If cold leftover pizza is a breakfast you'd rather leave as a college memory, but the idea of pizza for breakfast still appeals, then this recipe is for you. You can find breakfast pizza pretty much anywhere, but there's a version popular in the Midwest that we're pretty smitten with. This regional speciality might seem standard at first — sausage, eggs, and cheese on a basic crust — but when you look closer, you'll find a creamy cheese sauce in place of a haphazard handful of cheese, and hash browns tucked in under the layer of meat and eggs. It's those details that make this gas station pizza one to be inspired by.
While you can make the entire pizza from start to finish in about an hour on a weekend morning, you can also make most of the toppings the night before and bake this pizza up in less than 30 minutes any day of the week.
Casey's General Store Breakfast Pizza
The most famous Midwestern breakfast pizza was born from a chain of convenience stores in Iowa called Casey's General Store. Casey's locations make and sell breakfast pizzas all day long. Standard pizza dough is topped with their signature cheese sauce, sausage, scrambled eggs, and cheese. While you can switch out the other toppings, the cheese sauce really is the secret to making a breakfast pizza like Casey's.
So how do you make a pizza for breakfast? The answer is the simple one you're expecting: Top it with standard breakfast fare, but do it with some finesse. Ours gets sausage, hash browns, and scrambled eggs because it's hearty, delicious, and reheats well. This recipe reads long, but you can make the cheese sauce, cook the sausage and eggs, and grate the cheese the night before and just assemble the pizza the next day.
- Cheese sauce: You can make the cheese sauce the night before and store it in an airtight container. Or feel free to use a prepared product such as Cheese-Wiz instead.
- Sausage: Bulk breakfast sausage is the way to go here. Cook it up the night before.
- Eggs: I'm usually not an advocate for cooking scrambled eggs in advance, but between the cheese sauce and the cheese on top, the pre-cooked eggs will steam to reheat and won't dry out in the oven. These can be cooked the night before as well.
- Frozen hash browns: While homemade hash browns are tastier, using frozen hash brown potatoes and thawing them in the fridge overnight will save considerable prep time.
Breakfast pizza is a great way to use up leftovers. Cube leftover frittata (or breakfast casserole) and put that on the pizza instead of the scrambled eggs, or swap the hash browns for leftover roasted vegetables from last night's dinner. The formula of pizza crust + cheese sauce + cheese + toppings will make those leftovers exciting again.
How To Make Breakfast Pizza
Serves 6 to 8
What You Need
1 1/4 cups
whole milk, divided
shredded cheddar cheese, divided
kosher salt, divided
uncooked breakfast sausage, casings removed
pizza dough, at room temperature
frozen hash brown potatoes, thawed
shredded mozzarella cheese
scallions, thinly sliced
Medium nonstick frying pan
Heat the oven. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 375°F. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.
Make the cheese sauce. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring, until the butter-flour mixture loses its sheen, about 1 minute. Whisk in 1 cup of the milk and bring to a boil, whisking occasionally, until thickened, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in 1/2 cup of the cheddar cheese and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Set aside to cool slightly while you make the rest of the toppings.
Cook the sausage and eggs. Heat a medium nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat. Crumble the sausage into the pan and cook until browned and cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes. While the sausage cooks, whisk together the eggs, remaining 1/4 cup of milk, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the cooked sausage to a paper towel-lined plate. Leave the sausage's fat in the pan and pour in the egg mixture. Scramble the eggs until almost cooked through but still moist, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.
Roll and dock the pizza dough. Roll or stretch the pizza dough out into a 12-inch round. Transfer the dough to the baking sheet. Use the tines of a fork to "dock" (poke holes in) the pizza dough, working from the middle out to within 1 inch of the edge. This will prevent the dough from getting soggy from the steaming cheese sauce.
Sauce the pizza. Spread on the cheese sauce in a thin, even layer as you would pizza sauce. You might not use all the cheese sauce.
Top the pizza. Sprinkle the sausage onto the cheese sauce, followed by the hash browns, and finally the scrambled eggs. Sprinkle the pizza with the mozzarella cheese, remaining 1/4 cup of cheddar cheese, and scallions.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Bake until the cheese is melted and and the crust is golden-brown, 20 to 25 minutes.
Cool and slice. Let the pizza cool for 10 minutes; this gives the cheese sauce time to set and prevent it from oozing out. Transfer to a cutting board, slice, and serve.
Storage: Leftover pizza can be stored tightly wrapped in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in an oven or toaster oven for best results.