One main challenge to making homemade pizza—and why it doesn’t taste as good as restaurant pizza—is getting a browned, crispy bottom crust at the same time the top is cooked. Restaurants have very hot ovens that can help achieve this easily.
I don’t have a fancy pizza oven nor do I want to get out my pizza stone and peel for dinner on busy weeknights. (The pizza peel can be heated and used to mimic a hot pizza oven.) So I continued making sheet pan pizza regardless of the disappointing pale crust.
Then one night, tired of scrubbing melted cheese off the sheet pan, I decided to cover it with parchment paper before adding the pizza on top. This simple shift changed everything!
I realized that I can preheat the sheet pan in the oven, build the pizza on the parchment paper, and then use the parchment paper to transfer the pizza onto the hot pan. That’s how I can get that crispy crust I’ve been looking for without any fussy kitchen tools.
How To Make Crispy Pizza Using Parchment Paper
Cut a piece of parchment paper that fits the top of your sheet pan and set it on your kitchen counter.
Turn the oven on and place the empty sheet pan in it. It’s best to let the pan get as hot as possible, for at least 15 minutes after the oven is done preheating.
Roll out the dough on top of the parchment paper—you will want to leave about an inch of paper around the pizza so that you can grab onto it easily. Top the pizza. Pull the parchment paper with the pizza on top to the edge of the counter.
Place a hot pad on the counter next to the pizza and put an oven mitt on.
Carefully take the hot sheet pan out of the oven and hold it level to the countertop next to the pizza. Use your free hand to get the pizza onto the sheet pan by pulling on the parchment paper.
When the pizza is on the pan, set the sheet pan down on the hot pad and adjust any toppings that might have shifted. You may need to straighten out the parchment paper too.
Work as quickly as possible so that the pan doesn’t cool down too much. Then, pop the pizza into the oven to bake. The hot sheet pan helps the crust bake faster, which means it’ll get crispy and golden at the same time the toppings are ready.
Why not set the sheet pan on a hot pad and lift the parchment into it? Believe me, I’ve tried! It doesn’t work—the dough and toppings will droop and fall off.
4 Easy Tips to Successfully Get Your Pizza on the Sheet Pan
Follow these tips for this smart trick:
- Lightweight sheet pans are easier to hold onto with one hand, especially when you add the weight of the pizza on top.
- Hold the sheet pan as close to the edge of the counter as you can, but be cognizant that you need room for your other hand to pull the parchment without getting burned.
- You will burn your hands if you use a thin oven mitt. I use thick glove oven mitts.
- Start with smaller, lighter pizzas until you’re confident that you can hold the sheet pan level in one hand, even with a pizza on it. Safety first!