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Pizza and Lava Cups

Updated: Feb 7, 2021

Pizza for supper is really easy to make with just a few ingredients: flour, salt and oil. Top with tomato puree and add some cheese for a super simple supper. Whilst that's cooking, use the oil and salt to make lava flows just like in this video.


Pizza: oil, flour, salt, tomato puree or ketchup, cheese

Lava Cups: oil, food colouring, salt, a glass


This recipe makes four individual pizzas. You can finish them individually in the pan or preheat the oven to 220°C.

1. Make the pizza bases

  • Measure 400g plain flour into a bowl with a pinch of salt

  • Make a well in the middle and add 1 tbsp oil and 240ml warm water

  • Mix until the dough comes together then tip out onto a large sheet of baking paper

  • Divide into four balls and roll them out as thinly as you can

  • Tip: pop another sheet of baking paper on top and roll the dough between them

2. Cook the base

  • Heat a little oil in a frying pan over a medium-high heat

  • When the oil is hot (has a slight shimmer and flows freely when you tilt the pan) carefully lay a pizza base away from you into the pan

  • Cook for a few minutes until the underside starts to brown then turn off the heat

  • Flip the base over so the cooked side is facing up and remove to some baking paper; repeat for the other pizzas

3. Add the toppings

  • Spread with tomato puree or ketchup

  • Sprinkle with grated cheese (cheddar works fine)

  • Top with any other favourite toppings like ham, sweetcorn or peppers

4. Cook your supper

  • Oven: cook for 5-8 mins at 220°C

  • Pan: heat a little oil on a medium heat, add the pizza and cook until the cheese has melted (you can cover the pan with a lid or some foil for a few minutes to help melt the cheese)

5. Whilst that cooks, you can do a little science

  • Fill a glass about 3/4 full of water

  • Add some food colouring

  • Pour a layer of oil into the cup

  • Now, sprinkle some salt on top of the oil

  • Add a teaspoon of salt to get a lava-like effect


What’s going on? The science in a sentence… The salt sinks down taking some of the oil with it; then the salt dissolves in the water and the oil floats back up to the surface.

Why is this important for our daily lives? Water and oil don't mix because water is polar (charged) and oil is non-polar. This is very important in nature for keeping things seperate. For example, our bodies are made up of trillions of cells, each surrounded by a membrane, or wall, of non-polar molecules which keeps the cell contents inside.

Other ideas for supper… To make it even easier, supermarkets sell dough mixes or why not order a takeaway pizza and do the science whilst you wait. Pizza is traditionally made with “00” flour and yeast so if you want to go gourmet then check out this more authentic version here or try this homemade pizza sauce. For young kids, BBC Good Food has pizzas with veggie faces. If you have time to melt some butter, this universal dough recipe is amazing - we make a batch every week and use it for wraps, pan pizzas and flatbreads.

And finally…. Science Bob has a great pdf worksheet of the lava cup activity with some ideas to make it into an experiment. If you have any fizzy vitamins or Alka-Seltzer® tablets and a glass bottle or jar, then you can also make your own lava lamp using similar principles. We love the themed ones on Science Sparks – there is even a Minion one.

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