Why Trader Joe's Pizza Dough Should Always Be In Your Freezer

margherita pizza
margherita pizza - V. Matthiesen/Shutterstock

Next time you're perusing the aisles at your local Trader Joe's, grab a few packages of the pre-made pizza dough. You'll find it in the refrigerated section, near the cheese and cured meats, which you may also want to pick up along with other epic pizza toppings. Trader Joe's offers three flavors of the widely-favored dough: Plain, garlic and herb, and whole wheat, although they may not all be in stock all the time. There is also a gluten-free option that is sometimes available. Whatever flavor you choose, once you embrace its potential, you'll see why you should always have some of TJ's pizza dough in your freezer.

Whether you're seeking comfort food, need a taste of home, or just need something convenient for a Wednesday night, having Trader Joe's pizza dough at the ready makes your goal quick and easy to accomplish. It also allows you to create the pie you prefer and add variety to your daily meal because you can mix it up as a sheet pizza, go thin with New York style, or dish up Chicago-style pizza, all with the same Trader Joe's pizza dough. Here's a tip -- create different thicknesses by using a cast iron skillet, flat cookie sheet, or pizza stone. But pizza isn't the only thing Trader Joe's dough is good for. In fact, that unassuming little ball of bagged dough is a magical ingredient for several great dishes, or (hint) it can be eaten solo.

Read more: The 101 Best Pizzas In America

Freeze It For Later

rolled pizza dough
rolled pizza dough - Vm/Getty Images

Whether you have some extra dough after making dinner, you don't get around to using it right away, or you're just planning ahead for quick meals down the road, freezing Trader Joe's pizza dough requires nothing other than simply placing it into the freezer. You can leave it right in the bag it comes in. Conversely, you could also allow it to reach room temperature when you get it home, roll it into convenient individually-portioned sizes, and bake it for about 10 minutes. Once cool, place your pizza crusts into a freezer-safe bag and keep it on ice for future use.

Trader Joe's pizza dough will stay fresh in the refrigerator for two days, but if you don't use it within that time, it can stay in the freezer for two to three months. When it's time to use your pizza crust, give it loads of time to thaw. You want your pizza crust to get to room temperature, which can take 12 hours or more in the fridge, plus additional time on the counter. If you go straight from the freezer to an oiled boil, your dough will be ready in about four hours depending on the temperature of your kitchen. Allowing your dough time to warm will provide a lighter, flakier, less dense crust.

More Than Pizza

cinnamon rolls
cinnamon rolls - K_E_N/Shutterstock

Beyond convenience and deliciousness, Trader Joe's pizza crust is versatile enough for dishes ranging from savory to sweet. Think past pizza and open your culinary exploration up with this doughy, breadlike substance that can take shape as a crust, bread, or even a pastry. For example, you can fold the pizza dough over your ingredients, turning your pizza inside out to create a mushroom calzone. Then again, you can stretch Trader Joe's pizza dough out into a casserole dish, drizzle it with olive oil, herbs, or cheese, and make breadsticks.

For a sweeter delivery, top sections of your dough with butter and a cinnamon crumble. Then shape them into cinnamon twists or even cinnamon rolls. If you're in need of a side for dinner, TJ's pizza dough can be converted into rolls or cooked as a loaf of bread. Since it's a soft, somewhat sticky dough, you can also turn it into a focaccia bread with some fingerprints, olive oil drizzle, olives, and rosemary. Or roll it thin and shape it into ovals. Once baked, fold the flatbread to use for sandwiches. However you use it, one thing is certain, at only a couple of dollars per bag, Trader Joe's pizza dough is one ingredient you can't afford to skip.

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