How To Defrost Pizza Dough – The Exact Way Pizza Shops Do It

Need to know how to defrost pizza dough? The best way to defrost pizza dough is to transfer the frozen dough to the refrigerator, where it takes 8 to 12 hours to thaw completely. Other options include allowing the dough to reach room temperature or using a microwave.

Frozen pizza dough can be a convenient solution when deciding on dinner options, but thawing it might seem challenging.

We’ll provide detailed instructions for defrosting pizza dough using different techniques, along with helpful tips to make the process easier and more efficient.

How To Defrost Pizza Dough

There are several ways to defrost pizza dough, including using the refrigerator, countertop, or microwave. Each method has its advantages, so choose one based on your time constraints and preference.

Defrosting pizza dough on a tray. Credit: Unsplash
Defrosting pizza dough on a tray. Credit: Unsplash

Follow these steps for defrosting pizza dough using different methods.

In The Fridge

The refrigerator method is best when you have 8 to 12 hours to thaw the dough. It’s the best approach because it minimizes temperature fluctuations, preserving the dough’s flavor and texture.

  1. Remove the dough from the freezer.
  2. Unwrap the dough if you’ve covered it in plastic wrap, allowing it to expand during thawing.
  3. Place the dough in a large bowl or container and cover it with cling wrap to prevent drying out.
  4. Allow the dough to thaw for 8 to 12 hours. Don’t attempt to roll it out if ice crystals are present.
  5. Once thawed, let the dough come to room temperature before shaping, baking, and adding your favorite toppings.

On The Counter

Thawing pizza dough at room temperature is a quicker way which only takes approximately two hours.

  1. Remove the dough from the freezer and unwrap it.
  2. Place the dough in a large container or bowl.
  3. Cover the dough with a damp cloth or clean kitchen towel.
  4. Allow the dough to thaw and proof at room temperature.
  5. Use the dough once fully defrosted.

In The Microwave

The microwave can defrost pizza dough in minutes, but be careful not to cook it as it may undercook the pizza dough’s base.

  1. Remove the dough from the freezer and unwrap it.
  2. Place the dough on a microwave-safe, lightly oiled plate.
  3. Apply a thin layer of oil to the dough.
  4. Cover the dough with microwave-safe plastic wrap, lightly oiled to prevent sticking.
  5. Microwave on high for 25 seconds, remove the dough, flip it over, reapply oil and plastic wrap, and microwave for another 25 seconds.
  6. This will partially thaw the dough. Use the defrost setting for 3-5 minutes to finish the process.
  7. After the dough is thawed, let it proof at room temperature, keeping it covered.

Choose a method that suits your time constraints and preferences to enjoy homemade pizza with ease.

Alternative Ways To Defrost Pizza Dough

If you don’t have a microwave or prefer not to use one, here are three alternative methods for thawing pizza dough more quickly.

Cold Water Thawing

Using cold water can speed up the thawing process. To defrost pizza dough with cold water, follow these steps:

  1. Place the dough in a sealed zip-top bag.
  2. Fill a large bowl with cold water and submerge the dough in it.
  3. After about an hour, the dough will feel much softer.
  4. Remove the dough from the bag, place it in a dry bowl to thaw completely and proof, ensuring it’s covered to prevent drying out.

Warm Water Thawing

This method is similar to cold-water thawing but uses lukewarm water instead.

  1. Place the dough in a sealed container.
  2. Fill a bowl with lukewarm water and submerge the dough in it.
  3. Replace the water as it cools.
  4. After about 30 minutes, remove the dough from the bag, transfer it to a clean bowl, and let it proof.

Oven Thawing

Using an oven to defrost pizza dough is another option, similar to using a microwave.

  1. Remove the dough from the freezer and discard the plastic wrap.
  2. Place the dough in an oven-safe dish large enough to accommodate its expansion.
  3. Lightly oil the dish and the dough.
  4. Set the oven to its lowest setting to avoid cooking the dough, or use the proofing drawer if your oven has one.
  5. After about an hour, check the dough for progress. It should be fully thawed and well-proofed.
  6. If ice crystals remain, leave the dough in the oven for a little longer, checking periodically until fully thawed.
  7. Remove the dough from the oven, shape it, and add your desired pizza toppings before baking.

These alternative methods provide efficient ways to thaw pizza dough without using a microwave, so you can enjoy homemade pizza with ease.

Does Freezing Affect Pizza Dough?

Freezing does not significantly affect the flavor or texture of pizza dough when you use the proper freezing technique. The flavor and texture may be slightly altered due to the dough’s water turning into ice crystals. In this regard, fresh pizza dough is always superior to the frozen dough.

However, since freezing dough saves time and reduces kitchen mess, it is a worthwhile trade-off.

To minimize changes in texture and flavor, ensure you tightly wrap the dough before placing it in the freezer. Exposing even a small portion of the dough to cold air can lead to freezer burn and create dry spots in the dough.

Kneading dough. Credit: Unsplash
Kneading dough. Credit: Unsplash

Essential Tips For Freezing And Defrosting Pizza Dough

When it comes to freezing pizza dough and then defrosting it, there can lead to numerous concerns. Here’s what you need to be aware of during the whole procedure.

When it comes to freezing and defrosting pizza dough, several factors need to be considered. Here’s what you need to know throughout the process.

All types of pizza dough can be frozen

Regardless of the pizza dough type you’re making, whether with yeast or without, it can be frozen. If you’re freezing yeast-based pizza dough, ensure it fully rises before freezing.

Proof pizza dough after thawing

As mentioned earlier, let the dough rise before portioning and freezing. Many people forget to proof the dough after defrosting, which is crucial for yeast dough. The cold temperature only halts the yeast, not destroying it. So, allow the dough to prove after thawing for better results.

The dough’s final rise and fermentation can also enhance flavor but don’t overproof. Allow it to rest for a couple of hours after defrosting.

Always keep the dough protected

No matter the defrosting method, protect the dough from drying out using a thin layer of plastic wrap or a clean towel. Uncovered dough can become dry and crack when rolling out.

Portion the dough correctly before freezing

Before freezing leftover pizza dough, portion it based on your desired pizza size. Smaller dough balls thaw faster, so if you’re unsure about the amount needed, opt for smaller portions. This allows flexibility in using the required amount later.

How Long Does It Take To Freeze and Defrost Pizza Dough?

The time it takes to defrost pizza dough depends on the size of the dough balls and the chosen defrosting method. Fortunately, there are various ways to defrost pizza dough, ranging from quick 15-minute options to gradual thawing over several hours.

How To Defrost Pizza Dough Overnight?

If you plan to make pizza the next day and have frozen pizza dough, thaw it overnight in the fridge using the method mentioned earlier. It can take between 8 and 12 hours for the dough to defrost in the refrigerator, depending on the dough size. Once completely defrosted, it can be safely stored in the fridge until needed.

Defrosting Store-Bought Pizza Dough

When using store-bought pizza dough, follow the instructions on the packaging for cooking and defrosting. Many store-bought pizza doughs have a “do not defrost” label. Adhere to the manufacturer’s directions for optimal results.

Store-bought pizza doughs typically come pre-rolled and topped with various ingredients. Attempting to defrost pizza dough with toppings can result in soggy ingredients, water release, and a ruined pizza.

If the package instructions don’t mention avoiding thawing, use the same defrosting techniques as you would for homemade pizza dough.

How Long Does Thawed Pizza Dough Last?

We recommend using defrosted pizza dough once it’s fully thawed and proofed. If you’re unsure when you’ll use the dough, it’s best to keep it frozen. Although there are quick defrosting methods, it’s better to use these instead of letting thawed dough sit in the fridge for several days.

Store-bought pizza dough lasts for about three days in the refrigerator after being removed from the freezer. Beyond that, the dough may develop an unpleasant taste and need to be thrown away.


How Do You Defrost Pizza Dough Fast?

To defrost pizza dough quickly, place it in a microwave-safe plate, cover it with plastic wrap, and microwave in 25-second intervals, flipping the dough between intervals. Alternatively, use warm water thawing by submerging the dough in a sealed container in a bowl of lukewarm water.

How Long Does Pizza Dough Take To Defrost?

Pizza dough defrosting time varies depending on the method used. In the refrigerator, it takes 8-12 hours; on the counter, it takes about 2 hours; using a microwave or warm water, it takes around 15-30 minutes.

What Is The Best Way To Thaw Frozen Dough?

The best way to thaw frozen dough is to place it in the refrigerator for 8-12 hours. This method ensures the dough maintains its flavor and texture as it thaws slowly and evenly without exposing it to extreme temperature changes.

How Do You Bring Pizza Dough To Room Temperature Quickly?

To bring pizza dough to room temperature quickly, place it on the counter covered with a damp cloth or plastic wrap. The dough will reach room temperature in about 30 minutes to 1 hour, depending on its size and the room’s temperature.

Norah Clark

Norah Clark

Norah Clark, the founder and editor of YummyTasteFood! She's a seasoned food writer and editor with over a decade of experience in the hospitality industry as a former pastry chef, sous chef, and barista. When not writing about food, she explores new recipes or travels the world for culinary inspiration.