Crispy crust, lots of bacon, chicken, onions, and cheddar with zesty barbecue sauce, makes BBQ chicken pizza a really rockin’ pizza!
Why you’ll love it: Pizza is so easy to make when you start with a purchased crust or dough, and you don’t have to wait for delivery!
How long it takes: about a half hour
Equipment you’ll need: small skillet, sheet pan, oven
Servings: 8 (one slice each)
Barbecue chicken pizza is a real crowd-pleaser. It combines two all-American favorites: barbecue chicken and pizza. How can you go wrong with that combination?!
This pizza is topped with lots of zesty barbecue sauce, chunks of savory chicken, crisp bacon, sweet red onions, and melty cheddar cheese on a golden brown crust.
You may think pizza is too difficult to make. Actually, it’s really pretty easy if you start with a pre-made crust. I like the frozen balls of dough but there are lots of different options. Choose the one you like best or, if you’re feeling like a superhero, make homemade pizza dough!
Once you try this pizza, you may never do take-out or get pizza delivered again! It’s way more economical to make your own and you won’t have to wait an hour for the delivery person to knock on your door with your semi-cold pizza (no offense to hard-working very busy delivery persons!).
About this Pizza
Okay, so I’ll admit this pizza is not health food. I mean, boneless skinless chicken breasts are low in fat and high in protein but when they’re accompanied by a bunch of bacon and cheese, well, bye-bye healthy food. But really, it’s no worse than most pizzas.
P.S. Buy whole wheat pizza dough, if you want healthy!
I’ll run you through the recipe here and give you a few extra tips (informative ones, not monetary). As always, the printable recipe card can be found near the end of the post with complete instructions and nutrition information.
What You’ll Need
- Pizza Dough/Crust: There are a lot of options for this. Choose the one you’re most comfortable with. I like to buy a frozen ball of dough. Thaw it overnight in the fridge and it’s ready to roll out.
- Cooked Chicken: Again, lots of options: leftover rotisserie chicken or grilled chicken, poached chicken, or any cooked chicken you happen to have. I use my Instant Pot to make cooked shredded chicken and I almost always have some in the freezer.
- Bacon: You’ll need a few slices of bacon (or maybe more than a few if you really like bacon).
- Red Onion: Any type of onion will work, just use what you happen to have. Red onion is typically the onion of choice on a BBQ chicken pizza.
- Barbecue Sauce: Make your own or use your favorite bottled brand.
- Sharp Cheddar Cheese: Cheddar is a common choice for barbecue chicken pizzas. Some pizzerias use a blend of provolone, cheddar, and mozzarella cheese. You decide.
How To Make This Pizza
Get your oven preheating. A hot oven is essential for a good pizza. Find a sheet pan, baking sheet or pizza pan and give it a little coat of olive oil.
Roll or spread the dough onto the pan. Don’t worry about getting it perfectly round. A rustic look makes it look homemade and homemade is good. My kids go for the most unique shapes and have a lot of fun stretching the dough out.
Fry up the bacon. Once it’s crisp, remove it from the skillet to drain the excess grease on paper towels.
Okay, next comes chopped red onion. You can either put the onions on the pizza raw or cook them first in a bit of the bacon grease. It’s all a matter of preference.
Mix the cooked chicken with half of the sauce. Spread the rest of the sauce on the crust.
Next, put the chicken on. Pile the rest of the stuff on the pizza crust, and top it with lots of shredded cheddar cheese.
Bake the pizza until the crust is golden and the cheese is bubbling, 12 to 15 minutes. Doesn’t it smell so, so good?
If you can, let that baby cool on the counter for just a few minutes or everyone will burn their mouths. It’s really good garnished with sliced green onions. They add a touch of freshness and the green looks great on the pizza.
This one is totally up to you! Whatever you like best is the best choice. Some folks like a spicy sauce, some like a sweet sauce, and then there’s some of us who like them all.
Ed LaDou is credited with developing the first BBQ chicken pizza for the chain California Pizza Kitchen in the 1980s. He was known for creative pizzas and even worked awhile for Wolfgang Puck who was impressed by his unique combinations (Wikipedia).
There will be lots of discussion about this sort of controversial topic and I don’t claim to be a pizza-making expert. I like to bake this pizza at 425°F and it always turns out well.
Make It Your Own
Well, this is a pizza after all, so tailor it to your liking. It’s so easy to do! Here’s a few suggestions:
- Try a different kind of cheese or a combination of cheeses. Provolone, mozzarella, smoked gouda or Monterey Jack are all good.
- Not a fan of bacon? Leave it off and just use lots of red onions and cilantro for extra flavor. Pepperoncini are good, too.
- Who says you can’t use regular pizza sauce if you prefer it instead of BBQ sauce? Although you may have to rename your pizza.
To get a head start on making this pizza, prep the toppings up to a day ahead of time. Make sure you have cooked chicken, fry the bacon, chop the onions and fry them, too, if you want, shred the cheese, etc. Make sure your dough is thawing out in the fridge. It won’t take long at all to make your pizza if you have everything prepped.
Storage & Reheating Tips
Really? You have leftover pizza? That never happens at my house. I wish it would. Store leftover pizza in the fridge. It should keep for 3-4 days. To reheat, put it in the oven or toaster oven on a pan or foil at 350°F until it’s heated. The microwave will work, too, but tends to make the crust get chewy and tough.
- Olive oil for pan
- 1 uncooked pizza crust (or a 16 oz. ball of dough)
- 4 slices center cut bacon, cut into ½ inch pieces
- ½ cup chopped or sliced red onion (about half of a large onion)
- 1/2 cup bottled barbecue sauce, divided (more if desired)
- 1 boneless skinless chicken breast, cooked and diced or shredded (about 8 oz. or 1-1 ½ cups)
- 1 ½ cups grated sharp cheddar cheese (see note)
- sliced green onions to garnish (optional)
- Preheat oven to 425°F. Roll out dough and place on a well oiled pan.
- In small skillet over medium high heat, brown bacon until crispy. Remove bacon to a paper towel lined plate to drain the fat.
- Optional: Place skillet back on medium high heat, and sauté onions until soft and transparent. If you prefer, leave the onions raw.
- Mix ¼ cup barbecue sauce with chicken. Brush crust all over with remaining ¼ cup barbecue sauce, or more if desired. Arrange chicken, bacon, and onions on pizza crust. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese.
- Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until crust is crispy and cheese is bubbly. Let cool 2 to 3 minutes before slicing and serving. Garnish with sliced green onions, if desired.
- If you like, substitute mozzarella, provolone, smoked gouda, or Monterey Jack cheese for the cheddar, or use a combination.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.