Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Top Your Own Pizza, Pizza Party!

You know how in grade school you would get rewarded with a pizza party for working extra hard at something or earning a certain number of stars during the school year? What if I told you that you could have a pizza party even without earning a single gold star. Like, look at me I washed the dishes! Call everyone over, pizza party time! Or, wow I just finished a Homeland marathon and that was hard work sitting there riveted to my TV, I deserve a pizza party! Because, honestly you really don't need a reason to have the most delicious, and did I mention homemade, pizza party of your life. And luckily, with this method you don't even need a lot of time.

individual pizza

But I do recommend inviting some friends over to share in this joyous occasion. Because not only is pizza meant to be shared (that is if you can agree on the toppings), this is an everyone-gets-their-own-pizza-pick-your-toppings kind of party. And that's the best kind of pizza party for a pepperoni hating mushroom loving kind of girl. No more debating for a half hour about meat choices and can we please just get mushrooms? No? Ok fine how about pineapple? No, to that also? What kind of pizza loving person are you Adam?! His response: The normal one who likes pepperoni and believes that fungi and fruit have no place on a pizza pie. Phppph. What does he know, really?

pizza topping bar

So just how is it possible to make multiple individual pizzas for you and your friends without spending hours in the kitchen shoveling pizzas in and out of the oven, tapping your feet while you wait for them to bake?
Build a GIANT wood burning stove!

{a little wonky on one side*}

Kidding, kidding. Put your bricks and mortar down. There is a much easier solution. Pull out your trusty cast iron skillet. Please tell me you have one! And heat up your broiler. These pizzas cook in 3 to 4 minutes! Using this method you could churn pizzas out like it was your job. And I guess, if you are throwing a pizza party it kinda is your job. But at least you won't be waiting 30 minutes between each pizza you serve your guests. And that means each guest can have their own individual pizza with their choice of toppings! Oh, the freedom!! Oh, the choices!!

choose your topping

Here's how it works. You locate your broiler. Mine is a drawer at the bottom of my oven, just in case, like me, you had no idea where to find your broiler and what that strange drawer was for. But in newer ovens the broiler is often located at the top of the oven, so position your rack at the highest level. You pop your cast iron skillet in the oven if you're broiler is located in a drawer below your oven. If your broiler is located inside the actual oven, then place your skillet on the stove over high heat.  Crank up the oven to broil. Prepare a topping bar with all your favorites and then some. (I was told I had to add pepperoni.) Grab some dough and roll out your pizzas. I did a bunch in advance before the guests arrived. Then give your guests their uncooked crust, preferably on a floured wood cutting board, and let them go to work. Once your oven has had time to get all warm and toasty like the fiery depths of hell, use oven mitts to pull your cast iron skillet out (if you have placed it in the oven). Carefully slide the pizza (with all it's toppings) from the cutting board and into the skillet. This takes a little bit of skill, but if you don't get it right just go with it. See my photo above.* Stick that hot skillet in your broiler, in the actual drawer if that is where your broiler is located. Broil for a minute thirty and then rotate skillet. Continue to broil for another  minute and a half. Watch carefully towards the end. Your looking for golden gooey cheese and a crust that is starting to brown, maybe even char. My pizzas took 3 to 4 minutes. When it's done, carefully slide it out of the skillet and continue with your next pizza. Keep the skillet hot in the oven if you have down time between the pizzas or over a high flame on the stove.

skillet pizza
{iphone photo of one of my guest's pizza from my pizza party}

Cast Iron Skillet Pizza Party
method adapted from Bev Cooks

- Trader Joe's pizza dough (or make your own) - you'll need about 8 ounces of dough per pizza. One ball of Trader Joe's dough makes 2 pizzas
- 10 or 12 inch cast iron skillet. Mine is 12.
- olive oil to coat bottom of pan.
- enough sauce for the amount of pizzas you are making - I used 1 jar Trader Joe's pizza sauce for about 6 pizzas
- desired toppings for your topping bar 
 I had:
roasted red pepper
sliced cherry tomatoes
cooked bacon
cooked bbq chicken
onions (pour boiling water over them to take the "bite" off)
cheddar cheese
mozzarella cheese
feta cheese
parmesan cheese
olive oil
balsamic vinegar
sea salt and fresh ground pepper
crushed red pepper

Locate your broiler. If you have an older oven it could be in a drawer at the bottom of your oven. If you have no drawer at the bottom of your oven, then your broiler is most likely located on the ceiling of the oven. Position a rack at the highest level, making sure you have enough room to slide your skillet in and out with a few inches above it.

Turn your oven on to broil. Place a cast iron skillet in the oven if your oven has the broiler in the drawer at the bottom. If your broiler is located on the ceiling of your oven, then place your skillet over high heat on the stove. Lightly brush olive oil over bottom of pan, to ensure a nonstick surface. Let broiler and skillet get nice and hot, at least 10 minutes.

On a floured wood cutting board, roll out 8 oz of dough to fit the size of your pan. You can make the pizzas smaller also if you would like a thicker crust. Top pizza with desired sauce and toppings.

Using an oven mitt take skillet out of the oven, if you placed it in the oven to heat, if it is on the stove heating up just leave it there. Carefully slide the pizza from the cutting board into the skillet. This takes a little practice. If it's not perfect you can use a spatula to try and even it out, but I wouldn't fuss with it for more than 15 seconds or so, it's already starting to cook and you need to get in under the broiler.

Place pan under broiler. Cook for 1 minute 30 seconds then rotate pan 180 degrees. Cook for another minute and half. Check after 3 minutes. Cook for another minute if desired, depends on the heat of your broiler. Mine needed about 4 minutes. You are looking for golden gooey cheese and a crust that is starting to brown or char.

Using oven mitts remove pan from broiler, carefully slide pizza on to cutting board or use spatula to remove pizza. Cut and serve!

Start your next pizza! Keep pan hot over stovetop or in oven in between pizzas.

Love, Luck, and Happiness!


  1. Haha! Oh, I totally deserve a pizza party. Watching Homeland was REALLY hard work. Super tense and stressful. I am so glad you understand. Also, I would totally share a (gluten-free) mushroom clad pizza with you. I am telling you...we should be neighbors.

  2. Sooooooooooooooooooo super yUmTaStIc!!! I rolled mine out on my pampered chef 15" round stone and it took less than 10 minutes from start to finish.. The kids had a ball and i felt like a supastahhhhhh.. Fun, Fast, Food, yayyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!!!!

  3. Yummy! I love going to pizza parties like these! People always hate my pizzas because I hate tomato sauce (not actual tomatoes) and I just load mine with goat cheese. Plus, I'm not really good at sharing my food :). I need a cast iron skillet!



    Southern (California) Belle

  4. You're to cute Michelle! I love your closing photo! You know I love using my cast iron skillet for pizza as I have two recipes on my blog,but I have never thought to put it under the broiler. Genius! What a time saver! I'm going to be having a pizza party with the kids this Friday and give this a try. I have two cast iron skillets and two ovens so it will just be that much quicker and easier. Thanks for the great idea :) xoxo, Jackie

  5. Great Recipe and idea for a party. I have a couple questions... Did the cooking time vary as the night went on? I know cast iron can tend to retain heat, which is a good thing, but I know that broiler is super hot.

    I always have the dough stick to the cutting board or peel so I started using parchment paper so I could just slide the dough off the cutting board. Would you think that technique could work for the cast iron skillet method?

    Thanks for the recipe! :)

    1. HI! The cooking time didn't vary much. I think the opening and closing of the oven helped balance out the heat retention of the cast iron pan.

      I wouldn't recommend putting the parchment paper in the broiler. I worry it might catch fire?


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