Pizza Balls
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Pizza Balls

Pizza Balls from



As much as I love when my kids eat all of my cooking, I get a secret thrill when I look at the table after dinner and see that we have leftovers. Knowing that I'm not going to have to cook from scratch the following night or have to create something completely new to put in my little ones' lunch boxes the next day makes a mom's life just a little easier. And in my house -- I'm happy to say -- we have leftovers a lot. Yes, even on pizza night when you would think that not even one last bite would remain, we've got some slices for the fridge.

As delicious as a cold slice of pizza can be the next day, I like these Pizza Balls even better. The portioning is smaller than a big slice of pizza and they're easy (and fun) for little hands to hold. I also find them a bit less messy than slices that can drip cheese and sauce everywhere. When these pizza balls are piping hot, the little spheres pull apart to reveal gooey melted cheese and whatever toppings you can think of to put inside. They're great for dinner, to put in the lunchbox or even for when you need an afternoon snack that will sate your kids without stuffing them before dinner. Just one Pizza Ball will totally hit the spot, and yes, no matter how good they are, there will probably be leftovers!

Photo by Maren Caruso

Pizza Balls  (makes 16 balls)

  • Prep Time: 10 mins,
  • Cook Time: 25 mins,
  • Rating:
    Rate this recipe
As much as I love when my kids eat all of my cooking, I get a secret thrill when I look at the table after dinner and see that we have leftovers. Knowing that I'm not going to have to cook from scratch the following night or have to create something...


  • 1 pound white or wheat pizza dough
  • 3/4 cup broccoli florets, finely chopped
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup pizza sauce
  • olive oil
  • grated parmesan cheese


  1. 1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. 2. Bring pizza dough to room temperature and divide into 16 even pieces.
  3. 3. In a bowl combine the broccoli (or whatever addition you choose), mozzarella and pizza sauce.
  4. 4. Roll out each piece of dough into a round, about 3 inches wide, and place 1 tablespoon of the cheese mixture in the center.
  5. 5. Take the edges of the dough and bring them to the center, pinching along the edges to make sure they stick together, then roll into a ball.
  6. 6. Place the ball, sealed side down, in a greased pie plate and repeat these steps making the rest of the balls.
  7. 7. Brush each ball with olive oil and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
  8. 8. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden.

Accompaniments: chicken, mushrooms, onions, bell peppers, tomatoes, olives, pepperoni, pineapple, ham -- the sky's the limit Pizza Dough Recipe: Pizza Sauce Recipe:

Pizza Balls

Nutrition Information

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  1. Marissa Kennerson

    February 3, 2016 at 6:22 pm

    Catherine! These are the Weelicious piece de resistance! OMG! Loved by all and just so fun. Opens door to lots of ideas too! Thank you! Had a play date over and both kids loved!

  2. isabela

    June 27, 2015 at 3:52 pm

    and im just 10

  3. isabela

    June 27, 2015 at 3:52 pm

    i might be able to make it… hopefully

  4. Sandi

    November 23, 2014 at 3:55 pm

    These are pretty good, and they look really cute, but the dough/filling ratio was WAY too high. And I love bread! When I make these again (and I will) I think I’ll make 6 or 7 larger pockets, instead of 16 small balls. They won’t be as cute, though. :(

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  10. Suzanne

    September 11, 2013 at 2:33 pm

    Can you recommend a good dough? All I have found is the dough in a can and its ever so hard to work with.

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  12. Sara

    August 5, 2013 at 2:36 pm

    Oh I love you Catherine!! Spinach Hawaiian with onions is our favorite!!

  13. Aida

    June 26, 2013 at 7:04 pm

    Just made these and my picky 4 year old son loved them. I also did it with spaghetti meat, another good idea was I mixed ranch,cheese, and chicken and brocoli and it was amazing and good.

  14. nyca5124

    June 24, 2013 at 3:24 pm

    I think these are good. Next time I make them I am going to add more filling to the dough to make them more substantial and nutritious.

  15. LeannaBanana

    November 10, 2012 at 6:27 pm

    My 23-month-old son loved the whole wheat version of these! He has never been a fan of pizza before. Thanks for the simple, yet delicious idea! I added chopped, sautéed onion and 1 clove of garlic, plus a chicken sausage (finely chopped) to my filling. My little guy ate 4!

  16. Newatcooking

    September 30, 2012 at 6:53 am

    I love your website and bought your new book! I tried to make these…and not sure what went wrong. Well, I used ragu pasta sauce bc I did not think it would make that big of difference…but it was very sloppy. Then I had a bag of TJ broc. florets, but maybe there was too much stem?! The broc. was a little bulky. I used TJs wheat dough, 20 min room temp…you did not mentioned rolling pin–so I am wondering if that was assumed for all experienced users lol bc I had to cook it an extra 10 minutes and it was a little crispy….Looked nothing like your picture :( I was hoping to try these again but need advice. Thanks for your time!-newatcooking

    • catherine

      October 1, 2012 at 12:37 pm

      To prevent the broccoli from being too bulky, just chop them smaller! The pasta sauce you used was probably more runny than pizza sauce is so that would contribute to it being sloppy. You can roll out the dough using a rolling pin, or you can pull and stretch it using your hands. If you cut it into 16 even pieces and then roll it out to the 3-inch circle, it should get thin enough to be rolled into a ball around the ingredients and then baked!

  17. Kenzie

    August 20, 2012 at 12:27 pm

    Can I prepare these the night before and leave them in the fridge and just pop them in the oven the next day? I want to make these for my daughters birthday party but will not have time to prepare that day as we have a lot going on.

    • catherine

      August 20, 2012 at 1:09 pm

      Yes! These are great for preparing ahead of time. They will sit in their baking dish and not leak or get soggy! I just did this the other day, actually. I prepared them and then got crazy busy so they sat in the fridge for a few hours. Then I popped them in the oven (I let them come to room temperature for 20 minutes first) and they came out great!

      • greenteecher

        August 22, 2012 at 4:40 pm

        Would these freeze well? Would you freeze after baking or before? Thank you!

        • catherine

          August 22, 2012 at 6:53 pm

          I freeze them after baking!

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  19. catherine

    April 30, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    I space them like I do cookies. About 12 per cookie sheet!

  20. Zia

    April 28, 2012 at 6:13 am

    These look fantastic! I am going to try them for next month’s birthday party. How much space needs to be between them when I put them in the pan to bake?

  21. heather

    March 17, 2012 at 4:45 pm

    ok these are my new left over balls…..anything we have left over from the week goes in the dough and they are a hit!

  22. Amber

    February 21, 2012 at 6:11 pm

    These were way more of a hit then regular pizza! Thank you!
    I bought whole wheat pizza dough from whole foods and I added carrot puree (baby food) to the sauce and no one notice.
    Super yum!!

  23. Carissa

    February 4, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    Just making these for my daughter lunch, They smell amazing!!! I cant wait to try this one. My husband is going to be so jealous lol. Great recipe!

  24. Lucy Pearl

    January 2, 2012 at 4:21 am

    Hi Catherine, can you recommend a tasty pizza sauce? I have yet to find one my daughter likes. She does like spaghetti, so I’m thinking of trying a regular tomato sauce instead. Thanks!

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  26. Carrie

    November 1, 2011 at 9:57 pm

    OK, my 1 1/2 year old loves these, but I hate making them because the darn crust totally stics to the pan no matter how greased it is. I literally end up decapitating them to get them off. I use the trader joes’s wheat pizza dough and my bakers.

    • Jaime

      September 5, 2012 at 4:39 pm

      Whenever I bake or roast (which is practically daily) I put down a sheet of parchment paper. Done – zero clean up required!

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  28. Lauren S

    October 9, 2011 at 5:58 pm

    I see that a lot of others asked too, but I didn’t see an answer – any suggestions for freezing? Would you freeze before or after baking them? Thanks!

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  30. Elisabeth

    August 25, 2011 at 6:07 am

    I made these with whole wheat pizza dough from Trader Joe’s – big mistake! While I love to use whole wheat flour for baking and regular pizza, having the dough on the outside made the flavor that much stronger. Next time I’ll use regular pizza dough instead. Looking forward to it, though!

  31. Alex

    August 21, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    Freezing recommendations?

  32. Melissa

    August 17, 2011 at 8:28 pm

    How much of the Weelicious whole wheat pizza dough recipe should I use for this?

  33. CC

    August 10, 2011 at 2:41 am

    I tried to make these today, and sadly enough, I missed the mark. I used the Trader Joes dough and had to use a mini bread pan. The end result was the dough came out dry and pretty hard on the outside, while the inside was still a little raw, and the cheese hadn’t even really melted- what did I do wrong?

  34. Kara

    July 31, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    Please let us know about freezing these. I make lots of things ahead of time and freeze for my twins. Thanks!

  35. Alyson

    July 17, 2011 at 8:10 pm

    made these today with broccoli and spinach and they were a HIT!

  36. janelle

    July 10, 2011 at 7:32 pm

    just made these with last nights leftovers n they r soooo good! cant wait to make them again for my daughters tutu party!!

  37. Kendra @Blendra

    July 9, 2011 at 6:22 am

    These look amazing, my three year old will love them.

  38. Meghna

    July 8, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    Just made these. A big hit with my 3 year old. My 11 month old liked gumming them up, as well! My stuffing was broccoli, spinach, sundried tomato and mushrooms – yummy!

  39. jackie

    July 6, 2011 at 11:37 pm

    these look amazing.

  40. yeni

    July 2, 2011 at 3:38 pm

    Just made these for lunch today. I had to use a muffin tin and Pillsbury Pizza dough, since it was what I had available. My picky boy enjoyed helping me make the balls, even though his didn’t resemble balls :)
    He loved the idea of eating a pizza ball. I made 12, so they were slightly bigger, but fun nonetheless. I used mozz cheese, pizza sauce, and pepperoni. These were great, thanks again for the recipe.

  41. Genny

    June 30, 2011 at 12:05 pm

    We made these two nights ago. My 3yo and almost 2yo ate 2 pizza balls filled with broccoli each! They’ve also had them for lunch the past two days and ate a whole one each day. They love them, and my husband and I enjoyed them, too! A definite hit. (I made my own whole wheat pizza dough for these including using fresh ground wheat using this recipe which we’ve used a couple of times before — it’s easy and turns out great every time: Delicious!! As a side note though, I only cooked mine for 18-20 minutes and they were still a little darker than I would have preferred! I’ll probably only cook them about 15 minutes next time! Thanks for the great recipe!! :)

  42. Jennifer Taylor

    June 30, 2011 at 11:24 am

    There is no doubt that my nearly 4 year old daughter will love these! Thanks for the idea; I’m featuring this recipe in my “Five to Try” post tomorrow!

  43. Kim

    June 28, 2011 at 9:58 pm

    These were fabulous! I did some with broccoli since it’s something we never eat and some with mini turkey pepperonis. So good. The kids ate thirds! Thank you :)

  44. carrie

    June 28, 2011 at 2:09 pm

    Those look really, really good. I think my 5 year old (and me) would love those. They make a really great snack 😉 thanks

  45. Jen

    June 28, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    I can’t wait to make these! Is the pizza dough from the frozen section of the grocery store?

    • catherine

      June 28, 2011 at 2:24 pm

      I buy premade pizza dough from trader jo’s but you can get it from the frozen section as well :)

  46. Susan

    June 28, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    Where do you get your frozen pizza dough? I used some dough from the deli the other night and my usually 2 piece of pizza 2 1/2 year old did not like the dough. He wanted “the pizza man” to come and bring his…help.

    • catherine

      June 28, 2011 at 2:26 pm

      I get my dough from trader jo’s, they have it pre-made and its really yummy. It doesn’t come frozen though.

  47. Courtney

    June 28, 2011 at 12:34 pm

    yum…just finished these. My girls had lots of fun making them and they were really good.

  48. VanessaG

    June 28, 2011 at 11:54 am

    yum! I would love those. I love veggie pizza. I may have to make them when my 2yr old nice comes next weekend. :)

  49. MJ_Mom

    June 28, 2011 at 10:08 am

    Can’t wait to make these

  50. Daniell

    June 28, 2011 at 8:54 am

    Do you think you could make these the night before and leave in the fridge till the following afternoon?!

  51. Franki

    June 28, 2011 at 12:55 am

    These look delicious! Bound to be a hit in our house. Anything with cheese seems to be golden around here!

  52. Marla

    June 27, 2011 at 10:36 pm

    Pizza balls are a super fun & creative idea!! Cookin’ Canuck would love if you linked ’em up to this weeks Get Grillin’ vegetarian round-up :)

  53. wizzythestick

    June 27, 2011 at 9:22 pm

    Aren’t leftovers great. I share your enthusiasm. Lovely idea with the pizza balls. I am sure they freeze nicely as well.

    • Loree

      February 5, 2014 at 5:45 pm

      Super exetcid to see more of this kind of stuff online.

  54. Tammy

    June 27, 2011 at 6:03 pm

    Awesome! I work days and my husband works evenings and with him having both kids home all day during the summer I’ve been looking for easy things to prepare for him to heat and serve for lunch and this is perfect! Thank you!

  55. Brooke

    June 27, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    Giving you a cyber high five from delaware!! I’m so excited to make these!

  56. Bobbi

    June 27, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    Sounds absolutely delicious, we are making these for dinner tonight my little guy is going to love it !

  57. Kelly

    June 27, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    my son loves anything with red sauce! can’t wait to try these. he hasn’t been eating very much veggies so here is a great way to add them in! i am wondering about freezing them too. please let us know if we should bake first, then freeze or freeze then bake when needed.

  58. Cathy

    June 27, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    Hooray!! So excited to make these!!

  59. Kelly

    June 27, 2011 at 12:27 pm

    yummy! now to shop for a sheep’s milk cheese to make these yummy pizza treats. My kids are going to love this.

  60. Nikki

    June 27, 2011 at 12:04 pm

    Could you freeze these? If so, would you bake them first and then freeze? Thanks for the great recipe!

  61. Meg

    June 27, 2011 at 11:30 am

    These sound sooooo good! I need to find a gluten free pizza dough recipe as we just found out that my little one is gluten intolerant. Any chance that we will see some gluten free recipes in the future? :-) It has been such a challenge in some areas, not so bad in others but any help would be wonderful.

    • Melinda

      July 22, 2011 at 11:22 pm

      Wildtree is coming out with Gluten Free Pizza Dough Mix. I am a rep and love it.

    • Andrea

      July 2, 2011 at 8:54 pm

      I found a pizza dough mix at Target. The brand is Namaste. It claims to be gluten free.

      • Melinda

        July 22, 2011 at 11:21 pm

        Wildtree is coming out with Gluten Free Pizza Dough Mix. I am a rep and love it.

    • MMJ

      June 27, 2011 at 2:07 pm

      Many helth food and food stores have a gluten free powder dough mix that you just mix with water you could use it the same way. its kind of a multi purpose dough but add italian herbs to the dough and its more of a pizza falvor.

    • Kelly

      June 27, 2011 at 12:26 pm has a lot of gluten free options and I think she may have a pizza dough recipe so you can make these yummy treats.

  62. dana

    June 27, 2011 at 11:23 am

    it’s a lettuce knife:

  63. dana

    June 27, 2011 at 11:23 am

    it’s a lettuce knife:

  64. yeni

    June 27, 2011 at 8:11 am

    These are genius! What a fun way to eat pizza. My boy is a pizza-holic, and I’m always finding new ways of offering variations. This one will be a hit for sure. Thanks for sharing!

  65. Jess

    June 27, 2011 at 5:48 am

    Healthy, easy and different! You did it again! When is the cookbook coming???

  66. Kristi R.

    June 27, 2011 at 1:26 am

    My son is going to love these. Can’t wait to make them!