Doing some backyard cooking or grilling now that the weather has turned warm? This Dutch Oven Pizza is easy, yummy and the perfect recipe to change up your outdoor food repertoire.
Cooking outside is a staple at our house no matter the season. And when we head out on camping trips, our dutch oven gets tucked into the truck right next to our hiking gear, cooler full of goodies and other essential gear.
Pizza is my favorite (duh) and something I oddly have not made at home from scratch that much in the past. Well, I am hoping to change that soon. I have been perfecting my pizza crust recipe and hope to get a traditional homemade pizza recipe up on the blog soon!
Until then, check out this Dutch Oven Pizza. It’s crazy how easy it is and I promise you, it’s the antidote to the hot dog grilling blues.
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How to Cook With a Dutch Oven
Those posts go over the materials you need and two different easy methods for cooking outside successfully with a dutch oven. Besides the actual dutch oven (footed, with a flanged lid), you really don’t need any special tools past the ones you might use to grill outside.
Tips for Making Pizza in a Dutch Oven
Pizza is maybe not the normal or typical food one might cook in a dutch oven but that is what makes dutch ovens so cool. You can really cook a wide variety of dishes in it.
There are a couple tips for cooking pizza in a dutch oven you need to be sure to remember:
- Be sure to prop open the lid while cooking to vent steam. You will need something (preferably metal or other material that won’t burn) to set in between the lid and the pot of the dutch oven while the pizza is cooking to vent steam.
- It’s a good idea to line the dutch oven with liners (link) or parchment paper so you can lift the pizza out easily when its done. When cooking pizza in a dutch oven, parchment becomes more of a necessity (in past dutch oven cooking posts I labeled it as “optional.”)
A Word About the Ingredients
My pizza crust recipe is pretty much the same as the one I use at home and honestly, you can probably use your favorite crust recipe in place of this one if you want. Pretty much any homemade pizza dough needs to be made in advance of dinner time, allowing it time for the yeast to work and make it rise. I almost always make pizza dough at least several hours (sometimes several days) in advance of when I want to bake it. You can refrigerate for several days or freeze if longer and just pop it out a few hours before dinner and allow it to come to room temperature.
For making pizza crust on a camping trip or traveling, I made the dough ahead of time, wrapped it up really good with plastic wrap and froze it. Then, I just toted it in our cooler alongside all our other vacation food.
Everyone has their fave pizza toppings. My recipe below is obviously just one version of the probably million different ways you can make pizza. My recommended toppings include:
- ground beef
- peppers and onions
Again, the sky is the limit. You can make your own homemade sauce, use jarred sauce or do what I do and just use canned italian herb tomato paste. You do you! Some alternatives to the traditional red sauce are:
- BBQ sauce
- white sauce (alfredo)
- drizzle of olive oil (AKA no sauce or “white” pizza)
How to Make Pizza in a Dutch Oven
First, prep your hot coals using a grilling tower. There are many different ways to apply heat to a dutch oven but this is my preferred method because it can be done pretty much anywhere.
While the coals are heating, roll out your pizza dough on a large piece of parchment (or parchment dutch oven liners). You can use a rolling pin OR just stretch it out by hand. We used a 4-quart dutch oven so I spread it out to that size.
Spread your sauce, spices and toppings over the top of the dough.
Lower the pizza down into the bottom of dutch oven.
Spread two pieces of aluminum foil on the ground and pour a small pile of coals down onto it. Remove/add coals as needed to ensure only about 5-8 hot coals laying on the foil.
Put your lid on top of the dutch oven but keep it open a crack by placing something on top of the pot between the pot and the lid. We used a rolled up piece of aluminum foil but you could use anything you have on hand, it just needs to vent the lid evenly (so, it will have to keep it open on all sides without making the lid sit crooked.) Note: Be sure whatever you use is not made out of wood or any material that could catch fire.
Set the dutch oven (with vented lid) on top of the coals.
Place 5-8 hot coals on top of the vented lid. (This is why you want your lid to sit straight.)
Allow to cook for about 20-30 minutes, checking it periodically. Cooking time can vary widely depending on how many coals you use. If it looks like it is cooking too fast, remove coals and if it seems like it needs more, add them!
You can remove the lid and use a knife or long-handled spatula to lift up the crust and check how brown the bottom is getting. If it is starting to brown and the toppings are not yet cooking, remove some of the coals.
Here is the recipe! Happy campfire cooking!
Dutch Oven Pizza
- dutch oven (with feet and flanged lid)
- charcoal tower
- grilling tongs or spatula (for moving hot coals)
- dutch oven lid lifter (or long-handled pliers)
- aluminum foil
- dutch oven liners (or parchment paper)
- stand mixer (or you can mix and knead by hand)
- 3 1/2 cups flour, all-purpose
- 1 package (.25 oz) yeast
- 1 1/3 cup water
- 1 tbsp salt
- 2 tbsp olive oil, high quality
Pizza Toppings – Whatever you like! We use:
- 1-2 cups mozzerella cheese, shredded
- 1/4 cup italian herb tomato paste
- 1 tbsp olive oil, high quality
- 1/2 tsp garlic salt
- green peppers
- basil, fresh or dried
Make Pizza dough (makes two 10-inch crusts)
- Mix water and yeast in bowl of a stand mixer and let sit for 5 minutes.
- Add olive oil to bowl.
- MIx salt and flour and add to mixer.
- Mix on medium speed with dough hook attachment for 8-10 minutes.
- Put in bowl (coated with olive oil) and allow to rise in a warm spot for 1 to 1 1/2 hour (until dough doubles in size).
- Punch down and divide into two balls.
- Roll out with rolling pin or by stretching or pressing dough out into a round.
- If saving for later, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate (up to 2-3 days) or freeze (up to 3 months) until ready to use. Bring to room temperature before rolling out and baking.
- Prepare coals by heating in a charcoal tower until coals are white but not disintegrating.
- While coals are heating, prep pizza for cooking.
- Roll dough out onto dutch oven liner (or parchment paper cut in large circle allowing sides to come out of the top of oven.)
- Add drizzle of olive oil over top of dough, spreading with back of a spoon or butter knife (or clean fingers!)
- Spread tomato paste evenly and sprinkle garlic salt evenly over top.
- Add desired toppings (pepperoni, olives, sausage, mushrooms, etc.) and cheese.
- Finish with a sprinkle of fresh (or dried) basil.
- Grasp edges of parchment and lower pizza into bottom of dutch oven.
- Place venting tool (we used rolled up aluminum foil) across open oven and place lid on top.
- Place two aluminum foil squares on the ground and pour small pile of coals in middle of it.
- Using tongs (or spatula), place 5-10 hot coals on aluminum foil squares.
- Place dutch oven (with pizza inside and vented lid on top) on top of hot coals.
- Using tongs (or spatula), move 5-10 hot coals onto top of dutch oven lid.
- Allow to cook for 15-20 minutes, checking periodically that it is not cooking too slow or too fast. (If too slow, add a few coals to top or bottom and if too fast, take away.)
- Remove dutch oven from coals, remove lid and allow to cool for 3-5 minutes.
- Remove pizza by grasping edges of parchment.
- Slice with scissors or pizza cutter and serve warm!
- You can make your dough ahead of time if you are bringing it along on a trip. It will keep in the refrigerator for several days or you can freeze it up to about 3 months. I typically wrap in plastic wrap, freeze and then carry in the cooler alongside all our other vacation food.
- If not using a stand mixer, you can mix all the ingredients as indicated and knead for 8-10 minutes by hand.
- One way to provide a nice warm environment for your dough to rise is to let it rise in a warm oven. Just preheat the oven to 200 degrees, shut it off and allow your dough (loosely covered, in oiled bowl) to rise in there. I also sometimes vent the door to the oven by leaving it open a crack.
- If you don’t want to use hot coals you can do this same thing by setting your dutch oven on a grate over your campfire or on an outdoor grill. Just be sure to vent the lid (and place coals on top to ensure even cooking).