Cornmeal Pizza Dough


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Cornmeal pizza dough is easy to make and gives deep dish pizzas a beautiful golden crust that is buttery and crisp without being overcooked. This recipe can be prepared in advance and frozen for your next pizza night.

Deep Dish Pizza in a cast iron skillet

There are good pizza crusts, and then there are cornmeal pizza crusts. That irresistible buttery taste, the perfect-for-toppings texture, and the tender center and crispy outside. Whether you use a red-based marinara pizza sauce or a white pizza sauce, this cornmeal dough is the absolute best.    

To make cornmeal pizza crust you only need 5 ingredients and no bread flour, or other specialty ingredients. Even if this is your first time working with homemade pizza dough, you will be amazed at how simple a good cornmeal pizza crust is to make. If you can whip up a quick bread, you can make cornmeal pizza crust.

What is cornmeal pizza dough?

A lot of recipes for pizza dough call for semolina flour, but working with semolina dough isn’t always easy. It can be hard to knead, and, if you cook it for too long, it can get dry and lose that softness that makes pizza crust so delicious. Cornmeal pizza dough replaces semolina flour with yellow or white cornmeal for a foolproof pizza crust that hits all the right notes: soft, just a little crumbly, and buttery.

cornmeal pizza dough in a cast iron skillet

How to make it

  1. Make the dough. Combine the ingredients in the bowl of a standing mixer and mix until the dough comes together. 
  2. Rise. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl, cover with a dish towel and let rise at room temperature.
  3. Stretch and shape. Divide the dough in two. Stretch each dough ball and place in the prepped pan.
  4. Second proof. Allow the dough to rest while the oven heats. 
  5. Bake. 10 minutes in a preheated oven is all it takes to prep this crust. 
  6. Assemble. Add sauce and toppings, then continue baking. 
  7. Slice and serve! Allow pizza to cool. Slice and serve!


  • All-Purpose Flour – Use all-purpose here for classic, deep dish pizza texture.
  • Cornmeal – Yellow or white cornmeal adds a really unique twist to this dough. It gives it a subtle crumbly texture and a bit of extra flavor.
  • Instant / Fast Acting Yeast – Be sure to get yeast that is labeled as “instant” or “fast-acting”. These varieties of yeast work faster than regular yeast and mean that this pizza dough will rise in just one hour. 
  • Olive Oil – You’ll need 4 tablespoons for the dough, plus extra for greasing the pan.
  • Melted Butter – Melted butter gives the dough a rich, savory flavor and tender texture.
pizza dough in a white bowl after rising


  • It may be tempting to start cutting into the pizza as soon as it leaves the oven, but allowing the pizza to cool for a full 10 minutes before slicing guarantees easy slicing.
  • If you use a packet of active yeast you already have on hand, be sure to check the expiration date. To achieve the best soft but crunchy cornmeal pizza crust, the yeast should be fresh and ready to use.


  • Add herbs – Chopping a handful of fresh herbs like basil or oregano adds extra flavor.
  • Make it aromatic – Garlic powder is a popular pizza dough mix-in, and adds aromatics to the crust. It’s perfect for Italian-style or veggie-forward pizzas.

How to freeze cornmeal pizza dough (and printable label)

Pizza dough is really easy to freeze. Pre-bake the crust for 10 minutes, allow to cool, and then wrap it tightly before freezing. You can store frozen pizza crust for 6 months, and pull it out when you’re ready for your next pizza night. You can also pre-bake this crust in an 8×8 aluminum pan or pizza pan, and place it directly in the oven after it’s thawed. 

deep dish pizza crust freezer label

Printable Freezer Label

Print and attach the label below so cooking instructions are ready when you are!

Print Freezer Label


Does cornmeal make pizza crust crispy?

Yes! Cornmeal adds extra texture to the pizza dough, which gives the pizza crust a little extra crispy crunch.

How do I thaw frozen pizza dough?

If you plan on making the pizza for dinner, place the cornmeal dough in the refrigerator in the morning. If making pizza in the afternoon, allow the dough to thaw in the fridge overnight. In order to thaw pizza dough, it needs about 8 hours in the refrigerator. Remove the dough and allow it to rest for about 30 minutes at room temperature before you work with it.

Why use cornmeal in pizza dough?

Unlike flour pizza dough, cornmeal pizza crust doesn’t need extra baking time to achieve a super crunchy texture. Using cornmeal gives you a restaurant-worthy pizza right at home. 

Pizza Topping Ideas

Surely you have your favorites, but if you need some more ideas:

  • Pepperoni
  • Mushrooms
  • Black Olives
  • Sliced Bell Peppers
  • Bacon
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Caramelized Onions
  • Pesto
  • Pineapple + Ham
  • Buffalo Chicken + Blue Cheese
  • Shrimp + Sweet Peppers
  • Ricotta + Sausage
Deep Dish Pizza cut into slices

More Favorite Pizza Recipes

slicing a pizza on a grey countertop

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Deep Dish Pizza in a cast iron skillet
5 from 3 votes

Cornmeal Pizza Dough

Cornmeal pizza dough is easy to make and gives deep dish pizzas a beautiful golden crust that is buttery and crisp without being overcooked. This recipe can be prepared in advance and frozen for your next pizza night.
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 35 minutes
Rising Time: 1 hour
Total: 2 hours 5 minutes
Servings: 8


  • Stand Mixer
  • Mixing Bowl
  • 8-inch Square Baker or Cast Iron Skillet
  • Cutting Board


  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons cornmeal
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons instant or "fast-acting" yeast (this is one standard packet of yeast)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter, cooled to room temperature
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons water, room temperature


  • Combine all of the pizza dough ingredients – flour, cornmeal, yeast, olive oil, butter, and 1 cup + 2 tablespoon water in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook.
  • Mix on medium until the dough comes together in a smooth ball, 6 to 8 minutes. (You can also mix the dough ingredients in a bowl and knead them by hand.) (Note: The dough will be sticky at first but try to resist adding more flour. If necessary, add additional flour 1 tablespoon at a time, kneading well between additions.)
  • Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl.
  • Cover with a dish towel and let rise at room temperature until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  • Set out two 8-inch pans (square bakers, round cake pans, or cast iron skillets will work; you can also make one large pizza in a 14-inch deep dish pizza pan or skillet).
  • Pour a generous amount of olive oil (about 2 to 3 tablespoons for an 8-inch pan) into the dish and swirl it around to coat the bottom and sides.
  • Divide the dough in two and, working with one section of dough at a time, stretch it out with your palms to roughly the size of the plan.
  • Transfer the dough to the pan and again use your palms to stretch it out to the sides of the pan.
  • Cover with a dishtowel and let the dough rest for another 15 minutes while the oven heats.
  • Heat oven to 425°F.
  • When oven is heated, bake the crust for 10 minutes until starting to brown around the edges. (At this point, you can cool the crust and freeze it for topping and baking later.)
  • Add sauce and your favorite toppings.
  • Return pizza to oven and bake until cheese is bubbly and the crust is golden brown, about 25 minutes.
  • Allow pizza to cool for 5 minutes before transferring it to a cutting board.
  • Allow it to cool for 5 minutes more (this will make it easier to slice). Slice and serve!


Recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour.


Serving: 2slices | Calories: 303kcal | Carbohydrates: 52g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 15mg | Sodium: 50mg | Potassium: 113mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 0.2g | Vitamin A: 175IU | Vitamin C: 0.01mg | Calcium: 13mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Author: Jess Smith via Inquiring Chef
Cost: $8.50
Calories: 303
Keyword: family friendly, freezer friendly, kid-friendly recipe, make-ahead meal, pizza
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About Jess Smith

Jess is the recipe creator and photographer at She spent nearly a decade as the Chief Recipe Developer for the award-winning meal planning app Cook Smarts. Her colorful, healthyish recipes have been featured in popular online publications including Parade, Hallmark, and HuffPost.

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  1. In the ingredient list for the sauce it says 1 3/4 cups water but in the recipe it says 1/2 cup of water, which is correct?

    1. It should be 1/2 cup – this is a thick sauce. We’ve updated the recipe – thank you for letting us know!

  2. Hi Jess, thank you for the fast acting yeast dough recipe. I’ve been scouring the internet for the best deep dish dough. I noticed you call for 4 C of flour. This amount is double what most recipes call for. I’m curious how does this affect the dough?
    Thank you,

    1. Hi Devi – this dough has a lower moisture percentage than other doughs, but it bakes up light and tender! It’s the dough I’ve used for years!

  3. Is it weird to comment on your own blog!? Jessica testing made my day. I quickly became obsessed with this pizza crust. It was good hot and cold out of the fridge. I couldn’t stop eating it. #carbsforlife