Cast Iron Skillet Grain and Gluten Free Pizza

13 Dec

NOTE: An updated version of this recipe appears in my cookbook, The Ancestral Table.

For a dairy free variation, check out my Flatbread recipe.

Like most residents of planet Earth, I’m pizza crazy. I’d like to say that my love affair started with those pesky Ninja Turtles, but I have a feeling that I was addicted well before the heroes in a half shell became popular. When adopting Paleo, I was probably worried about a lack of pizza the most, and after re-introducing dairy I tried all sorts of things, from frozen GF crusts to eggplant pizzas. Finally, I hunkered down and developed a gluten and grain free pizza crust of my own, and after several failed attempts, I’m happy to say that you will love this pizza.

Do I really need to provide a food history for pizza? Okay, since you asked so nicely. Pizza is a food first traced to Ancient Greece, when they took bread and covered it with oil and cheese (this is also the base for Pita bread). Italy is credited for adding tomatoes to pizza following their introduction from the New World in the 15th and 16th centuries. Interestingly, the combination of tomatoes and cheese wasn’t popular for hundreds of years, until the famous Pizza Margherita (tomatoes, cheese, and basil) incident – wherein the combination was served to Queen Margherita in 1889 to represent the Italian flag.

Pizzerias existed in the United States at the turn of the century, but it was only popular with Italian immigrants. Soldiers returning from the European campaign of World War II raved about pizza, and it became the sensation it is now almost overnight.

You’ll Need: (makes two pizzas)
for the crust
1 1/2 cups tapioca starch or flour (it’s the same thing)
1/4 cup each heavy cream and water (or 1/2 cup milk instead of cream & water)
2 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg, beaten
1/4 tsp dried oregano
pinch of white pepper
3/4 cup parmesan cheese (or any hard cheese), grated

for the toppings
1/2 cup pizza sauce
3/4 cup mozzarella or other soft cheese

In a saucepan, combine the cream, water, butter, and salt and bring to a simmer on med/low heat. You want to get it to the point that it’s starting to bubble, but not boiling. In a large bowl, add the tapioca starch. When the cream/water mixture is heated, add it to the starch and stir it all together. It will start to clump together, which is fine. Let the mixture cool for five minutes. As it cools, preheat your oven to 500 degrees.

Add the beaten egg to the mixture, and knead together with your hands. Add the cheese, white pepper, and oregano, and mix together until it’s dough-like. This is enough dough for two pizzas.

Split the dough in half, then stretch it out into the thinnest frisbee possible. It will likely tear if you stretch it too far, so just pull it as far as you can. Put the dough in a cast iron skillet, spreading to the edges of the skillet with your fingers. Try to get it as thin as possible – this is important so as to not make your crust too chewy. With a fork, poke some holes through the dough to let air pass through.

Bake in the middle of your oven for six minutes, then take it out and put it on your stove (keep the oven on!). The dough may bubble up a little while cooking, which is fine – it’ll go back down once you take it out of the oven. It’s hard to tell in this picture, but the dough will have taken on a more bread-like consistency at this point. This step is important because it gives the dough time to cook through without burning the toppings.

Add the 1/4 cup of sauce. Might I suggest a blended version of my homemade Superior Spaghetti Sauce?

Add the toppings, whatever you’d like. You can go with a standard topping fare like in the picture above, or try something more unique like a cheese-less pizza (often referred to as Pizza Marinara) or another favorite – Pizza Bianca, which is basically just dough, olive oil, salt, and rosemary, a popular style of pizza in Rome.

Throw it back in the oven and cook for another 8-10 minutes, until the cheese starts to brown. For extra crispy toppings, broil it for the last minute or two of cooking.

That’s it! Bear in mind that while this is the best gluten-free pizza crust I’ve ever tasted, the inside of the dough will still be slightly chewy – mostly due to the nature of tapioca starch. I assure you, it’s not undercooked!

This pizza also cooks well on a pizza stone, or just a plain baking sheet if you’re desperate for some delicious pizza.

I’ve received some great feedback from readers that the following adjustments work pretty well, if you are trying to restrict dairy:
– coconut milk can be used instead of milk/cream.
– omitting the hard cheese and adding more tapioca starch works well, especially if you add a little nutritional yeast.

I’ve also found that the temperature of your milk/cream as well as the ambient temperature in your house can affect the consistency of the tapioca starch. Sometimes it’ll turn into something more like glue than dough – if so, continue to add tapioca starch until it thickens enough to spread, and it’ll still taste fine!

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174 Responses to “Cast Iron Skillet Grain and Gluten Free Pizza”

  1. Jada December 13, 2012 at 11:07 am #

    BLESS YOU. I shouldn’t eat cheese either but I miss pizza. I think this is my dinner tonight. :D

  2. Amelia December 13, 2012 at 11:47 am #

    Thanks for posting this! After a couple years of low carb Paleo, I’m about to try things the Perfect Health Diet way. I’m still trying to lose weight so I’m petrified of adding back carbs. But at the same time, I’m super excited to try eating things like this delicious looking recipe! I’ve started reading the new version of the PHD diet book and am pretty impressed with the theory. I really enjoy your site and look forward to trying out a bunch of stuff I’ve previously just skimmed over. It’s a whole new world!

  3. Alex December 13, 2012 at 12:09 pm #

    Mmmm, oh boy, this looks amazing! I actually don’t have a cast iron skillet, so it will be baking sheets of desperation for me! ; )

  4. girlmeetspaleo December 13, 2012 at 2:06 pm #

    Cannot wait to try this !!!!

  5. snati001 December 13, 2012 at 3:23 pm #

    I love making pizza in a cast iron skillet! I had some amazing gluten-free pizzas at restaurants, but never made it myself at home. I also think that the tapioca starch makes gluten-free pizza crusts really good. Texture is nice and chewy. Reminds me a bit of Pão de queijo (Brazilian Cheese Bread). Nice picture tutorial!

  6. Lola December 13, 2012 at 3:55 pm #

    Woot!! I’m totally going to try this. I LOVE the tapicoa buns you shared before so I’m sure this will be great. I have to ask though… do you buy your tapioca starch in bulk? I know it’s not expensive in the stores, but those small boxes don’t really hold much.

  7. Phoebe December 13, 2012 at 6:54 pm #

    Very cool, thank you! I can’t wait to try this. Also am grateful for the great printer friendly version!

    • Russ Crandall ( December 13, 2012 at 7:15 pm #

      Phoebe, that is great to hear – it’s always a pain in the butt to make those printer-friendly versions so I am glad people are using them! :)

  8. Melissa Thomson December 14, 2012 at 11:43 am #

    Russ – This looks amazing, and I can’t wait to try this! Especially after I made your Brazilian cheese balls recently – Oh so good, and I highly recommend them. Seems to me there may have been a bit of inspiration from those for this crust…. if so, you are truly a genius!!! #envy#

  9. Jenn December 15, 2012 at 6:18 am #

    Can the second half of dough be frozen for future use, or do you not suggest that? Thanks!

    • Russ Crandall ( December 15, 2012 at 12:39 pm #

      Jenn, you could definitely do that, but I would suggest rolling it out into the shape you want before freezing it (like a pre-frozen pizza crust you buy at the store). Otherwise, thawing a ball of dough and trying to form it into a crust will probably be quite a hassle :)

      When re-heating, maybe heat the crust for 10-12 minutes before adding the toppings.

      • Sam March 22, 2014 at 2:26 pm #

        Just to let you know I have frozen this in balls and it’s defrosted well. Once defrosted I have ‘massaged’ it to warm up and it’s rolled out perfect. Thank you for this recipe, I can finally have decent pizza again :)

  10. Abby Hugill December 17, 2012 at 12:53 pm #

    I’ve been primarily gluten free for about 4 years now due to a wheat allergy, and have been searching for the best pizza crust alternative. My search has now ended…this crust is AWESOME!! It’s super easy to make, tastes good, doesn’t fall apart when you pick up a slice, and added bonus, it’s super cheap to make. It’s by far the best recipe I’ve tried, and I’d venture to say it’s one of the best GF crusts out there, commercially produced and restaurants included. Kudos to you!!!

  11. Kristie Evans December 17, 2012 at 5:58 pm #

    Do you think this recipe would work if I substituted with flax gel or EnerG egg replacer and hemp milk? My kids have multiple food allergies and they’ve been wanting a good pizza for years.

    • Russ Crandall ( December 17, 2012 at 8:10 pm #

      Kristie, truth be told I haven’t cooked with any of those ingredients. I say give it a shot and let me know how it turns out? :)

      • Kristie Evans December 17, 2012 at 8:13 pm #

        I’ll keep you posted…if it works, I’ll be considered a superstar, but I’ll give you most of the credit.

  12. Lisa L. December 18, 2012 at 1:57 pm # Is there a way to do it without the tapioca flour? I know that would change the recipe. Tapioca flour according to Dr. Davis is destructive to health.

    • Russ Crandall ( December 18, 2012 at 4:30 pm #

      Hi Lisa, potato and arrowroot starch might be used, but it’s the stretchy consistency of tapioca that really makes this crust. I say try it and let me know how it turns out. Despite what Dr. Davis says, I actually tend to side with the other train of thought that tapioca isn’t bad for you since its toxins are destroyed in the cooking process, and GI reaction to certain foods can be halved in many cases when eating fats, vegetables, and acids (fermented foods) in the same meal that contains a high-glycemic starch. But that’s just my $.02 :)

  13. Jaimie Schultz December 18, 2012 at 6:10 pm #

    This pizza was AWESOME!!! It has to be the easiest paleo crust recipe I have found yet and it tasted great. Made for a great treat for the kids and I this evening… Especially after a weekend filled with holiday parties and ‘regular’ pizza that I was desperatly avoiding. Thank you for sharing!!

  14. jennifer December 19, 2012 at 3:43 pm #

    Do you think coconut milk could be used as a non-dairy substitute for the milk?

    • Russ Crandall ( December 19, 2012 at 4:24 pm #

      Jennifer, I think it would work. You could also just use a little extra water and another egg to even things out. Let me know how it goes!

  15. Chele December 19, 2012 at 9:10 pm #

    This is a WONDERFUL tasting pizza crust & so easy to make! My entire family (they are NOT Paleo) really enjoyed it too! Making it for the 2nd time this week! :o) THANKS for sharing…I’ve shared the link with many already!

  16. Carolyn December 19, 2012 at 9:53 pm #

    Yum Num Yum! This is a GREAT pizza! The crust is really flavorful. I just made it the first time and will definitely spread my crust even thinner the second try, as when it gets that crackers crisp like it is at the edges … it’s to die for!

    I used all organic ingredients in mine, and topped it with a nice gourmet pasta sauce, about 4 fresh diced garlic cloves, some sweet basil and mozzerella cheese. Definitely a keeper!

  17. kiakianna December 21, 2012 at 2:27 pm #

    Reblogged this on kia's life.

  18. April December 21, 2012 at 6:44 pm #

    I am hooked! Will be trying this soon!

  19. Janelle December 22, 2012 at 10:23 am #

    This recipe sounds great! What is the size of the cast iron skillet?

  20. Jennifer December 22, 2012 at 5:22 pm #

    This looks fantastic! My mom can’t have gluten and this looks so good I can share it with her!

  21. Nicole December 27, 2012 at 10:49 am #

    By far, the best pizza crust I’ve had since going paleo almost a year ago

  22. Greg December 28, 2012 at 5:30 pm #

    Amazing! This is the first paleo pizza that satisfied my pizza craving! For some reason my dough was very sticky. I had to add a lot more tapioca flour than just the 1.5 cups to get it to a pizza dough consistency. But so happy that this makes 2 pizzas because I can’t wait to have it again for dinner tonight!

    • Russ Crandall ( December 28, 2012 at 6:14 pm #

      Greg, glad you liked it! It’s weird, because every so often we make a batch of dough using the same measurements I have in this recipe and it comes out super sticky, just like you describe. One of life’s little mysteries :) I’m curious to hear whether your next batch comes out sticky!

  23. Kristin December 29, 2012 at 8:37 pm #

    This recipe is fantastic! My husband and I made it twice in two days for lunch! I can’t wait to try the chicken nuggets!

  24. Phoebe December 29, 2012 at 8:44 pm #

    We made this tonight, delicious! New favorite pizza recipe, I’m sure we will be having it once a week!

  25. Nathan December 30, 2012 at 7:06 am #

    This came out pretty good I did have to add more flour after adding the egg and cheese to get the dough consistency back is that normal? Made it a little thick too but it worked out in the end… thanks

    • Russ Crandall ( December 30, 2012 at 12:29 pm #

      Nathan, we have the same issue from time to time, I think it might depend on the heat of the water/cream when you add it to the tapioca starch. Sometimes we don’t have to add any extra starch, other times we have to add up to 1/4 cup more.

  26. Kim T. December 31, 2012 at 7:16 pm #

    This crust is AWESOME. The absolute closest I’ve ever had to a wheat based crust. Tastes amazing. THANK YOU!

  27. Tara January 2, 2013 at 5:13 pm #

    Ahh this was SO AWESOME! it’s just like regular thin crust pizza but more flavorful! Best gluten free pizza I’ve ever had. And super easy to make. I’ve developed a strong sensitivity to gluten and haven’t had real-deal-tasting pizza in a long time. I am so happy I found your recipe and site!! Also a recent Jaminet follower. thank you!! -Tara

    • Russ Crandall ( January 2, 2013 at 5:46 pm #

      Tara, thanks for the comment! You just made my day :)

      • DenaK January 6, 2013 at 11:21 am #

        Do you have to reheat the pizza the next day? My husband likes to eat his pizza cold the next day, but with other GF crusts you cannot do that as they are very dry and cardboard like. Does the leftover pizza freeze and thaw well?

        • Russ Crandall ( January 6, 2013 at 2:33 pm #

          Dena, good questions. We have had leftovers before, but we re-heated them in a toaster oven the next day to make the pizza super crispy. I can’t remember its consistency after a day in the fridge, but my money is on chewy and maybe a little soggy…in other words, probably not very good cold! :) Also, I haven’t frozen it myself, but we often freeze my Brazilian cheese buns ( which are almost the exact same ingredients, and they come out beautifully.

  28. mark January 7, 2013 at 4:15 pm #

    Man, that is killer looking pizza! I love baking and cooking with cast iron. The flavor profile outrageous. Be careful on too much gluten free products as they can have their bad effects too. Moderation is the key. I love baking sour dough bread in my cast iron. It’s not gluten free, but I tell you that commercial yeast gives peeps problems too. Bread For Life sour dough starter is what I have been using for the past month. It makes killer bread.

  29. contradictorytendencies January 8, 2013 at 12:56 pm #

    Reblogged this on A Mélange of Contradictory Tendencies and commented:
    This was amazing.

    And it was a great way to introduce my teens to gluten-free homemade foods that aren’t weird or gross. They are thoroughly convinced now and are on board with our modified diet.

    We used store-bought pizza sauce. I wasn’t in the mood to cook, so my husband and oldest daughter made this recipe.

    Just a note though. The dough won’t be your typical “dough” consistency. It sticks to your fingers, and there’s no way around it. Just keep at it. It will totally be worth it in the end.

    We made this twice last week, and everyone was fighting over leftovers. Yes, it was that good.

  30. Katie January 16, 2013 at 11:32 pm #

    I just made this tonight. It was AMAZING!! My husband and both my boys just loved it. Ill be keeping this recipe on hand for birthday parties, or whenever I get a hankering. Thank you for your recipes they have been a delight to read and a treasure to cook. Thanks.

  31. Amy Dailey Pope January 19, 2013 at 12:19 am #

    I made this awesome pizza tonight, and froze the 2nd pizza crust (after pre-baking it) for next week… and I’ve just bragged about how great it was to all my FB friends. Really… it was the best pizza I’ve had since I had to clear gluten from the pantry. Since pizza is my very favorite food, this is HUGE… I was grieving for it, since I thought I’d never have a decent pizza again…but I kept trying different recipes, hoping. I’m AMAZED that someone thought of using tapioca starch without any other flours… it’s just so “out of the box” original… and something that would never have occurred to me!! I’m just glad you thought of it!! BIG THANK YOU from a pizza lover with Celiac, who is seriously keeping this recipe. :-)

  32. Meg Paul January 19, 2013 at 5:37 pm #

    Hi there…I am new to your site and came across this recipe the other day. I tried it out today and I LOVE it! I was using socca with chickpea flour as my pizza subsitute up to now as I am gluten free, but I think I’ll be going Paleo over the next year to help my health issues. So chickpea has to go. This pizza was so delicious and I can’t wait to eat it again. :) Thank you for sharing!

  33. Sami March 4, 2013 at 7:54 pm #

    This pizza crust was so good! It was my first time cooking with tapioca flour. I bought the bundle of tapioca flour from Amazon to specifically make this recipe. I’m so glad I did! The Parmesan cheese gives it such a great taste. I was a little nervous when trying to form dough into a frisbee? The flour was so gooey and sticky there was no way I could shape it into anything. But I just plopped it in my cast iron skillet and spread it around and it worked out just fine. I used all the dough for one pizza and the texture turned out fine, maybe my skillet was larger? Thanks for the recipe!

    • Russ Crandall ( March 4, 2013 at 8:22 pm #

      Sami, we used a 10″ skillet. Initially I was using this recipe for only one pizza, and it seemed to work out okay, and the crust was a little thicker. But once we split the dough in half and tried it that way, we found it to be much crisper (and less carb-intensive!). So I’m not too surprised that it stilled turned out okay for you! :)

  34. carmen h March 5, 2013 at 7:40 pm #

    WTF is wrong with me? I followed this recipe to a tee and am a seasoned paleo cook? It was mushy and gooey and two batches later never even resembled dough.

    • Russ Crandall ( March 6, 2013 at 6:42 pm #

      Carmen, first of all, sorry that it didn’t turn out. What were you using to cook the pizza on, a skillet, or a pizza stone/baking sheet? My initial reaction is that the dough wasn’t thin enough when cooking, and my second thought is that the milk/cream wasn’t hot enough when you added it to the tapioca starch. But really, I’m not sure what to say – it’s really hard to tell without being there.

      I’ve had other readers with issues with it being gooey, and my advice is that if you’re using a skillet, place the skillet on a burner set to medium heat for a few minutes either before you bake the dough initially, or while putting the toppings on. Hope this helps.

  35. Kristie March 7, 2013 at 11:58 am #

    Hi! I finally made this with substitutions (my kids and I have food allergies). I used palm kernal shortening in place of butter, rice milk in place of milk and water (normally I would use hemp milk, but I didn’t have any today), Energ-E egg repacer in place of the egg, and I left out the cheese. I made one large crust, and a small crust with the remaining dough which I brushed with olive oil. The smaller crust was more like a cracker, but very tasty. The larger crust was a little thicker and it looked like glue inside. It was harder to eat and I think my kids would have trouble with the texture. I plan to make this again, though, because it is less work and tastes better than the gluten-free bread mix I have been using. Thanks for the recipe!

  36. Laura March 26, 2013 at 6:49 pm #

    Thank you so much for this recipe! It is the best gluten-free crust I have ever had. I made it with arrowroot flour on a pizza stone, and it came out perfect. We enjoyed it topped with homemade enchilada sauce, ground beef, and cheddar cheese for a Mexican pizza. Yum!

  37. Alli J March 27, 2013 at 8:10 pm #

    Great recipe! I’m not sure why this happened since I followed the dough recipe to the letter but I ended up having to double the cream/water/butter to bring it to the correct consistency. Once I did that however it came out beautifully! I topped mine with pesto, goat cheese, arugula, and sausage. Thanks for bringing this awesome treat back into my life.

    • Russ Crandall ( March 28, 2013 at 12:13 am #

      Alli, your rendition sounds delicious! It’s funny, but sometimes I’ll need to add more liquid, and other times I’ll need to add more starch or cheese – often double the amount. I’m not sure if it’s a variation based on the brand of tapioca starch, or if it has to do with how hot the cream/water/butter is when I add it to the starch. One of life’s little mysteries!

  38. Peta April 6, 2013 at 4:20 am #

    Yum Yum Yum, I have only recently gone Paleo and have been gluten free for years and this was the best pizza base ever!! I brought a skillet just for this, but forgot about the handle being hot as well and grabbed the handle oops! Still ate the pizza but one handed.

  39. Renee April 19, 2013 at 10:25 pm #

    Finally made this tonight. Twice. Made a trial to see if my husband was okay with it. I don’t pressure him on grain-free or paleo. Well, I made a double batch later in the day to bring to an outing. He’s on board. Thanks for the great recipe. It’s might be the one that keeps my husband from falling off the grain-free wagon.

  40. Gena G April 20, 2013 at 12:09 am #

    I don’t usually leave comments about recipes I try, but I had to on this one. Gluten free pizza is just NOT good. I tried this last night and I was AMAZED. My super picky 2 year old LOVED it. It tastes really yummy. The dough is a little chewy – but what is chewy when you have GOOD TASTE! Will be making this again and again. Thank you for sharing. Also, I love that it was made in a cast iron skillet – my favorite cooking utensil and incidentally how I found your site – by googleing cast iron skillet and gluten free. :)

  41. Shantell Powell April 20, 2013 at 11:47 am #

    I don’t own a cast-iron skillet. Would a pizza pan work?

    • Russ Crandall ( April 20, 2013 at 1:17 pm #

      Shantell, that should work fine – I would just bake the dough for a couple extra minutes before adding the toppings to make sure it doesn’t get soggy. Good luck!

  42. Kristie April 20, 2013 at 8:03 pm #

    I just wanted to let you know how much I love this pizza. I mentioned before that I substitute for the dairy and eggs because of allergies, but I really don’t notice too much of a difference. Since I have a large freezer, to save time, I quadruple the recipe for the pizza dough, then I make all of the 6″ crusts that I can. I do the first bake for 6 minutes, and then I freeze the crusts. When I need a quick dinner for the kids, I just pull out the frozen crusts, put on the toppings, and do the final bake. It may not taste exactly the same as when they are fresh out of the oven on the first day, but they are still quite good!

    • Katie April 20, 2013 at 8:15 pm #

      Oh my goodness I never would have thought of that. Thank you for the great idea. I know what I’ll b doing this weekend. Baking and freezing crusts to have on stand by for my very big eating boys. Thanks again

  43. Rosa April 24, 2013 at 11:43 pm #

    I used potato starch for my pizza and it was delicious. This was my very first attempt at making my own dough, ever and first time using my cast iron for baking. Couldn’t believe how easy and great tasting this turned out. I won’t be buying pre-made GF frozen pizza any time soon. This way I control what I feed my kids. Gotta go check out more of your recipes….

  44. Sara T May 8, 2013 at 9:58 pm #

    We have made this a bunch, and it is by far our favorite (and easiest) Paleo Pizza. I’d say it even rivals non-Paleo Pizza..thats how good it is. Tonight when I went to make it, I was short a few ingredients..I subbed coconut milk for the milk/cream/water, and had chopped mozzerella instead of grated parm cheese. The consistency of the dough pre-cooking was much looser, but once cooked, it was perfect!

  45. Katie May 9, 2013 at 12:49 am #

    I just love this pizza. I wanted to let u know that some friends of mine rented a wood fire pizza oven. We did everything the same but in the cob oven and it was amazing. I even made extra dough to make the biscuits in there. And oh my goodness it was the biggest hit. In fact I’ve had to make it quite a few times since for events they’ve had out there for ppl who couldn’t have the gluten. It’s an absolute hit. Thank you. I just love all your recipes. It’s given me great perspective on different ways of using average ingredients. Thank you

  46. Erin Walker May 11, 2013 at 5:42 pm #

    Yum! I love making paleo pizza! I use goat milk cheese in mine (easier on my tummy.) Yay for PIZZA!!

  47. Ingapetra May 13, 2013 at 6:41 pm #

    this looks amazing ! I am absolutely the biggest fan of peperoni, but I thought it was not available “paleo friendly” where did you get the one you use on the pizza ?

  48. Laurie May 13, 2013 at 7:16 pm #

    The search for the holy grail of grain free/gluten free pizza crust has ended!!! This is out of this world :) I made this tonight and it received rave reviews from the fam (who are unlucky enough to have been on this quest with me at times).

    I tried baking one half of the dough in a cast iron skillet and the other half I baked on a pizza stone. We slightly preferred the texture of the pizza from the stone, but both were outstanding. Baking in the lowest portion of the oven really seemed to help with the crunch factor, too.

    This was my first foray into tapioca starch and I am certain it won’t be my last; boy how I have missed that, “chewy” texture!

    Thanks so much!

  49. Katrina Brown May 15, 2013 at 6:58 pm #

    This is the best crust! I make it all the time. Thanks for the recipe, I love it!

  50. Steffani June 2, 2013 at 6:17 pm #

    Oh my goodness, this was so amazing. It was easy and tasty, doughy and chewy. I feel like I got pizza back! Of those who have tried almond or coconut flour crusts, you know they are poor substitutes for the real deal. But not this! It was SO good! Thank you for taking the time to perfect this for those of us (me!) who don’t have the skill to figure it out alone!

  51. Erin June 10, 2013 at 11:44 am #

    Made this over the weekend. Amazing. We baked it on our cast iron griddle and didn’t split the dough in two and it worked out perfectly. We did add a little bit extra of the flour but not much. We sincerely enjoyed this dough more so than any non Paleo one we’ve made before. Love having this recipe in my back pocket for when we want to have a little indulgence!

  52. Katie June 16, 2013 at 6:09 pm #

    Perhaps it says somewhere here but I can’t find it – its mentioned to use heavy cream? Does it have to be cream or can it be coconut cream or something that’s dairy free? I have cheese substitute I can use but I’m hesitant on trying this because of the heavy cream factor :(

    • kristie June 16, 2013 at 6:23 pm #

      Katie, I have a comment above with the list of substitutions I use. I use hemp or rice milk and I leave out the cheese. I even have to substitute for the egg and it turns out great. Actually, I’ve made it according to the recipe and with the substitutions, and they turn out similar.

  53. Kim M June 22, 2013 at 5:47 pm #

    Just made this. Awesome! Best Paleo crust EV-AH! My husband loved it too. Definitely a keeper. And thanks for the comments about adding more tapioca if it’s a little runny. I was at a loss at first, until read those.

  54. Penny July 4, 2013 at 8:31 pm #

    So delicious! We’ve found we need just a bit more tapioca starch to form the dough, and we simply press our dough into the cast iron skillet. I’ve also subbed coconut milk and coconut oil for the butter and cream. This recipe is a wonderful gift to those avoiding gluten–it is the best gluten-free pizza I’ve had! Thank you so much.

  55. Melysa July 6, 2013 at 9:17 pm #

    Hi, I was wondering do you know if the crust would work with vegan cheese instead of real cheese? Thanks:)

    • Russ Crandall July 6, 2013 at 9:21 pm #

      Hi Melysa, I haven’t tried it, and I’m not sure how well vegan cheese works as a binder. I say go for it, and tell me how it turns out! :)

  56. Erin July 6, 2013 at 11:02 pm #

    I made this today, and it was great! My husband gave it many compliments (he wouldn’t even try the last pizza I made with cauliflower crust). I wanted to make two pizzas at once and only had one cast iron skillet, so I put the second crust in a greased glass pie pan. That one turned out pretty good but not as good the cast iron one. Thanks for the great recipe!

  57. Connie July 8, 2013 at 6:31 pm #

    What a fabulous recipe! Made it tonight and it was delish! I won’t lie, I was very skeptical if it would taste like pizza crust. Sooo glad I was wrong. My hubby says this is a keeper. Had to add a little more flour but it turned out perfect. Thanks!

  58. Susan July 14, 2013 at 2:15 pm #

    Best thin pizza crust I have ever eaten (and that’s saying a lot!) From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU for the time and effort you put into creating this little gem, and my eternal gratitude for your decision to share this with the rest of the world! You have made my day!

  59. Donna July 18, 2013 at 7:23 am #

    Could one substitute nutritional yeast for a “cheese-y” taste without the dairy?….This looks wonderful and the tapioca or arrowroot starch must make it as close as one can get to the “real-deal” with regards to texture!…Definitely wish to give this crust a go!

    • Russ Crandall July 18, 2013 at 5:10 pm #

      Donna, I think it’ll work okay with nutritional yeast and tapioca starch alone. Let me know if you try it, and how it tastes.

      • Donna July 18, 2013 at 5:24 pm #

        Will do!….Thank you for the rapid response!…I simply cannot wait to give it a go this weekend…and have a lovely one yourself.

  60. Nicki July 21, 2013 at 11:02 am #

    yum, Yum, YUM!!! Bookmarked this recipe I think back around when you first posted it. Finally tried it about a month or two ago and WOW we are SO happy we did. This is hands down our favorite crust recipe now. We haven’t found a good source of pepperoni where we live now, so use a variety of other toppings like artichoke hearts, onions, thinly sliced tomatoes, etc. The only things we do differently are: 1. full-fat canned coconut milk instead of the cream or milk and 2. black pepper instead of white. Thank you!

  61. Faith July 27, 2013 at 2:28 pm #

    This worked out well for us! I had to add a touch more tapioca flour. I used the whole dough recipe patted out on my pizza stone dusted with tapioca flour, we also cooked it on the grill. Next time, I think we’ll try it without the milk and use coconut milk to see how that goes. Thanks so much! This saved us from exposing ourselves to gluten! Was perfect!!

  62. Trisha July 27, 2013 at 8:44 pm #

    I also really liked the recipe, but has anyone noticed how it tastes kinda like Cheez-Its? Good thing my family likes Cheez-Its :) I did one recipe, but baked separately. first pizza into the oven on cold cast iron skillet, turned out gooey in the center. Second one went onto the very hot cast iron skillet so I couldn’t spread it quite as far … and cooked it one extra minute. I will be trying the method of heating the skillet before putting dough in, to see if that keeps it from being gooey.

  63. Jill August 16, 2013 at 6:36 pm #

    Just found this pizza crust recipe. It was outstanding! Looking forward to exploring and trying many of your other recipes. Fabulous blog!

  64. peewee August 30, 2013 at 1:09 pm #

    Hi! Wonder if this can be modified to make tortillas? I cry for enchiladas!

  65. iamtheresurrectionchris October 26, 2013 at 2:45 am #

    Can I use almond flour and almond milk?

    • Russ Crandall October 27, 2013 at 9:40 pm #

      Almond milk could work, but you’ll definitely want to use a starch instead of a nut flour, which would be more crumbly than stretchy. Arrowroot starch would work okay instead of tapioca.

  66. judi December 11, 2013 at 5:21 pm #

    I’m a little confused. At first I was so happy to find a paleo pizza recipe, but then I found this chart online which shows that tapioca starch has 26 net carbs per 1/4 cup. At 1 1/2 cups per recipe, that’s 156 carbs per pizza. The chart is here: . So now I’m thinking that this is grain-free/gluten-free (yay!) but not low-carb.

    Or maybe the fat mitigates the carb hit. What do you think?

    If someone would check their blood glucose before and after eating the pizza, that might show if the carbs are a problem or not.

  67. Callifax January 14, 2014 at 5:31 pm #

    This is the best grain-free pizza crust that I’ve tried – and I have tried a LOT. Other recipes came out soggy or flimsy or tasted like potato sticks. This had a perfect flavor and came out incredibly sturdy. Even with the mountain of veggies that my fiance piles on as toppings, the crust still held like a normal pizza. I think this is my new go-to pizza recipe.

    I needed a little more than 1 1/2 cups tapioca flour, but I gradually added extra flour tablespoon by tablespoon until it reached a doughy consistency and no longer sticked to my hands. I also brushed the top of the dough with a little bit of melted butter for kicks. I topped my half of the pizza with mozz, tomatoes and pepperoni and had leftovers for lunch at work today and it was delish.

  68. Steve Falk February 4, 2014 at 2:05 pm #

    How about Almond flour instead of tapioca starch?

    • Steve Falk February 4, 2014 at 2:06 pm #

      oops. i see up stairs there you already answered that.

  69. Anthony Duncan February 13, 2014 at 9:32 am #

    I’d like to add to the praise- this pizza is AWESOME! Better than many of the wheat pizzas I’ve had! Thank you Russ! I had this last night, and haven’t yet experienced my pizza IBS symptoms- which is very nice. I half-thought it was the cheese, but maybe it was the wheat… (BTW, I’m definitely buying your book!)

  70. His Dudeness February 22, 2014 at 8:56 pm #

    Had good results with this by accidentally adding enough water to make it almost the consistency of pancake batter. Not wanting to throw it away, I poured it into the skillet like a pancake. After letting it cook for about eight minutes, it was perfect.
    Probably easier than stretching the dough.

    • Russ Crandall February 22, 2014 at 9:25 pm #

      His Dudeness, we’ve had similar experiences here at the Crandall house. I’m actually working on a variation of this recipe that is pourable! Great minds and all that.

  71. kimberleymosher February 24, 2014 at 5:55 pm #

    I can vouch for the nutritional yeast option. I have been excited to try this recipe for a while now, and finally remembered tapioca starch in the grocery store. Anyway, I’m DF so I opted for nutritional yeast. It gives the crust a nice colour, but I think it makes the dough a bit more prone to falling apart when stretching it. That’s okay, I just used my fingers to nudge it across the surface of the pan. The pizza tasted phenomenal! Thanks for such a great GF pizza option.

    • Russ Crandall February 25, 2014 at 9:37 pm #

      Awesome, glad you liked it! I’ve read that some people make the dough thin like pancake batter, and pour it into the skillet and it turns out great. I’m going to play around with that idea this weekend!

  72. Valena Magill March 20, 2014 at 11:41 am #

    Just tried this crust recipe last night. I rolled it paper thin between two sheets of parchment paper. It’s the closest pizza crust recipe I’ve found to Neapolitan pizza crust. Thank you my family loved it. Since we have been eating paleo that is the one dish we miss the most.

    • Russ Crandall March 20, 2014 at 7:06 pm #

      Valena, thanks for the feedback! Glad you guys liked it.

  73. Michele March 28, 2014 at 8:39 pm #

    Made this tonight and it was wonderful!

  74. Niki April 15, 2014 at 3:28 pm #

    Does this have to be made in cast iron to turn out well or will a pizza stone work? I don’t have any cast iron pans…

  75. happyhealthyholyhome April 26, 2014 at 5:23 am #

    Oh, wow! I love that this looks so simple to make–and doesn’t call for expensive flour or anything else usually required in gluten-free baking. Thank you so much! I am definitely pinning this for later. :)

  76. Vida April 27, 2014 at 6:39 pm #

    I wanted to love this after seeing the fabulous pictures and reading all the wonderful reviews but I m also a 5 year gluten free bling veteran and I have made it twice and it is one of the worst pizzas I have ever made. I guess I don’t have the same taste for glue-chew that others do. The glue consistency doesn’t have much to so with the temperature and everything to do with the baking method used. I have made popovers using tapioca and egg only and they do not have that glue chewy texture. I wish you all the luck in tweaking this one.

    • Russ Crandall April 29, 2014 at 7:46 pm #

      Vida, sorry to hear you didn’t like it. For a more crisp pizza, I recommend using half tapioca starch, half potato starch; we’ve been doing that recently and it definitely gets more crisp, although to be honest we don’t usually experience the “glue chewy” texture that you’re describing.

  77. Lynn May 2, 2014 at 9:51 pm #

    I finally got this right. I definitely got glue at first and had to add quite a bit more flour to get dough, but now that I know, it will be a cinch .
    It would be helpful to note the size of the Iron skillet you used. It looked like a 10 inch. I wonder if you could use the whole recipe to make a large pizza in a 12 inch pan?
    Anyway, thank you! Trying to go gluten has been difficult.

    • Russ Crandall May 5, 2014 at 8:38 pm #

      Lynn, any size cast iron would work fine, we’ve tried it out with 8″ to 12″ skillets. the 12″ is obviously thinner but still good! Sometimes we use the whole dough recipe on a pizza stone, also turns out tasty!

  78. NV June 6, 2014 at 3:45 pm #

    is there a way to make this recipe dairy free?

  79. Kati June 8, 2014 at 6:31 pm #

    This crust is out of this world amazing. A good paleo pizza crust has been the one thing that has eluded me so it’s been a major cheat for me. This is seriously delicious.

  80. Samantha Roberts June 16, 2014 at 3:21 pm #

    This recipe is incredible, and Sunday is now “pizza night” in my household!

  81. Paul Halliday June 17, 2014 at 7:46 pm #

    … on the list for Friday, Russ. I’m doing Tostada, for which I like a thicker “tortilla” and this will do just right!

  82. Lynn July 18, 2014 at 10:54 pm #

    Was about to make this tonight and realized I was out of tapioca flour. We’re just gluten free, so I subbed Bob’s Red Mill gluten free all purpose flour and it was delicious. The crust tasted like buttermilk biscuits. yum!

  83. Ibn Batutas August 5, 2014 at 11:24 am #

    Thank you Domestic Man! We just enjoyed our first pizza after 2 years of ‘paleo’. It was a delicious TREAT and we will surely do this again in a month or two.

    • Grace October 5, 2014 at 10:47 pm #

      I made this today, and it was so yummy! My husband wasn’t going to try it, even though he has somewhat embraced the Primal lifestyle. He is still suspicious of any kind of bread made with anything other than flour or desserts made with honey or other sugar replacements. However when he saw the pizza in the skillet (I made a Supreme and don’t have a cast iron skillet, so used my big Calphalon skillet), he had to try it. When I asked him what he thought he said, “it tastes like pizza”. WIN! He then proceeded to eat 3/4 of it. I had trouble with the dough being too thin and then added too much tapioca, but just put the whole ball of dough in the skillet and made it thick, kept it in the oven a little longer than called for and it was perfect even thicker.

      • Grace October 8, 2014 at 7:12 pm #

        Made this again tonight–I had leftover Pepperoni what can I say? This time when the batter came out too thin (it must be the high humidity in Houston), I just poured into two skillets, baked and it turned out fantastic! I can’t wait for my stepson to get home to try this–he’s a starving musician and loves Pizza. Man, this just like NY thin crust pizza you get on the street!

  84. Kat March 7, 2015 at 6:54 pm #

    Here’s a printable version:
    Cast Iron Pizza

    1 1/2 cups tapioca starch or flour (it’s the same thing)

    1/4 cup heavy cream
    1/4 cup water (or 1/2 cup milk instead of cream & water)

    2 tbsp butter

    1/2 tsp salt

    1 egg, beaten

    1/4 tsp dried oregano

    pinch of white pepper

    3/4 cup parmesan cheese grated
    (or any hard cheese or just extra flour)

    for the toppings –

    1/2 cup pizza sauce

    3/4 cup mozzarella or other soft cheese

    Your choice of toppings

    1. Preheat your oven to 500 degrees.
    2. In a saucepan, combine the cream, water, butter, and salt and bring to a simmer on med/low heat. You want to get it to the point that it’s starting to bubble, but not boiling.
    3. In a large bowl, pour the tapioca starch.
    4. When the cream/water mixture is heated, add it to the starch and stir it all together. It will start to clump together, which is fine. Let the mixture cool for five minutes.
    5. Add the beaten egg to the mixture, and knead together with your hands.
    6. Add the cheese, white pepper, and oregano, and mix together until it’s dough-like. This is enough dough for two pizzas, so split it and freeze half.
    -If it turns out more like glue than dough, continue to add tapioca starch until it thickens enough to spread, and it’ll still taste fine!
    7. Stretch your current pizza curst half out into the thinnest frisbee possible. It will likely tear if you stretch it too far, so just pull it as far as you can. Put the dough in a cast iron skillet, spreading to the edges of the skillet with your fingers. Try to get it as thin as possible – this is important so as to not make your crust too chewy.
    8. With a fork, poke some holes through the dough to let air pass through.
    9. Bake in the middle of your oven for six minutes, then take it out and put it on your stove (keep the oven on!). The dough may bubble up a little while cooking, which is fine – it’ll go back down once you take it out of the oven.
    10. Add the 1/4 cup of sauce.
    11. Add the toppings, whatever you’d like.

    You can go with a standard topping fare, or try something more unique like a cheese-less pizza (often referred to as Pizza Marinara) or another favorite – Pizza Bianca, which is basically just dough, olive oil, salt, and rosemary, a popular style of pizza in Rome.

    12. Throw it back in the oven and cook for another 8-10 minutes, until the cheese starts to brown. For extra crispy toppings, broil it for the last minute or two of cooking.


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