This year, why not make a savory Loaded Thanksgiving Pizza for a delicious holiday twist? Top your homemade pizza crust with garlic parmesan sauce, melty mozzarella, smoky bacon and colorful veggies.
If your Thanksgiving menu is feeling a little stale, I have the perfect solution. Thanksgiving pizza combines all-American fall holiday flavors with the dough, a cheesy dish everyone loves. This Best Loaded Thanksgiving Pizza recipe is a crowd-pleaser any time of year, but it's a great replacement for turkey if you're looking to shake things up this holiday season.
There are three components to this pizza: the homemade dough, the garlic parmesan sauce and the toppings. Start by making the dough first, as it needs time to rest. then make the sauce and toppings, assemble bake and enjoy!
Easy Homemade Pizza Crust
If you haven't made homemade crust before, it's easy to do and so worth it. This simple recipe uses a few pantry staple ingredients to make a super chewy and crisp pizza crust. Here's what you need to make it:
All-purpose flour. I use organic flour from Bob's Red Mill.
Honey. You can also use maple syrup or brown sugar. All of the sugar will be consumed by the yeast.
Rapid-rise yeast. Also called instant yeast.
Olive oil. This helps the dough get its elastic stretch and flavor.
If you're short on time, you can certainly use store-bought dough for this pizza.
Garlic Parmesan Sauce
Next, prepare the white sauce for the pizza. It's loaded with creamy, savory flavor, thanks to these ingredients:
Butter. Use unsalted so you can control the flavor of the sauce.
Garlic. I recommend fresh, but you could also use ½ teaspoon garlic powder.
Flour. Just a bit helps thicken the sauce.
Almond milk. Feel free to use any unsweetened milk you like.
Parmesan cheese. Pecorino romano will also work.
Tip: Let the sauce cool a bit before using it on the pizza crust.
Loaded Thanksgiving Pizza Toppings
You can of course use any toppings you like on this pizza. I love to use seasonal flavors that make sense on a Thanksgiving table like:
Mozzarella cheese. You could also use more parmesan, asiago or another melty cheese. A mixture of cheeses also works well!
Crispy bacon. For vegetarians, skip the bacon or use a vegan alternative.
Cranberries. You can only find fresh cranberries during the holidays, so take advantage of this healthy berry! It adds tartness to the savory pie.
Kale. You can also replace the kale with more spinach if you prefer.
Spinach. Likewise, you can use all kale if you like.
Roasted broccoli. This adds a crispy, crunchy and green element to the pizza.
Other Topping Ideas
If you're looking for more pizza topping inspiration or want to replace any of the toppings above, here are some more ideas:
Use sausage instead of bacon.
Use dried cranberries instead of fresh.
Sprinkle the pizza with fresh pomegranate seeds after baking.
Add cooked mushrooms or eggplant
If you have leftover pizza, store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days. You can reheat the pizza in a toaster oven or regular oven at 350°F for 5 to 10 minutes until heated through.
Gluten-Free Thanksgiving Pizza
To make this recipe gluten-free, use this recipe for Easy Gluten-Free Pizza Crust. For the sauce, substitute the all-purpose flour for gluten-free all-purpose.
2 ¾cuporganic all-purpose flour(See Notes for GF option!)1
1cupWARM fresh water
1packetrapid-rise yeast (That's 2 ¼ tsps!)
1tablespoonExtra virgin olive oil
GARLIC PARMESAN SAUCE:
4garlic cloves, minced
2Tbspsorganic all-purpose flour
½cupfreshly-grated parmesan cheese
2cupsfresh mozzarella cheese
2cupschopped cooked bacon
COOKED CRANBERRY TOPPING:
2cupscranberries, fresh or frozen
1teaspoonfreshly-squeezed lemon juice
2Tbspsorganic cane sugar
In the bowl of an electric mixer (with a dough hook attachment), mix together the warm water, honey, olive oil, and yeast (you might need to use a whisk to ensure that everything combines together well). Let is sit for at least 5 minutes, until yeast begins to activate and foam.
Slowly add the flour and salt (on low speed!), until fully incorporated and a soft dough is formed. NOTE: if dough is too sticky, add ½ cup of additional flour at a time)
Now, increase the speed to medium-high and knead the dough for about 5 minutes in the mixer.
Once done, add the dough onto a floured surface and slightly roll out the dough until it’s flat enough to form a flat circle the rest of the way with your hands, about 11 inches in diameter. Lightly grease your pizza pan with extra virgin olive oil and place dough on one end of pan, evenly pressing it and flattening it out to fit the entire pan. Gently use your finger to stretch dough until pan is fully covered and gently pinch the edges of the dough together to form the crust.
TO MAKE GARLIC PARMESAN SAUCE:
In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, add butter. Once melted, add minced garlic and sauté until translucent and fragrance. Add in the flour and whisk until combined. While whisking, add milk, grated cheese, salt, and black pepper and continue whisking until combined and smoothed.
Remove from heat and let it cool.
Preheat the oven to 475 degrees Fahrenheit and place top rack into the middle of oven. NOTE: be sure to use a great pizza pan to ensure that your crust is crispy and not soggy.
Brush a generous amount of the cooled garlic parmesan sauce over the top of the crust until evenly coated.
Generously sprinkle on the cheese until crust is fully covered in the middle, leaving a bit of crust for the edges. Add the remaining toppings.
Lightly brush the tops of the edge of the crust with 1 tablespoon of olive oil to ensure that it becomes a nice golden brown.
Transfer the pizza pie to the hot oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or so, until the cheese has melted (and becomes bubbly) and the crust is crispy and golden brown.
TO MAKE COOKED CRANBERRY TOPPING:
In a pot over medium-high heat, add together all ingredients, stirring until it begins to boil, about 4-5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and allow cranberries to cook through and "pop", stirring occasionally, about 3-4 minutes. Once cranberries have become tender (and are open and "bursting"), the mixture should thicken become "sauce-like". Remove from heat and let cool slightly until warm.
Once done, allow pizza to rest/cool for a few minutes (about 2-3 minutes) so that the cheese sets.
Top pizza with cooked cranberries and cut into generous slices, using a pizza cutter to serve.
Tips & Tricks
PIZZA CRUST: For a crispy pizza (especially on the bottom), I suggest using a pizza pan with holes to allow the crust to bake through nicely. I used the AirBake Pizza Pan, which can be found at Target!
STORAGE: Leftover pizza is best kept tightly wrapped in foil paper, refrigerated for 3-4 days for optimal freshness.