It’s pretty much considered a crime in our family to visit Pizza Express and not order their legendary dough balls. They are just amazing! You’ve actually got my son to thank for this post. After a recent Pizza Express visit he joked (at least, I hope it was a joke ..) that “he’d love me forever” if I could make dough balls that tasted as good as theirs. Challenge accepted … Bring on the balls!

Apart from the time it took the dough to rise, these little beauties were actually pretty quick to whip up. And even quicker to disappear!

Pizza express style dough balls

I just wish there was a way I could describe the gorgeous smell from the oven while they were baking in the oven. You’ve just got to try them yourself to see (and smell) what I mean. I promise, you won’t regret it.

Here’s how to make them.

What you need to make your own dough balls

450 g Strong Plain White Flour
1 Level Tbsp Dried Yeast
1 tsp Sea Salt
300 ml Warm Water
6 tbsp Olive Oil

With garlic butter (optional of course, but oh so delicious .. if you’re not a vampire)

100 g Butter
1-2 Cloves of garlic (this depends on how garlicky you like your butter!)
Small Bunch of Fresh Parsley, chopped
Salt (you may not want to add this if you are using salted butter)

Here’s what to do:

Mix the flour, yeast and salt together in a large bowl. Make a well in the middle of the mixture.

Add the water, as well as 5 tbsp of the olive oil into the well and mix into the flour mixture with a spoon. Keep taking flour from the inside of the well and mix in until the dough comes together. OK, so it’s not going to win any beauty prizes, but it all turns out OK in the end!

This is what the mixture looks like when all the flour has been mixed in.

Put the mixture into a well floured surface and knead the dough for about 5 to 10 minutes until it’s smooth and elastic.

Grease a bowl lightly with olive oil. Cover the dough with cling film. The side of the cling film that is touching the dough should also be lightly greased with olive oil. Put the bowl in a warm place and leave to rise for about 60 to 90 minutes, or until doubled in size.

This is what the dough looked like after an hour .. save to say it worked ..

Next, knead the dough on a well floured surface for about a minute to get the air out of the mixture.

Divide the dough in half, then in half again and continue to divide until you have 32 equal balls. Place them on a baking tray covered with parchment paper. (I didn’t have parchment paper to hand so lightly oiled some baking trays) . Cover them with oiled cling film and place back into a warm environment to rise for another 30 minutes.

Pizza Express style dough balls

After 30 minutes mine looked like this. They were actually slightly bigger than I was hoping for, but tasted equally as gorgeous! And I didn’t get any complaints that they were bigger than the originals .. hmmm, strange that ..

Baking the dough balls

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Brush the top of each dough ball with olive oil. If you want, sprinkle a little bit of sea salt onto the dough balls. Bake in the oven for approximately 12-15 minutes or until the dough balls are golden brown in colour.

If you are serving your dough balls with garlic butter, prepare this while the balls are in the oven baking .Simply mix the (room temperature) ingredients for the garlic butter together while the dough balls are baking in the oven. Alternatively, serve the dough balls with Nutella (although perhaps that’s not so successful if you’re serving them as a starter 😉

Do you have any other suggestions for serving Pizza Express Dough balls? I’d love to hear what your favourite dip is to eat them. Let me know by commenting on the post, or find me on social media!

Pizza Express style dough balls


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