Switch up pizza night with our Neapolitan pizza dough recipe- a traditional Italian flatbread with an amazing crust! This no-knead dough is simple to make, and with an overnight rise option, it’s a perfect weekend meal idea. Take one bite of the fluffy soft and chewy Neapolitan pizza crust – We bet you’ll never want to use frozen again!
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Reasons to Make Our Neapolitan Pizza Dough Recipe
- Great for meal prep! The overnight rise and fact that it keeps in the fridge for up to 48 hours makes it a great meal-prep option for an easy weekend dinner. Even better, it freezes beautifully for a month!
- Feed a crowd on game day! Our Neapolitan pizza dough recipe makes two 9-inch thin crusts to be passed around, or one large 11-inch thick-crusted pie for lovers of the doughy, chewy crust.
- Super customizable. This no knead pizza dough holds up well to all kinds of ingredients and variations. We even use it to make crisp fire grilled pizzas in the summer!
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- 00 Flour – This is the most finely ground Italian flour out there — the best for any authentic Neapolitan pizza dough recipe!
All-purpose flour is a workable substitute, but the consistency will be a bit tougher.
- Semolina flour is also a must (in our opinion) to prevent sticking. See our notes below for details on how exactly to use it.
- Active Dry Yeast – This recipe uses a tiny amount – just ⅛ teaspoon! Instant yeast will work, too, if necessary. If you can’t get your hands on any yeast at all, make our sourdough pizza crust recipe – no yeast at all for that recipe!
- Warm Water – To help the yeast activate, the water needs to be about 110°F. If it’s too cold, the yeast won’t grow at all. On the other hand, if the water is too hot, the gas bubbles inside of the pizza dough can explode. Not a good thing – it can create giant air pockets inside of your crust.
Napoli Pizza Dough FAQ
The consistency of dough from Napoli is very light and stretchy, and it bakes into a deliciously chewy yet crispy crust!
Most overnight dough recipes require cold fermenting in a refrigerator because more yeast is used.
A Neapolitan pizza dough recipe, however, uses less yeast which makes it safe to keep at room temperature during the slow, 12-hour rise. The result is a crust with a crisp exterior with a fluffy, moist interior.
Sicilian crust is very thick, soft, and usually rectangular. It’s all about the dough’s consistency, and you’ll usually get more crust per bite than any sauce, cheese, or other toppings!
Neapolitan pizza crust is chewy rather than fluffy and much thinner. Another difference is that an authentic Napoli dough is always made with a fine grain, 00 flour.
Authentic Pizza Toppings
If you’re going through the motions of making a traditional Neapolitan recipe, authentic toppings are worth considering! In this case, a simple spread of fresh mozzarella slices, basil, and olive oil on top of San Marzano sauce.
Otherwise, good options are pepperoni or salami, plus a drizzle of olive oil and dried Italian seasoning to keep things classic!
Want a veggie lover’s pie? Stick to bell peppers, spinach, and mushrooms — nothing too watery that might make the crust soggy.
Neapolitan Pizza Dough Recipe Tips
- Add the dry ingredients a little bit at a time.
If you start by dumping all of the dry ingredients into the warm water at once, it’ll take longer — and be tougher on your forearms — to get that ball to form.
Instead, pre-mix the flour, yeast, sugar, and salt and gradually add the dry ingredients to the warm water about ¼ cup at a time.
Having a dough whisk or large spoon will make this process easier as well. Of course, nothing tops having a stand mixer with a dough attachment, but it really isn’t necessary. This is such an easy pizza crust recipe!
- Use semolina flour on your work surface and hands.
Start with a generously floured work surface to prevent sticking. We recommend using semolina flour because it’s grainier than all-purpose.
Additionally, using the semolina on your hands prevents the no knead pizza dough from sticking to your fingers. If using a rolling pin, flour that as well.
- Use your fingers to prevent overworking the dough.
Starting at the center, flatten the ball with your fingertips while working your way toward the edges. Leave about 1-inch unflattened along the perimeter for the crust.
Finally, stretch the disc into your preferred size, and you’re almost ready for toppings!
- Brush the crust with sauce for better color and flavor.
You’ll be surprised at how much additional color just a tiny bit of sauce adds! Just use a pastry brush to apply it just before it goes into the oven for baking.
Need a few more pointers? We have an entire post with helpful tips on stretching and rolling pizza dough!
Storing and Freezing
We recommend freezing no knead pizza dough after the first rise, but before the second rise once it’s been shaped into two balls. At this point, it can be refrigerated for up to 2 days, or frozen for up to a month.
Remember that cold dough takes longer to rise than warm. So, remove it from the fridge and let it come to room temperature for at least an hour first. Then, follow the recipe directions for stretching or rolling.
For more info, check out our post on freezing pizza dough.
Neapolitan Pizza Dough Recipe
- 2 cups 00 flour or all-purpose flour
- ⅛ teaspoon active dry yeast or instant yeast
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup warm water 105ºF
- In a large bowl, stir together all ingredients with a dough whisk or spoon until they come together as a shaggy dough ball. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, and let rise at room temperature (not in the refrigerator) for at least 12 hours and up to 24 hours.
- Transfer the dough from the bowl onto a lightly floured surface, and divide into two. Shape each half into a ball and cover loosely with plastic wrap or a clean towel. Let dough rise for 45-60 minutes.
- Place dough on parchment paper. Dust the top of the dough with flour then use your finger tips to flatten dough into a circle, leaving a 1″ margin as the crust. Stretch dough until it is a 10″ – 12″ circle, depending on your preferred thickness.
- Preheat oven to 500ºF (see notes below to bake at 450ºF) with pizza stone, if using. Cover crust with sauce and your preferred toppings. Transfer parchment sheet with pizza onto pizza stone or large baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until edges are golden and top is bubbling.