5 Sweet Ways to Use Pizza Dough

March 25, 2015

Today: If a bread dough can be pizza crust, then what can pizza dough be? 

Back in the day I worked at a bread bakery, or five, and learned a little secret: The pizza dough sold was just plain bread dough -- is your mind blown? Mine was. Which got me to thinking: If loaf bread can be pizza, then what can pizza dough be? Because pizza dough isn't sweet, I began by considering dough-based confections that can function with a slightly less-than-sweet base.

While I am not discouraging you from making pizza dough -- it is actually totally fun and strangely therapeutic -- buying premade pizza dough from your pizza shop (where it will certainly be actual pizza dough, a.k.a. a wetter dough with less gluten developed) means that dessert is only an oven-preheat and a little imagination away. All you need to do is replace the dessert dough you would usually use with pizza dough and adjust the baking time accordingly -- depending on the pizza dough you use, this could be slightly longer than the recipe's suggested baking time. So my rule of thumb is this: The first time you play with pizza dough, watch your dessert and be ready to add a little extra baking time, think 5 to 10 minutes, due to the water-content of the pizza dough. Flex your creative dessert muscles and get behind these five fun ways to use pizza dough:

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1. Make doughnuts.

There are biscuit doughnuts, croissant doughnuts, doughnut muffins, bacon doughnuts, and now: pizza doughnuts. Granted they will not actually be pizza-flavored -- but I am not stopping you from experimenting if that is your jam. Using pizza dough will make your doughnuts easy to bake or fry, and it serves as the perfect vehicle for endless hours of decorating fun.

2. Make babka.

Babka's luscious braided interior and sweet filling make it equally fantastic as a dessert or breakfast. The reason why pizza dough works wonders in this recipe is that it is less sweet than the standard dough, making it easier to have one more slice, without being overwhelmed by too much sweetness.


3. Make monkey bread.

Forget pre-made biscuits; pizza dough is the ultimate answer to pull-apartable, brown sugar-doused monkey bread. ‘Nuff said. 

4. Make pretzels.

Pretzels are one of the best uses for a little leftover pizza dough. All you need to do is sort out the flavoring. Classic salt? Cinnamon sugar? Pizza pretzels? The options are truly endless. But nothing says dessert -- in my humble opinion -- quite like a sugary pretzel. 

5. Make cinnamon rolls.

Making cinnamon rolls with pizza dough is a foolproof way to make sure they rise, have that signature yeasty flavor, and ensure that weekend brunch is stupid easy. I love making cinnamon rolls with pizza dough. The real trick, as with any cinnamon roll, is amazing cream cheese frosting

Bonus: Make bread pudding.

You heard us right. If you have baked pizza dough -- which you can do by tossing the pizza dough into a loaf pan and baking it -- you can cut it up, dry it out, and smother it in heavy cream and everything else that is good and right with the world (also known as: sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla).

What are some of your favorite ways to use pizza dough? Tell us in the comments below!

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Linda
  • Sarah Noble
    Sarah Noble
  • caloreenlim
  • Deanna Wells
    Deanna Wells
  • Hannah Petertil
    Hannah Petertil
Past Julia Child Fellow at Food52 || Believer in Brunch


Linda April 7, 2015
In Italy pizza is not a meal, it is a snack, given to children when they came home from school. Leftover bread dough is rolled/patted out with a little tomato sauce and herbs sprinkled on top - no cheese, no fancy toppings. My grandmother's pizza, from the area outside of Naples, would rise about 2 inches thick. It was bread with a bit of extra flavor on top. Buono Appetito
Sarah N. March 26, 2015
How would you rise a pre-made pizza dough?
Hannah P. March 26, 2015
Just put it in a bowl and cover it with a damp rag then let it rise at room temperature. It has risen when you poke it and the indent stays put.
caloreenlim March 26, 2015
Looking for restaurants with good ambience? Check out Singapore’s Wheretoeatsg website, for a list of places now!
Deanna W. March 25, 2015
My family always made pizza fritta. Stretch out a blob of dough until its fairly thin, fry it in vegetable oil, then cover it in powdered sugar.