Grilled Pizza Margherita

Within the first week of my being bitten by the bread bug about three years ago, my oven had (quite literally) a meltdown, and the sight of poor ovenless me mooning around forlornly for the three weeks or so it took to get it repaired was a pretty pitiful one. Too bad I didn’t know about grilled pizza at the time.

I wouldn’t suggest waiting for an oven disaster, though, to make pizza on the grill. It is seriously, seriously good.

The idea is that the crust is placed directly on the grill grate to cook one one side, then turned over and the toppings added while the other side of the crust grills. Toppings should be simple and light, both because they don’t have a lot of time to cook and because, if you’re like me, you want the summer flavor of the lightly charred grilled crust to be front and center.

I topped my Pizza Margherita with a very simple tomato sauce of peeled, seeded tomatoes (six tomatoes yielded enough sauce for two pizzas), cooked until thick and seasoned with salt and pepper; thinly-sliced fresh mozzarella; and a few fresh basil leaves.

I am sending this to my wonderful friend Zorra (1x umrühren bitte) for BreadBakingDay #21, the pizza fest marking the second anniversary of BBD. Congratulations and thank you, Zorra, for two years of the best bread parties on the planet.

Grilled Pizza Margherita


  • one 260-gram dough ball (recipe follows) per 10 – 12″ pizza
  • about 3/4 cup tomato sauce per pizza
  • fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
  • fresh basil leaves
  • olive oil
  • 50:50 mixture of flour and semolina, to prevent sticking


  1. Preheat a clean grill to medium-high. (You may have to experiment with this to find the right setting for your grill.)
  2. Roll, stretch, toss, or otherwise shape the crust dough into a 10 – 12″ round.
  3. Place the crust on a pizza peel that has been liberally dusted with flour-semolina mixture, and brush it with olive oil.
  4. Turn the grill heat down to medium.
  5. Flip the crust onto the preheated grill so the oiled side is down.
  6. Quickly use a dry brush to brush the excess flour from the crust, then brush the top with olive oil.
  7. Grill until the crust bubbles up, about two minutes.
  8. Use tongs to pull the crust back onto the peel. Use the peel to flip the crust over and back onto the grill.
  9. Quickly add the tomato sauce, cheese, and a few basil leaves.
  10. Close the grill cover and cook until the underside of the crust is nicely done, about two or three minutes.
  11. Top with a few more basil leaves.

Pizza Dough

Yield: 525 g (enough for two 10 – 12″ pizzas)


  • Mix: 5 minutes
  • First fermentation : 1.5 hours
  • Divide and shape: 5 minutes
  • Refrigerate: 4 – 12 hours



  1. In the bowl of a food processor with metal blade, combine the flour, yeast, and salt.
  2. Combine the water and olive oil in a liquid measuring cup. With the processor running, add the liquid in a thin stream.
  3. Process until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 90 seconds. Then knead the dough by hand for a few turns.
  4. Place the dough in a lightly-oiled bowl and ferment at room temperature for about 1.5 hours, until doubled in bulk.
  5. Divide the dough into two pieces of about 260 grams each. Shape each piece into a ball and place onto a lightly-floured, parchment-lined baking sheet
  6. Slip the sheet into a large plastic bag and refrigerate for 4 – 12 hours.

CommentsLeave a comment

  1. says

    It’s so funny you should post this. I JUST did my first grilled pizza on Father’s Day and it was awesome! The method I used is slightly different from yours but the results are the same, delicious!

  2. says

    Gorgeous! I’m so jealous too – living in an apartment, I can’t have a grill. Some day… Until then, I’m just going to pray that my oven doesn’t go out! :)

  3. says

    Isn’t this just the best? I make pizza so much during the summer. Always try to have fresh mozzarella on hand. I will just stand next to my grill with a ball of pizza dough and just start stretching and turning while holding it up in the air. I used to roll it, but found this technique to work much better. Beautiful photo!

  4. Paul says

    This looks way too good! I feel kind of like an outmatched boxer who keeps getting clobbered by his far more talented opponent: blow after blow landing, until the poor fool says “no mas!” First, it’s the rhubarb strudel. Then it’s the carrot-spelt bread. Then the knockout blow is this week’s margharita pizza. Susan, please be kind! No mas!

  5. says

    Much like the simple spaghetti with tomato and basil, this pizza screams for the refreshest ingredients but it’s still the best of the lot.

  6. says

    Mmm. This makes me think we should actually dust off the grill and get it out of the garage. =) When my oven went out a couple months ago, I resorted to making flat bread on my electric griddle.

  7. devlyn says

    What happened to your outdoor bread oven? We haven’t seen any photos of that in a long time… Or was that at your holiday home?

  8. says

    Just gorgeous pizza! I had my first and only grilled pizza quite a number of years ago when my very chefly talented cousin made them for us. It fascinated me. Since then I haven’t been lucky enough to have grilled pizza again.

    And your pizza is just the way I love it!

  9. Pamela says

    Question: after refrigerating the dough balls, you don’t have to let them warm up on the counter before shaping and grilling?


  10. says

    Susan, I’m drooling! I love the idea of grilled pizza. I wanted to try it for a long time, and now a have a great recipe. Thanks.

  11. Janknitz says


    Our paper this morning had instructions on how to make your own Mozerella. Now this.

    Just I have to find some basil–parsley took over my planter and we have no basil this year.

  12. says

    I’m third-generation Italian and have eaten a lot of pizza but the first time I tried grilled pizza was quite a revelation. Your photos are beautiful as usual!

  13. says

    Thank you everyone!

    Pamela, no, I don’t let mine warm up. At 260 grams they are fairly small and warm up pretty quickly as they are shaped.

    Devlyn, I’m sorry to say I don’t live with my earth oven and it’s been quite a while since I’ve seen it, but soon!

  14. says

    Thank you so much for these precise instructions and for the photos. I am intimidated by grilling pizza because I have never truly understood the steps. No more! As a veg, I don’t use my grill that much – I can only eat so many grilled vegetables. A whole new world is open! My husband will freak when I make this the first time.

  15. says

    I have to echo Dana here. I don’t even own a grill, since my friends and neighbors do and I don’t have much to put on one. Now I’m all over grilling this pizza! There’s little more divine than the flavor of tomatoes and basil married to bread. Yum.

  16. says

    Grilled pizza! Now I know what to do if my oven gives up on me. :)
    This is my most favourite of all pizzas. Very simple but great flavour.

  17. james says

    Looks very good and similar to the wood fired oven pizza that we are doing here while I’m in Italy. Buona.

  18. says

    Isn’t pizza fabulous this way? Grilling it on the barbecue is our preferred method now.

    However, we no longer par cook the dough. We bought one of those inexpensive round stones (around $10 at a kitchen store) and put that into the barbecue. It JUST fits and takes no time to heat up. Then we put the fully dressed pizza onto the stone.

    The only drawback is no grill marks. Because grill marks ARE nice, aren’t they?

  19. says

    Gorgeous pizza! I have to clean out my grill first..its been sitting largely ignored. If you are in a hurry , the whole wheat tortillas from TJ’s make excellent pizza bases on the grill and the oven.

  20. AOJ says

    Pizza on the grill is the only way my wife lets me make it now. As an alternative to using a peel, the dough can be stretched on a cookie sheet that has a tablespoon or more of olive oil on it. Stretch the dough, flip it over and stretch some more. Then you can tilt the cookie sheet over the grill and coax/slide the dough right onto the grill.

  21. says

    It has been ages since I have had a grilled pizza! I love the simplicity, and those char-marks on the bottom. Fabulous!

  22. says

    Susan, that is one of the most beautiful and delicious looking pizza margherita’s I have ever lie. You are amazing!

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