Delicious Overnight Pizza dough with olive oil and herbs

If you enjoy eating pizza, (who doesn’t?!) then you know that pizza tates best when it’s baked on a delicious tasting crust.

Looking down on a freshly baked pizza sitting on a wooden pizza peel.

If you are ambitious enough to make pizza at home (which you should!) you must start with an excellent tasting crust recipe. After all, it’s practically half the pizza!

I have tried a few recipes for pizza crust that unfortunately taste like cardboard, and no matter how scrumptious your toppings are, you’ll still taste the cardboard underneath. Ask me how I know. So how do you take your pizza crust from tasteless to fantasticness?

The answer is not to put more seasonings in it. And it’s not to mix in more olive oil. The answer is FERMENTATION. Yes, the thing that brings so much flavor to our food and beverages. Turns out the same works for bread too!

Is it better to let pizza dough rise overnight?

Quick bread and pizza crust recipes are fantastic if you are in a pinch or haven’t had time to plan ahead. I’ll be the first to tell you how much I adore my instant rise yeast. But when we slow down to make bread well ahead of time, we can take advantage of a process that I’d love to tell you more about.

So is it better to let pizza dough rise overnight? Yes, it is better to let pizza dough rise overnight or longer in a refrigerater, 12 to 48 hours, because the dough has time to ferment without rising to quickly. The longer the dough ferments, the more deeply flavored it becomes due to the yeast eating up the sugars and starches in the dough.

For the best results, place the dough in the fridge after the first rise and in a container that will allow for some expansion. But don’t forget about it– after the third day the yeast will have run out of ‘food’ and you’ll get flat dough that won’t rise when you bake it in the oven.

No amount of seasoning can replace the flavors created during this fermentation process. Yeast, a single cell fungus, eats sugars and starches, which is abundant in bread/pizza dough. As they eat their way through, their byproducts (glutamates and alcohol) are left behind, making humans happy because they make bread taste awesome!!

So basically we rely on yeast farts to make our bread fluffy and taste great. Sounds gross when I put it that way, but I get lots of giggles from my young daughter and her friends when I give this explanation to answer their questions. :0)

Can you refrigerate pizza dough after it rises?

Pizza dough can be refrigerated at any stage, but there is an optimal time window to place your pizza dough into the fridge or freezer. Let me explain:

If your dough is already through the second rise and you put it in the fridge, it will start to release moisture on the bottom, causing the dough to become sticky and not rise very well in the oven during baking. For best results, place your pizza dough into the fridge after the first rise.

If the dough is already through it’s second rise, place it on a piece of nonstick parchment paper or a greased baking sheet, then stretch it and add your toppings. Place the pizza with the toppings into the freezer. (Once it’s frozen place in large sealable bag) Allow it to thaw at room temp completely before baking.

If you are using rapid rise yeast, the 10 minute rest period right after you knead the dough together counts as ‘first rise’, and you can put it in the fridge right after that.

If you used regular yeast, or sourdough starter, the dough should sit out in a warm place and double in size once, then be punched down, before it is placed in the fridge to ferment and slow-rise.

How long should refrigerated pizza dough sit out before baking?

So you’re ready to make pizza, but your lovely fermented dough is just out of the fridge. How long should refrigerated dough sit out at room temperature before it’s ready to be rolled and topped?

On average, refrigerated pizza dough should be left at room temperature for 30 minutes before working it into shape. The gluten in the dough is very stiff when cold, making the dough stiff as well. The gluten will relax or loosen the warmer the dough gets.

How long your dough needs to warm will also depend on it’s shape- if it’s in a tight container and very thick, or if it’s been dumped out onto the counter and is spread out naturally under it’s own weight. The thinner it is, the faster it will warm.

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Overnight Pizza dough with olive oil and herbs

  • Author: Emily
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 2 pizzas 1x


This delicious pizza dough is seasoned with herbs and just the right amount of extra virgin olive oil. It has a cold fermentation stage overnight in the fridge that gives it wonderful flavor. This dough makes two 12-inch pizzas. This recipe derived from Taste of Home’s The Best Pizza Dough.


  • 1 & 1/4 cup warm water (110 to 115 degrees F)
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 package (2 & 1/4 teaspoons) dry yeast
  • 3 & 1/2 cups to 4 cups of 00 flour (all-purpose flour can be substituted)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing the bowl


  1. In a 2 cup measuring cup (or small bowl) mix the warm water, yeast, and 1 teaspoon of sugar together. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, place 3 cups of flour. Add the salt, basil, oregano and the other teaspoon of sugar. Whisk briefly to combine with flour. Insert the dough hook attachment.
  3. With the stand mixer running on medium low, pour in the olive oil and the yeast mixture and mix until just combined. While running, add 1/2 cup flour. If the dough is still sticking to the bowl after the flour is kneaded in, continue to add flour until the dough no longer sticks to the bowl. Knead dough for about 5 minutes, or until it is smooth and elastic.
  4. Place the dough in a clean bowl greased with a bit more olive oil. Turn the dough over so it is coated with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place for 30 minutes, then place it in your refrigerator at least overnight, or up to three days. Allow it to warm for 30 minutes at room temperature before shaping the dough and topping.
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Category: lunch or Dinner
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: American

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