BBQ Chicken Pizza with Fresh Mozzarella and Pickled Jalapeños & Shameful Confessions

I’m not a very good pizza maker. I’m not sure if it’s the crust or if I bake it too long, but it is never as good as delivery pizza. (And here is where I admit an utmost amazing (shameful confession #1) find last Halloween: Tombstone cheese pizza! My husband and I were shocked at how good it was! And it’s under $2.00!)  I am a thick bready crust type of girl. I don’t like eating my pizza on a cracker… I’ve yet to find a homemade pizza crust that satisfies my perfect crust. I tried making my own a long time ago and in the recent past I just buy the pre-made dough from Trader Joes. Although, after just complaining to my mom, she said she’s heard of people going to their favorite pizza place ((shameful confession #2) can we say Pizza Hut?!) and just asking for the dough! That might be something to consider if you aren’t hardcore processed food-free.

Photo: Brian Woodcock; Styling: Mary Clayton Carl via Cooking Light

I found this recipe via my Cooking Light magazine and was drawn in by the spice factor. Pickled jalapenos! I LOVE pickled jalapenos! Last year I plowed through three Costco sized jars in under three months, all by myself. I ate them on everything!!! Oh… and my grandma also gave me a regular sized jar for my birthday, which I devoured along with the other three… mmmmmmmmm… anyway, where was I? Oh yes, pickled jalapenos as an ingredient! When I visit, my grandma and I love to top our delivery pizzas with pickled jalapenos, but it had never crossed my mind to order them baked on until I saw this recipe.
I am a veggie pizza sort of girl and if it’s not veggie or some artisan pizza from a restaurant (goat cheese & honey pizza!) I do enjoy myself a BBQ chicken pizza. So here we are, full circle as to why this pizza recipe drew me in.
Aside from the pizza dough, fresh mozzarella & no-salt ketchup (ha! As IF!), I already had everything in the house. I don’t have a pizza stone and have no room for one in our tiny kitchen. And I certainly can’t justify cramming it in somewhere when I hardly ever make pizza, so a cookie sheet had to suffice. Everything was super easy to do, no fancy cooking skills required here! When it came time to make the sauce I wondered how it was going to taste like BBQ sauce. I still wonder how it tasted like BBQ sauce, but whatever. It tasted fine. I followed the baking directions to a “T” and should have followed my eye instead. The cheese melted past it’s happy point and that crust was so crisp it was almost too hard to eat! But, again, I’m biased.
In all, I wanted to love this for so many reasons, but I didn’t. (Nevermind the fact that I blistered the roof of my mouth on the first bite!! Wah!) It was good, but not great. The BBQ sauce didn’t taste BBQ-y to me. My husband said it was “good” and he did eat four pieces cold the next day, but it’s not something I’d make again. Too many recipes out there, too little time to explore them all!

BBQ Chicken Pizza with Fresh Mozzarella and Pickled Jalapeños


3 (4-ounce) chicken breast cutlets 2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Cooking spray
12 ounces refrigerated fresh pizza dough
2 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
1/3 cup no-salt-added ketchup
3 tablespoons prepared yellow mustard
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1/2 cup sliced red onion
1/4 cup pickled jalapeño slices
4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves


  1. Place a pizza stone or heavy baking sheet in oven. Preheat oven to 450° (keep pizza stone or baking sheet in oven as it preheats).
  2. Sprinkle both sides of chicken evenly with black pepper and salt. Combine brown sugar, paprika, garlic powder, and ground cumin in a small bowl, stirring well to combine. Set aside 2 teaspoons spice mixture, and rub the remaining spice mixture evenly over all sides of chicken. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add chicken to pan; sauté 3 minutes on each side or until chicken is done. Let chicken stand 10 minutes, and slice thinly against the grain.
  3. Roll dough into a 14 x 9-inch rectangle (or a 14-inch circle) on a lightly floured surface; pierce dough with a fork. Lightly coat dough with cooking spray. Carefully remove pizza stone from oven. Sprinkle cornmeal over pizza stone; place dough on pizza stone.
  4. Bake at 450° for 9 minutes. Combine reserved 2 teaspoons spice mixture, ketchup, mustard, and vinegar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring mixture to a simmer, and cook 3 minutes or until slightly thick, stirring occasionally. Remove partially cooked crust from oven; spread ketchup mixture evenly over crust, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edges. Top with chicken, onion, jalapeños, and cheese. Bake at 450° for 10 minutes or until cheese is browned. Sprinkle with cilantro. Slice.

Alternatives: If you like arugula, try Chicken, Arugula, and Prosciutto Pizza: Prepare BBQ Chicken Pizza through step 3, omitting brown sugar, paprika, garlic powder, and ground cumin. Combine 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil and 2 tablespoons thinly vertically sliced fresh garlic in a skillet over medium-low heat; cook 2 minutes or just until fragrant, stirring constantly (do not brown garlic). Brush uncooked pizza dough with garlic-oil mixture; sprinkle dough evenly with 3 ounces shredded fontina cheese (about 3/4 cup) and 1/2 ­teaspoon crushed red pepper, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Bake at 450° for 4 minutes or until cheese melts. Carefully remove partially cooked crust from oven; arrange chicken on crust, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Bake an additional 5 minutes or until crust is golden and crisp. Place 1 1/2 cups arugula in a medium bowl; drizzle with 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil and 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice. Sprinkle with 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt. Toss. Arrange 1 ounce thinly sliced prosciutto evenly over pizza; top with arugula mixture. Slice pizza. Serve immediately. Serves 6 (serving size: 1 slice) Calories 307; Fat 12.9g (sat 3.9g); Sodium 624mg
If you like Parmesan, try Three-Cheese Chicken Pizza: Prepare BBQ Chicken Pizza through step 3, omitting spice rub. Combine 1 ounce crumbled blue cheese and 1 tablespoon fat-free milk; spread mixture over uncooked pizza dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Top with chicken, 2 ounces shredded mozzarella, 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan, and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Bake at 450° for 12 minutes. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon basil and 1 tablespoon chopped oregano. Serves 6 (serving size: 1 slice) Calories 270; Fat 7.3g (sat 3g); Sodium 599mg

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