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two hands holding a small slightly stretched pizza dough. one hand is picking the dough up slightly off the counter, the other is holding the dough in place on the counter.

how to hand stretch pizza dough

Stretching pizza dough by hand takes a little bit of practice, but when you get the hang of it, it’ll take you just a few minutesAnd it’s a nice, soothing, almost zen-like process.
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Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 7 mins
Total Time 12 mins
Course Technique
Cuisine Italian
Servings 1 pizza



  • 1 ball pizza dough (proofed in a round deli container)
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour (for dusting)


  • Generously flour a clean countertop. Flip the dough out of the plastic deli container. Generously flour the top of the dough, too.
    You want enough flour to coat the surface of the dough as it stretches so it doesn't stick to the counter or your hands.
  • Use your fingers to create an indent around the edge to create a “crust,” rotating the dough as you go.
    Press firmly and deeply but your fingertips shouldn't touch the counter.
  • Gently pick the dough up by the crust. Rotate it through your hands, letting gravity pull it down toward the counter.
  • Place the dough on the back of one hand, with your fingertips curved pointing down to support the dough. Keep that hand stationary. Use the back of your other hand to slide under the dough, lifting and rotating it across your stationary hand.
    Alternately: Place the dough across the backs of both hands with fingertips curved down toward the counter. Hold your hands close together, then stretch gently away from each other. Rotate the dough and repeat.
  • Keep rotating and stretching on the backs of your hands until it's the size you want.
    (If it feels fragile at any point, if you need to readjust your hands, or if you think it needs more flour, you can place it down on the counter and then resume stretching, or stretch the edges while it's on the counter by picking them up and letting gravity do its thing.)
  • When the dough is the size you want, transfer it onto a well floured pizza peel and gently arrange it back into a circle shape.
  • Add your cheese and toppings. Give the pizza a shake on the peel to make sure it isn't stuck, then bake on a pre-heated baking steel at 500F for 4-5 mins.


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