Frozen crusts have transformed the way we enjoy pizza. No more spending hours in the kitchen kneading dough and allowing it to rise.
Today, all you have to do is defrost the dough, sprinkle on a couple of toppings, and throw it in the oven. Within a few minutes, you’ll get a piping hot pizza that’s customized to your taste buds!
On top of that, frozen dough can last for months. As long as you keep it at the recommended temperature, it should stay fresh for a while.
At this point, you may wonder how to defrost frozen pizza dough. If that’s the case, I can help.
Luckily, there are several methods you can go about doing that, from cold defrosting methods to using the oven, I’ll cover some of the most popular options.
1 – Defrost Pizza Dough in the Refrigerator
Right off the bat, I’m starting with the method that requires the least amount of hassle. You can defrost your pizza in your refrigerator.
Start with removing the dough from the freezer, but keep it in the air-tight bag it comes in. Then, put it into a bowl that’s big enough for it to expand.
Next, place the container in the refrigerator and leave it there overnight. The dough will start to soften and rise. So, by morning, you should see tiny bubbles appear on the crust.
Now, remove the dough from its storage bag and rest it on the counter for approximately one hour. After that, it should be ready to use.
2 – Give the Frozen Pizza Dough a Cold-Water Bath
Another excellent option for defrosting pizza dough is to give it a cold-water bath. This method is relatively easy and won’t harm your crust or accidentally begin to cook it.
As soon as you remove the pizza dough from the freezer, put it into a medium-sized bowl. The crust should still be in its storage bag.
Then, fill the bowl with cold water, and make sure that you submerge the dough.
After that, leave your crust in the bag under the cold water for one to two hours. You’ll notice that it softens, and it’ll begin to rise.
Plus, you should be able to see tiny bubbles on the dough when it is ready. Once a couple of hours go by, you can remove the pizza crust from the bag and let it sit in a dry bowl for approximately one hour.
By then, it’ll be ready for you to bake your pizza.
For dough that doesn’t want to stretch, try the tips in my article about stretching pizza dough.
3 – Defrost Pizza Dough in a Bowl of Warm Water
If you’re in a hurry and don’t have a few spare hours to defrost your dough, you don’t have to worry. Using a bowl of warm water, you’ll be able to thaw out the pizza crust in a flash.
Although, you have to be incredibly careful when using this method for defrosting. That’s because you want to avoid partially cooking the crust.
So, start by making sure that your pizza dough is in an air-tight plastic bag. Next, remove as much air as you can, and reseal the bag.
Once that’s done, fill a medium-sized bowl with warm water, and submerge the dough. You’ll need to change the water every 10 minutes because the dough will cool it in that time.
Sadly, you may have to repeat this step a few times until the crust is soft. However, even with multiple warm water cycles, this process shouldn’t take more than an hour.
4 – Using a Microwave
Most people rely on their microwaves to heat up leftovers. Yet, you can also use the device to defrost your pizza dough.
However, this is usually not a good idea. That’s because the microwave will begin to partially cook the crust if you leave it in for too long.
This doesn’t mean you can’t use a microwave! It just signals that you need to pay close attention to the power setting and how long you leave your crust in the device.
Plus, it’s a good idea to prep your dough before the defrosting process to avoid drying out the edges.
For this method, begin by spraying a microwave-safe plate and your dough with a coat of oil. Then, throw it in the microwave at high for 25 seconds.
This won’t cook your crust, but it’ll give it enough heat to start the thawing process.
After that, pull the plate from the microwave, and flip the dough. Next, add a little more oil on top of the crust to ensure it doesn’t stick to the dish, and give it another 25 seconds in the microwave.
At this point, your pizza crust should be ready for the defrosting process. It’ll be cool to the touch and still stiff.
Now, it’s time to put the dough back in the microwave on the defrost setting for three to five minutes. This should thaw your crust evenly.
Deciding how long to leave the pizza crust in the microwave can be a little tricky. As a general rule of thumb, one pound of dough will need around two minutes to thaw out.
Once you hear the microwave beep, set the crust on the counter at room temperature for a few minutes. This will give the yeast a chance to activate and lift the dough.
After the crust rises to about twice its original size, it’s ready to bake.
The main advantage of this method is that you can defrost the dough in as little as 15 minutes. Yet, the constant back and forth with the microwave can be a bit tedious.
On top of that, this defrost method may leave your crust feeling a little sticky. If that happens, you don’t need to worry.
You can give these tips a try to get rid of the extra stickiness.
5 – Using an Oven
The oven is another great option for defrosting pizza dough. Yet, as with the microwave method, you need to be very careful not to cook the crust during the thawing process.
So, begin by grabbing a cooking pan that’s large enough to allow your dough to expand and spray it with an even coat of oil.
Next, place the dough in the tray and give it a few extra spritzes of oil. Once that’s out of the way, throw the pan in the oven at 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you have a gas oven, it’s best to use the lowest heat possible. The bread-proofing setting should be perfect for defrosting dough.
After about an hour, remove the crust and give it a once over. The dough should be soft to the touch, with signs of bubbling.
Yet, if your dough still looks frozen, you can put it back in the oven for 30 minutes. You’ll know the crust is ready when it rises to about twice its size.
While the cold defrosting methods are preferable, you can use an oven to thaw your pizza dough in a pinch.
6 – Leaving Your Pizza Dough on the Counter
If you have a couple of spare hours on your hands, it’s a good idea to defrost your pizza dough on your kitchen counter. Not only is this method effort-free, but it’ll also allow the crust to thaw out gradually.
This ensures the yeast survives the defrosting process and can help your dough rise.
With this method, all you have to do is take your pizza crust out of the freezer and remove it from the plastic storage bag.
Then, put it in a container that is large enough to allow for expansion, and cover it with plastic wrap. The dough will thaw and rise over the next couple of hours.
Any of the options I talked about will defrost your pizza dough. Yet, it’s best practice to rely on the cold defrost methods if you have the time.
Moving on, it’s crucial that you cook the dough as soon as you defrost it, regardless of the method you use.
That’s because once the crust reaches room temperature, bacteria and other microorganisms will begin to grow on the surface.
So, to ensure you and your loved ones are safe, it’s best to throw your pizza in the oven as fast as you can.
Now that you know how to defrost your dough, you can use it for something creative. The next time you decide to make a pizza, try something new by making it without sauce or making it without a crust!
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.