Basil Pesto Pizza Dough Recipe

When used in the dough, basil pesto creates a moist, flavorful alternative to the basic pizza dough recipe. You can also use this dough in small twisted strands to make flavorful breadsticks.

(Makes two 14- to 16-inch (36 – 41 cm) rounds)


  • 1 1/2 Cups (355 ml) warm water (about 110′F to 115′F (43′C – 46′C));
  • 1 (1/4 ounce (7 g)) package active dry yeast;
  • 1 teaspoon (5 g) sugar;
  • 3 1/2 cups (385 g) all-purpose flour;
  • 1/2 cup (38 g) semolina flour;
  • 1/3 cup (75 ml) basil pesto (see recipe here);
  • 1/2 teaspoon (3 g) kosher salt;
  • 2 teaspoons (10 ml) olive oil.


Combine the water, yeast, and sugar in large mixing bowl, then stir to combine and dissolve the yeast. Set aside until foamy on top, about 5 minutes. To the yeast mixture, add 1 1/2 cups (165 g) flour, semolina, basil pesto, and salt. Mix by hand using a wooden spoon until smooth. Add an additional 1 cup (11o g) flour, working it into the dough thoroughly until incorporated but dough is still sticky. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead in remaining 1 cup (110 g) of flour. Continue kneading until the dough is smooth but still sticky, about 3 to 5 minutes.

Coat a large mixing bowl with oil, place the dough into the bowl, and turn to coat all sides. Cover with plastic wrap or clean kitchen towel and place in a warm, draft-free area to double in size, about 1 to 1 1/2  hours. Punch down the dough, divide into two equal portions, form into balls, and store in airtight bags or use according to recipe.

(For pizza sticks)

Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Stretch dough to a thin rectangular shape measuring about 12″ x 9″ (31 x 23 cm). Using a pizza cutter, cut 1/2″ x 12″ (1.5 x 30 cm) strips from the dough. Working with strips, press firmly down on one end and twist the other until the strip is in a spiral formation. Place twists on a nonstick baking sheet, brush with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt, black pepper, garlic salt, Italian seasoning, or grated Parmesan cheese, or a combination of seasonings. Bake at 400°F (2oo°C) for 15 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from sheet and let cool on wire rack. Serve warm with tomato sauce, pesto, or herb-infused oils.