Different styles of pizza require different cooking temperatures to get the best results—and homemade pizza is no exception.
Homemade pizza should be cooked at a temperature of 500F (260C) or higher for 10-12 minutes when using a pizza steel, pizza stone, or parchment paper. If you’re making homemade pizza using a baking pan, it should be cooked at a slightly lower temperature of 425-450F (220-235C) for 20-25 minutes.
Use the chart below to quickly figure out how long you should cook your homemade pizza and at what temperature. For more information about why these temperature and time settings work so well, keep scrolling.
|Cooking Method||Cooking Time||Oven Temperature||Rack Position|
|Parchment Paper||10 minutes||500F (260C)||Bottom|
|Pizza Steel||8-10 minutes||500F (260C)||Top|
|Pizza Stone||10 minutes||500F (260C)||Middle|
|Pan (Deep Dish)||20-25 minutes||425F||Middle|
|Pan (shallow edges)||10-15 minutes||500F (260C)||Bottom|
Why Your Homemade Pizza Is Never As Good As A Pizzeria
When it comes to homemade pizza, even if you’re using top quality ingredients and an amazing pizza dough recipe, it will never be quite as good as pizzeria. The reason for this has to do with the maximum temperature of your home oven compared to the maximum temperature of a pizza oven.
In general, a home oven can only reach a maximum temperature of 500-550F (260-290C), while a pizza oven at a pizzeria can easily reach temperatures as high as 900-1000F. The lower temperatures of a home oven are simply not high enough to brown the crust or caramelize the toppings like what you get at a pizzeria.
The usual result is a homemade pizza with a pale crust that’s hard on the outside and dry in the middle. Toppings are usually overdone and the cheese is covered in a brown layer of dried crust.
How To Make Your Homemade Pizza Better
At the end of the day, there is no substitute for a pizza oven. Pizza ovens typically range in price from $199 on the low end to as much as $799 on the high end. If you want, you can read more about buying a pizza oven for yourself here.
Thankfully, there are some tips and tricks that will help you make delicious homemade pizza in a regular home oven. Chief among them: using a high hydration pizza dough recipe and cooking it on a pizza steel (or pizza stone).
Hydration Is Key To A Moist Crust
I mentioned above that homemade pizza often ends up with a pale, dry crust. This is because pizza cooked in a home oven needs to be cooked for a significantly longer period of time (at a lower temperature) than one made in a pizza oven. This makes sense because the longer a pizza is in the oven, the more moisture is evaporated from the crust
To counter this, we can simply use a pizza dough recipe with a high hydration level—as much as 70-80%, compared to the 50-60% hydration levels we typically see at a pizzeria.
This extra hydration in your pizza dough recipe will allow for a significant amount of moisture to be lost while baking, but still leave enough for a moist, chewy crust when it’s finished.
Try This 70% Hydration Pizza Dough Recipe:
The following is an example of a high hydration pizza dough recipe formulation that works great at oven temperatures below 500F (260C).
- 202 ml water
- 282 grams flour (00 or AP)
- 8 grams olive oil
- 9 grams honey
- 10 grams salt
- 0.25 grams active dry yeast
This recipe yields 2 dough balls weighing 250 grams each, or enough for 2 medium sized pizzas. The hydration level is approximately 70%.
Mix these ingredients together until you can’t see anymore dry flour, then cover the bowl and let it sit at room temperature overnight. In the morning, divide the dough into balls and proof for 2-3 hours. This is the no-knead method.
If you want to use the dough right away, increase the yeast to 0.5 teaspoons (1.5 grams) and knead the dough for 15-20 minutes until silky smooth. Let it rise, then ball and proof before baking.
For best results, preheat your pizza steel (or stone) at 500F (260C) for 1 hour then slide your pizza onto it when ready.
For the full recipe with a set of instructions, go here.
Use A Pizza Steel For A Better Crust
One of the defining features of a pizza oven is its solid baking floor made of ceramic or bricks. This baking floor gets extremely hot (up to 1000F) so that when a pizza is slid onto it, it immediately starts cooking.
By contrast, most homemade pizza is made either on a baking pan or parchment paper directly on the rack. This can work, but it means the bottom of the pizza is actually being blocked from the heat for several minutes while the cold pan heats up, leading to an under-cooked crust and overdone toppings.
A pizza steel (or stone) is designed to avoid this issue by emulating the solid baking floor of a pizza oven. A pizza steel (often sold as a “baking steel”) is a solid sheet of metal that gets extremely hot after preheating for 30-60 minutes. When a pizza is slid onto this hot steel, it instantly starts cooking, leading to lovely char marks on the underside and a fluffier outside crust due to improved “oven spring”.
Note: In most cases, the pizza steel will reach temperatures higher than the maximum temperature of your oven due to its excellent heat conductivity. For example, my pizza steel regularly reaches a temperature of 540F despite my oven only being capable of reaching 500F. If you want to read more about pizza steels, go here.
Add Honey For Better Browning
With a traditional pizza dough recipe (consisting of water, flour, yeast, and salt), a home oven is simply not hot enough to “brown” the crust. This is why homemade pizza crust is so often pale and unappetizing.
The reason for this has to do with a chemical process called the “maillard reaction”, where sugars and proteins in the pizza dough produce dark brown colors under intense heat. In a super hot pizza oven, this happens automatically as the starches and proteins in the flour are converted to sugars that caramelize to turn the crust a rich shade of golden brown.
In a home oven set to 500F (260C) or less, the maillard reaction won’t occur in the same way without a little help. For this, we add sugar to the pizza dough recipe—ideally in the form of a good quality organic honey, but simple table sugar will work as well.
In a typical 500 gram batch of pizza dough, I’ll add 9 grams of honey (0.5 tablespoons) or 7 grams of sugar (1.5 teaspoons). This provides enough extra sugar to quickly caramelize the crust even at lower home oven temperatures. If you haven’t tried this yet, it’s a game changer.
Tip: Alternatively, you can blend malted flour into your flour mix for a similar browning effect.
- The best temperature to cook homemade pizza is usually 500F (260C), or 425-450F when using a pan.
- Home ovens can only reach low temperatures, while pizza ovens reach extremely high temperatures.
- Pizzeria pizza is better because it’s cooked at a higher temperature than a home oven can reach.
- Homemade pizza crust will remain moist if you use a high hydration pizza dough recipe, even when cooked for extended periods.
- Your crust will brown better at low temperatures if you include honey or sugar in your pizza dough recipe.
- Pizza Dough Hydration Levels Explained – Why Moisture Matters
- How Much Yeast Do You Put In Pizza Dough? An Expert Answers.
- Poolish Pizza Dough Recipe (Perfect Crust Super Easy)
- Is A Pizza Steel Worth It? Yes, Here’s Why
- 70% Hydration Pizza Dough Recipe – No More Dry Crust
How Long Do You Cook Pizza At 450F Degrees?
A pizza cooked at 450F will generally take 15-20 minutes to cook, depending on what kind of pan you’re using and the thickness of the crust.
How Long Do You Bake A Pizza At 400-425F Degrees?
Pizza cooked at lower oven temperatures will take longer to cook, so expect a baking time of 20-25 minutes. For this temperature, I recommend using a high hydration pizza dough to avoid your crust drying out in the oven.
What’s The Best Temperature To Cook Homemade Pizza?
As a rule of thumb, the higher the temperature the better the pizza will be, especially when working with a regular home oven. The exception to this is pan or deep dish pizza, which requires a longer baking time at a lower oven temperature.
Why Is My Pizza Crust Pale And Dry?
At lower temperatures, pizza crust will not brown and caramelize like it would in a high temperature pizza oven. You can remedy this by adding sugar to your pizza dough recipe and using a pizza steel (or stone) to add color to your crust.