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Grandma Pizza Recipe: The Real Nonna Style

Don't be shy when testing out your pizza making skills and use this grandma pizza recipe as a starting point for many more delicious pizza adventures.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

If you are someone that absolutely loves pizza then you will definitely want to give this recipe a try. Although it is true that there are a few different grandma pizza recipes out there, this one will definitely become your favorite as soon as you and your family give it a try.

  • Serves

    2 People

  • Cooking Time

    15-20 Minutes

  • Preparation Time

    5-6 hours

  • Difficulty

    Line Cook's Leap

This recipe boasts a crispy crust, a delicious pizza sauce, and the ability to customize it to your hearts content. This recipe works perfect for a conventional oven and gets a delicious crispy crust when you use the kind of deep baking pan that Italian grandmothers have been using for generations.

Don’t be shy when testing out your pizza making skills and use this grandma pizza recipe as a starting point for many more delicious pizza adventures.

Grandma Pizza Recipe

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Keep this recipe on hand for your next pizza night or family get-together and it will surely be a big hit every time that you dish it out!

Don’t be afraid to get creative when making your sauce and adding delicious toppings as it will only improve this already delicious recipe.

This recipe will yield one large pizza so if you would like to double it, be sure to knead the dough for a little longer so that you will get the correct texture in the end.

Cooking and Preparation Times

  • Cooking time: 15-20 min
  • Prep time: 5-6 hours
    • Mixing the dough: 15 min
    • Rising of the dough: 4 hours
    • Sauce: 1 hour
    • Final preparation for baking: 30 min

Pizza Dough


  • 280g lukewarm water (not boiling, you must be able to touch it without burning)
  • 10g instant yeast
  • 11g salt
  • 28g extra-virgin olive oil (for dough)
  • 40g extra-virgin olive oil (extra for when the dough is rising)
  • 450g bread flour (for dough)
  • 200g bread flour (extra if the dough is too wet)
Pizza Dough - 1280x720


  1. Measure out all your ingredients beforehand using a scale to ensure accuracy.

  2. Add the salt at the bottom of a medium-sized bowl, add the flour on top of that, and then add the olive oil as well as the yeast and the water (if you live somewhere humid only add 2/3 of the water and add more if it seems like the dough is too dry).

  3. Mix the pizza dough by hand or with the help of a stand mixer and a dough hook until it is no longer sticking to your hands (add in some of the extra flour a little bit at a time if the mixture is too wet after everything has combined).

  4. In a large bowl, add a few tablespoons of olive oil and spread it around until the inside of the bowl is evenly covered (ensure the bowl has space for the dough to expand).

  5. Place the pizza dough into the lightly oiled bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. Place it into the fridge to rest for at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours.

  6. Take the dough out of the fridge for around 1-2 hours before you need to use it but do not leave it where it is too warm.

Pizza sauce

This recipe will yield around 2-3 liters of sauce so it is a good recipe to make so that you have extra sauce leftover for use in the future but it is completely possible to cut the recipe in half or double it if you need more tomato sauce.

If you have canned tomatoes that you want to use for the recipe you will use 2000g of canned tomatoes and cook the recipe as normal from step 7 onward.


  • 30g extra virgin olive oil (normal oil will work just fine as well)
  • 20g garlic, diced
  • 2500g San Marzano tomatoes, room temperature (you can use Roma tomatoes as well or even beef tomatoes)
  • 50g basil, sliced thin
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Place a big pot of water on the stove to it heat up and add 2 pinches of salt to the water.

  2. While the water heats up, take the eye out of all the tomatoes and cut an x on the bottom of the skin.

  3. Fill a large, deep bowl halfway with water and ice with room left over in the bowl.

  4. Once the water is boiling, place the tomatoes a few at a time in the water for 10-40 seconds until the skin starts to peel off by itself, and then transfer them to the bowl with the ice water.

  5. Allow the tomatoes to cool down for a few minutes and then you can peel off the skins. After the skins have been taken off, cut the tomatoes in half and squeeze out the seeds into a separate bowl.

  6. Cut your tomatoes into small cubes and keep them aside with the rest of your ingredients.

  7. In a pot on medium heat, add your olive oil and allow it to heat up. Add your garlic to the pan and cook it until fragrant, for around 1 min (if the garlic is browning too quickly, turn down the heat).

  8. Add your tomatoes to the pot and switch it to a low heat. Cook the mixture covered for 15-20 min and stir it every now and then to ensure that it does not burn at the bottom.

  9. Cook the mixture uncovered for10 min and stir it to ensure it does not burn. Add in the fresh basil and simmer everything together for 2-3 min then take the pot off of the heat.

  10. Allow it to cool for a few minutes and then you can blend the sauce (be careful when blending the sauce as it may come out of the top of a food processor, use a hand blender if you can or a food processor).

  11. After the sauce has been blended, add in your salt and pepper to taste and then your tomato sauce is ready to use.


  • Pizza dough

  • Pizza sauce/marinara sauce

  • Fresh mozzarella cheese, shredded (drain your mozzarella for at least 15 min before slicing it)

Final preparation

Pizza to be baked - 1280x720
  1. Preheat the oven to 250-260 degrees C (480-500 degrees F) and ensure that it is heated up when your dough is ready to be baked.

  2. Brush your grandma-style pizza pan with olive oil and ensure that it is evenly coated (a darker-colored pan will work best as it will yield a crispier edge because the heat distribution will be better).

  3. Place the dough into the oiled pan and stretch it in a manner that allows it to spread to the edges of the pan (if the dough does not want to stretch, cover it with a damp cloth or plastic wrap for a few minutes and resume the stretching of the dough).

  4. Stretch out your dough by starting in the middle and pushing it to the outside, use your hands.

  5. When your pizza dough is evenly spread in the pan, you will cover the dough with a damp cloth or plastic wrap and allow it to rest for around 30 minutes to allow it to very slightly puff.

  6. After the pizza base has rested, you can add the shredded mozzarella cheese and spread it all the way to the edges of your pizza pan, add a few tablespoons of the tomato sauce on top of that in dollops, and bake your pizza for 12-15 minutes until the base is golden brown and the cheese is melted.

  7. Allow the grandma pie to cool down for 5-10 minutes before serving it.

Recipe Notes

Be sure to spread the cheese all the way to the edges of the pan to create a crispy edge and caramelize it. Be sure to not add too much either as this can cause it not to melt properly.

Make sure that your dough is also at room temperature when you are baking as it will cause the inside of the dough not to cook properly if it is too cold.

Additions and substitutions

This is a base recipe for this style of pizza so if you do not have something in your pantry or if you want to experiment with flavors, use this as a guide to get you started:

Flour – Although bread flour does give some extra structure to your dough you can substitute it with all-purpose flour and the end result will have minor differences. You can also do half-and-half between the two and find a ratio that works for you.

Olive oil – Olive oil gives a lovely flavor to the dough but if this is a rare commodity in your pantry you can change out the kind of oil that you are using for another neutral oil. You can also infuse a few tablespoons of olive oil with herbs or aromatics and use that in your dough or over the top of your pizza for some extra flavor.

Cheese – You can use grated mozzarella cheese for your pizza if you are unable to find fresh and don’t be shy to add different cheeses to the blend to experiment with flavors and textures, just ensure that it is evenly spread so that you get that crispy crust and golden brown top. You can also use already shredded cheese and even add some Pecorino Romano over the top as it comes out of the oven.

Toppings – If you want your pizza to taste and feel like it was made by an old Italian grandmother then be sure to add some cherry tomatoes on top of your pizza before baking it but you do not need to stop there. You can even add some protein such as pepperoni, bacon, or even some sliced sausage.

Sauce – This tomato sauce recipe is pretty basic so you can absolutely add your own flavor to it. You can add spices such as crushed red pepper flakes or even roast the garlic that you use for your recipe. You can also add herbs such as oregano and thyme.

Can I make this dough ahead of time?

Yes, you can absolutely make this grandma pie ahead of time and there are a few different ways that you can do this, you can either make your dough the day before, freeze your dough and defrost it when you need it, or you can make the whole pie the day before and then everyone has a delicious lunch the next day.

If you are simply storing leftover slices then you can store them for up to 2 days in a sealed container in the fridge. They can then be heated up in the oven or in the microwave for a few minutes.

If you want to make your dough the day before, you will mix it as you normally would and simply leave it in the fridge, covered, until you need to use it the next day. You will then take the dough out around 2 hours before you need to use it and continue as normal.

If you would like to freeze this dough then you will mix your dough and store it the fridge overnight. Afterward, you will portion out your dough to the desired size and place it on top of parchment paper and a baking sheet, which will then be covered and placed into the freezer. Once the dough has frozen, you can wrap them individually and store them like that or place them into plastic bags or sealed containers.

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This recipe will become a regular star in your kitchen and many more grandma pies will be made in the coming years and you will certainly not hear any complaints from family and friends!

If you enjoyed this pizza recipe and enjoyed the style of pizza then be sure to take a look at this authentic Margherita pizza recipe and give it a try along with the rest of the family.

Disclaimer: Note that the food images displayed on this website are for illustrative purposes only. They are not indicative of the actual dishes or presentations you should expect during the classes. We strive to provide the best culinary experience, but the appearance of dishes may vary. Always refer to class descriptions and details for accurate information on what to expect.

Frequent Asked Questions

Grandma pizza is a thin, rectangular pizza style attributed to Long Island, New York. It is typically topped with cheese and tomato sauce and is reminiscent of pizzas baked in the homes of Italian housewives who lacked a pizza oven. The pizza is also often compared to Sicilian pizza.

Sicilian pizza dough is left to rise after it has been placed into the pan and stretched whereas grandma pizza does not have rising time or rises for a very short amount of time.

This means that Sicilian pizza has a thicker crust and grandma pizza has a thinner but still crisp crust.

It is traditionally made without a pizza oven because home cooks invented it on Long Island. As the name implies, Grandma-style pizza was once only made in the kitchen by Italian grandmothers.

The difference between this dough and most of the other pizza dough out there is the fact that it does not have any/very little rising time in a warm environment which results in a thin crust as opposed to the fluffy crust that most other pizzas may have.

A grandpa pizza is similar to a grandma pizza but with more sauce and more cheese.

Grandma pizza has a thinner crust than New York pizza, which is closer to Sicilian pizza, as it does not rise before being topped and baked.

Grandma pizza is not Detroit pizza. Grandma pizza is a thin-crust pizza than gets baked on top of something like a pizza stone whereas Detroit-style pizza is baked in a deep-dish pan.

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