The Pizza Topping You Should Always Cook Before Assembling Your Pie

Customizing your pizza with pizza toppings may be one of the best parts of making a pie, but it can also be complicated. In particular, mushrooms are a pizza topping that can become a trap for most newbies to pizza making. After all, most people assume the heat from the oven is enough to cook the mushrooms as is the case for many other toppings.

Unfortunately, that's where everything goes wrong. Mushrooms hold a lot of water relative to their unassuming size. When they come into contact with high direct heat, they start to leak water all over that highly absorbent pizza dough. This turns any decent pizza into a mediocre, soggy mess in minutes.  As Chef Dan Richer told Wired with regards to mushrooms on pizza, "Always cooked. It's super important. Mushrooms have a ton of liquid in them, so as they bake, they release a lot of liquid. We want that liquid to release before we put them on a pizza." 

This tip is indicative of how easy it is to screw up pizza when cooking at home, even with something as simple as toppings. Cooking the mushrooms beforehand is a crucial but important step many might not consider. 

Mushrooms are a great pizza topping when cooked correctly

Regardless of what type of mushroom you use to top your pizza, you should pre-cook all of them. Sautéeing is an easy way to cook them and give them a bit of extra flavor. Slice the mushrooms then sauté them with a bit of herb and lemon juice. It's recommended that you use medium-high heat when sautéeing mushrooms and either butter or oil. The butter and oil will prevent the mushrooms from burning or drying out too much. Keep in mind the mushrooms will be going back into the oven on your pizza.

Mushrooms aren't the only pizza topping that needs to be precooked before being laid on the pizza. While pre-smoked meat like sausage is fine to toss on your pizza as is, any raw meat should be cooked beforehand. The same goes for tough vegetables like Swiss chard or hard squash as well. Additionally, while it's not required, pre-cooking and caramelizing onions add some additional flavor to your pizza. 

While pre-cooking toppings like mushrooms may seem like extra work, it ensures your pizza turns out perfectly. Besides, if you're putting in the extra effort of creating your own pizza, you want it to taste better than delivery or store-bought.