A grilled pizza with summer tomato sauce is your next open-flame project. Chopped tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, Parmesan, scallions, and basil top the lightly charred and crackly dough. Sounds pretty great, right?
Adapted from Andrew Janjigian
Grilled pizza being primarily a summer dish, it’s an ideal opportunity to flaunt your garden or farmer’s market bounty.–Andrew Janjigian
☞ Table of Contents
Grilled Pizza FAQs
How do I make pizza dough easier to work with?
For the answer to this, we went right to Andrew Janjigian, the author of this brilliant recipe. He finds the dough that is easiest to work with is dough that has spent time in the fridge—a minimum of a day but up to 3 days is better. In that amount of time, it gets easier to work with; it just requires patience and foresight.
As he says, “With the dough that I like, you can lift it up, and almost in one motion it gets to the dimensions it needs to be. There’s a little bit of your knuckles pulling on the dough, and then you put it down on the peel. It’s very fast. That’s the key to not overworking it.”
He also suggests shaping the dough into a ball before putting it into the fridge, so that you don’t have to reshape it and making it easier to work with.
How do I grill pizza at home?
There are a couple of essential tips for mastering grilled pizza at home. First, choose the right pizza dough. A light, thin-crust pizza dough works best here.
Second, don’t overload your pizza with toppings. Since grilled pizza cooks quickly, select toppings that are just as tasty warmed through as they are piping hot. Avoid uncooked meats.
For more tips, including how to easily transfer your pizza from the baking sheet to the grill, check out this article on How to Grill Pizza at Home.
Grilled Pizza with Summer Tomato Sauce
For the dough
- 12 1/2 ounces bread flour (about 2 1/4 cups) plus more for the counter
- 3 tablespoons rye or whole wheat flour
- 3 tablespoons finely-ground cornmeal, preferably white
- 1/4 teaspoon instant or active dry yeast
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons water at 75°F (24°C)
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil plus more for coating
- 1 3/4 teaspoons sea salt
For the sauce
- 2 pounds nice summer tomatoes cut into 3/8-inch (1 cm) dice
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt plus more if needed
- 1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar plus more if needed
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium clove garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
For the pizzas
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil plus more if needed
- 8 tablespoons (2 ounces) Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese grated
- 8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese drained and sliced 1/4-inch (6-mm) thick
- 4 scallions thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup thinly shredded fresh basil
- Coarse salt
Make the dough
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flours, cornmeal, and yeast. In a separate large bowl, combine the water and oil. Add about 1/3 of flour mixture to the liquid and whisk to combine. Add remaining flour and stir with hands, dough whisk, or wooden spoon until combined and no dry flour remains, about 30 seconds. Cover and let rest for 20 minutes.
- Sprinkle the salt over the top of dough and, using lightly-moistened hands, knead in bowl until fully incorporated, about 30 seconds. Cover and let rest for 30 minutes.
- Using lightly-moistened hands, knead the dough in the bowl until smooth, about 1 minute. Cover and let sit until puffy and slightly less than doubled in volume, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
- Drop the dough onto a lightly-floured counter and divide into four equal pieces (about 6 oz | 170 grams each). Using lightly-moistened hands, shape each into a tight, smooth ball. Coat each ball lightly with oil (or nonstick spray), move to lightly-oiled individual small bowls or sealable containers (if using bowls, cover each one tightly with plastic wrap), and refrigerate for 24 to 48 hours.
Make the sauce
- Set a colander in the sink or over a large bowl. Dump the tomatoes into the colander, toss with salt and sugar and drain for 30 minutes.
- Shake colander to remove excess moisture, discard juice, and add tomato mixture to a medium bowl. Add olive oil, garlic, oregano, and pepper flakes, and toss to combine. Season with additional salt and sugar, to taste. Cover and refrigerate until needed.
Make the pizzas
- One hour before grilling pizzas, remove dough balls and sauce from refrigerator and let stand at room temperature. Fifteen minutes before grilling pizzas, set all grill burners to high, cover, and heat grill to about 500°F (260°C).
- Clean and oil cooking grates.
- Coat a rimmed baking sheet with 1/4 cup olive oil. Place 1 ball of dough in the center of the sheet and invert to coat both sides with oil. Using flattened hands, gently press and stretch the dough toward the edges of the pan to form an evenly thick 12- by 10-inch (30- by 25-cm) oval. Moving swiftly, lightly grasp both ends of one long side of the dough in your fingertips and drape over the center of grill. Place the bottom tip of the dough on the grates and then stretch the remainder of the dough toward you to form an elongated paddle shape.
- Cook until grill marks begin to form and dough begins to puff slightly, 1 to 2 minutes. Using tongs, peel dough carefully from grates and rotate 30 degrees or so. Bake until underside is lightly and evenly browned, 2 to 3 minutes more. Transfer to a second baking sheet. Repeat steps 9 and 10 with remaining dough balls, adding oil to baking sheet only if necessary.
☞TESTER TIP: If you have a large grill surface, you may be able to cook two crusts at a time.
- Place 1 crust on pizza peel or inverted baking sheet. Brush top of 1 crust with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Distribute 1/4 of Parmesan evenly over crust, followed by 1/4 of mozzarella. Dollop about 6 tablespoons of sauce over and around cheese, then top with 1/4 of the scallions. Transfer the pizza to the grill, cover and cook until cheeses are melted and sauce is steaming, moving pizza around grill as needed to prevent burning, 3 to 5 minutes.
- Move pizza to cutting board, sprinkle with 1 tablespoon basil, drizzle lightly with extra oil, and season with coarse salt to taste. Repeat with remaining crusts.
- Cut the pizzas into wedges and serve.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
Winner, Winner, Pizza for dinner! A lot of work went into this grilled pizza with summer tomato sauce, but oh, the results! My wife and I enjoyed this dish tonight for supper and would recommend it as an alternative to the same old-same old grill go-to choices.
The addition of cornmeal to the pizza crust was a smart decision; it made for an extra-crackly crust. I loved the sauce, especially the ease of preparation, although it DID make more than twice as much as the recipe called for. The cooking times were spot-on, and the crust bubbled up just like it said it would.
In addition to the scallions and basil, I used a bit of chopped yellow bell pepper and baby Bella mushrooms to enhance the toppings. My wife’s enthusiastic response means that we’ll be making this again, and soon! She also added (and I heartily agree) that the dough would work in a conventional oven as well.
This grilled pizza with summer tomatoes was simply fantastic. A perfect early summer meal. The texture and flavor of the crust is outstanding, and the dough was very easy to work with. The timing was spot-on for cooking.
I have a large gas grill so I was able to cook 2 crusts at a time although I did need to move them around frequently during the final cook to prevent the bottom from getting too dark. I had a little bit of extra tomato sauce, just enough to top some toasted baguette slices for an easy bruschetta!
The crust on this grilled pizza with summer tomato sauce is delightful! The white cornmeal and rye flour give the dough a fantastic bite and flavorful depth instead of a heavy-yeast flavor. The tomato “sauce” becomes the shining star in this classic match.
Grilled pizza with summer tomato sauce is a 10 in taste and a 5 in effort! While cooking the pizzas on the grill, I was thinking to myself, “I will never make this recipe again”. We sat down to the fruits of our labor, and upon the first bite, the words “this was worth every moment and every frustration”.
The pizza was light and crispy, with the perfect blend of fresh herbs and tomatoes. The parmesan cheese added a hint of saltiness that made the sweet flavor of the tomatoes pop. Because of the fabulous taste, I will be making these pizzas again (4th of July actually). However, to reduce time and effort, I will make the dough into three balls and cook them on the grill for slightly longer.
Originally published June 29, 2021