Brush Store-Bought Pizza Dough With Flavored Oil For A Restaurant-Quality Upgrade

Making pizza with store-bought dough is a time-saving move, but it doesn't always taste as heavenly as a loaded pepperoni from an Italian pizza parlor. A simple way to give your pie a restaurant-quality upgrade is to brush the dough with a flavored oil before it's baked.

Drizzling a glug of extra virgin olive oil over pizza is a familiar way to add a layer of fruity flavor to a blisteringly hot pie after it's baked. However, brushing the raw rolled-out dough with an infused oil — rather than a plain old EVOO — before it hits the oven has several additional benefits. Firstly, infused oil lends pizza crust an insanely delicious aroma and flavor that will make your kitchen smell like a Naples pizzeria. Simply choose an oil flavored with garlic, oregano, or basil to amplify the appetizing fragrance of your herbed pizza sauce, or select an oil imbued with chili, jalapeno, or lemon to lend your pie a spicy attitude.

Secondly, the oil helps pizza dough to color as it cooks, thereby creating lots of flavor and a crusty texture on the edges that has a tempting shiny luster. Finally, the thin coating of oil on the central portion of the pizza skin creates a barrier on the surface of the yeasted dough, which prevents the excess moisture in a fragrant pizza sauce from seeping into the crust and turning it soggy.

How to add flavored oil to pizza dough

Once you've rolled out your dough to the perfect shape and size, use a pastry brush to evenly distribute a light drizzle of your flavored oil over the entire surface (here's an easy hack to turn parchment paper into a pastry brush if you don't have one in your utensil drawer). You can even make your own flavored oil by heating your oil and ingredients together in a saucepan for a few minutes before cooling and bottling.

Spread your sauce over the center of the dough, leaving a border around the edges that will transform into a golden crust full of chewy air pockets, known as the cornicione, once it meets the fierce heat of the oven. Finally, add your toppings and bake until the cheese is gooey, the edges of the dough are lightly charred and your kitchen smells amazing.

Be mindful that a flavored oil, like sesame oil, can burn and smoke at a different rate than a regular olive oil or cooking spray. For this reason, it's best to bake your pizza rapidly in a very hot oven on top of a preheated pizza stone or an inverted baking sheet. This trick kickstarts the cooking process on the underside of the pizza so it can cook through at speed and be ready to eat in 8-10 minutes. The result? A delicious restaurant-style pizza with a fragrant golden crust and glossy, crackly sheen.