How to Make Homemade Pan Pizza with Buffy in a Cast Iron Skillet

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I love making all kinds of pizza… you name it; thin crust, deep dish, pan, wood-fired, frozen, gluten-free, simple, and exotic. I’ve built pizza ovens, made pizza for fun on a car hood, and helped make pizza with my mom when I was a little boy. I just can’t get enough. In this instance, the weather was telling me to stay indoors, so pizza was going to happen in the basic kitchen oven. For this type of cooking, I prefer pan pizza using a cast iron skillet.  Here’s what I do…

First you need to make some dough. (Or you can skip this part and get store-bought dough – no one’s judging you.) You want to have at it rise for at least a few hours, but my preference is to make dough the day before so it can rise overnight. There are a ton of recipes out there on the Internet. I have usually used recipes from Peter Reinhart, as he is kinda of the guru of dough, and his slow fermentation method yields great results. Here are the ingredients for his basic pizza dough…



  • 5 1/4 cups (24 ounces by weight) unbleached bread flour
  • 2 teaspoons (0.5 oz.) kosher salt
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons (0.14 oz.) instant yeast (or 1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast dissolved in the water)
  • 2 tablespoons (1 oz.) olive oil
  • 1 tablespoons (1/2 oz.) sugar
  • 2 1/4 cups (18 oz.) room temperature water


  1. When you dissolve the yeast, add your sugar and really let the yeast get frothing BEFORE you incorporate it. This will insure that the yeast is hungry and active when it meets the flour. Thus you get really good fermentation, and excellent bubbly dough.
  2. You’ll need to mix all the ingredients together, with either a mixer or by hand. When it has come together, but still fairly moist, you want to knead the dough. Add flour as needed. I like my pizza dough to be fairly moist but you have to be able to work with it. A dough knife is really helpful at this stage.
  3. After kneading, you will want to let the dough rise. If you are going 24 hours, let it rise in the fridge. If you are cooking same day, put it somewhere to keep it at room temperature. Either way, cover it with plastic wrap, a moist towel, or put it into a Tupperware container.
  4. When it’s ready, the dough should double, maybe even triple in size. If not, something went wrong and you want to start over.
  5. Now you need to pull the dough out, and separate it in to separate pieces. Each piece will represent a pizza. This size recipe yields 5 thins, or in my case yielded 3 pan pizzas.
  6. Form each piece into it’s own ball and allow to rise for another 30 minutes or so.
  7. Get your oven going. I put mine at 500. You want that sucker to be hot. Let it preheat while the dough is resting/rising.
  8. Now shape your dough. Put a little oil in the pan. Plop the dough in and start stretching it evenly to the edges of the pan. It might fight you a bit, but it should hold its form. Now add some sauce, cheese and plenty of Buffy garlic spice, and whatever other toppings you like. On this pizza, we put fresh mushrooms and giardiniera from Pickle O’Pete.
  9. Throw it in the oven for 10-15 minutes, until it has browned up to your liking.  Carefully remove it, the pan will be extremely hot.  You should be able to run a spatula around the edge and transfer the pizza to a cutting board.
  10. Let it cool for a few minutes. It’s hard to wait, but it will help it take its form.
  11. Cut, serve and enjoy!