Olive oil is a common ingredient used in many pizza recipes. It can be used in the dough, brushed on top of the crust, or drizzled over the finished pizza. Using olive oil on pizza can provide some benefits, but also has some potential drawbacks to consider.
Yes, you can put olive oil on top of pizza. Olive oil is commonly drizzled over pizza or brushed onto the crust before baking or serving to add flavor and prevent the crust from drying out. The oil also helps carry other flavors and can provide a richer mouthfeel.
Why Put Olive Oil on Pizza?
Here are some of the main reasons you may want to use olive oil on your pizza:
- Adds flavor – Olive oil has a rich, fruity taste that enhances the other flavors in the pizza.
- Prevents a dry crust – Brushing or drizzling olive oil on the crust helps keep it from drying out and becoming crunchy.
- Improves browning – Oil helps the bottom of the crust brown evenly and develop a nice crispness.
- Makes it easier to slide – Olive oil’s lubricating properties allow the pizza to slide off the peel and onto the pizza stone or baking sheet more easily.
- Carries other flavors – The oil helps adhere and evenly distribute herb and spice flavors across the pizza.
- Adds moisture – Olive oil can add a bit of welcomed moisture to an otherwise dry pizza.
- Provides richness – The oil contributes a luxurious, mouth-coating quality.
How to Use Olive Oil on Pizza
Olive oil can be incorporated into pizza in a few different ways:
In the Dough
Some pizza dough recipes call for a tablespoon or two of olive oil added right into the dough ingredients. This helps make the dough a bit softer and easier to work with. It also adds a subtle olive oil flavor in every bite.
Brushed on the Crust
Brushing olive oil lightly over the stretched out dough or over the parbaked crust helps keep it from drying out while cooking. The oil seals in moisture and allows for a crispy exterior crust with a tender, chewy interior.
Drizzled on Top
After baking, many people finish their pizza by drizzling extra virgin olive oil over the top in a zig-zag pattern. This adds a final flourish of flavor and a glistening presentation.
What Type of Olive Oil to Use
While any olive oil can be used, high quality extra virgin olive oil is recommended for the best flavor. Regular or light olive oil may have less pronounced taste. Some tips on selecting olive oil:
- Choose an extra virgin olive oil for the most authentic olive flavor.
- Look for a fruity, peppery olive oil from Italy, Spain, Greece or California.
- Avoid pure or light olive oil, which are more processed and have less flavor.
- Buy olive oil in small bottles or tins since it can go rancid after opening.
- Store olive oil properly in a cool, dark place to preserve freshness.
How Much Olive Oil to Use on Pizza
When using olive oil on pizza, moderation is key. Here are some guidelines for how much to use in different applications:
|In dough||1-2 tablespoons per pizza dough recipe|
|Brushed on crust||1-2 teaspoons brushed lightly over crust|
|Drizzled on top||1-2 teaspoons drizzled over baked pizza|
Too much olive oil can make the crust oily or soggy. It can also overpower the other flavors. Just a small amount is plenty to get its beneficial effects.
Potential Drawbacks of Olive Oil on Pizza
While olive oil can enhance pizza in many cases, there are a few potential drawbacks to consider:
- Can make dough sticky – Excess olive oil in dough may prevent it from forming a nice taut crust.
- May inhibit browning – Oil can form a barrier and prevent the desired crisping and charring.
- Can make crust soggy – Too much oil, especially with moisture-laden toppings, may lead to a limp crust.
- Can limit stretch – Dough stretched too thin has a tendency to tear if it contains a lot of olive oil.
- May limit topping adhesion – Oil on the crust surface may cause ingredients to slide around rather than stick.
- Can get rancid – Olive oil can go rancid quickly at high baking temperatures, giving an unpleasant taste.
As long as olive oil is used properly in moderation, many of these issues can be avoided. Brushing on just a light coating once the dough has been stretched out is often enough to get its benefits without the drawbacks.
Olive Oil Pizza Recipe
This recipe uses olive oil in multiple ways to bring out the amazing flavor in every bite:
- Pizza dough
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- Cornmeal for dusting
- 1/4 cup pizza sauce
- 2 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced
- 3 ounces shredded Italian cheese blend
- Dried oregano
- Dried basil
- Red pepper flakes (optional)
- Preheat oven to 450°F. Brush a pizza pan or baking sheet with 1 tbsp olive oil.
- On a floured surface, roll out the pizza dough into a 12 inch circle. Transfer to the oiled pan. Brush the top of the dough with 1 tbsp olive oil. Sprinkle lightly with cornmeal.
- Spread the pizza sauce evenly over the crust, leaving a 1/2 inch border. Arrange the mozzarella over the sauce.
- Sprinkle the shredded cheese blend over the pizza. Drizzle the remaining 1 tbsp olive oil over the top.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes until the crust is golden brown. Remove from oven.
- Finish with a sprinkle of oregano, basil, and red pepper flakes if desired. Slice and serve immediately.
The olive oil helps make the crust super crispy and full of flavor. Feel free to customize this recipe with your favorite toppings!
Frequently Asked Questions
Does olive oil make pizza crust crispy?
Yes, brushing or drizzling olive oil on pizza dough can help create a nice crispy crust. The oil allows the exterior to bake to a golden brown crunch while keeping the interior soft and chewy.
Should you put olive oil on pizza before or after baking?
Olive oil can be used both before and after baking. Lightly brushing oil on the stretched dough before adding toppings will help the crust brown and stay tender. Drizzling extra after baking adds a nice finishing touch of flavor.
What oil is best for pizza dough?
Olive oil is one of the best oils to use in pizza dough or on the crust. Extra virgin olive oil has the most flavor. Vegetable, canola, or other neutral oils can also work well. Avoid heavier oils like coconut or flaxseed oil in dough.
Does olive oil burn when you cook pizza?
Olive oil has a relatively low smoke point, so it can burn at high pizza oven temperatures. This can give pizza a bitter taste. To prevent burning, use olive oil sparingly and opt for a refined olive oil, which has a higher smoke point.
Should you put oil on pizza stone?
It’s best not to oil your pizza stone. The porous material will absorb the oil and transfer it to the crust, potentially causing burning or an oily pizza. Instead, lightly dust the heated stone with flour or cornmeal right before sliding the pizza onto it.
Using olive oil on pizza can provide some great benefits like a flavorful, tender crust and easy release from the pan or stone. Just be careful not to overdo it, as too much oil can make pizza dough difficult to work with. Stick with 1-2 tablespoons total for the dough itself and just a light brushing or drizzle over the top. With the right amount, olive oil takes pizza to the next level!