Perfect Homemade Pizza: The Toppings

Well, we’ve made it to the end of an entire week dedicated to perfecting homemade pizza and no better way to finish it off then to talk about toppings. While the dough is pretty critical, the toppings are just as important to get right. Specific toppings will boil down to personal preference, although I give my favorite recommendations below, but here are FIVE nifty tips that will help your homemade pizza be even more perfect.

Tip #1: The Cheese

Perfect Homemade Pizza: The ToppingsI’ve harped on this before but it’s really important that you shred that mozzarella cheese yourself. Preshredded mozzarella (and other types, too) are coated with a powdery-like substance that keep the cheese from sticking together. What that means is that in a side-by-side comparison, preshredded cheese baked on top of a pizza is going to be tough and chewy and won’t melt well while cheese you shred yourself is going to be melted and creamy and absolutely gooey and delicious. I always use part-skim mozzarella cheese on basic pizzas (but change it up for specialty pizzas which I’ll talk more about below) and then sprinkle just a touch of freshly grated Parmesan cheese on top to give it a salty punch. That’s not completely necessary but we love it that way.

Tip #2: The Number of Toppings

How to Bake Perfect PizzaI actually love a totally loaded pizza but it’s really hard to get a pizza piled with 59 toppings to bake evenly. So generally, I try to keep the toppings at three max (not including the cheese). One of you commented recently that Jim Lahey (bread baker extraordinaire) says this, too, although I don’t know if he’s including the cheese or not. I don’t. I think three glorious toppings in addition to the cheese is just right. But really? You want the supreme of all supremes pizza? I say go for it.

Tip #3: The Order of Toppings

Perfect Homemade Pizza: The ToppingsI can’t base this in scientific proof, but better pizza is made when the cheese goes on first followed by the other toppings. That’s how we make it at least. The cheese kind of acts like the glue that keeps everything from sliding off (although that has been known to happen a time or two anyway and we all know how unfun it is to bite into piping hot pizza only to have the entire triangle of molten cheese and toppings land in your mouth so basically, eat pizza at your own risk). Plus, it’s just nice to see what you are eating (read: no scary anchovies hiding under my cheese thankyouverymuch). There are a few pizzas where I make an exception and add half the cheese over the sauce and wait to add the last half over the toppings (like BBQ chicken pizza).

Tip #4: The Sauce

Perfect Homemade Pizza: The Toppings99% of the time, I use my favorite homemade pizza sauce. I’ve been using this recipe for years. And years. And years. I don’t bother cooking a fussy pizza sauce. This no-cook, blender sauce tastes delicious and comes together in just a few minutes. You can process it to be as chunky or smooth as you like. Be sure to choose good-quality canned tomatoes – that flavor is really going to come through. When we want a white/alfredo sauce, this creamy garlic alfredo sauce is amazing on pizza. But sometimes, I don’t want to cook any sauce (gosh, I’m lazy), red or white. I’ve found this blender white sauce to be awesome: 8 ounces light cream cheese softened, pinch of salt, pepper, and garlic powder, enough milk to make it thick but spreadable (start with 2-3 tablespoons and go up from there). Also, pesto (homemade or storebought) makes a great sauce for pizza as well.

Tip #5: Avoiding Soggy Issues

I really hate soggy things. Especially soggy bread. So soggy pizza is a total no-go for me. This can be a problem when using wet toppings like fresh or canned pineapple, fresh tomatoes, etc. When I use fresh or canned pineapple, I drain it very well (the canned stuff) and then I pat the fresh and/or canned dry with paper towels. Like, I kind of smush it even. Pineapple has a tendency to create soggy pools of liquid in the pizza so drain well. For fresh tomatoes, I slice the tomatoes and then squeeze them over the sink to get rid of the seeds and juice; I just use the tomato shell, basically, for the pizza and it still imparts lots of flavor especially if the tomatoes are super ripe and sweet. Same goes for olives (drain well!) and other ingredients where the liquid factor could cause issues on the pizza.

The Best Pizza Combinations and Favorite Toppings

Many of you say that you get stuck in a rut with the same old toppings and I totally get that! My kids are pretty simple pizza lovers – pepperoni, cheese, sometimes olives and a sprinkle of bacon or ham if we have it around. But Brian and I like variety to pizza night so along with making a few classics (like pepperoni and cheese) I always throw at least one specialty pizza into the mix (that is, if I’m on my A-game, but there are a lot of pizza nights where it’s just pepperoni and cheese pizza and we get gourmet by throwing chopped olives onto one of them). While I have a few “official” pizza recipes on the blog, sometimes a recipe isn’t really even necessary. I will often use leftovers like chicken from these fajitas or shrimp from this dish to top the pizzas with. Leftovers make great pizza toppings (if used in wisdom: say no to hot dogs on pizza).

Overnight Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

Here are a few of our favorite combinations:

Creamy Spinach Artichoke Pizza

Pesto Pizza with Pine Nuts and Feta

Black Bean Pizza (kind of like a meatless taco pizza of sorts)

Kale, Sausage and Ricotta Pizza
Lightly steam a skillet full of kale in a bit of broth or water and some salt and pepper until the kale is wilted and bright green. Drain well (and even pat dry with paper towels). Top the rolled out pizza crust with a ricotta mixture (ricotta cheese mixed with a bit of milk to soften, 1 minced clove of garlic and salt and pepper to taste), then top with the steamed kale and browned and drained sausage. Finish off with a dusting of freshly grated Parmesan. This pizza is kind of a newer find for me and takes a really, really close second to my favorite love: pizza margherita. The kale gets a bit crispy in the hot oven and the entire pizza is just completely divine.

Pizza Margherita
Cover crust with a light helping of this sauce and drizzle with just a touch of olive oil. Top with slices of fresh mozzarella. Bake. Sprinkle torn fresh basil over the top right after it comes out of the oven. I am helpless when there’s pizza margherita at the table. It’s my favorite of all time in the history of ever.

BBQ Chicken Pizza
I like to use leftover cooked, shredded chicken tossed with a bit of this BBQ sauce. Mix BBQ sauce with a bit of ranch dressing or sour cream (about 2 parts BBQ sauce to 1 part creaminess) and spread it over the crust. Top with the chicken, half moon slices of red onion (I like to cook these down in a skillet first until they are translucent), mozzarella cheese and just a bit of shredded cheddar. This is one pizza where I use half the cheese on bottom of the toppings and half on top of everything (usually, I put all the toppings on the cheese). This is Brian’s fave pizza of all time! BBQ sauce that tastes good is key.

Hawaiian Pizza
Nothing too crazy here, I like to use Hormel Natural Ham and fresh pineapple chunks when I have them (if not, canned works just fine as long as it’s drained really, really well!) on top of the mozzarella cheese with a sprinkle of fresh Parmesan. I’m not sure when/how Hawaiian pizza was invented but man, it’s good.

Shrimp and Bacon Pizza
This might sound strange but it is seriously yum. When I have leftover shrimp, I spread it over the mozzarella cheese (on a rolled out pizza crust with a little homemade pizza sauce or no sauce at all), sprinkle on cooked bacon and red onions and bake!

And don’t forget about dessert pizza!
Apple Cinnamon Streusel Dessert Pizza

Here’s a quick list of our go-to pizza toppings when it’s make-your-own pizza night (or when we have company over for a pizza bar, if you will):
Pepperoni (turkey pepperoni usually), chopped ham, cooked sausage, bacon, cooked chicken (grilled chicken makes great pizza!), diced green, red or yellow peppers, spinach or kale (I precook the kale but not the spinach), mushrooms, fresh tomatoes, fresh or canned pineapple, olives, cooked red onion, fresh basil, lots of cheese (part-skim mozzarella, fresh mozzarella and fresh Parmesan usually), homemade red sauce, alfredo sauce, pesto.

I know there are others I’m forgetting so feel free to add your suggestions in the comments (it’s my kids’ first day out of school and the chaos and fun is taking over my brain!).

Now It’s Your Turn!

What are you favorite pizza toppings or pizza combinations?

Update: Thanks for all your comments on your favorite pizza toppings! I compiled them into a downloadable document (PDF) in case anyone else wants easy inspiration for planning an upcoming pizza night! Click on the image below to download.

Pizza Compilation-1

96 Responses to Perfect Homemade Pizza: The Best Pizza Combinations and Tips on Pizza Toppings

  1. melissa says:

    Has anyone tried to mock the round table Maui zowie with Polynesian sauce and ham?

  2. Georgia B says:

    I totally agree that Margherita is one of the best flavors of pizza ever. I recently discovered how much I loved it! We went to a custom pizza shop and I was shocked when my friend ordered what seemed to me to be such a plain pizza. But I fell in love as soon as I had a taste–so simple and sophisticated at the same time!

  3. Colleen Mather says:

    Thank you for this! I’ve been trying to perfect this pizza for weeks. The overnight dough is def a game changer that I tried last week. This may be a simple question, but how much cheese per pizza do you prefer? (My kids don’t like toppings and even told me I do too much cheese.)

    • Mel says:

      I guess it kind of depends on the size of the pizza crust so I can’t really give an exact measurement since our pizzas are always different sizes. I like a thin coating of cheese on top of the sauce.

  4. Nicole says:

    Ok, I scanned the comments to see if you can make your dough ahead…. I imagine I can. I have a time crunch on the night I want to make the pizza recipe from your new eCookbook. I could probably make the dough in the morning and cut up the toppings and then put it altogether once we are ready to make dinner? Thanks!!

  5. Zina Jenseb says:

    HI Mel
    I really liked your recipe for the pizza,however, I have been unable to find your recipe for homemade tomato pizza sauce. You mentioned that it was included but I was unable to find it. We really like pizza and would like to try this.

  6. Amanda says:

    Do you do anything to get the moisture out of your mozzarella? My pizza created a lot of water causing a small oven fire. I used the inverted sheet pan method with your sauce, homemade dough and turkey pepperoni. It was delicious but a little too exciting:)

    • Mel says:

      I haven’t noticed excess moisture with the mozzarella I use – but an oven fire does not sounds like fun! I use the Frigo block mozzarella and shred it right before using. What brand of mozzarella did you use?

  7. Tom says:

    Too much jabbering on and on and on to read

  8. That makes sense that if you have more toppings on your pizza, it could be harder to cook all the way. I wonder if it makes much of a difference what order you put the toppings on the pizza. I haven’t made homemade pizza in a long time. Maybe I should do that again.

  9. I would love to taste the barbeque chicken pizza, that’s new to me. Lemme try this soon. Thank you for this tips. 🙂

  10. Ann says:

    Hi Mel! I want to try your famous BBQ chicken pizza. Any chance you’d let me know which brand of BBQ sauce is your husband’s favorite?

  11. Sarah says:

    First of all, I love your quick pizza crust, because I never think more than 45 minutes ahead of time to make a good pizza dough. So that’s great.

    Second, I used to work at Papa Murphy’s pizza, and we always put mozzarella cheese on the base, since it’s a more sturdy cheese (and always grate your own!), but you top the pizza with a bit of cheddar, or Colby jack (something with more oils, so it’s stretchy when melted) to hold all those toppings on. It helps with the whole toppings-sliding-off issue. Also, the order of the ingredients is very important, so your pizza doesn’t cave in. Sauce, mozzarella cheese (about 1-2 cups, depending on your cheese preferences), big toppings (think canadian bacon, pepperoni, salami), medium-sized toppings (crumbled beef/sausage, large mushrooms, etc) and then small toppings (pineapple, bacon, olives, onions, etc.) with a topping of cheese (about 1/2 cup for a large pizza).

    Our favorite is the vegetarian: Garlic ranch sauce (1 cup of ranch dressing, 1 tbsp minced garlic mixed together), mozzarella cheese, spinach leaves, zucchini slices, artichoke hearts, mushrooms, tomatoes, onions (optional), cheese (I use parmesean to kind of stay with the all-white theme). Put it on in that order. It’s insanely yummy, and I always make it for game nights with our friends. I’ve never had a problem with that many toppings, especially if you cook on a pizza stone, since it makes a crisper crust. So good!

  12. Nancy says:

    the Creamy Spinach Artichoke Pizza isn’t there, it shows the pesto one twice

  13. Heidi H. says:

    The most epic pizza I’ve ever eaten was in Valpariso, Chile, on a study abroad. A kind old Chilean lady wanted to feed the American students some American food and made us pizza! Her take on American pizza toppings? Corn and hotdogs. Yum!

  14. Amanda says:

    I love your comment about the “no hotdogs” on pizza. My parents were in Mexico a few months ago the guy on the phone sounded a little puzzled when my mom requested room service to bring them a sausage pizza. He took her order regardless, and then 30 minutes later showed up with a pizza topped with sliced hotdogs!

  15. Meggan says:

    My husband and I usually top pizza with homemade tomato sauce (and a little red wine), grilled capsicum, bacon, cheese, BBQ sauce and a sprinkling of left-over rice. Trust me on the rice, it tastes amazing!
    And I can’t wait to try your pizza dough recipes- I love cooking from scratch!

  16. SimplySusan says:

    Leftover green enchilada sauce (your recipe)
    Leftover chicken fajitas
    Left over red & orange peppers
    Black olives
    Jack cheese

  17. Angela says:

    Does the shrimp get overcooked and chewy on your shrimp and bacon pizza? I found a copy cat CFP of Jamaican Jerk chicken pizza and it is super yummy!

  18. Stacie D. says:

    This post is inspirational! We love your quick pizza dough and tasty sauce. We usually stick with pepperoni but I am inspired to try some new things after this post. I am looking for a nitrate-free pepperoni. Do you know if one exists? I haven’t seen it in the stores I frequent.

  19. Mandy says:

    I make my husband a chorizo pizza with pepper jack cheese
    I love taco pizza. I make (or order hehe) a cheese pizza then top it with refried beans, sour cream, lettuce and shredded cheese. My family loves to put tomatoes on too.
    My personal favorite is pepperoni, black olives, and green peppers. Aren’t I adventurous? Lol

  20. Pineapple and bacon
    Ziti, tomato and garlic

  21. stephanie says:

    Dessert pizza: drizzle honey on the dough, top with sliced ripened banana, sprinkle cinnamon then mozzarella cheese

  22. Michelle says:

    My favorite pizza topping combo was one I discovered while in grad school: sun-dried tomatoes, mushrooms, spinach and walnuts with pesto sauce. Perfect combination of salty and crunchy.

  23. Sue says:

    I made your whole wheat overnight pizza dough a couple days ago and after it rose I divided it in half and froze both halves. Took one out yesterday and used it for a pizza and it was lovely. My husband and I both thought it rivaled our fav whole wheat crust. Thanks for an alternative to “making it that day”.

  24. angie says:

    Love homemade pizza. Nothing fancy here, though, just pepperoni and cheese.

  25. Kristina says:

    We have a pizza place where I live that does an amazing Crab Rangoon pizza.

  26. Valerie A. H. says:

    I love different combinations (all really). Chicken, spinach, feta cheese or ham and pineapple. I grew up in New York state where we had the little privately owned mom and pop pizzerias. I loved simple mushroom and inions and anchovies. Nothing like a good pizza pie!

  27. Amyp says:

    We recently started eating a lot of homemade pizza and are most often inspired by the leftovers in our fridge. Our favorite so far has been leftover steak (cubed) with Gorgonzola – no sauce. Then when it’s done cooking, drizzle with steak sauce. So fantastic.

  28. Carene says:

    We do Thai sweet chili sauce, thin slices of onion, chicken and thin sliced zucchini with mozzarella cheese. Our favorite of all!!

  29. Amanda says:

    Have you ever heard of Pizzeria Limone? If not you should check out their menu. They have pretty creative and delicious toppings. My favorite has prosciutto, blackberries, basil and pine nuts. It sounds weird but it’s amazing!

  30. Kristin Castleton says:

    My favorite is the BBQ pizza too! I will have to try your recipe, sounds perfect! Your favorite sounds delicious too. Will be cooking up some pizza this week!! Thanks for all your wonderful recipes and tips!! You really are the only site for food that I check daily and I plan my menus pretty much from yours 🙂

  31. Brinestone says:

    There’s a pizza place near our house that has some seriously unusual pizza topping combos. The one I got was prosciutto, blackberries, and whole basil leaves, and it was mighty tasty. Their signature pizza has sliced lemons on it, but I haven’t tried it. Here’s a link to their menu if you want some inspiration:

  32. Kathleen says:

    My favorite pizza is a white bean pizza with tomatoes and mozzarella. The cannellini beans are puréed with garlic and replace the sauce. Fresh tomatoes (or canned) are tossed with olive oil and Italian seasonings of your choice and top the beans. Lightly cover with cheese, and bake to a golden perfection! I am o n love with this pizza!

  33. Corinna says:

    What brand do you consider high quality canned tomatoes for your pizza sauce?

  34. Jamie says:

    Eeeek! That is me squealing with delight after making pizza tonight for dinner! I felt like a total rock star thanks to you! My pizzas were pretty good before, but you helped me sky rocket the wow factor when I implemented a few of your suggestions. 1) I turned up the heat 2) I cooked it on a pan on a stone because I didn’t have parchment paper or cornmeal (still worked great though) 3) I put the cheese first and 4) I used your go to no fail recipe and it indeed was a no fail! We all were in awe at the evenly baked delicious crust. Thanks so much Mel! I wish I could hop on an airplane and visit you to give you a big hug! Pizza night has been turned up many notches thanks to you. 🙂

  35. Kimber says:

    I was just at Slab Pizza in Provo a couple weeks ago and had one with super thinly sliced potatoes, rosemary, crumbled bacon, and a tiny bit of feta on it, it was STUPENDOUS!

  36. Anna says:

    Thank you SO much for this pizza week! I am really excited to try out making pizza from home. I’ve done the basic canned dough (yuk) and french bread pizzas, but I’m going for the whole thing Mel style this weekend!
    You have such a wonderful site. Over the last year, it has transformed me into a happy happy cook 🙂 Thank you.

  37. Erica Layne says:

    Ah, fun! We’ve been talking pizza toppings on my blog and facebook page, too, this week! Sounds like lots of people love pesto on their pizza, so I have got to give it a try! My very favorite pizza topping is roasted red peppers. They go with everything and are just so good. 🙂

  38. Niki says:

    My fave pizza is a Cooks illustrated…. Garlic and shallot cream sauce, then sautéed mushrooms, fontina cheese and the best part- when it comes out of oven add arugula and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice! The lemon on this pizza is da’ bomb!!

  39. Alice E says:

    We like pizza, but aren’t that adventurous. Frequently, just hamburger, mushrooms, pepper and onions. Any ground meat works, especially if you season it as you cook it. But, I do fix a breakfast pizza using a sheet pan so the crust has definite edges. No sauce, just 6 eggs beaten and the toppings and cheese of your choice. Usually I use ham, onion, bell peppers, mushrooms and 4 cheese Mexican blend cheese. I like more toppings, but try to use a bit less so the pizza isn’t too loaded.

  40. Mickie says:

    My brother worked at a place in Provo called SLAB Pizza for years. I attempt to recreate my favorite when I have time. It’s Chile Verde, I slow cook the pork all day (your recipe usually, but freeze a little for Pizza night). I drain it well and put that on first, then the mozzarella cheese. When the pizza is done (we like it grilled around these parts) I put a few little dallups of sour cream, a few dallups of mostly drained salsa and some Avocado slices. SLAB tops it off wih Cilantro, I don’t like Cilantro however but if you want the full effect…. Anyway it is SUPER delicious. I highly recommend it.

  41. Andreya says:

    Love your homemade pizza sauce. We have pizza every Friday so we use that recipe a lot! One of my favorite toppings on pizza is pineapple and pepperoni!

  42. Auntiepatch says:

    Sauce, tomatoes, cheese, basil; the basics –

  43. Becky says:

    I ripped this one off from a restaurant and liked mine better :)…garlic oil spread on the crust, mozzarella cheese, a little bit of gorgonzola, chicken, and peaches. After it’s baked, I top it with arugula and drizzle a lemon vinaigrette (lemon juice, oil, and s&p) and balsamic glaze on top. I don’t always like chicken on pizza, because I think it can be dry, but I find that if I use slow cooked chicken, that doesn’t happen.

    My other fun go-to is brown sugared bacon, caramelized onions, fried jalapenos, and the secret ingredient–craisins! I put the craisins on before the cheese so it doesn’t freak people out, but I like the sweet tang of them!

    I think, like you mentioned, fresh grated parmesan is a secret to a great pizza!

    I can’t wait to try the kale and sausage one, but I’ll have to wait until we have company because my eaters aren’t quite that adventurous 🙂

  44. Jessica W . says:

    I love this post-so many great ideas! My favorite lately has been white sauce with a bit of red pepper flakes for a kick, pepper jack cheese, chicken, red bell peppers and caramelized onions, garnished with a bit of cilantro. I make a Thai pizza that I love with sweet chili sauce, thinly sliced zucchini, white onions and cilantro (it’s kind of a papa Murphey’s copy cat). Also, it sounds strange, but olive oil/herb base, thinly sliced apples, chicken, caramelized onions and a bit of dried thyme-different, but yummy.

  45. Sara H. says:

    Love your homemade pizza! I get compliments on it whenever I make it. We have recently been making a pizza for my husband and I that has pepperoni or bacon (or both), sliced red bell peppers, thin sliced red onion or green onion, well drained sliced peperoncini peppers and then lightly drizzle on some italian salad dressing. It is wonderful.

  46. Lindsey R says:

    P.S. I loved and sighed over the overnight pizza crust. Now I will never feel the need to eat out when it comes to pizza. And I don’t even have a pizza stone! Thanks Mel.

  47. Lindsey R says:

    Mediterranean Pizza Toppings

    Roasted red bell pepper, sliced thin
    Feta cheese w/mozz and Parmesan
    Artichoke hearts, sliced

    Spread them thin and you’re sure to win!

  48. Army of 7 says:

    Well now I’m starving…. Thanks Mel 🙂

  49. Guen says:

    BBQ chicken is my favorite pizza to make! We use bbq sauce mixed with Franks hot sauce, shredded chicken, crumbled bacon, bleu cheese, mozzarella, thin red onions, and fresh cilantro! Ah-mazing!! :o)

  50. Adam B says:

    As long as you use the pizza stone, never any soggy issues. Also, I do sauce, cheese, toppings, and more cheese on top of that (can blend in some other cheeses like parm and even cheddar with mozzarella on top if you like). That’s what really holds the toppings in and keeps them from cooking too much / too fast. And not just a sprinkle. Spread it on. My favorite toppings are pepperoni, Canadian bacon or ham, bacon, and pineapple.

  51. Heidi says:

    My favorite pizza place is punch pizza (in the Minneapolis area). I will always get the Toto. I’m going to brave making it at home with your tips! Here’s the ingredients…
    Red pizza sauce
    Sliced garlic
    Goat cheese
    Red pepper flakes
    Each bite has the most amazing flavors bursting from your mouth…salty prosciutto, creamy goat cheese, garlic and a titch of heat. My mouth is watering just thinking about it!!!!

  52. Meghan C says:

    We love making crazy pizzas and have a few favorites. They all have a little mozz in addition to her cheeses listed below.
    1. Roasted beets and spinach with pesto sauce and goat cheese.
    2. Thai peanut sauce with stir fry veggies and chicken
    3. Hot wing pizza with a homemade hot sauce base, chicken, celery and onion, and drizzled with blue cheese
    4. Pumpkin curry sauce with onion, spinach and gorgonzola
    5. Guacamole pizza with shrimp marinated in chipotle peppers with fresh cilantro.

    Most of the sauces are creations Hubs and I have put together thru trial and error. If you would like to try any of them let me know and I’m happy to share. I started reading your blog after my good friend Kate Lundquist told me about it.

  53. Elizabeth says:

    I live recreating the CPK California Cobb pizza– bacon, avocado, ranch, tomato, lettuce, and a hint of cheddar is how we do it. This is especially good on a grilled crust.

  54. Mel says:

    You guys are awesome and crazy and inspiring! I love how out-of-the-box and delicious some of these pizza combos sound. Can’t wait to try. Thanks for chiming in with your suggestions!

  55. Tracy P says:

    Bacon/mushroom combo, bacon/pineapple/pepperoni trio, (do you sense I like bacon?), and a different one, tuna w/green olives. Do love spinach on pizzas, artichoke hearts, and other veggies. I just love pizza!!!

  56. Sarah C. says:

    Chicken and bacon (a nice grilled chicken, no barbecue here folks). It’s pizza magic.

  57. nosh says:

    Thank you so much !! Very informative posts . I love everything on ur website but your breads /rolls are the BEST . and now the pizza tips !

  58. Laura says:

    Yum! Great pizza ideas. My new favorite is zucchini sliced thinly, tomatoes sliced thinly, oregano, mozzarella, Parmesan and olive oil. I throw some black olives on when I have them. Soooooo good!

  59. My mouth is watering as I type this! I must be lazy, too, because I love your quick sauces. I have found that if you freeze your mozzarella for about 10-15 minutes, it makes it much easier to grate. My son’s favorite pizza is shredded chicken with buffalo sauce. Thanks for the great tips!

  60. Anna Beth says:

    You guys are all wild! The combos in these comments are pretty amazing 🙂

    We had a mozzarella/parmesan, pork sausage, thinly sliced red potato (yum! put them on raw, they cook as the pizza cooks!) and crispy kale pizza a few days ago. I let it cook most of the way and then added the (pre-roasted) kale and parm on top for the last few minutes. Mm-mmm…

    Inspired by this: Artisan 5 Minute Pizza and and

  61. Jenny says:

    If you like loaded pizzas let me make a suggestion as to how to make it without it being hard to cook all of those toppings. Start with sauteeing your sausage, onions and mushrooms in a pan until it’s the sausage is done and then add your sauce to the pan and heat it up. You will end up spreading the sausage/sauce mixture over your raw pizza dough then I add canadian bacon, provolone cheese slices (the more different kinds of cheese the better!), regular cheese then on top of that I add my pepperoni and green olives. It’s so good! I bake it at 500 degrees and it is NEVER doughy. I do however let the oven preheat with the pizza stone in it for 1/2 hour to 1 hour before I cook it too. Then I add the dough and quickly add the sausage/sauce mixture and toppings.

  62. Nancy says:

    Butternut squash,creme fraiche,
    Scallions and a little sweet Italian sausage with arugula tossed on after.

  63. Jocelyn Wolf says:

    mmmm mmmmm My favorite is sausage, artichoke hearts, and garlic. I mix both red and pesto for the sauce. mmmmm might be pizza night now.

  64. Laurel says:

    Hubby’s fave is just ranch as the sauce, chicken, bacon, red onion, mushroom, part cheddar & mozz. I always like to add some fresh tomatoes after it’s baked.
    It’s certainly time to branch out. This week has totally inspired me. We just moved out to the middle of no where and apparently if you get on good terms with the farm down the road you can get fresh mozz. Guess it’s margherita time. Sounds delicious!

  65. Lisa says:

    This is making me hungry! Suzanne – I usually parbake my crust, too. I put the sauce on, fire them in the oven for 5 min, add the toppings and then give them 5 or so more minutes. I find it helps with the soggy factor, and the delicate toppings don’t get too crispy.
    One of our favourite combos is a riff on veggie Mediterranean – I brush the dough with the marinade from jarred artichoke hearts, and the toppings are the artichoke hearts (duh), spinach, kalamata olives, white onion, red bell pepper, fresh and sun-dried tomatoes and feta cheese. Major flavour!

  66. Amy says:

    I like to add pineapple, cilantro and feta to my BBQ chicken pizza. Those 3 things really set it apart. I’m going to try your quick recipe for white sauce… there are nights I really don’t want to cook either. Thanks!

  67. Megan says:

    I love using leftover taco meat (if we have any leftover) to make a killer mexican-taco pizza. Other than that, my kids are traditionalists.

  68. Jolene Beard says:

    The three pizzas we make most regularly are pepperoni and cheese with a regular tomato sauce, a bbq pizza with chicken or shredded pork, and a ranch pizza (using ranch dressing as the sauce) with chicken, pepperoni…. But love to make alfredo pizzas and I love pizza with thin slices of zucchini. Yummm!

  69. Lisa says:

    My newest favorite is plain cheese (mozz and parm) with a heaping arugula salad on top. I just dress the arugula very, very lightly with some olive oil and a tiny dash of vinegar, salt and pepper. Then when the pizza is hot from the oven, pile on the arugula. The heat from the pizza will wilt it a little and it tastes soooo good. I had it on a cruise ship last year and have been making it ever since. Plus, pizza calories don’t count if it’s covered with a leafy green.

  70. KateB says:

    Had this last night at pi Pizza in St. Louis. Even President Obama likes this pizza and he is from Chicago! It was delicious! From their blog:
    For this thin crust Pi, we season Pork Shoulders with a “Dry Rub”, which includes chili peppers, salt, sugars and the like. This is “packed” onto the meat and we cook it “low and slow” in our Pizza Deck Ovens- a first for us!
    Once cooked, the meat is “pulled” so that the the flavors and juices get evenly distributed throughout. Keeping on the BBQ Theme, we make a “White BBQ Sauce” to complement and accentuate the rich flavors of the Pulled Pork. It is inspired by the traditional sauce of Central Alabama, made famous by the famous “Big Bob Gibson’s” in Decatur, AL. It has a wonderfully tart flavor, with a little back-end spice of Mustard and sweet Sugar.
    We add this White BBQ Sauce in harmony with our Thin Sauce to the base layer, as well as tossing it with chopped Romaine, which is served on top after-bake. The wonderful crunch of this “Salad” plays the role of a traditional “Slaw”, without the often unpleasant finish of raw cabbage. An aggressive shake of the Dry Rub before delivering/boxing will pull all of the flavors together, giving the “granular” mouthfeel of a dry rubbed Rib.

  71. Love this useful lil pizza post! I’ll definitely try out some of your topping ideas! My favourite is tomato base with pesto, fresh basil and cherry tomatoes on top, or I love a bit of roast veggie action!

  72. Sarah says:

    I’ve been using your quick pizza dough recipie for the last several months and it has been a huge hit. Some of our favorite pizzas to make are baked potato (ranch dressing, potatoes, bacon bits and cheddar) and a white pizza made with homemade hot peppers in oil and a little mozzarella.

  73. Suzanne says:

    I have always felt the need to par bake my pizza crusts a little to avoid the soggy factor and get a nice baked crust. Do you not find this necessary with the methods you mentioned a few days ago? I’m nervous to try but maybe I just haven’t been bringing my oven up too a high enough temp?!

    • Mel says:

      Suzanne – I never parbake my crusts and don’t have a doughy issues (I find it’s harder for the pizzas to bake through if they are overloaded but average-topped pizzas should do just fine without parbaking if your oven is set really high).

  74. Michelle says:

    I love in the spring when the asparagus is fresh and I found a recipe for asparagus, ricotta pizza with a lemon vinegarette. Also the kids love barbecued pulled pork with thinly sliced peppers, onions and cheddar cheese and Taco pizza.

  75. Keri says:

    If you want really ooey, gooey cheesy pizza, mix a little bit of shredded Muenster cheese in with your Mozzarella cheese. It really makes the cheese so much more delicious-as if that were possible.

  76. Chris says:

    One of my favorite things to put on pizza is zucchini. If you pick it baby sized it is really sweet and tender.

  77. Emily says:

    Honey, garlic, goat cheese and mozzarella grilled pizza! We made this last night using your quick dough and grilled pizza instructions and it was amazing. Also made pepperoni for the little one that wasn’t nearly as delicious but he gobbled it up.

  78. Anouk says:

    One of my favorite pizza toppings is mixing mashed sweet potatoes (prick sweet potato, wrap in paper towel and microwave on high for 3 min – rotate and 3 more minutes) with some buffalo sauce. Spread that over the crust, then add caramelized onions and blue cheese. Walnuts on top are optional, but delicious.

  79. Sheila says:

    Thank you so much for this informative week on pizza – my family’s favorite food! As always, your posts were so well done and I learned so much. Our favorite topping for pizza is sweet or hot Italian sausage (no turkey sub!). Our favorite pizza place serves a pizza with sweet chili sauce — our favorite there. I would love to find a good recipe using this ingredient.

  80. Beth says:

    Thanks for all the information this week! I have two favorites; one is shredded chix,, sun dried tomatoes and goat cheese and the other is sausage, carmelized onions and ricotta cheese (dolloped as a topping).

  81. Jean says:

    We make lotsa pizzas here. One if our favorites is a white sauce, made from ranch dressing sprinkled with hot sauce, preferably Chalula, to taste. Top with shredded chicken, fresh tomatoes and cilantro. I shred my mozzarella and also add freshly grated Parmesan. Sometimes I will also sprinkle whatever cheese I have in the fridge, Gorgonzola, feta, even Brie. Yum!

  82. Love this post! I usually put cheese on last, but I’ll have to try putting it on before the other toppings next time. Thank you for the tips! 🙂

  83. Kim in MD says:

    Yeah for pizza week here at MKC! I agree with you completely about the cheese, topping order, and avoiding sogginess. Thin, crispy crust is our favorite. My family loves so many different flavor combinations on pizza that we like to make lots of smaller pizzas so we can have a slice of everything! We really love white pizza (garlic and fontina cheese), topped with fresh Parmesan and red pepper flakes when removed from the oven…yum!

    Mel- have you ever made pizza with tortillas or flatbread? Using your same pizza cooking methods, large tortillas or flatbread make great thin, crispy pizzas. Perfect for a quick lunch or snack!

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