Yes, you heard that right! You can make easy Air Fryer Focaccia Pizza with a perfectly cooked base without needing a pizza oven. A focaccia base is topped with a delicious tomato sauce and loaded with cheese and fragrant Sicilian style herbs. Pizza night just became a lot more fun!
Table of contents
- Vegetarian Sicilian Focaccia Pizza (sheet pan recipe)
- Sicilian Pizza
- Easy Air Fryer Pizza
- Why use the air fryer to make pizza
- Ingredients for vegetarian focaccia pizza
- Vegan Focaccia Pizza
- How to make focaccia pizza in the air fryer
- Recipe notes for the best focaccia pizza:
- Other Air Fryer Recipes:
Vegetarian Sicilian Focaccia Pizza (sheet pan recipe)
I find focaccia so satisfying. The pillowy soft pockets of bread, which are delicately flavoured, are just too good to pass up. Layering on some fragrant and bright tomato sauce, cheese and fresh herbs takes the focaccia to a whole new level.
Suddenly, the popular starter becomes a main dish – focaccia pizza is easily a lunch or dinner in its own right! It tastes incredible and is totally filling.
I chose to make the whole pizza in a sheet pan for ease. The focaccia dough is semi-cooked first and then the toppings are added after.
One bite of this and I was transported back to warm European streets, focaccia pizza from a stall in one hand and a can of ice-cold lemonade in the other. It is a bit like the Pizza al taglio or Pizza by the slice sold in food stands or pizzerias.
The texture has resemblance to deep-pan pizzas rather than the thin crust thanks to plenty of yeast in the dough which gives a fluffier texture.
The good thing about this recipe is if you want focaccia only, you can simply leave off the toppings and air fry for the full time. The dough needs an hour in total to rise and the pizza will be fully cooked from raw dough in just 15 minutes!
Sicilian Pizza was the type of pizza mostly prepared in Sicily, Italy. The recipe then travelled to North America where it is prepared with a thick crust and rectangular shape. Sicilian Pizza is also called Sfincione or focaccia with toppings.
There are certain recipe traits that make traditional Sicilian Pizza. The crust or base is fluffy and spongey and the toppings are spread to the edge of the base – there is no crust in Sicilian pizza.
The dough is proved twice in this recipe – first once kneaded and then again once it is in the baking tra
The authentic recipe calls for caciocavallo cheese and would not use mozzarella. However, to keep this recipe vegetarian, I have used cheddar and mozzarella.
Note that this recipe is a Sicilian “style” Pizza as it does not fully match all of the characteristics of the authentic recipe.
It makes for a great lunch, lunch-to-go, dinner or an indulgent snack.
Easy Air Fryer Pizza
I love my elaborate recipes when the occasion calls for it, but day-to-day, easy recipes are what I seek.
Luckily, focaccia is one of the easiest no-knead bread recipes out there.
To make this recipe even more easy, you can shop-bought focaccia bread mix and pizza sauce but I have included the recipes for homemade here. Of course, homemade does always taste better!
This is a focaccia pizza you can make on the same day – no need to wait 24 hours for the dough to rise. You still get perfectly fluffy bread that is soft inside and lightly crunchy on the outside.
There are many recipes for air fryer pizza but I think making sheet pan pizza is so much easier because you do not need to struggle with handling an uncooked pizza.
Anyone who owns an air fryer knows that taking food in and out can be tricky without spillage. No need to worry about that with a sheet pan, simply drop the whole thing into the air fryer basket and cook!
You do not even need to attempt to shape the pizza but simply push the focaccia dough into the corners of the pan.
The only difficult thing about this recipe is trying to ignore the waft of pizza filling the kitchen as you wait for it to cook!
Why use the air fryer to make pizza
I use the Instant Pot Air Fryer however you can use any brand. In case you’re asking, are air fryers worth it?, here are some of the reasons that I am an advocate for air fryer pizzas over oven cooked
Perfect crispy base – thanks to convection cooking, the base cooks beautifully from underneath without needing a pizza tray or a pizza oven.
No need to turn pizza – pizza in ovens tends to brown/blacken fast on one side but with the air fryer, you do not need to turn the food
Easy to portion – I find that I can make a decent large slice of pizza for 4 people in the air fryer
Mini pizzas – using smaller baking trays, everyone can make their own flavour/toppings of pizzas
Ingredients for vegetarian focaccia pizza
See my Grape and Rosemary Focaccia recipe for notes on ingredients required for the focaccia. Of course, leave out the grapes and goats cheese.
To make it even simpler, buy a store-bought focaccia mix. To go super-duper simple, buy ready made focaccia, simply top with tomato sauce, cheese and herbs for the quickest ever pizza meal!
Tomato sauce – I used a homemade marinara sauce using canned tomatoes which is rich with flavour. See below for the full recipe. You can also use passata (sieved uncooked tomatoes) or store-bought pizza sauce.
Cheese – I used a blend of grated mild cheddar and sliced fresh mozzarella. If using fresh mozzarella, make sure to drain as much of the moisture as possible or else the pizza will be soggy.
Sicilian herbs – This is optional but I highly recommend adding these blend of herbs for an incredible boost of flavour. I made my own blend (recipe below) but as an alternative, use Italian seasoning.
Plum tomatoes – To top the pizza, I sliced some baby plum tomatoes lengthways.
This pizza tastes fantastic and has all the flavour you need as it is, however you can get more adventurous.
You can add all sorts of toppings to suit your taste, think of this recipe as the base.
I love adding different grilled veggies like in this Chargrilled Vegetable Pizza.
Vegan Focaccia Pizza
Use vegan cheese in place of the mozzarella and cheddar. The other ingredients are naturally vegan.
How to make focaccia pizza in the air fryer
Focaccia Pizza is made in a few easy steps, with the end-result being so rewarding!
Preparing the focaccia crust
Add all the dry ingredients to a bowl then mix in warm water until you have formed a wet sticky dough.
If you are using a focaccia bread mix, follow the packet instructions.
Knead the dough for 2-3 minutes or use a stand mixer.
Generously pour a few glugs of olive oil over the dough, cover with a towel and allow the dough to rise for 1 hour (do not leave directly in sunlight). Use the Instant Pot to speed the process – see recipe notes below.
Once the dough is risen, knock out the air and arrange on a sheet pan approximately 1 inch thick. The baking tray should be brushed liberally with oil. Cover again and allow to rise for 30 minutes.
Using your fingers, dig deep holes/grooves into the focaccia.
Place the sheet pan in the Air Fryer and select Air Fry at 205C or 400F for 5 minutes. The focaccia will have risen and very slightly browned on top.
At this point, spread on the tomato sauce and sprinkle over the dried Sicilian herb mix. Top with grated cheese going all the way to the edges.
Put cut tomatoes on top.
This time, I have lowered the temperature to allow the focaccia to cook all the way through and prevent the cheese from burning. Air fry at 170C or 340C for around 10-12 minutes. The cheese should be bubbling.
Cut with a knife and serve immediately with plenty of fresh basil and scatter over more dried herbs if you wish.
How to make marinara sauce for dipping/pizza/pasta
No sugar is necessary and this marinara sauce will be bursting with sunny tomato flavour without being sour – you just need patience.
To make 500ml marinara sauce, you will need
2 tins (400g each) of plum tomatoes,
1 large brown onion,
4 garlic cloves,
2 tbsp tomato puree,
1 tbsp dried oregano,
2 tsp red chilli flakes,
salt and pepper to season
I made the marinara in the Instant Pot pressure cooker to save time but you can also make it on the stove.
Add 2 tbsp olive oil to the pan/inner pot and sauté roughly chopped onion and garlic cloves (the sauce will be hand blended later). When the onion is translucent and the garlic has softened, tip in all of the tomatoes and the tomato puree, herbs and spices. Stir well. Add approximately 150mls of water and close the Instant Pot lid.
Pressure cook on High for 12 minutes and allow for NPR.
For stove top – cover with a lid and simmer on low/medium heat for around 30 minutes or until you see oil appearing around the sides. The mixture should be thickening and reducing down.
Blend the sauce and season with salt and pepper. If it is still a bit loose, sauté for 5 minutes to reduce further.
The marinara sauce is ready to be used to dip into, to be stirred into cooked pasta, used in a pasta bake or as a pizza topping.
How to make Sicilian herb mix
This gorgeous seasoning blend is so beautiful with the deep tomato sauce and cheese. I add it on top of the tomato sauce rather than on the cheese to prevent it burning as the pizza cooks.
You will need
- 1 tbsp dried basil
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 1 1tbsp dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp red chilli flakes
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1tsp crushed fennel seeds
Recipe notes for the best focaccia pizza:
Give the dough plenty of time to rise to achieve the fluffiest base – I use my Instant Pot on yogurt mode to prove the dough faster during cool months (thanks UK weather!). For this method, generously add olive oil to the inner pot of the Instant Pot. Brush some oil on the sides of the inner pot as the dough will rise. Place the dough in the inner pot and cover with a clear lid (not the Instant Pot lid). Select Yogurt or Sous Vide and set the temperature to 30C if it gives you the option. Prove for 30 minutes. The dough should have doubled in size. If not, add another 15 minutes at a time.
To allow for full flavour of the focaccia, wrap the kneaded dough and keep in the fridge overnight. This allows the yeast and flour to develop a sourdough flavour. The next day, you will gave to punch down the air from the dough and allow to rise again for another hour prior to using.
Ensure the sheet pan or baking tray that you use is at least 3 inches deep to allow for the focaccia to rise.
For the softest focaccia, do two proofs – once with the kneaded dough and once after the dough is laid into the pan.
Some recipes suggest to use the highest possible heat settings when cooking the focaccia. I found that in the air fryer, 205C for 5 minutes was sufficient to par-cook the focaccia before adding toppings. Then lowered the heat to 170C and cooked the pizza with toppings for 12 minutes. I had perfectly cooked, fluffy crust and golden melted cheese. You may have to make small adjustments to these times.
Cooking the focaccia twice first allows the crust to almost cook then adding the toppings. This way, the crust is fully cooked and crispy and the toppings do not burn.
Allow the pizza to rest for 5 minutes before slicing into.
Store any leftover cooked focaccia pizza in an airtight container in the fridge. Reheat in the microwave, oven or air fryer. Alternatively eat cold leftover pizza!
You can also freeze the pizza. Place in a freezer safe container (if stacking slices, keep a layer of foil in between to prevent sticking). Freeze for up to 1 month. Defrost completely at room temperature then reheat through.
Yes, the dough can be made up to 2 days in advance. Coat the kneaded dough in oil and keep in the fridge in an air tight container.
When you are ready to use it, remove from the fridge, punch out the air, and allow the dough to rise to double again. This may take 1-2 hours.
You can use your pressure cooker on Yogurt mode to prove dough in colder weather. Generously add oil to the inner pot and place the dough in the pot. You can alternatively place the dough on top of parchment without oil. Cover the inner pot with a glass lid – not the Instant Pot lid and select Yogurt mode or Sous Vide (at 30 Celsius) mode on some models. Do this for 30 minutes at a time. If the dough has not risen sufficiently, add another 15 minute at a time
Yes, you can. Preheat the oven to 475F, arrange a rack in the lower third of the oven. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the focaccia pizza is golden-brown around the edges. Then add tomato sauce, cheese and tomato halves and bake until cheese has melted.
Other Air Fryer Recipes:
Air fryer Apple Pies (hand pies)
Punjabi Samosa Puffs (Air Fryer)
As always if you make this recipe, rate it below and tag me on Instagram at @jcookingodyssey. I love seeing all of your photos of my recipe recreations. Don’t forget to follow along on Facebook, Pinterest and YouTube also. I’d love to keep in touch!
Air Fryer Sheet Pan Focaccia Pizza
- ¼ cup tomato sauce
- ¼ cup cheddar cheese grated
- ¼ cup mozzarella cheese grated
- 2 tablespoon Sicilian herb
- 6 plum tomatoes baby
- 2 tablespoon basil leaves fresh
- Place flour, yeast, sugar, salt and chopped rosemary in a stand mixer bowl or bowl.225 grams bread flour, 1/2 teaspoon active yeast, 1/2 tablespoon caster sugar, sea salt, 1/2 teaspoon rosemary
- Add warm water, knead the dough for 2-3 minutes.175 ml warm water
- If using hands to knead the dough, mixing with a wooden spoon until it forms a dough (if it sticks to the bowl, add a little more flour). Using your hands, knead for 10 minutes until smooth.
- Pour 3 tbsp of the oil into a bowl. Roll the dough in the oil and shape into a ball. Cover with clingfilm or clean kitchen towel and leave in a warm, draft-free place for 1–2 hours until the dough has doubled in size.4 tablespoon olive oil
- If using an Instant Pot to prove the dough, read the notes above in the main post.
- Once the dough is risen, knock out the air and arrange on a sheet pan approximately 1 inch thick.
- The baking tray should be brushed liberally with oil. Cover again and allow to rise for 30 minutes.
- Using your fingers, dig deep holes/grooves into the focaccia.
- Place the sheet pan in the Air Fryer and select Air Fry at 205C or 400F for 5 minutes. The focaccia will have risen and very slightly browned on top.
- At this point, spread on the tomato sauce and sprinkle over the dried Sicilian herb mix. Top with grated cheese going all the way to the edges.1/4 cup tomato sauce, 1/4 cup cheddar cheese, 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese, 2 tablespoon Sicilian herb
- Put cut tomatoes on top.6 plum tomatoes
- This time, I have lowered the temperature to allow the focaccia to cook all the way through and prevent the cheese from burning.
- Air fry at 170C or 340C for around 10-12 minutes. The cheese should be bubbling.
- Cut with a knife and serve immediately with plenty of fresh basil and scatter over more dried herbs if you wish.2 tablespoon basil leaves
The nutritional information provided is an approximation calculated by an online calculator/plugin. Please consult a professional dietitian for nutritional advice.