This Spicy Pepperoni Pan Pizza is not my recipe! I wish I could claim credit for this greatness, but this baby belongs to King Arthur Baking. Their 2020 Recipe of the Year was Crispy Cheesy Pan Pizza and I spent the *entire* year meaning to try it, but never got around to it. Well, I finally did and I’m here to tell you that it’s the easiest pizza I’ve ever made and definitely one of the tastiest as well.
You can find the original recipe on King Arthur’s website, and it’s wonderful! Y’all know I can’t ever leave well enough alone so I had to fiddle with it a teeny tiny bit. I knew that someone would appreciate a rundown of how I approached this.
Speaking of King Arthur’s website: it’s my absolute favorite resource for improving my baking skills. Most recipes have in-depth blog posts accompanying them to help hone the techniques needed, and there’s even chat, phone, and email support if you need some help figuring things out.
Spicy Pepperoni Pan Pizza Ingredients
Feel free to jump to the full recipe, but here are useful notes about the ingredients you will need to make this Spicy Pepperoni Pan Pizza recipe:
- All-purpose flour, instant yeast, lukewarm water: The basic components of our dough, along with salt and olive oil. I used instant yeast so I wouldn’t have to take the time to bloom it, but active dry will work fine. Just combine it with the lukewarm water about 10 minutes before you’re ready to start mixing.
- Olive oil: The first time I made this recipe I accidentally omitted the oil from the dough, and only used it to dough ball after I’d formed it, and to coat the pan. Imma be honest and tell you the difference was negligible.
- Mozzarella: Low moisture is my preference for all baked goods, and this pizza too. The crust might be thick but it’s very light: extra water is not recommended here.
- Pizza Sauce: I used a fresh batch of my Versatile Red Sauce, but I’ve also used store-bought sauce for this as well. You do you!
- Calabrian Chili Peppers: I use a paste or already chopped and blended chiles, but you can chop or puree some if you only have whole ones. They add beautiful spice and body to the sauce. You could also use the oil from the jar.
- Pepperoni, Old World Spicy Pepperoni: Two types, because why not! I love the pepperoni that turns into little cups, and I also love classic pepperoni as long as it’s super crisp. Pizza Hut has my favorite pepperoni, to give you a widely recognized example. You can use whatever type you want, just make sure to nuke it in the microwave or lightly saute it in a dry frying pan for a couple of minutes to release some of the oils. We don’t want pools of grease.
- Aged Parmesan, freshly grated: Use aged. It matters! Pecorino Romano is a nice finish, too.
- Crushed red pepper flakes: These are what make the Spicy Pizza Seasoning (recipe below) spicy!
- Garlic powder, cracked black pepper, dried oregano flakes, dried marjoram: The other players in our pizza seasoning. If you happen to have any parmesan powder you can add a tablespoon of that in here for an additional treat.
- Equipment: A cast-iron pan is necessary. A well-seasoned one because of the crispy edges. Well, OK, necessary isn’t the right wording, maybe strongly recommended. A dark brownie pan or baking dish would work OK, too. Make sure it’s about 9-10″ across the bottom surface. Here’s everything I used:
How to Make the Spicy Pizza Seasoning
Pictured above is the whole shebang, sprinkled on top of and sitting beside a bowl of my Spicy Pizza Seasoning. This is a major key for making this a *Spicy* Pepperoni Pan Pizza.
- 4 tbsp dried oregano flakes
- 2 1/2 tbsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 tbsp granulated garlic
- 1 1/2 tbsp dried basil
- 1 tbsp dried thyme
- 1 tbsp cracked black pepper
- 1/2 tbsp dried parsley
- 1/2 tbsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp crushed fennel seeds
Making this seasoning to sprinkle on this Spicy Pepperoni Pan Pizza is super easy: just combine it all together! Clean out an empty spice container, pour the ingredients in and shake it up. That’s it!
How to Make Spicy Pepperoni Pan Pizza
Full instructions are included in the recipe below, but here is a basic overview of what you’ll need to do, along with some important tidbits to help you make the most of this Spicy Pepperoni Pan Pizza recipe:
- Prepare the dough ingredients. It’s important to either weigh the flour or measure it by stirring it up with a fork so it’s light and airy, then gently spooning it into a cup and using a knife or bench scraper to sweep off any excess rising above the rim of the measuring cup. Place the adequately measured flour into a medium to a large bowl along with the salt, yeast, water, and oil.
- Make the dough. Use a wooden spoon or silicone spoon to stir everything together. It will seem dry, but after 30 seconds or so of stirring it should become a shaggy, sticky mass. Use your hands to gather the dough up into a ball, and scoop up/scrape down any dry bits of flour and work those into it. Shape it into a ball and return it to the bottom of the bowl. Cover it with a paper towel or lid and set a timer for 5 minutes.
- Start folding! After 5 minutes, fill a small bowl with warm water and place that beside the dough bowl. Stick your hand in and let the excess water drip off, then reach into the bowl and under the dough. Grab the bottom and pull it up, stretching it, over and push it down into the top. This is called a fold and it might be difficult to do at first because the dough is tight. Don’t worry, by the time the last fold comes around, it’ll feel like totally different dough. Turn the bowl 90º and do this stretch again 3 times. You’re going to do 4 folds, then cover the bowl, and let it rest again.
- Keep folding! After another 5 minutes, repeat the previous step. Do this fold and rest process a total of 4 times, making sure it rests a full 5 minutes between each. By the time you do the last fold it should be quite elastic and no longer resist when you pull and stretch it.
- Rest the dough overnight. Now, if you used a bowl with a lid or you have beeswax or saran wrap available, drizzle a few drops of olive oil into the bowl, turn the dough over to coat in it, cover it and pop it in the fridge. If you can’t do any of that, transfer the dough (after oiling it) to a ziploc bag or other airtight container you have. Refrigerate the dough overnight and a little longer – at least 12 hours. Up to 72 according to King Arthur but I’ve never gone that long myself.
- Prepare the dough and the pan. About 3 hours before you want to serve your pizza, pull the dough from the fridge and prepare the pan. Pour 1 tablespoon of olive oil into your 10″ cast-iron skillet. Use a basting brush or paper towel to spread the oil evenly over the entire surface and up the sides of the pan. Transfer the dough ball to the pan. Use your fingertips (or you can try using your knuckles as I did) to “poke” the dough, pressing it outward toward the edges of the pan as you go. At first, the dough might shrink back or resist the spreading, but that’s normal. After you’ve spread it out a little bit, cover it with a paper towel and let it rest for 5-10 minutes. After the time has passed, uncover and poke it out toward the edges some more. If it still doesn’t reach the rim, cover and let it rest again before poking it one more time. I really don’t see you needing to do it more than 3 times unless you’re using a pan that’s too large and if that’s the case this recipe isn’t going to turn out well unless you go back and find a smaller one.
- Let it rise and prepare the oven. Now, cover the crust back up with the paper towel and set it aside to rise undisturbed for two hours. It will be noticeably puffy the next time you see it. King Arthur says it should jiggle when you shake the pan, but every time I made this recipe, even before adapting it into this Spicy Pepperoni Pan Pizza, mine never jiggled. Arrange your oven racks, ensuring one is at the top of the oven and another is at the bottom. About half an hour prior to baking, start preheating the oven to 450°F.
- Arrange the initial toppings. Sprinkle a cup of mozzarella over the entire crust, all the way to the edges. You don’t want to see any of the crust, and we’re going for crispy edges a la Pequod’s in Chicago. Next, dollop the pizza sauce about a tablespoon at a time evenly atop the cheese. Refer to the video if you need visuals. Next, sprinkle on about a teaspoon of pizza seasoning, then sprinkle on the remaining mozzarella.
- First Bake. Now the times will vary based on your oven. I don’t know your oven the way you do, and if you don’t know yours get to know it! Place the pizza on the bottom rack for 18 minutes. After 18 minutes the cheese should be bubbling and at least starting to brown. While the pizza is baking arrange the pepperoni on a paper towel-lined plate and microwave it for 10-15 seconds on high. This will release some of the greases.
- Add the pepperoni. Pull the pizza from the oven around that 18-minute mark, and arrange the parcooked pepperoni evenly on the top of the pizza all the way to the crispy edges. Sprinkle the parmesan over the top and return the pizza to the oven, this for 3 to 5 minutes longer. Now, if your crust is still pale on the bottom and you want it darker (use a spatula to lift up an edge and peek) return the pizza to the bottom rack, but if the bottom looks good or you don’t care, put it on the top rack this time.
- Remove it from the pan. As soon as you pull the pizza from the oven you’ll want to run a butter knife between the edge of the pizza and the pan to prevent the crispy cheese crust from gluing itself to the pan. Then, as soon as you can manage it without burning yourself use a pair of heavy-duty spatulas to lift the pizza from the cast iron pan and transfer it to a cutting board.
- Slice and serve. Sprinkle on a bit more pizza seasoning over the top of the pizza and use kitchen shears or a very sharp pizza cutter to cut this pizza into slices without disturbing the toppings or crust too much. Dassit! Enjoy.
- Storing and Reheating: This Spicy Pepperoni Pan Pizza will keep in the fridge (loosely or tightly covered) for up to 5 days. To reheat this pizza place it on a sheet pan and stick it in the oven on the middle rack. Set the oven to 350°F and once the oven beeps that it’s preheated to that point, pull the pizza and check the center and bottom. If not warmed all the way through give it an additional 3-5 minutes.
Switch It Up
There are endless variations that you can make with this Crispy Cheesy Pan Pizza recipe, I mean it’s a pizza after all! Here are some other topping ideas:
- Tomato Basil: Roast some plump cherry tomatoes ’til they burst and chiffonade a bit of fresh basil. Add it instead of the pepperonis. Made this on Instagram on Thursday and the recipe is located in the caption for it.
- White Chicken Pizza: Substitute Alfredo sauce for the pizza sauce, and sliced grilled chicken for the pepperoni.
- Traditional Pepperoni: Not into spicy? Omit the Calabrian chiles from the sauce, and skip the pizza seasoning. Or try the pizza seasoning without the crushed red pepper flakes.
Let me know what you think if you try this one! Here’s a Pinterest graphic: