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Basic Gluten Free Pizza Dough

Basic Gluten Free Pizza Dough

A basic recipe for gluten free pizza dough is one of the single most important staples to have in your kitchen. It’s super simple to make, freezes well, and defrosts easily.

A basic recipe for gluten free pizza dough is one of the single most important staples to have in your kitchen. It's super simple to make, freezes well, and defrosts easily.

Pizza night = a night off!

It’s so easy to make this basic gluten free pizza crust that the day you make it for dinner, it’ll feel like a night off. I promise. I first started Friday night pizza nights in my house when my oldest child started full-day kindergarten.

All daughter could talk about was that they served pizza in the school cafeteria every single Friday. The kids lined up forever to buy it—and you know it most likely wasn’t very good. But they got it every Friday!

By the end of the week, I’m usually worn out from a week of work and the last thing I want to do fuss with a multi-step meal. Gluten free pizza is about all I can manage!

A basic recipe for gluten free pizza dough is one of the single most important staples to have in your kitchen. It's super simple to make, freezes well, and defrosts easily.

Why is this the basic gluten free pizza?

For so many years, this was my tried and true pizza crust recipe—until I wrote Gluten Free on a Shoestring Bakes Bread. When I wrote that book, I thought I had turned the page from recipes like this basic crust forever.

This recipe, and others like my gluten free sandwich bread and Japanese milk bread use only an all purpose gluten free flour blend instead of the “bread flour” blend with whey protein isolate in it from the book. If you’re curious about the newer pizza recipes, the Thick Crust Gluten Free Pizza from the book is reprinted right here on the blog. 

But this recipe has slowly worked its way back into our regular Friday night rotation, and I’m finding that in some ways my family and I actually prefer it to the newer recipes. Let me explain…

A basic recipe for gluten free pizza dough is one of the single most important staples to have in your kitchen. It's super simple to make, freezes well, and defrosts easily.

Adding Expandex modified food starch—or not…

The gluten free bread flour blend from Gluten Free on a Shoestring Bakes Bread is a combination of an all purpose gluten free flour blend like Better Batter, whey protein isolate (a milk protein powder that is nearly 100% protein and is often used for bodybuilding and low carb recipes these days), plus Expandex modified tapioca starch (affiliate link). Together, I find that this combination allows for the creation of gluten free bread recipes that look, feel and taste more like conventional yeast bread.

Although the bread book is so important to me and valuable to readers, it is limited to those who can afford to purchase whey protein isolate and Expandex—and those who can tolerate dairy. There is no perfect nondairy substitute for whey protein isolate, I’m afraid. 

A basic recipe for gluten free pizza dough is one of the single most important staples to have in your kitchen. It's super simple to make, freezes well, and defrosts easily.

The whey protein is essential to the gluten free bread flour since milk protein (casein) is the protein that behaves most like wheat gluten in baking applications. Chemically 🔬, they’re very similar. 🤓But that means that I can’t provide viable suggestions for a dairy-free version of those recipes. 

Baking with whey protein does cause the dough to relax quite a bit. Expandex modified tapioca starch is a chemically (not genetically) modified form of tapioca starch, and it’s amazing when you’re trying to create the “chew” of conventional, gluten-containing bread. 

In this basic gluten free pizza recipe, I’ve discovered that I really like replacing some of the flour blend with a bit of Expandex. Expandex makes the dough easier to handle when raw, chewier when baked, and it even helps you get those blisters in the parbaked crust that you see in these photos. Plus, the leftover slices actually taste great right out of the refrigerator, like leftover pizza properly should!

Can I make this pizza dough ahead of time?

One of my favorite things about pizza night is the ease of it. I never recommend freezing raw yeast dough, since it can kill the yeast if the temperature drops too low. But there are two ways to make this dough ahead of time—and make your life so easy.

Make the raw dough up to 3 days ahead of time

The whole recipe for the pizza dough can be made up to 3 days ahead of time and stored in a tightly-sealed container in the refrigerator. It’s best to work with the dough cold, so you’ll shape it right out of the refrigerator.

Be careful not to allow the dough to dry out in the refrigerator, as it will do if your container is not well-sealed. I always use 2 liter plastic Cambro buckets for storing dough, since the seal is perfect. If your dough dries out, it won’t rise.

Freeze the parbaked crust

If you’d prefer to have a half-baked crust on hand, dinner can be as easy as a premade, packaged frozen pizza crust. Just follow the recipe instructions through step 3 below. After the crust has been parbaked for about 7 minutes in a 400°F oven, allow it to cool completely.

Once the crust has cooled completely, wrap it very tightly (I like Glad Press n Seal freezer for this sort of thing) and place it in the freezer for up to a month. Even better than Press n Seal is a food sealer that removes all trapped air from the container, since trapped air is what causes freezer burn. 

A basic recipe for gluten free pizza dough is one of the single most important staples to have in your kitchen. It's super simple to make, freezes well, and defrosts easily.

Ingredients and substitutions

This recipe is naturally egg-free, which isn’t something you can often say about most gluten free bread recipes, which tend to rely upon eggs for structure. 

Dairy-free: The crust recipe itself is already dairy-free, so no worries there. For a dairy-free shredded cheese to use as a topping, I really like Daiya brand. 

Olive oil: A good-quality extra virgin olive oil really helps give this pizza dough really nice flavor. You can replace it with a neutral oil, like grapeseed, but you’ll miss the richness of the olive oil. 

Expandex modified tapioca starch: For a complete discussion of how Expandex adds value to this recipe, please scroll up a bit. If you don’t have or don’t want to use Expandex, you can use 2 3/4 cups all purpose gluten free flour and make up the remaining 1/4 cup of flour with regular tapioca starch/flour.

Tapioca starch will help a bit to make the recipe chewier, although not as much as if you used Expandex. There is no need to add more water to your dough if you aren’t using Expandex.

 

A basic recipe for gluten free pizza dough is one of the single most important staples to have in your kitchen. It's super simple to make, freezes well, and defrosts easily. #glutenfree #pizza #recipesA basic recipe for gluten free pizza dough is one of the single most important staples to have in your kitchen. It's super simple to make, freezes well, and defrosts easily.

Like this recipe?

Prep time: Cook time: Yield: 2 12-inch pizza crusts

Ingredients

3 cups (420 g) all purpose gluten free flour (I used Better Batter), plus more for sprinkling*

2 1/4 teaspoons xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)

1 tablespoon (9 g) instant yeast (or 1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast)

1 1/2 teaspoons (6 g) sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons (9 g) kosher salt

1 1/8 cups (9 ounces) warm water (about 95°F)*

1/4 cup +2 tablespoons (65 g) extra-virgin olive oil (plus more for brushing)

Your favorite pizza toppings

*Optional variation for chewier pizza: Instead of 3 cups (420 g) all purpose gluten free flour, use 2 3/4 cups (385 g) all purpose gluten free flour and add 1/4 cup (36 g) Expandex modified tapioca starch and increase the water by 1 1/2 ounces to 10 1/2 ounces (1 1/4 cups + 1 tablespoon) water.

Directions

  • In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or your food processor fitted with the metal blade, place the flour, xanthan gum, (optional Expandex), yeast, and sugar, and whisk to combine with a separate, handheld whisk. Add the salt, and whisk again to combine well. Add the water and olive oil, and mix on medium speed in your stand mixer or pulse in your food processor until the dough begins to come together. Turn the mixer to high speed or your food processor on and process until the dough is no longer a ball but has begun to appear whipped. Transfer the dough to an oiled container with a tight-fitting lid or a greased bowl, spray lightly with cooking oil spray, and cover tightly. Place in a warm, draft-free area to rise until it’s about 150% of its original volume (about an hour), or refrigerate the dough for up to 3 days.

  • When you’re ready to make the pizza, place a pizza stone or overturned rimmed baking sheet in the oven and preheat it to 400°F. If you’ve refrigerated the dough, work with it straight from the refrigerator. If you haven’t, place the tightly sealed dough in the refrigerator to chill for at least 15 minutes before working with it, as it’s easiest to work with when it’s chilled.

  • To make pizza, place the dough on a lightly floured surface and sprinkle the top lightly with a bit more flour. Knead the dough a bit until it’s smoother, then divide it into two equal portions. Cover the unused portion so it doesn’t dry out and roll the other half on the floured surface with a rolling pin, moving the dough frequently to prevent sticking. Sprinkle very lightly with additional flour as necessary. Create a smooth edge around the perimeter of the dough by pressing the edges with one hand toward the palm of your other. Transfer the dough to a large piece of unbleached parchment paper and brush the top of the dough generously with olive oil. Using a pizza peel or other flat surface like a cutting board, transfer the dough to the pizza peel or baking sheet in the preheated oven and bake it plain for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the crust has begun to crisp on the underside.

  • Remove the crust from the oven. At this point, the parbaked crust can be cooled completed, wrapped tightly and frozen for at least one month. Simply defrost at room temperature, and then continue with the recipe as written. To continue preparing the dough, add your favorite toppings to the parbaked crust, and return the pizza to the hot oven until any cheese is melted and the edges have browned and puffed (another 5 to 7 minutes). Allow to set for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

  • This recipe was originally published on the blog in 2009 (!). All but one of the photos are new; the video and most of the text are new; the recipe was scaled up a bit and the Expandex option was added, but it was otherwise unchanged.

Love,
Nicole

Comments are closed.

  • Sharon Dow
    April 14, 2019 at 1:12 PM

    Hi Nicole,
    Thanks for responding about the Ultratex 3. Made it without and it was so good! Best pizza we’ve had in years:)

    • Nicole Hunn
      April 15, 2019 at 7:41 AM

      So glad, Sharon! Thanks for reporting back.

  • Sharon Dow
    April 11, 2019 at 9:36 AM

    I have Ultratex 3 and would like to know the proportion for pizza crust.
    Thanks:)

    • Nicole Hunn
      April 11, 2019 at 3:40 PM

      Ultratex 3 is about 3 times as strong as Expandex, Sharon, so I’d recommend using one-third the weight of the Expandex in the recipe, and making up the rest in more all purpose gluten free flour.

  • Lynn Wilson
    April 10, 2019 at 7:25 PM

    This is by far the best gluten free pizza recipe. I use Cup4cup flour and added the Expadex. Celiac for about 25 years and have tried many pizza recipes but this one is a winner.
    Thank you, Nicole

    • Nicole Hunn
      April 11, 2019 at 8:05 AM

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Lynn. After 25 years, you really deserve a great basic gf pizza recipe!

  • Kelcey Elmore
    April 7, 2019 at 1:33 PM

    I can’t wait to try this recipe and let you know how my results turn out. Before I can give this recipe a try, I need to ask if Expandex modified tapioca starch is different than other tapioca starch? If so, I need to specifically get some Expandex on hand. I’ve never seen it in the grocery stores that I frequent.

    • Nicole Hunn
      April 7, 2019 at 2:22 PM

      Hi, Kelcey, yes Expandex is a modified tapioca starch, and I discuss it in detail in this blog post. If you read through the blog post, you’ll find that discussion. It is not the same as conventional tapioca starch.

  • Belle
    April 7, 2019 at 12:17 PM

    Wanted get clarification because this will be my first attempt to do a gluten free pizza and I’ve never weighed ingredients before when baking. In the optional section, you say 2/4 cup (36 grams) of the modified tapioca starch. I’m guessing based on the recommended weights for other ingredients you meant 1/4 cup (35 grams)? The reason I’m double checking is because the weight per cup definitions I looked up on line are all over the place, much to my surprise! Allrecipes says one thing, King Arthur flour says another thing, a third site says yet another. Thanks in advance for clearing up confusion.

    • Nicole Hunn
      April 7, 2019 at 2:19 PM

      Oh my gosh, Belle, I’m so sorry for the typo and thank you for catching it. I would never express a value as 2/4, since that would be one half! It’s 1/4 cup. I’ve made the correction! Weight per cup varies by ingredient, and you should always follow the weight measurements for the recipe you’re using (well, when there isn’t a typo 😉).

  • Sylvia West
    April 7, 2019 at 11:15 AM

    Hi Nicole, as i was reading your reply about using the right flour blend, as i mention in my comment on April 6, 2019 , I used Better Batter gluten free flour and i did weigh my flour, but to come and think of it what i didn’t do was weigh the rest of my other ingredients as you mentioned in your reply. I think that’s where i went wrong, What do you think. Thank you for your reply.

  • Judith
    April 7, 2019 at 9:20 AM

    In the optional variation, you say “add 2/4 cup (36 g) Expandex”–what should the amount be? Thanks.

    • Nicole Hunn
      April 7, 2019 at 2:23 PM

      I’ve made the correction, Judith. It should read 1/4 cup. It was a typo. Thanks!

  • Jo
    April 6, 2019 at 7:40 PM

    Please help as my son also has a rice, almond allergy in addition to his celiacs! I’m really trying to find ways to cook for him

    • Nicole Hunn
      April 7, 2019 at 9:11 AM

      That’s tough, Jo, and I’m afraid there’s no way you can make this recipe without a rice flour base. You can try Paleo recipes using hazelnut flour instead of almond flour. I also have a few recipes that use oat flour as a base (like this peanut butter cookie recipe) and a whole category of flourless recipes that don’t use any flour at all (not even almond flour or oat flour).

  • Sylvia West
    April 6, 2019 at 12:19 PM

    Hi Nicole,
    I followed the instruction as noted, but my pizza crust was not soggy but rather, the dough was cracking as i was rolling it out, it did seem a bit dry, when i baked it the crust was very hard. What did i do wrong, also you mention to put the sealed container in the fridge for 15 min, this was a bit confusing for me. Please explain, i want to try making it again.

    • Nicole Hunn
      April 6, 2019 at 7:29 PM

      Sylvia, I’m afraid I can’t know for sure where you deviated from the recipe as written, but my guess would be your flour blend (I’m afraid you can’t use just any blend, it must be one of my recommended blends) and/or how you measured your ingredients. For accurate measurements, you really must measure by weight, not volume. Even water should be measured by weight (1 fluid ounce of water = 1 weighted ounce of water), to ensure you’re not measuring incorrectly. And putting the dough in the refrigerator, if you haven’t allowed it to have its first rise in there, is to enable you to work with the dough cold, which makes it easier to handle.

  • Kadren
    July 8, 2011 at 5:05 PM

    I just have to say that we are camping and I have 2 pans of pizza dough cooking on our grill right now. :) My girls are soooo excited!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I’ll let you know how it goes. :)

    Kadren

    • Nicole
      July 8, 2011 at 8:34 PM

      Hi, Kadren,
      That sounds awesome! Can’t wait to hear how they turn out. :)
      xoxo Nicole

      • Kadren
        July 9, 2011 at 10:05 AM

        NIcole, This is the response I got. “Mama, this is the best piece of pizza I have ever eaten!!!” With a look of pure joy on her face as she raised her slice to her mouth. Now she wants it for breakfast. :) THANK YOU!!!!!!!!! And the grill was awesome. :)

      • Nicole
        July 9, 2011 at 8:34 PM

        Hi, Kadren,
        That’s great! Thanks for keeping me up to date. I’ll have to try grilling the pizza. I love the taste of that – and the idea. :)
        xoxo Nicole

  • Janet Slater
    June 22, 2011 at 1:29 PM

    Nicole,

    I just tried the pizza dough recipe…YUM! I made the recipe as flatbreads for he and I to use to top with pulled chicken bbq Monday. Then I put the remaining dough in the fridge, well he wanted pizza for lunch today and nothing else would do. (He and I are the only ones who have to eat GF in the house) Luckily I had the dough ready and topped it with my tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella (which I always have on hand), and his favorite topping sliced black olives. He was so happy that I wanted to say thanks!

    • Nicole
      June 22, 2011 at 2:22 PM

      Hi, Janet,
      That’s great! I’m so glad it worked out for you. It’s such a simple recipe, and it’s very forgiving. And versatile — you have already done so much with it. Gluten Freedom! Thanks for letting me know…
      xoxo
      Nicole

  • Em
    August 3, 2010 at 1:08 AM

    Hi Nicole – this looks good but just wanted to let you know that I’ve used your GF sandwich bread recipe as a pizza base (with less water, topped up with soy milk, and a big pinch of herbs) and it was *very* successful! I’m so glad I found your recipes, you’ve been inspirational, I’m cooking up all sorts of things lately :) My family are loving it.

    • Nicole
      August 3, 2010 at 2:18 AM

      Hi, Em,
      That sounds delicious. When I first beginning to have success with gluten-free baking (at long last), I used that recipe for absolutely everything: rolls, pizza, you name it. It was a lifesaver! I find that the advantage of having a separate pizza dough recipe is that I can use any all purpose gluten-free flour blend to make it, so I don’t have to mix and match separate amounts of flours. I’m so glad you’ve been having gluten-free success, and thanks for posting!
      Warmly,
      Nicole

  • Nicole W
    April 5, 2010 at 7:04 PM

    I cooked mine on a pizza stone in an oven heated to about 475… it was still a little doughy when the cheese started to brown, but overall it was delicious! I think next time we’ll roll it a little thinner and blind bake it for a couple of minutes.

    Thanks!

  • Wendy
    January 2, 2010 at 7:36 PM

    Tell me how you typically bake this? The first time I tried this recipe for dough, it turned out great. Should have written down how I baked it.

    I made it again a few days ago and cooked it at the same time as my husbands Gluten-Full pizza….. Must have used different settings because it was a tad soggy in the middle. I think I cooked it at 400 degrees for about 12-14 minutes – I went by appearance. Top looked good, underneath wasn’t quite done.

    Thanks! You have been a Godsend!

    • Nicole
      January 5, 2010 at 3:44 PM

      Hi, Wendy,
      It’s nice to hear from you. If the pizza dough is soggy when you bake it, the only thing I can imagine is that you are rolling it out a bit too thick. Try rolling it thinner, and try baking it just on foil and then right on the oven rack – no baking sheet underneath (unless you have a pizza stone). You can also try bumping up the temperature past 400 degrees, and you can try blind baking the crust (bake just the crust for a few minutes at a high temperature before putting toppings on it, and then bake it again to melt the toppings), something I do when I am looking for an extra crispy crust. I hope that’s helpful, and thanks for posting!
      Warmly,
      Nicole

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