Last summer we purchased an outdoor pizza oven and it was one of our favorite outdoor and indoor pieces of equipment. It’s fun, versatile and creates fantastic toasty pizza within minutes. We’ve cooked lots of different pizza varieties from traditional to more creative. If you like, make your own pizza dough (recipe below), but feel free to buy the frozen dough from Trader Joe’s or in your local market and defrost it. I think it's delicious and an easier way to make this a fun treat.

A few tips: use cornmeal or flour under the dough for easy removal and turn the pizza in the oven to get even baking. These can be prepared in a traditional oven. Bake in a preheated 375°F oven for about 20 - 25 minutes. Each of my kids makes their own pie with toppings, desired thickness and flavor. It’s great fun, the perfect summer night activity and a super easy dinner! Triple win!

Pizza tips and recipes…

  1. You don’t need to make homemade dough. Yes, it's yummy but many commercial varieties are available in your local market or at Trader Joe’s. Many pizzerias are willing to sell the dough too. Let it come to room temperature before topping though.
  2. You do need a pizza stone though. A sheet pan will not be big enough for a decent circular pizza and more importantly will not produce the crispy bottom surface that a stone will. Get something simple, no need for a fancy one, any brand made from stone is great.
  3. For homemade sauce, recipes below. Starting with great sauce adds depth of flavor. Recipes: My Favorite Super Simple Pizza Red Sauce, My Favorite White Sauce.
  4. Don’t use too much cheese, use other flavor enhancers like pesto, crushed red pepper, oregano, garlic, etc.
  5. Drizzle with olive oil and kosher salt before baking.

Homemade Dough, if you like homemade

Makes enough for 2 pizza recipes below

  • 1 ¾ cups warm water (105 to 110°F)
  • 1 envelope active dry yeast (2 ¼ teaspoons)
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cups bread flour, plus more for dusting (bread flour and high gluten flour can be used interchangeably)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • Nonstick spray

In a liquid measuring cup, combine the warm water, yeast and sugar. Allow the yeast to dissolve and proof, about 5 minutes, it will appear foamy and puffed up. Once proofed, add the olive oil.

Meanwhile, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough attachment, combine the flour and salt. Stream in the water/yeast mixture and as the dough begins to come together. Allow the dough to knead, adding a bit more flour if needed, so that the dough releases from the sides of the bowl, 1 to 3 minutes. You should be able to touch the dough and not have the dough stick to your fingers. Once the dough has kneaded and has pulled away from the sides of the bowl, remove the dough and place it on a floured work surface and, with floured hands, continue to knead it by hand for 1 to 2 minutes. Then form the dough into a round ball and place it into a large bowl sprayed with nonstick spray. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a clean dish towel and let the dough rise in a warm area of your kitchen until it doubles in size, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Roll out and top anyway you like.

Classic Margarita Pizza

 

Photo by abeautifulplate.com

Serves 4 - 5

Feel free to use homemade pizza dough and homemade marinara sauce (my favorite recipe is in the pantry section of my cookbook, titled CELEBRATE), pizza sauce or regular tomato sauce.

  • 1 package store bought pizza dough
  • 1 cup marinara sauce
  • 3 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan
  • 7 ounces fresh Mozzarella cheese, cut into ½ inch slices
  • 6 large basil leaves, sliced thin
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Kosher salt and pepper

To prepare pizza, roll pizza dough out to desired thickness. Spread marinara sauce on top and sprinkle with the Parmesan. Lay mozzarella cheese slices all around. Top with basil leaves and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper.

Preheat the pizza oven according to the manufacturer's instructions. Bake for about 12 minutes in a pizza oven, turning about every 4 minutes for even cooking. Alternatively, Bake in a preheated 375°F oven for about 20 - 25 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the crust is lightly toasted.

Ricotta Pesto Pizza

 

Image by seriouseats.com

Serves 4 - 5

This is a perfect combination, tangy pesto sauce with creamy ricotta. I often add caramelized onions and fresh tomatoes too, but start with this base.

  • 1 package store bought pizza dough
  • ½ cup basil pesto (store bought jars work great)
  • 2 cups whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 4 tablespoons fresh grated Parmesan
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper, optional

Roll pizza dough out to desired thickness. Spread pesto over the dough in a thin layer, reserving some for dolloping later. Spoon about teaspoon sized balls of ricotta cheese over the pesto across the pizza. Add a few dollops of pesto too. Sprinkle with Parmesan and pine nuts, then drizzle with oil, salt and pepper and crushed red pepper, if using.

Preheat the pizza oven according to manufacturer's instructions (mine uses a propane tank and gets hot very quickly. Bake for about 12 minutes in a pizza oven, turning about every 4 minutes for even baking. Alternatively, Bake in a preheated 375°F oven for about 20 - 25 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the crust is lightly toasted.

Barbecue “Chicken” Pizza

Serves 4 - 5

This can be made pareve (with soy meat strips) or a meat version, being mindful to use a meat oven for a meat pizza and a dairy or pareve pizza oven for the pareve or dairy version. This is a copycat recipe for the famous California Pizza Kitchen recipe of BBQ chicken pizza.

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 package store bought pizza dough
  • 1 cup barbecue sauce
  • 1 cup soy chicken strips, cut in cubes ( or cooked chicken strips, I use leftover grilled or roasted chicken)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • ¾ cup arugula
  • Spicy Mayo

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook for about 2 minutes. Add salt and cook until lightly browned and caramelized, about 15 minutes.

Roll pizza dough to desired thickness. Spread barbecue sauce over the pizza evenly. Add cooked onions and chicken strips.

Preheat the pizza oven according to manufacturer's instructions (mine uses a propane tank and gets hot very quickly. Bake for about 12 minutes in a pizza oven, turning about every 4 minutes for even baking. Alternatively, Bake in a preheated 375°F oven for about 20 - 25 minutes, until the crust is lightly toasted.

Top with arugula and drizzle with spicy mayo.

Balsamic Caramelized Onion Pizza with Feta

 

Photo by eatgood4life.com

Serves 4 - 5

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 red onion
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 package store bought pizza dough
  • ½ cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms
  • For Garnish: fresh basil, arugula, and toasted nuts

Place oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add oil and sauté onion about 10 minutes, until translucent and softened. Remove from heat and Stir in balsamic vinegar and thyme.

Roll pizza dough to desired thickness. Spread cooked onions all over the crust. Scatter crumbled feta and sliced mushrooms on top.

Preheat the pizza oven according to manufacturer's instructions (mine uses a propane tank and gets hot very quickly. Bake for about 12 minutes in a pizza oven, turning about every 4 minutes for even baking. Alternatively, Bake in a preheated 375°F oven for about 20 - 25 minutes, until the crust is lightly toasted.

Top with fresh basil, arugula and toasted nuts

Roasted Veggie Pizza

 

Photo by kitchenconfidante.com

Serves 4 - 5

Use any vegetable of your liking in this.

  • 1 package store bought pizza dough
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 zucchini, sliced
  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • ½ red onion, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon oregano1 cup store-bought pesto or marinara sauce
  • 4 tablespoons parmesan cheese or crumbled goat cheese
  • ½ cup sundried tomatoes
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Garnish with basil if desired

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

On a large lined baking sheet, toss oil with zucchini, mushrooms, pepper, and red onion. Add oregano, salt and pepper and toss to coat.

Roast until vegetables are lightly browned, about 25 minutes.

Roll pizza dough to desired thickness. Spread pesto or marinara over dough. Top with roasted vegetables. Sprinkle it with cheese, sun dried tomatoes, salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil.

Preheat the pizza oven according to manufacturer's instructions (mine uses a propane tank and gets hot very quickly. Bake for about 12 minutes in a pizza oven, turning about every 4 minutes for even baking. Alternatively, Bake in a preheated 375°F oven for about 20 - 25 minutes, until the crust is lightly toasted.

S’mores Pizza

 

Photo by dessertnowdinnerlater.com

Serves 6 - 8

  • 1 package store bought pizza dough
  • ½ cup chocolate chips
  • 2 cups mini marshmallows
  • 2 cups chopped graham cracker

Roll out pizza dough thinly. Melt chocolate in the microwave by placing it in a glass bowl and cooking for 30 seconds, stir and continue to cook in 20 second intervals, until smooth.

Spread melted chocolate across pizza dough. Layer marshmallows and graham cracker on top

Preheat the pizza oven according to manufacturer's instructions (mine uses a propane tank and gets hot very quickly. Bake for about 12 minutes in a pizza oven, turning about every 4 minutes for even baking. Alternatively, Bake in a preheated 375°F for about 14 minutes.

Nutella Banana Pizza

 

Photo by vincenzosplate.com

Serves 6 - 8

  • 1 package store bought pizza dough
  • 1 cup Nutella spread
  • 2 bananas sliced
  • ½ cup shredded coconut

Roll pizza dough out thinly. Spread Nutella across the pizza dough. Lay banana slices on top of Nutella. Sprinkle coconut on top.

Preheat the pizza oven according to manufacturer's instructions (mine uses a propane tank and gets hot very quickly. Bake for about 12 minutes in a pizza oven, turning about every 4 minutes for even baking. Alternatively, Bake in a preheated 375°F for about 14 minutes.