Holy crap, when did we get to week 8? It feels like it was just a week ago when I was so excited to join my love of football with my love of making dinners in cupcake pans to launch the gameday series – and now we’re halfway through the season. Craziness. I was looking through my gameday posts to date and realized that I haven’t made a savory dish in my cupcake pan since week 1 and week 2 – totally unacceptable! Coincidentally, my work cafe made their famous buffalo chicken pizza this week; I woke up craving it yesterday and I knew I had to make my own spin on it for this series.
I love this recipe because it is as involved as you want it to be. You can buy all of the components prepared (dough, chicken, sauces), or you can make your own. I chose to buy the dough, chicken, and hot sauce from the supermaket – but I made my own tomato sauce because I just can’t stand canned or jarred sauces. My boyfriend also conveniently has a garden full of delicious tomatoes, so, you know… that helps. Additionally, you can choose whether you’d like to indulge in fried chicken or use a more figure-friendly grilled chicken instead. I, obviously, went for the fried stuff this time.
Additionally, I chose to drizzle my pizza bites with hot sauce after they finished baking instead of tossing the chicken in the hot sauce; I think doing it this way keeps the chicken crispier, and it allows for total heat control. This is necessary when you’ve got a crowd with varying tastes.
As you can see, these buffalo chicken pizza bites are completely loaded with chicken. I personally prefer a thinner crust like the one pictured above. If you like a thicker crust, be advised that you’ll get much puffier pizza bites. Don’t worry, they’ll still be delicious.
The middle pizza in the row closest to the camera is an example of a puffy pizza bite. I did serve these with ranch dressing, but you could do blue cheese, caesar, or just roll with the hot sauce alone. And if you’re feeling guilty about eating this, just add a side of veggies (that would be traditional, after all) and call it a complete meal.
- 16 oz pizza dough
- 3/4 - 1 C shredded mozzarella (I shred my own because I think it tastes better)
- 1/3 - 1/2 C tomato sauce
- 1 1/2 - 2 C chopped chicken - fried or grilled. (1/4-1/2 inch dice)
- 1/4 C buffalo sauce
- Mise en place, and read this recipe all the way through
- If you're using frozen fried chicken strips, bake them off according to the package directions. You'll need about half of the bag to get 2 cups chopped. If you're using grilled chicken, you can cook and dice it the night before to save yourself some time.
- While the chicken is baking off, you'll work on the dough. If you like a thick crust, divide it into 12 equal pieces. If you like a thin crust, divide the dough into 16 equal parts. To get 12 pieces, cut the dough into four pieces and then cut each piece into 3 pieces. To get 16 pieces, just keep cutting the dough in half - first in 2, then to 4, then to 8, then to 16.
- Lightly grease 1 or 2 muffin pans and set aside.
- Pick up a dough piece and begin to gently stretch it until it's 3-4 inches in diameter, and transfer to the muffin tin. The dough should come to the top of the muffin tin; if it doesn't, you didn't stretch it enough.
- Repeat until all dough pieces have been stretched and transferred.
- By this time the chicken should have come out of the oven and had a chance to cool. Cut it into a 1/4-1/2 inch dice.
- Fill the dough cups with tomato sauce, cheese, and finally, the chicken.
- Bake in a 450 degree oven for 10 minutes.
- Allow to cool for 5 minutes, then remove from the muffin tin. If serving immediately, drizzle with buffalo sauce and serve warm. If making ahead, let cool completely and transfer to an airtight container. These can be refrigerated for one week or frozen for one month. Reheat in a 400 degree oven, then drizzle with buffalo sauce.
If you're going for a thinner crust, you'll need the larger measure of ingredients because you're making 16 pizza bites. If you like a thicker crust, you may want to use the extra sauce and cheese, but you won't be able to cram all the chicken into 12 cups.