Cast-Iron Skillet Pizza Margherita is the ultimate in simplicity and taste. Its 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!
Why You Should Try This Cast-Iron Pizza
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.
Here’s How I Made The Pizza Dough
You could use store-bought pizza dough. However, making your own pizza dough is super easy.
- I started by gathering the ingredients for the pizza dough: bread flour, instant yeast, salt, olive oil and filtered 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 8-cup measuring cup, covered it with plastic wrap, and let it rise until doubled in size. This took about 1-½ 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 quart Ziploc bag, and refrigerate it until I’m ready to use it.
Here’s How I Made the Pizza Sauce
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.
Building the Cast-Iron Skillet Pizza Margherita
- In addition to the pizza dough and the pizza sauce, I used whole milk mozzarella cheese, freshly grated parmesan cheese and fresh basil to make the Pizza Margherita.
- I started by dividing the pizza 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.
She started by spreading about ⅓ 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.
Ready to Eat
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 Cast-Iron Skillet Pizza Margherita was amazing.
The bottom crust was perfectly crispy, and the top had the perfect blend of the pizza sauce, cheeses and basil. Yum!
Frequently Asked Questions
You can use store-bought pizza sauce in this recipe. However, the homemade is so much better and so easy to make. Bottom line, it’s your choice.
If you use a 12-inch cast-iron skillet, then one pizza requires 8-ounces of pizza dough. Therefore you can make two cast-iron pizzas with a pound of store-bought pizza dough.
When I make this pizza dough ahead of time, I form it into a ball, coat it in olive oil and place it in a quart Ziploc bag as soon as it is processed in the food processor. I then store the pizza dough in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours and up to 16 hours.
One of the beauties of this recipe is that it’s very basic. Therefore, feel free to add whatever toppings you desire to the basic pizza.
According to Cooks Illustrated, the best way to reheat leftover pizza is to place slices of cold pizza on a rimmed baking sheet. Then cover the baking sheet tightly with aluminum foil. Place the baking sheet on the lowest rack of a cold oven and set the temperature to 275°F. Let the pizza warm until the bottom is crisp and the cheese has melted, 25 to 30 minutes.
I like to go ahead and cook the pizza as indicated above. Once it has cooled, I cover it tightly with aluminum foil and place it in the freezer for up to a month. Then, I heat the pizza as suggested by Cook Illustrated above.
Other Pizza Recipes
If you’re a fan of pizza like I am, you should check out these delicious pizza recipes:
- CPK Rosemary Chicken and Potato Pizza
- Thin Crust Pizza (America’s Test Kitchen)
- Halloween Ghose Pizza
- Pizza Star Bread
- Easy Mini Halloween Pizzas
- Tortilla Pizza
I first blogged about this amazing recipe on December 28, 2017. Since then, it’s become my go-to recipe for easy and delicious pizza.
This repost contains updated text and photographs, but the same great recipe.
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Thank you so much for visiting Pudge Factor. I hope you’ll come back!
Cast-Iron Skillet Pizza Margherita
- 2 cups plus 2 Tablespoons (11-ounces, 312 grams) bread flour
- 1 ⅛ teaspoons instant or rapid-rise yeast
- ¾ teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- ¾ cup (6-ounces, 177 ml) filtered water (See Tip 1)
Homemade Pizza Sauce
- 1 (28-ounce, 794 grams) can whole peeled tomatoes, drained
- 2 cloves garlic, minced minced
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon red or white wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 pound Pizza Dough, room temperature (from above)
- ⅔ cup Homemade Pizza Sauce
- ½ 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 1-½ hours. Yield: 1 pound of pizza dough – enough for 2 pizzas. (See Tip 2)
Homemade Pizza Sauce
- 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.
Cast-Iron Skillet Pizza Margherita
- 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 ⅓ cup of homemade pizza sauce over surface of dough, leaving ½-inch border around the edge. Top with ¼ cup (half) of the grated Parmesan cheese. Top with 1-½ 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 500°F 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. (See Tip 3)
- Repeat with remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, dough, ⅓ cup of homemade pizza sauce, grated Parmesan cheese, shredded mozzarella cheese, and basil.
- Yield: 2 11-inch pizzas.
- You should avoid using tap water when making the pizza dough, or any yeast dough for that matter. The reason is that tap water contains chlorine which can kill or retard the growth of the yeast. That’s why you should use filtered water from your refrigerator (if your refrigerator has a water filter) or bottled water.
- Alternatively, the dough can be refrigerated for at least 8 hours or up to 16 hours.
- The reason for putting it on the paper towels was to remove any excess olive oil from the bottom.