Most pizza lovers would agree that there’s never a bad day for pizza. But someone somewhere decided that February 9th should be “National Pizza Day,” and I am here for it with a pizza that is not only delicious, but also especially appropriate for snacking during Sunday’s Super Bowl, er, “Big Game!”
This pizza, which is built on my go-to homemade sourdough crust, is a fun interpretation of the classic jalapeño popper, which is usually a hot pepper, stuffed with cream cheese and cheddar, then wrapped in bacon and baked.
We focused on those same ingredients, spread them out onto a pizza crust and turned it into a delicious slice. Two game day favorites, one tasty bite!
If you aren’t into making your own pizza dough, choose a store-bought dough from the deli department, preferably one that is about 11 ounces, and shape it by hand into a 14-inch round. There’s no sauce on this pizza—it doesn’t need it. Only mozzarella on the base, but also multiple cheeses in a homemade pimento cheese mixture (don’t worry, I’ll share that recipe, too), thumb-size pieces of smoky, salty bacon and fat chunks of fresh jalapeño, which I blistered in the same skillet I used to par-cook the bacon. You know what else would’ve been great on this pizza? Sautéed onions. Next time!
The pizza is surprisingly not all that spicy, despite having those two enormous jalapeños scattered all over it. If you desire more heat, keep some of the seeds on the jalapeños or consider adding some crushed pepper flakes at the table. Personally, we thought the pizza was just right.
We bake all our pizzas on a thick pizza steel, preheated for an hour at 550°F, the hottest our home oven will go. At this temperature, and with the steel, the pizza takes only 6 minutes to achieve blistered, bubbly perfection. If you’re using a stone or a pan, adjust temperature and baking time accordingly.
Jalapeño Popper Pizza
All the flavors you love in a jalapeño popper, tossed onto a homemade pizza dough. It's two game day favorites in one delicious bite!
- 1 ball pizza dough, at room temperature
- 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup low moisture mozzarella, shredded
- 2 large jalapeño peppers, seeded and cut into 1-inch chunks
- 4 slices thick smoked bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1/2 cup pimento cheese (see recipe notes about this)
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely minced
- Preheat oven to 550 F, with a pizza steel on the oven rack about 8 inches from top heat element. From the time the oven reaches 550, set a timer for one hour. If using a pizza stone or pan, adjust heat and baking time accordingly.
- Cook bacon over medium heat in a cast iron skillet, until most of the fat has rendered but the bacon is just shy of crispy. Transfer bacon to a plate lined with a paper towel. Drain off excess grease.
- In the same skillet, toss jalapeño chunks until they are slightly softened and the skins are somewhat blistered. Transfer to the same plate as the bacon.
- Shape pizza dough by hand into a 14-inch round and transfer it to a floured, cornmeal-dusted pizza peel. Drizzle or brush olive oil onto the crust, and season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Scatter mozzarella all over dough, then arrange the jalapeño and bacon pieces. Place small dollops of pimento cheese onto the pizza, so that every bite will have a little bit of every flavor. Sprinkle minced garlic onto the pizza.
- Slide the pizza from the peel onto the pizza steel and bake for about 6 minutes, until crust is blistered and golden and the cheeses are melted and bubbling. Serve at once.
Roasted Poblano Pimento Cheese
The joy of making your own pimento cheese is that you can spike it with any flavor you like! Here, I've used oven-roasted poblano chiles to complement the tangy pimentos.
- 2 medium poblano peppers, cut in half and seeded
- Olive oil spray (or 1 tsp. olive oil)
- 3 oz. cream cheese or neufchâtel, softened to room temperature
- 1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp. mayonnaise
- A dash or two of hot sauce, to taste
- A few quick shakes onion powder or garlic powder (about 1/2 tsp. total)
- Salt and pepper
- 2 Tbsp. drained jarred pimentos
- 3 packed cups shredded or grated cheese (see recipe notes)
- Preheat oven on low broil setting. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil (not parchment) and use the heel of your hand to press and break the poblano halves until they’re flat. Arrange them, skin side-up, on the foil. Brush or spray them with oil, and then broil until the skins are blistered and peppers are softened (about 10 minutes). Transfer peppers to a bowl and cover for 20 minutes until they’re cool enough to handle. Peel as much of the skin from the peppers as possible and then chop fine.
- In a fairly large bowl (you’ll need plenty of room to stir), blend together the cream cheese, mayonnaise, hot sauce, and onion powder. Mix until smooth. Stir in pimentos and chopped poblanos. Season to taste with salt and pepper, perhaps a bit saltier than you like because the cheese will dull those flavors somewhat.
- Stir in the shredded cheese, one cup at a time, blending really well each time until all cheese is mixed in. Cover and refrigerate a day for best flavor.