This gluten-free pizza crust recipe is brown and crispy on the outside with the classic chewy pizza texture inside. Made from a few-ingredient cheesy tapioca flour dough inspired by Brazilian cheese bread, this gluten-free pizza dough is fast and easy for pizza night at home!
Our two year old is on the extreme end of stubborn and persistent. Even still, we’ve managed to guide a toddler with a very limited diet into becoming one who eats vegetables for dinner every night and only has a few foods she actively hates (looking at you, avocado). We were on top of our parenting game…until I almost ruined pizza for her last week. I served a chickpea socca flatbread covered with cheese and veggies for dinner one night and called it pizza. It’s all about optics with toddlers; she’ll eat blistered green beans if I call them “bean fries” and offer ketchup. She took one bite of that chickpea (not-pizza) pizza and spit it right out with tears about how she doesn’t like pizza anymore.
So then a few days later when I told her we were having pizza for dinner in the most excited voice I could muster, she threw a tantrum about how she doesn’t LIKE pizza. She finally clarified that she doesn’t like “the other pizza” (aka the chickpea pizza she’s apparently still traumatized from). So I taught her the word socca and we all happily ate this cheesy gluten-free pizza crust with our favorite toppings for dinner.
When she requested pizza again last night, she added with sass, “but not socca. I don’t like socca.” She’s only 2.5 years old, but pizza now has stipulations.
To be fair, I’ve added stipulations to my pizza habits since I perfected this gluten-free pizza crust. Specifically that it must be made with this gluten-free pizza dough. When Lucas tried to convince me to go out for pizza last night, I countered with homemade pizza, which in my opinion tastes better.
Inspired by Pão de queijo: Brazilian cheese bread
The inspiration for this recipe comes from pão de queijo or Brazilian cheese bread. I’d been dreaming about turning my seeded cheddar Brazilian cheese bread recipe into cheesy bread sticks with marinara, but my first trial came out less than stellar. More on that to come!
A few months later, those dreams extended to include cheesy gluten-free pizza crust after a life-changing crust at a Boston pizzeria. While the restaurant did not confirm it, their gluten-free pizza crust tasted remarkably similar to my Brazilian cheese bread and from there I immediately went back to testing.
Why you’ll love this gluten-free pizza crust recipe
Brazilian cheese bread has all the characteristics that make it perfectly suited for pizza crust. It bakes up with a crispy exterior that browns up with a chewy, cheesy, bready interior that stretches and pulls like traditional yeasted pizza crust.
While there are definitely vast and varied opinions on what makes a great pizza, there are a few things most of us can agree on, right? Namely, cheese. That’s what gives this crust its wow factor – it’s loaded with cheese.
The second pizza crust non-negotiable for me is that the bottom must be crispy. This is where I find that many gluten-free pizza crusts are lacking. Or if they are crispy, they aren’t also chewy inside. Not this crust though! The cheese-y gluten-free pizza dough browns and crisps on the bottom while still having the classic pizza crust chew.
How to make gluten-free pizza crust
Possibly the best part? This pizza crust doesn’t require much fuss – even less fuss than a yeasted traditional pizza crust. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add tapioca flour to hot milk and oil. Then mix in eggs followed by cheese. Press it out and bake. That’s it. This is now my favorite go-to gluten-free pizza recipe for weeknight dinners.
Honestly, the most annoying part of this recipe is that the dough is so darn sticky. No problem – to combat that, just coat your hands in plenty of tapioca starch/flour before handling the crust. Once coated in a thin layer of tapioca flour, the dough acts like a traditional yeasted pizza dough with stretch and pull.
Gluten-Free Pizza Crust
- 1¼ cups whole milk
- 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (such as sunflower or canola oil)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2½ cups (300g) tapioca flour/starch
- 2 eggs, room temperature,
- 1 cup (4oz) packed shredded low moisture mozzarella
- ¾ cup (2.7oz) packed shredded parmesan cheese
Pizza toppings, optional:
- 1/2 cup pizza sauce
- 6oz fresh mozzarella, sliced
- 1oz finely grated parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup pesto
- Basil and red pepper flakes, for garnish
- Other toppings of your choice!
- Preheat oven to 500°F with a pizza stone or thick large baking sheet on the bottom rack.
- In a small saucepan, bring the milk, oil, and 1 teaspoon of salt to boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Just when the milk begins to bubble, remove pan from heat.
- Stirring constantly, slowly add the tapioca flour to the pan. Continue stirring to combine (the mixture will be sticky and might not incorporate completely, but that's okay).
- Transfer the sticky dough to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or a food processor with the basic blade, using a rubber spatula to get as much out of the pan as possible. Beat on medium speed until the dough is smooth and cool enough to touch, about 5 minutes. If using the food processor, making sure the dough is cool enough to touch is essential, as it's easy for the food processor to overheat.
- One at a time, lightly whisk one of the eggs in a small bowl. With mixer on low speed, add the egg into the dough and beat until combined. This might take several minutes and might at first look like it won't incorporate, but keep at it for several minutes until it's smooth. Repeat with remaining egg.
- With the mixer on low, slowly add cheese and beat on medium speed until fully incorporated. If needed, knead the dough with tapioca flour-covered hands until fully incorporated.
- Divide the dough into equal halves, covering your hands in tapioca flour before touching the dough to keep it from sticking to your hands.
- Lay a piece of parchment paper down and dust it with tapioca flour. Dusting with more tapioca flour as you go, press half of the dough into a 12-inch round on the parchment paper, creating a thicker crust around the outside. Prick holes in the bottom of the crust with a fork. Repeat with the second half on a second sheet of parchment paper.
- One at a time, place one pizza dough round on the baking stone or baking sheet on the bottom rack of the oven and bake for 10-13 minutes *(See note).
- Cover with toppings of your choice.
- Bake for 7-10 more minutes.
*Your crust will need 20 minutes total of baking time. The par-bake and final bake time will depend on your toppings. For example, if you're using fresh mozzarella as a topping, par-bake the crust for longer, but then bake the crust for only 7 minutes once you add the toppings because the cheese just needs to melt. If you're using other toppings like mushrooms or pepperoni, par-bake for just 10 minutes, then bake for 10 minutes longer once you add the toppings.