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How To Defrost Pizza Dough – The Complete Guide

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Having pizza dough in the freezer is a lifesaver when you don’t know what to make for dinner. But defrosting the dough may seem to be a problem.

So, how do you defrost pizza dough? The best way to defrost pizza dough is by placing the frozen dough in the fridge. This process takes between 8-12 years for the dough to fully defrost. Alternative methods include placing the dough out at room temperature and microwaving.

In this article, we will give you step-by-step instructions for defrosting pizza dough using different methods. We’ll also cover some tips for making the process easier and more effective. 

Why Freeze Pizza Dough?

If you have never thought of freezing pizza dough, it’s high time you did as it is a great way to save time. You don’t have to make a mess in your kitchen multiple times either. You can do it all in one batch. 

Additionally, sometimes you end up with leftover pizza dough you don’t want to use within the next few days. In this case, it is best to freeze the dough.

And considering that when done right pizza dough freezes quite well, doing it is certainly worth it. 

Does Freezing Affect Pizza Dough?

Freezing will have minimal impact on the taste and texture of pizza dough if you use the proper freezing technique. 

Freezing does affect the flavor and texture of the dough slightly as a result of the water in the dough turning into ice crystals. In this respect, fresh pizza dough is certainly always better than frozen dough.

But as freezing the dough saves a lot of time and prevents you from creating a mess in your kitchen, it is certainly worth it. 

To avoid major changes in the texture and taste of the dough make sure you wrap it tightly before you put it in the freezer.

If you leave a part of the dough uncovered, the contact with the cold air will cause freezer burn and create dry spots on the dough. 

Additionally, not wrapping the dough tightly can cause it to absorb odors from other products in the freezer. 

What You Should Know Before Freezing and Defrosting Pizza Dough

The process of freezing and defrosting pizza dough arises many questions. Here is what you should know about the entire process.

You Can Freeze Any Type of Pizza Dough

No matter what kind of pizza dough you are making, with yeast or no yeast, you can freeze it. 

When freezing pizza dough made with yeast, make sure to let the dough fully rise before you freeze it

You Should Proof Pizza Dough After Thawing

As mentioned above, you should let the dough rise before you portion it and freeze it. But not everyone who freezes and thaws pizza dough knows that they should proof the dough after defrosting it too. 

Proofing is the final rise of the dough. Many people think that freezing the dough kills the yeast it’s in. However, it is high temperatures that kill the yeast in dough. The cold simply makes the yeast go dormant. 

When you defrost pizza dough, you need to give it a little more time to proof. While the dough may not rise significantly, it will still rise a little.

How much the dough will rise depends on how much yeast you have used when making the dough. 

The final rise and the fermentation in the dough will also make it taste better.  But be careful to not over-proof the dough. Let it sit for a maximum of hours after defrosting.  

You Should Always Keep The Dough Covered 

Despite the method you use to defrost pizza dough, make sure to cover it to prevent it from drying out. A layer of plastic wrap or a clean towel will do.

If you let the dough defrost without covering it, its outer layer will dry out and crack when you try to roll it out. 

Portion The Dough Correctly

Before you freeze leftover pizza dough, portion it, taking into account how big you need your future pizzas to be

Keep in mind that the smaller are the dough balls the sooner they will thaw. If you are not sure about the portion size, make relatively small dough balls so that you can thaw and use as many as you need at the moment. 

How Long Does It Take To Defrost Pizza Dough?

How long pizza dough takes to thaw depends on the size of the dough balls as well as the defrosting method you use. 

Luckily, there are multiple ways to defrost pizza dough. You can do it in 15 minutes if you are in a hurry and you can leave the dough thaw gradually within hours if you have time to wait. 

How To Defrost Pizza Dough

As we have already mentioned, there are multiple methods for defrosting pizza dough. The most popular way to do it is either in the fridge or on the counter.

But you can also defrost pizza dough in the microwave as the quickest method. There are a few other ways to thaw the dough. 

Continue reading for step-by-step instructions for defrosting pizza dough using different methods. 

In The Fridge

This method is suitable for occasions when you have 8-12 hours to thaw pizza dough. Thawing pizza dough in the fridge is an ideal way of defrosting the dough as it doesn’t expose the product to drastic temperature changes.

This brings texture and flavor changes to the minimum. 

Here is how to defrost pizza dough in the fridge.

  1. Remove the dough from the freezer. 
  2. If you have wrapped it in plastic wrap before freezing it, remove it. You should do this to allow the dough to expand freely while it thaws. 
  3. Place the dough into a larger bowl or container and cover it with cling wrap. If you leave the dough uncovered the cold air of the fridge will dry it out. 
  4. Let the dough soften for a few hours. It may take 8-12 hours for a pizza dough ball to thaw. Don’t try to roll out the dough while there are ice crystals in it. 
  5. Once the dough has fully thawed, take it out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature. The dough will further proof at room temperature and expand. 
  6. Roll out the dough and bake a pizza using your favorite toppings

On The Counter

Defrosting pizza dough on the counter is another relatively quick and easy way to bring the frozen dough back to life. Room temperature defrosts the dough quicker than the cold temperature of the fridge.

The frozen pizza dough ball will take around 2 hours to thaw at room temperature. 

Here is what you should do to defrost pizza dough on the counter. 

  1. Take the dough out of the freezer. 
  2. Remove the plastic wrap you have covered it with. Remove the dough from the freezer bag if that is what you have been keeping it in. 
  3. Place the dough in a bowl or container large enough for the dough to expand. 
  4. Cover the dough with a layer of plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel. 
  5. Place the bowl with the dough on the kitchen counter and allow it to defrost gradually. The dough will thaw and proof at the same time.
  6. Use the dough once it has fully defrosted

In The Microwave

Thawing pizza dough in the fridge or on the counter is easy. You just transfer the dough into a bowl and wait for it to soften and then proof.

But what if you need to defrost the dough quicker? Luckily, there are a few other methods for defrosting frozen pizza dough. 

When you think of thawing frozen food quicker, the microwave is what comes to your mind immediately. While it doesn’t work well for a lot of dishes and foods, it does work for defrosting pizza dough within minutes. 

With this said, you should be careful to not cook the dough in the microwave and only defrost it. 

Follow these steps to defrost pizza dough in the microwave. 

  1. Take the dough out of the freezer and discard any sort of plastic you have covered it with
  2. Get a microwave-safe plate and oil it. 
  3. Put the dough on the plate and coat it with a small amount of oil. 
  4. Cover the plate with a layer of plastic wrap. Coating the wrap with oil is an extra step to make sure it doesn’t stick to the dough. 
  5. Put the plate with the dough into the microwave and microwave on high for 25 seconds. 
  6. Take the dough out of the microwave, flip it, oil it, cover with microwave-safe plastic wrap, and microwave on high for another 25 seconds. 
  7. While these steps will soften the dough to a certain extent, they won’t fully defrost the dough. Turn on the defrost setting for 3-5 minutes to fully soften the dough
  8. Once the dough is soft and defrosted, remove it from the microwave and let it proof at room temperature. Make sure to keep the dough covered while it proofs. 

Other Methods 

In case you don’t have a microwave or don’t want to defrost your pizza dough using the microwave method, here are three other methods that will help you thaw the dough quicker. 

Using Cold Water

The cold water bath is an effective method to accelerate the thawing process of frozen food. To defrost pizza dough with the help of cold water do the following. 

  1. Put the dough in an airtight zip-top bag. 
  2. Fill a large bowl with water and submerge the dough into the water. 
  3. After around an hour, the dough will feel much softer.
  4. Remove it from the bag and put it into a dry bowl to fully defrost and proof. Keep the dough covered to prevent it from drying out

Using Warm Water 

The warm water method is similar to the cold water method. The difference is that you use warm (not hot!) water instead. 

  1. Put the dough into an airtight bag. 
  2. Fill a bowl with warm water and submerge the dough into the water. 
  3. Change the water as it cools. 
  4. Leave the dough in warm water for around 30 minutes. 
  5. Remove the dough from the bag, transfer it into a clean bowl and let it proof. 

Using The Oven 

Using the oven to defrost pizza dough is a similar method to defrosting pizza dough in the microwave.

The good thing about using the oven to defrost pizza dough is that the dough thaws and proofs at the same time and takes only around an hour. 

Here is how to defrost pizza dough in the oven.

  1. Remove the dough from the freezer and discard the plastic wrapping.
  2. Put the dough on an oven-proof dish big enough to allow the dough to expand twice in size.
  3. Don’t forget to oil both the dish and the dough. 
  4. Set the oven at the lowest setting to prevent the premature cooking of the dough. You can use the proofing drawer if your oven has one. 
  5. Check the dough after an hour to see the progress. It should be all soft and proofed. 
  6. If there are still ice crystals in the dough, leave it in the oven for a few minutes longer and keep checking to remove it once it has fully thawed. 
  7. Remove the dough from the oven, shape it, and bake a pizza with your favorite toppings

How To Defrost Pizza Dough Overnight

If you want to make pizza for the next day and have pizza dough in the freezer, thaw it overnight using the fridge method. 

It takes 8-12 hours for the dough to thaw in the fridge depending on the size of the pizza dough ball. Even if the dough is fully defrosted by the time you wake up, it will keep nicely in the fridge until you take it out and use it.

How To Defrost Store-Bought Pizza Dough

When it comes to store-bought pizza dough, we recommend you always read the instructions about how to defrost and cook the pizza.

In the majority of the cases, store-bought pizza doughs come with a “do not defrost” label. And you should certainly follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the best results

Store-bought pizza doughs are often already rolled out and topped with various ingredients, including vegetables, meat, cheese, etc.

If you try to thaw pizza dough with toppings, these ingredients will get soggy, release water, and ultimately destroy your pizza.

If the instructions on the packaging don’t tell you to avoid thawing the pizza dough, you can use the same defrosting methods as with homemade pizza dough. 

How Long Does Defrosted Pizza Dough Last?

We recommend using defrosted pizza dough when it has fully thawed and proofed. If you are not sure whether you will use the defrosted dough or not, we recommend not taking it out of the freezer.

As there are ways to thaw pizza dough quickly, it is better to rely on these methods rather than let the defrosted dough sit in the fridge for a few days

As for store-bought pizza dough balls, those can last in the fridge for around 3 days once defrosted. After that, the dough will develop a sour flavor. 

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