When we think of outdoor entertaining, we think of pool parties, barbecues and summer picnics. But if you’re looking for something a little different to serve guests this season, turn to the ultimate easy crowd-pleaser: pizza! A make-your-own pizza party is fun, casual and interactive — and best of all, it takes pressure off the host. Here’s how to pull it off.
Work ahead. Mix the dough and prep toppings a day before the party so you’re ready to go when guests arrive. It’s simple to make dough yourself, but high-quality prepared doughs work just as well. Chop vegetables and store them in airtight containers in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use them.
Start with snacks. Begin with a simple spread of antipasti for guests to enjoy as they work on their pizzas. Cheese and cured meats are always welcome, along with seasonal vegetables; we like this antipasto salad with peperoncini vinaigrette, which combines a little bit of everything.
Put your friends to work. That’s right — your guests are cooking tonight! And we promise they won’t mind. Let a couple of people roll, toss and stretch the dough, while others saute toppings and grate cheese. Mix it up halfway through the night so they can try something new. Set out the dough rounds and toppings, and everyone can assemble their own perfect pies with their favorite flavor combinations.
Get your grill on! Pizza takes on an entirely new character when cooked on the grill or in a pizza oven outdoors, with a slightly smoky flavor and crisp, blistered crust. It’s easy to master, and it’s a great way to make a variety of pies in a short time: just fire up the pizza in batches, and let everyone have fun trying all flavorful versions. See our step-by-step guide to grilling pizza here.
Keep serving simple. Serve pizzas directly off the pizza peels or on wooden boards for a relaxed feel. Instead of a set table, stand flatware in tumblers on the kitchen island and serve wine in stemless glasses. This party should feel communal and convivial! Pile extra vegetables in a bowl or place herb bunches in jars or glasses to create an easy, informal centerpiece.
Take it to go. Keep aluminum foil on hand to pack up any leftover pizza for guests to take home — they’ll have lunch for the following day!