How to Make a Low-Carb Pizza

Ideas and Recipes for Low-Carb Pizza

low carb pizza with mushrooms and green peppers
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Pizza is one of the most popular foods, but how can you enjoy it while watching your carbohydrates? It's not what's on top that is the problem, as most pizza toppings aren't high in carbohydrates. The usual pizza dough crust is the biggest sources of carbs. You might also reduce carbs in the sauce and cheese. Here are ideas for making a pizza that will fit into your low-carb lifestyle, and many are also gluten-free.


Most commercially-prepared pizza sauce has sugar in it, as does most red pasta sauce. You can make your own pizza sauce at home and control the ingredients that you use. Another simple and inexpensive alternative is to buy tomato paste and add your own seasonings such as garlic, oregano, and other Italian herbs and spices.


Whole milk mozzarella cheese has about 2.5 grams of carbohydrate per cup, and partial skim has slightly more. Most other mild cheeses have similar carb counts. Parmesan cheese has about a gram of carbohydrate per ounce (which is 5 tablespoons of grated cheese).

Other Pizza Toppings

Most meats only have scant amounts of carbs, although some sausages have added carbohydrates from fillers. Also, many popular pizza meat toppings are high in saturated fat and calories. Vegetables typically used on pizza are low in carbs, low in calories, and high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Examples include mushrooms (1.5 grams per cup, sliced), green peppers (2 grams per 1/2 cup, chopped), or you can choose other low-carb vegetables.  Olives (technically a fruit) provides 1 gram of carbohydrate per 4 large olives.

Non-Crust Alternatives

If you don't want to take the time to make your own pizza crust, try these ideas for having that combination of flavors you crave:

  • Just Eat the Toppings: It's the most flexible way to go, although messy. When your friends or family are ordering pizza, eat only the toppings and leave the crust behind. Get a salad to enjoy on the side.
  • Low-Carb Tortillas: If you like thin-crust pizza, a low-carb tortilla is a good substitute. The only trouble with this method is that you can't spread much on the tortilla, or it will tear. But you can smear on a little sauce, add cheese and toppings, and then heat in the oven or microwave. As an alternative, try a "pizza burrito" by wrapping pizza sauce and toppings in the tortilla
  • Portobello Mushroom: Scrape the gills out of a large Portobello mushroom and bake or grill it to get some of the moisture out. Fill it with toppings, then broil or bake.
  • Pepperoni Pizza Bites: Use pepperoni as the crust and cook mini-pizzas in a muffin cup.
  • Pizza Omelet or Pizza Frittata: Make an omelet or frittata, mixing in your favorite pizza toppings, and use the sauce as a condiment.

Low-Carb Pizza Crusts

Here are some of the basic approaches to make a low-carb pizza crust:

  • Deep Dish Pizza With Egg and Cheese Crust (Gluten-free): It's surprising how good this egg-based crust is. It makes a deep-dish type pizza that even tastes great as leftovers the next day.
  • Meatza Pizza (Gluten-free): This is a traditional low-carb approach. You make a base of hamburger and spices and put the pizza toppings on top.
  • Flax Meal Pizza Crust (Gluten-free): This is a hearty whole-grain approach. It's a version of flax meal focaccia bread made into a pizza crust. It's fairly thick, but you can make it thinner if you want. You'll have to wait for it to cool after baking before you can handle it, as it stays hot longer.
  • Soy Flour Pizza Crust (Gluten-free): Soy flour is much lower in carbs than regular wheat flour, but it isn't very low; one cup of soy flour has 20 to 25 grams of effective carbohydrate. This recipe modifies George Stella's recipe, which starts out with a consistency similar to pancake batter and makes a thin crust. Adding protein powder to lower the carb count also thickens the batter enough to be picked up. It does have a little soy taste, though the spices help cover that.
  • Cauliflower Pizza Crust. Pizza crust made from this nutritious vegetable is easy to make, low in calories, and super delicious.

By Laura Dolson
Laura Dolson is a health and food writer who develops low-carb and gluten-free recipes for home cooks.