This homemade BBQ Chicken Pizza beats the pants off any restaurant version. This easy pizza is made with smoked chicken (or any leftover chicken), red onions, tomatoes, cheese, with has a secret sauce that brings everything together, and topped with fresh cilantro.
BBQ Chicken can be grilled or cooked in the oven, and is perfect for Friday night Pizza Night!
Friday nights in our house mean pizza night! We live in the country, far from any restaurants, so we’re rarely going out for pizza. That means we’ve had to perfect our pizza game.
We cook our pizzas two ways around here, either in the oven on high heat using a pizza stone, or on our grill, using a high heat and a stone. This BBQ Chicken Pizza can be successfully cooked on either.
The inspiration for our pizza came from a restaurant I worked at in college. They used a mix of cheeses, including cotija, scallions, and cilantro, onions, and tomatoes. It was so good. Though we usually sub feta for the cotija. I love the sharpness and saltiness that the feta gives, but we also make it with mozzarella when we don’t have feta on hand. The mozz works great too and provides a nice oozy cheesy texture and a much milder flavor. Choose whichever you prefer.
This version also starts with a whole smoked chicken. We like to smoke a whole chicken, and use it in meals throughout the week, saving a good couple cups for our BBQ Chicken Pizza. If you don’t have smoked chicken, any shredded chicken works well too.
Chef Tip: you can also buy a pre-cooked store-bought rotisserie chicken from your supermarket, and just shred up that meat! It won’t have that same smoky flavor, but will work in a pinch.
A Note On The Sauce for The Pizza
I’m not a fan of using 100% BBQ sauce as the base. I find most BBQ sauces have so much sugar in them that when you bake at a high heat the sauce starts to caramelize before the pizza is done cooking, and the end result is more like candy then a nice rich sauce. So I like to mix ½ BBQ sauce with ½ regular pizza sauce (or just regular tomato sauce). It provides a richness and saucy texture that I’m going for, but you still get the BBQ flavor. We use the same ½ and ½ sauce technique with this killer Buffalo Chicken Pizza. Mmmmm.
Best Cheeses to use
The restaurant version this pizza was inspired by used a 4 cheese blend. We’ve found it works best with a combination of cheeses. My favorite is a combination of shredded cheese (both cheddar and smoked cheddar), feta or cotija, and some mozzarella cheese.
Feel free to use any combination, or just stick with the traditional mozzarella.
How to Make BBQ Chicken Pizza
- Preheat Oven: to 475 degrees, with a pizza stone (or pizza steel) in the center of the oven. See notes for grilling your pizza.
- Prepare Pizza Dough: we absolutely love Ken’s Artisan Pizza dough for our pizzas. But feel free to use your favorite pizza dough. Roll it out to 12″.
- BBQ Pizza Sauce: we combine equal parts BBQ Sauce and traditional pizza sauce. We’ve learned through experience that 100% BBQ sauce will start to burn before the pizza is done cooking. That’s because most BBQ sauces contain a high amount of sugar, and sugar cooked at a high heat will burn quickly. So we mix in some traditional tomato sauce to reduce that risk. Plus the combination tastes great. Spoon your sauce evenly throughout your dough.
- Toppings: layer your pizza with shredded chicken, sliced red onions, diced tomatoes, and a combination of cheeses (we use a combination of cheddar cheeses, feta, and mozzarella.
- Cook Pizza: Gently slide the pizza onto the pizza stone, and cook until the crust is golden brown and toppings are bubbly (about 10-12 minutes).
- Garnish Pizza with fresh chopped cilantro, slice, and serve.
Wine Pairing for BBQ Chicken Pizza
You have lots of options here. You’ve got some smoky components from both the meat and the BBQ sauce, but you also have some sharp flavors from the onions and feta, and some herbal cilantro. If you go red this is where a low tannic fruity wine is great, like Zinfandel, Syrah, or Grenache.
But I also love it with a bolder style Rosé. Rosés will have lots of fresh acidity and bright fruit flavors that will balance well with the multitude of flavors going on in the BBQ Chicken Pizza. They are very versatile and also super refreshing.
More Pizza Recipes:
- How to Grill Pizza
- Smoked Buffalo Chicken Pizza
- Smoked Brisket Pizza
- Grilled Pizza with Pear and Prosciutto
Note: This post was originally published April of 2016 and updated April of 2020.