Wanting to branch out from typical red sauce pizza? Try using barbeque sauce instead! Barbeque chicken pizza is a true American twist on an Italian invention, and it can be found on most pizzeria menus across the country. One of the most well-known versions of this pizza comes from California Pizza Kitchen – supposedly the original inventor of the BBQ chicken pizza. This recipe, while not a true copycat, was inspired by California Pizza Kitchen’s BBQ Chicken Pizza.
My recipe uses smoked gouda cheese and cilantro, like California Pizza Kitchen, but I leave off the onions. If you’re an onion lover, feel free to throw on some red onion, but I prefer this pizza without it. For my version, I add bacon. Not only does bacon make everything better, it pairs especially well with barbeque. Give my spin on this American classic a try, and you won’t be disappointed!
Barbeque Chicken Pizza
Prep Time: 15 minutes (not including making the crust or marinating time)
Cook Time: 5-7 minutes for Brick-Oven Style, 15-20 for traditional baking
No-Knead Pizza Dough or 1/2 recipe Thick Crust Pizza Dough
4 oz. Chicken Breast, diced
3-4 oz. Fresh Mozzarella
1/2 c. grated Smoked Gouda Cheese
2 slices Bacon
handful chopped Fresh Cilantro
Olive Oil, optional
1. Combine the diced chicken with some barbeque sauce and allow to it marinate for at least an hour. My favorite sauce for this pizza is Jack Daniel’s Spicy Original. It has a good amount of smokiness and heat with a perfect hint of sweetness.
2. Heat a skillet over medium heat and cook your bacon until crispy (I always trim some of the fat off my bacon before cooking, but that’s just a personal preference) then transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Add your chicken to the pan and cook then set aside. Once the bacon has cooled, coarsely chop it.
Tip: Cooking the chicken in the rendered bacon fat gives it more flavor. If you don’t want to do that, you can pour the fat out of the pan and cook in olive oil instead. You need some sort of fat/oil in the pan to keep the bbq sauce-covered chicken pieces from sticking as they cook.
3. Shape your pizza dough and top with barbeque sauce. Tear the fresh mozzarella into clumps and distribute over the pizza. Then spread the chicken and bacon over the pizza.
4. Finally, top with your shredded smoked gouda.
Note: The smoked gouda cheese really does help make the pizza. However, if you’re looking for a substitute cheese that is less expensive or you may already have on hand, regular gouda, cheddar, or smoked cheddar would also work well.
5. Cook under the broiler using our Brick-Oven method or bake at 425° for 15-20 minutes until the cheese is golden and bubbling.
6. Once the pizza is out of the oven, top with cilantro. Allow to cool a few minutes, slice, and serve.
Tip: To make the crust extra-tasty, brush it with a little olive oil as soon as it comes out of the oven.
Now isn’t your mouth watering just looking at this golden, bubbly pizza full of smoky, cheesy, bacon-y flavor… YUM!
If you like this recipe, check our other non-red sauce pizza recipes: