The Simple Way To Freeze Pizza Dough So You Always Have It On Hand

Everyone's hangry. It's late. The fridge is empty. Dinner should have been an hour ago. It's a pizza night to the rescue, obviously. The savior of frazzled, hungry, diners since forever — or at least since takeout pizza became mainstream, a pie is everyone's favorite quick meal solution for those times you just don't have it in you to cook a complex meal. But before you choose between delivery and pick up, there's a third option. With a little prep, you can always have homemade pizza crust on hand, ready to roll out and layer with toppings. 

The trick lies in making and freezing your pizza dough ahead of time, which cuts down on easily the most time-consuming steps of making your own pizza: Mixing dough, letting it rise, kneading, etc. You've no doubt seen those pre-made bags of dough at stores like Trader Joe's, but save your money and use your own favorite homemade crust recipe. Any basic one works and freezes surprisingly well. Let it rise as usual, divide it into balls, each the amount for one pizza, and lightly coat each ball in olive oil. At this point, it's ready to freeze in ziplock bags (be sure to squeeze out any air before sealing). You can also freeze multiples in one bag, just make sure to separate them by wrapping them in plastic wrap or parchment paper. Or, you can reuse those old takeout containers or Tupperware to house your frozen dough.

Speed up the process with this thawing hack

To thaw your dough, ideally, you'll have had the forethought to take the dough out of the freezer and let thaw all day in the refrigerator until dinner time. But since the whole perk of pizza is being a saving grace when dinner time snuck up on us, if you didn't plan ahead, don't stress it. Just plunk down the frozen pizza dough, still in its bag, in a bowl of cold or warm water to defrost in a snap. This method is your BFF for ready-to-use dough in an hour or even quicker, if you use warmer water (just avoid hot water.) 

If the idea of pizza dough seems altogether intimidating or like a craft best reserved for those with a wood-burning pizza oven, think again. Pizza dough is surprisingly easy to make with a few basics: flour, yeast, water, oil, salt, and sugar. Most simple recipes are inherently plant-based and can be easily multiplied. Even after being frozen (properly stored dough keeps in the freezer for three months)  the dough creates a supple, chewy, bouncy crust ready to be covered with your choice of toppings.