Understanding the Role of Salt in Pizza. Here is What You Need to Know

What does salt do in pizza?

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In this article, we will discuss the role of salt in pizza, and discover four (4) basic rules applicable to salt, that are easy to remember that will make you a better homemade pizza baker.  

Making homemade pizza is not complicated; see how with just a few ingredients like flour, water, yeast, and salt you can do wonders.

Let’s see what salt can do.

Why do we need to put salt in pizza dough?

Well, the first reason why we put salt in pizza dough is flavor, because who wants to eat a bland crust? The role of salt is to magnify the taste of everything, making them taste a lot better.

Salt adds a lot more to the pizza-making process than just flavor. It performs a variety of roles, including and not limited to the power of unity.  

This powerful ingredient has a direct and sometimes controversial relationship with yeast. It’s like a loving couple that is always fighting, but somehow their love is so strong they can’t be apart. Enough of love stories, let’s get back to salt.

Pro Tip

When using salt, always consider the salt content in the pizza’s toppings, and balance the saltiness of the overall baked pizza.

Role of salt:

When salt is combined with the flour, yeast, and water mixture, the role of salt is to help strengthen the gluten network, making the dough more robust more elastic.
The unification is so durable that it helps to maintain the growth of bacteria resulting in its beautiful end color.
Salt also acts as a preservative and keeps the dough from oxidizing and discoloring.
By controlling the salt, you can reduce the risk of having a “blown” or over-fermented dough.
Salt slows fermentation because it causes yeast cells to release some of their moisture, which makes them less active.
The most important role of salt improves the overall texture of the dough because it gives a drier feel or less stickiness with dramatic elasticity.

Does salt kill yeast in pizza dough?

Salt slows down the yeast and can kill the yeast altogether. You don’t want the yeast to work too fast because you won’t get as much flavor out of it.  

Pizza Pun

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With Tomato Paste

What kind of salt should you use for homemade pizza?

We always use fine sea salt on our pizza doughs. Its fine grind is essential for making doughs because it dissolves and disperses more quickly and evenly in water and the mixture than coarse sea salt or kosher salt.  

Fine sea salt has the advantage that it disperses better, and it’s easy to measure in small amounts.  

Fine Sea salt contains more minerals than kosher or table salt.  The sodium interacts with gluten proteins in the flour, causing the gluten to contract. With sea salt, additional minerals like calcium and magnesium help tighten the gluten network even more. More minerals = healthy dough.

Which salt should you NOT use for homemade pizza?

It is recommended that you do not use iodized salt. Iodized table salt has a bitter iodine chemical taste.

Using salt as a finishing ingredient

hand sprinkling salt


People always say that you eat with your eyes first. We think that’s true. Using salt as a finishing touch on your pizza makes it more presentable and appealing, especially if you use colored salt.

There is a variety of finishing salts that you can use with various textures and flavors. One of our favorites the Black Salt from Hawaii and Maldon Sea Salt.

In this case, the role of salt is to enhance the beauty of your pizza with big flakes that are highly noticeable when used as a finishing touch.  

Another favorite is Jacobsen Salt, which specializes in hand-harvested salt from Netarts Bay, Oregon. This salt has a beautiful texture and appearance with a clean taste.

Do you have to weigh salt?

It’s better to weigh salt rather than measure it because different crystal sizes can give you very different results when measuring by volume.  

How much salt do you put in pizza dough?

When adding salt to your dough, you need to take into consideration the salt content in the pizza’s toppings and balance the saltiness of them all on the baked pizza. Most of the salt on the pizza is going to be in the cheese and toppings, especially if you use cured meats like salami or pepperoni.

There is no exact amount of salt to use to make great pizza dough, it’s all going to depend on your taste. However, the guides from the Associazione Verace Pizza Napolitana recommend that you should not use more than 3% of the total flour. Too much salt slows the rate of fermentation, you run the risk of killing the yeast and creates a tight dough that will be extremely difficult to handle, and it will not rise. 

What happens if you don’t put salt in pizza dough?

Without salt, or with too little salt, the finished dough will lack overall flavor, characterized by a somewhat starchy taste. 

How do you add salt to pizza dough?​

Adding too much salt image

Order of Ingredients

Here is where the four rules come into play. Salt should always be the last ingredient out of flour, water, yeast, and salt that you combine. Not following the correct order may result in a slower or non-existent fermentation process. 

The Do’s and Don’ts of Salt

So, when handling salt you should follow these rules:

Follow the correct order of ingredients
Don’t use more than 3% of the total flour
Don’t allow the salt to come in direct contact with the yeast
Don’t use Iodine Salt

By following these rules, you will enable the yeast to do its thing, and you will have great results every time.

Here are the Salts the PRO’s of Homemade Pizza Pro Use and Recomend

Jacobsen Salt Co. Specialty Sea Salt Jacobsen Salt Co. Specialty Sea Salt

Black Garlic Salt is a flavor bomb of sweetness matched with savory notes of caramelized garlic. We ferment garlic in-house until it turns dark and sweet, then dry it, and blend it into our salt.

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10/26/2021 12:04 am GMT
Black Lava Hawaiian Sea Salt Black Lava Hawaiian Sea Salt

Black Hawaiian Lava Sea Salt is made by infusing pure sea salt with pure, premium quality activated coconut-shell charcoal. Black Lava Salt is harvested from the Pacific Ocean using ancient, traditional methods of solar evaporation to collect the salt and its natural trace minerals.

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10/26/2021 12:08 am GMT
Our Top Pick
Maldon Sea Salt Flakes Maldon Sea Salt Flakes

Accept no substitute for Maldon Sea Salt, because nothing else is quite the same. Maldon sea salt flakes are loved by chefs and shoppers the world over. It’s the soft flaky texture of the sea salt crystals and the cleanness of the salt flavor they deliver that makes the difference.

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10/26/2021 12:08 am GMT

Is there a salt substitute?

The role of salt in the pizza-making process is essential to the texture, taste, and overall performance of the pizza dough and the finished crust. Without salt, the finished crust will be flat and have a bland flavor. Also, the fast fermentation process will cause the dough to rise quickly.

There are various ways to reduce the amount of salt in your dough. One method is to reduce the amount of salt added to the mixture.  

If you are looking to reduce the amount of sodium, then there are various products you can use that contain a lower percentage of sodium than fine sea salt.

Some of these products include the following:

  • Morton’s reduced-sodium salt
  • Mrs. Dash
  • No Salt Original

Check Salt Substitutes on Amazon

NoSalt Original NoSalt Original
  • A convenient substitute for table salt
  • All the flavor without the sodium
  • Great for baking or seasoning while cooking
  • Enjoy anywhere you’d use table salt

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NU-SALT Substitute NU-SALT Substitute
  • Contains potassium chloride
  • Potassium chloride is the salt substitute component of the blend
  • Use it just like salt on all your favorite foods

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10/26/2021 12:09 am GMT
Our Pick
Morton Salt Substitute Morton Salt Substitute

Designed for people on a doctor-recommended, sodium-restricted diet. But remember, it’s important to consult a physician before using any salt substitute

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10/26/2021 12:05 am GMT

How do you fix salty pizza dough?

When making pizza, the same cooking principle applies. You can always add, but you can’t take out. So, if you used too much salt in your dough, keep in mind the results might not be the expected. Don’t ever discard this dough mixture; there are so many other things you can do with it. 

You can read our article on what to do with excess pizza dough here. For example, you make an artisan flatbread, deviate the attention from the crust to the spectacular toppings. Dress it up, and you can still be the best pizza maker.  

Wrapping Up

As you can see, making pizza at home is not complicated. Now that you know what the role of salt is, you must pay attention to the relationship of the main four ingredients – as in life – everything is related to everything else. Just keep this one basic principle in mind: Slow is the secret! Long, slow rising gives everything more time to develop deeper, fuller, more complex flavors. With time comes flavor.

So, how do you handle your salt? How much salt and which kind of salt do you use?  Let us know, we would love to know.

Check Amazon’s Pizza Must-Haves

Our Top Pick
NerdChef Steel Stone NerdChef Steel Stone

Making great crusts traditionally requires a 700-1000F wood-fired oven. Nerdchef Steel Stone replicates that performance in a home oven with its super-high heat transfer ability - transferring heat energy 20 times faster than ceramic. It creates beautiful and crispier crusts, gorgeous blistering throughout, and it cooks faster.

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10/26/2021 12:05 am GMT
Best 2 in 1
Perforated Pizza Peel for Outdoor/Indoor Pizza Oven Perforated Pizza Peel for Outdoor/Indoor Pizza Oven

Why have two pizza peels when you can only have one. This pizza peel surpasses the benefits of wood peels with the convenience of a metal peel. It's made entirely from anodized aluminum for a lightweight design that's incredibly durable, too. It's designed to be used frequently in high-heat pizza ovens.

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10/26/2021 12:10 am GMT
Best for Standard Home Ovens
Antimo Caputo "00" Chefs Flour (Red) Antimo Caputo "00" Chefs Flour (Red)

The Chef's flour is a general-purpose, high gluten flour that works well for many recipes. "Tipo 00" refers to how refined the flour is. Chef's Flour is best for those who want to bake in their traditional home oven up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit! 

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10/26/2021 12:05 am GMT
A Must-Have
Etekcity Lasergrip 800 Digital Infrared Thermometer Etekcity Lasergrip 800 Digital Infrared Thermometer

Point, aim, and measure to get the results you need. The Lasergrip 800 can be used anywhere. Use it for cooking, car maintenance, real estate, electrical engineering, and more. Measure extreme temperatures ranging from -58°F (-50°C) to 1382°F (750°C) without ever needing to come in contact. Its versatile functionality and modernized simplicity can do all of the work for you. 

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10/26/2021 12:09 am GMT


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The PROs at Homemade Pizza Pro is a team of pizza experts led by Andrew Parker. Our goal is to make pizza easy and fun. Along the way, we want you to be the best homemade pizza baker.

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