Homemade Pizza School

How to Make Perfect Pizza on the Grill

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Updated: September 30, 2021

The grill isn’t just for burgers anymore. Use your grill to make a great homemade pizza. Grilling pizza is a fun way to use your grill, especially on a hot day when you don’t want to heat up the kitchen. The grill will crisp up the dough and make the perfect crunchy crust with the right amount of chewy texture. Pizza on the grill is a mouthwatering addition to your grilling recipe repertoire. Invite your friends over for a new grilling experience.

What Type of Grill

You can make pizza on the grill with charcoal, gas, and even a pellet grill. The most important thing is that the grill gets hot enough to cook the pizza before the dough drips through the grate, which is every home chefs fear when making pizza on the grill the first time.

How to Grill

The first step is to preheat your grill. Ideally, you will want to ensure the grill is at 400 degrees Fahrenheit. There is a sweet spot when grilling pizza between getting a good crunchy crust and burning the crust, so you will want to keep an eye on the pie once it is on the grill and flip at least once to get that solid texture. 

Before you get started, make sure you have a few things on hand: grilling tongs to flip the dough, a good cutting board for when it’s ready to come off the grill quickly, and a clean grill. The best way to clean a grill is to use a pumice grill cleaning stone. The traditional wire brush ones are not recommended because the bristles can come off and stick to grilled food and enter the body. So, stick with a cleaning stone for safety.

On the Grill vs. Pizza Stone

You can grill directly on the grates or use a pizza stone. Here’s a look at best practices for each one.

On the Grill Grates

Before placing the dough directly on the grates, rub some vegetable oil on the grates to prevent sticking. Save the olive oil for brushing on the dough. Vegetable oil has a high cooking temperature and is best for use on the grill grates. If you are using a charcoal grill, make sure the charcoal is distributed evenly for an even cooking time. When the grill is good and hot, place the stretched dough on the rack for a minute, then use the tongs to flip it. It should be easy to flip, like a pancake. When both sides have been briefly cooked, it’s time to add the sauce, toppings, and cheese. 

Take the crust off the grill and place it on a cutting board while adding the toppings so the dough won’t overcook. After the toppings are added, slide the pizza from the cutting board on the grill. When the cheese has melted, it’s ready. Be sure to check frequently, so the crust doesn’t burn. 

Pizza Stone

If you are not ready to try putting pizza directly on the grill, you can use a pizza stone. Make sure your pizza stone is made for grilling because some stones are only made for the oven, and the grill’s direct heat can crack them. You will need to heat the pizza stone first on the grill.

Once the stone is preheated, take it off the grill and add the rolled-out dough. Then brush the dough with olive oil. Place it on the grill for about one minute. You don’t need to flip it when using a pizza stone. Depending on how thick you like your pizza crust, it should cook pretty quickly. Remove the stone, set it on a table, and add the sauce, toppings, and cheese. Put the stone back on the grill for another few minutes until the cheese melts. 

Whether you use the grill grate or a pizza stone during the last cooking step, be sure to close the grill lid or make an aluminum foil pizza tent to help the cheese melt. When you take it off the grill, let the pizza sit for two or three minutes before you cut it so everything can set

Voila, you have just made a delicious grilled pizza.  

Pro Tips for Pizza on the Grill

homemade pizza on the grill
Photo by David Nuescheler on Unsplash
  • Thinly slice zucchini or eggplant lengthwise brush with olive oil and grill. They make delicious toppings that even non-veggie lovers will enjoy.
  • When using mushrooms, wipe them clean but do not use water, just a damp paper towel. Mushrooms hold a lot of water and will sweat it out and make the crust soggy.
  • Add cold toppings like arugula or prosciutto crudo at the very end. The heat from the grill will ruin their texture.
  • When using artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, or anything wet, make sure to squeeze excess liquid before putting them on your pizza. Again with the soggy crust, they will ruin a grilled pizza.
  • If you are on team pineapple on pizza, grill the rings and set them aside as a topping. The grill brings out the pineapple’s sweetness, which contrasts great with the saltiness of salami, prosciutto, anchovies, or olives. Or pair the pineapple with a bit of smoky chopped chipotle peppers for a spicy kick.
  • Have fun be creative, use in-season vegetables like asparagus or squash flowers…the world is your oyster…uhm, I mean pizza.

Common Mistakes

Grill isn’t hot enough; the grill has to be hot enough to cook the dough quickly. You’ve seen those nightmare pictures of the dough dripping onto the coals because the grill wasn’t hot enough. So be patient, take your time and preheat the grill properly. If using a charcoal grill, you may want to have a drink and relax for a minute. They take more time to heat up and get an even heat. So pour yourself a drink and be patient.

Flash cook dough; this step is essential as it will seal the dough and make it easy to flip. You only need to cook on one side for a minute or two and then flip it forgetting this step can lead to an unevenly cooked dough. If using a pizza stone, this step is optional.

Dough is too fresh; you should always make the dough beforehand, so it has time to rest and rise. Ideally, make the dough the day before you plan to grill. Keep it in an airtight container in the refrigerator overnight and bring it to room temperature before stretching to put it on the grill. When stretching the dough, use rice flour as it burns at a high temp making it ideal to use for grilling dough.

Too many toppings; the pizza shouldn’t be weighed down with too many toppings. It will make it soggy and stick to the grill or stone. So be selective about flavor and take a minimalist approach and keep the toppings simple. Don’t worry about the pizza losing flavor with fewer toppings. Trust me. Less is more. Your tastebuds will not be disappointed.

There you have it, delicious pizza on the grill. It’s really that easy, so fire up the grill and enjoy a homemade pizza pie.

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DK & Eliana

DK & Eliana

Thanks for reading about our homemade pizza journey! We're a young married couple who started making pizza at home on our wedding night and haven't looked back yet. We've learned over countless attempts of trial and error how to make the perfect pizza sauce, pizza dough, and exactly which pizza accessories to buy for your home setup...

FYI When you make a purchase or, sometimes, carry out some other action as direct result of clicking on a link at Homemade Pizza School, we will receive a small commission. Gratzie!


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