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?
Linking up to these fun parties!
Yes! Every Friday is Pizza Night. I use the Pioneer Woman’s pizza dough recipe, which is our favorite, and I make my own sauce. We live for pizza nights. Every now and then we’ll splurge and get Papa Murphy’s or Pizza Hut, and my hubby and I both agree that it just isn’t as good. Plus, it’s so expensive and unhealthy.
I’m excited about your frozen pizza recipe! That’s something I’d like to try.
Pizza nights are the best! We do that Fridays now and I grew up doing it as well. It’s always nice not having to figure out what to cook one night a week too. 🙂 Oh my goodness, I completely agree. It seems that every time we go to a restaurant (which isn’t often) I’m less and less impressed – I always think how it would have been better and cheaper at home. I’m sure if we’d go to 5 star restaurants I’d probably be impressed by their food, but it would also be a little out of budget. 🙂
I will definitely try and follow the advice from here!! Homemade pizza sounds really good!!
We love homemade pizza! Another great plus is making it however you like best. Our daughter enjoys helping roll out the dough as well.
What great tips! We love homemade pizza here. I agree that it’s definitely worth it to spend a little more to know what you are eating and feeding your family. 🙂 Looking forward to your crust recipe. Thanks for sharing these tips with us. Pinning it to remind me to check back! 🙂
Thanks, Kelsey! I completely agree. Not only do you not have weird ingredients but it tastes so much better and you can completely customize it!
Hey Deanna, I LOVE this post and you are SO RIGHT! I can’t wait to see the frozen pizza recipe, but then all your recipes are killers, so I know it will be one to add to my rotation. THANKS! Carrie, A Mother’s Shadow
Thanks, Carrie! You are so sweet. I have some recipes that bomb, but I guess those don’t make it on the blog ha ha.
We do all of the above. We have a local pizza place that we love, but I often make it from scratch too. We also love the refrigerated pizza dough (89 cents) that we buy at Walmart.
Stopping by from the SITS FB thread and would love for you to share at Fridays Unfolded this week!
Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I’ll have to check out Fridays Unfolded – thanks for sharing. I love pizza from a little Italian restaurant in town. It’s so good!
Great post! I love the emphasis on ingredients – some of the stuff in the packaged pizzas is kind of frightening. I mean, really, if you can’t pronounce it, should you really eat it? And I loved the price breakdown! Right up my alley!
Thanks, Mel! I know, there are some crazy ingredients in those lists. And it really isn’t that much work to made a pizza and doesn’t cost much (or any) more! Thanks for the comment.
Great tips! I used to make home made pizzas and have slipped away from doing that. I really should get back into it. Pinning this! Thanks for sharing 🙂
Thanks, Mary! We love homemade pizza. So tasty and fun to make. My daughter loves to help. Appreciate you stopping by and commenting!
Great tips and ideas, Homemade is always so much better! Would love to invite you over to share at our link party that just started http://mommyondemand.com/weekend-retreat-party-58 See you soon!
This is great!! I just bought 2 pizza pans last month – and our pizzas turned out great. I can’t wait to start trying different kinds and I will definitely bear in mind your frugal ideas here. We love our pizza!
I love this Deanna! I’m stopping in from Let’s Get Real today. I know that when I make pizza at home it is going to taste better and have healthy ingredients. It’s good to know that I can get the price really close at least to the store-bought. We love to make individual homemade pizzas………that way my family of picky eaters all get exactly what they want on their pizza. We’ve found this to be fun when entertaining as well.
Yes, personal pizzas are a blast! So much fun to be able to customize crust thickness, sauce choice and topping. I have such fun memories of pizza nights growing up.
I’ve tried so many different pizza crusts over the years. We have the traditional white, there is a wheat, then I have low carb made out of meat. We love our pizza nights and I would rather take the time to make one than wait for one to be delivered.
Me too! Homemade it so tasty and really doesn’t take long at all. Love the sound of a meat crust – yum!
I love homemade pizza! I found a recipe that turned out to be our favorite which is from Good cheap eats (?) and we make it but we moved pizza night from Friday to Saturdays because it is easier to get it in the bread machine and on the table by dinner. I found another recipe for take out style pizza sauce that is super cheap and easy which you make a big batch and freeze. It is super yummy. I do usually use around 8 oz of cheese on my pizza because it does end up being so big but it is so yummy that it is worth the cost. I love the idea of dividing the toppings so that you use what you are intending. My husband likes sausage so I cook up a big batch and keep it in the freezer to throw on whenever we want in addition to any leftovers. Check out my pizza sauce recipe and my dough on my blog. YUMMY (and cheap!)
Isn’t homemade pizza the best! I can definitely see Saturdays at being more relaxing to tackle pizza making. A lot of times my husband works late Fridays to we either have to eat super late or start without him. Oh, I’m going to have to check out your recipes and see how they compare to mine. Thanks for telling me about them!
Homemade pizza is one of our favorites! Thanks so much for linking this up with Let’s Get Real this week.
Isn’t homemade pizza the best. We love it in our house as well.
You need to compare apples to apples – comparing homemade pizza with Pizza Hut, Digiornos or the premade ones at Costco is the wrong mentality. The storebought ones are not food. They may look like food, but our bodies know better. Let’s compare homemade pizza instead to something on the same level like a made-from-scratch gourmet restaurant pizza or something you would get if you flew to Naples, Italy and ordered one there. So – compared to those, the homemade pizzas are a steal 🙂
I agree! Homemade pizzas are a steal, especially when comparing them to a similar pizza you’d buy in a restaurant. Those would definitely be at least $15-20. I was also trying to show people that might be making baby steps toward real food who have a limited budget that might have a hard time making pizza when they can get a frozen one for so inexpensive they can actually make one for not that much more (and be so much tastier and better for them too)! Now I want a pizza from Naples. Mmmmm! Sounds amazing. Thanks for stopping by.
I agree that using ingredients you already have is a great way to save money! We love pizza and make our own version and it’s a great tasting and frugal meal for our family!
Homemade pizza nights are such a fun (and affordable) family tradition! Love that so many people do it.
One of the best presents I ever got was my bread machine. I make my own breads and rolls and pizza dough. I can control exactly what’s in it. I finally found a good sauce recipe that is easy and cheap. And then I top with whatever I have. I have never tried to calculate the cost but it’s definitely cheaper than anything I could buy and though it’s more work than delivery, it’s definitely got to be healthier! I’m off to check out your crust recipe because I’m looking for a different one lately.
Aren’t homemade breads and rolls the best? The store bought stuff is no comparison! Yes, using what you have on hand really makes it affordable and so tasty. Thanks for stopping by.
Deanna…We just had homemade pizza this weekend. It’s our favorite way to eat pizza really. We make our own crust, use fresh veggies and meats. My husband and I don’t put tomato base on our pizza, we go with olive oil instead. I think you shared some awesome tips to encourage others to make pizza at home. The best part? It’s a family affair! Thank you for sharing at WJIM’s Monday’s Musings. Have a great week.
Love that you guys use olive oil! That’s my favorite “sauce” – drizzle olive oil and sprinkle with some seasonings. Yum! I agree, family pizza nights are a blast. I have such great memories of them growing up.
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