Why Are GF Pizzas Mostly Small and Thin: Want Bigger Pies?

By now, you’ve probably noticed that most gluten-free pizzas are smaller in size and have thinner crusts than their traditional counterparts. In fact, almost all gluten-free pizzas follow this trend.

Ever wondered why? Could it be because of the ingredients, or is it simply a choice made by the pizza makers?

The short answer is that it’s because of the combination of both ingredients used and the choice made by pizza makers. However, for economic and practical reasons, the pizza industry has adopted the small size as its standard GF Pizza size; otherwise, larger GF pizzas are possible and do exist.

Let me break down these two reasons a bit further and give you some tips on where to find bigger, thicker GF pizzas if that’s what you desire.

I promise I’ll try to keep this as un-boring as possible.

Reasons Gluten-Free Pizzas Are Small and Have Thin Crusts

First and foremost, it’s not impossible to make a large and thick-crust pizza out of gluten-free flour. I’ve seen and eaten large and thicker gluten-free pizzas before. So, there is no inherent limitation in the ingredients that makes the size and thickness of the crust smaller.

But, let’s see why it can be a bit difficult to make larger, thicker crust GF pizzas and why the industry has adopted smaller sizes as their standard.


Any raw or combined ingredient(s) that lack binding power and/or elasticity will be more difficult to handle and shape into larger sizes of baked products without it collapsing or becoming too dense.

Gluten-free flours, for example, are usually made of these ingredients that lack binding and elastic properties.

They don’t have the protein content found in traditional wheat flour, which helps to give structure and support to pizza dough. Therefore, they require the use of other binders, such as xanthan gum or eggs, to help hold it together better.

Baker Mixing Raw Ingredients

This means that there is a delicate balance in using enough binders and gluten-free flour to create a crust that can hold its shape without becoming too dense or crumbly and not taste like rubber. And it’s easier to achieve this balance with smaller and thinner crusts than larger ones.

Again, the keyword here is “easier” and not “impossible”.

And that, my friends, is the ingredient factor in why most GF pizzas have smaller and thinner crusts.

Now, let’s move on to the choice factor.

Pizza Makers’ Choice

Simply put, it can be more economical for pizza makers to make smaller GF pizzas.

As I mentioned in my post about why gluten-free pizzas cost more, despite the growing popularity and demand for GF options, these pizzas still have a smaller market share.

They’re typically sold as individual meals because it’s not common for a group of people to exclusively eat gluten-free. It’s usually ordered for one person in a group for either dietary or lifestyle reasons.

Boy Getting His Pizza from Chef

So, it’s more cost-effective for pizza makers to make smaller-sized GF pizzas for individuals instead of larger ones that may be more than one person can eat.

And, of course, they don’t mind the extra sale in the event multiple people have to eat gluten-free.

Still, you can find pizza places and even frozen pizza brands that offer larger, thicker GF pizzas.

Where to Find Bigger, Thicker Gluten-Free Pizzas

Ever been told to “think out of the box”? Well, for bigger and thicker-crust GF pizzas, you gotta “LOOK out of the box”.

What I mean is that for more authentic-looking GF pizzas, you should look beyond the traditional chains—even the newer and trendy ones. You won’t find hand-stretched, stone-baked authentic pies at these places.

Your best bet is to look for smaller, locally-owned, individual pizza places that offer GF options; places like Bleecker Street out of New York or Tomato Pie out of LA.

Small Authentic Pizza Place

These types of independently owned pizzerias have the experience and knowledge to make larger and thicker gluten-free crusts without sacrificing taste or texture.

Some frozen brands too offer larger GF pizzas, such as Against the Grain or Caulipower. I even did a review of Oggi’s gluten-free crust which is thickest plain GF crust I’ve ever had from the frozen section.

So,  don’t lose hope in finding larger and thicker GF pizzas. It may take a bit more effort and research, but it’s worth it for that satisfying pizza experience.

Wrap Up

I want to wrap this up with a thought that may come off as arguable to some— I’m increasingly convinced that in order to have the best gluten-free pizza experience, I need to roll up my sleeves and start making my own in my kitchen.

I’ve been practicing and experimenting with GF flour blends and have found the gluten-free pizzas I make at home are just as good, if not better, than those I get at restaurants.

And while it may be an added effort, it’s totally worth the experience.