I have a thing for wrapping things up in bread. And for a long, long time, I’ve specifically wanted an amazing, knock-your-socks-off recipe for pizza rolls. Dozens of methods and variations later and these are truly the best pizza pull apart rolls on the planet.
Not too saucy or soggy, deliciously cheesy without being overboard (meaning no major cheese leakage while baking), just the right amount of bread-to-filling ratio and a totally unique and cool way to get the pizza rolls to pull apart without spending hours stuffing little balls of dough with pizza fillings. Yep. They are perfect.
We’ve eaten this tested-and-perfected recipe several times over the last month or so. They make for a lovely dinner served with a green salad and fresh fruit and vegetables, and they would also be great for an appetizer or snacky get together. Speaking of which, I love snacky get togethers, don’t you? Have you seen all those quizzes/profiles going around Facebook that tell you what state you are or what Disney character you are or what kind of cookie you are or what natural disaster you are (oh wait, maybe that wasn’t actually one…)? I’ve never taken one because I’m kind of scared of the results but if they had a quiz for what kind of party you are, I’d be the snacky get together. I’m sure of it.
A special thanks to my 9-year old, Jackson, for taking one for the team and pulling apart the piping hot pizza rolls for the action shot. He earned himself the privilege of sampling the pizza rolls before dinner, lucky kid. Pays to be the offspring of a food blogger.
Oh, and don’t forget to check out the simple, quick step-by-step photos below the recipe!
P.S. The Kitchn let me know that I’m a finalist in their 2014 Homies awards – Family Friendly Category (a judge’s pick to get me in the finals, I think, which is rad since I didn’t know these types of awards were happening). Really flattering and fun, either way! If you are so inclined, go check out the nominees and do some voting. I think you have to set up an account to vote so if that is off putting, at least it’s a chance to browse for some great, new blog reads.
You could definitely sub out the whole wheat flour for all-purpose flour or use a combination (half of each or something like that). I make a full batch of my favorite homemade pizza sauce. Even though the recipe only calls for a portion of it, I either save the rest to use in an upcoming pizza night or we warm it and dip the pizza rolls in for those that love extra sauce. It probably goes without saying but the filling options are endless. Have fun experimenting! Oh, also, for our family of 7, I usually double this recipe (and make two). We have about half of the second leftover but just one batch isn't quite enough for our pizza-loving family.
- 1 1/2 cups warm water
- 3/4 tablespoon instant yeast
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 cups white whole wheat flour (approximately)
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup pizza sauce
- 4 ounces turkey or regular pepperoni
- 8 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 1/3 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
- For the dough, in the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl by hand, combine the warm water, yeast, sugar, oil, salt and 2 cups of the flour. Begin mixing and continue to add the rest of the flour gradually until the dough has pulled away from the sides of the bowl. Judge the dough by how the dough feels and not by the exact flour amount - you may have to add more or less depending on a variety of factors (see a tutorial on working with yeast here). The dough should be soft and smooth but still slightly tacky to the touch. Especially because this recipe calls for all whole wheat flour, overflouring the dough will make dense, tough rolls so err on the side of underflouring because you can always add more flour later.
- Knead the dough in the stand mixer or by hand until it is very smooth and elastic, about 7 minutes in a stand mixer or 10 minutes by hand. Lightly spray a large bowl with cooking spray and place the dough in the bowl. Cover the bowl with lightly greased plastic wrap. Let the dough rise until it has doubled (this usually takes about an hour).
- Gently punch down the dough and press it out on a lightly greased counter to a 17X14-inch rectangle.
- Spread the pizza sauce evenly across the top, leaving a border on both of the long sides. Sprinkle with the mozzarella cheese, layer on the pepperoni, and sprinkle on the Parmesan cheese.
- Beginning with one of the long edges, roll the dough up cinnamon roll style, trying to keep the roll as tight as possible. Pinch the seam to seal.
- Carefully lift the roll and place it seam side down diagonally on a lined (parchment or silpat) 12x18-inch baking sheet. Using a clean pair of scissors, cut a slice almost down to the bottom of the roll (don't cut all the way through!) every inch or so the length of the pizza roll (see the setp-by-step pictures below). Gently pull the slices to alternating sides down the length leaving that little bottom portion of dough intact so the rolls are not completely separated.
- Let the rolls rise, uncovered is fine, until slightly puffy, about 20-30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees toward the end of the resting time.
- Bake the pizza rolls for 18-22 minutes until they are golden on top and the bread is baked through. The filling will be hot and bubbly.
- Let the rolls rest for about 5 minutes before pulling apart and devouring. Dip the rolls in extra, warmed pizza sauce, if desired.
Recipe Source: from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe (cutting method inspired by this post about cinnamon rolls)