No-Knead Potato Pizza

Potato pizza sounds a bit odd, until you try it. The first time I had it was in Rome at Pizzarium, which I still remember almost fifteen years later. My memory isn’t what it used to be (as people insist on pointing out…), but I think I also had it at the Forno Campo de Fiori as well, and couldn’t get enough of it. I wondered what took me so long to discover this great topping for pizza, and why wasn’t it more well known?

A couple of years back, the no-knead bread sensation swept across the planet, or at least across the internet. I first heard about breads that don’t require kneading in No Need to Knead by Suzanne Dunaway, then by Jim Lahey in his book My Bread. Before those two, Charles Van Over surprised the baking world with bread that could be made in the food processor in The Best Bread Ever, which won both a James Beard award and the IACP Julie Child award. And Zoë François is doing the same, with holiday breads and more.

What all this means is that one of the obstacles have been removed from making bread, as well as pizza, at home. So it’s easy to give it a go, which I did.

If you’ve ever had a Neapolitan pizza, you know that pizza doesn’t have to have an extra-crispy crust. I thought that a potato pizza would benefit from one, and used a baking steel, which works great for free-form pizzas and flatbreads, but I found it made the bottom of my first one way too crispy. (Which is probably why the recipe didn’t say to use one.)

So we don’t always need to go to find the “ultimate” whatever when you’re baking, and I tried it a second time without the steel, and recommend that you skip the steel or pizza stone on this one.

I didn’t follow the instructions again (oops!) and didn’t peel the potatoes. The slices are so thin, however, I didn’t think it necessary. Yukon Golds are recommended, but if you live somewhere where they aren’t available, a small, golden-yellow, firm, and good-tasting potato will work. In France, pommes de terre grenailles fit that bill, and I’ve used the interestingly-named Monalisa potatoes in place of Yukon Golds. You can peel them, or not.

I also don’t have a mandoline. A departing friend gave one to me when she moved from Paris, which I used a couple of time, before giving it away. But if you were smart enough to hold onto one, wondering if you’d ever use it after the first few times that you did (before you banished it to the back of a kitchen cabinet), now is the time to unearth it. If your food processor has a very thin slicing disk, you could use that as well.

As for me, I used a regular chef’s knife and cut the potatoes as thinly as I could. Even if you use Monalisa potatoes, you’re not creating a work of art. You’re making a pizza. So don’t worry too much about potato perfection.

I ended up with one generous pizza, large enough for dinner, with leftovers, although this type of pizza is best when freshly made. It’s a fun pizza to try and different from the usual tomato sauce+mozzarella slices…and there’s nothing wrong with them, but this potato-topped pizza fills the bill (and my appetite for pizza) another way.

Potato Pizza
Print Recipe
8 to 10 slices
Adapted from My Bread: The Revolutionary No-Work, No-Knead Method by Jim Lahey with Rick FlasteI didn't try this with all-purpose flour but King Arthur Flour company did a comparison between the two in baking projects, and their answer is "Yes...in a pinch." Frankly, the dough is so easy that you'll probably be making other pizzas with this dough, so it's worth getting a bag of bread flour. (It's called farine à pain, in France, or you can use T65 flour and add a teaspoon of vital wheat gluten per cup/140g, which you can find in natural food stores.)I did try baking this on a pizza steel which is amazing for baking regular free-form round pizzas directly on it, but here, you don't necessarily want a very crisp cracker-like crust, so I found I preferred it baked not on a baking steel.It could be fun to try this with adding crumbled blue cheese (maybe) midway during baking, or even diced bacon. If you do, let us know in the comments how they work out.You'll note that I gave the dough recipe in weights, which is easier to multiply if you decide to make enough dough for two pizzas. According to Jim Lahey, the dough can be stored overnight in the refrigerator in a lightly oiled freezer bag, or frozen for up to 1 month. So you can make a double batch of the dough at the same time, and save one for later if you wish.
For the no-knead crust
250 grams (1 3/4 cups, plus 2 tablespoons) bread flour
5 grams (1 1/4 teaspoons) instant or active dry yeast
2.5 grams (scant 1/2 teaspoon) salt
1.5 grams (1/2 teaspoon) sugar
150 grams (2/3 cup) tepid water, plus about 1 tablespoon more, if necessary
For the pizza
1 quart (1l) tepid water
4 teaspoons (25g) salt
2 pounds (900g) Yukon gold potatoes (about 6 to 8 potatoes, depending on size)
1 medium onion, peeled and diced
freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup (80ml) extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves
1. Mix the flour, yeast, salt, and sugar in a medium bowl. Add 2/3 cup/150g of tepid water and stir until smooth. If the dough feels very dry and isn't coming together smoothly, mix in a scant tablespoon of water. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and let rise until doubled in volume, about 2 hours.
2. To prepare the potatoes, mix the 1 quart of tepid water with the salt in a large bowl, stirring to dissolve the salt. Use a mandoline or a chef's knife to slice them as thinly as possible. As you cut them, put them into the salted water so they don't discolor. Let soak for at least an hour at room temperature. (They can be done up to 12 hours in advance, and refrigerated.)
3. When ready to bake the pizza, preheat the oven to 475º or 500ºF (245º - 260ºC), depending on how high your oven will go. Put the rack in the center of the oven. Lightly oil a baking sheet that's approximately 13- by 18 inches (33 x 46cm.)
4. On a lightly-floured countertop, roll the dough into a ball. Cover with a damp towel and let rest 30 minutes.
5. Put the pizza dough on the center of the baking sheet, floured side up, and stretch it lengthwise down the center of the baking sheet, using your hands to coax it in both directions. Then use your hands to stretch the dough towards the edges of the pan. If the dough is too stretchy and elastic, let it rest for 5 minutes, and continue. The dough will likely tear in places; simply pinch those parts back together and continue. Stretch the dough until it's about 1 inch (3cm) away from the edges of the pan. (You'll notice that in the picture of the post, I stretched the first one that I tested all the way to the edges but found I liked the dough a little thicker, so the second time, I didn't stretch it as far.)
6. Drain the potatoes well and squeeze out as much water as you can without breaking the slices. Put the slices in a bowl and mix them with the diced onion, plenty of freshly ground black pepper, and the olive oil.
7. Spread the potato mixture over the top of the pizza dough, making the layer of potatoes closer to the edges a little thicker. Sprinkle the rosemary on top and bake the pizza until the potatoes start to brown and the crust is golden brown, about 25 to 30 minutes, depending on the heat of your oven. But check before the recommended baking times as this pizza is best if it's not overly crisp.


No-knead pizza with a meltingly soft potato and rosemary topping

Never miss a post!

44 comments

  • Zach Ross
    November 9, 2018 2:09pm

    Wait… rising for only two hours? Is that a typo? I though Lahey’s pizza dough recipe needed the initial 12-18 hour rise to “knead” the dough just like the no-knead bread does… Reply

    • November 9, 2018 2:15pm
      David Lebovitz

      The 2-hour rise is for this recipe correct. Jim Lahey explains in his book that unlike bread, he wants pizza dough to be thin and crisp, so recommends only two hours of rising time for pizza. Reply

      • Zach Ross
        November 9, 2018 2:49pm

        Awesome! I was just a bit surprised because I’ve seen different variations of this elsewhere (I think you have a blue cheese + potato one with the 18 hour rise time too). But this makes it a lot easier to make on a whim! Reply

        • November 9, 2018 4:06pm
          David Lebovitz

          The dough on this pizza is definitely on the thin/crisp side, which is why I found the baking steel overkill, but it’d be interesting to try letting the dough rise a lot longer so it was thicker. If I try it again, I’ll update the post (or if anyone else does, they are welcome to chime in.) Reply

  • November 9, 2018 2:52pm

    “Even if you use Monalisa potatoes, you’re not creating a work of art. You’re making a pizza.”
    Why I love your blog.
    I made your no-knead shakshuka bread about once a week. Will potato pizza push its way into the rotation, or is it too much of a carb bomb to enjoy regularly? We shall see. Reply

    • November 9, 2018 4:08pm
      David Lebovitz

      There’s a lot of “perfect” food online now, which is lovely to look at, but it doesn’t necessarily give readers (and bakers and cooks) an accurate impression of what the food will look like. I try to make things look good, but don’t want to manipulate or Photoshop things to make them look to different than what I pulled out of my oven : ) Reply

  • Adele Miller
    November 9, 2018 3:05pm

    One of our favorite pizzas at Sally’s Apizza in New Haven is their potato and rosemary pie. Slice of heaven, baked in a coal oven.

    Will definitely give this recipe a try! Reply

  • Kathy
    November 9, 2018 3:06pm

    Next time you come to Philly (please come back!), I highly recommend the potato pie at LaRosa–it’s life-changing! Reply

  • November 9, 2018 5:05pm

    My husband and I started making a pizza with bacon and goat cheese. One night we decided to try cooking potato in the bacon fat and we added red onions. It is delicious! Definitely will try this recipe! Reply

  • Deb
    November 9, 2018 5:09pm

    We used to buy this at Dean and Deluca’s on 85th st in New York. It was out of this world! Unfortunately a) they discontinued it and b) we couldn’t handle the carbs anymore anyhow. But I still dream of this potato pizza! Reply

  • Connie
    November 9, 2018 5:13pm

    A local pizza place in Portland, OR, used to have potato and prosciutto pizza on the menu and was my all time favorite. Much to my dismay, they took it off the menu. I will be making this with the addition of prosciutto! Reply

  • PF
    November 9, 2018 5:50pm

    Thanks for posting this– I haven’t made it in years– and I also first encountered it in Rome more than 20 years ago.

    Although I have to confess I’ll buy the dough from my local pizzeria. Reply

  • Cathy
    November 9, 2018 5:50pm

    J’adore a potato pizza, David! I can’t wait to try this dough. I like to drizzle potato pizza with freshly pounded-in-my-mortar pesto when it comes out of the oven. Reply

  • Abby Belknap
    November 9, 2018 6:16pm

    Did I miss the temp of the oven? Reply

    • November 9, 2018 6:24pm
      David Lebovitz

      It’s in the first line of step #3. Reply

  • November 9, 2018 6:30pm

    I also had this pizza at Pizzarium years ago and still think of it – thank you so much! Reply

  • Susan Cohen
    November 9, 2018 6:30pm

    I use my mandoline all the time. I used it yesterday to make your celery root Remoulade. And I slice potatoes on it for a variety of uses. I will be making this soon. Reply

  • Susan Alexander
    November 9, 2018 6:48pm

    Try using sliced Taleggio cheese with the Rosemary and potato …yum Reply

  • Joyce McKinney
    November 9, 2018 7:12pm

    David, next time you’re in San Francisco try to stop in to Gialina in Glen Park. Sharon Ardiana makes a fabulous potato/blue cheese/bacon extremely thin crust pizza. It’s been our favorite for years now. Reply

    • Suzanne Drexhage
      November 12, 2018 3:20am

      I can vouch for Gialina! Reply

  • Quodlibet
    November 9, 2018 7:16pm

    Finicky editor here.

    Instead of squeezing the wet potatoes and risking breaking them, perhaps drain them and then turn them on to a clean, lint-free kitchen towel and press gently to dry.

    I bake a lot of yeast breads. I’ve learned that instead of rolling the dough into a ball prior to its rest, I roll or shape it into an oblong that’s approximately the same proportion as the pan. This makes it much easier to spread it into shape, as you’re already in the right shape to begin with.

    Heat the oven during that 30-minute rest, not before. In other words, reverse those two steps in the recipe. Reply

    • November 9, 2018 7:38pm
      David Lebovitz

      The first time I made it, I blotted the potatoes dry with a paper towel in batches, which seemed too fussy. But I found they could be hand-squeezed (which is what Jim Lahey recommends) to get most of the water out, and my potato slices remained mostly intact.

      My oven needed that long to get to that very high temperature (475-500ºF). But if yours (or others) heats up more quickly, it could certainly be done after the 30 minute rising of the dough. It’s a pretty short window of time, the few minutes it takes to stretch the dough over the bottom of the pan and top with the potatoes, but depending how long it takes someone to do that (and how long it takes their oven to preheat), it could be done after, as you indicated. It just wouldn’t be enough time with my oven. Reply

  • Kate Bailey
    November 9, 2018 7:22pm

    Looks good! Our family was first introduced to potato pizza at a local pizza place. Now to save time, we order a white pizza and cover it sliced cooked potatoes, dollops of sour cream, cheddar cheese, bacon and fresh chives! (It’s really just a delivery method for a baked potato, but delicious!) Reply

  • deb
    November 9, 2018 8:43pm

    I recall this as my FAVORITE pizza when I was in Rome, too. But it seemed to me that it had a light schmear of a very flavorful rosemary cream sauce or a rosemary cheese cream under the potatoes. I remember the cost being rather more thick than thin as well.I’ve wasted a lot of online time looking for that particular combo. Reply

  • pb
    November 9, 2018 9:35pm

    This is why I hate reading your blog! I looked at the title and knew I would skip it (it seems somehow I didn’t, a bit of the “moth to the flame” phenomenon going on here me thinkst). And now this older gentleman who has vowed to eliminate carbohydrates from my diet in the increasingly difficult battle of weight loss, will be running home to bake a potato pizza to start the weekend. How dare you! Reply

  • Robin
    November 9, 2018 10:16pm

    Try the crusts in Marc Vetri’s book– you will switch!
    Mastering Pizza: The Art and Practice of Handmade Pizza, Focaccia, and Calzone Reply

  • Susan
    November 10, 2018 1:27am

    I make oven fries often and got tired of the hassle of drying the potatoes after they soaked. One day I had an “A-ha” moment and pulled out my salad spinner to dry them off. No crushing slices, no messy towels. After I drain the water, I spin them, empty extra water, shake down to separate slices from each other, spin again and repeat until they’re as dry as I need them. Reply

    • kh
      November 10, 2018 8:32am

      Genius! Reply

  • Carla
    November 10, 2018 3:45am

    I first had potato pizza when i was a kid at my Sicilian best friend’s house when her father would make pizzas! Years later, a pizzeria i had it at a pizzeria in Astoria (Queens) with leeks and truffle…all i can say is OMG! Delish! Reply

  • November 10, 2018 2:52pm

    Since this has no tomato sauce or any sauce, wouldn’t this technically be a flatbread? Wish this had come out several months ago. My husband was just diagnosed with diabetes so both the crust and the potatoes are off his can eat list. Reply

  • November 10, 2018 4:49pm
    David Lebovitz

    Susan: That’s a good idea although it’s another thing to wash : )

    Helen: I’m not sure there’s a difference between pizza and flatbread. Some pizza doesn’t have cheese (or tomato sauce), and is called pizza bianca. Reply

  • donna lynn houston
    November 10, 2018 9:59pm

    Wow! Just like Pizzarium!. We loved every bite. This is a great recipe, David. Thank you so much. Reply

  • Rose
    November 11, 2018 1:36am

    Made this as written above and its probably the best pizza I’ve ever made! I make a lot of homemade pizza using a variation on the no-knead dough with a slow rise but have not made it in a while because I often don’t have the wherewithal to make the dough so far ahead of time.

    Everything looked wrong at first. The dough was drier than I was used to, took longer to spread on the pan, it didn’t seem like 2lbs of potatoes could cook evening on so small a space, and yet…. it was perfect.

    Thank you so much! My 10 month old’s first pizza and he was infatuated. My husband and I ate this is Rome a few years ago and it brought back the best memories :) Reply

    • Rose
      November 11, 2018 1:45am

      Also! I happened to have a smoked ham and added about 1/4 cup diced on top. I found it totally unnecessary and wouldn’t do it again. It mostly fell off. While the crispy bits were delicious, this particular pizza is all about the simplicity of a few, careful ingredients. Reply

  • November 11, 2018 9:38am

    As the writer and illustrator of No Need To Knead, I would have loved it had you mentioned my name since my book, also up for the James Beard Award, preceded all of the no-knead book now ostensibly the “first” ones published. A great fan of pizza a taglio with thin-sliced potatoes on top, I would also like to mention that it has been a staple of bakeries all over Italy for years, and certainly is one of the best (except for my favorite—paper thin slices of artichoke sauteed in olive oil, a touch of garlic, and mint—and to add a tweak to yours, you might mention that the dough, made in a food processor in about 30 seconds, may be kept in the fridge overnight in a ziplock bag to enhance the flavor. Keeping a little piece of the dough for the next pizza has a wonderful effect on the taste…slightly sour dough that turns almost nutty with next go-round! All of this said, I read and love your thoughts on food, and since I live in Rome great pieces of the year, would love to take you to Roscioli for their pizza bianca, the 11-am staple of most Italians.
    I make pizza every Sunday evening (the tradition of Italians after a soccer match!) and another favorite of mine is thin slices of sweet onion scatter among the anchovies of the pizza napoletano. But the lovely rosemary-scented potato pizza now takes its place next to pizza Margherita.
    Another tweak when you have little time is to make the dough, allow it a resting period of 20 minutes or even less until the dough is maleable, then stretch the dough directly on the oiled pan and let sit in a warm place. The dough will rise just a bit and be srong enough to take the toppings (they should never be heavy, just a nice thin layer of the tomato sauce first and then the rest) and this method cuts the time in half for producing a great pizza. Another trick is to bake the pizza for 5-6 minutes until edges are brown, then add the sliced fresh mozzarella and bake another 5 minutes. In this way the cheese does not overcook and become rubbery.
    I don’t know if you have seen the spectacular five-volumne publication called Modernist Bread, in which a very few of us are featured, but it’s certainly worth a look and has won every imaginable prize for its content.
    I suggest you stop by in Rome one day and have a glass of vino so that we can discuss the ease of bread-baking. Oh, and with it, a nice little slice of pizza… Reply

    • November 11, 2018 2:24pm
      David Lebovitz

      Hi Suzanne,

      Thanks for your comment. I did mention your book, No Need to Knead, in the second paragraph of the post and linked to it, acknowledging that it was – indeed – the first book (that I know of) that extolled the virtues of no-knead dough. I remember when your book came out; it was quite a revelation!

      (I also mentioned the Charles Van Over book that used a food processor, which Flo Braker, one of the best bakers I know, said was also a revelation. But I haven’t tried his method.)

      I don’t have the Modernist Bread book but when Nathan came to Paris, we had lunch and discussed French bread and it’s relationship to his project. We also discussed ice cream, and we agreed to disagree on a few things related to ice cream-making! I try to give as much attribution as possible and link to people’s books and/or their websites, although many of my posts have twenty or so links and I do my best to get them all right.

      I’ll add your name as the author of your book in the post, and thanks for the tips about using no-knead dough for pizza. I like Roscioli, in addition to Pizzarium, in Rome, and your fortunate to live close to them. A glass of wine sounds good, too! : ) Reply

  • Carole Baker
    November 11, 2018 10:16am

    In Sydney, Australia the Potato, rosemary, olive oil pizza is topped with truffle oil once out of the oven and before serving – fantastic! Reply

  • Maria
    November 11, 2018 4:07pm

    Love the idea of this and want to give it a shot! We regularly make pizza from the Lahey recipe, and depending on our schedule, we let it rise anywhere from the 12-18 hours before using it (just so we’re not in the kitchen ALL DAY). It works fine for thin crust pizzas – baked on a stone on the grill( (only 5 minutes!), as well as for thicker crust pizzas on a different medium. It’s an amazingly versatile and forgiving bread recipe.

    Thank you for sharing! Reply

  • Catherine
    November 11, 2018 9:26pm

    I added diced bacon and everything went as described until my crust was pretty much done at 20 minutes. Fortunately my mandolin thin potatoes were done as well. But the real revelation was the next day. Heated up a slice and topped it with a fried egg. Let’s see, bacon and eggs with potatoes and toast! Dare I say better the next day? Reply

  • Sue
    November 12, 2018 2:41am

    David, I am curious as to whether or not you had a ” learning curve” with your mandoline. I have one that my beloved person gave to me almost 30 years ago and have tried to use it maybe twice. I am a bit intimidated by it. Why did you give yours away? Reply

    • November 12, 2018 9:59pm
      David Lebovitz

      I used one when I worked in the restaurant business on occasion, and I saw a number of nasty cuts from other’s using them. Thankfully, I escaped that fate when using one. Oxo makes them with better safety features for home cooks, but someone gave me a Swiss one that had big protruding blades, which I felt uncomfortable using. I have an Oxo handheld mandoline which doesn’t take up much space but don’t use it very often. (In fact, I forgot I had it!) I kind of like using a knife :) Reply

  • November 12, 2018 5:47pm

    If you have small-diameter potatoes and a peeler with a somewhat long blade, you can use it to give you thin slices also. Whether it’s safer than a mandoline is debatable. Reply

  • karl
    November 13, 2018 6:29pm

    Yes! mandoline still being used!! lol scalloped potatoes anyone, fermenting and getting even cuts on carrots and red beets. I would never get rid of it, very useful, mine is German and has been very sharp for many years, no rust either. Reply

  • Jam Bubba
    November 13, 2018 8:25pm

    Yummm…potatoes, no-knead bread, and rosemary to wake it up! Got to try this combination. Sounds wonderful. Reply

Leave a comment