How to Defrost and Thaw Pizza Dough the Right Way

There’s a need to defrost and thaw the pizza dough the correct way, or your pizza could end up ruined, but what’s the best method?

So you have some frozen pizza dough that you would like to use in order to make that delicious home pizza, so what do you do?

That’s what we plan to talk about because we know that freezing pizza dough is a great way to preserve it for later, but knowing how to deal with it is equally as important.

Thankfully, you do have several options available to defrost and thaw the pizza dough.

So, what you will find below are a couple of different methods that we know will work perfectly when dealing with that frozen pizza dough.

Let’s get on with checking them out.

pizza dough ball

Method 1: Using the Refrigerator

The first option is to use your refrigerator, and many will see this as the safest option. However, it’s certainly not going to offer a quick fix if you suddenly decide you want to make pizza at home.

Ideally, your pizza dough would have been stored in an airtight bag in the freezer. Don’t remove it from this bag when you then place it in your refrigerator. 

This method does require forward planning on your part. You should place the airtight bag in a large bowl and put it all in your refrigerator the night before you plan on using it.

The slightly higher temperature in the refrigerator will allow the dough to thaw out, but you need to leave it overnight for this to work. When you check on it in the morning, you will notice it has risen slightly as it thaws out, and that’s a great sign.

When it’s getting closer to the time you want to use it, take the bag and bowl out of the refrigerator. At that point, you want to then place it on the countertop for an hour before you will then use the dough.

Unless something goes wrong, that should result in you having the perfectly thawed-out pizza dough ready for use.

Method 2: A Cold Water Bath

This method is not one you would perhaps think of, but it does work pretty well. Once again you should keep the pizza dough in the airtight bag it was stored in, and place it in a large bowl. 

After you do this, you need to run cold water over the pizza dough bag until it is submerged. You will then keep the dough in that bowl of cold water for between one to two hours.

During this time, the cold water will still have a higher temperature than in your freezer, so the dough will start to thaw. You should also start to see those tiny bubbles appearing on the surface of the dough as it begins to thaw out.

Once again, you can then take it out of the water and lay the dough on the countertop an hour before you plan on using it. You should then find the dough is ready for use.

pizza dough in water

Method 3; Warm Water

This option is not actually our favorite as it does come with the potential for things to go wrong. The problem here is that while the warm water will result in the dough thawing out quicker, you could start to inadvertently cook part of the dough while other parts remain frozen.

With this approach, make sure you press out any air that is in the airtight bag, and then reseal it. Put warm water, note we said warm and not boiling, in a bowl, and rest the bag of frozen pizza dough in the water. 

What you will find with this approach is the temperature of the dough will chill the water. It means you need to keep on replacing the warm water every ten minutes or so until the dough has thawed.

Do keep an eye on this, and make sure the water is just above lukewarm temperature. If you don’t do this, then expect parts of the dough to cook, and it may lead to you spoiling your pizza dough.

Methods You Should Really Avoid

At this point, you might wonder why we have not mentioned either the oven or the microwave as an option, and it’s for a good reason. 

The potential for you to cook part of it while other parts continue to defrost and thaw the pizza dough is through the roof with either of these options. It can lead to your dough coming out quite horrible, and your crust will just not be the same.

However, if you use a great deal of care, then both the microwave and oven can result in you thawing out your dough in next to no time.

pizza dough ball

Using the Microwave

So let’s say you want to use your microwave, then this is how you should do it.

Take a microwave-safe plate, and cover the base in some spray oil. Spray some of that oil over the dough as well as that’s going to make a difference.

Get some plastic wrap, and spray the wrap with oil. You will then put the oil surface on the dough as that means the wrap won’t stick to the dough.

After you do this, you will put the dough on a plate in the microwave and hit it with high heat for only 25 seconds. Once this time has passed, remove the dough.

Of course it won’t have thawed in this time, but that short blast of heat does kickstart the process. You then need to spray everything again, and turn the dough over. Repeat the 25-second blast.

After this, you should remove the dough, and it will feel softer on the outside.

Put it back in the microwave, and set it to the defrost setting. It should take around three to five minutes, depending on the size of the piece of dough.

Do not put it in the microwave for longer than those five minutes.

Once you have done this, remove it and place the dough on the countertop.

It will start to rise, and you will then know when it’s ready for use according to how much it has risen.

Using the Oven

As like the microwave option, you need to use so much care when it comes to using an oven to defrost your pizza dough. 

You need to get a baking tray and spray the tray, dough, and plastic wrap with oil.

Then, wrap the dough and place it in the oven at a temperature of 100F. 

Leave it there for an hour, and then check on it.

After 60 minutes, it should have defrosted and risen. Ideally, it should be double the size once it has fully risen.

If this is not the case, then put it back in the oven and keep checking on it every 10 minutes.

It should take no longer than an extra 30 minutes.

At that point, you should then find it easy to use the dough.

The Best Method?

For us, we feel the best method is either using the refrigerator or the cold water bath.

For speed, the cold water bath does win as it means you can decide in the morning you want to use it rather than planning almost a full day ahead.

The cold methods with gentle warming do make a difference when it comes to the dough.

It does mean you have no chance of cooking parts of the dough while other parts remain frozen.

At that point, the dough loses some of its appeals, and there is a risk of ruining the dough itself.

So we would strongly recommend either of those methods.

However, if you feel short of time, then one of the warm methods will work, but we would still suggest the warm water bath rather than the microwave or oven. 

By using the warm bath you do still have more control over the defrosting and thawing process and can sport when the dough is potentially cooking before it’s too late.

We would only use the microwave or oven method as an absolute last resort.

Actually, if we had to choose between the two, then the oven method works better than the microwave.

It’s all too easy for the dough to fall over to the other side with the microwave and end up partially cooked.

Overall Conclusion

Freezing pizza dough is a wonderful way of extending its life.

Thawing it out in the correct manner will not change the resulting crust.

Actually, you would have no idea the dough was previously frozen. 

It works well, tastes the same, and means you can make a huge batch of dough at one time without worrying about wasting it.

Remember it can last for several months in the freezer without any problems.

Also, it means you can then make your own homemade pizza whenever you feel like it, and that’s never a bad thing.