Learn how to grill pizza (and why it's our favorite way of making homemade pizza) with this easy step-by-step guide.
I learned how to grill pizza probably close to 10 years ago and it was a total game changer when it came to making homemade pizza at home. It's so good!
Not only does the crust cook perfectly, but it becomes this fun social experience for your family, friends and neighbors, which is something I personally love.
If you've never grilled pizza before, this step-by-step guide breaks down the exact process I use every single time with seriously delicious results.
Why Grill Pizza?
Let me be honest - I could wax poetic at great length about all the reasons I love grilling pizza instead of baking it in the oven whenever I possibly can.
To break things down, here are the top three reasons why I will also advocate for learning how to grill pizza instead of just popping it in the oven.
Perfect Crust + Exceptional Flavor
Hands down, the number one reason to grill pizza is the perfect crispy crust and the exceptional flavor, neither of which can be replicated in your oven.
Whether you have a propane grill or a charcoal grill, the simple fact of the matter is that the grill is a pro at matching the flavor of a wood fired pizza oven.
The result is a slightly smoky flavor that enhances the flavors of your toppings and gives you that signature crisp to the crust that simply can't be beat.
If you love brick oven pizza or if you've considered buying an expensive brick oven pizza for your backyard, try grilling pizza instead. You will be amazed!
Quick + Easy Pizza Making
Using the grill allows you to really crank up the heat because, again, the idea is to mimic the way a pizza cooks in brick pizza oven at high heat.
Learning how to grill pizza will enhance your pizza making game because the intense heat of the grill allows each pizza to bake to perfection in just minutes.
Depending on the size of your grill, you can also quickly cook two or even more pizzas at a time based on the size pizza you are making.
There’s No Oven Required
While this might be stating the obvious - knowing how to grill pizza means you don't have to use the oven and heat up the kitchen in order to make pizza.
Not only do you get better pizza, in my humble opinion, but you also get to avoid heating up the kitchen - especially if you're making pizza during the summer!
You can now make delicious, crispy, hot and cheesy pizza right on the grill while hanging out with friends in the backyard. Does it get any better?
What You Need to Grill Pizza
In order to grill pizza, you will need the following:
- Pizza dough - Grab dough from the grocery store or try your hand making our homemade pizza dough recipe
- Toppings - Choose whatever toppings and sauces you like or prep a variety so friends can customize their own pizza.
- Oil - You will need a bit of olive oil for greasing the grill grates and for brushing on the pizzas before topping.
- Seasonings - You may want to use seasonings such as garlic powder, onion powder or red pepper flakes to boost the flavor of your pizza.
- Grill - You can use a charcoal grill or a propane grill to grill pizza. Use whatever you have or whatever you are most comfortable using.
- Pizza stone (optional) - Some people prefer to use a pizza stone when grilling pizzas to help distribute the heat evenly. I personally don't own and don't use one so this is entirely optional.
- Pizza peel or cookie sheet - If you don't have a pizza peel handy (like most of us), you'll want a cookie sheet and a pair of tongs to help move your pizza around and remove it when it's all done baking.
How to Grill Pizza
Below you'll find the step-by-step process for how to grill pizza from start to finish. Once you've done it once, you'll find the tricks that work best for you.
Step 1. Preheat the grill to high heat. For a gas grill, turn burners to their highest setting. For a charcoal grill, fill with enough charcoal to cover the bottom.
If you choose to use one, place the pizza stone on the grill while it's preheating. This allows it to get hot and ready for the dough. (Again, this is a step I skip.)
Step 2. On a lightly floured surface, roll out your pizza dough to the desired size and thickness. Prepare your favorite toppings and set them aside.
Step 3. Once the grill is hot, lightly brush the grill grates with olive oil. (Skip this if using a pizza stone.) Place your prepared dough directly on the rack.
You can use a pizza peel or even a cookie sheet to help transfer the pizza crust to the grill. Then close the lid and allow the crust to bake for 3 to 5 minutes.
Step 4. Check the crust after 3 minutes to see how it looks - once it is slightly browned on the underside, carefully remove it from the grill and close the lid.
Step 5. Brush the crust with olive oil, then add your sauce and toppings. I like to do sauce, cheese, then additional toppings, finishing with a bit more cheese.
Step 6. Carefully return the pizza to the grill and close the lid. Bake for another 3 to 5 minutes until the bottom is crispy and the cheese is nicely melted.
Step 7. When done use the pizza peel or tongs and cookie sheet to carefully remove it from the grill. Allow it to cool slightly then slice, serve and enjoy!
Our Best Pizza Grilling Tips + Tricks
When I grilled pizzas for the first time there was admittedly a touch of a learning curve - but it wasn't terribly difficult and I am glad I decided to keep going!
You'll undoubtedly develop your own method for how to grill pizza the more you do it, but these are the best pizza grilling tips and tricks for your first time.
Be sure to keep flour handy when making homemade pizza. You'll want to flour the surface before rolling out the dough to keep it from sticking to your counter.
You'll also want to flour the pizza peel or cookie sheet to make it easier to slide the pizza dough around and onto the grill without any frustrating sticking.
To make things fun and keep the process enjoyable, prep all of your toppings in advance so they're nearby and ready to go when your pizza is ready to go.
You may opt to slice and caramelize onions, saute mushrooms and cook down bell peppers to maximize flavor and texture before topping your pizza.
Because of the fast cook time, veggies don't have a chance to get as soft as you may like when grilling pizza so keep that in mind and prep them in advance.
Experiment with Heat
If your grill has multiple burners, you can play around with using them to control the cooking process when grilling pizza allowing you to customize your pie.
For example, begin over high heat to get those smokey grill marks, but then move the pizza to low or indirect heat to finish melting the cheese to your liking.
Keep the Lid Closed
Hands down, my number one tip when learning how to grill pizza? Keep the lid closed! Doing so is what allows the grill to act like an oven and bake the pizza.
If you keep the lid open or open it excessively during the baking process a lot of the heat will escape. This will cool down the grill and mess up cooking times.
Our Best Pizza Recipes
Of course, if you're going to be making pizza on the grill, you're going to need the best pizza recipes at your fingertips when it comes time to make pizza.
You're now ready to fire up the grill and get ready to make the best pizza you have ever made in your life - your friends will be seriously impressed!
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Cyd is a native of Upstate New York, born to a family of women who love to cook and host parties. She shares her love of all things food, home and entertaining on her blog, The Sweetest Occasion and on Instagram.How To Guides, Pizza, Grilling