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Free From Gluten – Cast-Iron Margherita Pizza with Cheesy Crust

While some gluten-free pizzas miss the mark, the secret is a flavorful homemade crust. You will also need a cooking vessel to crisp up the bottom of the pizza for the perfect chew. This Cast-Iron Margherita Pizza with Cheesy Crust is the perfect gluten-free pizza, even for wheat-eaters!

Perfect Gluten-Free Pizza Crust

When it comes to toppings, gluten-free and traditional pizzas are identical. Both have cheese, tomato sauce, and seasonings. The main difference is the crust, with many GF crusts being chalky or unpleasant. 

You can buy pre-made gluten-free crusts in the grocery store. Some of them are pretty tasty, but none compare to a wondrous homemade seasoned gluten-free crust. This recipe today calls for a simple yeasted crust that gets so crispy in the pan while baking!

And what type of pan is used? A cast-iron skillet! No other cooking method makes a gluten-free crust so crusty. The secret to the perfect GF pan pizza crust is cast-iron and lots of olive oil.

I mean it when I say this is the best gluten-free pizza crust I’ve ever eaten or made. Non-GF family members ate multiple slices of this pizza when developing the recipe, so I know it’s fabulous!

Margherita Pizza Toppings

Starting your GF pizza journey simply will set you up for success. Once you master this easy Margherita pizza, you can advance to many other toppings and recipes. 

For a standard Margherita pizza, you’ll need:

  • Fresh mozzarella cheese
  • Tomatoes or tomato sauce
  • Fresh basil

Of course, you can always top your pizza with your favorite toppings. Some other amazing pizza topping ideas are:

  • Taco pizza
  • Pepperoni pizza
  • Supreme pizza
  • Vegan cheese pizza
  • Veggie pizza
  • Buffalo chicken pizza
Cast-iron pizza on table

Is This Pizza Crust Vegan?

Yes, this pizza crust is a vegan recipe! The mozzarella cheese is not vegan, but you can easily swap that out with vegan cheese to make this Cast-Iron Margherita Pizza with Cheesy Crust. All you need is yeast, water, GF flour blend, salt, sugar, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning. I bet you have most of those ingredients in the pantry right now!

Cheesy Crust Pizza?

One part of Chicago-style pan pizza that is not often talked about is the cheesy crust. Sure, the Windy City is known for its deep dish pizza, which has a special place on the pizza scale. Our lesser-known pizza triumph is the pan pizza with crispy-crunchy browned cheese on the outside of the pan.

This Cast-Iron Margherita Pizza with Cheesy Crust really emulates that pan pizza experience. Toasted, crisp cheese on your pizza crust is a special treat. It also means that you use two types of mozzarella cheese in this recipe; fresh for topping and shredded for lining the crust.

Ingredients in Cast-Iron Margherita Pizza with Cheesy Crust

  • For the Dough:
  • 2¼ teaspoons quick-rise dry yeast
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 2½ cups gluten-free all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading the dough (I use Bob’s Red Mill 1:1)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1½ teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for greasing the pan
  • ½ cup mozzarella cheese, finely shredded
  • For the Sauce:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 large heirloom tomatoes, blanched, skins removed, and chopped (you can also use 1 8-oz. can of crushed tomatoes)
  • ¼ onion, chopped fine
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 sprigs fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Toppings:
  • 1 4-oz. fresh mozzarella ball, sliced thin
  • Fresh basil leaves

How to Make Cast-Iron Margherita Pizza with Cheesy Crust

Begin with making the dough. Add the yeast, sugar, and warm water to a mixing bowl and stir with your fingers to dissolve the yeast. Allow it to sit on the counter for 10 minutes until the mixture is foamy and bubbly.

Add the gluten-free flour and salt to the bowl and mix with your hands until a dough begins to form. Add the garlic powder and dried Italian seasoning. 

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 3-4 minutes until the dough is well combined and still has moisture. You do not want dry dough.

Place 3 tablespoons of oil into a clean bowl and add the dough. Rub some of the oil on top of the dough so it doesn’t dry out. Place some plastic wrap over the dough and set in a warm place for 2 hours.

After 2 hours, punch down the dough and let it rise again for 30 minutes.

Begin making the sauce. Add the olive oil, tomatoes, and onions to a small saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, allowing the tomatoes to reduce and the onions to soften.

After about 5-7 minutes of cooking the tomatoes down, add the tomato paste. Toast the tomato paste for 2 minutes, then add the water, fresh basil stems, and oregano. Bring to a simmer and allow to cook gently until you are ready to assemble the pizza.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

After 30 more minutes of rising, add the gluten-free dough into a well-greased cast-iron skillet. The dough may have the consistency of play sand at this time, but it’s okay! Shape the dough and evenly press into the bottom of the skillet.

Top with the sauce, spreading evenly over the pizza. Discard any stems of basil from the sauce.

Top with the sliced mozzarella cheese and some fresh basil leaves.

Finally, line the outer crust with the shredded mozzarella cheese, keeping it only on the bare crust ends.

Place the pizza into your preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes exactly.

Remove the pizza from the oven and top with additional fresh basil. Serve hot.

Whole cast iron pizza on table
Cast-Iron Margherita Pizza with Cheesy Crust

Free From Gluten – Cast-Iron Margherita Pizza with Cheesy Crust

Tracy Nawara
This crispy gluten-free crust has amazing texture and flavor, which is topped with fresh mozzerella, homemade pizza sauce, and freshly torn basil for the best gluten-free pizza of your life!
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Rising Time 2 hrs 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 8 people

Ingredients
  

For the Dough:

  • 2 1/4 teaspoons quick-rise dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 2 1/2 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour blend, plus more for kneading (I used Bob's Red Mill 1:1)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for the pan
  • 1/2 cup mozzerella cheese, finely shredded

For the Pizza Sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 large heirloom tomatoes, blanched, skins removed, and chopped (you can also use 1 8-oz. can of crushed tomatoes)
  • 1/4 onion, chopped fine
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 sprigs fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

Toppings:

  • 1 4-oz. fresh mozzarella ball, sliced thin
  • Fresh basil leaves

Instructions
 

  • Begin with making the dough. Add the yeast, sugar, and warm water to a mixing bowl and stir with your fingers to dissolve the yeast. Allow it to sit on the counter for 10 minutes until the mixture is foamy and bubbly.
  • Add the gluten-free flour and salt to the bowl and mix with your hands until a dough begins to form. Add the garlic powder and dried Italian seasoning.
  • Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 3-4 minutes until the dough is well combined and still has moisture. You do not want a dry dough.
  • Place 3 tablespoons of oil into a clean bowl and add the dough. Rub some of the oil on top of the dough so it doesn’t dry out. Place some plastic wrap over the dough and set in a warm place for 2 hours.
  • After 2 hours, punch down the dough and let it rise again for 30 minutes.
  • Begin making the sauce. Add the olive oil, tomatoes, and onions to a small saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, allowing the tomatoes to reduce and the onions to soften.
  • After about 5-7 minutes of cooking the tomatoes down, add the tomato paste. Toast the tomato paste for 2 minutes, then add the water, fresh basil stems, and oregano. Bring to a simmer and allow to cook gently until you are ready to assemble the pizza.
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  • After 30 more minutes of rising, add the gluten free dough into a well greased cast-iron skillet. The dough may have the consistency of play sand at this time, but it’s okay! Shape the dough and evenly press into the bottom of the skillet.
  • Top with the sauce, spreading evenly over the pizza. Discard any stems of basil from the sauce.
  • Top with the sliced mozzarella cheese and some fresh basil leaves.
  • Finally, line the outer crust with the shredded mozzarella cheese, keeping it only on the bare crust ends.
  • Place the pizza into your preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes exactly.
  • Remove the pizza from the oven and top with additional fresh basil. Serve hot.

Notes

If the risen dough feels a bit like wet sand and falls apart, that’s okay! Just shape the dough in the pan and it will be perfect when it bakes.
Keyword cast-iron pizza, Gluten-free, margherita pizza
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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