Kitchen Smarts: How to Make Perfectly Shaped Pizza Dough
Let gravity do the work.
America's Test Kitchen

The debate has raged on for centuries: What makes a good pizza? Some say the cheese, some say the sauce, but what do all of those commodities sit on top of? The dough. Before you can tackle the rest, you need to learn how to stretch and shape your dough the right way.


Bake Beautiful Bread at Home Bread Illustrated

Bread Illustrated—our first cookbook devoted solely to bread baking and recent IACP award winner—is a fully illustrated handbook with more than 100 meticulously tested recipes that will enable you to bake artisan bakery–quality bread at home. 


In this video, part of the “Kitchen Smarts” series on America’s Test Kitchen’s YouTube channel, America’s Test Kitchen books team test cook Joe Gitter demonstrates how to make the best shaped and stretched pizza dough. This method will guarantee a tender interior and a nice, crispy crust. Here are some of our findings:

  • Start a day early: Put the dough in the fridge for 24 hours before you start. By giving the gluten a chance to rest, the dough won't be tight or hard to work with. 
  • Use a light touch: Be nice and gentle with your pizza dough. If you are too aggressive in the handling of it, the dough will end up being tough and chewy. 
  • If the dough gets too tough, give it another break: When tossing the dough, there's a chance it'll stiffen up. If that happens, just put it back down and let the gluten rest for a few minutes. 

Watch the Video

Featured Equipment


The Best Pizza Cutter OXO Good Grips 4" Pizza Wheel

This wheel did it all—it was comfortable to hold and allowed for a powerful grip. Its streamlined design didn’t trap food, and it still looked brand new after 10 rounds in the dishwasher.


The Best Baking Stone Old Stone Oven Pizza Baking Stone

Our former favorite stone just keeps on performing. Pizza came out deeply golden brown and crisp. 


Subscribe to the America’s Test Kitchen YouTube channel to get alerted whenever we add a new video. And check out more Kitchen Smarts articles.

What toppings are you going to put on your perfect pizza? Let us know in the comments!