Pizza crust is made from the same basic ingredients as bread: flour, water, salt, and yeast. But when it comes to flour, which one is best? Should you use all-purpose flour? Bread flour? Or what about one that literally has pizza in its name, '00' pizza flour?

Each of these flours makes great pizza, it just depends on the style you want. Whether you’re looking to bake a thick and puffy pan pizza, a crisp and chewy Neapolitan-style pizza, or a classic cheese-topped pie to replace your weekly takeout, here are the best flours for each style of pizza.

The Easiest Pizza You'll Ever Make Photography by Kristin Teig; food styling by Liz Neily
The Easiest Pizza You’ll Ever Make is made with all-purpose flour.

For classic pizza crust: All-purpose flour

Looking to make a basic pizza crust, one with a crispy bottom, a little bit of chew, and enough strength that the slices won’t get floppy under all that sauce and cheese? For a no-fuss crust, you need a workhorse flour, and that’s all-purpose flour.

Why all-purpose flour works: This everyday flour is designed to succeed in all kinds of baking, and if you only keep one type of flour in your house, it should be this. It has enough protein (11.7%) to support a robust gluten network, translating to crust with plenty of strength and chew. It’s also versatile enough to use in almost all of your other baking — from cakes to cookies — so you only have to worry about keeping one bag of flour in your pantry.

Pizza recipes that use all-purpose flour:  

Pick-Your-Pan Pizza Photography by Rick Holbrook; food styling by Kaitlin Wayne
Bread flour is the secret to Pick-Your-Pan Pizza.

For thick, chewy pan pizzas: Bread flour

Pan pizzas are typically defined by their thick, puffy crusts, with a hearty chew and a crunchy bottom (achieved with a combo of oil and a hot pan). To get there, you need a flour that has plenty of strength and can support a high-hydration dough. You need bread flour.

Why bread flour works: King Arthur bread flour has a higher protein content (12.7%) than all-purpose (11.7%). Because the protein in flour is what forms gluten in your dough, higher protein means more gluten. More gluten means stronger, more stretchy dough, which is critical for a puffy, airy crust with lots of chew — exactly what you’re looking for in a pan pizza. Flour with a higher protein level is well suited to higher hydration doughs, which are ideal for pan pizza, yielding a pie with an open crumb and lofty height.

Pizza recipes that use bread flour:  

Neapolitan-Style Pizza Crust Photography by Kristin Teig; food styling by Liz Neily
Neapolitan-Style Pizza Crust, made with Italian-style '00' pizza flour.

For pizza with a crispy, bubbly exterior and a puffy, airy interior: '00' pizza flour

Neapolitan-style pizza is known for its puffy outer crust (called the cornicione), crispy exterior, and airy, hole-flecked interior. The best versions of this classic pizza style are made with a specific flour designed to emulate the flour used to make pizza in Italy: '00' pizza flour.

Why '00' pizza flour works: '00' pizza flour is a finely milled flour made from both hard and soft wheat. The hard wheat gives the dough strength, so it can be stretched thin without tearing (and gives the finished pie its distinctive chewiness). The soft wheat provides extra starch, which gives the dough the perfect crisp (but not hard!) crunch and makes it easier to stretch. This flour is also milled to the same standards as Italian pizza flour. Unlike the United States, the European standard for flours is on a numerical scale, ranging from 2 (coarse, whole grain) to 00 (extra fine, white flour). Neapolitan pizza is made with flour milled to '00' standards, which is exactly how we’ve prepared our version of this flour.

Pizza recipes that use '00' pizza flour:

Baked gluten-free Neapolitan pizza next to bag of gluten-free pizza flour Photography by Danielle Sykes; food styling by Kaitlin Wayne
Gluten-Free Neapolitan-Style Pizza Crust is just as crisp and chewy as any other pizza.

Baking gluten-free? We have a pizza flour for that, too! Try our Gluten-Free Pizza Flour; it’s the secret to the best (gluten-free) pizza you’ll ever make.

More tips for great pizza at home:

Cover photo (Artisan No-Knead Pizza Crust) by Rick Holbrook; food styling by Kaitlin Wayne.

Jump to Comments
The Easiest Pizza You'll Ever Make
The Easiest Pizza You'll Ever Make
4.8 out of 5 stars 267 Reviews
2 hrs
up to four 12" pizzas
Filed Under: Tips and Techniques
Rossi crimping pie crust
The Author

About Rossi Anastopoulo

Rossi Anastopoulo grew up in Charleston, South Carolina, which is how she fell in love with biscuits. She didn’t have any bakers in her household (with the exception of her grandmother’s perfect koulourakia), so she learned at a young age that the best way to satisfy her sweet tooth was to make dess...
View all by Rossi Anastopoulo