Nickel & Dine

10 Clever Tricks for Transforming Store-Bought Pizza Dough

A budget-friendly hack for snacks, dinners, and even desserts.

June 22, 2022
Photo by James Ransom. Prop Stylist: Alya Hameedi. Food Stylist: Kate Buckens.

Nickel & Dine is a budget column by Rebecca Firkser, food writer, recipe developer, and expert budgeter. This time, Rebecca is teaming up with our friends at Walmart to share tips for easy summer entertaining, featuring her signature flavor-packed, time-saving recipes plus a few of her must-have hosting items from Walmart—order ‘em online for pickup or delivery.

I’d like to shake hands with whoever was the first to sell pre-made pizza dough. Though not particularly complex to make from scratch, DIY pizza dough is time-consuming (mostly due to rising and resting) and sometimes, there simply aren’t enough hours in the day. And even when I do technically have the time I don’t always want to wait—there are far too many tasty treats to be made with pizza dough. From pigs in a blanket to quiche crust, store-bought pizza dough can be so much more than, well, pizza crust.

When it comes to using pizza dough in other applications, there aren’t too many differences between a bagged pizza dough-ball and a tube of pre-rolled pizza crust. But from the perspective of ease, I like to go with an option like Walmart’s Great Value Pizza Crust. Since it’s already rolled out and rested, this style of dough tends to be less elastic, making it easier to get right to cooking.

Photo by James Ransom. Prop Stylist: Alya Hameedi. Food Stylist: Kate Buckens.

If I’m already shopping for ingredients to make a pizza crust creation at a retailer like Walmart, I like to add a few other items for prep and cleanup, plus I can shop in their app or on their site for extra convenience. All of the recipe ideas below are baked goods, so if you don’t already have a good sheet pan, grab one (or two). My personal favorite is the Nordic Ware Natural Aluminum Half Sheet Cookie Pan, which is most effective for baking when lined with parchment paper. Alternatively, grab a nonstick version, like the Mainstays Nonstick Cookie Sheet Set—no parchment needed.

And here’s a tip I’ve learned from my time working in food styling: When you’re assembling ingredients, tear off 5 to 10 split-sheet paper towels, like Great Value Everyday Strong Paper Towels, and set them up in the corner of your work surface. That way, when hands and surfaces get messy during the cooking process, you can easily grab a towel and wipe.

Ready to cook? Here are 10 creative ways to use store-bought pizza dough.

1. Breadsticks

Whether they’re piled on a cheese plate or served with soup and salad, everyone loves a breadstick. Cut the pizza dough into thick 1-inch strips for soft breadsticks, or into thinner ¼-inch strips for a crunchier version. To flavor the breadsticks, brush them with a bit of oil and sprinkle over dried oregano or parsley, grated parmesan, everything bagel seasoning, or even cinnamon-sugar.


2. Pot Pie Topping

The coziest dinner just got easier. Make your favorite pot pie filling (save even more time by using pre-cooked chicken), then top the pie pan or casserole dish with rolled out pizza dough and bake until golden.

3. Garlic Knots

Make this classic pizzeria snack at home by rolling out the dough into 1-inch strips, tying each into a knot, then brushing in a mixture of minced garlic, dried herbs (like parsley or oregano), and melted butter.

4. Stromboli

Stromboli, aka pizza bread, is a simple pleasure. Layer classic pizza filings—sauce, cheese, pepperoni, sliced onions, peppers, mushrooms, to name just a few—on top of dough, roll it up like a cinnamon roll, and bake. Slice the baked stromboli into thick wedges and serve it as an appetizer or a midday snack.

5. Pigs In A Blanket

Say you’re craving pigs in a blanket but don’t have puff pastry; use pizza dough instead. Wrap hot dogs (mini or full-sized) in pizza dough, bake until puffed, then serve with a spread of your favorite condiments.

6. Quiche

Throwing a last-minute brunch? Whisk together a quick quiche filling (eggs, milk, cheese, vegetables), then line a pie plate with pizza dough that you’ve rolled out into a round. Parbake, then add the filling, and bake again until the eggs are set.

7. Cheese Bread

One of my favorite traditions with my roommates in college was ordering cheese bread and eating it sitting on the floor of our dorm. Channel this experience yourself by rolling out pizza dough, brushing it with melted butter, and piling it with a thick layer of low-moisture mozzarella cheese. Bake until the cheese is melty, and just wait for that cheese pull.

8. Calzones

Roll out pizza dough into circles, fill the center with ricotta and shredded mozzarella or grated parmesan, marinara, and maybe pepperoni or vegetables. Fold the dough into a half-moon, brush it with oil or egg wash and slit the top to let steam escape, then bake until golden.

9. Fruit Tart

You can totally use pizza dough in sweet recipes as well, like a quick fruit tart. Roll out the dough on parchment and sprinkle it with sugar. Toss chopped fruit like apples or peaches (or smaller whole fruit like berries) with more sugar, a pinch of salt, and a bit of lemon juice and flour, then pour into the center of the dough. Fold over the edges to form a 2-inch crust, then bake the tart until golden and bubbling.

10. Cinnamon Rolls

For lazy weekend breakfasts, make pizza dough into cinnamon rolls. Roll out the dough on parchment and sprinkle it with a mixture of softened butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Roll it up in a spiral, then slice into wedges. Bake them snugly together in a cake pan, or individually in a muffin tin. For frosting, whisk together ½ cup confectioners’ sugar and milk by the tablespoon until it reaches your desired spreadable or drizzle-able consistency.

What’s your favorite way to use store-bought pizza dough? Tell us in the comments!

Whether you’re shopping online or using their app, our friends at Walmart have easy solutions to help you get all the goods you need for summer hosting without breaking the bank. Shop their signature Great Value, Marketside, and Great Value Our Promise brands for guaranteed high-quality fresh and frozen food, household and pantry staples, and everyday cleaning products at affordable prices. To streamline your shopping experience, check out all that Walmart has to offer here.

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Rebecca Firkser is the assigning editor at Food52. She used to wear many hats in the food media world: food writer, editor, assistant food stylist, recipe tester (sometimes in the F52 test kitchen!), recipe developer. These days, you can keep your eye out for her monthly budget recipe column, Nickel & Dine. Rebecca tests all recipes with Diamond Crystal kosher salt. Follow her on Instagram @rebeccafirkser.