Skip to Content

How to Make Campfire Pizza

There’s nothing better than smoky, melted cheese. Unless you’re eating it on a beautifully charred crust, smothered in sauce.

Once you try this campfire pizza, none of your trips will feel complete without it. Turn every camping expedition into a gourmet food experience with this simple recipe.

All you need is a large bowl or pot for mixing, a standard-sized cutting board for kneading and rolling out the dough, and a pan for cooking!

Keep reading to learn how to make campfire pizza for a camping trip pizza night!

A cooked campfire pizza.

Isn’t Pizza Flour Better?

There are many debates over which type of flour is best for making campfire pizza. There is an extra-fine, white-bread flour that is specifically meant flour for making Neapolitan pizza.

With a higher content of gluten, it’s supposed to react better to high heats and be harder to tear. But the strength of your dough depends more on how you knead it than what flour you use.

Others claim that semolina flour should be added to either all-purpose or pizza flour to get the right texture. But all-purpose flour on its own works just fine and it’s much easier to find.

Making Your Campfire Pizza

Start by adding the flour, sugar, yeast, and salt to a large bowl or pot and whisking them together.

Dry ingredients for pizza dough in large mixing bowl.

Now pour in your warm water and olive oil and mix everything into a shaggy dough. It should only take a few minutes. And the water shouldn’t be hot to the touch, just a nice lukewarm temperature.

Olive oil and water added to dry ingredients for pizza dough.
Pizza dough mixed to "shaggy" texture in mixing bowl.

Sprinkle a solid layer of flour onto a cutting board, or a clean counter if you’re truck or RV camping, and place your shaggy dough ball in the middle.

A ball of shaggy pizza dough placed on a floured counter.

If you only have one large bowl or pot, clean it before starting the next step so that it’s ready for your freshly kneaded dough later on!

To properly knead the dough for a campfire pizza, grab the far end of the ball and fold it in toward the middle. Using the heel of your hand, push the newly folded edge down and out. The entire ball should roll away from you as you bury the folded edge into its center.

Then spin the dough a quarter circle in any direction and repeat the process until there are no dimples or lumps left in the dough and it is smooth and soft to the touch. This should take around 10 minutes.

If the dough gets sticky at any point throughout the kneading process, add a bit more flour. And if it keeps breaking or cracks instead of folding while you knead, wet your fingers before continuing.

Once the dough has reached the right consistency, oil your large bowl or pot and place the dough inside. Cover it with plastic wrap so it can ferment and rise for 90 minutes, or until the dough has doubled in size.

Freshly kneaded pizza dough in a greased mixing bowl.
Freshly kneaded dough.
Pizza dough that has risen and doubled in size.
Dough after rising.

While it’s rising, use the free time to prepare your toppings and make a fire. Your fire will need to stay hot for a long time, so be sure to collect as many sticks as possible and feed it regularly.

When your dough is ready, dump it back onto your freshly floured cutting board and divide it into 4 or more equal pieces. The exact number will depend on how big your pan is.

Pizza dough being cut into sections to roll into balls for individual pizzas.

With each newly divided piece of dough, fold in two opposite sides to create a more ball-like form. Then place them in a sealed container to rise for another 30 minutes.

Balls of pizza dough in a pan covered by plastic wrap.

If you’re using a cast iron pan, place it on your campfire grill to let it preheat right before you start rolling out your dough.

A rolling pin, or water bottle for the light packers, will really only work to flatten out your campfire pizza dough. After the first initial rolls, you’ll need to use your knuckles and fingers to gently push and stretch out the edges.

Make the bottom as thin as possible while the crusts stay only slightly thicker. Then add your sauce and toppings before dragging your pizza into the pan.

A topped campfire pizza in a cast-iron pan ready for cooking over a campfire.

For the best results, cook your pizza in the pan only until the bottom is hard enough to transfer straight onto the grill, around 2 to 3 minutes. Then finish it over the fire for 5 to 7 minutes, spinning occasionally so that the crust can char and puff up.

How to Substitute Dry Active Yeast

Dry yeast comes in two forms, active and instant. Both can be used to make campfire pizza dough

Active Dry vs Instant Yeast

Instant yeast has already been activated, which is why it can be added at the same time as all the other dry ingredients. But active dry yeast needs to be “proofed” for the fermentation process to work once the dough is all mixed. So the process is a little different.

Jar of Fleischmann's quick-rise yeast.

The Process

Start your cooking process by adding the yeast, sugar and lukewarm water to your bowl or pot and giving it a light stir.

The proportions you use will be the exact same as with instant yeast. It just needs to sit in the warm water until it starts to froth and get foamy. That means the yeast has been activated and it’s started fermenting.

Then you can add the rest of your dry ingredients and continue the campfire pizza making process as normal.

What Toppings Work Best When Camping?

The type of camping you are doing and how far into your trip you are will affect your options. For truck campers who can keep their food cool, there are no limitations on your toppings and sauce.

But tent campers will either want to stick to simple cheese pizzas or make their campfire pizzas early on in the trip. While hard cheeses can last for up to 5 weeks without a refrigerator, meats will only stay good for the first couple of days.

In terms of sauce, pesto usually comes in smaller jars that are easier to pack. If you want tomato sauce, it’s better to pour the amount you need into a smaller container to save room. But that means the seal will be broken and it won’t last as long as the pesto would.

How to Cook Using a Pizza Pan

The cast iron pan is definitely the more popular method for campers since it can be used for many of your other meals. But a pizza pan is another good option.

The Process

Carefully pull your campfire pizza onto the pan and place it on the grill. Cook the campfire pizza, spinning occasionally to ensure an even crust.

Once the cheese has all melted and the crusts are puffy and a nice brown color, your pizza is ready to eat! The whole process should take 10 minutes or less.

The holes designed into the bottom of the pan can be tricky, so proper kneading is much more important with these pans. Without a properly strengthened dough, the weight of your sauce and toppings might cause it to sag into the holes and tear while it’s cooking.

Tips and Tricks

Cooking on a camping trip comes with a few more challenges than your average cooking experience, so here are some tips to keep everything moving smoothly.

Pre-Make Your Dough

Freshly made pizza dough can be kept frozen for up to 4 days before going bad! Once you’ve sectioned your dough and placed it in the container, before letting it rise again, simply throw it in the freezer.

On the day that you plan to make your pizza, you can let it thaw outside until it begins to rise again. The exact time this takes will depend on how hot it is outside, but it shouldn’t be more than 4 hours. And make sure it’s not sitting in direct sunlight.

The Fire

When you’re cooking pizza with open flames, even the slightest touch of the fire can blacken your crust. To keep your campfire pizza protected, build your fire on one side of the pit.

You want the flames to be big enough to reach the grill so add bricks to keep the fire safely enclosed if necessary.

In the beginning, when your campfire pizza is in the cast iron pan, cook it directly over the flames. After you’ve taken it out, place it on the far side of the grill from the fire and spin it every once in a while to get an even cook.

Flour Everything

Closeup of a cup of flour.

The biggest tip you can follow is to cover every surface you’re going to use other than your pan in flour. To make the transfer of the campfire pizza into the pan from the cutting board and to make rolling out the dough easy, flour is your friend.

Enjoy Your Campfire Pizza!

You’ll never have to compromise the quality of your food on a camping trip with this campfire pizza recipe. With a few simple ingredients and a little bit of arm work, you’ll be eating beautifully smoked cheesy goodness in no time!

And check out our Camp Cooking Guide for everything you need to know about the wilderness chef experience!

A finished campfire pizza.

Campfire Pizza

Dough Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes

Make your camping trip even better with a pizza night! Once you taste campfire pizza, you might be tempted to find ways to recreate this at home. Make the dough ahead of time to freeze before your trip to simplify this fun and easy camping meal.


  • 1 TBS sugar
  • 2 tsps instant yeast
  • 1 1/3 cups warm water
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus flour for kneading and rolling
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 TBS olive oil, plus oil to grease bowl
  • 1 jar pizza sauce
  • Pizza toppings of your choice


  1. Add the sugar, yeast, and warm water to a large mixing bowl and stir together.
  2. After a minute or two, add the salt, 2 TBS olive oil, and 3 cups of flour and mix to form a shaggy dough ball.
  3. Sprinkle flour on a board or counter and place the dough on the flour.
  4. Clean the mixing bowl, oil the inside of it, and set it aside.
  5. Knead the dough until evenly blended and smooth (about 10 minutes).
  6. Place the dough in the oiled bowl, cover, and let rise for 90 minutes.
  7. While dough is rising, prepare toppings and start the campfire.
  8. Once dough has doubled in size, put it on floured board/counter and divide into 4 equal balls (or smaller, depending on pizza pan size).
  9. Place dough balls in a lidded container to rise for an additional 30 minutes.
  10. if using a cast iron pan to cook the pizzas, place it over the fire to heat.
  11. Roll out dough balls thin and add sauce and toppings.
  12. Drag the pizza into the pan and cook over the campfire until the crust rises and the cheese melts (about 10 minutes).
Pinterest image for How to Make Campfire Pizza
Skip to Recipe