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New York Style – Cold Ferment Pizza Dough

Slices of NY style pizza with various toppings on a wood serving platter.
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Cold Ferment Pizza Dough results that perfect NY style thin crust texture I can’t wait to sink my teeth into.

Everything you need to know to make Cold Ferment Pizza Dough

Casandra’s Recipe Notes

New York style pizza is just a notch above all other types of pizza. You know it. I know it. It’s OK to admit it. That doesn’t mean we have to write off all other pizza as bad but if I had a choice, the thin crispy style of New York dough is what I’d choose every time.

There’s a few factors that give dough that unique texture us New Yorker’s crave. First is a little tough to replicate – the water. Some people claim that the mineral composition of NY water is a big part of making good pizza dough. While it’s possible that may be true, I’d say it’s not likely as important as some people make it out to be. Water composition varies between municipalities and between city water vs well water and we all get similar results. So if you’re not in NY no need to panic. Keep calm and carry on making dough, it will be fine.

The perfect thin crust pizza texture is mostly a result of the type of flour used and the cold ferment pizza dough method I use. We’ll talk about these more in the sections below but I promise you it’s simple and worth buying the special flour.

The best thing about having a terrific pizza dough recipe in your repertoire is you can make your own pizza dinners anytime you want. What family doesn’t love that? So let’s make some dough and get you a real NY style thin crust pizza at home.

About the Ingredients

Flour – some people use self rising flour for pizza dough but NY Style dough is notoriously thin and we don’t want to add any extra rising power to it. 00 flour is also a hugely popular choice for pizza dough, especially thin crust pizza dough recipes. It is made from a different type of wheat and has less gluten than regular flour so it enhances that crispy texture we’re looking for. If you can get 00 flour I highly recommend it but in my market it is nearly impossible so I almost always use the more accessible all-purpose flour.

Instant yeast – Not all yeast activates equally. For this recipe, use Instant Yeast, not active yeast.

Sugar and salt – Just a little salty sweetness will make your dough irresistibly good.

Water – Because we’re using instant yeast and we want the dough to rise slowly we don’t want to activate it right away by using warm water. Be sure to use water that is just slightly cold to your finger, about 75° – 80°F.

Olive Oil – Will bring the dough together. It will also keep it from sticking to the container (in this case Ziploc bag) as it rises.

pizza dough stretched to a 12 inch round pizza on a floured surface.

How to Make New York Style Pizza Dough

Pizza dough is very easy to make but good New York style pizza dough takes time. A lot of time. 72 hours to rise to be exact. The good news however is that your active time to make good pizza dough is only about 10 minutes. The rest of the time is just the dough rising in the refrigerator.

To make the pizza dough you’ll need an electric stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment. Begin by adding the dry ingredients to the bowl of the stand mixer and then turn it on to give the ingredients a stir.

With the mixer turned on at a low speed, pour in the cool water. The dough will begin to form and you’ll need to turn up the speed of your mixer to give it a little more power.

After the water is added and the dough is forming, drizzle in the olive oil. Leave the mixer turned on at medium speed for about 5 minutes to continue kneading the dough.

While the mixer is kneading, prepare 4 ziploc bags for the dough to rise in. Open the bags and give the interior walls of each bag a swirl of olive oil. Set the bags aside briefly.

Remove the dough from the bowl, grabbing any bits you can off the hook too. Shape it into a nice ball and place it on a lightly floured work surface. Cut the dough into 4 equally sized pieces. I use a bench scraper for this but a sharp knife works well too.

Place one piece of dough in each bag, seal the bag and transfer the bags to the refrigerator for 72 hours.

When the dough has completed its cold rise it is ready to use. The dough will be easiest to work with and shape at room temperature so be sure to move the bags to the countertop at least 2 hours before you plan to start slinging your pizzas!

A raw pizza topped with tomato sauce, shredded mozzarella cheese, chunks of crispy pancetta, shredded basil and a balsamic drizzle.

Recipe Substitutions & Variations

Pizza dough is pretty particular so in general there aren’t too many substitutions to be made here. If you want the pizza dough to come out thin, crispy and NY style follow the recipe exactly.

Sometimes we don’t have 3 days advance notice before wanting pizza dough and we need a recipe that can made in the same day. Have no fear – there is a substitution you can make to this a same day New York Style Pizza Dough recipe.

Use warm water (about 105° – 110°F) instead of cold water so that the yeast activates right away. Then prepare your dough as stated in the recipe but don’t move it the refrigerator. I in fact leave it right in the bowl I made it in and don’t even divide it up yet. Leave the bowl with the dough on the counter in a warm area and cover it lightly with a tea towel.

Allow your dough to rise for about 2 hours, it should double in size.

Now it is ready to be divided and used. Keep in mind, this dough will bake up a little puffier than typical New York style pizza dough but it will still be delicious.

How to Freeze Pizza Dough

Knowing that great New York Style Dough takes a long time to rise, having some in the freezer ready to go on a few hours notice is a great make ahead plan.

Prepare your pizza dough according to the recipe. When the 72 hour rise is complete, transfer your bags of dough to the freezer. The dough will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months.

When you’re ready to make pizza, move the bags of dough to the counter and let them come to room temperature. This should take 2-3 hours but don’t worry about leaving it out longer than that. Your dough will rest fine at room temperature and you don’t want it to be the least bit cold when you’re stretching it to make your pies so better to leave it longer than try to rush it.

A pizza topped with tomato sauce, shredded mozzarella cheese, chunks of crispy pancetta, shredded basil and a balsamic drizzle on a wood cutting board with a pizza cutter.

Frequently Asked Questions

What flour is best for NY style pizza dough?

00 flour is made from a durum wheat and has less gluten than regular flour so it enhances that crispy texture we’re looking for. 00 flour will make your dough less “doughy”.

How long does cold rise pizza dough need to rise?

Ideally cold rise pizza dough needs 72 hours to rise. It is OK to use after 48 hours, but better after 72.

What makes NY pizza dough different?

New York pizza dough is a thin crust style that has a little bit of crispiness to it. The 00 flour and the cold rise of the dough are the key factors to getting the right texture.

What is the easiest way to shape pizza dough?

The experts toss it in the air while stretching it with their knuckles. If you’ve got the skills, go for it! If you don’t have the professional pizza tosser thing down just yet, hold the dough in two hands and begin gently stretching from the edges, moving the down around in a clockwise motion. As the dough grows and the center begins to thin, place the dough on a lightly floured worked surface and continue stretching from the edges.

Can I make quick rise pizza dough?

Cold rise, which takes a long time, is the best technique for that thinner pizza crust us NY’ers love. If you’re short on time though you can use this recipe for a quick dough too. Your dough will be a little puffier but still have delicious flavor. To quick rise your dough increase the temperature of the water you use in the recipe to warm – about 105°F. It will feel only slightly warmer than room temperature on your finger. Then leave the completed dough on the counter, covered for about 2 hours. After 2 hours, your dough will be ready to use.

The Recipe for New York Style Cold Ferment Pizza Dough

The recipe is attached below for easy downloading and printing.  If you test it out be sure to leave a note in the comments below. I’d love to hear what you thought and what toppings you put on your pizza. Enjoy!

A raw pizza topped with tomato sauce, shredded mozzarella cheese, chunks of crispy pancetta, shredded basil and a balsamic drizzle.

Homemade New York Style Pizza Dough

Homemade pizza dough is simple to make with just 6 ingredients. Follow these easy steps and you'll have easy to work with, delicious dough every time. Just leave yourself plenty of time (2-3 days!) to let your dough rise slowly.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Rise Time 3 days
Total Time 3 days 10 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4 doughs
Calories 210 kcal


  • 1 Electric stand mixer
  • 4 Quart size ziploc bags


  • 6 cups 00 flour you can use all-purpose if you need a substitute
  • 1 tsp instant yeast
  • tsp salt
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil plus additional for preparing storage bags
  • cups water barely cold


  • Combine the dry ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment. Turn the mixer on low to stir together briefly.
  • Slowly add the water to the bowl with the mixer turned on. (*The water should feel just barely cold to your finger, somewhere around 75-80°F but it doesn't need to be exact. Just cold enough to not activate the yeast.)
  • As the dough thickens, turn the speed up to help the machine knead. After the water is combined, slowly drizzle in the olive oil as the mixer continues kneading, for about 5 minutes.
  • While the dough is being kneaded, prepare the storage bags. On the inside of each ziploc bag give one swirl of olive oil on the inside walls of the bag. Set the bags aside.
  • Remove the dough from the mixer onto a lightly floured surface. Shape the dough into a ball. Divide the dough ball into 4 equal portions.
  • Place each dough portion in its own ziploc bag, seal and move bags to the refrigerator. Let the dough rise undisturbed for 72 hours.
  • When ready to use the dough, move it to the countertop to come to room temperature 2 hours prior to working with it. To assemble your pizza, lightly flour your work surface and gently spread your dough into a round 12 inch pie shape using your hands. Top with sauce and your favorite toppings and cook. (See notes below for cooking suggestions.)


Rise time: the texture of the NY style dough comes from the slow, cold rise of the yeast. It is best to let it rise for the full 72 hours but I have used it after only 48 hours and it’s still pretty good.
Fast rise: If you are in a total rush and need the dough for the same day you can still use this recipe but need to make a few adjustments (also be aware that the dough will have a puffier / doughier texture.) Use warm water rather than cold, about 105° – 110°F. Knead the dough for 15 minutes instead of 5. Let let rise on the countertop for 2 hours before using. 
Room temperature dough: pizza dough is fine left at room temperature. It can stay at room temperature for hours without concern. 
Cooking your pizza: If you don’t have a pizza oven at home, the conventional oven can work great. Preheat your oven to 500°F with a pizza stone inside the oven. Transfer your raw pizza to the hot stone and bake for about 10 minutes. Keep your eye on it towards the end of cooking and pull it out of the oven when the crust starts to brown (the cheese may brown first but you want the dough to be cooked through. )
Keyword dough, pizza

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  1. Scott Slater says:

    Pasquale’s Pizza in Pompano Beach Florida, told me to use low-moisture mozzarella so the cheese doesn’t slide off in one big sheet. Perfect advice. Plus, I’ve tried other pizza dough recipes, but this one is, hands-down the best!

    1. Such a great tip Scott! Going with the low-moisture mozz myself this weekend.

  2. This looks amazing!
    Do you think I can make the dough in my bread maker, and then leave it in the fridge as per the recipe instructions?

    1. Great question! I have made this recipe in my Cuisinart bread maker but only when I was quick rising it to use the same day. Here are a few things to consider – 1) does the machine begin to heat up during the mixing cycle? You don’t want any heat all and some of them begin to warm right away. 2) you need to remove the dough before the first rise cycle.

      As long as you don’t have heat and you can remove the dough after it’s mixed and briefly kneaded you should be fine!

  3. Making pizza dough is a lot of work for me. I guess this is why most people buy it from the store. But you make pizza dough making look easy. I live in NYC and can really tell what’s they hype about NYC pizza. They taste great though. I appreciate your recipe.

    1. Thanks Kevin! They do taste great

  4. tianna says:

    this sounds delicious, i love making my own pizza dough thanks for the new recipe

    1. So easy and saves the $5 for each store bought or pizzaria dough!

  5. This looks SO good!! Pizza is one of my favorite foods.

    1. Making your own from scratch hits just right.

  6. This not only sounds amazing, but looks so delicious! Thanks for sharing

    1. Thank you!

  7. literallylaurie says:

    Great job. I haven’t made homemade pizza in eons but this dough looks perfect to try, so I had to pin it! 🙂

    1. Thanks Laurie! I hope you try it – you’ll be hooked all over again.

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