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+ servings
sliced braided bread with cheese and marinara on a wooden cutting board with a knife

Pizza Bread

Pizza bread 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!
5 from 39 votes
Prep Time 25 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Rising Time 1 hr 30 mins
Total Time 2 hrs 30 mins
Course Appetizer, Main Dish, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine Italian
Servings 10 servings
Calories 296 kcal


Pizza Bread Dough

  • 1 ¼ cup warm water approximately 105˚ - 110˚
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons dry active yeast approximately 1 packet
  • 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil plus extra for greasing the bowl
  • 3 ½ cups all purpose flour plus extra for kneading and rolling
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt

Pizza Bread Toppings

  • 1 cup italian gravy or pizza sauce (plus extra for dipping, if desired)
  • 2 cups italian style shredded cheese blend
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoon italian seasoning
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • cup shredded parmesan cheese


  • In a large mixing bowl or stand mixer, combine warm water, yeast, and sugar and allow to sit for about 5 minutes for the yeast to activate. 
  • Add in olive oil, flour, and salt and mix with a spoon or on medium speed in a stand mixer until the dough starts to form a ball.
  • Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead until a smooth ball is formed. If using a stand mixer, continue to mix on medium speed until the dough is smooth and elastic. The dough should spring back when you press your finger into it.
  • Drizzle a little bit of olive oil into a clean bowl and add the dough. Roll the dough around in the bowl so it's covered lightly in oil. Cover with a clean towel or plastic wrap and let sit in a warm spot until doubled in size, approximately 1 hour.
  • Remove cover from the bowl and punch down the dough. Turn out onto a floured surface and roll out into a large rectangle that is approximately a half inch to one inch thick.
  • Spread the italian gravy over the entire rectangle, leaving about one half inch around the edges.
  • Sprinkle the italian style cheese blend over the sauce and then sprinkle the garlic powder and italian seasoning over the cheese.
  • Starting on the long side of the rectangle, roll the dough up tightly into a large roll. Pull the dough up and in as you are rolling to create as tight of a roll as possible.
  • Once the dough is completely rolled up, using a bench scraper or sharp knife, cut the roll in half lengthwise down the middle to expose the layers of sauce and cheese.
  • Pinch the two strands of the dough together at the top to help secure them and then twist the strands around each other until you get to the end. Pinch the two strands together at the bottom to secure as well. 
  • Preheat the oven to 350° and gently place the twisted dough on a sheet pan that has been lined with parchment paper or foil. Lightly brush the dough with the olive oil and sprinkle with the parmesan cheese. Cover the dough with a clean towel or plastic wrap and let rise for a second time till doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
  • Once the bread has finished rising for the second time, uncover and bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes until golden brown.
  • Remove bread from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.


  • Additional pizza toppings can be added on top of the marinara before adding the cheese. Be careful not to overload on the toppings or the bread will fall apart and not rise properly. Two to three additional toppings should work, in addition to the sauce and cheese.

Alternative toppings

  • Meat Lovers - Add cooked ground italian sausage, ground beef, bacon or ham
  • Veggie - Add spinach, mushrooms, peppers, olives, onions 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
  • BBQ Chicken - Replace the marinara with bbq sauce and top with shredded cooked chicken and mozzarella cheese
  • Classic - Add pepperoni slices for a classic pepperoni pizza version

Alternative Cheeses

  • A pre-packaged italian style cheese blend typically includes a combination of mozzarella, provolone, parmesan, romano, and asiago cheese. Mozarella, fontina, asiago, pecorino-romano or even havarti would also work.

Make Ahead and Storage Instructions

After baking, allow the pizza bread to cool completely and then store in an airtight container at room temperature for 2-3 days. The cooled pizza bread can also be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and stored in an airtight container in the freezer for up to two months.


Serving: 1sliceCalories: 296kcalCarbohydrates: 40gProtein: 13gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 7mgSodium: 575mgPotassium: 165mgFiber: 2gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 140IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 99mgIron: 3mg
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