How to Grill Pizza for the First Time
Words Kate Gagnon
Have you ever tried making pizza on a grill? Last summer, we saw this trend everywhere from backyard barbecues to friends in our Instagram feed. Not only is it a great way to avoid turning on the oven, this grilled pizza recipe imparts a nice flavor and takes advantage of the grill’s high heat to create a crispy crust.
Outdoor grilling may not be reserved for summer alone, but this is certainly the time of year when it’s best to leave the oven off and enjoy a summery dinner outside with friends. Creating pizza on the grill is a fun alternative to classic outdoor grilled favorites like hot dogs and hamburgers—and making it is pretty straightforward too. Read on for a few key tips and tricks that will make your first time grilling pizza a total success.
Tools You'll Need
How-To Cook Pizza on the Grill
1. Heat the grill, preferably up to around 600°F. We’ll put the pizza over direct heat, so if you’re using charcoal consider piling the coals on one side to concentrate heat.
2. While the grill is heating, shape pizza dough into 2-3 small rounds about ½ inch thick. While it’s tempting to go for a large round pizza, smaller shapes are much easier to flip on the grill.
3. Place shaped dough rounds side by side on the baking sheet and brush with olive oil.
4. Working with one pizza at a time, place the dough oiled side down on the heated grill over direct heat.
5. Brush the other side with oil and cook 2-3 minutes until it begins to bubble up. Use a pair of tongs to check the underside and rearrange as necessary. You’ll want the dough to be lightly browned with nice grill marks.
6. Flip the dough. Working quickly, add a small ladle of sauce and top with 2-3 ingredients. Less is more here, as the pizza is going to cook for only a few minutes.
7. Put the lid on and cook for 4-5 minutes. If the pizza is beginning to burn, move the pizza to finish over indirect heat.
8. Slide the pizza off with tongs or a large turner, let cool for a few minutes, then slice and enjoy!
Pizza Grilling Tips & Tricks
- Mise en place is key for grilling pizza. We like to have all ingredients prepped and at the ready in separate small bowls, organized on a large rimmed baking sheet for easy transport from the kitchen. Before you start on the first pizza, double check to make sure you have all tongs, turners and brushes you’ll need.
- Save unique dough recipes for oven baking. Though we’re big fans of creative alternatives like cauliflower pizza crust, unique crusts work best in the oven, not on the grill. Opt for either store-bought dough or a basic homemade recipe using just flour, yeast, salt, oil and warm water.
- When it comes to toppings, less is more. Lightly topped pizzas work best on the grill, since they cook for so little time. We recommend keeping it to 2-3 ingredients. Also, any raw ingredients (like sausage) should be fully cooked in advance since it will barely cook on the grill—use our guide to grilling temperatures to properly cook red meat, poultry and pork ahead of time.
- Take presentation to the next level: Drizzle finished pizzas with olive oil, pesto, hot honey or a pinch of crushed red pepper.
- Nervous about adding toppings directly onto the grill? As an alternative, cook dough lightly on both sides, then transfer to a pizza pan to prepare toppings. Once toppings are all set, transfer back to the grill to cook.
Hoping to serve a tasty dessert too? Try your hand at these delicious grilled fruit skewers.