Homemade pizza: How to use a pizza peel

We are big fans of homemade pizza.  As the weather has cooled off the last few weeks, it’s been making it’s way back onto our menu.

A few years ago, I went through a huge DIY phase… I was making all of our own bread, bagels, soups, and we even canned tomatoes, tomato sauce and salsa.  I say “phase” because having L slowed this waaay down, but I still get a lot of satisfaction out of making some of our food from scratch.

Good friends of ours introduced the pizza peel concept to us many years ago, and as we were making pizza this weekend, I thought I should share it with you, too.

The benefits of using a peel in combination with a pizza stone is that you can get the stone really hot (500 degrees) and toss the pizza right in, similar to the way a pizza shop makes it.  The entire pizza is done perfectly in 7 minutes, and delicious.

(Note: You can use prepared dough and sauce, but I’ll share our recipes.)

We start with the dough.


I make a whole wheat dough enough for three pizzas and freeze two for later, although we’re soon going to need to make two pizzas as one no longer leaves us with leftovers!

Dough Recipe

  • 1/2 c. warm water
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 c. warm water
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
  • 2 c. whole wheat pastry flour

Dissolve yeast in 1/2 c. warm water in a medium bowl and let it sit for ten minutes, until foamy.  Add 1 more cup water, oil, salt and whole wheat flour.  Gradually add the whole wheat pastry flour and knead it until smooth, adding flour as needed to reach the right texture (slightly sticky, but not too wet or too dry).

Place the dough in a greased bowl, turning to coat all sides, and cover with a towel and let it rise 40-60 minutes.  Then punch it down and divide into 2-3 portions, rolling each into a ball.  Cover again and let it rise 20 minutes.


I begin the sauce toward the end of the dough’s first rising.

Sauce Recipe

  • 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, minced
  • optional garlic clove or garlic powder
  • 1 tsp each oregano, parsley and basil
  • pinch of salt, pepper, sugar

Saute the onion a few minutes in the olive oil, until it begins to brown.  Add tomatoes and remaining spices and simmer until sauce begins to thicken (20+ minutes).

As the sauce simmers, I chop and saute the veggies that will be pizza toppings.

This weekend, we used mushrooms, zucchini and onions.

Then it should be time to punch down the dough and shape it into three parts.  Cover them and let rise again.

If you’re freezing one or two portions, pull them out now.  Later, you can use the thawing time in the refrigerator or a few hours on the counter as the second rise.

The second dough rise is only 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees and place the pizza stone on a low rack for 20 minutes.

When the dough is ready, we roll it out on a clean, lightly floured counter.

This is where the pizza peel comes in.  Sprinkle coarse cornmeal on the pizza peel to allow the dough to “roll” or shift around when you jiggle the peel.

Top the pizza with sauce, cheese and toppings as desired.  We often spread a little olive oil around the crust as well.

Freeze leftover sauce with the leftover dough for easy assembly next time!

Find a cute helper to finish the job.

Jiggle the pizza peel again to make sure it will easily slide right onto the pizza stone.  If it’s sticking in any spots, add a little more cornmeal underneath the dough.

When you’re ready, open the oven and slide the pizza carefully onto the stone.

Set the timer for 7 minutes and bake at 500 degrees.  The pizza will be done between 7 and 8 minutes.

If you’re making multiple pizzas, keep the stone in the oven and transfer the pizza to a serving plate or cutting board so the stone is ready to cook the next one.


Do you make homemade pizza? Have you used a pizza peel?


43 thoughts on “Homemade pizza: How to use a pizza peel

  1. Pizza is even more fun to eat when you make it yourself! I don’t have a peel. Instead, I’ve used an upside down cookie sheet when I grilled my pizza. I’ve never frozen the pizza components for later, but what a great time saver!
    Tina@GottaRunNow recently posted..Busy in My KitchenMy Profile

  2. Yummmmm! I love homemade pizza, thanks for sharing your recipe. I’ll have to try out a peel, I do love my pizza stone!

  3. Looks great. Since I don’t eat flour any more, I have been making my pizza crusts with flax and egg white and nutritional yeast. But your sauce and toppings are right up my alley.

  4. my fiance and i just received a cast iron pizza tray as a wedding gift! we used it for the first time and loved it — but like you said, it’d be a good idea to get a peel so that the stone can stay in the oven the whole time and not cool off between pizzas. thanks for the tips!
    mary @ minutes per mile recently posted..tips to become a morning personMy Profile

  5. We make mini pizzas on Fridays so everyone can put what they want on them (and then kids can take their leftover minis on Monday to school). I am scared of pizza stones/peels/etc. I don’t know why. lol
    Jenna recently posted..I Married My FatherMy Profile

  6. Yum! And I’ve got zucchini out the whazoo right now too! My pizza making has gone in phases. I made it on Saturday nights for years but haven’t lately. Since I’m having thyroid issues I’m tightening up the diet gluten-wise so I’m exploring the ever popular cauliflower crust.

  7. Always use a pizza peel just didn’t know that is what it was called. Homemade pizza is so much better. As you can see from my last post trying a new crust is not always successful.
    Tom T. recently posted..Epic Dinner FailMy Profile

  8. We just used our new pizza stone for the first time over the weekend…without reading about how to use it. It stuck to the stone like glue! Now we know to preheat the stone, and I think we need a pizza peel!

  9. love homemade pizza! we’ve been doing more and more of them., ever since i figured out the dough making process. i dont’ have a pizza peel (or stone) but may have to get one now. how do you get the pizza off the stone once it’s done cooking? 500 degrees is no joke,.
    runner26 recently posted..Dumb InjuryMy Profile

  10. I always use a stone but I’ve not heard of a peel! I always make the pizza on a cookie sheet and slide it on the stone, but of course that doesn’t work as well. I worked at a pizzeria in college and we had a peel, but we didn’t call it that. I don’t even know what we called it now that I think about it. Pizza paddle?
    jan recently posted..Cuneo MansionMy Profile

  11. We use a peel but I also use Parchment Paper. I roll my pizza dough on the parchment paper, transfer the whole thing easily to the peel – no sticking & no squishing the shape if it is on the paper. Then slide the pizza on the parchment paper onto the stone. The bottom still gets nice & crispy. Then to remove, pull on the parchment paper to transfer back to the peel to remove.

    Easy Peasy! Then I can transfer the whole pizza with the parchment paper back to my counter or directly onto our kitchen table to cool & cut.

    While the first pizza is in the oven, you can roll out and top your next pizza on the parchment paper.

  12. Ok, so i just made this pizza on a stone that i’ve had for years and never used (i have no idea why!) because this was the most awesome pizza i’ve ever made! just like the brick oven ones! i used a trader joe’s dough, which worked great. The only thing that was a mistake is that i tried out the pizza peel using a plastic cutting board (as i didn’t have a wooden one)…dumb idea! it stuck to the board, but somehow we shimmied it off not elegantly at all onto the hot pizza stone. It turned out great though thankfully. It was so tasty, thank you for the idea!

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