Making pizza on the pizza on the grill is easier than you ever thought with this fun, step-by-step recipe with tons of grilled pizza tips and topping ideas!
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Have you ever had grilled pizza?
Pizza on the grill is one of my favorite summertime meals! It’s fun to make, plus add a salad and bottle of wine, and you can have an amazing dinner on the table fast.
It’s also perfect for entertaining, and I guarantee you will impress your guests!
If you’ve never made grilled pizza before, this is the recipe for you. I’m breaking down the process step-by-step and sharing lots of tips along the way.
Pizza on the Grill
Whenever I make grilled pizza, I always wonder why I don’t do it more often. It’s just sooo good and sooo easy!
Pizza made on the grill has a wonderful smokey flavor, plus everything else you love about this fave Italian dish … lots of gooey cheese and delicious toppings.
If you’ve been putting off cooking pizza on your grill, because it seems difficult, you might be surprised by just how easy it is. You don’t need any special equipment, and once you master the simple process, you’ll be craving it all the time.
Ready to get started? I’m going to show you how to cook pizza on the grill without a stone … keep reading for tons of tips, step-by-step photos, and the easy recipe.
What You’ll Need for Pizza on the Grill
When it comes to grilling pizza, the most important thing you can do is be organized. The cooking process moves fast, and you’ll want to have these things on hand:
- Pizza Dough
- Cooking Utensils: A Pair of Tongs, Spoons for Sauces, Pastry Brush for Olive Oil, Knives for Chopping Toppings
- Paper Towel
- Sheet Pans
- Pizza Cutter
There’s really no special equipment required. Some people use a pizza stone for pizza on the grill, but it’s not necessary. Keep it simple.
Grilled Pizza Toppings
You’ll also need some toppings for your pizza, and this is where you can get creative! Here are some topping ideas to get your started:
- Sauce: Pizza Sauce, Pesto, Romesco Sauce, Olive Oil
- Fresh Veggies: Sliced Tomatoes, Corn, Spinach, Green Onions, Arugula, etc.
- Cooked Veggies: Grilled or Roasted Veggies, like Zucchini, Bell Peppers, Mushrooms, Asparagus, Eggplant, Onions, etc.
- Herbs: Fresh Basil, Italian Parsley, Rosemary, etc.
- More: Olives, Capers, Giardiniera, etc.
- Cheese: Shredded Mozzarella or Italian Blend Cheese, Fresh Mozzarella (use with caution / see tips below), Parmesan, Feta, Goat Cheese, etc.
How to Grill Pizza
Cooking pizza on the grill is quick. You can have a finished pizza in about 10 to 15 minutes. Of course, this means you also need to be very organized. So before you do any grilling, you’ll need prep the dough, cook the toppings, and gather everything else you’ll need (see above section).
Before heading outside, prepare your dough. For these pizzas, I used homemade pizza dough … I’m working on a recipe to share with you soon! But store bought dough works, too (I like Trader Joe’s dough).
Give a baking sheet a light spritz of nonstick cooking spray (or brush with olive oil), then gently press out the dough. It should be between 1/4 to 1/2-inch thick … thin enough to cook through, but thick enough to handle without ripping.
To make the dough easier to handle, you want to keep the pizzas on the smallish side. Divide one pound of pizza dough into two medium pizzas or into four small pizzas like I did here.
Tip: You are going to be picking up the dough with your hands, which means it’s going to stretch. Try shaping your dough into an oval, like I did below. That way, if you pick it up along the long edge, it will have a better chance of stretching into a circle as you lay it on the grill.
Grilling the Pizza Dough
Preheat your grill to about 550 to 600 degrees. I prefer to use a gas grill, because it’s easier to control the heat. But I’ve made pizza on a charcoal grill before, too, and it also works fine (you just need to watch the flames).
When the grill is ready, brush the dough lightly with olive oil. Then, grasp the edges of the pizza dough with your hands and lay it oil side down on the grill. Place it over direct heat.
This needs to be a quick process for obvious reasons, so don’t fret if your dough isn’t a perfect circle. Chances are it won’t be, and that is part of the charm of grilled pizza … it looks rustic.
Tip: Until you get the hang of this process, I recommend cooking one piece of dough at a time. Trust me, it’s less stressful than trying to monitor two pizzas. And don’t worry … as long as the grill is hot enough, your pizza dough will not fall through the grill grates. I promise you!
Close the grill lid to let the dough cook.
After a couple minutes, use a pair of tongs to gently lift up a corner of the pizza. It should take about five minutes (sometimes more, sometimes less) for the dough to cook.
You are looking for well-defined grill marks and for the dough to be set. Don’t worry if it chars a little … you just don’t want to burn it. If the pizza starts cooking too quickly, move it to a cooler part of the grill.
When the dough is cooked, remove it from the grill and place it back on your baking sheet. You are going to add toppings next.
Some recipes call for topping grilled pizza while it’s on the grill, but I prefer to pull the dough off before adding toppings. This gives you a little extra time, and it also ensures that your dough hasn’t finished cooking before the toppings are heated through.
Place the dough with grill marks facing up on a baking sheet. If your pan has sides, like mine does, you can flip the pan over to make it easier to slide the pizza onto the grill.
The key to topping grilled pizza is going easy on the toppings. Pizza cooks very quickly on the grill. If you add a thick layer of toppings, they will not heat through. Use a light hand.
You must cook your toppings in advance, too, because they will not cook through on the grill. I used grilled veggies for my pizzas, plus a few uncooked ingredients like thinly sliced tomatoes, which can be eaten raw.
Tip: I prefer to use shredded cheese when cooking pizza on the grill. It just melts better. You’ll probably notice though that I also used fresh mozzarella here. If you want to use fresh mozzarella, then make sure to slice it very thin (it takes longer to cook). I also recommend blotting it dry with paper towels to remove excess water. Crumbled cheese, like feta or goat, also works.
Finishing the Pizza on the Grill
Once you’ve topped your pizza, use your tongs to gently slide the pizza back on the grill. Close the lid.
Check your pizzas after a couple minutes. Again, you want to lift up the corner and look for these beautiful grill marks.
It should take about five minutes to cook your pizzas. Keep the lid closed (when you’re not checking the pizzas) to help warm up the toppings. If the crust finishes cooking before your cheese is melted, move the pizza to a cooler part of the grill to finish cooking.
Note: your pizza will not be on the grill long enough for the cheese to brown. Instead, it look for it to be melted.
And that’s all there is to it … your pizza is ready to eat! Wasn’t that easy?
Here’s what I topped my pizzas with to give you a little inspiration:
- Pesto, shredded mozzarella, grilled cherry tomatoes. This simple pizza was my favorite!
- Olive oil mixed with fresh garlic, fresh mozzarella, fresh tomatoes. I also added fresh basil after the pizza was finished cooking. So good, and this is the kind of pizza I typically make on the grill (usually with shredded mozzarella though).
- Romesco sauce, fresh mozzarella, grilled peppers and asparagus, kalamata olives. Yum, this one was different and delicious!
- Pizza sauce, shredded mozzarella, grilled cherry tomatoes, zucchini, and onions. Super tasty and a great way to use grilled veggies.
As far as toppings go, you can create different types of pizzas like I did, or just keep things simple with one kind of pizza. I usually just do one type, but it’s fun to have everyone create their own pizzas, too (or even throw a pizza party).
Tips for Grilled Pizza Success
Grilling pizza is simpler than you’d think it would be, but these easy tips will help ensure your success:
- Use a hot, preheated grill. This will ensure your dough cooks properly.
- Get organized before you start cooking. The cooking process moves fast, and you won’t have time to prep anything while cooking the pizzas. Gather all your toppings, prep your dough, and have everything else you need nearby before starting.
- Be quick when adding dough to the grill. The grill is hot, and once you set down the dough, you won’t be able to reshape it.
- Cook any toppings that you can’t eat raw in advance. The pizza won’t be on the grill long enough for them to cook through. This is especially important if you’re adding meat to your pizzas, obviously.
- Add toppings with a light hand. If you load up your pizzas, the toppings won’t get hot.
- Grill one pizza at a time. Take your time, at least until you get comfortable with the process of grilling pizza. You’ll be less stressed if you’re not trying to juggle multiple pizzas.
- Embrace imperfections. Chances are, your pizza won’t be a perfect circle, and that’s okay!
FAQs about Grilled Pizza
Here are a few questions that often pop up about pizza on the grill. Let me know if you have others!
Who invented grilled pizza?
Grilled pizza was first served in the U.S. in 1980 at Al Forno restaurant in Providence, Rhode Island. Grilled pizza did exist before this though in Italy and Argentina, where it’s called pizza a la parrilla.
Do you need a pizza stone to grill pizza?
No, you do not need a pizza stone to grill pizza. You can cook the dough right on the grill. It won’t fall through … promise!
What temperature for grilled pizza?
Preheat your grill to about 550 to 600 degrees. It should be hot!
What goes with grilled pizza?
Serve your grilled pizza with a salad for an delicious meal. This Quick Chopped Salad, Watermelon Basil Quinoa Salad, Easy Kale Salad, or Grilled Halloumi Salad would all be delicious. If you’re serving a crowd, make an easy appetizer for them to snack on while waiting, like hummus and veggies, Black Bean and Corn Salsa, or Caprese Skewers.
What other topping ideas do you have?
Check out all my pizza recipes for more topping inspiration. Just remember to go light on toppings for the best success.
Pizza on the Grill
- nonstick cooking spray
- 1 pound pizza dough
- extra virgin olive oil
- pizza sauce
- cheese, such as shredded mozzarella
- toppings, such as grilled or roasted vegetables
- Preheat grill to about 550 to 600 degrees. Lightly spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray or olive oil.
- Divide dough into 2 to 4 pieces, depending on desired pizza size. Place dough on baking sheet, then press into circle about 1/4 to 1/2-inch thick. Repeat with remaining dough.
- Lightly brush dough with olive oil. Grasp dough with hands and place oil side down on grill.
- Close grill lid and cook for about 5 minutes, or until dough is set and bottom has browned grill marks.
- Remove dough from grill and place on baking sheet with grill marks facing up.
- Top dough lightly with sauce, cheese, and toppings.
- Return pizza to grill, close lid, and cook for another 5 minutes, or until pizza is hot and cheese is melted.
- Serve pizza immediately. Enjoy!