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Home ยป How To Layer a Pizza

How To Layer a Pizza

With few exceptions to the rule, pizza layers are pretty standard: pizza crust followed by sauce, then cheese, then your toppings of choice. There’s a bit of technique that must go into the order and thickness of each layer in order to ensure you have the tastiest outcome. When it comes to deciding what seasoning to put on pizza or which toppings are best, it’s all a matter of personal preference. Let’s dig into best practices for layering your homemade pizza!

A pizza made with a homemade pizza dough recipe.

What is the Order of Putting Toppings on a Pizza?

There is somewhat of a technique involved when you layer pizza. Throwing your toppings on willy-nilly? Please, let’s leave the chaos for abstract art, not our dinner plates.

Whether you swear by the simplicity of cheese and pepperoni or prefer a more avant-garde approach to your toppings, getting the order right is the secret sauce to an epic pizza. So, buckle up and let’s navigate through the do’s and don’ts of topping your pizza, because honestly, we’re not just slapping ingredients on dough here.

The Crust: The Topping Foundation

There are different styles and textures of pizza, which will influence your choice on how to make pizza dough for your crust layer. Deciding between pizza flour versus bread flour versus all-purpose flour sounds more confusing than it is–to choose the right flour, you should know which style of pizza you want to make. 

The thickness of your crust will also influence how much of each layer you use, as well. Thinner crusts will be more susceptible to getting soggy from too much sauce or cheese. Using higher temperatures to cook pizza not only keeps the crust crispy, but it actually helps all the other layers cook evenly, too. 

Layer Pizza Basics: The Art of Saucing

Pizza sauce should be a thin layer of thick sauce. You’ll want your sauce to be thicker–meaning that it has less water content–but you don’t need to use too much of it. The less watery the sauce is, the less likely you are to make the pizza soggy. Chewier, denser pizza crusts can handle a heavier layer of sauce, but for thinner pizza crusts, less is more!

A collage of four photos showing how to layer a pizza.

The Cheese Factor: Elevating Your Pizza Game

Similarly to sauce, you’ll want to minimize the water content of your cheese. Using low-moisture mozzarella in an even layer on top of the crust is a smart move, but it is possible to use fresh mozzarella, too. 

You can reduce the moisture content of fresh mozzarella by removing it from its brine and breaking it up into smaller pieces, then leaving it out on the counter for up to thirty minutes. Use paper towels to blot more of the moisture out before placing it on top of your sauce layer.

How to Top Your Pizza: Meats, Veggies, or the Works

Your fourth and final layer will likely consist of meats, veggies, or a combination of both. Meats should always be precooked because the pizza doesn’t stay in the oven long enough to cook raw meat thoroughly. Veggies can be fresh, but keep in mind that some greens have a higher water content then others and may get soggy if not used sparingly. 

Some common pizza vegetables that have higher water content are spinach, peppers, mushrooms, and fresh tomatoes. It may take a little additional preptime, but a simple trick to keep veggies from making your pizza soggy is to precook them by roasting or sauteing. 

With each layer, make sure you are spreading each ingredient evenly across the pizza so that every layer cooks through. The great thing about pizza is that techniques can be quickly learned and the combinations of crust styles, sauces, cheeses, and toppings bring endless variety to pizza night!

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