What is Pieology gluten-free crust made of?

Pieology is a popular make-your-own pizza restaurant chain that offers gluten-free crust as an option for customers with dietary restrictions. For those who need to avoid gluten, having a pizza crust option that is safe to eat is a great convenience. But what exactly goes into a gluten-free pizza crust that allows it to hold up as a tasty alternative to traditional gluten-containing dough?

The Need for Gluten-Free Pizza Crust

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. For those with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, consuming gluten can trigger a range of uncomfortable and even dangerous symptoms. These individuals must strictly avoid all foods and products containing gluten in order to manage their condition. This includes popular pizza crusts, as traditional crusts are typically made from wheat flour.

Fortunately, specialized gluten-free pizza crusts have been developed as an alternative. This allows those requiring a gluten-free diet to still enjoy pizza. Pizza crusts like those served at Pieology use ingredients that do not contain the gluten protein.

Typical Gluten-Free Pizza Crust Ingredients

While recipes can vary somewhat across brands and restaurants, most gluten-free pizza crusts are made using a combination of the following core ingredients:

  • Gluten-free flours – Rice flour, tapioca flour, potato starch, and corn flour are examples of specialty flours made from gluten-free grains and starches. These gluten-free flours form the main base and structure of the crust.
  • Xanthan gum or guar gum – These food additives help bind and add elasticity to gluten-free doughs.
  • Eggs or egg substitutes – Help add moisture, structure, and binding.
  • Oil – Typically olive oil or vegetable oil to keep the crust tender.
  • Water – Hydrates the dough.
  • Yeast – Leavens the dough to make it rise with bubbles and air pockets.
  • Salt – For flavor and dough conditioning.
  • Sugar or honey – Contributes sweetness and food for the yeast.

Binding all these ingredients together results in a dough that can be pressed, shaped, and baked into pizza crusts. The quantities and types of gluten-free flours used can be adjusted to produce the desired texture and flavor.

How Pieology Makes Their Gluten-Free Crust

While the exact proprietary recipe used at Pieology is unknown, their gluten-free crust likely contains a combination of the typical ingredients listed above. Based on consumer reviews and descriptions, Pieology’s gluten-free crust includes:

  • Gluten-free flour blend – Likely a combination of rice flour, tapioca flour, potato starch for structure.
  • Xanthan and/or guar gum – For elasticity.
  • Olive oil – Added for moisture and flavor.
  • Water – To hydrate the dry ingredients.
  • Yeast – For rising and adding air pockets.
  • Salt and Sugar – For dough conditioning and food for the yeast.
  • Flavorings – Such as garlic powder, onion powder, Italian seasoning.
  • Egg – May be used as a structure builder and binder.

Their unique blend of gluten-free ingredients produces a crust that is doughy and chewy, while still being crisp on the outside after baking. The use of Italian seasoning adds flavor throughout.

Pieology’s gluten-free crust manages to achieve a very close resemblance to traditional pizza crust in terms of texture and taste. Many customers find it to be one of the better gluten-free crusts compared to other pizza chains.

Gluten-Free Flours Binder Fats Liquids
Rice Flour Xanthan Gum Olive Oil Water
Tapioca Flour Guar Gum
Potato Starch

Preparation Process for Gluten-Free Pizza Crust

Creating a tasty gluten-free pizza crust involves more than just combining a list of ingredients. Careful preparation and handling is required to produce the best texture and flavor. Here is an overview of how most gluten-free dough is prepared:

  1. Mixing – The dry and wet ingredients are combined and mixed thoroughly. This hydrates the flours and activates the yeast and gums. The dough should become elastic as the ingredients are incorporated.
  2. Kneading – The dough is kneaded manually or by machine. This further developes the structure and combines the ingredients.
  3. Proofing – The dough is allowed to rest and rise. This allows the yeast to produce air pockets and bubbles.
  4. Shaping – The proofed dough is pressed or rolled out into pizza crust rounds or other desired shapes.
  5. Baking – The shaped crusts are baked at a high temperature until set. This makes the crust crispy outside and tender inside.

The steps involved are similar to traditional bread making. Extra care must be taken when handling and shaping the dough, as gluten-free crusts can be stickier and more delicate compared to wheat doughs. The use of parchment paper when rolling out the dough can help prevent sticking.

Nutrition Information of Gluten-Free Pizza Crust

One of the advantages of a gluten-free pizza crust made with specialty flours is that it provides a serving of carbohydrates with more nutritional benefits compared to wheat flour. Here is how a typical serving of gluten-free pizza crust compares nutritionally to a regular wheat crust:

Nutrition Facts Per Serving Gluten-Free Crust Wheat Crust
Calories 150 210
Fat 2 g 3 g
Carbs 30 g 40 g
Protein 3 g 8 g
Fiber 2 g 3 g

As you can see, the gluten-free crust is a bit lower in calories and carbs compared to wheat-based crust, while providing comparable protein and fiber. This makes it a nutritious replacement. The gluten-free flours also provide important nutrients like magnesium, iron, and B vitamins.

Cost Comparison of Gluten-Free vs Regular Pizza Crust

One downside to specialty gluten-free pizza crust is that it comes at a premium price compared to traditional wheat crust. This is because the alternative flours used cost more to produce. Let’s compare the cost difference:

Crust Type Cost Estimate
Gluten-Free $3.00 – $5.00 per crust
Regular Wheat $0.50 – $1.00 per crust

As you can see, gluten-free crusts can cost 5-10 times more than wheat crusts. This accounts for the higher prices you’ll typically see on gluten-free menu options at restaurants. The good news is that prices have come down somewhat over the years as gluten-free specialty ingredients become less niche.

Taste and Texture Comparison

Of course, the most important factor when choosing a pizza crust is how it tastes and feels in your mouth. Gluten-free crusts were very notoriously gritty and bland when they first appeared on the market. But the offerings have improved by leaps and bounds as the technology and recipes continue to evolve. Here is how modern gluten-free crusts stack up:


While it is impossible to perfectly mimic the flavor of wheat flour, gluten-free crusts now come extremely close. Many people find the taste nearly indistinguishable from wheat-based dough thanks to flavorful additions like garlic, onion, salt, and yeast. Going with a restaurant that specializes in gluten-free cooking, like Pieology, can ensure great taste.


Gluten-free dough feels a bit more moist compared to traditional crust, and has an overall softer, spongier texture. But xanthan and guar gum additions help replicate the chewiness and internal structure. And techniques like partially “frying” the shaped crusts before baking can create a crispy outside, just like traditional pizza crust. With thoughtful preparation, the texture profile can now be very similar.

Availability of Gluten-Free Pizza Crust

The availability of gluten-free pizza crust has expanded right alongside the general growth in gluten-free offerings across the food industry. Here are some of the places you can now find gluten-free pizza crust being served:

  • Pizza restaurant chains – Most large pizza chains like Domino’s, Papa Johns, and Pizza Hut now offer gluten-free crust, as does Pieology.
  • Frozen pizzas – Brands like Amy’s, Udi’s, and Glutino sell packaged gluten-free pizzas in grocery stores.
  • Pizza shop take-and-bake – Many smaller pizza shops now provide take-and-bake gluten-free pizzas.
  • Supermarkets – Pre-made and frozen gluten-free crusts and dough balls can be found in many supermarket chains.
  • Online – A wide range of mail-order gluten-free pizza crusts, doughs, and baked pizzas are available online.

The choices continue to expand, making gluten-free pizza more convenient than ever. And specialty gluten-free bakeries are even popping up in some cities, selling all kinds of gluten-free baked goods.

Downsides of Gluten-Free Pizza Crust

While gluten-free pizza crusts aim to closely replicate wheat dough, there are some disadvantages that are inherent when switching to specialty flours:

  • Higher cost
  • More delicate and prone to tearing
  • Can dry out faster during baking
  • Shorter shelf life
  • Denser, more moist texture
  • Difficult to get very thin and crispy

These downsides are diminishing as recipes continue improving, but some differences remain compared to the real thing. Being aware of the potential downsides can help set proper expectations.

Is Pieology’s Gluten-Free Crust Healthy?

Given its lower calorie, lower carb, and high fiber content compared to traditional pizza crust, Pieology’s gluten-free crust can be considered a healthy alternative for those needing to avoid gluten. However, keep in mind that any cornbread is still fairly high in carbohydrates.

Some additional considerations for health:

  • The crust uses healthier fats like olive oil rather than butter or shortening.
  • Gluten-free flours provide more nutrients than refined wheat.
  • Sodium content could be moderate if salt is added.
  • Quality depends on the toppings put on the pizza.

Overall, while not the lowest calorie option, this gluten-free crust provides a tasty way for gluten-sensitive diners to get in on pizza night. Moderation and vegetable topping choices are key for keeping nutritional value high.


Pizza lovers who need gluten-free options can find a great alternative crust at restaurants like Pieology. Their gluten-free crust manages to closely mimic the taste, texture, and satisfaction of traditional pizza crust while using specialty flours and careful preparation techniques.

Compared to wheat dough, Pieology’s gluten-free crust is lower in calories yet offers ample nutrition in the form of fiber and nutrients from ancient grains. It provides a safe, delicious way for gluten-sensitive individuals to enjoy one of America’s favorite foods.

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