IMG_0919Have you ever been to Mellow Mushroom? They recently opened up a location down in Carytown and I’ll be honest, I was a little skeptical at first. We already loved a local pizzeria right down the road. How could this place be any better than that? 

Well if you have ever tasted MM’s pizza, then you will agree, that it is truly intoxicating. The crust has a subtle sweet taste. It has perfect texture and darn it, it just tastes so damn good! It looks like it’s made with whole wheat flour, but I’ve come to find out that isn’t the case. The secret is in the molasses.

IMG_1364Most pizza or bread dough recipes call for some kind of sugar to be added to the mixture. This helps to feed the yeast and ultimately allows the dough to rise. MM has replaced the common sugar ingredient with molasses. The molasses gives the crust it’s darker color and I think it adds a more complex flavor to it overall.

Now, making a trip down to MM for my pizza fix can get quite expensive. I had to find a recipe that would deliver exceptional taste and texture. And after hunting through blogs, forums and Pinterest, I think I have finally found the perfect recipe.

As I mentioned in my previous post, here is my copycat mellow mushroom pizza dough recipe.

Mellow Mushroom Pizza Dough Copycat – makes about two 12″ pizzas
Recipe adapted from Lark and Lola
Tips and Tricks


  • 1 1/2 cups hot water (I try to get my water between 105-110)
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp molasses
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 packets of instant yeast (or 4 1/2 tsp if you buy your yeast in bulk)
  • 3 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • cornmeal (used for dusting your parchment paper)
  • melted garlic butter
  • parmesan cheese crumbs


  1. In a measuring cup, combine water, olive oil and molasses. TIP: Measure out the olive oil first and then the molasses. That way the molasses won’t stick to the spoon.
  2. Mix flour, salt and instant yeast together. Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture and slowly pour the water mixture into it.
  3. Using the paddle attachment, run mixer on low to bring all the ingredients together (should take about 30 secs to 1 minute).
  4. Switch to the hook attachment and run mixer on medium for about 15 minutes. Your dough ball should be slightly tacky but not sticky.
  5. Form dough into a ball and place in a lightly greased bowl. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator overnight to rise. Or you can let it rise on the counter top for 2 hours.
  6. Preheat oven to 500°F with your pizza stone inside on the very bottom shelf. Once your oven reaches 500°F, you need to preheat the stone for another 30 minutes before placing your pizza in the oven.
  7. Take dough out of the fridge and cut the dough into 2 equal parts. Take each piece and place it cut side down on your counter. Use the palm of your hand to smash it down a little. Then start to fold the sides in on itself to create a ball. (Alton Brown has a great demo on how to do this.) Then slowly roll the ball around on the counter with your hands cupped on either side to make the dough ball as tight as possible. Cover with a tea towel and allow to sit for 30 minutes. Repeat with other dough half. (I usually place the 2nd dough ball in the fridge to use for later in the week. It can stay refrigerated for about 5 days in a ziplock bag.)
  8. After your dough has rested for 30 minutes, you can start to form it into your pizza crust. I like to form my dough on parchment paper sprinkled with cornmeal. Again, Alton Brown has a great demo on this and can explain it a lot better than I could.
  9. Brush whole pizza with olive oil and top as desired. Place it in the oven for about 7-9 minutes or until the crust is a nice golden brown.
  10. Remove pizza from oven and brush crust with melted garlic butter immediately. Then sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Cut and serve.

33 Comments on Mellow Mushroom Pizza Dough Copycat

  1. Theresa
    September 4, 2013 at 2:55 pm (10 years ago)

    Molasses! I would have never guessed, but now that you’ve told me it makes perfect sense. I’ve never made my own pizza at home but I might just have to try this recipe. It might take some time, but it will probably still be faster than driving 45 minutes to get to the nearest Mellow Mushroom! 🙂

    • Kristen Grainer
      September 4, 2013 at 2:59 pm (10 years ago)

      I had to ask a waiter and that’s what he said they used. I think that’s how they make their pretzels too.

  2. Brenda
    January 29, 2014 at 8:28 am (10 years ago)

    I made pizza from this recipe – excellent!! No need to go to Mellow Mushroom so much now, which is very expensive. My favorite there is the Mega Veggie, which I probably would not be able to properly duplicate all those toppings. But now I can make the dough using heirloom flour – which does not give my husband gastro problems like the modern day flours do. Am considering using the dough to make pretzels with for Superbowl Sunday for us, and freezing some of them to back as fresh later on.

    • Kristen Grainer
      January 29, 2014 at 9:06 am (10 years ago)

      I’m so glad you like it! My husband and I love it too. I was actually thinking of using the dough to make pretzels for the Super Bowl as well 🙂

      • Greenguru
        October 29, 2015 at 4:15 pm (8 years ago)

        The litle woman said pretzels too, also thanks for the share awesome flavor dough

        • Kristen Grainer
          October 29, 2015 at 5:00 pm (8 years ago)

          Awesome! You’re welcome. I’ve also made bread sticks from the dough recipe too 🙂

  3. Brenda
    February 2, 2014 at 5:42 pm (10 years ago)

    I just took some of dough and put into a greased bread loaf pan, it rose and filled the pan, I baked it and just sliced some. It makes a nice loaf of bread, with a very nice crumb. This dough begs to be used, once it starts rising it just won’t quit!

    • Kristen Grainer
      February 6, 2014 at 2:28 pm (10 years ago)

      That’s awesome! What a great idea!

  4. Annie
    February 6, 2014 at 2:21 pm (10 years ago)

    I have made this twice now and LOVE it! I do have a question though… both times I have made this I have had to add quite a bit more flour to get the dough to come together. The first time I thought maybe I measured wrong, but after the 2nd time (and being especially careful to measure properly) turned out too runny I knew there was something wrong. The crust still turns out great (after adding close to another 1/2-1 cup or more of flour) but I was wondering what I may be doing wrong? Can it be due to kitchen temp or humidity? We usually keep the house a cool 69 degrees, so I wouldn’t think so… Any ideas?

    • Kristen Grainer
      February 6, 2014 at 2:26 pm (10 years ago)


      I’m so glad you love it. I’ve found that humidity can really make a difference when it comes to any kind of bread making. So I don’t think it’s uncommon to have to add more flour (I’ve found that I have to add more water because it has been so dry here). As long as it tastes good then you’re doing it right.

      Edited to add: I also found that it depends on the brand of flour you are using. If using King Arthur Bread Flour, then the dough comes together almost too well at 3 1/2 cups. But if you use Pillsbury Bread Flour then you may need to add more flour depending on the humidity of your environment.

  5. Yael Arai
    December 28, 2014 at 12:23 pm (9 years ago)

    From my experience when you use King Arthur bread flour it will require more water or less flour. I love this brand’s flour and use it in all recipes.
    Did anyone try to make the MM’s pretzels from this recipe ?

    • Kristen Grainer
      January 2, 2015 at 3:45 pm (9 years ago)

      I’m sure it would work fine to make the pretzels. I’ve never tried it before. I think one commenter said they used it to make dinner rolls with that turned out pretty delicious.

  6. Haley Caldwell
    January 2, 2015 at 3:38 pm (9 years ago)

    We love Mellow Mushroom, and I’m an adventurous chef, so I’m trying to adapt this into a dessert pizza version. I’m leaving out the parmesan, garlic, and subbing canola oil for olive oil. Who knows how it’ll turn out?! I certainly don’t, but doesn’t that make cooking fun? Wish me luck!

    • Kristen Grainer
      January 2, 2015 at 3:45 pm (9 years ago)

      Good luck! Let me know how it turns out.

  7. Jennifer
    April 14, 2015 at 8:37 pm (9 years ago)

    I have searched for years for the perfect homemade pizza crust recipe, and this is it! We recently ate at Mellow Mushroom for the first time, and I loved the crust. I found your copycat recipe and gave it a try, and it baked up perfectly on my pizza stone. I had to increase the bread flour to a full 4 cups, because my dough was sticky, but it rose beautifully, and baked up with a deliciously crisp bubbly chewy crust! Thank you for this recipe, I will be using it alot!

    • Kristen Grainer
      April 14, 2015 at 8:41 pm (9 years ago)


      I’m so glad you like it 🙂 I’ve had to add flour before too. My favorite pizza to make is a Bbq chicken pizza. Huge hit in my house.

      • Jennifer
        April 25, 2015 at 2:20 pm (9 years ago)

        The BBQ chicken pizza is what I’m about to make for my guys! I was thinking of making a few batches of dough to freeze. Do you think that would have good results? If yes, then should I freeze after the first rise?

        • Kristen Grainer
          April 25, 2015 at 2:22 pm (9 years ago)

          I have never frozen it before, however, I would think that you would be fine to do so. I would let it do the first rise and then portion it out the way you want to and freeze it. Then just leave it in the fridge to thaw the day before you want to use it. If you do it, let me know how it turns out.

  8. Joanne
    September 16, 2015 at 8:56 pm (8 years ago)


  9. Jerry
    October 4, 2015 at 8:55 am (8 years ago)

    Outstanding love MM pizza. Thanks

  10. Kyle
    November 22, 2015 at 6:09 pm (8 years ago)

    Looking forward to trying this! However what are you using for a pizza sauce and cheese?

    • Kristen Grainer
      November 22, 2015 at 7:33 pm (8 years ago)

      So normally I make this for BBQ chicken pizza where I put BBQ sauce as the base then chicken (smoked if we smoked a chicken earlier in the week). Then I put Colby jack and mozzarella cheese and top with bacon. For me, this is my favorite pizza with this crust. I’m sorry I don’t have any recommendations for pizza sauce

      • Ana N
        July 13, 2016 at 3:17 pm (8 years ago)

        I do the same thing too. We make pulled chicken a lot and I make my own bbq sauce and it’s heavenly on this crust 🙂

  11. Wade Dickert
    March 29, 2016 at 3:35 pm (8 years ago)

    I tried this. Made four balls, saran wrapped them, froze two. They thawed in a ziplock bag in warm water in 30 minutes or so. I let them rise in a greased bowl again to proof for one hour and it turned out perfect.

    I used bread flour not AP flour for this. Lark and Lola’s original recipe doesn’t specify. I assumed they meant AP. Still turned out great!

    • Kristen Grainer
      March 29, 2016 at 5:14 pm (8 years ago)

      I use bread flour too. Glad you liked it 🙂

  12. Matthew Duffy
    November 20, 2017 at 4:06 pm (6 years ago)

    We had MM for lunch today and again was amazed at the bill. I’ve been making pizzas at home now for a while but had been using a rendition of a Bobby Flay recipe. I will try this next and let you know how it goes! Glad to see a local Richmonder on a google search! 🙂

  13. Christopher
    August 31, 2018 at 7:11 pm (5 years ago)

    Just baked two delicious pies my new go to recipe. Started with Bobby flays,wasnt crazy about it then found the napolitano’s and used double 00 flour that too was good ,that was b4 i actually went to MM found there crust to be the best , looked on line found this one and this is the best ,my son andrew suggested putting a edge on it and it turned out better than i expected

    Thanks for the Hack
    The pie house 1822

  14. Rafael
    January 21, 2019 at 5:58 pm (5 years ago)

    Extra cup using AP flour was perfect

  15. Nancy
    June 15, 2019 at 8:41 pm (5 years ago)

    Just tried this dough recipe — because of what I had on hand, I used bread flour, dark ‘robust’ molasses, and a bread machine to make the dough. The crust was delicious, but a tad salty. Could have been due to the turkey pepperoni I used, but I don’t think so. The keys to this crust, I think, are the molasses, the garlic butter and parm cheese on the edge of the crust when it comes out. It was VERY close to MM crust. By far, the best crust I’ve made.

  16. Erin
    April 3, 2020 at 7:23 pm (4 years ago)

    Hi! I love your recipe, made it years ago and you saved my family of 5 literally hundreds of dollars 🙂 Then we moved near a Costco and that became our go to because life is busy. Anyway, social distancing has me back to your recipe (which we actually like much more than Costco) and I’m having a problem I never had before. I’m not a baker, so I’m hoping you’ll have thoughts. Both times I’ve made it in the last 3 weeks, my dough is so elastic that I cannot get it as thin as I’d like it/as thin as I used to get it. Ideas? I’m following the instructions exactly. The second time we’d even roll it, let it sit awhile, roll again, repeat x3,. Google was no help because there are sooooo many different recipes and instructions out there. Thanks!

    • Kristen Grainer
      April 6, 2020 at 9:40 am (4 years ago)

      Oh no! What kind of flour are you using? For me, I can’t use King Arthur flour because it makes the dough very tough. Are you using instant yeast or original?

      • Erin
        April 11, 2020 at 5:58 pm (4 years ago)

        “Fast rise” yeast (guessing that means instant) and it is King Arthur bread flour. It’s currently my only option, though, as our Covid grocery run is done for 10 days. I’m making it again tonight and will try using less flour to see if that helps. The pizza crust is still delicious and we eat up every bite! I appreciate you taking the time to answer.

        • Erin
          April 17, 2020 at 12:21 am (4 years ago)

          I did two things differently this last time, and I was definitely able to get my crust thinner (and so larger). I actually measured the temp of my water (it was way hotter than you recommended straight from hot tap) and I used 3 cups of KA bread flour (though I ended up adding another 1/4 cup during mixing). My dough was much stickier, but not impossibly sticky, and it rolled out thinner like I like it. Will do both these things again. Thanks!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comment *