What Is the Best Temperature to Cook Pizza At?

the Best Temperature to Cook Pizza

To get the bes possible pizza, it’s important to bake it at the right temperature. But waht is the best temperature to cook pizza at?

The best temperature to cook homemade pizza is 430°F (220°C) for homemade pizza. And 500°F (260°F) or more for Neapolitan-style and New York-style pizza.

The optimal temperature to cook pizza depends on the type of pizza you’re making. For a typical thicker crust, homemade pizza 430°F (220°C) is the best temperature, while for New York-style or Neapolitan-style pizza, you want to bake it hotter and quicker.

What Determines the Baking Temperature?

The most important factor for temperature is the thickness of the pizza. A thin pizza should be baked hot and quick, while a thick-crust pizza needs more time at a lower temperature.

How Does Temperature Affect Pizza Baking?

Baking pizza at different temperatures will create different pizzas. The reason is that the pizza bakes faster at a high temperature and takes longer at a low temperature.

The most important difference between low and slow vs fast and hot is the crust. The crust will be crispier on the outside with a fast bake, yet soft in the center. The crust will also get crispy at a lower temperature if you leave it long enough. But due to the longer time in the oven, the center of the crust will be drier.

Another thing to consider is the amount of cheese and toppings on the pizza. More cheese and toppings need more time in the oven, too hot and fast might not melt the cheese, and can burn the toppings.

In general, a faster hotter bake will make better pizza crust. But it’s best suited for thin pizza without too much cheese, sauce, and toppings, such as Neapolitan-style pizza. A thick-crust pizza with more toppings needs more time to finish and is more suited for baking at a lower temperature.

Charring

With a higher temperature, it’s easier to get a charred pizza crust. Wood-fired pizza often has the iconic leopard-pattern, from small, charred spots on the crust. These spots add flavor to the crust. But it’s hard to achieve in a home oven, due to the low temperature. What’s usually ends up happening is an even browning of the crust, while it’s drying out. It is however not impossible to create the leopard-pattern in a home oven, click here to read more.

Charred pizza crust

Hydration

Hydration, or the amount of water compared to flour in the pizza dough, is affected by the baking temperature and time. When you bake pizza, water will evaporate from the crust. But how much water evaporates depends on temperature and time. During a longer bake, more water is usually evaporated, and this is the reason pizza baked at 430°F (220°C) for 10-15 minutes usually ends up with a dry crust.

To account for this, you can adjust the hydration of your dough (here is a simple calculator to help you out). A classic Neapolitan pizza has a hydration of around 55-60%. Which is great for baking in a blazing hot wood-fired oven. If you want the same result in a home oven, you might have to increase the hydration to 65-70%, even if you bake the pizza at the hottest possible setting. Read more about adjusting the hydration of your pizza dough here.

Oven Spring

Another benefit of a high-temperature bake is oven spring. Oven spring is that the crust puffs up and gets light and airy, with larger air bubbles.

Pizza crust with oven spring
Oven spring – creates creates large air bubbles the crust

Cheese, Sauce and Toppings

The last thing to consider is cheese, sauce, and toppings. A hot, fast bake will not be suited for a pizza with a thick layer of cheese and toppings. For the cheese to properly melt, and the toppings to bake properly, the pizza need time.

The Best Temperature to Cook Homemade Pizza At

Homemade pizza can be a lot of different things. And the thickness of the crust and the amount of cheese, sauce, and toppings might vary hugely. But for a typical home-style pizza, the best temperature is 430°F (220°C).

The Best Temperature to Cook Neapolitan-style Pizza At

Neapolitan pizza is traditionally baked in a wood-fired pizza oven for 60-90 seconds. The best temperature to cook Neapolitan pizza is, therefore, 905°F (485°C, in a wood-fired oven, or at 500°F (260°C), or at the highest possible setting in your home oven.

If you want to make Neapolitan-style pizza in your home oven, I also recommend using a pizza steel to get a hotter baking surface, as this will both speed up the baking and give you a crispier crust. Click here to read everything you need to know about pizza steels.

If you want to know more about how to bake Neapolitan-style pizza at home, check out my in-depth article: What Is Neapolitan Pizza Crust? And How to Make It.

The Best Temperature to Cook New York-style Pizza At

Like Neapolitan pizza, New York-style pizza should be baked hot and fast. The best temperature for New York pizza is, 600-700°F (315-370°C).

If you don’t own a commercial pizza oven, you should use hottest setting in your home oven. And like for baking Neapolitan-style pizza at home, I recommend to use a pizza steel to make proper New York-style pizza.

The Best Temperature to Chicago Deep Dish Pizza At

Chicago deep-dish pizza should be baked low and slow. The optimal baking temperature is therefore 400°F (200°C) degrees for around 45 minutes.

Chicago-style deep-dish pizza is a bit different from the other types of pizza on this list. It is much thicker than any of the other pizzas and therefore needs much more time in the oven. You, therefore, want to bake it for longer and at a lower temperature.

Here’s the full recipe for Chicago-style deep-dish pizza, and how to bake it.

Frozen Pizza

Most frozen pizza should be baked at 375–425°F (190–220°C). Frozen pizza usually comes with a description of baking temperature on the package, so you should stick to the instructions on the package.

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1 thought on “What Is the Best Temperature to Cook Pizza At?”

  1. Praneeth Rentala

    Hi Andreas, Thanks you for taking out time to explain every minute detail of making a Neapolitan style Pizza. Ive been trying to make one for a long time but in vain. Below is a brief of what I have been using and how Ive been making the pizza:
    Flour – Le 5 Stagioni Pizza Napoletana flour
    Tomatoes – San Marzano
    Yeast – Instant Dry Yeast ( Couldnt find Fresh yeast)
    Salt – Iodized Salt
    Olive Oil
    Cheese – Bufala di Mozzarella

    Process
    – Ive tried making pizza with 60-65% Hydration, knead the dough, leave it at room temperature for an hour, make the balls and then cold ferment the balls for 24 hours.
    – On the day of making the pizzas, i remove the dough from the refrigerator and let it rest for couple of hours at room temperature.

    Oven
    – I use a ‘Butler Electric Pizza Stone Oven – EPO-36 Permia DT’ Conventional Single deck oven which has a max temperature of 400 degree Celsius at the upper and base layer.
    – I preheat the oven at max temperature for 1 hour and since its closer to Wood fired oven, I bake the pizza for around couple of minutes.

    Problem:
    – Every time i make the pizza, the crust becomes very dry and very crunchy with inside layer not being soft.
    – The cheese sometimes starts burning and if i take out the pizza, i dont get the poofy & leopard skinned outer crust. I have tried with juliennes as well as cube shaped cheese(around 1 inch size)

    What could have possibly gone wrong? Is it the temperature in the oven or something to do with the dough?

    PS: I am from India and the area I am making the pizzas have a temperature at around 37-42 degrees Celsius.

    Help me please!!

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