Dominos vs Home Made Pizza: Which Cost of Pizza is Lower?
I grew up eating pizza for lunch (probably about once every few weeks or so), and it was always the kind that you could get in a box from the frozen meals section. It was usually Delissio or Digiorno or the Pillsbury pizza minis. Unfortunately the Pillsbury pizza minis have been discontinued and all that is left are pizzas that look like pizza pockets and don’t look remotely as tasty as what was discontinued (I haven’t bothered to buy them to taste them). Frozen pizza is easy, fast, and tasty, I can see why my mom always made that for us kids to eat. We rarely went out for pizza or even ever got take out pizza.
We never made pizza at home. The only time we went out as a family for pizza was when they had the Pizza Hut all you can eat buffet. Apparently (according to Reddit at least) they still have the old school Pizza Hut buffet, but for lunch. The other time I had pizza that wasn’t from the frozen food section was during pizza days at elementary school. Those were the best and it was a once a month thing. We would put our order in (mine was always a chocolate milk, a slice of cheese pizza, and a long john donut) and on the day of pizza day everyone formed an orderly line in the school gym and you would get your order. It was delicious and one of the fond memories I have of elementary school!
Fast Forward to Adulting
As an adult responsible for feeding myself I didn’t buy frozen pizza with the exception of the Pillsbury pizza minis (that stuff was so good, I am still so sad that they discontinued it) or Trader Joe’s pizzas if I make it down to Trader Joe’s (like once a year, lol). I don’t buy frozen pizza regularly because it takes up too much room in my freezer and also because the ingredient list is kind of scary with all sorts of unpronounceable ingredients. Then we started getting some Dominos carry out pizza because they had a promotion from time to time. It’s is fast and tasty when you don’t feel like making food.
I always wanted to try and make my own pizza (it always seems so complicated to make and difficult) but thanks to personal finance blogging, specifically Revanche from A Gai Shan Life and her pizza dough recipe, I took the leap and bought some pizza yeast and have been making home made pizza when I have some time. I have since started using another pizza dough recipe (a thinner crust one) and I found this home made pizza dough recipe from Ricardo.com is not as difficult to clean up (the sticky yeasty dough was hard to clean up) and it tastes great.
I know that home made pizza is clearly healthier for you- you know what ingredients are in your pizza dough- flour, sugar, water, yeast, and salt. I know that home made pizza can be convenient- as long as you have pasta sauce in your home, some meat or ham of some sort, and maybe even canned pineapples you are good (sorry I know there are a lot of people out there who don’t feel that pineapples belong on pizza, but I love Hawaiian pizza!!).
FYI, Hawaiian pizza was invented in Ontario, Canada in 1962 by a Greek-Canadian! He has since died in 2017 at the age of 82.
However, I have wondered whether making your own pizza is cheaper or buying take out is cheaper. You might think that’s a silly thought- of course FIRE fanatics always make their own pizza and it is clearly the winner… but cheese is very expensive here in Canada. A block of plain old mozzarella cheese is normally like $7.50. This is why whenever I go down to the states, I bring back as much cheese as I can.
Here’s my analysis from a Canadian personal finance blogger lens on which one is cheaper (in Canada at least), Dominos or home made pizza, and by home made pizza I mean Hawaiian pizza, the main option I pick:
The Cost of Dominos
The cost of a 14″ hand tossed pizza (Large pizza) with two toppings, ham and pineapple at Dominos for carry out is $16.99 plus tax. Usually I can eat 2-3 slices of pizza and my husband can eat 3 slices of pizza and we have leftover pizza for one of us for lunch the next day.
On promo days (usually I get notified by Barry Choi from Money We Have on twitter who also likes Dominos pizza or I get a flyer in the mail that there is a discount) where you can enter a coupon code for a discount when you order online, the large 14″ hand tossed pizza with two toppings (ham and pineapple) is $8.99 + tax. Sometimes I’ve seen a large pizza for $7.99 + tax.
We never order take out pizza without the coupon code or discount. Even in Oahu, Hawaii when we got Dominos takeout, I was frantically searching for a coupon code to use lol and found one, it was $10.99 USD.
@barrychoi @FatherWithCents best beachside dinner ever! The large 3 topping pizza is $10.99 here pic.twitter.com/ALcAE4p0h9
— Genymoney.ca (@genymoneyca) November 1, 2018
The Cost of Home Made Pizza
Okay, now that we know how much it is for take out pizza, let’s look at the break down of home made pizza and what it cost this most recent time I made some pizza:
- Mozzarella Cheese– I used a small package of Mozzarella cheese and it was on sale at No Frills for $3.75 or so. Normally a package is like $7.50 as mentioned.
- Pizza Yeast– The pizza yeast is from Fleischmann’s brand and comes in a package of three and it cost $1.75 or so, which I used a Checkout 51 coupon for and got $0.50 back, so it was $1.25. I only used 1 tsp worth of one package, so I would say it’s about $0.15 worth of pizza yeast.
- Flour– 2 cups, a large bag of flour is about $4 or so, and I’d estimate I used $0.25 worth.
- Sugar– negligible
- Salt– negligible
- Ham– I found a small package of “Honey Ham” from the deli section at No Frills, it was $0.99. In hindsight I could have gotten higher quality ham and more of it because this was barely enough for two pizzas.
- Pineapple– I found an organic pineapple for $2.50, and used only about 1/2 of it for the pizza toppings= $1.25
Total cost of home made pizza in Canada when you source ingredients that are on sale: $6.39+ tax
Here’s my most recent Hawaiian home made pizza, not depicted is the other baking sheet of pizza produced from this one batch of pizza dough. It fed me, my husband, toddler GYM for dinner and there was enough left over for lunch for both os us the next day.
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The Verdict: Dominos vs Home Made Pizza
The verdict as you can see, is that home made pizza is cheaper but not that much cheaper, and the absolute difference on a Dominos coupon day is $8.99-$6.39= $2.60. We did notice more delicious mozzarella cheese on the home made pizza than the Dominos pizza, so this wasn’t a completely valid control study.
I think it’s worth paying an extra $2.60 to not have to wash the pans, bowls, and grater after eating pizza. However, as our family gets older, I think it will be fun to have a pizza night when kids can participate and help out so in this case I would definitely opt for home made > take out.
That being said, getting to Dominos for the take out pizza (gas or walking) was not factored into the cost and therefore might make the absolute difference even smaller! In addition, I did not factor in the PC Optimum cash back points received since most of the ingredients were purchased at No Frills, a Loblaw’s store.
My verdict is that I’m going to continue sticking with Dominos take out on the coupon days and then make my own pizza when I have the time and when there’s mozzarella on sale at the grocery store.
Have you ever made pizza yourself?
What is your favourite pizza for take out or delivery?
How much does a large pizza go for in your neighbourhood?
GYM is a 30 something millennial interested in achieving financial freedom through disciplined saving, dividend and ETF investing, and living a minimalist lifestyle. Before you go, check out my recommendations page of financial tools I use to save and invest money. Don’t forget to subscribe for blog updates, a free dividend yield spreadsheet, and the free Young Money Bootcamp eCourse.
28 thoughts on “Dominos vs Homemade Pizza: Which Cost of Pizza is Lower?”
Another great way to make them at home is to buy Naan, and then put sauce/toppings on them. They are delicious…
@JamesB- My sister in law actually does that! I’ll have to try that sometime- half the effort but equal taste!
I loved Dominos in college. I tried it again a few years back and didn’t think it was that good. My preference is to get a frozen cheese pizza from the grocery store (usually Trader Joe) with a clean ingredient statement and then top it with more cheese and other ingredients that I like. It’s cheaper than carryout and easier than home made. I know a little bit about frozen pizza having worked in that industry for 10 years. In fact, the company I worked for made pizza for Kraft (now Nestle since they bought the Kraft pizza business years ago) under the Digiorno label. Pizza is one of my favorite foods. At my company, the test kitchen would crank them out all day testing product from the production lines and making prototypes for new products/customers. I gained 10 pounds my first couple years until I got myself under control. Tom
@Tom- I love Trader Joes! I had a 4 cheese frozen pizza from them last year and it was soo good. I wish we had Trader Joe’s up here. That’s a good compromise Tom- Trader Joes is good for having clean ingredients list. What a great perk to be able to taste test pizza! I would totally gain 10 lbs too, haha.
I got mad at Dominos 6 years ago. I still haven’t forgiven them for the heaps of hair on our pizza and their refusal to refund me because it took me “too long” to run my errands and get home, before noticing the gross. 🙂
We switched over to a local business for which we paid a premium ($35) for a large pizza MAYBE once a year. We more regularly enjoy frozen cauliflower pizza from Costco since I can’t really have the normal pizza anymore, it’s about $6 a pizza? We’re thinking of hosting a pizza-making dinner for kids sometime soon, I’m going to try your other recipe!
@Revanche- Oh GROSS. That’s so gross. I haven’t encountered anything like that so far. I haven’t ever tried cauliflower pizza, I’ll have to give that a try- I hope they have it in Canada’s Costco.
I looked forward to those days too in elementary school when they had pizza day in the cafeteria. I think it was every other Friday and I would rush to the line for some pizza. Fun times!!
MwC recently made some pizza with cauliflower crust and it was really good. Since she is pregnant now, idk if she has the urgency to make it again really soon but at least we know what to use for homemade pizza down the line.
The dominos over here has a regular promo where you can get two medium, two topping pizzas for $5.99 each. That’s a sweet deal!! Also they would have that same $5.99 price for their large and pan pizzas a few times a year. I would love to order from the local pizzerias more often but their prices are too expensive. We had a medium Maui Zaui(Hawaiian Pizza) from the local chain that costs $26. So for us it’s Dominos most of the time.
@Kris- Mm Maui Zaui sounds really good. There’s a nice local pizzeria close by that I’ve tried too-it was like $20, delicious but I could it it (by myself) in one sitting, so I thought that wasn’t very economical. Does MwC have any pizza cravings during this pregnancy? I am craving pizza all the time but have an aversion to rice and chicken.
She had pizza just once so far but so far she’s controlling her cravings. She was eating a lot during her first pregnancy with BwC and so she is trying to change it this time around. So far so good!!
@Kris- MwC is one tough cookie!! I just passed my diabetes test thank goodness hahaha I failed the first time a few years ago (ate a malt freezie before the test, not a good idea ever) and had to do the two hour one which meant I had to fast too.
Cool post, GYM! Although I have transitioned into more of a taco lover than a pizza lover, I went through a phase of pizza being my favourite food. I used to order Dominoes a lot. My favourite two pizza places would be Dominoes and Pizza Hut. I’ve also made my own pizza at home too. Based on my experience, I preferred the homemade pizza to the store pizza. But I can understand not always being up for the mess. Thanks for the review!
@Reverse- I found that if I add less pizza yeast it seems less messy and the crust is even crunchier. The tacos these days are so good e.g. fish tacos. They are pretty pricey too when you go out to eat them (e.g. $4 for a small taco but I would need at least 3 to feel full, haha).
We often make pizza at home too! We do it because it’s fun and everyone can personalize what they’d like on their pizza. It’s a great way to feed a diverse group that includes picky kids and people with food intolerances.
However, as you’ve found, there’s not a lot of money to be saved! Pizza’s one food that’s not all that cheap to DIY!
@Chrissy- I’m thinking maybe DIY is better in the states where cheese isn’t so expensive. It’s definitely a fun family activity though!
I’m making pizza tonight! Have you tried pepperoni and pineapple? FYI, much better than ham.
Here is what I use for pizza dough. Check it out.
Also, use fresh mozzarella if you can. It will elevate your pizza to a much higher level. I got a small ball from Trader Joe’s for $3. That’s not expensive.
My pizza is just as good as the pies from nice pizzerias. And that cost $20+ per pizza now.
I can’t eat chain pizza anymore. 🙂
@Joe- I always love your pizza pics! I see you use a special pizza block- does it taste better using that? I bought a metal pizza pan with holes in it recently and the pizza comes out crispier. No, I haven’t tried pepperoni and pineapple! I’ll have to try that sometime thanks for the tip.
We just made sixteen pizzas for the kiddo’s birthday party on Sunday (ten actually were baked and eaten). So yes, I’ve made just a few… ?
They do taste way better, and it’s fun for the kids to decide in the moment what toppings they want. We also make the sauce, and next time we plan on making the mozzarella too – it’s actually way easier than you’d think. And way less waste with any part you make from scratch yourself.
That said, it’s a heck of a lot more work than buying premade.
@Angela- That’s such a fun bday party idea. My sister in law recently did that for my niece’s bday party and it was so fun. MAKING THE MOZZARELLA?! AND THE SAUCE!? Whoa that is NEXT level!
Pizza is honestly my love language (and also? I totally remember those pizza days in element school. My order was similar, except instead of a donut, I had a popsicle!).
This post is everything haha. I love it.
Even though we are big pizza people, we honestly have not made our own – and that is largely because of a) laziness and b) the cost of cheese, as you mentioned. We don’t have a No Frills here, so it is usually stupid expensive, even at SuperStore. My stock-up price is typically around $4/block but that only happens every so many weeks.
That said, we also only order when we have a coupon. Otherwise, we do a frozen pizza or, lately, one of the PC flatbreads. Not exactly pizza, but I was shocked by how good they are!
@Tara P- Mm popsicle! Yeah, $4/block- I just bought some today at Shoppers for $3.99 for some cheddar. Haha I don’t think it is laziness on your part, I’m sure it is more the intimidation factor of never trying it before. When I tell people I made my own pizza, they are usually shocked, like “you made your own dough!?” but it’s not that hard it’s really just the clean up that takes a long time. And rolling the dough out so it resembles somewhat of a circle. I haven’t tried the PC flat bread- will have to go check them out!
The wild part for me is my husband use to work in a pizza place…where he made dough all the time. And yet, we still do not make pizza at home. To be fair, he has said the cleanup is the worst part, so I think you are likely correct in that assessment.
The flatbreads are sooooo good! Especially – and this might sound crazy but bear with me – the beet and squash one or whatever it is. Whatever one has beets on it, anyway. I thought it was going to be gross, but it’s actually really good! Well, unless you absolutely, 100 per cent hate beets. It’s not like, aggressively beet-y but…well. Beets be beets, you know? haha
@Tara P- Darn it I went to No Frills and just picked up a box of diapers and drano and forgot to look at the flat breads! I’ll be sure to look for the Beety flat bread and give it a try. Thanks for the recommendation!
Hmm, a Domino’s pizza where I’m at definitely is NOT $10.99. I’d say more like $18.99, and then you have to deal with the tip, too. I think large pizzas from more “artisan” places are in the high $20 range. For that reason, I do think it’s cheaper for us to make our own pizza! Instead of the packaged mozzarella, you could try grating your own from a block of cheese. That’s what my husband does and it’s a pretty cool frugal hack.
@The Luxe Strategist- Wow! The NYC premium- that’s a lot. I actually do grate my own from a block of cheese, lol! A block of cheese really is $7 up here in Canada! (sad face) I haven’t seen any Instagram pics of Teddy’s pizza, would love to!
I didn’t know Hawaiian pizza was invented in Ontario, of all places! Fun fact:)
When the kids were younger I tried to make gluten free pizza many times, never worked out very well but at that time you couldn’t order it from anywhere.
I also did the pita pizza and it was a lot of fun with the kids, mostly for a birthday party and it takes no time.
We don’t eat pizza too often but when we do, we usually order from a local place.
@Caroline- I haven’t tried a gluten free pizza before, but I imagine it would be hard to roll out. I may have to transition to pita pizza or at least give it a try to save some time.
This is awesome. I’ll have to try one of these pizza recipes. I’ve made pizza in the past and loved the results.
I do think I can make a much better pizza for cheaper than what I can get at the store. I think the secret to cutting costs is to buy as much in bulk as possible. If you buy smaller quantities, as you pointed out, you don’t save as much money. This was a great article!
@Chris Roane- Good point, I guess you could freeze the cheese when you get it on sale. I would try less yeast in the Ricardo recipe, it makes it less messy to clean up after.