This Sicilian-style pizza is based on my in-law’s traditional recipe for a pizza that’s easy, flavorful, and made in a pan for that thick, crisp crust! The pizza dough is foolproof, quick, and simple to mix up. And, I’m giving you my sea-level and high-altitude recipes so you can make it in the mountains or by the ocean!

A black sheet pan with sliced Sicilian-style pizza with basil, pepperoni, and peppers on a tan counter next to a wood bowl of Parmesan, beer, and white bowl of red pepper flakes.

Last weekend, Marc and I said we weren’t going to do anything and then we did EVERYTHING. We floated the Truckee, discovered a new mead brewery in town, stayed up way too late every night talking to our friends and went to the Rib Cook-Off where I had big plans of eating ribs but actually just ate pulled pork mac and cheese and sat in the air conditioning at a brewery down the street (#noragrets). Then, on Sunday night, we ignored our piles of laundry and made homemade pizza instead.

I think one of the best things I’ve ever done in life is marry an Italian man who knows how to make pizza. His meatball subs and cacio e pepe are also pretty legendary, but the pizza might be my favorite.

Since Marc’s family originates from Sicily, that’s the pizza style we have going on at our house. It’s made in a sheet pan for crust that’s thick, but crisp on the bottom. It’s just the best!

Let’s talk about this pizza

I first learned how to make Sicilian pizza when I was in culinary school. But, this Sicilian pan pizza is actually based on my husband’s family’s recipe! And it is absolutely *chef’s kiss*. The dough is made on a cookie sheet which gives the pizza a wonderful thick crust that’s fried on the edges and soft in the middle. It’s a total dream. Here’s why you’ll love it!

  • The recipe is so easy to make by hand or in a stand mixer.
  • With a focaccia-like texture and crisp edges this is the best pizza dough.
  • It’s made on a sheet pan – perfect for a crowd or leftovers!
  • You can make the dough in advance for simple pizza Fridays.

Sicilian vs. other kinds of pizza

Sicilian pizza, or pizza Siciliana, is made in a sheet pan with a thick dough. What exactly qualifies as “Sicilian” pizza is debated a bit, but here’s what we know. It’s based on the classic street food, sfincione, which has focaccia-like crust, herbs, breadcrumbs, and hard cheese. Once it made its way to the states, Italian immigrants started using mozzarella, most likely because it was more widely available.

My husband’s family originates from the island of Sicily, and this recipe has been passed down for generations from Sicily to New York City to Vegas which is how it eventually got to me! So, while this is “Sicilian”, it’s actually more of an Americanized version. And, now that we live in Reno, I’ve also developed a high altitude pizza dough so we can all enjoy this recipe!

Pantry staple ingredients

A white bowl of flour next to white bowls of yeast and olive oil, wood bowls of salt and sugar, a pitcher of water, and a beige linen on a tan counter.
  • Olive oil – this will make the dough softer, more flavorful, and will help crisp up those edges a bit. I like extra virgin!
  • Active dry yeast – this is my yeast of choice for basically any bread. I like that it rises a little slower, which gives the bread more time to ferment and get nice and flavorful.
  • Sugar – we need this to activate the yeast and add a hint of sweetness to the dough.
  • Water – you’ll need a bit of warm water to activate the yeast and regular room temperature water to bind the dough.
  • Flour – this recipe calls for basic all-purpose flour. We’re keeping things easy! Flour provides structure to the crust.
  • Kosher salt – to add a bit of saltiness and depth.
  • Tomato sauce – you can go store-bought or homemade, but just make sure to choose something good-quality for the best pizza. I usually use my roasted tomato sauce – so easy!
  • Cheese – a mix of mozzarella and Parmesan is my go-to. I love the melty factor of mozzarella and the umami flavor from Parmesan.
  • Toppings – pepperoni, sausage, veggies, olives, whatever you like!

Make sure to use fresh yeast! If it’s too old, the yeast might be dead and it won’t activate.

Topping ideas

You can honestly use whatever pizza toppings you like. Here are a few ideas to get you started! Some of my favorite combos are:

  • Classic Italian sausage & bell peppers
  • Margherita with mozzarella, tomatoes, & basil
  • White pizza with an olive oil-garlic base, mozzarella, ricotta, & herbs
  • Soppressata, basil, shallots, & hot honey

Let’s make pizza

Activate the yeast

Three steps to activating yeast; in the first, a hand pouring olive oil in a grey bowl on a beige counter next to a wood bowl of salt. In the second, the hand is pouring active dry yeast into the bowl. In the third, the bowl has puffy activated yeast in it.
  1. First, pour the olive oil into a small bowl.
  2. Then, add the active dry yeast, a few pinches of sugar, and a splash of warm water.
  3. Let the mixture sit until foamy, 5-10 minutes.

The water should be between 105-110°F (40-43°C). It’s the perfect temp to activate yeast!

Make the dough

Six steps to making Sicilian pizza dough; in photo 1, a hand is pouring sugar into a mixing bowl of flour. In photo 2, the flour has activated yeast in it. In photo 3, there is dough in the bowl. In photo 4, a hand is kneading dough on a wood board. In photo 5, the dough is in a white bowl. In photo 6, the bowl is covered with a tan napkin.
  1. Meanwhile, combine the flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer.
  2. Once the yeast is activated, add it to the flour mixture. Then, turn the mixer on low and start pouring in the water until you have a tacky dough. Knead for 5-7 minutes.
  3. Tip the dough onto a floured surface and knead by hand a few more times. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with a linen, and let it rise for 1 1/2-2 hours.

To tell if the dough is ready, just give it the poke test! After kneading the dough for 5-7 minutes, use your knuckle to give the dough a poke. If it springs back quickly, it’s ready to go. If the indent stays, keep kneading.

Assemble & bake

Three steps to assembling homemade pizza. In photo 1, a hand is punching dough in a white bowl. In photo 2, hands are spreading pizza dough into a sheet pan. In photo 3, a hand is putting pepperoni and peppers on top of a pizza.
  1. After the dough has doubled in size, punch it down to release the air.
  2. Next, brush a sheet pan with olive oil. Spread the dough evenly in the pan.
  3. Then, top the dough with sauce, cheese, and toppings. Bake at 450°F (232°C) until the dough is crisp on the bottom, the cheese is bubbly, and everything is golden-brown. Slice and enjoy!

Make the dough by hand

You can definitely make this pizza dough by hand! My husband actually prefers to make it without a stand mixer haha. To make the dough by hand:

  1. First, activate the yeast as directed. Then, combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Next, add the activated yeast to the flour mixture. Using a a wooden spoon or dough whisk to stir, start slowly adding the water, mixing it all together until you have a slightly tacky dough. Use your hands once the dough starts to get too thick for a spoon!
  3. Then, tip the dough on a floured surface and knead it for 5-7 minutes. Rise, assemble, and bake as directed.

Recipe tricks

  • The amount of water you’ll need in the dough depends on your environment. I live in a dry city so I usually need more water. But if you live in a humid environment, you may need less.
  • Make sure to leave plenty of time for the dough to rise. It will need about 2 hours, so plan ahead!
  • If you have good olive oil, now would be the time to use it. It adds so much flavor to the crust!
  • For extra browned pizza, broil it for just a few minutes at the end. It’ll get bubbly and delicious!

Key tools – seasoned pan & pizza stone

For the best crust situation, you’ll want to use either a Sicilian pizza pan or a seasoned sheet pan. Of course, you can use a regular sheet pan, but the crust might not get as crisp on the edges. I use an old seasoned sheet pan coated with a generous amount of olive oil and it works great!

Also, if you have a pizza stone, I highly recommend using it! I place the pizza stone in the lower half of my oven, and place the sheet pan on top which quickly browns up the bottom of the crust.

If you don’t have a pizza stone, here’s a hack! Place a sheet pan in the lower half of your oven while it heats up. Then, stack the sheet pan with the pizza on top of the hot one and bake!

A woman wearing a tan apron using a wood spatula to pick up a piece of Sicilian-style pizza off of a sheet pan on a tan counter next to glasses of beer, thyme, a white bowl of red pepper flakes, and a white canister.

Store & freeze this dough

To store leftover pizza, place it in a single layer in an airtight container. Or, wrap it in tinfoil. Refrigerate for up to 3-4 days.

To freeze the dough, make sure to freeze it right after you knead. Divide the dough into 2 discs, coat with a bit of olive oil, and wrap well in plastic wrap. Then, place in an airtight container or freezer bag and freeze for up to 1 month.

When you’re ready to use it, defrost the dough in the fridge overnight. It will probably rise overnight, but if it doesn’t, give it a second rise at room temperature. Just place it in an oiled bowl and let it rise at room temperature until doubled. It will take up to an hour longer to rise since it’ll be cold from the fridge, so leave extra time.

Make-ahead

If you want to make the dough in advance, it’s super easy! We’re just going to let it slow-rise in the fridge overnight. Once the dough is kneaded, place it in an oiled bowl and cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Then, let the dough rise in the fridge for 8-24 hours. Warm the dough at room temperature for 20-30 minutes before stretching it into the pan.

High altitude pizza dough

Baking pizza at high altitude is a little different. First, you’ll need to use less yeast and the dough will probably rise a bit quicker because of the thin air. Also, you may need a bit more water because of the dry environment! See the recipe card for more details!

Sliced Sicilian-style pizza with pepperoni, peppers, and basil on a black sheet pan.

For the best pizza dough, weigh the ingredients with a scale instead of measuring cups. If you don’t have a scale, measure the flour with the fluff & level method. First, fluff the flour with a whisk and scoop the fluffed flour into a measuring cup. Level it off without packing the flour in. The end!

If you make this recipe, I would love it if you left a star rating and review! I read every single comment and love hearing what you think about my recipes. Thank you for supporting Sunday Table!


5 from 4 votes

Sicilian-Style Pizza + a High-Altitude Version

Yield: 12 slices
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Proof Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 45 minutes
Based on my in-law's traditional recipe, this Sicilian-style pizza is easy, flavorful, and made in a sheet pan for that thick, crisp crust! The dough is foolproof, quick, and so simple to mix up. You'll also find both my sea level and high altitude recipes so you can make it in the mountains or by the ocean!

Ingredients

High Altitude Pizza Dough

  • 27 grams olive oil (about 2 Tablespoons) + more for drizzling
  • 3.5 grams active dry yeast (about 1 1/2 teaspoons)
  • 9 grams sugar (about 2 teaspoons), divided
  • 350 grams room temperature water (about 1 3/4 cups), divided
  • 450 grams all-purpose flour (about 3 3/4 cups)
  • 9 grams Kosher salt (about 2 teaspoons)

Sea Level Pizza Dough

  • 27 grams olive oil (about 2 Tablespoons) + more for drizzling
  • 9 grams active dry yeast (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 9 grams sugar (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 350 grams room temperature water (about 1 3/4 cups), divided
  • 450 grams all-purpose flour (about 3 3/4 cups)
  • 9 grams Kosher salt (about 2 teaspoons)

Sicilian Pizza

  • 8 ounces pizza sauce (1 cup), homemade or store-bought
  • 1 pound fresh mozzarella, shredded or torn
  • Pepperoni, Italian sausage, veggies, herbs, etc., for topping

Equipment

  • Stand mixer (optional)
  • Seasoned sheet pan or Sicilian pizza pan
  • Pizza stone, (optional)

Instructions 

Pizza Dough

  • In a small measuring cup, heat 50 grams (about 1/4 cup) of the water until it's warm but not hot (between 105-110°F).
  • Add the olive oil, active dry yeast, a few pinches of the sugar, and the warm water to a small bowl. Gently stir to combine. Let it stand until the yeast is foamy, about 5-10 minutes.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment, combine the flour, salt, and remaining sugar. Alternatively, if you're making the dough by hand, mix the flour, salt, and sugar in a large mixing bowl.
  • Pour the activated yeast into the flour mixture. With the mixer running on LOW speed, slowly pour in the remaining water just until the dough is tacky (not sticky) and pulling away from the sides of the bowl. You may not use all of the water. To mix by hand, use a wood spoon or dough whisk to stir while slowly pouring the water into the flour mixture. If the dough gets too thick, you can use your hands instead.
  • Turn the mixer speed to MEDIUM LOW and knead the dough for 5-7 minutes. To do this by hand, knead the dough on a lightly floured surface instead.
  • Next, drizzle a clean bowl with olive oil and place the kneaded dough in the bowl. Cover it with a tea towel and let it rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 1 1/2-2 hours. (If you live at high-altitude, start checking at 1 hour. Dough rises quicker at higher altitudes).

Sicilian Pizza

  • Once the dough is doubled, place a rack in the lower half of your oven and preheat it to 425°F. If you have a pizza stone, place it on the rack. Then, brush a Sicilian pizza pan or seasoned sheet pan with a generous drizzle of olive oil.
  • Punch down the dough. Then, using your hands, gently spread the pizza dough evenly into the entire pan, making sure to press it into the edges.
  • Spread the sauce over the pizza dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Sprinkle the cheese over the top and add any desired toppings.
  • Place the pan on the pizza stone (if using) on the lower rack of your oven. Bake the pizza for 20-25 minutes, until the dough is golden-brown, the bottom is crispy, and the cheese is bubbly. Cool for 5 minutes, cut into 12 squares, and serve!

Notes

If the dough is too dry, add more water 2 Tablespoons at a time. If the dough is too sticky, add flour 2 Tablespoons at a time.
To test if the dough is properly kneaded, give it a good poke. If the dough springs back, it’s ready to go. If the indent stays, keep kneading.
To proof the dough overnight in the fridge, cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a re-usable bowl cover. Let the dough slow-rise in the fridge for 8-24 hours. When you’re ready to bake, warm the dough at room temperature for 20-30 minutes before stretching it into the pan.
The high altitude recipe was developed at 4,500 feet. If you live at higher altitude, I would reduce the active dry yeast to 3 g (about 1 teaspoon).
Cuisine: American, Italian
Course: Main Course
Serving: 1slice (no toppings), Calories: 276kcal, Carbohydrates: 31.3g, Protein: 12.6g, Fat: 10.9g, Saturated Fat: 5.3g, Cholesterol: 30mg, Sodium: 628mg, Potassium: 138mg, Fiber: 1.4g, Sugar: 2g, Calcium: 200mg, Iron: 2mg
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xo Sara Lynn

Song of the day – Wonderful by My Morning Jacket