This low carb pizza crust is crispy on the outside and tender, chewy on the inside. It’s based on legumes, which happen to be the only ingredient required for this recipe. On top of being low carb, this pizza crust is also grain-free, vegan, and high in protein and fiber.
As every pizza maker knows, pizza has a long history. And while the original Neapolitan pizza had a light and slightly crispy texture, chefs from all around the world have created their own take on this popular dish, each bringing something new and interesting to the table. Whether it’s a Neapolitan-style thin crispy crust, Sicilian thick chewy crust, or a simple Focaccia flatbread, pizza has taken on many different forms since its original inception, especially when it comes to the crust.
The crust has always been a main target for pizza innovation due to its ability to entirely change the dynamic of a pizza. The beauty of this low carb pizza crust is that you can make it as thin or as thick, as crispy or as chewy as you like… you can even make a cracker out of the batter! Yes, batter – there is no kneading or rolling required. Am I selling you on this low carb pizza crust yet?
I make pizza from scratch at least once or twice a week. If it was up to my kids (and my husband), we would have pizza every single night. I switch up the sauce and the toppings every now and then, but keep coming back to this crust no matter how many different pizza crust recipes I’ve tried.
Tips for Making Low Carb Pizza Crust
A few months ago, I posted a recipe for red lentil pizza, which you guys seemed to love. Since the recipe was so popular, I decided to experiment with other legumes. I purposely chose legumes that were light in color and neutral in flavor – chickpeas, red and yellow lentils, and yellow split peas. All of these legumes worked wonderfully, so you can probably use any legume you like.
The most difficult part in experimenting with different legumes was figuring out the amount of water because every legume absorbs water differently. Red and yellow lentils need the least amount of water, while chickpeas require the most. Chickpeas are particularly tricky because some varieties double in size after soaking, some triple in size after soaking. The more the chickpeas re-hydrate during soaking, the less water they need for cooking.
I have tried this recipe with and without baking powder and prefer the one with baking powder. The baking powder produces an initial set of gas bubbles when mixed with wet ingredients and then a second set when heated. The first reaction forms many small gas cells in the batter; the second reaction expands the bubbles to create a light texture. If you’re going for a thin and crispy crust, you can skip the baking powder.
A little bit of salt, and you’re ready to bake your crust.
Regardless of which legume you choose for this recipe, you’ll wanna soak it in cold water first. The smaller the legume, the less time it needs to adequately rehydrate. If you decide to not soak at all, you’ll need to increase the amount of water for cooking.
I always blend all the ingredients in a Vitamix and then let the batter rest for a few hours before baking. The resting period is important if you want a thicker crust because the baking powder enlarges the bubbles which are already present in the batter produced through blending. The bubbles continue to expand as long as the batter is not fully baked. When the batter sets into a firm structure during baking, the aeration is preserved which you see as the tiny air holes throughout the pizza crust.
When you’re ready to bake the pizza crust, crank the oven all the way up and let it preheat. If you have a pizza stone, use it here. I set the oven rack on the second highest position, and put my baking stone on it. The pizza stone helps push heat up into the bottom of the pizza crust, so that it crisps from below.
With the oven fully preheated, cover the bottom of the pan with a little bit of olive oil. Then give the batter a good stir and pour it into the skillet. A successful pizza crust will have golden brown crispy edges with a slightly blistered surface and moist interior.
Tools You’ll Need
1. Blender (Vitamix 5200) | 2. Pan (12-Inch, Lodge, Cast Iron) | 3. Cookware Set (Calphalon, Stainless Steel) | 4. Knife Set (6 Pieces, Utopia, Stainless Steel) | 5. Cutting Board (24″x 18″, Michigan Maple Block, Maple) | 6. Mixing Bowls (Set of 3, Pyrex, Glass) | 7. Mesh Strainers (Set of 3, Cuisinart, Stainless Steel) | 8. Measuring Cups (Set of 6, Stainless Steel) | 9. Measuring Spoons (Set of 6, 1Easylife, Stainless Steel) | 10. Turner (5-Inch, Stainless Steel)
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Low Carb Pizza Crust
- 3/4 cup red or yellow lentils. soaked*
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 clove garlic, optional
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder**
- 1/4 tsp. fine sea salt (or to taste)
- Drain and rinse soaked lentils/split peas/chickpeas. Add them to the blender together with water, garlic, baking powder, and salt. Blend until smooth.
- If you want a thicker crust, let the batter rest for up to 4 hours.
- When you're ready to bake the crust, preheat the oven to 400°F (205°C). Place a 12" cast iron pan into the oven as the oven is preheating so the pan heats up as well.
- Remove the cast iron pan from the oven and add a little bit of olive oil to the pan. You want the bottom and the sides of the pan to be coated with oil so the crust doesn't stick.
- Give the batter one last stir and pour it into the hot pan. Tilt the pan so the batter coats the entire surface of the pan, if needed. Carefully put the pan back into the oven (onto a rack positioned in the middle of the oven).
- Bake the crust for about 30 minutes or until the edges pull away from the pan and turn golden brown. In the last minute of baking, turn the broiler on to slightly blister the surface.
- Remove the pan from the oven and let the crust cool slightly. Using a flat spatula, work your way under the pizza crust and ease it from the pan onto a cutting board.
- The pizza crust is best if used immediately after baking while still warm, but can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.
*Soak the lentils in cold water for at least 4 hours, ideally for 8-12 hours. Split peas and chickpeas need at least 8 hours.
**For a thicker (chewier) crust, use up to 1 tsp./8 g baking powder.
***Prep time does not include soaking the legumes (4-12 hours).
Hello, dear Petra!!
Could you please advise me, how much water I need for 1/2 cup of whole, round chickpeas?
Hi Evgenia – for sure! The tricky thing with chickpeas is that different brands of chickpeas absorb water differently. I soaked 1/3 cup (60 g) dried chickpeas, which became 1 cup (150 g) soaked chickpeas. The soaked chickpeas are the important measurement. So, soak your chickpeas first and then measure. To the 1 cup (150 g) soaked chickpeas, I added 3/4 cup (180 ml) water. I have used two different brands of chickpeas and each behaved a little differently. But the 1 cup to 3/4 cup is the most reliable ratio. If you haven’t watched my pizza crust video, I would recommend you watch it, so you know what the batter should look like. As always, let me know if you have any questions, Evgenia 🙂
Dear Petra, thank you so much for your advice!!!
I always have chickpeas in my home, so I’m happy that I can try to make pizza crust from it!
Yes, I’ve seen the video and it always helps to see exactly how the result should look like 🙂
Thank you again!!
This looks soooo good! In your above mention of usage of the pizza stone, do you mean that you actually pour the dough unto it or place the cast iron pan on it in the oven as an extra heat source? Thanks !
Hi Sheryl – a great question! I put the cast iron pan directly onto the pizza stone.
Linda Celina Meier
Hey there! looks delicious and I really wanna give it a try, but I‘m from Switzerland and we don‘t have cast iron pans, so could I bake it in a normal baking dish or what would you recommend?
Thanks for answering 🙂
Hi Linda – I know it does stick to stainless steel, so I would use that. I have never tried baking the pizza crust in say a ceramic dish. It might work. If you’re willing to experiment, I would definitely give it a try. If you wanna be absolutely certain the crust doesn’t stick, line your dish with a piece of parchment paper (not wax paper!). The crust won’t brown at the bottom if you use parchment, but it won’t stick.
I’ve made this with a stainless steel pan it did stick a tiny bit in the middle but was fine for the most part!
That is really good to know. Thank you so much for the feedback, Lauren!
Love your site. I am looking forward to trying this recipe. I realize this may be a sacrilegious type question but in a pinch would it be alright to use canned chickpeas? 1 cup rinsed with 3/4 cup + 1 Tbsp. water? Also do you think it would be beneficial to add some seasonings/ herbs to the batter for additional flavor? I prefer thin and crispy pizza crusts and most times I seem to be in a rush so this may fit a niche for a quick weeknight vegan dinner. I’m trying to be meat, oil, sugar and added salt free. however it requires a lot more time and effort, both of which are at a premium for me. Thank you in advance for your response. Hoyt
Hi Hoyt – to be honest, I always have some soaked (usually even sprouted) legumes on hand, so I have never even tried this recipe with canned (cooked) chickpeas. Worth a try if you’re willing to experiment although I am pretty sure you will need less water (since cooked chickpeas contain more moisture and are much more tender). If you have a Vitamix or a coffee grinder, I would just grind dried (unsoaked) chickpeas into flour, rehydrate the flour for a few minutes, and use that as the base. I have tried it in the past and it works beautifully. The ratio is 1 cup chickpea flour to 1 cup water. I just realized you mentioned you’re oil free. If you’re not using any oil, make sure you use some type of non-stick pan or a well-seasoned cast iron pan, so the crust doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
This sounds so great that I tried it right away. I used cooked chickpeas (pretty dry; previously frozen). The crust cracked all over into small pieces (perhaps 1″ across) rather than sticking together as a crust. It did pull away from the edge of the seasoned skillet. However, it was delicious. I think I need to try again with beans that have been soaked and not precooked.
Hi Doug – yes, definitely! The ratio of ingredients is based on dried soaked chickpeas (not cooked). I have never tried making the crust with cooked chickpeas (because I always have soaked or sprouted legumes on hand), but it might still work if you use a different ratio of water to chickpeas. I tested the recipes above MANY times to get the correct ratio of ingredients, so I am confident that if you use dried chickpeas, the crust will not crack 🙂
OK, good to know that following directions is really important. 🙂 Not my strongest suit. 😉 I think it sounds even better with lentils anyway. I will try that.
Thank you! I would love to try it!
just for a healthier option, can I substitute baking power with baking Soda?
Hi Sumala – you certainly can. However, keep in mind that baking powder and baking soda are chemically different. Both baking powder and baking soda are leaving agents, but baking soda is a base (it’s alkaline). That’s why recipes calling for baking soda often have an acidic element as well, such as vinegar, lemon juice, buttermilk, molasses, or yogurt. When the two come into contact, bubbles of carbon dioxide are formed, creating the leavening in the batter. If there is no acidic element, baking soda will still create leavening when heated. However, the resulting taste may be a little metallic. The reason I am using baking powder in this recipe is that baking powder is a mixture of baking soda and a dry acid, so no additional acid is necessary. Let me know if you have any questions 🙂
Yesterday I made pizza with crust from chickpeas!
I loved the result!! And I think about making that crust from chickpeas more often and eat consume on his own like a bread, or maybe with some tomato sauce on it!
Thank you so much for the exact measurements you gave, because you are right, it’s a little bit tricky to make pizza crust from chickpeas because of their ability to become bigger while soaking, so I strictly followed your instructions and the result was excellent!
Thank you, Petra, for sharing with us different ways for making healthy legumes pizza crust!
P.S. One picture from my yesterday’s pizza has been sent to your e-mail :))
Haha, I make this pizza crust way too often! The chickpeas are definitely the trickiest to work with but so many people use chickpeas in their kitchen that the chickpea crust is probably the most popular. Your picture looks amazing (thank you for sending it!). I am so happy you enjoyed the recipe, Evgenia ❤️
To be honest, I didn’t expect this to work, my husband even less. The more I was surprised this one ingredient pizza crust is not only super tasty and super healthy but also crisp and tender at the same time plus it is so little work! Absolutely amazing! Already shared the recipe with friends 🙂
I am so happy you enjoyed the recipe so much, Steffi! Thank you so much for taking the time to rate the recipe and share it with your friends ❤️
Tried this today with red lentils. The texture was absolutely PERFECT! There was definitely a subtle “lentil” flavor, but it doesn’t ruin it at all. This is for sure my new go-to pizza recipe. love that it’s actually healthy and so easy to make!
Yay! So happy you enjoyed the recipe, Maya! Thank you so much for the feedback. ❤️
I have one question, I dont have an iron pan but I do have a pizza pan, if I use it, will it burn from the bottom? since is not a regular dough
Hi Liza – what is the pizza pan made of? The pizza “dough” does stick to any surface that is not non-stick. If your pan isn’t non-stick, I would line it with parchment paper.
hey, the recipe looks amazing. But I am a student and I don’t have such heavy appliances. Can I bake my crust on the pan itself? Kindly, suggest,
Hi Aaina – what type of pan do you have? If it’s not a non-stick pan, your best bet would be lining the pan with a piece of parchment paper. Let me know if you have any more questions 🙂
Please help… I’m always on the go.
Can I use canned chickpeas?
Hi Lucy – unfortunately, you do need to use dried chickpeas for this recipe to work.
Hi. Do you think I could use a Pyrex spring-form pan made of teflon and cook it in the oven?
Thanks for all your recipes!
Hi Sergio – I have never tried it, but I think that it would work just fine. A few things I can think of are 1. You might need to adjust the cooking time (because cast iron as an extremely good heat conductor), and 2. You might not get such a nice crispy bottom.
Got it. I may have to invest on one in the future. Thanks for replying.
May I use canned chickpeas instead? If so how much would I use?
THANK YOU <3
Hi Faith – no, you do need raw (soaked, uncooked) chickpeas for this recipe to work. Or I should rephrase – it might work with canned chickpeas but I haven’t cracked the code (yet)!
can i use moong dahl?
Hi Desiree – yes, moong dal (split mung beans without skin) should work just fine 🙂
I wanted to try the chickpeas one but I’m unsure if the chickpeas should be raw or dry roasted? Do you think it matters?
Hi Maggie – it absolutely matters. Raw chickpeas absorb water differently than roasted chickpeas. The chickpeas do need to be raw and soaked.
Thanks for the tip! I think it might be useful to include in the post the measurements for the dry legumes in addition to their weight after soaking, as I could only find them in the in the comments (sorry if they’re in the video).
I don’t usually mention measurements in my videos, but I did write them down in the recipe box (under the recipe notes). Hope it helps 🙂
AMAZING pizza crust!
I don’t have that kind of pan so I tripped the recipe and did it on the oven baking pan with parchment paper, after the 30min the dough was cooked but I tried it and the middle was like a puree, so I put the oven at maximum with ventilator, took the parchment paper off (which was fairly simple) and put it back in the oven for 15 minutes, MAGIC! Now it’s crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, delicious! Will make again ♥️
Yay! Thank you for sharing your feedback and tips, Rocio! That’s really helpful. So happy you like the recipe!❤️
Love your videos!
Can you use barely ?
Hi Rita – I have never tried it with barley, so I am not sure. I suspect that the barley to water ratio will be different, so you would have to experiment. Please, let me know how it goes if you give it a try.
I’m planning to make this recipe with red lentils. I only have baking soda at home. I know that it’s different from baking powder, so that’s why I’m asking for your help. What kind of and how much acidic component should I use for the crust to make it perfect? As the baking soda is stronger than powder I think I should use only 2 grams of it. What do you think about it? What kind of ratios should I use?
Thank you for your answer in advance,
I am so sorry for the late reply, Ana! I completely missed your comment. Generally speaking, you would want to use third or quarter the amount of baking soda. So, for 1/8 tsp. baking soda, you would need 1/2 tsp. lemon juice or some type of vinegar. My apologies for the late reply once again!
Hi is this recipe going work if crust is made from green split peas? If so, how much do I use and fo I need to soak it before using?
Hi Sara – I haven’t tried it with green split peas, but I suspect that it will be the same as yellow split peas (the amount of split peas and water is in the recipe box, under “recipe notes”). Please, let me know if you need any further assistance.
This recipe was amazing i appreciated the notes with the measurements for the soaked chickpeas!
Was wondering can I double the recipe?
Also can I keep the uncooked pizza crust mixture in the fridge for like quick dinner meal prep ? How long do you think it last in the fridge ? Or if I cooked the crust and maybe froze the crust or refrigerated it would you happen to have any idea how long it last?
Hi Lauren – so happy you enjoyed the recipe! Thank you so much for taking the time to share your rating and feedback!❤️ Yes, definitely! You can either make the batter ahead of time and store it in the fridge, covered, for up to 3 days. The crust does freeze well too (just make sure it is wrapped or stored in an airtight container).
How many net carbs does this have?
Hi Sophia – I just added the nutritional information into the recipe box 🙂
Can you simmer and cool the lentils instead of soaking?
So sorry for the late reply, Lauren! I have been travelling and just catching up with all the comments. I haven’t treid this recipe with cooked lentils, but I assume that if you used cooked lentils, you would need to adjust the amount of water.
Just excellent! Thank you so much for this recipe!
Aw, thank you Elcy!❤️
Hi Petra, can one use cooked chick peas for the pizza crust?
Hi Lisa – I have not had success with cooked chickpeas, so I don’t recommend cooked legumes for this recipe.