Hand Tossed Pizza: The History and Origin

Have you ever wondered how to make hand tossed pizza at home, just like the ones you get at your favorite pizzeria? It is a type of pizza with a thin, crispy crust with a chewy and airy texture. It is different from other types of pizza, such as pan pizza or thin crust pizza, because it is shaped by hand without using a rolling pin or a press. This gives the pizza more character and flavor and allows you to customize the size and thickness of the crust. In this blog post, We will tell you how to make hand tossed pizza at home with simple ingredients, tools, and steps.

Hand Tossed Pizza: The History and Origin

Hand tossed pizza is a type of pizza that has a thin and crispy crust with a chewy and airy texture. It is shaped by hand without a rolling pin or a press, giving it more character and flavor. It has its roots in Naples, Italy, where it evolved from the ancient flatbreads with toppings consumed by poor people in the 18th or early 19th century. The most famous hand tossed pizza is Margherita, named after Queen Margherita of Italy, who visited Naples in 1889 and enjoyed a pie topped with tomatoes, cheese, and basil.

Hand tossed pizza differs from other styles of pizza in several ways. For example, deep dish pizza, invented in Chicago in the 1940s, has a thick buttery crust baked in a pan and filled with cheese, sauce, and toppings. Thin crust pizza, popular in New York and other American cities, has a very thin and crisp crust cut into slices and eaten by hand. Sicilian pizza originated in Sicily with a thick and rectangular crust topped with cheese, sauce, anchovies, and herbs. Each style of pizza has its fans and critics, but hand tossed pizza remains one of the world’s most authentic and traditional forms of pizza.

Hand Tossed Pizza Ingredients:

One of the best things about making hand tossed pizza at home is using simple and fresh ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry or fridge. Here are the basic elements you will need for making hand tossed pizza dough, sauce, and toppings:

Flour: You can use bread or all-purpose flour to make the pizza dough. Bread flour has more protein. On the other hand, all-purpose flour has less protein and gluten, making the dough softer and easier to handle. You can also combine both flours to get the best of both worlds.

Yeast: Use instant or active dry yeast to make the pizza dough. Instant yeast is also called rapid-rise or quick-rise yeast; it does not need to be dissolved in water before adding flour. Both types of yeast will help the dough rise and create bubbles in the crust.

Hand Tossed Pizza
Credit: archanaskitchen.com

Sugar: Use white sugar or honey to make the pizza dough.

Salt: You can use either table salt or sea salt for making the pizza dough. 

Tomato paste: Use tomato paste to make the pizza sauce. It will provide a rich and tangy flavor to the sauce.

Garlic: Make the pizza sauce with fresh garlic cloves or powder. Garlic will add some aroma and spice to the sauce.

Oregano: You can use dried oregano leaves or oregano powder to make the pizza sauce. Oregano will add some herbaceous and earthy flavor to the sauce.

Basil: Use fresh or dried basil leaves to make the pizza sauce. Basil will add some freshness and sweetness to the sauce.

Pepper: You can use black or red pepper flakes to make the pizza sauce. Pepper will add some heat and bite to the sauce.

Cheese: You can use any cheese you like to topping your hand tossed pizza.

Pepperoni: You can use pepperoni slices to top your hand tossed pizza. Pepperoni is a type of cured sausage with a spicy and smoky flavor and crisps up when baked. It is one of the most popular toppings for pizza in America.

Mushrooms: Use fresh or canned mushrooms for topping your hand tossed pizza. Mushrooms have a meaty and earthy flavor, adding texture and moisture to the pizza.

Olives: Use black or green olives to top your hand tossed pizza. Olives have a salty and briny flavor, adding some contrast and color to the pizza.

These are just some basic ingredients for making hand-tossed pizza at home. You can also use any other ingredients you like or have on hand, such as ham, pineapple, onion, bell pepper, spinach, etc. When topping your hand-tossed pizza, the sky is the limit, so feel free to experiment and have fun!


Making hand tossed pizza at home does not require a lot of fancy equipment, but having some basic tools can make the process easier and more enjoyable. Here are some of the tools you will need for making hand tossed pizza at home:

A large mixing bowl:  A glass or ceramic bowl is preferable, as it will retain heat better and help the dough rise faster. You can also use a plastic or metal bowl.

A wooden spoon: You will need it to stir the pizza dough and sauce ingredients. A wooden spoon is gentle on the dough and will not react with the acidic tomato paste.

A kitchen scale: You will need it to weigh the ingredients for the pizza dough and divide it into equal portions. A kitchen scale is more accurate and consistent than measuring by volume, especially for flour, which can vary in density depending on how you pack it. 

A pizza stone or oven rack: You will need a pizza stone or oven rack to bake the pizza in the oven. Pizza stone is a slab of ceramic that absorbs and retains heat well, creating a crispy crust and even cooking. An oven rack is a metal grid that holds the pizza in place and allows hot air to circulate it, creating a crispy crust. Both options require preheating before baking.

Hand Tossed Pizza Process:

Making the dough

  • Combine 3 cups of flour, 1 tbsp salt, and 2 tbsp sugar in a big mixing bowl. Stir well with a wooden spoon.
  • In a small bowl, dissolve 7 grams of yeast in 1 cup of warm water. Let it sit for about 10 minutes until it becomes foamy.
  • Add the yeast and 2 tbsp oil to the flour mixture. Stir well until a sticky dough forms.
  • Move the dough to a lightly floured cover and knead it for about 15 minutes, adding more flour until it becomes elastic.
  • Let it rise in a warm place for about an hour or until it doubles in size.
  • Punch down the dough and divide it into two equal pieces. Shape pieces into a ball apiece and let them rest for about 10 minutes.

Making the sauce

Combine 6 ounces of tomato paste and 1 cup of water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir well to make a smooth sauce.

Add 2 cloves of garlic, 1 tbsp of oregano, 1/2 tbsp of basil, 1/2 tbsp of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Simmer for about 15 minutes.

Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed.

Assembling and baking the pizza

  • Place a pizza stone or oven rack in the lower third of the oven.
  • Dust a pizza peel with cornmeal flour.
  • Flatten one dough ball on a lightly floured surface with a rolling pin. Then, pick it up with your hands and stretch it gently from the center to the edges. You can also toss it in the air by holding it with the back of your fist and spinning it around. The goal is to make a thin circle about 12 inches in diameter.
  • Place the dough on the pizza peel. Spread half the sauce evenly over the dough. Sprinkle half the cheese over the sauce, and add half the toppings as desired.
  • Carefully slide the pizza onto the oven rack. Bake for about 15 minutes.
  • Repeat with the remaining dough, sauce, cheese, and toppings.
Hand Tossed Pizza
Credit: foodandwine.com

Pan Pizza Vs. Hand Tossed Pizza:

Crust: Pan pizza has a thick and chewy crust baked in a pan with oil, creating a crispy and fried effect. Hand tossed has a thin and crispy crust that is shaped by tossing the dough in the air and baking it on a pizza stone or baking sheet.

Texture: Pan pizza has a bready and fluffy texture, similar to focaccia, as it retains more air bubbles and rises more in the oven. Hand tossed pizza has a soft and easy-to-chew texture, as it loses air bubbles and rises less in the oven.

Toppings: Pan pizza can hold more toppings than hand tossed pizza, as it has a thicker base that can support more sauce, cheese, and other ingredients. Hand tossed pizza usually has fewer toppings, especially less cheese, as it has a thinner base that can become soggy or heavy with too much sauce or cheese.

Preparation: Pan pizza spreads the dough in a greased pan or skillet and adds the toppings before baking. Hand tossed pizza is made by flattening the dough with a rolling pin, then stretching and tossing it by hand into a thin circle, and adding the toppings before baking.


You have just learned how to make hand tossed pizza at home with simple ingredients, tools, and steps. You have also discovered the benefits of making hand tossed pizza at home, such as saving money, customizing your pizza, and having fun. Now you can enjoy a delicious and authentic hand tossed pizza in the comfort of your kitchen. I hope you found this blog post helpful and informative. If you have any feedback or questions, please leave them in the comments section below.

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