Gluten-Free Pizza Crust

Pizza.  All I have to do is close my eyes and I can imagine all my favorite slices.  My Grandma’s homemade crust with sweet marinara and bubbly mozzarella is a treasured childhood memory.  As a teenager, I would head into Berkeley for a carefree afternoon with friends and a slice of Blondie’s pizza.  Each and every pizza experience is compared, contrasted and stored in my mind, influencing the type of pizza I ultimately crave.  Flexible and chewy with a crispy golden bottom.  It shouldn’t be too thick or too thin and it should have a mild yeasty flavor.  In my world, you should be able to walk around eating a slice without it drooping or falling down the front of your shirt.  Not that I ever indulge in eating on the run, but just in case someone out there does.

Gluten-free pizza can be every bit as delicious as a wheat based crust.  In fact, you could serve this at your next party and no one would be the wiser.  I do it all the time.  Although the results can be a dead ringer for traditional wheat crusts, the preparation is fundamentally different.  The gluten-free dough must be vigorously beat with a paddle to properly develop the xanthan gum, but it is too sticky to be kneaded.  When working with wheat flours, a long, slow first rise with a brief second rise is a necessary step to properly develop flavor.  With gluten-free yeast doughs, only one rise is necessary.  While this is a wonderful time-saver, I like to enhance the dough’s flavor with a bit of garlic powder, agave syrup and a handful of fresh oregano.  Traditional pizza crusts don’t typically call for eggs or baking powder, but I have found that the egg adds structure while the baking powder provides a foolproof oven-rise that a yeast only dough wouldn’t have.  This recipe will work without the baking powder, but the results are superior with it included.  Another crucial difference in preparation is that gluten-free pizza crust needs to be pre-baked for 10 minutes.  At this point you can remove the dough from the oven, add your desired toppings and then return the pizza to the oven to finish baking.  Taking the time to adapt your techniques to gluten-free pizza baking is worth the effort and before long you will think nothing of preparing homemade pizza for weeknight meals.

Gluten-Free Pizza Crust  (one 14-16 inch crust)

  • 1 ¾ cups all-purpose gluten-free flour mix (see below*)
  • ¼ cup millet flour
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder (Hain brand for corn-free baking)
  • 2 teaspoons xanthan gum (or guar gum for corn-free baking)
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons agave syrup
  • 1 teaspoon fresh, minced oregano (optional)
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil + a bit more for oiling the pan
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup warm water (use 1-3 additional tablespoons if necessary)

—>  Add ALL ingredients to a mixing bowl of a heavy duty mixer, fitted with paddle attachment.

—> Start mixer on slowest speed, and pulse off and on to incorporate ingredients.  Be careful to not splash contents of bowl: go slow.  After about 30 seconds, increase mixing speed to medium and mix for 2 minutes.

—> Increase mixer speed to medium-high and mix for one additional minute.  The mixture should look like a thick cake batter, and it should stick to the sides of the mixing bowl.  It will NOT look like traditional wheat dough, and it should NOT form a ball (if it does, add lots more water!).  Use the picture below as a guide for what the dough should look like (add a bit more water if needed to achieve this consistency) :

—>  With a flexible spatula, scrape dough onto a pizza pan that has been generously oiled with 1-2 tablespoons olive oil.

—> Working by your kitchen sink, let the tap trickle a bit (warm water).  Wet your hands and gently press and spread the dough towards the outer edges of the pan.  Continually wet your hands as needed so that you can easily move the dough without it sticking to you.  Patch and press any spots that break through.  It should look like this:

—> When the dough is pressed into the pizza pan, drizzle with a bit of olive oil and set aside, UNCOVERED in a warm, 80 degree place.   (The dough will be moist enough from being spread with wet hands to rise without being covered)

—> Let the dough rise for 35-45 minutes.  It will be a bit puffy, but not quite doubled.

—> Bake pizza in preheated 400 degree oven for 10 minutes.

—> Remove from oven and add sauce, and desired toppings.

—> Return the topped pizza to oven and bake for approximately 12-16 more minutes depending on desired brownness.

—> Slide onto a wire rack to cool (this helps keep the crust crisp) and serve.

* All-Purpose Gluten-Free Flour Mix

  • 2 cups brown rice flour (I use Authentic Foods Superfine)
  • 1/3 cup tapioca starch (also called tapioca flour)
  • 2/3 cup potato starch (NOT flour)

Mix well in large plastic container or Ziploc bag.  Store in cool place or fridge.

43 thoughts on “Gluten-Free Pizza Crust

    • Thanks for visiting Tiffany. I hope you try this for your nephew. It can be such a relief for the newly diagnosed to have a comforting slice of pizza! For some reason that is one of the first things people think they will have to live without.

  1. It’s amazing you cook and bake many kinds of food with gluten free. From the look of the pictures of all of your creations I can’t tell they are gluten free. You are making wonderful source for people who need gluten free recipes. Now I’m craving for pizza. I haven’t had pizza for a while I think. Um, homemade crust? Never… one day… looks delicious Terris! =P

  2. THIS. IS. FANTASTIC. Best gluten free pizza crust – hands down (and I’ve tried a LOT of them)!! Terris, you have made me and my children so happy!

    This crust baked beautifully, exactly like the picture, and it tastes even better! Slightly crunchy, slightly sweet… I haven’t had pizza that I’ve actually enjoyed in a really long time. This will be a staple in our house from now on.

    Thank you, Terris!!
    HUGS! M

    • Megan, you made my day! We are on vacation in Kauai….so sorry it took so long to respond! I know how exciting it can be to find a good recipe that satisfies everyone’s cravings. That is exactly how I felt about your hamburger bun recipe! Absolutely divine. So happy we could swap good recipes. Take care and I will visit your site soon to see what you’ve been up to.

  3. WOW, the pizza looks amazing. One can’t tell that crust is gluten free.
    I have never tried making gluten free yeast dough but I’m going to keep in mind your tip about the addition of baking powder.
    Thanks!

  4. Made this tonight for dinner. The crust was totally scrumptious! I mixed up a different set of flours (1/4c teff, 1/2c millet, 1/2c sorghum, 1/4c tapioca, 1/4c potato starch, 1/4c white rice) and replaced the egg with Ener-G. I didn’t add the oregano, but the garlic gave it a great flavor. It’s a touch too sweet for my tastes, but that’s okay, it’s still the best gluten free pizza I’ve had since being diagnosed 2 years ago! I prefer crusts that are more flat and a teensy bit crispy, so this was perfect :)

    • Hi Elle! I’m so happy to hear that you tried the crust. Love your flour blend too. Sounds delicious. I’m also glad you gave feedback about the crust’s sweetness. I know my little Italian grandmother is rolling in her grave seeing the 2 TB of agave in this recipe…..her recipe for crust with traditional wheat based flour had 2 teaspoons of granulated sugar! So, I may note in the recipe that people can adjust the sweetener to taste. Since my son is tomato allergic, we always top our pizza with olive tapenade as a sauce, so I think I enjoy that hint of sweet with the saltier topping. Cheers, Terris

  5. This is a delicious pizza crust. I’ve tried several recipes and even had a GF pizza carry-out from a local restaurant and none of them came anywhere near to this one. In my pre gluten free days I used to grind my own wheat and make the most delicious pizza crust. I had pretty much given up on ever finding anything as good as that. But your recipe is pretty darn close!

    I made a few changes…used white rice flour instead of brown because I didn’t have any on hand and I substituted basil for the oregano since that was what I used in my whole wheat crust. Other than that I followed the directions as written. And it was not disapointing!

    Thank you so much for sharing. I’m anxious to try your other recipes now!

  6. I just have an electric hand mixer with bread hook, whisk, and standard mixer beaters. No paddle attachment. Will a bread hook or beaters work instead? I make most of my stuff mixing by hand with wooden spoon because I don’t like loud machines so I can’t justify spending my limited income on a fancier mixer, but I am still on the hunt for a better Pizza crust. I am gluten free, corn free, as well as no oats amaranth or buckwheat. I have a very severe allergy to corn and so I feel for your son and the difficulty in finding foods that are GF and CF. Its really a diet that requires nearly everything to be homemade. its great you are such the cook/baker. At times though a break from time consuming prepping and sooo many dishes would be nice aye?

    • Hi there! Thanks for stopping by. I always love to hear about people experimenting, so if you give this dough a try with your electric hand mixer I would love to hear about it. I usually just give advice based on my own experiences, but I have had friends and readers make some of my recipes by hand even when I recommend against it! :) Just keep a sense of humor if you have to abort mission. Seriously though, if I was going to use a hand held mixer, I would use the standard mixer beaters. The dough hook just doesn’t seem to work right with these ooey-gooey doughs. Regarding the corn allergy: it is by far our greatest challenge. We avoid ALL derivatives (as I’m sure you do too!) so there is almost nothing I can buy pre-made. So, I completely agree….spending less time in the kitchen sometimes would be wonderful. :) Of course, he has not had an ear infection, bronchitis, or pneumonia since his diagnosis, so his improved health is my greatest motivator. Best of luck to you and thank you for stopping by. Sometimes it helps to know that others “get it.”

  7. I CANNOT THANK YOU ENOUGH FOR THIS RECIPE! I’ve just found out I have a gluten allergy and was DESPAIRING because I’m also vegetarian. I ate pizza at LEAST once a week. I perused a lot of recipes before I saw yours and decided to try it. It was so complex I thought it just might work. AND LO AND BEHOLD, IT IS BETTER THAN NORMAL PIZZA! I cannot FATHOM just HOW long and how much PERSISTENCE it took for you to master this recipe, and I CANNOT THANK YOU ENOUGH!!! I am sure I will now be addicted to your blog and I will spread the GLORIOUS NEWS around to ALL!

    • Hi Marissa, Thank you for your enthusiastic comment! I’m definitely smiling and I’m so happy you found a crust that works. My husband (who doesn’t have to eat gf) prefers this crust. :)

  8. Just made this pizza crust for the first time! No need for toppings, I ate it straight out of the pan! It was that good! Reminds me of focaccia bread. Thank you!

  9. I am new at gluten free baking and I was wonder if the millet flour was essential if you have a premix GF all purpose mix?

    • Hi there and welcome to the world of gluten-free baking! In this particular recipe I like the addition of the millet flour (sorghum flour would be another good option) because it adds a nice, nutty, wheat flavor to the crust. Regarding using premade mixes, I can’t guarantee the results of my recipes with them. There are so many and some have pre-added xanthan gum, and some don’t…..just too many variables. If you are adventurous and willing to take a risk, it may work and I would love to hear about it! I experiment all the time, but I just want my blog readers to have successes in the kitchen. Best, Terris

  10. Just wanted to share with you that this weekend was a Free Eats Food weekend for our family. Saturday afternoon was spent making two batches of Granola and pre-mixing the dry ingredients for four more. I probably make two batches every week! Then I attempted the granola bars. Wow, they are great! They are quite brittle, and I wonder if I should have used more liquid to hold them together. It became more like Granola brittle broken into chunks than the beautiful bars you cut. They are quite yummy. Then on Sunday we had company for a birthday gathering and I made two pizzas using your crust recipe. My seven-year-old niece, whose diet is gluten-free, ate three pieces and declared that it was the best pizza she has had in a long time! I have a feeling my sister-in-law will be making this crust soon as well:) She has shared with me that she has made your cinnamon rolls. Together, we agreed that even though the steps seem like a lot, they really don’t take that long, and you actually make it very easy to follow for those of us who are less than professional in a kitchen! Her family loved those as well. Thank you so much for sharing all these wonderful recipes.

    • Thank you for your kind words! I absolutely love hearing that this little blog inspires people to make and share good food with loved ones. That is one reason I wanted to share my recipes in a forum like this. I made two batches of the granola this weekend as well. My husband loves keeping a bag of it at work so that he can sprinkle it over yogurt when he gets the afternoon munchies. Regarding the granola bars, I think I know exactly what you are talking about. When I cut mine, I score them first by using a large chef knife. I mark the grid that I want to cut and then drag the knife only about 1/4 of the way through. Then you can repeatedly run the knife through a few more times until you could almost snap them apart. If you try to cut them with one swift chop, they probably will shatter. Also, a couple of tablespoons of applesauce or seed/nut butter will make the bars less crisp. Thanks for the comment though, I will update the instructions to help others out with that. Thanks again for the feedback and I hope you continue to find family favorites here! Best, Terris

      • I was just wondering if I could score them when they are still a bit warm. I am also curious if they will break apart a lot in a lunch box. No matter, though. I think they are DELICIOUS and would be fine in pieces as well. Thanks so much for your dedication. As my website becomes more thorough, I plan to put you in as a link of one of my favorite sites to visit!

      • Yes, Jennifer, I think scoring them while warm would be great. Once I cut mine I put them in Ziploc bags in the freezer and they never seem to break apart. My kids have them for their “snack recess” and they even survive the rough ride in the backpack. I asked them so that I could give you feedback! :) I’m heading over to check out your site now. I would be honored to have you list my site! Thank you!

  11. We are still searching for a fail proof well loved pizza crust around here, so I can’t wait to give this one a try! Currently my daughter prefers frozen Udi’s crusts which is crazy to me, though sort of convenient. However I prefer homemade always!
    -Dana

  12. I have been gluten free for almost 2 years and this is the best gluten free crust I have tried. Thank you!!! I was wondering if you have ever refrigerated the crust. I was thinking about making a personal pizza from half and saving the other half for later in the week.

  13. We were wondering if you could freeze this dough, thaw it out later, and use it then? My mom and I have been having LOTS of fun with all your recipes while on Spring Break this week. We’ve done your pancakes, pop tarts, cupcakes, bread, and magic bars (which truly ARE magical!!) Thanks SO much for all your recipes, gluten free has never been so much fun, or tasted so good!!!

    Best regards,
    Maddie

    • Hi Maddie! I was so happy to see your comment. I love imagining you and your mom in the kitchen making delicious goodies! I keep thinking that I need to experiment with freezing that pizza crust but I haven’t yet. Perhaps your question will be the inspiration I need! I do think that “par-baking” the crust (or baking it halfway) and then freezing it would be the best idea….perhaps in personal pizza or smaller sizes for ease of wrapping. Let me know if you experiment with it. Thanks again for following Free Eats. I love hearing about your adventures! Take care, Terris

    • I freeze the pre-baked crusts all the time. One batch of the pizza recipe makes 8 personal pan sized crusts. Here’s a link http://www.cutleryandmore.com/chicago-metallic/commercial-personal-pizza-pan-set-p120962 to pans similar to what I use. After the crusts are frozen I take them out of the pans and put them in qt freezer bags. When I’m ready to make pizza I thaw the crusts, add the toppings, and bake them about 15 minutes. I have a friend who pre-bakes the crust, allows it to cool, then adds the toppings and freezes it. She then bakes the frozen pizza later and has had great results. This is my favorite pizza crust!

  14. This sounds great but just wandering if you could freeze the crust after you make it and keep a few for the future when you are ready to make the pizza? I know you can do this with pie crust, so would it also work for this?

  15. This crust looks very tasty and can’t wait to give it a try! I was wondering if I would be able to use Bob Red Mills all purpose gluten free flour?

    • Hi Donna, I can’t guarantee results with other flour mixes, but the Bob’s Red Mill should work for you. Just make sure to add the xanthan gum or guar gum as stated in the recipe. Enjoy!

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