We encountered thin-crust pizzas of various stripes throughout our travels, from the U.S. Midwest to São Paulo, Brazil. Admittedly, we really love a good thin-crust pizza. When done right, they’re incredibly satisfying and a nice, light departure from their counterparts with thicker crusts. These pizzas go by different names but share some fundamental traits: thin-crust pizzas are shaped with a rolling pin or dough sheeter, are typically sauced and topped right up to the edge so that there’s minimal rim, have little interior crumb to speak of, and bake up with a firm base that doesn’t droop when folded.
When we went about creating our own thin-crust doughs, we aimed to create one that could easily be rolled out thin but that’s sturdy enough to handle the toppings and still yield a great crunch. The pizza has a little bit of rim that gets the crunchiest (we like having a handle to hold our pizza). Thin-crust pizza is also an excellent choice for outdoor grilling on a charcoal or gas grill. We also wanted a dough that can be used the same day you make it, if you choose to.
This direct thin-crust pizza dough is a variation of our master recipe. We developed this time-saving technique with busy schedules in mind—you can make this dough, from start to finish, in under 2 1/2 hours without compromising on quality. It yields a crust that is sturdy, crunchy, and has great flavor.
Because you are rolling this dough so thin, be sure to use fine-ground cornmeal in the dough – anything coarser and you run the risk of it ripping the dough as you roll. The other downside of very coarse cornmeal is that if it doesn’t absorb enough moisture from the dough, it can be too crunchy to chew easily. If all you have is coarse-ground cornmeal, run it through a food processor or spice grinder first.
Follow our recipe below to make your own thin-crust pizza. You’ll get three 50 cm / 20 in pizzas or four 40 cm / 16 in pizzas, so feel free to experiment with a variety of topping combinations.