When Prepping Homemade Pizza, Stick With A Thin Layer Of Sauce

Making pizza at home is typically a more affordable — and more fun — way to get your perfect pie for dinner. But if your masterpiece comes out of the oven with a soggy crust, it can seriously put a damper on homemade pizza night. There's a laundry list of reasons you may end up with this result, including using toppings that contain too much water and letting your pie sit for too long before you bake it. But one of the main culprits, and a common mistake in the pizza-making process, is topping your pie with too much sauce.

Pizza sauce is delicious, so it's only natural that you're going to want to pile on as much of it as possible. But unless you're making a Chicago-style deep dish (which is an entirely different process in itself), stick with just a thin layer of sauce on your crust. Overdoing it can cause the dough to absorb excess moisture, which can prevent your crust from becoming nice and crispy. Plus, too much weight on top can result in a droopy pizza that takes longer to cook.

How to apply the right amount of pizza sauce

How can you be sure that your layer of pizza sauce is thin enough to not weigh down your entire pie? A good rule of thumb is to make sure that the dough is still visible. If it's entirely blocked out by red sauce, you've probably added too much. To nail the right amount, avoid plopping multiple scoops of sauce all over your crust. Instead, place one scoop in the center and spiral it outward toward the edges using the bottom of a ladle and leaving a clear border for a sauce-free crust. Then make sure to add your cheese, which should help keep the liquid from soaking into your crust, and get your pizza in the oven as soon as possible. If you're not too fussy with the order of your layers, you can add the cheese first so it lies underneath the sauce and toppings and creates a moisture barrier.

When it comes to preventing a soggy pie, it's not just the amount of sauce used that matters — it's also the consistency of it. It may sound contradictory, but a sauce that's too thin (aka too watered-down) will seep into the crust, creating too much moisture. And although you'll of course want to add toppings, try to stick to four at the most to avoid weighing down your pie and trapping the sauce's moisture in the dough.