No matter how old you are, nothing says, “We’re having friends over” like a pizza hot out of the oven. We love hosting a dinner party as much as the next foodie, but there are times when a formal food event just doesn’t fit the bill. You get it. You’ve been there. The kind of evening where you spend the entire night slaving away at the stove rather than enjoying the company of your guests.
An adult spin on the classic DIY pizza party is the perfect solution to throwing a party and getting to enjoy your company, and we’ve prepared some tips for making yours a wild success.
Prepping for Your Pizza Party
Before we can get to the cheese, we need to create our base—pizza dough. Here’s where you get to make your first decision. Homemade, or store-bought?
We’ll let you in on a little secret: store-bought pizza dough is just as good as the stuff made from scratch, and it won’t require a culinary PhD.
This convenient store-bought option not only saves you time, it makes the pizza preparing process a lot less stressful. So, unless you’re feeling particularly adventurous, we’d recommend just picking up some pizza dough during your next grocery run.
If you do decide to make the pizza dough from scratch, make it the day before and store in the fridge. Same goes for prepping toppings and ingredients, like veggies. The more you can do ahead of time, the more you minimize the amount of work you need to do on party day.
Keep it simple
Limit your menu to a couple different types of pizza. Generally, you’ll want to offer one meat option and one vegetarian option. Keeping it simple keeps everyone from getting overwhelmed with options.
Get everyone involved
Give each guest their own dough ball and put them in charge of creating their own pizza.
Engaging guests in the prep process provides an opportunity to stretch their creative culinary wings and alleviates some of the hosting pressure since you won’t be responsible for doing everything yourself.
Invest in the proper equipment
You don’t need a backyard brick fire pizza oven to make the perfect at-home pizza (although it never hurts). Tools like an inexpensive pizza stone and pizza peel are simple investments that will take your pizza game to the next level.
Picking the Cheese for Your Pizza
It should come as no surprise that cheese is our favorite pizza ingredient. The most vital component to any pie, cheese is key to creating the perfect pizza. Be sure to have plenty of cheese on hand for your guests. This is not the place to skimp!
In general, you’ll want to choose at least one cheese for meltability, and combine it with one or more full-flavored cheeses
While mozzarella tends to reign supreme as the people's choice for pizza toppings, and for good reason, it isn't your only option. From creamy muenster to soft, fresh ricotta, and even full-bodied brick, there are so many different cheeses you can use to craft a killer pizza. So live a little, step out of your comfort zone and embrace your sense of cheesy adventure. Trust us, the result will be delicious.
Custom Cheese Blends
Want to take things to the next level? Delight your guests with custom cheese blends. With over 600 varieties, types and styles of Wisconsin Cheese to mix, match and grate, the possibilities are endless. Here are four of our favorite blends to get you started:
Alpine: Start with swiss for maximum meltability, and add alpine-style and parmesan cheeses for a blend with nutty, caramel flavors
Creamy Blue: Use a rich, creamy mascarpone as your base, mixing in crumbles of blue cheese for a flavorful, earthy blend
Greek: Begin with a gooey, meltable mozzarella, and add in some feta to create a blend with tangy bite
Sweet & Spicy: A havarti base makes a perfect melt, and the addition of honey sriracha gouda gives this bend an added sweet heat.
3 Pizza Recipes to Get Inspired
You didn’t think we were going to just abandon you to fend for yourself on recipes, did you? Sometimes you need a little bit more time with the training wheels on, that’s why we’re starting you out with three of our favorite, new pizza recipes featured in the latest issue of Grate.Pair.Share.
Cheesy Cauliflower Crust Pizza
A great meatless option, our Cheesy Cauliflower Crust Pizza is the perfect example of why cauliflower is an underrated vegetable. While this crust is ideal for those on a gluten-free diet, it’s also just plain good and frankly we’d recommend everyone try it. For the cheese we took the Greek approach and sprinkled crumbled feta on top of our Weyauwega Star mozzarella. Throw on some mini bell peppers, fresh mushrooms, and baby spinach and you’re well on your way to vegetarian pizza heaven.
Get the full recipe here.
Hot Sausage Deep-Dish Pizza
Is deep-dish the best kind of pizza? In the interest of our physical safety, we won’t answer that. What we will say, however, is that this decadent Hot Sausage Deep Dish Pizza is exactly the kind of pizza we want to have at any large gathering. With enough cheese and crust to feed a small town in Wisconsin, this pizza is a showstopper.
Let’s get back to the cheese. This pizza starts things off with the classic base of shredded mozzarella, we recommend part-skim from Cedar Valley Cheese, so things don’t get too rich. Mixed with the mozzarella we have Sartori Company’s Classic Fontina. Fontina adds some flavor character to the otherwise mild mozzarella. The finely grated parmesan comes in at the very end, topping our hot Italian sausage, onions, and julienned red peppers.
Get the full recipe here.
String Cheese-Stuffed Crust Pizza
That’s right, stuffed crust pizza can be made right in the comfort of your own home. If you have kids, you probably have string cheese on hand already. If not, head on over to your grocery story and pick up some of Burnett Dairy’s Natural Mozzarella String Cheese. Grab extra because you’ll be snacking on it for days to come.
Although stuffed crust is the highlight of this pizza, the toppings deserve some love too. A delectable combo of shredded mozzarella combined with provolone serves as the cheesy base of our pizza. But wait, there’s more mozzarella? One kind of mozzarella wasn’t enough, so we added sliced, fresh mozzarella from Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese to add some extra creaminess to each bite. Finally, top with sliced pepperoni, ripe olives, and fresh basil leaves.
Get the full recipe here.
Pizza parties are one of life’s little joys from the moment we’re old enough to say, “Pizza, please!” Get creative, have fun and share your perfect pizzas and culinary creations with us on Facebook and Instagram. Looking for more pizza inspiration? Give one of our pizza recipes a try, or pick from our selection of over 300 handcrafted recipes featuring Wisconsin cheese.
FAQs: Planning the Perfect Pizza Party
Can you make pizza with cheddar cheese?
Short answer: yes, but not as your only cheese! Long answer: we’d recommend mixing in cheddar amongst your primary cheese--like a mozzarella—rather than having it be your only cheese. Why? For one, cheddar doesn’t melt as perfectly as mozzarella (the fat can separate from the cheese). Cheddar also has a more assertive flavor than mild mozzarella, which can overpower other ingredients in your pizza. Though if we’re being honest, the only flavor we really care about is cheese anyway.
What is the best cheese for pizza?
We’ll get right to the point and give you our top three cheese picks for pizza: 1. Mozzarella. 2. Parmesan. 3. Brick. We’d recommend using mozzarella as a base and adding other cheese to spice things up. Try three parts mozzarella to one part of the cheese of your choice.
Is pepper jack cheese good on pizza?
Pepper jack on cheese is better than good. Pepper jack has a high moisture content and melts very well without separating. Omelets, enchiladas, pizza, pepper jack can do it all.
How do you shred mozzarella for pizza?
Grab your four-sided box grater and turn it to the side with the medium sized holes—that’s the side you use for coarse shredding. A coarse shred is a good all-purpose starting point for shredded mozzarella on pizza. If you’re using fresh mozzarella (the kind that comes in the log or ball) we’d recommend slicing it.
How much cheese do you put on a pizza?
Uh, all of it? If you’re looking for a general rule of thumb, we’d suggest starting with about 6 oz for a 12’’ pizza or 9 oz for a 14’’ pizza. Remember, no one ever regretted putting too much cheese on a pizza—only too little.