Even those of us who used to (or still do) snack on those microwaveable bite-sized pizza snacks have to admit — they don't taste much like pizza. Coupled with their lack of nutritional value, there's really no reason why they're still one of America's highest selling frozen snack foods. They're easy to make and they freeze perfectly for a post work or school snack in a jiffy!
Prepare the Ingredients Ahead
While you can certainly prep and make this dish, you can also get a head start by preparing all the ingredients ahead of time. You can use store bought pizza dough, though making it at home is really easy.
→ Make your own pizza dough! How to Make Pizza Dough
Make the pizza dough up to three days ahead. And while your at it, go ahead and whip up a quick batch of pizza sauce.
→ Make your own pizza sauce! How to Make Pizza Sauce
If you plan to use sausage in your pizza poppers, you can also cook that ahead of time, then store it in a covered container in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Rolling out the Dough
This part of the process is crucial for pizza popper success. I speak from experience. The thin crust pizza lover in me rolled out an entire batch way too thin. Don't make the same mistake. The thickness of the rolled dough needs to be just right, not too thick and not too thin. The ideal thickness is about 1/4-inch. When the dough it too thick it doesn't cook all the way through, and when it's too thin it's tough to seal the poppers.
Filling the Dough
Do you dream of a pizza popper that oozes with melty cheese, sauce, and meat once you bite into it? Me too! But don't let that vision cloud your judgement when assembling the pizza poppers. This step requires complete and total restraint. It essential that you not overstuff the dough. In fact you should use less filling that you think you need. Once filled it may seem like your pizza poppers are skimpy. They're not, and it's a sign you're on the right track.
Preheat the oven and gather the ingredients: Preheat the oven to 475°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Gather the pizza dough and bring it to room temperature, as well as the sauce, mozzarella cheese, and cooked, crumbled sausage (if using).
How to Make Pizza Poppers
Makes About 2-3 Dozen
What You Need
1 recipe pizza dough
1 cup pizza sauce
2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 pound cooked sausage, crumbled (optional)
Flour for dusting
Bench scraper (optional)
Preheat the oven: Preheat the oven to 500°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
Gather the ingredients: Gather the pizza dough and bring it to room temperature, as well as the sauce, mozzarella cheese, and cooked, crumbled sausage (if using).
Combine the ingredients: In a medium bowl, combine the pizza sauce, cheese, and sausage. Stir until completely mixed together.
Roll out the dough: Working a section at a time, cut the dough into workable pieces, about the size of a tennis ball. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough into a long rectangle, until it's about 4-inches wide and about 1/4-inch thick.
Add the filling: Down one side of the dough, drop small spoonfuls (roughly 1 teaspoon) of ingredients in little mounds. Leave about 1 inch between each mound of filling.
Fold the dough: Fold dough over the top of the toppings and press between the filling with your fingers.
Cut the dough: Using a bench scraper or sharp knife, cut each pizza bite apart from the next.
Pinch the seams: Pinch the freshly cut ends together. They'll be sticky and should hold together nicely making a neat edge. The amount of execution needed for this step will usually depend on your dough and it's willingness to play nice.
Brush with olive oil: Transfer the pizza bites to a baking sheet, spaced about 1 inch apart. Lightly brush the top of each pizza bite with olive oil and sprinkle with a pinch of kosher salt.
Bake until golden: Bake for 8-10 minutes until the tops are golden brown. Remove from the oven, cool slightly, and serve.
- While you can certainly use store bought pizza dough, the dough sold in the "pop tube" doesn't not hold up as well with this dish.
To Freeze: simply cook by the above directions and allow to cool completely. Freeze individually on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. When frozen, slide into a zip top bag for storage. Place on a sheet pan in the oven or toaster oven to reheat at 350 degrees for 25 minutes (time may vary depending on oven and amount of pizza rolls being reheated).
Refrigeration: If they become a family favorite (like they are at our house) you can also keep a thawed bag in the refrigerator for faster reheating. They should last a solid 7 days in the the chill chest... though we're betting they all get eaten before then.
This post has been updated - originally published August 2010.
(Image credits: Kelli Dunn)