If you want a home-made pizza without the hassle of making dough, store bought versions can be a great compromise.
You can go to town with the sauce and toppings, and create something delicious and totally individual. But you won’t have to worry about yeast temperatures, rest times and the best technique for dough stretching!
So if you want to choose the simpler option, what’s the best store bought pizza dough out there? We’re going to find out! And we’ll tell you everything you need to know to make a perfect choice. So step this way to learn more …
Different pizza crust options
Let’s start by taking a look at the options that exist when it comes to avoiding making your own dough.
You can choose ready-made dough in a range of different forms. Some comes in a can. Other types are in bags.
And you can even ditch the raw dough altogether and choose a ready-made pizza crust. Find fresh versions in bakeries and baked goods aisles in supermarkets. Some stores also carry frozen crusts.
If you want more of the authentic pizza-making experience, ready-made dough will be perfect. You can have fun practising your stretching technique. And if you mess it up, it will be a whole lot easier to take than if you’d made it yourself from scratch!
But if speed is of the essence, a ready-made crust can be ideal. Just take it out of its packaging, and it’s ready to be topped with your favorite ingredients. No stretching or rolling is required.
1. The case for canned pizza dough
Canned pizza dough is very easy to use. And because it’s in a completely air-tight container, it will keep fresh for ages. If you’re looking for an option to keep in your store cupboard for pizza emergencies, it’s hard to beat.
The texture isn’t quite the same as you’ll get from other forms of pizza dough – but it’s still delicious. It will give you a pizza base with a similar feel to puff pastry.
That will work brilliantly for pies with lighter toppings and sauces. Combinations like goat’s cheese and pear, or blue cheese and figs work beautifully with this.
One of the classic brands of canned dough is Pillsbury. This comes in two options, classic and thin crust. It’s very easy to work, and it will get you good results with the minimum of effort.
2. Frozen options
Ideally, put it in the refrigerator overnight to defrost before you use it. But don’t worry if you don’t have time for that. Leaving it on the countertop for a couple of hours will do the trick. Just don’t forget about it! If you leave it at room temperature for too long, it will over-proof.
As well as frozen dough balls, look out for frozen fresh and part-baked crusts. The latter is a particularly good bet if you want your pizza in a hurry. They can be taken straight from the freezer to the oven, where they’ll cook in just a few minutes.
Pizza crusts, whether fresh or part-baked, will tend to have a slightly shorter shelf life than dough. The latter can last for about nine months in the freezer. Once stretched into crusts, however, the shelf life is more like six months.
Lamonica’s make great versions of frozen dough, as well as fresh and part-baked crusts. Their products are made with 100 percent natural ingredients too.
3. Fresh dough
Many grocery stores will have fresh pizza dough in their bakery section. This will often give a superior flavor, as it won’t contain any preservatives.
But the downside is that it won’t keep fresh for as long as canned versions. Keep it in the refrigerator to avoid over-proofing, and use it as quickly as possible after purchase.
If you won’t use it within a week, you can freeze it. Do that as soon as you can after you’ve got it home, and aim to use it within three months.
4. Gluten-free options
There was a time when a gluten-free diet meant saying goodbye to pizza. Thankfully, that’s no longer the case. Today, there’s a whole range of gluten-free doughs and crusts on offer.
The absence of gluten, however, does present a challenge. Choose the wrong brand, and you may find your pizza stringy and unappetising. The good news is, there are plenty of good ones out there.
One of our favorites is Trader Joe’s. The flavor is hard to distinguish from ordinary pizza crust. And while the texture is undeniably different, it’s none the less enjoyable. The mouth feel here is chewier than a standard pizza.
But you can still get crunchy and crispy bites at the edge. And if you rub the dough with a little salt and olive oil before baking, you’ll get a crisper finish. Make sure you bake it before adding the toppings. Then put on your chosen extras and give it another ten minutes or so in the oven.
This dough is made from rice and tapioca, and it’s cholesterol-free as well as gluten-free. There aren’t any added herbs – but that does give you a blank canvas for your sauce and toppings. And it will work equally well with thin or deep crust pies.
Trader Joe’s is one of the most popular brands of pizza dough out there. In addition to their gluten-free recipe, they offer classic, whole-wheat and Italian styles. They’re all good options, and they’re not expensive either.
5. Check out your local pizzeria
Another option for buying pizza dough is to see whether your favorite pizzeria sells it. Many will, so don’t be afraid to ask! And doing so will often get you an ultra-fresh and tasty dough ball. After all, for the chefs there, making pizza is their speciality!
As with fresh pizza dough from other sources, storing it properly is important to getting the best results. Keep it chilled in the refrigerator and use it as soon as possible. It will keep there for up to a week, but you’ll get the tastiest pizza if it’s used within four days.
How to choose the best fresh dough
If you’re choosing fresh dough, there are a few things to look for when you make your purchase.
First and most obviously, there’s the expiration date. Try to choose a pack with the expiration date as far as possible into the future. That’s the dough that will be freshest and will give you the best flavor.
Dough that’s shaped into a ball will be easiest to roll out for your pizza base. That can save valuable time if you’re in a rush.
And if the packaging is transparent, take a close look at the surface of the dough. You want to avoid dough that has lots of bubbles on the surface. These will have been formed by gases escaping from the dough, and are an indication that it may be over-proofed.
That will mean there’ll be little or no air left when you come to work it. And that can lead to a flat and uninspiring flavor and tough texture.
Last but not least, avoid any packs where the dough is sticking to the container. That means it’s wet, so it will be difficult to work with.
Alternative pizza bases
If you want to mix things up, there are other options besides dough for your pizza base. Flatbreads and tortilla wrap both works brilliantly. Flavored flatbreads, like those with tomato and garlic, add an extra dimension to the taste. And the lighter base means you can fit in more pizza!
If you prefer something more substantial, how about French bread or naans? Naans work particularly well with strongly spiced toppings. Try chicken tikka and rocket for a pizza with an Indian twist.
Or slice some French bread and add a jar of sauce and some discs of mozzarella. It couldn’t be easier, and it makes a great cooking project for kids.
And if you’re looking for a healthy alternative, consider polenta. Mix it with boiling water, cheese and a pinch of salt. Then add mozzarella, broccoli, peppers and cherry tomatoes on top. Delicious!
Serve up a side
The fresh flavors of a simple green salad will work brilliantly. Or make a caprese with avocado, mozzarella and fresh tomatoes. It will be ready in minutes. And it will add an authentic Italian flourish – as well as healthy vitamins and other nutrients – to your meal.
Ready for your next pizza evening?
We hope you’ve enjoyed our guide to the best store bought pizza dough! Whether you’re looking for tinned, fresh, frozen or gluten-free, there are loads of options. And they make creating your own pizza – pardon the pun – as easy as pie!
But if you fancy something a bit different, why not try out one of our alternative pizza bases? A flatbread, naan or French bread pizza can be delicious too.
Whichever option you choose, we hope you enjoy your next pizza night. Happy baking – and happy eating!