This saucy cheesy pizza bread recipe is a fun appetizer, snack or dinner for the family. Homemade italian bread dough is braided with marinara, seasonings and cheese. Add in your favorite pizza toppings for an extra special treat!
We love making homemade pizza on Friday nights at our house. It's one of the kids favorite dinners, especially when they get to pick their own toppings. This pizza bread recipe is a fun twist on my braided pesto bread. The recipe below includes just sauce and cheese, however, you can add meat, veggies or any of your favorite pizza toppings!
🍕 Ingredient notes
- Bread dough - This easy italian bread dough recipe takes just 6 simple ingredients as well as just a few minutes to put together. It has a nice mild flavor that pairs perfectly with the pizza toppings and also has a soft and fluffy texture that is irresistable!
- Marinara - I use my old school italian gravy for this and all of my pizza recipes. Alternatively you can use your favorite store bought marinara or pizza sauce.
- Cheese - I used an italian style cheese blend for this recipe that includes a combination of mozzarella, provolone, parmesan, romano, and asiago cheeses. Parmesan cheese is also added to the outside of the bread for extra flavor and texture. Mozzarella, fontina, asiago, pecorino-romano or even havarti would also be good cheeses to use for this recipe.
- Toppings - Extra toppings can be added if you want, however, be careful not to overload it. Two to three toppings can be added on top of the marinara before adding the cheese and braiding the dough. See the list of suggested topping ideas below.
- Meat Lovers - Add cooked ground italian sausage, ground beef, bacon and/or ham
- Veggie - Add spinach, mushrooms, peppers, olives, onions and/or tomatoes
- Hawaiian - Add diced ham and canned drained pineapple tidbits
- Buffalo - Replace marinara with buffalo sauce and then top with shredded cooked chicken, crumbled blue cheese and mozzarella cheese
- Margherita - Add chopped fresh basil on top of the marinara and then top with shredded mozzarella or italian style blend of cheese
- BBQ Chicken - Replace the marinara with bbq sauce and top with shredded cooked chicken and mozzarella or provolone cheese
- Classic - Add pepperoni slices for a classic pepperoni pizza version
🔪 Step by step instructions
First, combine the warm water, yeast and sugar in a mixing bowl and let it sit so the yeast can activate. Add in the remaining ingredients and stir until the dough just comes together.
Next, turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead the dough until it's smooth and it easily springs back when you press your finger into it.
Place the dough in a clean bowl drizzled with a bit of olive oil and roll it around so it's lightly covered by the oil. Cover and let it rise until it's doubled in size.
Punch down the dough to deflate it and then roll it out into a large rectangle. Spread the sauce thinly over the dough leaving about one half inch of dough around the edges.
Sprinkle the italian style cheese blend over the marinara and then sprinkle the garlic powder and italian seasoning over the cheese.
Starting on the long side, roll up the dough tightly so the sauce and cheese are on the inside.
Using a sharp knife or bench scraper, split the roll of dough down the middle lengthwise to expose the layers. Pinch the top of the two strands of dough together to secure them and then twist the two strands around each other, pinching them at the bottom again to secure them.
Move the braided dough to a sheet pan lined with parchment paper or foil and brush lightly with olive oil. Sprinkle the dough with with parmesan cheese and cover it with a towel or plastic wrap. Allow the dough to rise for another 30 minutes while the oven preheats. Bake for 30-35 minutes in a 350˚ oven until golden brown.
Allow the loaf to cool for about 10 minutes before slicing. Serve with extra marinara sauce for dipping!
⭐ Top tip
When adding toppings to the pizza bread, be careful not to overload it. If you add too many toppings, the bread will have a hard time staying together and rising. Two to three toppings max is preferred, in addition to sauce and cheese.
🍽 What to serve with this
- Kale Caesar Salad
- Melon and Prosciutto Caprese Salad
- Grilled Italian Zucchini
- Pepperoncini Dip with Bagel Chips
- Celery Salad with Parmesan
- Grilled Peaches