|

How to Make Great Pizza with Trader Joe’s Pizza Dough

I’m no gourmet cook, but I love pizza, and I’ve made tons of pizzas using Trader Joe’s pizza dough. After a lot of trial and error, I have it down to a science.  Even if you can barely boil an egg (like me), you can make a great pizza at home if you follow my tips!

Which Dough and Sauce to Get

There are three types of Trader Joe’s pizza dough: Regular, Wheat, and Garlic & Herb. I’ve tried all of these multiple times, and I recommend Garlic & Herb, hands down. It’s got more flavor and is great if you’re making a pizza with traditional pizza toppings.

Trader Joe's Garlic and Herb Pizza dough, along with their Pizza Sauce
Trader Joe’s Garlic and Herb Pizza dough, along with their Pizza Sauce

For the sauce, I like Trader Joe’s (fat free) Pizza Sauce.

The Toppings

Of course, you’ll need toppings. This is where your taste and imagination can go wild! I’m pretty traditional: my favorite toppings are pepperoni, mushrooms, black olives, bell peppers, and onion. On top of that, I’m assuming you’ll also want mozzarella cheese and pizza sauce (also available at Trader Joe’s).

Don’t Forget the Flour for Handling the Dough

While you’re at Trader Joe’s, remember to get some white flour if you don’t already have some. This is absolutely essential for handling the dough without it becoming a sticky mess. I know it may seem like a waste to buy a whole bag of flour and just use a tiny amount, but it’s a “must”, believe me.

Tip: keep the flour in your freezer to make it last longer. Otherwise, if you keep it for a long time, it can become infested with disgusting tiny bugs called flour weevils (yes, that too has happened to me).

The Pizza Pan

The bag recommends a round pizza 12″ pan, but I use a 14″ pan to make my pizzas. That results in a good crust thickness and more surface area for toppings. You could probably go even larger.

But, you don’t need to go out and buy a round pizza pan. I started out by using a standard rectangular baking sheet. There’s no real downside except for the shape of your pizza.

Of course, if you have a pizza stone, that is best, but the instructions and baking times will be different from what I describe velow.

Preparation

Sprinkle a thin layer of the white flour on your pizza pan, otherwise the dough will stick to it.

Cut up your vegetables and other toppings.

The Million-Dollar Trick to Getting the Dough Out of the Bag

Unless you know this trick, one of the most difficult parts of using Trader Joe’s pizza dough is getting it out of the friggin’ bag!

The problem with the dough is that it is insanely sticky. If you try to pull it out of the bag with your hands, you’ll have a gooey mess and you’ll never want to make pizza again.

Before I knew any better, my technique was to throw a bunch of flour in the bag, then cut the bag and slowly work around the dough with flour to remove it. This takes forever, yet, I’ve seen this technique suggested in other articles online!

Instead, let gravity do the work! After letting the dough warm up to room temperature, turn the bag inside-out; you may need to cut the sides to make it wider. Then hold it upside down and wait about a minute! Gravity will slowly pull the dough out of the bag. As it does, continue to turn the bag inside out.

Getting Trader Joe's pizza dough out of the bag
The secret to getting the dough out of the bag is turning the bag inside-out and waiting.

Eventually, it will drop out, and you’ll get 99% of the dough without even touching it! OK, you might have to tease it a little here and there to get it off the bag, but it’s much better than any other technique I’ve found!

Just be sure that wherever it lands, there is plenty of flour so it doesn’t stick.

Flattening the Dough

Once you have the dough out, cover it with a thin layer of flour so it doesn’t stick to your hands or rolling pin.

If you have a rolling pin, then great. But, you actually don’t need one. I usually just flatten it with my hands.

Be sure to spread out the dough to the very edges of your 14″ pan because it will shrink.

You actually don’t need a rolling pin to flatten out the dough. Just use flour and your hands.

Insuring a Crispy, Non-Soggy Crust

One big problem I had with my Trader Joe’s pizzas was that the middle was soggy. That’s because I like a TON of toppings, many of which are vegetables that sweat out water as they cook. Although these pizzas still tasted good, they were far from ideal.

I’ve discovered that the secret to a non-soggy crust is to pre-bake the dough alone for six to eight minutes at the full baking temperature indicated in the instructions. It will start bubbling up, but don’t worry, it will go back down when you take it out.

For bonus points, brush olive oil on the dough and add chopped garlic before baking!

"Pre-baking" the pizza dough, with olive oil and chopped garlic
“Pre-baking” the pizza dough, with olive oil and chopped garlic

Now, if you are just making a cheese pizza with no toppings, this pre-bake step is probably not necessary. It’s only needed if you use a lot of toppings like I do.

Adding the Toppings and Baking

After you pre-bake the crust, take it out of the oven and add the pizza sauce, cheese, and your toppings.

I recommend baking for another ten minutes at the full recommended baking temperature. When I have a lot of toppings, I’ve baked for fifteen minutes more. I know that sounds scary since the package recommends ten minutes total, but I’ve had some of the best pizzas with crispiest crusts this way.

Adding the cheese and toppings after the pre-bake
Adding the cheese and toppings after the pre-bake

Cutting the pizza

Pizza using Trader Joe's pizza dough
The finished pizza!

My final tip is to slide your pizza off of your pizza pan or baking sheet before you cut it. Otherwise, you could damage your pan. I usually slide it into a large cutting board, then cut it using a 4″ rolling pizza cutter. But, you could use a large knife.

My “Super Supreme” Pizza

As I mentioned before, I like a ton of toppings on my pizza. Here’s an example of a pizza I made that was well over 1″ thick including the toppings. It had so many toppings that I had to cook it in three steps.

First to bake is the crust with olive oil and garlic as described above. Then, add the cheese, pepperoni, onions, and green peppers, and cook for another seven minutes. Finally, add tomatoes, black olives, and mushroom and cook for eight more minutes. These baking times could even be extended for a crispier crust.

Conclusion

That’s it! You’re ready to enjoy your Trader Joe’s pizza! Let me know how yours turned out! – Brian


Keep in touch!

Subscribe to my blog to get an email when I write a new article, usually fewer than one a month. - Brian

Join 87 other subscribers
Please share this article with friends!

Similar Posts

Please Leave a Question or Comment

I try to answer each one! - Brian

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

7 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Thomas
Thomas
1 year ago

Thanks for the tips. Very useful. My wife suggested that I pre bake the crust but I didn’t listen to her because of the instructions on the bag. I baked it for 5 minutes more than asked and it still came out doughy and under cooked.

Anonymous
Anonymous
1 year ago

You’re a life saver—especially with the tip of letting gravity do it’s work; I went 1 step further and turned the bag of dough “inside out.” My pizza would’ve been toast!

Grace
Grace
1 year ago
Reply to  Brian

Hi Brian, thanks for the post! Your pizza looks great. What is the oven degree during pre-baking and after putting toppings?

Brian
1 year ago

Let me know how your Trader Joe’s pizza turned out! – Brian