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Food & Recipes

‘Grandma Pizza’ Is an Extra-Crispy, Cheesy NY Classic — and So Easy to Make at Home

Plus, chef's cheese layering tip that keeps the crust from getting soggy and makes the pie even cheesier

If there’s one thing better in the world than the smell of a homemade pizza cooking up in the oven, it’s taking that first cheesy, saucy bite. So why don’t we do it more often? We’re short on time and energy — it can just seem so daunting to put together a pie and it’s so easy to order one carry-out. But now that we’ve tried out ‘grandma pizza,’ which is characterized as a pie that’s cooked in an oiled baking pan, we know we’re going to be enjoying homemade pizza a lot more often. Why? The grandma pizza approach is easy, creates a crust that’s crunchy on the outside and fluffy on the inside and is easy to slice and serve into even-sized squares for a crowd. Keep reading to learn how to make grandma pizza and the genius chef tricks that guarantee delicious results.

What makes grandma pizza special

Grandma pizza is a rectangular pie with a thin, cracking crust that’s not super doughy compared to thicker crust pizzas. And making grandma pizza doesn’t require a pricey pizza stone or specialty oven. In fact, this pizza reportedly originated in the 1970s from Italian-American grandmothers in New York who found it more convenient to bake homemade pizza in a regular pan rather than use fancy equipment. Although grandma pizza is hassle-free to prepare, a few tips will guarantee perfect results every time. (Click through to see how you can make pizza and other foods in a waffle iron.)

3 expert tips for making grandma pizza

For a mouthwatering and golden brown grandma pizza, follow these three tips from Hengam Stanfield, co-founder of Mattenga’s Pizzeria in San Antonio, Texas:

1. Make sure the pan is well-greased.

To achieve a crispy crust, apply a generous layer of olive oil to the pan. This helps the bottom of the dough fry as it’s cooking, which produces a crunchy and fully browned crust. 

2. Allow the dough to rest in the pan.

Before adding toppings to the dough, give it time to rest in the pan. Not only does this ensure the inside is soft and airy once baked, but it further develops the dough’s flavor. Try letting the dough rest for at least 4 hours or up to overnight in the fridge. (Trust us, it’s worth the wait!)

3. Opt for a chunky pizza sauce.

Use a thick pizza sauce as it add texture and tangy flavor to your grandma pizza. One jarred sauce that’s just as tasty as the homemade version is Botticelli Foods’ Pizza Sauce (Buy from Acme, $3) since it contains cherry tomatoes, garlic, basil — and no added ingredients. But, if you have extra time, try this Pizza Sauce recipe from BBC Good Food.

How to make grandma pizza 

Stanfield’s recipe for Grandma Pizza is effortless, especially if you prep the dough to rest the night before or the morning of. That way, you can grab it when you’re ready and start building your delicious DIY grandma pizza!

Grandma Pizza

A slice of rectangular "grandma pizza"
LauriPatterson/Getty

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. ball refrigerated pizza dough (store-bought or homemade)
  • 1 to 1½ cups thick jarred pizza sauce
  • 1½ cups mozzarella cheese
  • Toppings of your choice like sliced meat and/or vegetables
  • Olive or vegetable oil

Directions: 

  • Active: 15 mins
  • Total time: 45 mins + dough rest time
  • Yield: About 12 squares
  1. Grease medium-sized baking sheet or rectangular baking pan with enough oil to coat surface. Press dough into pan, ensuring that it’s evenly distributed to all corners. Cover pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate minimum 4 hours but no longer than overnight.
  2. Preheat the oven at 475°F. Take dough out of fridge and let sit at room temperature about 10 minutes. Spread sauce onto dough before following up with cheese and toppings. 
  3. Bake around 20 minutes, or until pizza is golden brown and toppings are cooked. Remove from oven and allow pizza to cool slightly.
  4. Slice into 12 even squares and serve.

Chef’s secret to prevent soggy pizza

While most grandma pizza recipes call for layering the sauce before the cheese, Steven Chiappetti, executive chef at the Albert restaurant in downtown Chicago, prefers doing the opposite. “I always put provolone down on the crust first and then spread the tomato sauce over that,” he says. “This way, the cheese becomes a layer of the pizza’s greatness rather than the main feature.”

Putting a layer of cheese directly onto dough also shields the crust from the sauce’s moisture, preventing sogginess. However, if you still want a gooey topping, add extra cheese right before putting the pizza in the oven. 

3 tasty topping combinations for grandma pizza

If you need inspiration on ingredients to top your pizza with, give these yummy suggestions from Stanfield a go:

1. Classic grandma pizza

You can’t go wrong with a traditional grandma pizza, which is topped with shredded mozzarella cheese and Parmesan before it’s baked. Afterwards, the pizza is finished with basil and sliced into squares.

2. Veggie delight grandma pizza

Sliced bell peppers, cherry tomatoes and caramelized onions are all worthy toppings to satisfy your veggie cravings. Aim to keep the veggies sliced thin so they’re perfectly tender once the rest of the pizza is cooked.

3. Meat lovers grandma pizza

For a hearty grandma pizza, top it with thinly sliced pepperoni, crumbled cooked sausage and red chili flakes. (Bonus: Add an extra spicy kick by drizzling hot honey on top of the cooked pizza right before serving it.)


For more sheet pan recipes, check out these stories:

Pioneer Woman’s Secret to Fluffy Pancakes: Just Use a Sheet Pan — No Flipping Needed!

You’ll Love This Genius Hack for the Crispiest Hash Browns Ever — It’s So Easy!

Want a Crispier Mac and Cheese? Bake It In a Sheet Pan

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