Grilled Pizza, Gluten-Free

(photo by Valentina Vitols)

NOTE: if you want to make pizza in your oven, check out my Pizza Crust post!

Happy summer!  Finally.  We are getting more and more sunny days (or at least portions of sunny days), so I am a happy camper.  And because it’s no longer pouring rain all the time, we are now using the grill a lot.  Over the years, I’ve heard of grilled pizza, but I never had the time to experiment with gluten-free grilled pizza.  Of course, I’ve been making oven-baked gluten-free pizza for years–but grilled was still out of reach.  Then, a couple of weeks ago, I attended a talk by Steve Raichlen, arguably the grilling and barbecue king.  I looked through all of his books and in one of them, How to Grill, he describes the technique for grilling pizza.  It’s so simple I’m not sure what stopped me before.

One thing about gluten-free pizza crust (at least mine) is that the dough for it is fragile and more wet than wheat pizza crust.  This means that the tricky part to grilling it is that you need to get the crust from the surface on which you spread it to the grilling surface.  After my French crullers epiphany–where I used aluminum foil as a transportation device to get the crullers into the oil, I figured aluminum foil would be my best bet again.  And it was!

The pizza grilling method is so very simple.  I basically followed the method that Raichlen has in his book, adapting it to use the aluminum foil to get the dough onto the grill.  I’ve been doing this over and over again for the past couple of weeks–and it works like a charm every single time.  It’s easy and it’s such a fun way to make pizza!  And the smokiness from the grill really adds a depth of flavor to the pizza that is amazing.  Yum!

Grilled Pizza, Gluten-Free
-method adapted from Steve Raichlen

Special Equipment Needed
-a stand mixer is helpful, but a hand mixer will do
-an outdoor grill or barbecue
-aluminum foil

Ingredients (will make one 12″ pizza):
1 1/3 cup (185g) Jeanne’s Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour Mix
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tablespoon of granulated sugar
2 tablespoon active dry yeast
3/4 cup (180 ml) warm (but not hot) water
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp cider vinegar
extra olive oil and tapioca flour for greasing and flouring your work surface

Mix all dry ingredients together in the bowl of a mixer. Add wet ingredients. Using the paddle attachment, mix on medium high for about 3 mins (until smooth). It should look like a smooth blob of dough.

Heat your grill or barbecue to high.  You should have one area of the grill that is at high heat, and another area of your grill at a lower heat.  I have a gas grill with 3 burners, so I heat 2 of them to high and 1 of them to medium.

Place a sheet of aluminum foil over a large cookie sheet.  Brush with olive oil to cover the foil.  Then flour the greased foil with tapioca flour.  Note: I tried to do this with cornmeal, but the cornmeal wasn’t effective in stopping the crust from sticking.  This dough is more sticky than a wheat dough.

Turn the pizza dough out onto the prepared foil, sprinkle it with more tapioca flour so your fingers don’t stick to it, and carefully push it out into your crust shape.  You can make a round crust or a more oblong crust.  I like the oblong crust shape for the grill.  Make the edges a little higher than the rest so you create a little “wall” so the toppings don’t slide off.

Now brush off as much of the tapioca flour as you can from the top of your dough.

Let rise for awhile (I usually let this rise while I’m preparing my grill and getting the toppings ready).  You want your toppings to be ready because once you start the process of grilling, it goes fairly quickly.  We really like the classic margharita-style pizza–marinara sauce, cheese, and fresh basil for toppings–but you can do whatever you like.  This is a great recipe for using fresh sliced tomatoes on top.

When you are ready to grill, gently brush the top of your crust with olive oil (you want to do this carefully because the crust will have risen a bit and you don’t want to break the top layer too much).

The next step is a bit tricky, but although it’s wonky, it’s worked for me every time.  Grab the edges of your pan along with the edges of the aluminum foil, and flip the whole thing over dough-side down onto the high heat side of the grill.  Things will be hot, so quickly grab your cookie sheet off of the top.  Now you have your dough on the grill, covered by the aluminum foil (because the foil is stuck to the top side of the dough).

With a pair of tongs, carefully and slowly peel the aluminum foil off of the dough.  Discard the foil.

Once the crust is firm enough to move (a couple of minutes), slide it over to the medium heat side.  When the crust is blistered and beginning to brown (about 3 – 5 minutes), flip it over and move it to the high heat side again.

After about 1 minute, move the crust over to the medium heat side and top with your toppings.  Do this quickly.  Once the cheese has melted (after about 4-6 minutes), slide the pizza off of the grill, onto your baking sheet.  Add any last minute toppings (this is where I add fresh basil leaves).

Cut into serving slices or squares and enjoy!

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  1. Tracy says

    I’ve made this in the oven a thousand times, but really, really want to try grilling it. I’m not well versed in grilling (but I’m great with a smoker…perhaps I could throw it in there?!) Any advice for doing this on a charcoal grill?

  2. Cindy says

    Can this be made in the oven like a regular pizza? Can you recommend a temp, how long to par-bake, how long after adding toppings?

      • Cindy says

        Ok, I do see that other recipe – is it sturdy enough to hold up to being made into calzones? Maybe that’s a silly question – pizza dough should be pizza dough? I’m just so new to this GF world…

          • rockyrd says

            I have tried it several times but sorry -would say its not my favorite crust. Yes, it is more cakey than anything not like a real pizza crust.
            If you eat it as soon as it is baked or grilled and its made quite thin, its as good as the topping you put on it.
            It is a completely different dough to work with, almost biscuit like. I experimented a lot with it, spreading it to make it thinner hoping it would be more crispy and brown. I used flavored olive oil with herbs to brush on the edges and after grilling it put it under the salamander broiler. That helped but after eating the first hot off the press piece, the slightly cooled second one tasted awful. It got gummy soft. When made the way this says, its just too thick and biscuity.
            I had so much hope for this. Wanted to make it for a GF friend who loves thin crispy NJ pizza and can’t get it anymore.

          • says

            Rockyrd: I’m sorry you don’t like the recipe. I do have a question: you say it’s cakey and like a biscuit. I’m not clear how you got it to act like a cake or a biscuit. The dough for this crust is like a thick and sticky cake batter–you have to put it on surface and stretch it out with your hands or roll it. How did it get cakey for you? Did you follow the ingredients and directions exactly? Thanks.

          • rockyrd says

            Oh yes I followed it exactly. I could not really stretch it as you say, maybe if my hands were well oiled or wet, I had to spread it, like you said it was like a cake batter.
            When I made it thicker it puffed up a bit like a cake that is why I said biscuit like. Next one I did it as thin as I could, spread it on the foil and did it on the grill just like your method. Which is exactly like I do it with reg. pizza dough on my grill at home.
            So I was familiar with the method. Its nothing against you, just did not work for me. But I will keep trying, maybe get some other gluten free flour. I hear that Cup 4 cup is good, may try it if I can find some around here.

  3. Rockyrd says

    Can you use cornmeal on the foil? I am making this for a gf friend.
    I normally put cornmeal on my peel and slide it on to the grill, cook a few minutes flip over and add toppings. Then bake it on the hot side of the grill.
    Also did you try grilling it on the foil just enough to get it to set up, then remove the foil?
    Just wondering.
    I will try your dough recipe and let you know how it fares.

    • says

      Rockyrd: The problem with cornmeal (at least for me) is that it didn’t do a good job of keeping the crust from sticking to the foil and the grill. I know it’s traditional for wheat crust, but this crust is really sticky and I ended up with the crust stuck to the foil and the grill embedded with cornmeal :). That said, try it and see if it works for you. You never know!

  4. Michelle says

    We grill pizza in the summer, because it is much too hot to turn the oven on, and I usually end up with my sad, cardboard cracker-like, store-bought crust while everyone else has their fluffy gluten-filled one. No more, though! I think this is the best gf pizza crust I have had, and I have made/ bought so many! Every one I have made or bought is either dense and doughy, or it has a crackery element, but this was just like gluten pizza crust with the chewy exterior and fluffy interior. Thanks SO much! You made my weekend!


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