Pull-apart pizza: party time

You’ve heard of monkey bread – a.k.a. pull-apart bread, a.k.a. bubble loaf – right?

Cinnamon Monkey Bread is the classic version many of us Boomers cut our teeth on, a stalwart of home ec. classes back in the ’60s and ’70s. Chocolate Monkey Bread is another tasty choice.

Looking to go savory? Warning: Both our Butterflake Herb Loaf and Cheddar Cheese Pull-Apart Bread are highly addictive.

But why limit yourself to a loaf of bread – when the next logical step is pizza? Pull-apart pizza, to be exact.

Think about it. You’re having a party. The pizza comes out of the oven, and everyone gathers around for a piece. You cut the pizza – and it’s so hot that the cheese slides off like a carpet runner on slippery hardwood, carrying with it its cache of pepperoni, mushrooms, and everything else you’ve loaded on top.

Alternate choice: Wait 10 minutes before cutting. But as the hot pizza cools, so does the excitement. And if you wait too long? Greasy, cold, sodden pizza.

You can see what’s coming, right? You’ve got it: pull-apart pizza. Pizza that can be shared IMMEDIATELY upon coming out of the oven. No waiting, no sloppy slip-sliding topping, just pure pleasure from the word (grab &) go.

Speaking of grab & go, this pizza is eminently grabbable – though the only place you’ll want to go is right back to the table for another piece!

Ready to start monkeying around with your favorite pizza recipe? Here’s how.

Pull-Apart Pizza via @kingarthurflour

My favorite crust recipe comes from Now or Later Pizza. Made from a mixture of both all-purpose flour and semolina, the dough rests in the fridge overnight, where it develops really nice flavor.

When I’m making one large (half-sheet pan) pizza, I use the entire recipe of dough.

But this time I divide the dough in half, since I’m making two smaller pizzas: one using a traditional “chop bread” method and classic pizza toppings (pepperoni and cheese); the other using a “mix and toss” method, and featuring more substantial toppings: oven-roasted potatoes, thick-cut bacon, and chunks of cheddar cheese.

Let’s make our chop-bread pizza first.

Pull-Apart Pizza via @kingarthurflour

Don’t get hung up looking for details here; this is more method than specific instructions.

Pat your pizza dough into an oval. Choose your favorite toppings, and pile them all on half the dough.

Fold the “blank” side of the dough over the filled side.

Pull-Apart Pizza via @kingarthurflour

Transfer the filling-stuffed dough to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Using a bench knife or pair of scissors, chop/cut it into random pieces.

Yes, this will be messy – filling will fly! That’s totally OK.

Pull-Apart Pizza via @kingarthurflour

Simply push everything together into a flat oval or round pile.

Pull-Apart Pizza via @kingarthurflour

Let the pizza rise for an hour – or longer, if you’ve started with chilled dough. You should see the dough pieces puff noticeably.

Pull-Apart Pizza via @kingarthurflour

Bake the pizza in a preheated 425°F oven for 20 minutes or so, or until it’s nicely browned.

Pull-Apart Pizza via @kingarthurflour

Remove from the oven. Share IMMEDIATELY.

Trust me, no one will burn his or her fingers or mouth on a big slab of broiling-hot cheese. And there’s nothing like light, tender/chewy bites of hot bread all jumbled up with crisp bits of pepperoni and melting cheddar.

Or roasted potatoes, bacon, and cheddar – my next pizza.

Pull-Apart Pizza via @kingarthurflour

I’m using a different method for this one. What happens if, instead of the rolling and filling and chopping and mounding, you simply divide the dough into pieces – as you do when making a typical monkey or pull-apart bread – and then toss it with the filling ingredients?

Let’s see.

Pull-Apart Pizza via @kingarthurflour

Meet the ingredients: pan-roasted red potatoes, Cabot cheddar (LOVE their new Farmers’ Legacy collection!), and thick-cut bacon, cooked crisp.

OK, if you REALLY want some details, I’ve used a pound of potatoes, 4 ounces of cheese, and half a pound of bacon. Remember, these amounts are for half my crust recipe.

Dice the cheese, dice the bacon, and toss everything together with the dough pieces (bottom right).

Pull-Apart Pizza via @kingarthurflour

Scoop everything into a lightly greased 9″ round pan. Cover the pan, and let the dough rise until it’s puffy.

Pull-Apart Pizza via @kingarthurflour

Bake in a preheated 425°F oven for 15 minutes. Sprinkle an additional 1/2 cup grated cheese over the top, and bake for 10 more minutes, or until the cheese melts.

Pull-Apart Pizza via @kingarthurflour

Pull the pizza out of the oven, and turn it out of the pan.

Grip it and rip it.

Heaven.

Each piece is filled with crusty potatoes, pockets of melted cheese, and crunchy bacon. To say nothing of light, tender bites of flavorful crust.

Is the cheese holding everything together? Yes; cheese is the unifying element. And serendipitously, some of it melts during baking to form a crunchy bottom crust, lending even more structure.

And even more flavor – who doesn’t love “caramelized” cheese?

Having friends over? Take your favorite crust (or our Now or Later Pizza crust) and turn your favorite pizza into a real party animal!

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!

comments

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Paul, unless otherwise specified, the middle rack is usually the best option for even baking. Hope you enjoy this recipe! Kat@KAF

  1. sandy

    This is a great make ahead recipe for football game day. It gives all of the comfort of pizza with no last minute work. I make overnight pizza dough and in the morning chop the dough and the goodies (cooked chicken, pepperoni, cheese, etc) and put in a 10″ parchment lined cake pan. I cover it with clear wrap and put in fridge. Then about a hour or so before I want to bake, I pull it out and put on counter to warm to room temp. Then when it is time, all I have to do is pop it in the oven to bake. Works really well.

    Reply
  2. Angie Wagner

    This was a big hit and easy to change up. I used cooked Italian sausage, sautéed onion, banana peppers and mozzarella cheese. My granddaughter was skeptical, but gave it a thumbs up with a full mouth. We dipped it in warm pizza sauce. It also reheated very well. A real keeper.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Amy, we find the gooey, cheesiness is part of what makes this so delicious and fun, but you’re certainly welcome to give it a try with a light layer of sauce and topping. Or you might also try it with daiya or another dairy-free cheese. However you try it, we hope you enjoy it! Mollie@KAF

  3. sandy

    This is the Great Backyard Bird Count weekend and my 13 year old grandsons stayed with me and we counted birds. It is great fun and they learn a lot. They also enjoy learning to cook and yesterday one of them made a pull apart pizza. I made the dough early. After several birding sessions, the dough was ready and my grandson put the pizza together. He used dough, sliced ham, some crumbled meatballs, and Italian cheeses. It turned out great and we ate it with tomato dipping sauce. Now he’ll be able to make these at home for his dad and brother.

    Reply
  4. Laurie

    I made this for our Super Bowl party filled with mozzarella, cheddar, and parmigiana. It was delicious! Next time I might brush the dough with garlic butter before adding the cheese. A sharp chef’s knife easily cut through the dough. Looking forward to making this again!

    Reply
  5. Kathleen

    I made the potato version tonight, added carmelized onions, and LOVED IT! No sauce needed. Plenty of gooey cheese and not at all dry. This will be a new “go to” recipe that is easily modified!

    Reply
  6. Sue

    Perfect meal for a night where we were hunkered down weathering winter storm Anna. Both dishes just about polished off! It was delicious.

    Reply
  7. sandy

    We made one with a combination of dough, caramelized onions, cheddar, and cooked bacon for dinner last night. I baked it on parchment and used a tart ring to contain it. When it was done baking, I took off the ring and slide it onto a serving plate. It was very good and very interesting looking. Next time I will add more cheese.

    Reply
    1. sandy

      Janice- Your are so right. A creamy potato soup would be wonderful with the bacon and cheese. We actually had it with Mulligatawny Soup and it worked well with the curry in the soup.

  8. Janice

    We also like to do a sweet chopped pizza. Same idea but instead of pepperoni, I use apple slices – a little cinnamon if you like. Served with a thin cream cheese frosting makes a delicious morning treat!

    Reply

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