How to store pizza dough

How to store pizza dough

Sometimes, your lifestyle gets in the way of cooking. You might have prepared pizza dough the day before you need it, or perhaps you made too much and are looking to store it for the next few days.

If you have some pizza dough that you need to store for later but are unsure about the best methods to make sure it stays fresh, then this guide is for you.

Table of Contents

Best Ways To Store Pizza Dough For Later

How to store pizza dough

Pizza dough requires low temperatures to be stored overnight. Keeping the dough in the fridge will stop the yeast from over-fermenting and eventually dying. If you don’t intend to use it in a few days, then it is best to freeze the dough for long-term storage.

Storing It In The Fridge

  1. Mix in all the ingredients and knead the though.
  2. Let it rise.
  3. After the first rise, divide it into small, round shapes – enough for each pizza.
  4. Grease the baking pan and place your dough balls on top, leaving some space between each one.
  5. Then, gently cover the dough balls with plastic cling film and place the pan in the back of the fridge to avoid temperature fluctuations.
  6. Use within 48 hours.

You can also refrigerate your dough right after kneading. Place it in a lightly oiled, large mixing bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and put it in the fridge. In this case, think of the time in the fridge as the first rise.

Storing It In The Freezer

How to store pizza dough

  1. Right after the dough has been kneaded, divide it into balls for your pizza base.
  2. Flatten the dough balls into discs (don’t let them rise).
  3. Place discs on a lightly greased baking sheet.
  4. Put the sheet with the discs in the freezer.
  5. After a few hours, once the discs are frozen, transfer them into freezer bags. Portion them accordingly.
  6. Seal the bags and put them back in the freezer.
  7. Use within 2-3 weeks.

For an added layer of protection, you can also store those bags together in an airtight container.

Freezing pizza dough is a good option if you want to pre-make multiple portions at once that can be baked over several weeks.

If you are making your dough to be frozen, then I would suggest using slightly more yeast than is recommended on the recipe. Freezing will inevitably destroy some of the yeast cells. Using slightly more yeast will ensure that the dough will rise adequately after thawing it.

How To Thaw Frozen Pizza Dough?

  1. Take the bag out of the freezer, put it in the fridge, and leave it till the next day.
  2. Take the dough balls/discs out of the fridge for about 30 min before making your pizza.
  3. Place them on a lightly greased baking sheet and let them rise for 30-40 min.
  4. Put it on the work counter, stretch it out, and make your pizza.

Can I Leave Pizza Dough Overnight At Room Temperature?

Pizza dough is made up of water, flour, yeast, and a bit of oil. Typically, after a few hours, it will double in size and is ready for baking.

But, when you leave the dough on a warm kitchen counter for more than 8-10 hours, it will rise to its maximum capacity and then start to deflate slightly. However, it will still remain leavened.

In general, dough left at room temperature overnight is still edible and safe to use the next day. However, the texture and flavor of the pizza crust might turn out a bit different. It might have a slightly sour, fermented taste and a thicker texture.

If you have no choice but to leave it at room temperature overnight, then cover it up and leave it by the window, away from heating elements, to keep it as cool as possible.

The following day, if the dough does not look right or has developed an unusual smell, then don’t use it. If your recipe requires milk, yogurt, sour cream, or eggs, then it is definitely not safe to leave it overnight at room temperature and must be stored in the fridge.

If that is not an option, then you should consider pre-cooking your pizza base the day before you need it.

Quick Summary

If you intend to make several portions that you can use over an extended period, then you will want to store it in the freezer in an airtight container. If you simply need your dough to keep for a few days, then storing it in the fridge in a covered container is your best bet.

Related article: Bake like a professional baker – here is how to keep your yeast alive longer.

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How to store pizza dough

If you want to make pizzas in the comfort of your own home, one of the most important things to consider is how to store pizza dough. If you aren’t ready to bake your pizza dough right away, you will need to make sure that it is stored correctly so that is doesn’t go bad.

Pizza dough will keep in the freezer for up to three months and in the refrigerator for three days but at room temperature, you will need to make sure you get baking pretty quickly.

In this post, we are going to be looking at the best way to store pizza dough and giving you some tips on the various methods.

How Do You Refrigerate Homemade Pizza Dough?

One of the joys of making pizzas at home is that you can do much of the preparation ahead of time. Making the dough is one such example of this but if you don’t intend on baking it the same day, you must store the dough in the fridge.

When kept in the fridge, your dough will typically last for around three days so this is a good method if you want to make your pizza dough at the weekend ready to use during the week.

To start, you will need to follow the pizza dough recipe which will include flour, water, yeast, sugar, olive oil and salt. Some recipes may not include certain ingredients but it is up to you which recipe you follow. This recipe makes the most traditional pizza crust.

Once your dough is prepared, you can then split it into balls with a dough scraper. Make sure that you have kneaded the dough well and then get a plastic container, typically a bowl, to but the balls in. You must lightly coat the inside of your bowl with olive oil as this will prevent the dough ball from sticking.

Place your pizza dough balls inside the bowl and cover it with either some plastic wrap or a lid. If you are using plastic wrap, be sure to properly seal this around the container to prevent air from getting inside.

Now place the dough in the fridge. One of the benefits of keeping pizza dough in the fridge is that it will rise, so you don’t need to let it rise before you store it.

Pizza dough that is kept in the fridge should be used within three days to taste it at its best. If it is not, you will find that it doesn’t have as good flavor and the texture of the crust may be drier than you would like.

When you are ready to start baking, you should take the dough out of the fridge and let the dough sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before putting it into the oven. You can leave it for a little extra time but try not to leave it any longer than 1/2 an hour.

Leaving the dough to warm will allow you to knead a stretch it much more easily. You can then work the dough into the correct shape before baking. However, we would also suggest that you let the dough rest for 15 minutes first.

Can You Refrigerate Pizza Dough After it Rises?

The great thing about pizza dough is that you can pop it into the fridge at any point of the process. From the moment you begin creating your recipe, right through to after the dough has been baked, it can be kept in the fridge.

If you have let the dough rise at room temperature, you may then decide to chill it until you are ready to use it.

According to some of the best pizza chefs, putting the dough in the fridge after the first rise will give the best results. You can follow the same process that we discussed in the previous section but do remember to give the dough balls room to rise as it will expand.

After the dough has been in the fridge for a day, you will find that it is at its best for making pizza. This is because, at this point, the dough will have the most amount of flavor and texture. If you are looking to make pizza with a professional crust, it can help to use the dough after a day in the fridge.

When are ready to use it, reshape the dough and let it rise again. Then follow the same process as before, leaving the dough for around 15 – 30 minutes to come to room temperature. It will then be good to use.

How Long Can You Leave Pizza Dough To Rise?

When you make pizza, one of the most important parts of the process is to allow the dough to rise. You might hear this being called proofing or fermenting, but it is all the same thing.

The reason that this is so important is that, if you want to achieve a fluffy crust, the yeast must have time to react with the gluten in the dough. You will notice that all pizza dough recipes call for yeast and often sugar, along with flour and water of course. Some yeast needs to be dissolved in water whereas other types of yeast can be added directly into the flour and other dry ingredients; but all yeast acts in the same way.

Yeast is a living organism that needs to feed. When you knead the dough, you are creating a network of gluten structures that the yeast can feed on. During the rising process, the yeast ‘eats’ the sugar and creates air bubbles; this is what causes the dough to expand and is what creates that gorgeous fluffy crust.

So, after you have completed your dough recipe, you will need to leave it to rise but depending on where you place the dough will depend on how much time it will need.

You can leave the dough at room temperature in a bowl covered with plastic wrap and lined with a coating of olive oil or any other type of cooking oil. In this case, you should give it between 1 and 1/2 hours. It may take a little longer if the room is cool so don’t be afraid to give it a little extra time, if needs be. The dough should double in size and this is an easy way to tell when it is ready.

Alternatively, you can proof your pizza dough in the fridge. If you use this method, do be prepared to keep the dough there for longer as the cooler temperatures will slow down the proofing process. The dough will take at least 12 hours to proof. However, it is important to keep in mind that after a few days, the yeast will have run out of gluten to feed on and the dough will start to deteriorate.

Put the dough balls in to a container and follow the same process as before.

When the dough is ready for using, you can take it out and allow it to come to room temperature before putting it into the oven for baking.

Store-bought pizza dough helps cooks streamline the pizza-making process. With the crust already prepared, you have the freedom to concentrate fully on creating a delicious pizza with a bountiful array of toppings and cheese. Depending on the pizza crust you purchase, you may only need to unroll it onto a pizza pan or you may need to spread it yourself onto your pan. Give your pizza crust a little extra lightness by letting store-bought pizza dough rise for a short time after you spread it into your pan.

Defrost the pizza dough, if necessary. Follow package instructions for defrosting, either placing the dough in the refrigerator or allowing it to thaw at room temperature for the recommended amount of time.

Open the pizza dough and remove it from the packaging.

Grease or oil the pizza pan you will use to bake the pizza. Brush vegetable or olive oil evenly over the pizza pan.

Spread the pizza dough over the pan, either unrolling it or spreading it with your fingers to cover the entire pizza pan. Pinch the edges of the pizza dough to form a small crust, if you wish.

Add the pizza sauce and the other toppings over the pizza. Meat, olives, peppers, onions, mushrooms and cheese are standard pizza toppings. Cover the pizza evenly with ingredients.

Place the prepared pizza in a warm spot on the counter or place it into the oven to allow the dough to rise for a short time in a draft-free environment. A long rise is not necessary — allow the pizza to rise for 15 to 20 minutes. This is just enough time to give the dough a little extra lift.

Bake the pizza according to the package recommendations that accompanied the pizza dough.

By adding the sauce and toppings first before allowing the pizza dough to rise, you can preserve the rise in the pizza dough. If you spread the dough and then allowed the dough to rise before adding the sauce and toppings, the dough would deflate as you added the toppings. Because store-bought pizza dough contains active yeast, it will automatically respond to warmth by rising.

How to store pizza dough

If you have leftover pizza dough, or simply want to save some time and work next time you’re baking pizza, you need to know how to store pizza dough.

How long pizza dough last depends mainly on how much yeast you’re using, and the temperature the dough is stored at. Yeast is more active in higher temperatures, so by lowering the temperature the yeast will slow down. Therefore, pizza dough stored in a lower temperature, like in the fridge, or freezer will last longer than in room temperature.

Why Does Pizza Dough Go Bad?

The main threat is overproofing. Overproofing happens when you let the dough rest for too long, and it starts losing its shape and texture because the gluten is not able to trap the gases inside the dough anymore.

The surface of pizza dough is not airtight, like a balloon that traps all the gas inside, and gas is constantly escaping. As long as the yeast is able to produce enough gas, the dough will keep rising. But if you let the dough rest for too long, the gluten strains will weaken, and the yeast will not be able to produce enough gas to keep inflating the dough. You will then end up with a dough with poor structure, that is not able to keep its shape.

The amount of yeast in the pizza dough regulates the speed of the fermentation. That means that the more yeast you add, the faster the dough will rise. Most home pizza recipes use a lot of yeast, to achieve fast rising. Neapolitan pizza, on the other hand use much less yeast, and therefore ferments slower.

Pizza dough will not really go bad, in the sense that it’s dangerous to eat just by leaving it it for long. As long as your ingredients are not bad, contaminated, contains mold, etc. It is therefore really important to use quality ingredients when you bake pizza. The dough, may however develop off flavours if it’s left for too long.

Storing Pizza Dough on the Counter

During fermentation, you usually store pizza dough in room temperature on the counter. A standard pizza dough is often left 1-2 hours. Neapolitan pizza dough, on the other hand, is fermented in room temperature for 8-12 hours. The difference is the amount of yeast. The less yeast the dough contains, the longer you can leave it out in room temperature before it overproofs.

How Long Can Pizza Sit Out on the Counter?

A standard pizza dough can sit out on the counter for 2-4 hours, while a Neapolitan-style pizza dough with less yeast can be left out up to 24 hours.

How to Store Pizza Dough in Room Temperature

Pizza dough should be stored in an airtight container, or covered with plastic wrap. By doing that, the dough will not dry out, and create a hard, dry surface. It’s also a good idea to brush the dough and container in olive oil. This will further help the surface from drying out, in addition to make it easier to get out of the container when you’re going to make pizza.

When making pizza dough, I recommend to make one big dough first, and you can of course double or triple your recipe. Then leave it for 1-2 hours, in an oiled container, as described above. Before you create smaller, portion-sized dough balls. Then leave it for another hour to overnight, depending on what kind of pizza dough you’re making.

Storing Pizza Dough in the Fridge

Storing pizza dough in the fridge is great if you want to make it in advance, or if you have some leftover dough after baking pizza. It’s also good for slow fermentation, to develop better, more complex flavour.

How Long Can Pizza Stay in the Fridge?

You can store pizza dough in the fridge up to two weeks. Storing pizza dough in the fridge will slow down the fermentation, but not stop the process completely. Therefore, you should adjust the amount of yeast if you plan to leave your dough in the fridge for an extended period of time.

Even though you can leave it for up to two weeks, I recommend to freeze the dough if you’re not planning to use it within 7 days, because it can overproof. I’ve found the sweetspot for flavour to be 3-5 days, so there is not any point leaving it longer for flavour.

How To Store Pizza Dough in the Fridge

Like with storing pizza in room temperature, I recommend leaving it for 1-2 hours in room temperature first. Then split it into individual, portion-sized dough balls. Lastly, put it in an airtight container coated in olive oil.

When you’re going to use the dough, take it out of the fridge at least 30 minutes before you’re planning to bake pizza, to let it come to room temperature. You can now use it just like any room temperature fermented pizza dough.

Storing Pizza in the Fridge for Flavour

Storing pizza dough in the fridge is a great way to enhance the flavour. By slowing down the fermentation, the yeast will eat the sugars, and release CO2 at a slow and steady pace. This will create more complex flavour compounds than a quick proofing.

I usually leave my dough in the fridge for 3-5 days. I’ve found this to create the perfect consistency, combined with delicious flavour. This works best for an Italian-style pizza dough, with less yeast. If you have never tried slow fermentation, I recommend reducing the amount of yeast a bit. This will slow down the fermentation process further, and help prevent overproofing.

Storing Pizza Dough in the Freezer

If you’re not going to use leftover dough for a while, or just want to have some backup pizza dough ready at all times, you should be storing pizza dough in the freezer. I always have a few doughs in my freezer. It’s not much more work to double or triple your recipe, and it’s super convenient to have a few extra backup pizza doughs.

How Long Can Pizza Stay in the Freezer?

When pizza dough is stored in the freezer, the fermentation process stops completely. You can therefore leave your dough much longer in the freezer than in the fridge. Pizza dough will last three months in the freezer.

How To Store Pizza Dough in the Freezer

Like with storing pizza at room temperature or in the fridge, I recommend leaving it for 1-2 hours at room temperature first. Then split it into individual, portion-sized dough balls, before putting them in airtight containers. Ziplock-bags are also a great option since they require less space in your freezer.

When you’re going to use your dough, remove it from the freezer, and leave it for at least 3-4 hours at room temperature to thaw.

Alternatively, you can thaw the dough in the fridge to thaw overnight. Then, take it out, and let it come to room temperature before you’re going to bake pizza.

When asked about the thing Italy is known for the most, most people will tell you it’s pizza. Millions of people worldwide enjoy this dish every day in various forms.

However, it started as the simple pairing of bread, cheese, and marinara sauce. Over time, many regions around the world have introduced their version of pizza and claimed them to be the best.

Knowing how to store pizza dough is a trick worth knowing regardless of you being a chef of a five-star hotel or a cooking enthusiast in your kitchen.

A well-made pizza will go excellently in a small get-together with friends as well as corporate dinners. So learning how to prepare and preserve pizza is a trick anyone will do well to know.

Making the Perfect Pizza Dough

The hardest part of baking a pizza is making the pizza dough. There is a complexity in making the pizza dough that is difficult enough to be considered as art. It is the most time-consuming step and takes a lot of effort too.

How to store pizza dough

Therefore, in case of gatherings or commercial restaurants, it’s best to have the pizza dough prepared in bulk and stored to bake them when necessary. Similar to making the pizza dough, storing it is also equally tricky and sensitive.

The Process

Regardless of how taxing the entire process of making pizza dough is, the steps itself are quite easy to understand. Start by mixing activated yeast with water and let it sit for a couple of minutes.

This step will allow the yeast to become alive. Then add some flour, sugar, olive oil, and salt into it and thoroughly knead the dough. Once the mixture becomes smooth enough, let it rest for a while.

How to store pizza dough

And this timeframe will be when the yeast starts to grow and allows the dough to rise nicely. This process is the secret to making a pizza crust soft and warm.

Start punching the dough once the rising is complete to have it deflated to start forming the shape of the pizza crust. Keep a close eye on the recipe as there might be some additional steps depending on the type of pizza you plan on making.

Reasons for Making Extra Dough

Making extra pizza dough is quite easy. The recipe doesn’t require any complex changes at all. All you need to do is multiply it. You’d be able to maintain the same level of quality for multiple pizza batches. With a little extra effort, you can bypass the grueling process of making pizza dough for the next hangout with ease.

Be sure to divide the dough according to the number of pizzas you want to make with it. This strategy will help you make pizza faster the next time you have a craving for pizza. It sure beats the stress of having to make pizza dough from scratch!

How to Store Pizza Dough

Before we address the various ways to store pizza dough, we must understand that we can store the pizza dough only after fulfilling a certain amount of requirements. You’ll need to let your dough rise at least once before you move to store it.

One of the places you should never store pizza dough in is room temperature. Keeping the dough there would cause it to continue rising. This method will lead to the dough fermenting more than necessary and will leave a disgusting taste in your mouth.

How to store pizza dough

Even if you’re using inactive yeast, keeping it in a place like a kitchen counter will cause the dough to become hard and chewy.

The best place for storing pizza dough are those with chilly temperatures. Cold places decelerate the growth rate of yeast and eventually cause it to become dormant. Here are a few places for storing pizza dough.

1. Popping It in the Refrigerator

Have the entire dough divided into balls that are enough to make a single pizza, then wrap it up in airtight storage units after fulfilling the initial requirements. A plastic container with a lid would work correctly, or a zip-lock bag would serve well. Be sure to get all the air out of the packet to seal it in properly.

Once the containers are ready, pop it in the fridge. Pizza dough can last up to two weeks in the refrigerator. Before using the dough, have it unwrapped and placed in a bowl with a little bit of flour. Have the dough covered in flour and wait for it to be of room temperature.

The time for this will depend mainly on the weight of the dough. Once the process is over, simply add your preferred toppings and begin baking!

2. Storing It in a Freezer

Similar to that of a refrigerator, storing pizza dough in a freezer requires following the same process. There’s a high chance of getting the dough all dry, so make sure you’re wrapping it as tightly as possible. The dough will last in the freezer for as long as three months, at least.

How to store pizza dough

When you want to use the pizza dough, remove it from the freezer the night before and let it thaw throughout the night. Once the process is over, unwrap the dough. Transfer it into a surface lightly covered in flour and wait for it to reach room temperature.

Once it hits room temperature, form it into the crust of your choice and start making it.

Conclusion

As you can see, storing pizza dough is pretty easy compared to actually making it. Knowing how to store pizza dough will save you a lot of time.

Be sure to keep an eye on the cookbook when making your pizza crust, though. The recipe tends to vary a lot, depending on the type of pizza. Making pizza will certainly be easier for you now!

Follow these tips for perfect pies every time.

If you start with store-bought pizza dough, you’re halfway to dinner. Many grocery stores (including Whole Foods) sell both fresh and frozen dough, but if you can’t find it, ask your local pizza joint to sell you some. Begin by following the advice below, which will set you up for success. Then, top your dough with either red or white sauce—and plenty of cheese—for a weeknight pizza party. Or, switch it up and make strombolis or dessert calzones.

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1 Fresh dough

The first step in any pizza-making venture: Bring the (fresh or frozen) dough to room temperature. This makes it easier to work with and keeps it from shrinking back during the stretching process.

Portion the dough before shaping it. Opt for four to six ounces to make an individual pizza, 10 to 12 ounces for a two-person pie, and one pound for a family-sized version. Any leftover dough can be frozen in an airtight resealable bag for up to three months.

Stretch the dough with your hands, not a rolling pin, which can crush air pockets and prevent the dough from rising and bubbling during baking. Dust both your hands and the dough with flour as you go to prevent sticking.

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If you don’t have time to make pizza dough from scratch, these fresh store-bought doughs are solid picks.

Nothing tops a freshly-made homemade pizza, but let’s face it—making it entirely from scratch is a labor-intensive task, especially when it comes to the dough. And don’t get us wrong, if you have the time, we 100% recommend making your own pizza dough.

The basic recipe for pizza dough is yeast, flour, water, and salt. Sounds simple, right? Well, kind of. First, there’s proofing the yeast for the dough. Then, once you form the dough, you have to knead it, let it rise, let it rest, roll it out, and pile on your toppings—all before you can bake it in the oven.

Yes, the traditional method yields a perfectly chewy-crispy pizza crust, but we realize that this is 2018—and most of us don’t have the multitude of hours it takes to cultivate a crust from scratch. So, how do you get that homemade flavor and texture in a quarter of the time?

Luckily, plenty of grocery stores and food brands these days offer fresh refrigerated or frozen pizza dough. Store-bought pizza dough isn’t quite the same as what you’d make in your own kitchen—but in a pinch, it’s a pretty good workaround. With so many options out there, how do you know which doughs will make the best crusts?

To find out, we scoured all the major grocery stores and retailers in our area—Whole Foods, Trader Joes’s, Publix, Target, and Wal-Mart—and bought every refrigerated and frozen pizza dough we could get our hands on. The only type we ruled out was pre-baked pizza dough (the kind you find in the bread aisle).

Our findings included a mix of traditional, whole-wheat, and gluten-free fresh pizza doughs. Some of the doughs were refrigerated in the deli section of the grocery store, some were frozen, and another one even came in a tube. We rolled and baked all of them according to the package instructions and conducted a blind taste test to choose our favorites. After plenty of carbo-loading and debate, we chose winners from three different categories—traditional, whole-wheat, and gluten-free.

Best Traditional Pizza Dough

Trader Joe’s Ready to Bake Pizza Dough ($1.19)

Hands down, Trader Joe’s fresh pizza dough packs the best bang-for-your-buck value. Priced at $1.19 per ball of dough (enough to make about one large pizza), this was the least expensive dough we purchased. The packaging isn’t the prettiest, but this is hardly a con when compared with the pros. The dough felt very sticky out of the package—but a sprinkling of flour on our work surface quickly solved that problem. The dough was easy to roll out and held its shape much better than other pizza doughs we tested.

We baked this dough on a pizza stone for about 15 minutes in a 400 degree oven. Compared to other doughs, this one browned relatively quickly on the bottom and edges. One taster immediately identified this pizza crust as Trader Joe’s—and said it was her favorite store-bought one to buy. Other tasters praised the “chewy-crispy texture and yeasty flavor.” In addition to classic, Trader Joe’s also sells whole-wheat and Italian-style pizza doughs.

Pillsbury Canned Classic Pizza Dough ($2.67, Publix)

Pillsbury’s pizza dough was truly the dark horse winner of the bunch. First things first—this dough is not sexy. It comes in a tube, which is totally nostalgic if you ever overdid it on canned cinnamon rolls as a kid. Out of the can, the dough feels sticky and even a touch greasy. The instructions, however, are foolproof—simply plop the dough “log” onto a cookie sheet, unroll, and bake.

In a 400 degree oven, the dough baked for about 18 minutes total. It had a more pronounced golden-brown color than other doughs we tested, and it also smelled a touch buttery. Yes, this crust was the most processed of the bunch, but everyone loved it so much, no one seemed to notice. In fact, when the brand was revealed to our tasters, no one believed it.

Tasters praised Pillsbury’s pizza crust for its “slightly sweet taste and good amount of salt.” Another commented on the “super crispy outside, but buttery and fluffy inside.” One taster pointed out an unexpected quality, “It tastes a little nutty, kind of like whole-wheat.”

Note: Pillsbury also makes a classic pizza dough with no preservatives. We don’t reccomend this product. The dough is a total mess and it bakes up way too crispy.

Best Gluten-Free Pizza Dough

Wholly Gluten-Free Pizza Dough ($7.99, Whole Foods)

Yes, this pizza dough is pricey, but it’s a great option if you’re looking for a gluten-free crust. The producer, Wholly Wholesome, makes a solid line of organic pie doughs and prepared shells—so we weren’t surprised when their gluten-free pizza dough came out on top.

Find this pizza dough in the frozen foods section of Whole Foods, and it will need to thaw first before you can bake it. Keep in mind that the texture of any gluten-free pizza dough is going to be markedly different from traditional pizza dough, due to a lack of flour. Wholly’s gluten-free dough is rather wet and sticky, but it’s easy to roll out if you place it between two sheets of parchment paper.

We baked the dough in a 400 degree oven for about 14 minutes on a pizza stone. It didn’t brown quite like the other pizza doughs we tested, but it held onto its fresh-from-the-oven texture much longer than other crusts. It had a prominent potato flavor, but this isn’t surprising consider that the main ingredients are white rice flour and potato starch. As one taster commented, “for a gluten-free pizza crust, this is as good as it gets.”

Best Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

Whole Foods Whole Wheat Pizza Dough ($3.99)

Whole Foods’ fresh pizza dough isn’t cheap, but it’s about as close to homemade pizza dough as you’ll get. We actually tried two different types of dough—traditional and whole-wheat—and the latter was our clear favorite. You’ll find this pizza dough in the pizza section of the store, and it’s same dough they use to make their by-the-slice pizza.

This dough has a pleasant yeasty aroma, and you can tell that it’s very fresh. The dough is silky-smooth to the touch, and it’s very easy to roll out. Here’s a tip: Try using cornmeal instead of flour to help the dough not stick to your work surface—it has a slightly crunchy texture and it will add flavor to the dough, too.

We baked this dough in a 400 degree oven for about 15 minutes. The edges crisped up nicely and the underside turned an appealing golden-brown color. The flavor was nutty and subtly sweet with a touch of honey. All around, this was a very tasty crust.

The Verdict on Store-Bought Pizza Dough: While there are plenty of solid options for store-bought pizza dough, we still stand by the belief that nothing beats homemade. Yes, making dough from scratch takes time—but it’s worth the extra effort, we promise.

If you don’t have time to make pizza dough from scratch, these fresh store-bought doughs are solid picks.

Nothing tops a freshly-made homemade pizza, but let’s face it—making it entirely from scratch is a labor-intensive task, especially when it comes to the dough. And don’t get us wrong, if you have the time, we 100% recommend making your own pizza dough.

The basic recipe for pizza dough is yeast, flour, water, and salt. Sounds simple, right? Well, kind of. First, there’s proofing the yeast for the dough. Then, once you form the dough, you have to knead it, let it rise, let it rest, roll it out, and pile on your toppings—all before you can bake it in the oven.

Yes, the traditional method yields a perfectly chewy-crispy pizza crust, but we realize that this is 2018—and most of us don’t have the multitude of hours it takes to cultivate a crust from scratch. So, how do you get that homemade flavor and texture in a quarter of the time?

Luckily, plenty of grocery stores and food brands these days offer fresh refrigerated or frozen pizza dough. Store-bought pizza dough isn’t quite the same as what you’d make in your own kitchen—but in a pinch, it’s a pretty good workaround. With so many options out there, how do you know which doughs will make the best crusts?

To find out, we scoured all the major grocery stores and retailers in our area—Whole Foods, Trader Joes’s, Publix, Target, and Wal-Mart—and bought every refrigerated and frozen pizza dough we could get our hands on. The only type we ruled out was pre-baked pizza dough (the kind you find in the bread aisle).

Our findings included a mix of traditional, whole-wheat, and gluten-free fresh pizza doughs. Some of the doughs were refrigerated in the deli section of the grocery store, some were frozen, and another one even came in a tube. We rolled and baked all of them according to the package instructions and conducted a blind taste test to choose our favorites. After plenty of carbo-loading and debate, we chose winners from three different categories—traditional, whole-wheat, and gluten-free.

Best Traditional Pizza Dough

Trader Joe’s Ready to Bake Pizza Dough ($1.19)

Hands down, Trader Joe’s fresh pizza dough packs the best bang-for-your-buck value. Priced at $1.19 per ball of dough (enough to make about one large pizza), this was the least expensive dough we purchased. The packaging isn’t the prettiest, but this is hardly a con when compared with the pros. The dough felt very sticky out of the package—but a sprinkling of flour on our work surface quickly solved that problem. The dough was easy to roll out and held its shape much better than other pizza doughs we tested.

We baked this dough on a pizza stone for about 15 minutes in a 400 degree oven. Compared to other doughs, this one browned relatively quickly on the bottom and edges. One taster immediately identified this pizza crust as Trader Joe’s—and said it was her favorite store-bought one to buy. Other tasters praised the “chewy-crispy texture and yeasty flavor.” In addition to classic, Trader Joe’s also sells whole-wheat and Italian-style pizza doughs.

Pillsbury Canned Classic Pizza Dough ($2.67, Publix)

Pillsbury’s pizza dough was truly the dark horse winner of the bunch. First things first—this dough is not sexy. It comes in a tube, which is totally nostalgic if you ever overdid it on canned cinnamon rolls as a kid. Out of the can, the dough feels sticky and even a touch greasy. The instructions, however, are foolproof—simply plop the dough “log” onto a cookie sheet, unroll, and bake.

In a 400 degree oven, the dough baked for about 18 minutes total. It had a more pronounced golden-brown color than other doughs we tested, and it also smelled a touch buttery. Yes, this crust was the most processed of the bunch, but everyone loved it so much, no one seemed to notice. In fact, when the brand was revealed to our tasters, no one believed it.

Tasters praised Pillsbury’s pizza crust for its “slightly sweet taste and good amount of salt.” Another commented on the “super crispy outside, but buttery and fluffy inside.” One taster pointed out an unexpected quality, “It tastes a little nutty, kind of like whole-wheat.”

Note: Pillsbury also makes a classic pizza dough with no preservatives. We don’t reccomend this product. The dough is a total mess and it bakes up way too crispy.

Best Gluten-Free Pizza Dough

Wholly Gluten-Free Pizza Dough ($7.99, Whole Foods)

Yes, this pizza dough is pricey, but it’s a great option if you’re looking for a gluten-free crust. The producer, Wholly Wholesome, makes a solid line of organic pie doughs and prepared shells—so we weren’t surprised when their gluten-free pizza dough came out on top.

Find this pizza dough in the frozen foods section of Whole Foods, and it will need to thaw first before you can bake it. Keep in mind that the texture of any gluten-free pizza dough is going to be markedly different from traditional pizza dough, due to a lack of flour. Wholly’s gluten-free dough is rather wet and sticky, but it’s easy to roll out if you place it between two sheets of parchment paper.

We baked the dough in a 400 degree oven for about 14 minutes on a pizza stone. It didn’t brown quite like the other pizza doughs we tested, but it held onto its fresh-from-the-oven texture much longer than other crusts. It had a prominent potato flavor, but this isn’t surprising consider that the main ingredients are white rice flour and potato starch. As one taster commented, “for a gluten-free pizza crust, this is as good as it gets.”

Best Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

Whole Foods Whole Wheat Pizza Dough ($3.99)

Whole Foods’ fresh pizza dough isn’t cheap, but it’s about as close to homemade pizza dough as you’ll get. We actually tried two different types of dough—traditional and whole-wheat—and the latter was our clear favorite. You’ll find this pizza dough in the pizza section of the store, and it’s same dough they use to make their by-the-slice pizza.

This dough has a pleasant yeasty aroma, and you can tell that it’s very fresh. The dough is silky-smooth to the touch, and it’s very easy to roll out. Here’s a tip: Try using cornmeal instead of flour to help the dough not stick to your work surface—it has a slightly crunchy texture and it will add flavor to the dough, too.

We baked this dough in a 400 degree oven for about 15 minutes. The edges crisped up nicely and the underside turned an appealing golden-brown color. The flavor was nutty and subtly sweet with a touch of honey. All around, this was a very tasty crust.

The Verdict on Store-Bought Pizza Dough: While there are plenty of solid options for store-bought pizza dough, we still stand by the belief that nothing beats homemade. Yes, making dough from scratch takes time—but it’s worth the extra effort, we promise.