Grandma-style pizza is the best-kept pizza secret ever. It has only recently gained popularity, and to be honest, it should have been famous sooner! Grandma-style pizza delivers a thick, chewy crust topped with a fresh tomato sauce and tons of melty cheese. What’s not to love?
History of Grandma-Style Pizza
Grandma-style pizza originated in Long Island, NY. An Italian immigrant named Umberto Corteo created a home-style pan pizza to feed his restaurant workers that was reminiscent of the pizza his grandma would make back in Naples. Most homes did not have a pizza oven, so women would often make pizza on a baking sheet in the oven using simple, readily available ingredients. This style of pizza was so popular that Umberto eventually put it on the menu. The rest is history!
How to Make Grandma-Style Pizza
Making grandma-style pizza is so easy, all you need is a handful of ingredients!
Ingredients you’ll need
- All-purpose and bread flour. I like using the combination of both to get the best texture in the dough. If you only have all-purpose, you can use that.
- Active dry yeast. Active dry yeast is a crucial ingredient for pizza dough.
- Olive oil. Similar to focaccia, grandma-style dough needs olive oil in the dough and the pan to help create crispy edges and bottom.
- Tomatoes. You can use store-bought sauce, but I love making my own. I use whole San Marzano tomatoes that I crush by hand for the best results.
- Cheese. A classic grandma-style pie is just cheese and tomato sauce, so make sure you use good cheese that you grate by hand. Don’t buy pre-shredded!
Volume adaptations for different sized pizza pans
I am using a 12×12″ square dark metal pizza pan for this recipe. If you don’t have one and don’t want to purchase one, see below for common pan sizes.
- 9×13 pan: multiply the recipe by .8.
- 18×13 (half sheet) pan: multiply the recipe by 1.5.
How to prepare grandma-style pizza
- Prepare your dough. Combine the warm water and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer and wait 5 minutes until the yeast is foamy. If your yeast doesn’t foam, it’s likely too old to use and you may need to purchase new yeast. Add the flour, salt, and olive oil, and mix on medium-low for about 10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and starts to pull away from the bowl.
- Proof. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside to rise until doubled in size (about 1-2 hours). Drizzle your pizza pan with olive oil and spread the oil evenly. Transfer the dough to the prepared pizza pan, and using your fingers, gently stretch the dough to the edges of the pan. If the dough springs back, lightly cover and wait 10 minutes before stretching again. Lightly cover the pan with plastic wrap and proof for another hour or so, until the dough is puffy and bubbly.
- Make your sauce. While your dough proofs, make your sauce. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan and grate 4 cloves of garlic into the warm oil. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring often, until fragrant. Add the oregano and crushed red pepper flakes and cook for 1 minute more. Add the hand-crushed tomatoes and reduce the heat to low. Cook for 20-25 minutes until the sauce has reduced a bit and thickened. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cool slightly.
- Bake. Once your dough is puffy, dot the top of the dough with tomato sauce. Top with shredded cheese to the edges of the pan and then dot a bit more tomato sauce on top. Bake the pizza at 500 degrees for 18-20 minutes until the cheese is browned. Remove and cool slightly before slicing into squares.
Grandma Style Pizza FAQS
What’s the difference between Grandma-style pizza and Sicilian pizza?
Grandma-style pizza and Sicilian pizza are very similar! Sicilian pizza crust is a bit thicker and airier. The hydration of the dough is also a bit higher, similar to focaccia.
Can I make grandma-style pizza crust without a stand mixer?
It’s really difficult to do so, but not impossible. Prepare for LOTS of kneading and arm strength.
Why use a dark metal pizza pan?
Dark metal conducts heat differently than an aluminum pan and results in a more deeply browned crispy crust.
Why grate the garlic instead of mincing?
Grated garlic is basically a paste and really melds into the sauce perfectly. You get a wonderful garlic flavor without chunks of garlic.
More Recipes to Try
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- 300 g about 1 1/4 cups warm water, between 90-100 degrees F
- 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 300 g about 2 packed cups all-purpose flour
- 150 g about 1 packed cup bread flour
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil plus more for the pizza pan
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1-28 oz can San Marzano peeled tomatoes crushed by hand
- 4 garlic cloves grated on a Microplane
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 4 oz whole milk mozzarella cheese shredded
- 4 oz fontina cheese shredded
- Fresh basil leaves for topping
- Make the dough: Combine the warm water and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer and wait 5 minutes for the yeast to get foamy. Add the flour, salt, and olive oil, and mix on medium-low with the dough hook until the dough is smooth and starts to pull away from the bowl, about 10 minutes.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow the dough to rise until doubled in size, about 1-2 hours depending on the temperature of your kitchen.
- Drizzle 3 tablespoons of olive oil into a 12x12" grandma-style pizza pan. Transfer the dough to the pan and gently stretch the dough to the edges of the pan. If the dough springs back, lightly cover the dough for 10 minutes before stretching again. Lightly cover with plastic wrap and let the dough proof for about an hour, until puffy and bubbly.
- Preheat an oven to 500 degrees F. Dot the dough with the tomato sauce and top with the shredded cheese to the edges of the pan. Dot with more tomato sauce. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until the top is lightly browned and the cheese is bubbly. Remove from the oven and top with fresh basil. Cool slightly before cutting the pizza into squares.
- To make the sauce: Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a saucepan. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes, stirring often, until fragrant. Add the oregano and crushed red pepper and cook for 1 minute. Once fragrant, add the hand-crushed tomatoes and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 20-25 minutes, until thickened. Season to taste with salt and pepper and cool to room temperature.