cover the bottom of the pan. At this point, Susan took over.
To build the pizza, Susan started by spreading about 1/3 of a cup of pizza sauce over the surface of the dough. She made sure to leave about a half-inch border around the edge. Then, she grated the Parmesan cheese over the sauce. Next, Susan arranged the mozzarella cheese on top of the Parmesan cheese. To give the crust a jump-start, she heated the skillet over medium heat for about 5 minutes until the outer edge of the dough was set. Finally, she placed the skillet in a preheated 500° F oven for about 10 minutes until the edge of the pizza was golden brown, and the cheese was melted. Susan finished the pizza by sprinkling on some chopped fresh basil.
Finishing the Cast-Iron Skillet Pizza Margherita:
Susan let the pizza rest in the pan for about 5 minutes after removing it from the oven. Then, she used a spatula to transfer the pizza from the pan to a paper towel lined wire rack to cool for another 5 minutes. The reason for putting it on the paper towels was to remove any excess olive oil from the bottom.
Finally, the moment of truth. Susan transferred the pizza to a cutting board, and cut it into wedges.
The bottom crust was perfectly crispy, and the top had the perfect blend of the pizza sauce, cheeses and basil. Yum!
- 2 cups plus 2 Tablespoons (11 ounces, 312 grams) bread flour
- 1-1/8 teaspoons instant or rapid-rise yeast
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 3/4 cup (6 ounces, 177 ml) filtered water
- 1 (28-ounce, 794 grams) can whole peeled tomatoes, drained
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon red or white wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 pound Pizza Dough room temperature
- 2/3 cup Simple Home-Made Pizza Sauce
- 1/2 cup (1.5 ounces, 43 grams) Parmesan cheese, grated
- 3 cups (12 ounces, 340 grams) whole milk mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- Add bread flour, yeast, and salt to bowl of food processor fitted with steel blade. Pulse 5 times to combine. Add olive oil and water. Process until a rough ball forms, 30 to 40 seconds. Let rest for 2 minutes. Process an additional 30 seconds. Transfer to lightly floured surface; knead by hand to form a smooth, round ball. Place in a large, lightly greased bowl; cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size, about 1-1/2 hours. (Alternatively, the dough can be refrigerated for at least 8 hours or up to 16 hours.) Yield: 1 pound of pizza dough - enough for 2 pizzas.
- Place drained tomatoes in bowl of food processor fitted with steel blade. Add garlic, olive oil, vinegar, and oregano; process until smooth, about 30 seconds. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. (Sauce can be refrigerated for up to 1 week, or frozen for up to 1 month.) Yield: 2 cups.
- Preheat oven to 500° F.
- Brush 2 Tablespoons of olive oil in bottom of 12-inch cast-iron skillet; set aside.
- Divide pizza dough in half. Press and roll one piece of dough into an 11-inch round. Transfer to prepared cast-iron skillet; gently push it to the corners of the pan. Spread 1/3 cup of simple home-made pizza sauce over surface of dough, leaving 1/2-inch border around the edge. Top with 1/4 cup (half) of the grated Parmesan cheese. Top with 1-1/2 cups (half) of the shredded mozzarella cheese.
- Set skillet over medium heat and cook until the outside edge of the dough is set and the pizza is lightly puffed, about 5 minutes. Transfer skillet to preheated oven; bake until the edge of the pizza is golden brown and the cheese is melted, 8 to 10 minutes.
- Remove skillet from oven and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of chopped basil; let cool 5 minutes. Slide pizza onto paper towel lined cooling rack; cool 5 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve.
- Repeat with remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, dough, 1/3 cup of simple home-made pizza sauce, grated Parmesan cheese, shredded mozzarella cheese, and basil.
- Yield: 2 11-inch pizzas.