I was recently asked in the comments if I had suggestions for making homemade pizza more affordable. I thought I’d share my response here.
Is there such a thing as frugal homemade pizza? Cheese and toppings can really add up. Does it even end up being cheaper to make it from scratch?
I’d say homemade pizza can actually be budget friendly and is as affordable as what you’d purchase. Not only that, you know exactly what’s going in to your family’s mouths. There are no long lists of unpronounceable ingredients. (Find my crust recipe and pizza baking tips here)
This is the list of ingredients on a frozen pizza you might purchase:
ENRICHED FLOUR (WHEAT FLOUR, MALTED BARLEY FLOUR, NIACIN, REDUCED IRON, THIAMINE MONONITRATE, RIBOFLAVIN, FOLIC ACID), TOMATOES (WATER, TOMATO PASTE), CHEESE BLEND (LOW MOISTURE PART SKIM MOZZARELLA CHEESE [PASTEURIZED MILK, CULTURES, SALT, ENZYMES], MOZZARELLA CHEESE SUBSTITUTE [WATER, VEGETABLE OIL (CORN OIL AND/OR SOY OIL), CHEESE SOLIDS, MODIFIED FOOD STARCH, NONFAT DRY MILK, SWEET WHEY, SALT, MAGNESIUM OXIDE, FERRIC ORTHOPHOSPHATE, VITAMIN A PALMITATE, NIACINAMIDE, ZINC OXIDE, PYRIDOXINE HYDROCHLORIDE (VITAMIN B6), CYANOCOBALAMIN]), COOKED BEEF PATTY TOPPING MIX (HAMBURGER [BEEF, SEASONING (SALT, GROUND BLACK PEPPER, WHOLE ANISE)], WATER, SOY PROTEIN CONCENTRATE, TEXTURED VEGETABLE PROTEIN [SOY FLOUR, SALT]), WATER, CONTAINS 2% OR LESS OF: YEAST, VEGETABLE SHORTENING (PALM OIL, NATURAL FLAVOR, SOY LECITHIN), SUGAR, VEGETABLE OIL (SOYBEAN, COTTONSEED, CORN, AND/OR CANOLA OIL), MODIFIED FOOD STARCH, SALT, SEA SALT, MALTODEXTRIN, PAPRIKA, ISOLATED CARROT PRODUCT, SPICE, DOUGH CONDITIONER (WHEAT STARCH, L-CYSTEINE HYDROCHLORIDE, AMMONIUM SULFATE), GARLIC, CITRIC ACID, ONION, ASCORBIC ACID.
Pizza from a chain restaurant also has a lengthy list:
Enriched bleached wheat flour (bleached flour, malted barley flour, niacin, ferrous sulfate, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), water, yeast, soybean oil, high fructose corn syrup, salt, vital wheat gluten, enzymes, ascorbic acid.
Even the chicken topping as extra ingredients added to it:
White meat chicken, water, seasoning (dextrose, salt, dehydrated garlic, spices, maltodextrin, flavor [from partially hydrogenated cottonseed & soybean oil], modified corn starch, corn syrup solids), dry onion, extractives of rosemary,
Modified food starch and sodium phosphate.
Wow! If you can make a pizza from scratch for close to the same cost, it would be worth it just so you know what you are eating.
When comparing homemade pizza to store or restaurant pizza, make sure to be comparing similar products. Look at a basic frozen pizza next to a basic homemade pizza and a loaded supreme pizza next to a supreme pizza from the Italian restaurant down the road.
I have 4 simple ways to make a budget friendly pizza and then we’ll break down the cost and see how it compares to a cheap frozen pizza.
4 Tips to Make a Budget Friendly Pizza
1. Make it from scratch
Make your own crust and sauce. Grate your own cheese. Prepare your own toppings. Pre-made sauce is going to cost you more than seasoning your own can of tomato sauce.
Tip: Buy your yeast in 1 pound bags from Sam’s or Costco. They come in a 2 pack and will run you around $5. Store in the freezer after opened. You will get a lot of pizzas out of each bag. A much better deal than spending over a dollar for one tiny packet.
2. Buy on Sale
Watch for tomato sauce, cheese, and meats to go on sale. Tomato sauce will last forever in the pantry. Grate your cheese and freeze in pizza portions. The meat can be frozen raw or cooked and frozen.
3. Pre-Portion Your Ingredients
If you want to get 4 pizzas out of your package of pepperoni or 2 pizzas out of the chicken breast, take and divide it up before you ever use it.
Don’t just pile cheese on (unless of course you are trying to mimic a deluxe $15 pizza from a restaurant). Know how many ounces you want to use per pizza and cut that much off of a block and grate it. If you are making a basic pizza, try using 6 ounces of cheese.
4. Use Ingredients You Have on Hand
If you have to go out and buy cheese, meat, flour, tomato sauce, onions, olives and every other topping you want, it can get expensive. Instead, look in your fridge and pantry and use what you have. If there’s bacon leftover from BLTs earlier in the week, make a bacon pizza. If you are browning beef for spaghetti, set some aside for pizza night. The same with the vegetables. Think outside the box and use what’s in your refrigerator.
Using these tips, let’s do a little comparing.
The cheapest frozen pizza is going to cost you approximately $2-$2.50.
Let’s see how much a basic homemade pizza runs:
- 2 1/4 cups of flour – $.35
- Yeast, salt, oil, and sugar- $.10
- 8 ounces tomato sauce – $.25
- Seasonings – $.10
- 6 ounces of cheese (on sale for $2 for 8 ounces) – $1.50
- Meat (on sale, pre-portioned) – $.50
- Veggies – leftovers from other meals
Total = 2.80 You can even round up to $3.00
Homemade pizza comes out to be similarly priced. But let’s look at the size. The $2.00 frozen pizza is just under 12 inches across. My homemade pizza come in at 14 inches across.
If you buy a loaded pizza from a restaurant you’d spend over $10. you can make your own loaded pizza for way using some of the tips above.
Verdict: homemade pizza comes out the winner both in budget and taste.
My favorite crust recipe and pizza baking tips are here. Stay tuned for my sauce recipe and information on a homemade frozen pizza the next weeks!
Do you make homemade pizza?
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