Are you ready to step up your pizza game? I love pizza and it always seems like there is never enough pizza. Sadface. That’s why I like to make my own pizza because it’s cheap. Like really cheap, like cheaper than most frozen pizzas cheap.
But real homemade pizza takes almost an hour to prep, and that’s not even counting cooking time. When I want pizza, I want it now.
So I started trying out “just add water” pizza crusts. You can find them in the pasta/pizza section at most grocery stores. You can feed two regular people with one pizza, or one irregular person that happens to be very hungry.
All of the brands are a little bit different but they all produce wonderful pizza. With the right ingredients, they can even be *gasp* healthy. That’s right, you can make yourself a healthy pizza. But that does require portion control which I do not have, but I can at least feel good knowing there are lots of fresh vegetables.
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I normally buy the Great Value brand from Walmart. But they are currently out of stock and I don’t know when they’re coming back and I’m not going to stop eating pizza to save a few cents on pizza crust. So I decided to try some of the other ones.
These are the options my store carries in order from lowest price to highest price. This also correlates to how chewy/fluffy the crust is. Which is also a matter of personal preference. I love thin crispy pizza which is probably why I prefer Great Value. When we tried Betty Crocker brand it was a much fluffier chewier crust. It’s really good to experiment and find the one that you like best, then buy a whole box of them for whenever you’re in the mood for pizza.
Note: The prices shown are the internet prices for if you got it shipped to your house. The in store prices are likely lower. At least they are at my store.
My husband went out of town and so I had to make dinner for myself. Ugh. I’m great at cooking for two and not at all good at cooking for one. Food decisions just stress me out. So I decided that I would make a pizza and probably eat the whole thing myself (spoiler: I ate the whole thing myself). I happened to have Jiffy pizza crust mix on hand so that’s the crust I’m using.
It has some nice detailed instructions, as well as a recipe for “Deluxe Pizza Sticks” which I’m definitely going to make for my husband some time and a nice sauce recipe in case you forgot to buy sauce. So make sure you keep the right spices on hand as well as a can of tomato sauce.
Okay, the key to making this turn out is using warm water in the correct amount. To make sure you have the correct amount you want to use a liquid measuring cup. They’re usually made of glass and show all of the measurements up the side. Set the measuring cup on the counter and get down to eye level to make sure it’s right. This appears to be right below the line, that’s okay. You can always add a little more water if necessary.
You’re also less likely to spill the water when transferring it to the bowl than if you use the plastic measuring cup to the side. These plastic ones are good for getting the very specific amount of what you need such as sugar or flour.
For pizza you want to make sure you are using warm water. Not hot, not cold. Just warm.
In a perfect world you will add just the right amount of water that you get a nice sticky ball that pulls all of the dough off the sides of your bowl. If you don’t have enough water then just add a little bit at a time until you get the right amount. If you add too much water you can try to fix it by adding flour, you want to avoid this though because it can make the crust turn out weird.
Since you have to let your dough sit a few minutes I like to get that started and then preheat my oven and pan. The key to a good pizza is a really hot oven and a nice hot pan to go with it. The Great Value brand crust wants the oven at 475 degrees. That’s scary hot so I usually set it at 460 degrees. That seems to work well with my oven. I use the middle rack and the bottom never burns.
I normally use a pizza stone. They’re amazing because they give the crust a nice even crispy cook and cleanup is easy because they are nonstick. I just scrape mine with a plastic scraper and some water and it’s clean.
Sometimes it’s fun to make pizza in the cast iron skillet because then you can put a little vegetable oil in the bottom and that makes an amazingly crispy crust. You don’t have to add the oil though, when it’s properly seasoned cast iron is non stick as well.
When everything is preheated it’s time to roll out your dough. Basically put flour on everything because pizza crust is sticky. So some flour on the dough some on the counter top and some on your hands. You want to knead the dough a little bit. This adds a little flour in to make it less sticky, it also helps it hold together and it’s less likely to tear.
This video will help if you’re unfamiliar with the term knead. This video suggests kneading for 10 minutes. Yikes. You do not need to do that. I do about 5 squish and turns and then I’m reading to roll it out.
A rolling pin is great to have if you plan on making pizza often. You can also use a glass bottle (such as a wine bottle) if you have one of those instead. Just make sure you are checking that it isn’t sticking to the counter. You can flip it over or just push some of the flour underneath that has squished out the sides.
Transfer your crust to your pan. Be very careful not to burn yourself.
I like to bake my crust for a few minutes to get it a little bit crispy. I baked this one for 3-4 minutes. You can see how it’s just starting to get brown spots. You don’t want to bake it too much to start or it will get overcooked the second time in the oven.
While you are waiting this is the perfect time to clean up your mess. Use a plastic scraper to scrape the flour off the edge of your counter into the trash or the bowl you just used, which you can then throw away. You want to get as little flour as possible on your sponge when wiping down the counter. Flour and water make really sticky, gross glue. You should also wash the bowl you used for the crust right away. It’s tempting to let it sit, but trust me, do it right away.
Now it’s time for the fun part. The toppings. I made BBQ sauce with onions on top. This is the time to experiment. It’s really fun to find new combos or just throw on whatever you have in the fridge.
Cheese it up. Try to keep the cheese even across the top of the pizza. This will help it melt and cook evenly.
I baked this for 10 minutes. Even though the box says it should go much longer than that. Both your oven and the pan you use play a role in how long your pizza takes to cook. Get to know yours by making lots of pizza.
This is exactly how I like it. My husband likes it less cooked than this. He wants just a little brown on his cheese.
Look at that, it slid right out. I just need to wipe this out and it will be ready for the next thing.
Look at that glorious pizza. this picture is a lie though. After I took it I loaded up the rest of the pizza on to my plate and ate it all. Delicious.
There you have it. Now you can make your own quick pizza and impress all of your friends. They’ll think it’s homemade. I like to make these for pizza parties. Separate the dough into two separate crusts and then everyone can make their own personalized pizza with whatever sauces and toppings they want. That really makes it fun.
Do you like the “just add water” pizza crusts? Or are you a traditionalist? Or do you just grab whatever looks good from the freezer section?