No knead pizza

No knead pizza

If you are sometimes in the mood for pizza but too busy or tired to knead the dough, I have some good news. It is perfectly possible to make a delicious tasting pizza with a beautifully chewy crust without any kneading whatsoever. I actually don’t mind kneading, but sometimes it’s just too much effort especially if, like me, you spend too much time in the kitchen already.

All this recipe wants from you is to mix three dry ingredients together in a bowl with some water, cover it and leave well alone for hours. I often do it just before I go to sleep knowing that I will have a ready pizza dough by dinner time. It’s so simple!

I may be wrong, but what I think is at play here is a chemical process known as autolyse combined with some yeast action. Autolyse is a common technique used in bread baking and it’s the act of combining flour and water and letting them do their thing – during the resting time gluten forms and the dough gathers strength and elasticity. To be honest, you don’t need to concern yourself with why it works, it just does.

This is not my first venture into no knead bread baking (pizza, after all, is bread albeit flat). I used to live on this no knead Turkish bread when I moved away from a place that was right next to a Turkish bakery (now I live right next to one again and I am there every other day!) so I had high hopes for this pizza dough based on this Jim Lahe’s recipe and it absolutely delivered.

In terms of toppings, I used wild garlic pesto I had stashed in my freezer, sliced of grilled zucchini, sweet cherry tomatoes, briny capers and creamy vegan ricotta, but put whatever you like on yours including a pineapple if that’s what you are into – don’t let any rules hold you back 😉 – that’s a motto I am trying to learn to incorporate into my entire life lately.

no knead pizza suggested toppings

no knead pizza ingredients mixing

Mix flour, salt and instant yeast in a bowl until well combined. Add water, stirring with a spoon initially then using your hands to form the dough ball.

no knead pizza proofing

Cover the dough (I used an old bread bag) and leave it to ferment on a kitchen counter for 18-20 hours (depending on ambient temperature). The dough should have doubled in size, risen to form a flat surface and be full of tiny bubbles and a few holes when ready.

no knead pizza shaping

Transfer the dough onto a well floured surface, shape into a ball (dust in flour if sticky) and divide into 4 equal portions. Shape each portion into a pizza (as big as you can manage) remembering that the crusts will rise a lot.

no knead pizza grilled zucchini

no knead pizza toppings

Top with your favourite things. I used wild garlic pesto, grilled zucchini ribbons, cherry toms cut in half, capers and small amount of my vegan ricotta.

no knead pizza baked

Bake in a pre-heated oven until the base is cooked and the top is lightly charred.

no knead pizza cut

no knead pizza crust

no knead pizza close up

4 pizzas
30 min
12 min
4 pizzas
30 min
12 min
NO KNEAD DOUGH (make a day ahead)

  • 500 g / 4 cups AP flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 12 g / 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp instant dried yeast
  • approx. 360 ml / 1½ cups water
  • semolina flour* (optional)


  1. Mix the flour, salt and yeast in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Pour in water while mixing in with a spoon.
  3. Once most of the water has been added, use your hands to bring the dough together, it should all stick together easily without any dry pockets, if there are, add a touch more water but in very small, incremental doses as you don’t want the dough too wet.
  4. Cover the bowl with a piece of cling film or a plastic bag and leave on the counter to proof for 18-24 hours – until it has doubled in size, risen and the surface has little holes. Proofing time depends on the ambient temperature, the cooler it is the longer it takes. An ideal temperature is about 22° C / 72° F.
  5. 45 minutes before you are ready to shape your pizzas, preheat the oven with a pizza stone* in it to 250° C / 480° F.
  6. If you don’t have a pizza peel or are not quite experienced in using one, you may want to place a piece of oven-proof paper underneath each pizza to use as a sling later.
  7. Sprinkle the countertop or the paper laid on top of it with regular flour and semolina flour to prevent the dough from sticking.
  8. Divide the dough into 4 equal portions. Shape each portion into a pizza using whatever technique you usually use. I like to stretch it with my hands in combination with using a pizza roller. I managed to stretch dough to roughly 22 cm / 9″.
  9. Top your pizza with your favourite toppings. I spread wild garlic pesto at the bottom, piled grilled zucchini on top, decorated with cherry tomato halves, chopped capers and dollops of vegan ricotta.
  10. Using a pizza peel or the paper sling, carefully transfer each pizza to the oven.
  11. Bake each pizza for about 12-14 minutes, until the base is cooked and the crust and the toppings are gently charred.

*SEMOLINA FLOUR: it’s used to prevent raw pizza dough from sticking to the counter / pizza peel. Skip if you don’t have it.

*PIZZA STONE: pizza stone is a great thing to own if you like making pizzas, flatbreads, galettes etc. as it makes sure the bottom cooks properly. If you don’t own one, use an old-fashioned metal tray placed upside down. It won’t need as much pre-heating so pop it into the oven 20 minutes before you are ready to bake.

My method has been adapted slightly from this Jim Lahe’s recipe.

0 g
1 g
0 g
13 g
96 g
*per one pizza (without toppings)
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2 reviews, 18 comments
Made the dough ahead if time as stated and just the most amazing pizza .. the crust was delicious .. I used a roasted garlic tomato sauce instead of the pesto .. I tried the grilled courgette and wasn't sure if I would like this on a pizza but omgoodness .. also added red pepper topping .. Best pizza base I've ever tried 😋
    Yay! I am so happy to hear that, Kerry and it's so simple right? I am delighted that you enjoyed it and thank you for taking the time to let me know, I really appreciate it. x Ania
Your pizza looks delicious! Thanks for the recipe.
    My pleasure, Sue! It's so easy and I hope you'll give it a go! Ania
I have to try this! Will strong white bread flour be better/ worse/ same for this?
    Hi Basia,
    Apologies for a late reply, I was on holidays... Yes, I really recommend it! It's really super simple and so good, I hope you'll give this dough a go. I did try with 50% strong flour and 50% AP flour and the dough gets hard, especially the bottom. It's also way harder to manage due to its high gluten content. I hope this helps! Ania
      Hope you enjoyed your holiday :)
      I made it! I had to toss out my stash of pizza flour (because... bugs) which I was going to use initially so all I had was AP and 'tortowa' flour and it turned out great :))
        Holiday was awesome, thanks Basia! Oh no, I hate when that happens! Glad it worked out well with what you've got. x Ania
No-knead pizza! What heresy is this? 😀 Really looking forward to trying this recipe and the ricotta! Salute, Ania!
    Hahaha, I know, right?! All the Italian nonne are sharpening their knives in anger ;) , I bet, but it really is delicious especially considering how undemanding it is. I hope you'll enjoy them both, Paolo! Ania
Could you freeze the dough once you’ve separated it into four? If so, then what do you do when you thaw it? Does it have to rise again or it’s good to go?
    Hi Colleen,
    Apologies for a late reply, I was on holidays until today. The honest answer is that I have not tried freezing this dough yet, but I have made cold method pizza dough in the past (see here) and it freezer well. There is no reason why this would not work the same way. Once it has risen, knock the air out, divide into individual pizza portions and freeze it. To thaw, let it defrost slowly (overnight ideally) in the fridge, take out of the fridge an hour before you are ready to shape it and bake it. Hope this helps! Ania
Pizza was really good. I added caramelized onion and spinach along with a roasted garlic and basil pesto.
    Lovely to hear, Grace. Thank you! Your topping sounds delicious too. Ania
Is ap flour the same as plain white flour for baking, low in gluten?
    Hi Stephanie,
    Yes, it is plain flour, also known as all purpose flour. It has just the right amount of gluten for this application. Hope this helps! Ania
Would 1:1 gluten-free flour work?
    Hi Linda,
    You are welcome to try, but I doubt it. Pizza dough relies on gluten so creating a gluten-version is way more complicated than that, I'm afraid. Ania
Is there a gluten-free option to this recipe?
    I'm afraid there isn't, no. Ania
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