Pizzas and Lava Cups

Pizza 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 it’s cooking, use some oil and salt to make lava flows just like in this video.

Make lava-like flows in the cup using oil, salt and food colouring


Pizza:Lava Cups
FlourFood colouring
Tomato pureeA glass or clear plastic cup
Toppings e.g. cheeseWater


  1. Boil the kettle and pre-heat the oven to 220°C (the pizzas can be finished in the oven…or a pan in which case skip this bit)
  2. Make the pizza bases
    • Measure 400g plain flour into a bowl
    • Add a pinch of salt
    • Make a well in the middle and add 1tbsp 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
  3. 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 put the pizza in, laying 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 the baking paper
    • Repeat for the other pizzas
  4. Add the toppings
    • Spread with tomato puree (or I have been known to use ketchup)
    • Sprinkle with grated cheese (cheddar works fine)
    • Top with any other favourite toppings like ham, sweetcorn or peppers
  5. Cook the pizzas
    • Place the pizzas directly on the oven shelf
    • Cook for 5-8 mins at 220°C
    • You can also cook pizza in the pan (heat a little oil on a medium heat, add the pizza and cook until the cheese has melted and the underside is starting to brown; to help the cheese melt, cover with a lid for a few minutes).
    • Whilst the pizza cooks, do a little science….
  6. Lava cups (adapted from the brilliant Science Bob)
    • Fill a glass or clear, plastic cup with water to around 3/4 full
    • Add a few drops of food colouring
    • Pour some oil into the cup
    • Sprinkle some salt on top of the oil


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

Other ideas for supper…
If you fancy something even easier then supermarkets sell dough mixes (and if all else fails order a takeaway and do the science whilst you wait for it).

The recipe here is quick and easy but pizza is traditionally made with “00” flour and yeast so if you want to go gourmet then check out this more authentic recipe here.

There is also a great one for kids (pizzas with veggie faces) here. Lastly check out this quick and easy homemade pizza sauce.

If you have time to melt some butter then the dough recipe from Recipetineats is amazing. I make a batch every week and use it for wraps, pan pizzas and flatbreads.

And finally….
If you enjoyed the lava in a cup and have any fizzy vitamins or Alka-Seltzer® tablets and a glass bottle or jar, then you can make your own lava lamp using similar principles. I love the themed ones on Science Sparks – there is even a Minion one.

Making some yellow lava cups outside

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