How to Cook Pizza on the Grill

Sure, you could cook pizza in the oven, but it's grilling season!

To turn the dough ball into a “platter” for the toppings, put the dough on the well-floured surface and flatten it the palm of your hand or a rolling pin.

Begin to roll out the dough with the rolling pin. Start at the middle of the dough, and roll away from your body.

Turn the dough a quarter turn, and repeat the rolling. Continue the process until the dough is about 10 inches in diameter. Don’t worry if it is not a perfect circle.

If you wish to try your hand at hand-stretching the dough, follow the instructions above until the dough is about 8 inches in diameter and about a half inch thick. 

Pick up the dough at the edges, and move your fingers along the edge as the weight of the dough causes it to stretch. If you are really feeling adventurous, try tossing the dough like an old-time pizza maker.

When ready to assemble those pies, preheat the grill to high, and get the toppings ready. 

At the least, go for staples such as mozzarella – shredded or thinly sliced, your choice; grated Parmesan; tomatoes – fresh and/or stewed or prepared as sauce; pepperoni, meatballs or sausage, and basil as a fresh herb.

Because the grilling process is so quick, the results are better if some toppings are cooked in advance.

Use pre-cooked sausage and meatballs.  Use olive oil to saute onions until softened and golden and mushrooms and other fresh vegetables until tender crisp.

Even paper-thin slices of apple have a better texture on a finished pizza when sautéed briefly in butter. Oven-roasting garlic softens and sweetens the cloves (see recipe). Rehydrate sun-dried tomatoes in hot water to soften them.

Now, for the fun part. When the grill is hot, carefully place the rolled out dough on the grate. Grill until the dough is golden and slightly charred in spots on the bottom.

Using a pair of long-handled tongs, flip the crust and add the toppings of choice.  Reduce heat to medium or slide the crust to a less hot part of the grill. Grill just until the cheese has melted and the toppings are set.

That’s it. The grill becomes a pizza oven and imparts a smoky flavor to the crust while creating that chewy but crisp texture.

Here are some suggestions to get you started:

  • Oven-Roasted Garlic
  • 1 large bulb garlic
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Leave the bulb intact, but remove the outer papery covering.
  • Wrap the garlic in foil, drizzle with olive oil and roast at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes or until soft.
  • An alternate method is to roast the garlic on the grill over indirect heat.


  •         Sliced fresh tomatoes
  •         Mozzarella, sliced or shredded
  •         Fresh basil, chopped or cut into thin strips


  •         Pesto
  •         Sliced fresh tomatoes or rehydrated, chopped sundried tomatoes
  •         Roasted garlic cloves, sliced
  •         Grated Parmesan cheese
  •         Crumbled Gorgonzola cheese


  •         Olive oil
  •         Chopped roasted garlic
  •         1 (10-ounce) can chopped clams, drained
  •         Chopped cooked bacon
  •         Parmesan cheese
  •         Roasted red pepper strips (optional)


  •         Golden Delicious apples, sliced paper thin and sautéed in butter until tender-crisp
  •         Chopped walnuts
  •         Crumbled Gorgonzola
  •         Crumbled goat cheese


  •         Tomato sauce
  •         Strips of portabella mushrooms, sautéed in olive oil
  •         Caramelized sliced Vidalia onions      
  •         Shredded mozzarella
  •         Crumbled goat cheese
  •         Drizzle of truffle oil and sea salt after baking


  •         Sliced American cheese
  •         Prepared spaghetti sauce or sliced fresh tomato 
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