“Preheat the oven to 500°F for 1 hour.”
While this step in your favorite pizza recipe may bring you joy in December (“So cozy, that warm oven!”), during the smothering heat of August it’s a deal-breaker. Yet you still want homemade pizza, even on blistering summer days. Thankfully, there’s a solution:
Air fryer pizza.
Just like cake (and cheesecake) and cookies, you can absolutely make pizza with the help of your air fryer — and I’m eager to show you how. But first, let’s check out the advantages of air fryer pizza.
1) Your kitchen stays cool. Your air fryer gives off almost no heat, so you can happily use it as much as you like without adding more heat to your already stifling kitchen or having to jack up the AC.
2) Your air fryer inherently uses very little energy. Think how small its capacity is compared to your regular oven; you also don’t have to preheat the fryer for an hour, as many standard pizza recipes direct. And aside from saving on your electric bill, conserving resources for the good of the planet is simply the right thing to do.
3) No special equipment is necessary. You don’t have a pizza stone and peel, or a pizza oven, or a special pizza pan? No problem. All you need for air fryer pizza is a piece of parchment for thin or standard pizza, or a cake pan for thicker Sicilian-style.
How to make air fryer pizza
With all the different models of air fryer out there, each with its own special features, configuration, and capacity, there’s no one-size-fits-all air fryer pizza recipe. Instead, let’s discover how to adapt your favorite pizza recipe to air fryer baking.
Thick or thin crust?
Does your favorite pizza recipe feature a thin crust or is it thicker Sicilian-style? Doesn’t matter: The air fryer can handle any thickness of crust you choose. You’ll simply need to add the toppings a bit later in the baking process to account for the fryer’s convection-type cooking: Anything on the outer surface (in this case, pizza topping) cooks and browns more quickly than the interior (the pizza’s inner crust).
Now understand, your air fryer won’t give you the “leopard spot,” charred pizza crust you get in a 500°F oven using a pizza stone; it simply doesn't get hot enough. But if you’re good with a golden brown, evenly baked crust, your fryer will deliver.
What size pizza can you make?
Check the dimensions of your air fryer’s bake space (bucket, drawer, or shelf). Some air fryers can handle standard-size pans and, if so, you’re good to go. But if your recipe yields a 12” round pizza and the maximum size pan your air fryer can hold is an 8” round (like my Gourmia air fryer), you’ll have to use some basic geometry (calculating surface area) to figure out how much dough to use for each pizza. (Heads up: At King Arthur, we only recommend the products that we, as bakers, truly love. When you buy through external links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.)
Speaking in very general terms, a pizza crust recipe calling for 3 cups (about 360g) of flour will yield two medium-thick 12” round pizzas or a half-sheet rectangular pizza. Doing the math — π r² (pi times the radius of the circle squared) — this amount of dough translates to four 8” round pizzas.
And here's the math:
- Measuring the length and width of the inside bottom (not the top) of the pan, a half-sheet pan has a surface area of 194 square inches.
- The surface area of one 8" round pan (π r²) is 3.14 x 4² = 50 square inches.
- Four 8" round pans (4 x 50) will easily hold 194" square inches of dough.
So, your air fryer can only accommodate an 8” pan? Since timewise you probably don’t want to bake more than two pizzas in succession, halve the recipe or simply stash the excess dough in the fridge and bake more pizzas the next day.
Here's a tip: I love our Crispy Cheesy Pan Pizza recipe, and serendipitously it yields the perfect amount of dough for two 8” pizzas — one thick-crust and one thinner-crust. I use 2/3 of the dough (about 270g) for a thick-crust pizza in an 8” round cake pan, and the other 1/3 (135g) for a thinner crust pie baked on an 8” parchment round.
Shaping and rising
Once you know how much dough to use, making pizza in your air fryer is quite straightforward. Just as in your standard oven, thinner-crust pizzas can be baked on parchment; thicker crusts will need the support of a pan.
Shape your dough and place it in a pan or on a piece of parchment, depending on thickness; the pan should be drizzled with olive oil, while the parchment can remain ungreased.
Let the crust rise according to your recipe’s instructions (right in the turned-off fryer is fine). When fully risen, select the baking temperature: 400°F is a good choice, as it bakes thin-crust pies quickly and those with a thick crust all the way through without burning the toppings. Use either the bake setting or air fryer setting.
Don't top your pizza yet — you're going to prebake the crust partway first. Bake the crust, untopped, until it's medium gold; this should take about 8 to 10 minutes.
Why not add the toppings right at the start, as you would with a regular pizza? Air fryers brown from the top down, and prebaking the crust a bit before adding the toppings means your crust will be baked through without your toppings burning.
For thin crust: If your air fryer doesn’t have a bottom heating element, use a pair of tongs to flip it over once it’s browned; the top crust is now on the bottom (more on that later). Add your toppings and bake until they’re as done as you like, perhaps another 7 to 8 minutes. Remove the pizza from the air fryer. If your fryer is the bucket type and access around the edges of your pizza is limited, a couple of pairs of tongs (or fork and tongs) will help you maneuver it out and onto a rack.
For thick crust: Let the un-topped pizza bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until light golden brown. Add the toppings and continue to bake for 15 minutes or so, tenting the pizza with foil if the toppings appear to be browning too quickly. Remove the pan from the fryer; again, tongs can help. To prevent the dreaded soggy bottom, slide the pizza out of the pan onto a rack (or into a frying pan; see below).
Browning the bottom crust
If your air fryer doesn’t have a bottom heating element, your pizza’s bottom crust will need help browning.
Thin-crust pizzas can be flipped before adding their toppings (see above), transferring their browned top crust to the bottom: problem solved!
For thick-crust pizza with a nicely browned bottom crust, preheat a lightly greased frying pan over medium heat until it's hot enough for water droplets to sizzle and evaporate immediately. Please use your judgment as to how best to heat your frying pan, as it will vary depending on whether your pan is cast iron, nonstick, stainless steel, aluminum, or another iteration of materials.
Carefully transfer the fully baked pizza from its pan to the frying pan. Fry the pizza until its bottom crust is as brown as you like it; this will take anywhere from 1 to 5 minutes, depending on the pan’s temperature and your crust-color preference.
Whether you've made your pizza in the air fryer or your regular oven, keep in mind the fryer does a super-good job at quickly reheating cold pizza. Just stick a slice or two in the fryer, program to maximum temperature, and heat through; this should take only about 5 minutes (or even less; check frequently until you've nailed your own fryer's capabilities).
Ready to try air fryer pizza?
While most recipes can be sized to fit your air fryer, it's best to stick with those that call for a slightly lower temperature and longer bake time: e.g., a thin-crust pizza that bakes in a 550°F oven for 8 minutes isn’t suitable for your fryer.
Here are a few recipes to get you started; remember, you’ll need to resize them to fit your fryer (approximate yield given in parentheses):
- Crispy Cheesy Pan Pizza (two 8" round pizzas — both medium-thick, or one extra-thick and one medium-thin)
- No-Knead Deep Dish Pizza (three medium-thick 8" round pizzas)
- Sourdough Pizza Crust (depending on the thickness of the crust, three to four 8" round pizzas)
- Quick Beer-Crust Pizza (depending on the thickness of the crust, three to four 8" round pizzas)
Are you continually searching for “the best” pizza recipe, or looking for tips to take your pizza skills to the next level? Sign up now for our new Pizza School newsletter!
Cover photo (Crispy Cheesy Pan Pizza) by Rick Holbrook, food styling by Kaitlin Wayne.