6 Tips for Throwing a Great Pizza Party
If you’ve always wanted to throw a pizza party but don’t know what to make, or how they’ll turn out, just remember these words from The New York Times food columnist, chef and award-winning author, J. Kenji López-Alt; “The great thing about pizza is that even when it looks like crap, it still tastes great.”
A pizza party should, at its essence, be a fun affair and we’ve put together a list of our top 6 tips to get you on your way to a wonderful (and unforgettably tasty) fête.
1. Have a pizza rehearsal before the party:
There’s nothing worse than having your guests over with the oven fired up and ready to go only to discover that the dough isn’t proofed enough, or you didn't buy basil for the pesto. If you’ve never made dough before, we’ve got a slew of recipes to choose from, and recommend starting with our Classic Pizza Dough. Give yourself the gift of time and spend a day experimenting with different pizza toppings and dough styles. If that already sounds overwhelming, you can also turn to our Quick Pizza Dough ahead of your shindig.
2. Tools are your friends:
Having an oven is one thing, but having the right tools for pizza making will ensure that you avoid unnecessary hiccups. At a minimum, you’ll need an infrared thermometer, a pizza peel for launching and a nice cutter wheel. (If you have two ovens you expect to use at the same time, you’ll probably need two launching peels.)
Outside of these basics, it's also handy to have a pizza topping station for ingredients, and a digital scale makes it much easier for prepping dough, especially if you’re making yours from scratch. Find yourself out of time to order a topping station or don't have the space? Lining up a bunch of containers, recycled tupperware or cups will also do the trick. And a good chef's knife and even a pair of kitchen shears can step in for a pizza cutter.
3. Power to the people:
Before you go out and get your ingredients, it’s a good idea to see if your guests have preferences or dietary restrictions. Some people may want meat toppings, but you should also have options for the vegetarians, and possibly vegans and those who need gluten free dough. Need help with calculating the maths of what to buy? Read all about it at Pizza Math: How to Plan for a Pizza Party.
4. Prep, prep baby:
Even those of us who are great with time management tend to miscalculate how much we’ll need to get everything ready before guests arrive. If you’re making the dough from scratch, make sure you've allotted the time needed for the recipe you're making. Some can be day-of, others benefit from or can require more than a day to allow flavour to develop. You should make more than you need for any pizza mishaps (we’ve all been there!) or sending your friends home with leftovers. An option that’s helpful for saving time and energy on the day of the party is to parbake your crusts, and prepping some classic pizza sauce ahead of time is another pro move.
When it comes to fuel, we recommend using gas, especially if you have a large gathering planned. Fire and charcoal requires more finesse and attention, and for newbies, it can be pretty intimidating. Make sure you’ve got plenty set aside and have an extra unused propane tank on hand just in case. Lastly, plan where your topping station(s) will be – hint: near your ovens – and where you’ll put your Ooni oven. (Don’t have an extra table sitting around for your oven? Try out our Ooni Folding Table.)
5. Make it interactive:
The only bad thing about throwing a pizza party is that it can be a lot of work for the host to sling pizzas until every guest is full, so why not get them involved and give yourself a break? Get your more pizza-savvy friends to stretch and top their own pizzas while you mingle and give them the chance to experiment. For the newbies, give them a parbaked crust so they don’t have to stretch or deal with a ton of mess. You can even try putting the crust directly on a sheet of parchment paper on a peel, which makes it easy even for kids to launch (with supervision!).
6. Remember: it’s a party, not work!:
We know hosting can be tough; you want everyone to be happy, full and raving about your pizza skills. But it shouldn't be an agonising affair, so be sure to cut yourself some slack, too. Pizza isn't meant to be perfect (just like humans) and we suggest doing whatever you need to do to make it fun; put up string lights, have a tasty beverage and listen to one of our pizza playlists.