There’s no need to wait for pizza dough to rise when you make this homemade French Bread Pizza with your favorite toppings in less than 30 minutes.
Far from the realm of bread connoisseurs lies my husband’s beloved dipping-in-everything-bread. It’s the soft and squishy French bread that’s advertised over the grocery store loudspeaker with that fresh-baked aroma that lures you in at the checkout lane. It’s also the base of one of the easiest 30-minute meals guaranteed to please absolutely everyone.
This homemade French bread pizza is for those times when the pizza cravings come on strong but time is lean. This is when you can skip the rise, stretch, and shaping of pizza dough and get right to the point: Layering loads of mozzarella and all the toppings on a simple loaf of grocery store bread for an ooey-gooey dinner everyone can customize. This recipe starts with a layer of my favorite garlic bread butter that keeps French bread pizza from getting soggy while adding a lush garlic richness to the toasty bottom. A slather of crushed tomatoes and fave toppings and this pizza bread is ready for the partaking.
French Bread Pizza Ingredients
Like any pizza, choose whichever toppings your pizza-loving heart desires. In this version, I chose my daughter’s, my own, and my husband’s fave toppings combined.
PRO TIP Shop the grocery store salad bar for a wide selection of toppings to save money on smaller amounts of ingredients.
- French bread: Choose the squishy store-bought version
- Salted butter
- Olive oil
- Garlic powder
- Kosher salt
- Crushed tomatoes
- Parmesan cheese — grate your own for the best flavor
- Mozzarella cheese — choose a low-moisture ball of mozzarella and shred it yourself for the best stretchy melt
- Toppings of your choice, or what I used here:
- Red onion
- Sliced mushrooms
- Tomato slices
- Fresh basil
The Best Bread for a French Bread Pizza Recipe
I love nothing more than a fantastically chewy sourdough with a crisp crust and holes that compete with craters on the moon. But not for French bread pizza. Instead, choose a good loaf of French bread with a soft crumb. It should be tender enough to easily bite into but thick enough to hold toppings without falling into itself. For individual pizzas, try French bread rolls or tender ciabatta buns.
How to Make French Bread Pizza Not Soggy
Start with buttery garlic toast. I took the advice of Serious Eats to create a toasted garlic bread butter and Parmesan cheese barrier between the soft bread crumb and crushed tomato sauce so the pizza doesn’t get soggy. Because I applied a lighter hand of garlic butter, I halved my butter recipe for The Best Garlic Bread and used garlic powder instead of fresh for a less intense garlic flavor. Bake the bread for 5-7 minutes so the Parm melts and the edges crisp.
Skip the pizza sauce and use canned crushed tomatoes. I like my pizza sauce Napoli-style with a fresh tomato taste, not over-seasoned sugary ketchup. That’s why I use Italian crushed tomatoes flavored with just a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt to enhance their sweetness. Don’t drown the bread, a level coating will do. Also, there’s no need for garlic in the sauce thanks to that garlicky buttered bread.
Shred your own low-moisture mozzarella cheese. Pre-shredded cheese is coated with cellulose so it doesn’t clump when packaged. That means it doesn’t melt as well either. I get the best melting from pulling out my food processor and shredding a firm ball of low-moisture mozzarella. Some fresh-pulled mozzarellas will work when torn into pieces, but avoid using logs of pre-sliced fresh mozzarella. They have higher water content and will puddle when baked.
Layer the Flavors
First, sprinkle a layer of mozzarella cheese over the sauce and add more cheese than you think. Because the toast will be warm and the mozzarella in fluffy shreds, it will begin melting as you add your toppings. Sprinkle on extra cheese for the best melty stretch.
Add the toppings over the cheese. This makes a molten cheese bed for the veggies and meats to cook and melt into. Sprinkle with more Parm.
Pepperoni shrinks when cooked, so don’t skimp. If you’re a pepperoni fan, overlap the slices so you have plenty to bite into.
French Bread Pizza Topping Ideas
Any traditional pizza toppings work just as well for French bread pizza, such as:
- Proteins: Pepperoni, ground sausage, salami, meatballs, diced or sliced ham, cooked chicken, clams, chorizo, bacon, ground beef, prosciutto, pancetta
- Vegetables: Onion, mushroom, olives, tomato, red, yellow, or green bell peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, artichokes hearts, anchovies, broccoli, jalapeño, spinach
- Aromatics: Fresh or dried oregano, red pepper flakes, fresh basil, Italian seasoning, pepperoncini
- Other types of cheese: Provolone (instead of mozzarella), feta, goat cheese, ricotta cheese, blue cheese
- Other sauces: Alfredo sauce, pesto sauce, bruschetta, chimichurri sauce, barbecue sauce
PRO TIP Shop the grocery store salad bar for a wide selection of toppings instead of buying cans and packages for smaller amounts of ingredients.
More Pizza Recipe Ideas
- Mediterranean PIzza
- Truffled Mushroom Pizza
- Cheesy Sausage Pizza Bread
- Berry with Arugula and Prosciutto Pizza
- Pesto Pizza
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