How to freeze and defrost pizza dough correctly
It may be surprising to hear, but pizza dough freezes and defrosts beautifully.
All you need to do is follow the right process, and by the time you take a bite, you might not even notice a difference from the fresh stuff.
The following instructions and tips apply to Ooni dough balls and those made from the Ooni Classic Pizza Dough recipe, the recipe in the Ooni app or any other recipe made with classic ingredients (flour, water, leavening and salt).
How to freeze fresh pizza dough
- Prepare your dough according to the recipe, up to the point where you're told to let it rest until it doubles in size (the first proof).
- Divide your dough into equal-sized portions and ball them up.
- Lightly oil the sides of several airtight, lidded containers to prevent the dough from sticking. (Olive oil works well for this.)
- Place the balls inside separate containers and cover.
- Store your dough in the freezer for up to 3 months.
How to defrost pizza dough
You have lots of options when it comes to defrosting pizza dough. This breakdown will take you from slowest ("My pizza can wait ‘til tomorrow...") to fastest ("I want pizza right now!").
Slower options will yield results closer to fresh pizza dough, but we've all been in a rush to make pizza before, so we understand if you can't wait!
Defrosting dough in the fridge (12 hours+)
- Transfer your dough to the refrigerator the day before you plan on making pizza.
- Remove dough from the refrigerator at least 6 hours before you want to cook your pizzas. If your dough is in lidded containers, you'll need to loosen the lids or place the dough balls in a tray to allow the dough to rise.
- Once your dough balls have risen to room temperature and doubled in size, you’re ready to make pizza.
Defrosting dough on the counter (3.5 hours+)
- Place your dough containers on the countertop the morning you plan to cook your pizzas. If your dough is in lidded containers, loosen the lids or place the dough balls in a tray so they can rise.
- When the dough balls have doubled in size — which can take 3.5 hours or so, depending on the temperature of your kitchen — you can begin shaping your base.
If you have warming drawers at home, or if your conventional oven has a "proofing" feature, you can use it, but try to go for the lowest temperature you can manage (ideally under 115 °F). Going too high could dry out your dough and form a hard skin on top, overproof or even partially cook it.
Defrosting dough in a water bath (30 minutes)
Place your frozen dough, inside either containers or sealed plastic bags, into a warm water bath until it reaches room temperature.
If you’re using the Ooni Stack, you can also just fill the bottom container with hot water and place your frozen dough in the middle container.
Defrosting dough in the microwave (15 minutes)
- Pop your microwave-safe container of frozen dough into the microwave and select either the "defrost" option or the lowest possible strength setting. If you choose this method, only do one or two dough balls at a time.
- Heat in short, 10-second blasts, rotating and flipping the dough and resting a little between blasts.
- Stop when your dough balls are completely thawed all the way to the center.
Handling quick-thawed dough
If you defrost your dough using one of the quick methods above, you’ll also need a few handling tips since your dough might be a little colder or warmer than is ideal.
Dough that's warmer than it should be will be very pliable, a little stickier than usual, and prone to tearing. Handle it carefully, stretch it slowly, and use plenty of semolina to keep it from sticking.
Dough that's cooler than it should be will stretch slowly and may spring back and resist stretching. Don't give up! Just keep working on it, and it will eventually stretch and stay that way.