How to make pizza crust crispy

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Is your pizza crust not quite as crispy as you would like? In this article we tell you everything you need to know to make a pizza crust that is light and crispy rather than dense and soggy. First we discuss some of the major elements of the pizza making process that affect how crispy a pizza crust turns out. Then we provide detailed tips to make sure your next pizza crust turns out extra crispy.

Don’t have enough time to read the full article? Turn your oven up to at least 500 degrees and use a pizza stone to make pizza crust crispy. We recommend getting an Emile Henry pizza stone such this pizza stone, this pizza stone, or this pizza stone. This is the brand we use and our crust always comes out crust unbelievably crispy.

How to make a pizza crust crispy

What are the main elements that affect how crispy a pizza crust turns out? Here are some of the key contributors that affect how crispy a pizza crust turns out. 

  • Oven temperature. The ambient temperature in your oven is a very important factor that affects how crispy pizza crust turns out. Pizza that is cooked at a higher temperature is generally going to be crispier than pizza that is cooked at a lower temperature.This is because the Maillard reaction that browns and crisps up bread crust happens at high temperatures. 
  • Cooking surface temperature. Pizza can be cooked on a variety of surfaces such as pizza stones, baking sheets, and metal slabs. The heat of the surface that the pizza is cooked on directly affects how crispy the pizza crust turns out. Pizza does not cook for that long. If a pizza is placed on a surface that takes a long time to warm up then the cooking surface might just be approaching a lukewarm temperature by the time the pizza is done cooking. That means that the bottom of the pizza crust might never reach the temperatures required to crust it over.
  • Dough texture. The texture of your pizza dough also affects how crispy your pizza crust will get. The thickness and density of your pizza crust affects how fast the pizza is able to warm up to the ambient temperature in the oven. These factors also affect how easily water is able to escape into the air as the pizza crust cooks. Thin and airy pizza crusts are more likely to become crispy than thick and dense pizza crusts.
  • Toppings. The amount of toppings that you put on your pizza and the types of toppings you put on your pizza also affect how crispy your pizza crust turns out. If you have a lot of toppings on your pizza then the toppings will trap water near the pizza crust and also slow the rate at which the pizza heats up. If you use toppings that contain a lot of water without pre-cooking them then your toppings might also leach water into your pizza crust and make it more soggy.

Increase oven temperature for a crispy crust

  • Raise your oven temperature to 500+ degrees. If your last pizza crust was not crispy that means you might need to try raising the temperature in your oven. This is especially true if you are cooking your pizza at a temperature that is lower than 500 degrees. It is possible to cook a crispy pizza at lower temperatures and we often recommend 475 as a good temperature to cook a pizza at. Nonetheless, increasing your oven temperature is often the easiest way to get a crispier crust. 
  • Preheat your oven for longer. Preheating your oven for a longer period of time can help you make a crispy pizza crust. Not all ovens are created equally and some take longer to preheat than others. The mechanisms that are set in place to alert you when your oven has raised a certain temperature are not always reliable. If you want to make sure your oven has reached the temperature you think it has then you should start preheating it at least 30 – 40 minutes ahead of time. 
  • Find the hottest rack on your oven. If you want your pizza crust to be extra crispy you should cook your pizza on the hottest rack in your oven. Some people insist the top rack of their oven is the hottest white others swear by the bottom rack. In reality, it probably varies depending on the type of oven. You can test out which rack is the hottest in your oven by making very uniform cookies then leaving them on different racks of the oven and seeing which ones start to burn first. 

Cooked gluten free Hawaiian pizza with bbq sauce, pineapple, jalapeño, and red onion.

How surface heat affects crust crispiness

  • Use a pizza stone. If you are having trouble getting your pizza crust to turn out crispy you should consider investing in a pizza stone. Pizza stones heat up to high temperatures and will ensure that the surface your pizza is cooking on is just as hot as the ambient oven temperature. Pizza stones are also porous which means that they absorb water from the pizza dough. This prevents the dough from getting soggy. 
  • Preheat the pizza stone or baking sheet. If you want your pizza crust to be extra crispy you should preheat the surface you pizza is going to be directly in contact with while it cooks. This is particularly important if you are using a dense cooking surface that maintains its core temperature such as a pizza stone. Pizza stones take a long time to heat up and a long time to cool down so you should put your pizza stone in the oven to heat up at least 15 minutes before your pizza in the oven.

How dough texture affects crust crispiness

  • Make a thinner crust. Pizza crusts that are nice and thin tend to be crispier than pizza crusts that are thick. There are a few reasons for this. One reason is that thin pizza crusts are able to heat up to high temperature faster than thick pizza crusts with a lot of mass. Another is that it is easier for water to escape from thin crusts with lots of surface area than dense, thick crust.
  • Get more air in the pizza crust. Pizza dough that has a lot of air in it is more likely to turn into a crispy crust with a nice snap to it. The air bubbles inside the pizza crust heat up and cook the pizza crust from the inside out. In order to get more air in your pizza crust you should let it rise a little extra – both before the dough is shaped into a crust and after. Alternatively, if you did not leave your dough in a warm area to rise you can let the dough rise for the same amount of time in a warm area. Your dough should at least double in size during the first rise. If you need advice on how to get your pizza crust to rise more then check out our article on how to make pizza dough rise

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How toppings affect crust crispiness

  • Precook toppings that contain a lot of water. If you are adding toppings to your pizza crust that leach water when they cook such as mushrooms you should consider pre-cooking these toppings. Precooking pizza toppings dries them out so that they do not leach water into the pizza crust while it cooks. This helps make the pizza crust more crispy and also enhances the flavor of the toppings. 
  • Add fewer toppings to your pizza. If there are a lot of large chunky toppings on your pizza then the pizza crust will be more likely to get soggy. There are two reasons for this. It will take the pizza a longer time to heat up and the toppings will trap water near the pizza crust. 

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