Mastering the Art of Using Cornmeal for Pizza: The Ultimate Guide

How to Use Cornmeal for Pizza: The Ultimate Guide

Cornmeal is a versatile ingredient that can be used to add a crunchy texture and nutty flavor to your pizza. Whether you choose to dust the bottom of your pizza dough with cornmeal or make a cornmeal-based pizza dough, there are several ways to incorporate this ingredient into your pizza making process. In this ultimate guide, we will explore the different types of cornmeal, discuss the benefits of using cornmeal in pizza, and provide step-by-step instructions on how to use cornmeal effectively.

Understanding Cornmeal

Cornmeal is a coarse flour made from dried corn kernels. It is a popular ingredient used in many cuisines around the world and is known for its versatility. There are three main types of cornmeal, classified by texture: coarse, medium, and fine. Each texture has its own unique uses and contributes to different end products.
Another factor to consider when using cornmeal is the type of corn used. Blue cornmeal, made from blue corn, has a light blue or purple color and a sweet flavor. White cornmeal, also known as mielie-meal, is made from white corn and is often used in cornbread. Yellow cornmeal, made from yellow corn, is the most popular type and is used to make tortillas, tacos, and polenta.
Cornmeal can also be classified based on the processing method. Steel milled cornmeal is a commonly used method in mass production where the hull and germ are removed, leaving only the endosperm. Stone-ground cornmeal retains some of the hull and germ, resulting in a whole grain product with more flavor and nutrients.

Benefits of using cornmeal in pizza

There are several benefits to adding cornmeal to your pizza dough. First, it improves the texture of the crust, giving it a satisfying crunch. Cornmeal also helps to crisp up the bottom of the pizza, preventing it from getting soggy. In addition, the nutty flavor of cornmeal adds depth and complexity to the overall taste of the pizza.

Using cornmeal to dust pizza

A common method of using cornmeal for pizza is to dust the bottom of the pizza dough with cornmeal. This technique not only adds texture and flavor, but also acts as a non-stick coating, making it easier to remove the pizza from the baking sheet after cooking.
When dusting pizza with cornmeal, it is recommended to use medium-textured cornmeal. This provides enough texture without overpowering the dough. Yellow or white cornmeal is ideal for this purpose because it will not affect the color of the dough and will brown nicely when baked.
To dust the pizza with cornmeal, simply sprinkle a thin layer of cornmeal on the baking surface, such as a roasting pan, cookie sheet, or pizza stone. Place the formed pizza dough on the cornmeal-coated surface, add the sauce and toppings, and bake the pizza as usual. The cornmeal contributes to the texture, flavor and non-stick properties of the crust.

Using cornmeal in pizza dough

Another way to incorporate cornmeal into your pizza is to use it in the pizza dough itself. This method results in a unique flavor profile and crispy texture, especially if you like crispy pizzas.
For a cornmeal-based pizza dough, you can use a recipe that combines cornmeal with regular flour and yeast. The yeast helps to lighten the dough and give it a softer texture. Here is an easy recipe for a yeast-based cornmeal pizza dough:

  • 1 ½ cups warm water
  • 1 ½ tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon granulated white sugar
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups cornmeal
  • 2 teaspoons salt


  1. In a small mixing bowl, combine the warm water, yeast, and sugar. Stir well and let sit for 5-10 minutes until the mixture becomes foamy, indicating that the yeast is active.
  2. Gently whisk the olive oil into the yeast mixture and set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, cornmeal, and salt. Mix well.
  4. Gradually pour the yeast mixture into the dry ingredients. Stir until dough forms.
  5. Place the dough on a floured surface and knead for about 5-7 minutes until smooth and elastic.
  6. Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover with a damp cloth, and let rise in a warm place for 1-2 hours or until doubled in size.
  7. Once the dough has risen, punch it down to remove any air bubbles.
  8. Divide the dough into desired portions and shape into pizza crusts.
  9. Place your favorite sauce, toppings and cheese on the crusts and bake in a preheated 450°F (230°C) oven for about 12-15 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is melted and bubbly.

Choosing the Right Cornmeal

When using cornmeal for pizza, it’s important to choose the right type of cornmeal for your desired result. Here are some things to consider:

  1. Texture: Select a cornmeal texture based on the desired level of coarseness. Coarse-ground cornmeal adds a noticeable crunch, while medium-ground cornmeal strikes a balance between texture and smoothness. Finely ground cornmeal blends seamlessly into dough.
  2. Color: Consider the color of the cornmeal, especially if you want your pizza crust to have a certain look. Yellow cornmeal is the most common and versatile option, while white or blue cornmeal can add visual interest to your crust.
  3. Taste: Different types of cornmeal offer different flavors. Yellow corn imparts a classic corn flavor, white corn has a milder taste, and blue cornmeal adds a hint of sweetness. Choose a flavor profile that complements your pizza toppings.
  4. Processing Method: Decide whether you prefer stone- or steel-ground cornmeal. Stone-ground cornmeal retains more flavor and nutrients due to the presence of the husk and germ, while steel-ground cornmeal provides a smoother texture.

Tips for using cornmeal in pizzas

  1. Use a light hand when dusting pizza dough with cornmeal. Too much cornmeal can overwhelm the flavor and texture of the crust.
  2. Preheat the baking surface, such as a pizza stone or baking sheet, before placing the pizza dough on it. This will help create a crispy bottom crust.
  3. Experiment with different ratios of cornmeal to flour in the dough to achieve the desired texture and flavor. Start with small amounts of cornmeal and adjust to your preference.
  4. When using cornmeal in pizza dough, allow the dough to rise properly for a light and airy crust.
  5. Consider incorporating herbs or spices into the cornmeal for added flavor. For example, you can mix dried oregano or garlic powder into the cornmeal before dusting the dough.


Cornmeal is a fantastic ingredient to add to your pizza. Whether you dust the dough or incorporate cornmeal into the pizza crust itself, it adds a delicious crunch, enhances flavor, and acts as a non-stick coating. Understanding the different types of cornmeal and their characteristics will help you make an informed decision when choosing the right cornmeal for your pizza. With the step-by-step instructions provided, you can confidently use cornmeal to create delicious homemade pizzas with a unique twist. Experiment, enjoy and savor the delightful combination of cornmeal and pizza.


Why should I use corn meal for pizza?

Cornmeal adds a crunchy texture, helps crisp up the crust, and gives your pizza a delicious nutty flavor.

How can I use cornmeal in pizza?

There are two main ways to use cornmeal in pizza. You can either sprinkle cornmeal on the bottom of your regular pizza dough, or you can replace some of the flour with cornmeal when making the dough.

What kinds of cornmeal can I use for pizza?

There are several types of cornmeal, including coarse, medium, and fine. Each type has its own texture and use. Yellow or white cornmeal is commonly used for pizza.

Does using cornmeal make the pizza crust soggy?

No, using cornmeal actually helps prevent the crust from becoming soggy by creating a barrier between the dough and the baking surface.

Can I use cornmeal in any type of pizza dough?

Yes, you can use cornmeal on several types of pizza dough, including traditional, thin crust and thick crust. It adds texture and flavor to any type of pizza.

Where can I find pizza cornmeal?

Cornmeal is widely available in grocery stores, both in the baking aisle and in the international foods section. You can also find it online or at specialty food stores.