Jalapeño Popper Pizza: The Perfect Pizza in 25 Minutes

Inviting some pals over to hang out can quickly turn stressful when you realize they’re going to expect some food. Before you reach for your phone to order delivery, take a few deep breaths. Homemade eats don’t have to be difficult. With original recipes from our Everyday Appetizers series, you can pull off showstopping starters without losing your cool. 

Pizza purists love a slice with a bit of tomato sauce, cheese, and a few basil leaves. For them, additions like prosciutto and arugula are really guiding the lily. On the flip side, some folks like to pile their pies with every ingredient they can think of, including some wackier choices like macaroni and cheese. A lot of us fall somewhere in the middle, but it can be hard to find a pizza joint that’s creative without going completely over the top. Making it yourself is the only clear solution, and a dead-simple pie inspired by bacon-wrapped jalapeño poppers is a fantastic way to get started.

About this recipe

jalapeno popper pizza 1

Jalapeño popper pizza | Christine Skopec/Culture Cheat Sheet

Anyone who’s ever eaten jalapeño poppers knows they’re absurdly tasty. Anyone who’s ever cooked them knows they’re a complete pain. Each chile has to be individually sliced, seeded, filled, and wrapped, which eats up quite a bit of time. Pizza is lightning quick in comparison, so it’s the perfect vehicle for speeding toward the taste of the bite-size snacks. And since the cream cheese, bacon, and jalapeños have so much flavor, you don’t need many other ingredients. It might be one of the easiest pizzas you’ll ever bake.

Making your own dough is always an option, but you certainly don’t need to. You can find quality versions at the grocery store, and some pizzerias will happily sell their unadorned dough. If you decide to make your own, any basic recipe will do. This one from Jim Lahey, featured on Serious Eats, is about as easy as it gets. You can even portion the dough and freeze what you don’t use right away for next time. To thaw frozen dough, transfer it to the fridge the night before you want to use it, then let it sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes before shaping.

If you don’t already have a pizza stone, it’s an inexpensive piece of equipment that really gives you the best crust. You can always use a sheet tray, but it’ll take a bit longer and the underside won’t get quite the same crispness. Crank your oven as high as it goes, and set your stone on the rack to heat while you get everything else assembled.

When it comes to shaping the dough, you can work it into a round directly on a pizza peel or use your knuckles to gently stretch it out, letting it droop over your hands as you work. You’ll likely end up with a lopsided round with either approach, and that’s just fine. Transfer the dough to a peel sprinkled with cornmeal, which will help it slide onto the stone, then top with the chiles, bacon, cream cheese, mozzarella, and Parmesan. Transfer the pizza to the stone, and bake, slice, and devour. Preferably with a nice IPA in your free hand.

Jalapeño Popper Pizza

jalapeno popper pizza 2

Jalapeño popper pizza | Christine Skopec/Culture Cheat Sheet

This pizza is creamy, crispy, spicy, and salty all at the same time. One pie will serve about 4 people as an appetizer. If you’re having more friends over or want this to be the main course, making multiples is hardly any more work.

Ingredients:

  • 12 ounces pizza dough
  • Olive oil
  • 2 jalapeños, thinly sliced
  • 3 bacon strips, cooked, and crumbled
  • 3 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese
  • Cornmeal

Directions: Preheat oven as hot as it goes, usually 500 to 550 degrees Fahrenheit. If you have a pizza stone, arrange it in the middle of the rack to preheat.

Roll or stretch dough over your knuckles into a 13-inch circle, and place on a pizza peel or rimless sheet tray dusted with cornmeal. Lightly drizzle dough with oil, then evenly spread jalapeño rings over the dough. Evenly sprinkle bacon pieces over the top, then use a spoon and your fingers to make small dollops of cream cheese over the surface. Top with mozzarella and Parmesan.

Transfer pizza to stone by sliding off the peel. Bake until crust is crisp and cheese is bubbling and beginning to brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Slice, and serve.

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