Quick Beer Pizza Crust: do you dare to be different?

“Great taste – less filling.”

We can only make half that famous Miller Lite claim for this tasty pizza crust.

Great taste? For sure.

Less filling?

Well, depends what’s on top, doesn’t it?

The crust itself is wonderfully light-textured. A deep-brown, crisp bottom quickly gives way to an interior filled with air pockets and tunnels.

Perhaps it’s the fact that beer steps in for the usual lukewarm water in the recipe. Like most of us, yeast enjoys a touch of alcohol.

But whatever the reason, this crust is something special – whether you make it “lite” by topping with fresh tomatoes and a touch of part-skim mozzarella; or go whole-hog with pepperoni, Italian sausage, and a blizzard of three-cheese pizza blend.

My theory is, you can never have too many pizza recipes. Like chocolate cake, or dinner rolls, or oatmeal cookies, the variations are endless. And this particular beer-based crust is just plain tasty.

Plus, let’s face it – it’s a great way to use up that can of beer your brother-in-law brought over and left in the fridge, since inevitably it’s a kind of beer ONLY he likes, and it’ll sit there in your fridge forever or until the BIL makes a return visit, whichever comes first…

With fresh tomatoes coming in, the time is ripe for Quick Beer Pizza Crust.

Here’s an ingredient I always turn to when making pizza crust: Pizza Dough Flavor. A little bit of garlic, a little bit of cheese, and a whole lot of flavor… Just 1 teaspoon per cup of flour enhances the flavor of any pizza crust.

That’s our favorite flour, King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose, on the left; golden semolina on the right.

My favorite crusts use both these flours, in tandem; the semolina adds a certain crispness, and a touch of color.

As for the beer: totally up to you.

Be aware that the more assertively flavored the beer, the more beer flavor you’ll have in your crust.

Can you make this crust without beer?

Sure. Try our Now or Later Pizza Crust, which is basically the same thing, sans alcohol.

Place the following in a mixing bowl:

2 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 1/2 cups semolina*
1 tablespoon Pizza Dough Flavor, optional
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons olive oil

*Substitute unbleached all-purpose flour if you don’t have semolina.

Add 1 ½ cups room-temperature beer.

Mix to combine.

See how rough the dough is? You could actually let it rise just like this, so long as you gave it a good, long time; dough continues to develop its gluten as it ferments (rises).

FYI, that’s pretty much the story with no-knead dough; a long rest in the fridge substitutes for kneading.

However, in the interest of time, I’m going to knead this dough. About 7 minutes using an electric mixer equipped with its dough hook should do it.

Your goal is a soft, smooth dough, one that just barely sticks to the bowl.

It’s not so sticky that it’s difficult to round into a ball, though.

Isn’t that beautiful? Looks like a full moon.

Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl or container – I’m using an 8-cup measure here – and let it rise anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours.

It hasn’t quite doubled here, but good enough; you can see the air holes. Yeast at work!

Gently deflate the dough, and divide it in half.

I’ll bake one half on a pizza stone, the other in a pan. That way, they can both bake at once, if you choose; most stones are only large enough for one pizza at a time.

Shape the dough into a round…

Then gently press and pull it into a larger round, about 10″ to 12″, depending how large/thick you want your pizza.

If you’re baking in a pan, lightly grease the pan with non-stick vegetable oil spray; then drizzle with olive oil, if desired. The oil will crisp the crust’s bottom as it bakes.

Press towards the edges of the pan. There’s not a doubt in my mind that between the elasticity of the gluten and the slipperiness of the oil on the pan, the crust will fight you as you press, shrinking back as soon as you take your hands off it.

That’s OK; just walk away.

Come back 10 minutes later, and finish pressing. The gluten will have relaxed enough that it won’t fight back.

If it does, give it another rest.

Preheat your oven to 450°F.

Now, for thin crust, you can bake immediately, as soon as the oven’s hot.

I prefer a thicker crust, so I’ve let the dough rise for about 45 minutes.

Here it is, going onto the stone.

Untopped? That’s right. I like to bake the crust a bit before adding toppings; the toppings have less chance of drying out or burning.

Bake for 5 minutes.

Remove the crust from the oven, and add your favorite toppings. I’ve opted for a simple layer of tomatoes; the cheese will come later.

Bake for an additional 15 minutes or so, until the bottom crust is crisp and the top crust is beginning to brown nicely.

Now add the cheese (mozzarella, in this case), and return the pizza to the oven for a minute or two, just until the cheese melts.

Get out any dried herbs you might like to sprinkle on top; Pizza Seasoning is always a good choice.

Remove the pizza from the oven, and IMMEDIATELY scatter a bit more cheese over the top; this will create a pretty look.

Sprinkle with dried herbs or Pizza Seasoning, if desired.

Nice looking pizza, eh?

See how that final layer of cheese adds visual appeal? Along with flavor and melty cheesiness, of course.

And here’s that light texture I was trying to describe. Sometimes a picture is worth many words…

Dig in!

Read, bake, and review (please) our recipe for Quick Beer Pizza Crust.

Print just the recipe.

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!

comments

  1. ebenezer94

    Looks delish. Could you use some whole wheat in this one successfully?

    Sure, go for some whole wheat – the more you use, the denser/heavier the crust will be, so keep that in mind, OK? PJH

    Reply
  2. lishy

    This is one of my favorite last minute pizza crusts, you know for nights when what you planned for dinner didn’t pan out, or is just too darn much work. Making this crust is so easy and fast that even on those nights we can have a homemade dinner. Plus it cooks fairly well on the grill!

    Reply
  3. Teresa F.

    Terrific! I love the flavor of a long rise pizza crust. This crust would be great for when that urge for pizza NOW strikes. I can feel that urge coming on after looking at that lovely pizza. Mmmm pizza and beer, the perfect combo.

    Reply
  4. Irene in TO

    The quickest homemade pizza crust you can make uses beer or potato-cooking water AT ROOM TEMPERATURE. And yeast that you know for sure is fresh. I do this all the time when I am working at home and need something for dinner that takes as little effort as possible. Warm the beer up to lukewarm in the microwave in a microwave-safe mixing bowl if you like.

    Measure the liquid–to feed three adults you need a 12 ounce can of beer. For 1 to 1-1/2 cups liquid add a teaspoon of sugar, tablespoon of instant yeast and a cup of flour. Beat that well for 2 minutes, then add a teaspoon of salt and flavourings (I add herbs or pepper) and as much flour as you need to make a soft dough. Add a spoonful of oil, roll the dough around, and let it rise 15 minutes.

    Lay a piece of baking parchment onto a heavy duty baking sheet, and dump the dough with oil onto it. Spread with your hands to an even thickness, and add sauce. I use pasta sauce or crushed canned tomatoes.

    Put into a cold oven and turn the heat on to about 375F. Bake 10 minutes, then add grated cheese and other toppings to taste. Keep baking until the edges are well browned.

    Cleanup: 1 bowl, 1 mixing tool, and maybe the cheese grater or baking sheet, if the pizza oozed.

    Reply
  5. greggm59

    About a month ago, I made pizza dough using the “Now or Later” recipe from the KAF Baking Companion Cookbook, substituting beer for the amount of water specified. It almost tripled in bulk one hour after kneading, then put in the refrigerator for 24 hours to allow the flavors to further develop. The result was one of the tastiest pizza crusts in my over twenty years of pizza making.

    We’re going to paraphrase Ben Franklin here – In beer there is freedom, in water there is bacteria!? Sounds like your crust ingredients loved the “freedom ingredient” for great flavor and quick rise! Happy Baking! Irene @ KAF

    Reply
  6. KarenMorrow

    Every Saturday night for the last 5 years our family has had Pizza and a movie night. It’s a tradition now that is ingrained in our beings. We’ve tried many, many crusts, toppings and techniques (grill, stove top, oven, homemade frozen, overnight crusts, taco toppings….) We started making our own becuase our son had a dairy issue (which isn’t as bad, but we still can control the amount of cheese.) We’ve since found out that yeast gives my husband headaches and gluten cause me inflammation. None of us are ready to give up family pizza night, but we’d love to give up Sunday morning feeling bloated and head-achey. You’ve never failed me before. We love the GF flour and are experimenting with this – but any help would be appreciated!

    What a challenge! You’ll find a gluten free pizza crust on our website, but it does include yeast. An on-line search with those three gateways did yield us a few hits in the on-line recipe world. Best wishes in your quest. Irene @ KAF

    Reply
  7. tpcarey1

    This is a great pizza dough recipe (the beer aroma smells soooo good while it’s rising & baking).
    My neighbors can smell it from my kitchen window once the baking starts because of this I always make extras! 😉
    ADDITIONALLY,
    I usually like to sprinkle a very light coating of “herb-cornmeal” over the olive oil “prior” to baking the Pizza dough. It adds a delightful crisp to the bottom of the pizza (NEVER SOGGY) & the “dry” herbs (select your favorite combination) flavors the botton of the pizza. My family & friends say there’s “flavor” in every bite, including the crumbs! 😀
    You can also get the crisp botton by rubbing a little olive oil on a a pizza stone, sprinkle with your favorite “dry” herbs & spices…place the pre-shaped pizza dough over the herbs and bake as usual.
    Make or purchase a PREMIUM red or white sauce, ADD your favorite toppings…be creative, even adventureous!

    You may or may not like “ALLEY-PIZZA” (cajun seasoned alligator meat) or Deep Dish “PAPPY’S HOPPIN’ PIZZA” (creole seasoned Frog legs), but these specialty pizzas are enjoyed throughout the Bayou. Rumor has it that Cook Smokin’ Pappy, Jr. came up with the recipes for the special pizzas, but no one knows for sure. I believe he did…that man can COOK!
    One of my favorite Louisiana style pizza’s is the “KING CREOLE PRAWN PIZZA”, the delicious well-blended herbal sauce is a rich golden hue and so flavorful. It’s topped with “fresh” butter mozzarella & four other “home made” cheeses. It is baked in a stone oven outdoors under it is all these colossal pieces of crawdads (prawns/shrimp) meat.
    SOOOOOO DELICIOUS. They even will hit it with a few shots of Louisana hot sauce prior to baking, if you like it spicy!

    Bon Appetito!!!
    Okay, it’s 10:32 am here in Vermont, and I want pizza. Lots and lots of cajun pizza! Everything you’ve mentioned here sounds so wonderful. Well, I’m iffy on the frogs legs, but I’m willing to give it a try. Thanks so much for sharing!
    ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  8. csrockwell

    This has been our favorite pizza dough recipe for a while now since I stumbled across it in one of the KAF catalogs (always with Sam Adams lager 🙂 ).
    It’s especially good with BBQ Chicken Pizza & caramelized red onions.
    It does well as a grilled version too!

    Reply
  9. smudgerenz

    I made this last night and it turned out just like the photo! I put half the dough in the freezer and plan to use it to make focaccia. Hope it works!

    Use the dough within a month -let it thaw, still wrapped, in the fridge. it should be just fine. Enjoy! PJH

    Reply
  10. BluebonnetBaker

    Made this last night with leftover curry chicken and mushrooms as the toppings (along with fresh basil, rosemary, parsley, and your pizza seasoning). SO good!

    Curried pizza – now there’s on I never thought of. But I LOVE curry, and I’m totally trying it… thanks for the inspiration! PJH

    Reply
  11. margaret_roddy

    This would be a great place to use a beer with brettanomyces like “Wild Devil” by the Victory Brewing Company or “Ommegeddon” from Brewery Ommegang. These are my “go to” beers for any bread recipe. Brettanomyces is a yeast strain that works beautifully with the yeast I regularly bake with (SAF and Fleischman’s) and it adds depth to the flavor of the finished product. Both of those brews are available here in VT but you might have to ask your local beer folks to order some in. These beers get rave reviews on beer rating sites in terms of drinking, but I’d rather bake with them for the amazing results I get!

    Reply
  12. aaronatthedoublef

    This is GREAT! The comments are fantastic and have given me lots of good ideas for pizzas.

    I used whole wheat for this. The white whole wheat works better for my family and I’ve found that if I use it for more than half of the flour my family rebels and complains including my very health conscious wife. I use cake flour for the other half of the flour.

    I leave out the olive oil to take out a little fat but then again, how much will a couple of tablespoons add any way?

    I also let the dough rest in the refrigerator for three to five days. I know it’s good when my wife says that it smells like my dough has gone bad and it has a fermented smell without using beer.
    I used to use beer then I stopped. I don’t know why but now you’ve inspired me and I’ll have to try it again!

    Reply
  13. kkaschke

    Update… This is the best pizza crust!! I think it nearly tripled in volume when it was rising. And it was very easy to shape into a 12-inch circle. This is my go to pizza dough recipe now. Thanks King Arthur!!!

    Reply
  14. brooksiefan

    Pabst, not Narragansett? Horrors! Seriously–this dough looks a whole lot like the famous Matthew’s Pizza in Baltimore. I am SO trying this. Thanks!

    Couldn’t find ‘Gansett! And I’ll have to check out Matthew’s online, for sure… 🙂 PJH

    Reply
  15. waikikirie

    Great crust!! Have tried several and I think this one is the best. I treat it like a prepared crust you would buy in the grocery store. I partially bake it (~5 minutes), take it out of the oven and cool completely. Then I wrap it well in plastic wrap, place into a ziptop bag and into the freezer it goes. I do the same thing with my pizza sauce and cooked sausage crumbles. When ready to make, take what you need out of the freezer and bring to room temp. It doesn’t take long to defrost, especially in the summer. (Or if you plan ahead – take out and place in the refrigerator overnight) I flip the pizza crust over so that the flat side is on top. I place the fixings on top and then onto my pizza stone that has been preheating on my Weber Grill. Quick, easy and I don’t have to heat up the kitchen. The grill also imparts a slight hint of a smokey bakground. Yum…. I have been a quiet observer for several years. The Italian Wedding Soup Blog is a favorite in my house. I love the soup, my husband loves the scala bread. I even bought a Zo, which my DH calls “the magic box”. I’m not seeing all the comments from “the regulars” that I used to. Maybe that’s what’s prompted me to write today. I don’t want the comments to disapprear. I learn so much from them and love reading peoples stories. King Arthur website rocks. All of you are so great….but PJ, your a baking godess (LOL). Thanks for letting me ramble!!!!
    Thanks so much for checking in. You’re right, PJ is a goddess of many things, not just baking ;). I hope you’ll continue to comment and ramble and rant whenever you want. The more conversations we have about baking, cooking, and life in general, the better! ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  16. waikikirie

    Thanks you MaryJane…xoxoxo you are a sweetie. I’ve leaned so much from you and Susan Reid as well. I feel like everytime I come on this website, I learn so much from people I feel like I know. I am sure that there are alot of people like me that see/read the website but don’t respond. You should all be proud.
    Thanks so much. We are proud of the work that we do, and the friendships that we make. See you soon! ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  17. cwcdesign

    OK,

    Here’s the question – When is a can of beer not a can of beer?
    Answer: When it only holds 10 oz.

    I’ve just discovered why my last 2 batches of dough have been heavier and needed more liquid. The Budweiser I bought just for making this dough only has 10 oz. per can. The way I found this out – I was weighing the ingredients using the new gram toggle – I poured in the beer and it was only about 300 grams, not the 340 as written – so I toggled to the ounces and it was only 10 plus a little – I added the additional liquid in water and the dough behaved like it was supposed to – nice and soft with a great taste!! I first made it with beer that had been in the house since last winter so it may still have been a 12 oz. can.

    I mention this because others may assume (as I did) that when they pour in a can of beer it would actually be 12 oz. and it certainly impacts the recipe.

    Carol
    Thanks for the insight, Carol. Hope you enjoyed the pizza!

    Reply
  18. marjross5

    I was wondering if you can add beer to the thick crust recipe that uses Sir Lancelot Flour?
    Sure, you could try that, too! That topping looks great, too. Elisabeth

    Reply
  19. ALZCAB

    My son loves beer bread and when he saw this on FB this morning he said that’s what he wanted for supper 🙂 I was just making the dough and couldn’t get it to be “not sticky”. It is quite humid here today so I added a bit of extra flour. Also, I used bread machine yeast. Is there a difference between that and instant? Can it be mixed too much? Lots of questions, I have never made “yeast” anything with my mixer(always bread in the machine). I am off to run a couple errands……we’ll see what it looks like when I get home. I hope it turns out because it smells too good to have to do something else :/
    Sounds like it is the perfect time to check out our great yeast information page. That should answer all of your instant/active/dry/bread machine yeast questions. While you can’t overmix yeast, you can overmix dough. If your bread machine has a dough cycle, that is great for making pizza crust. By hand, about 10 minutes of kneading should do it. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  20. rochelle_keefer

    I just made this pizza exactly as the recipe goes and it is amazing! A great use of the tomatoes I hauled in this morning. Used a Sam Adams Octoberfest and it is so flavorful! My husband and I prefer dark beers, so I’m looking forward to experimenting with some of our favorites since so much of the flavor carries over. I’m thinking something amazing could happen with a double chocolate stout and go for dessert toppings- like chocolate ganache and salted caramel?

    Ooooh, I like the way you think, Rochelle. I made a dessert pizza awhile back with various candy bars (Reese’s cups, Snickers) chunked up and melted on top. It was quite decadent. And with a beer crust? Well, let us know how it goes – you could be onto something! 🙂 PJH

    Reply
  21. cassiesue125

    Just made this last night and it was so very easy and so good! I always use my old 10 or 12 inch cast iron skillet, heat it in the oven while I rolled out my dough. I oiled and sprinkled a little cornmeal in my hot skillet and placed my dough in with some holes poked and baked for 7 minutes, then removed and put on my toppings AND my cheese and placed my LID on my skillet, baked for 15 minutes, removed the lid and baked for 5 more minutes, cheese is ALWAYS perfect doing it this way. Then I let my pizza cool and ‘set up’ for about 5 to 8 minutes. Made a traditional pizza last night and have made a Bar-B-Q beef and cheddar cheese pizza also (the beef was leftover), Chicken is good also. So many possible combinations. Thanks, KAF for another wonderful recipe!

    Using your cast iron skillet is such a great idea. I always use mine for corn bread and scones, but never thought to use it for pizza. Thanks for the tip.

    Reply
  22. Heidi

    I have made pizza for a long time with the same recipe except the liqiid is water and there is no baking powder. What is the chemical function of the bp in the recipe when using beer? Thanks.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Baking powder adds a bit of lightness and crispness to the crust, and will have this same effect in any pizza crust recipe. Baking powder reacts with a liquid and then with the heat in the oven (hence, the moniker “double-acting”). The beer is there for flavor, and doesn’t have a specific chemical reaction with the baking powder. Happy baking! Laurie@KAF

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