Recipe: BBQ Chicken Pizza

updated May 2, 2019
BBQ Chicken Pizza
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(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Store-bought pizza dough, leftover chicken, BBQ sauce … check, check, check! This weeknight pizza couldn’t be easier. It’s savory, sweet, tangy, and it only takes 15 minutes of oven time. Who could ask for anything more?

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

I definitely took some shortcuts with the ingredient list here to minimize cooking time on weeknights. I always pick up some prepared dough from the grocery or pizza shop — this dough will keep in the fridge for up to three days — and then I just pull out some leftover cooked chicken breast for the topping.

Cilantro adds a fresh pop of flavor — sprinkle it on top right when the pizza comes out of the oven.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Recipe Tester’s Notes

These pizzas made for such a great weeknight dinner. I took a cue from Stephanie and used a ball of store-bought pizza dough, so the pizzas came together in under 30 minutes. Store-bought dough is perfect for nights when you really want some pizza, but don’t feel like doing too much in the kitchen.

I made one more change to the recipe, calling for low-moisture (aka dry) mozzarella instead of the water-packed variety. When I baked my first pizza with fresh mozzarella, the cheese weeped so much liquid that there was a big pool in the middle of my pizza. All that moisture meant that I wasn’t able to get any browning on top without copious dabbing with paper towels, followed by a last-minute run under the broiler.

Use thinly sliced or shredded dry mozzarella instead — whichever is easier to find at the grocery store. The decreased moisture in the cheese translates to a pizza that’s not water-logged, and it’ll get nice and bubbly brown.

One last note: These pizzas are great for preassembling and freezing. The next time I have leftover cooked chicken on hand, I’ll be sure to throw one of these together and pop it in the freezer for a busy night!

Coco, March 2015

(Image credit: The Kitchn)

BBQ Chicken Pizza

Makes 2 (10-inch) pizzas

Serves 4-6

Nutritional Info


  • 1 pound

    pizza dough, at room temperature at least 1 hour

  • Finely ground cornmeal, for dusting

  • All-purpose flour, for rolling out dough

  • 2 teaspoons

    olive oil

  • 1/2 cup

    barbecue sauce, divided

  • 1 cup

    low-moisture shredded mozzarella cheese (4 ounces), divided

  • 1 cup

    shredded smoked Gouda cheese (4 ounces), divided

  • 8 ounces

    cooked chicken breast, chopped into bite-sized pieces, divided

  • 1/4 cup

    thinly sliced red onion, divided

  • Chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish


  1. Arrange a rack in the bottom third of the oven, place a heavy baking sheet upside down on the rack, and heat to 450°F.

  2. Divide the pizza dough into 2 pieces. Dust a 12-inch piece of parchment paper with cornmeal, place a piece of dough on it, and stretch or roll into a thin, 10-inch round. If the dough is sticky, dust with a little bit of all-purpose flour.

  3. Carefully remove the preheated baking sheet from the oven and use the parchment paper to slide the dough directly onto the back of the baking sheet. Brush the dough with half of the olive oil, then spread half of the barbecue sauce into a thin layer onto dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Sprinkle with half of the mozzarella and smoked Gouda cheeses. Scatter half of the chicken and onions over the cheese.

  4. Bake until the edges are golden-brown and crisp, 10 to 12 minutes. Garnish with the cilantro and cool for 2 minutes before slicing and serving. Repeat with the remaining dough and toppings.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 4 days.