You know what they say about pizza. Even when it's bad, it's still pizza. No matter how picky your family or friend group is, you can probably get everyone to agree on pizza. (And if not, you need to ditch these people. Just kidding!)
We all have a favorite neighborhood pizza place, and these days there's something for everyone, including vegan cheese, gluten-free options and cauliflower-based crust for the carbohydrate haters. Or you can always make it yourself. It's really not as hard as it looks!
As with any meal, the key to making great homemade pizza is using fresh ingredients, including vegetables and cheeses, and having the right tools. For insight on what those might, we asked chefs, food bloggers, and other pizza aficionados what they use to make the perfect pie. (We're including links for these products available via Amazon, but you can find many of these items at other stores — sometimes with cheaper prices. Also, some items may be sold out. As always, it's best to shop around.)
Best Outdoor Pizza Oven
Ooni Koda Gas Powered Outdoor Pizza Oven: $329 at Ooni (shipping in November) or $330 at Amazon (temporarily unavailable)
By day, Patrick Nugent is a corporate photographer based in New York City. But he's just as passionate about pies as he is photos. "I am a part-time pizzaiolo for my family on the weekends and have been cooking pizza at least once a week for the past 10 years," he says.
And yes, he's the proud owner of his own pizza oven, the Ooni Koda Gas-Powered Outdoor Pizza Oven, which costs a bit over $300. That might seem pricey for the occasional homemade pizza maker, but just hear him out.
"I got an Ooni Koda last October after putting off buying a pizza specific oven for years. There is plenty of competition in the field, but the value, usability and quality of the Koda is top notch," he says. "If you’ve never made a pizza before the learning curve will be pretty steep, but if you have some experience you should be able to jump into it pretty easily. Nothing beats to taste of a Neapolitan pizza cooked in 60 seconds in your backyard."
Best Pizza Stone and Baking Pan
Emile Henry 14.5" Pizza Stone: $50 at Amazon
A pizza stone, or as it is sometimes known, a baking stone, is invaluable for anyone who doesn't have a coal oven in their house. Which is probably most of us. Place your uncooked pizza on the stone, then cook it in your oven or on your grill between 450 and 500 degrees, according to Allrecipes. Then check on it after five minutes. The stone will absorb moisture, resulting in the crispy crust you get from professional ovens.
Laura Miner, a Lynchburg, Virginia-based chef who creates and shares healthy recipes at her website Cook at Home Mom, says the Emile Henry pizza stone is "great for year round use! I can use it in my oven during colder months, and once springtime rolls around, it makes the best, crispiest pizza on the grill. The size is perfect! It fits comfortably even on small grills and doesn’t take up a lot of space when it’s stored."
She adds that "the best feature by far is the handles. Trying to grab a scorching hot pizza stone with clunky oven mitts is a dangerous endeavor, but these handles make it really easy."
Lodge P14P3 Cast Iron Baking Pan, 14": $39.99 at Amazon
If a pizza stone isn't for you, Chris Riley, a Rogers, Arkansas-based culinary expert and founder of The Daring Kitchen, recommends the Lodge cast iron baking pan. "It bakes the pizza evenly, it is easy to clean and nonstick, comes pre-seasoned and doesn’t stain," Riley says.
Best Flour for Homemade Pizza
Antimo Caputo 00 Pizzeria Flour, 12 Lbs: $29.99 at Amazon
If you want to just buy a store-bought pizza crust, no one is going to judge you. But, frankly, some pre-made crusts taste like cardboard, and none of them come close to the taste of a fresh homemade crust with quality ingredients. If you're game to make your own pizza dough from scratch, Nugent recommends Caputo 00 Pizza Flour. "It has the perfect amount of gluten to take your pizza to the next level and is fairly easy to source," he says.
More of the Best Pizza Making Tools
Fletchers' Mill French Rolling Pin, 20": $26.14 at Amazon
To turn your lumpy dough into a proper, flat pizza crust, you are going to need a rolling pin to smooth it out. Chris Riley recommends the Fletchers' Mill French Rolling Pin.
"Making the pizza with a perfect shape and thickness is tricky, but with the right tool you can make this task less frustrating," Riley says. "There are no handles here, just tapered ends that you have to get accustomed to, but after that it’s a pleasure to use it. This design is lightweight and is great for rolling out pizza dough, but also other baked goods."
OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel 4-Inch Pizza Wheel and Cutter: $13.99 at Amazon
Once your pizza is cooked and delicious, it's time to turn to slice it up. But Riley wants you to be careful. "If you have made pizza at home and tried to use a knife to cut it — then you know struggle." You wind up making a mess of your beautiful freshly made creation.
"A knife simply won’t cut it so I can recommend the OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel 4-Inch Pizza Wheel and Cutter," she says. "A tool this size will work well even on thick crust pizza and is comfortable in the hand. With this you will definitely feel like a professional — even if you aren’t."