Kids Cook Pizza!

What is your kid’s favorite thing to eat for dinner? There’s an excellent chance the answer to that question is pizza. And while pizza has the (undeserved) reputation of being unhealthy, there’s also an excellent chance that you serve it to your family once in a while. Delivery, take-and-bake, or frozen, it’s a sure bet with most kids.

But what if you promoted your kids to Chefs for an evening and helped them to make their own pizza themselves? Cooking with your kids doesn’t have to be a recipe for disaster. (See what I did there? Recipe for disaster? No, please don’t throw your tomatoes at me! You may need them later.) You don’t need to be a proficient cook to make pizza. Cooking with your kids can be fun and easy, plus it helps them develop life skills such as following directions, self-control, and cooking. So let’s make some memories and get to it!


First, what IS pizza? Pizza can be authentic and proper and artisan, but most pizza isn’t. Italy doesn’t even have a Domino’s. To me, pizza is a carb topped with sauce topped with cheese and miscellaneous bits. This gives us great flexibility! Now instead of kneading bread dough while your kids try to lick the flour off of the table, you can use something more simple like French bread cut lengthwise in half, English muffins, or pita bread. Most bread products will work well. Hey, don’t you have some hamburger buns leftover from dinner the other night? Now you can use them up to make kid pizza. You’re welcome. And if you really want to make pizza dough from scratch, then by all means have at it. I usually make pizza dough in my bread maker, but today I will try something new.

You can also be wildly creative with sauce, but your kids might appreciate sticking with the old standby tomato sauce. I have a go-to pizza sauce recipe for which I always have the ingredients on hand. Honestly, your kids won’t care whether or not the sauce comes from a jar or not, so if an extra recipe gives you anxiety, get the jar. (Life hack: You’re doing this last minute and need something quick in your pantry? Use plain spaghetti sauce. Your kids won’t notice the difference. Heck, I’m not sure I would).

That leaves the toppings. The standard cheese is mozzarella, which is thankfully easy to come by, but feel free to experiment with whatever you’ve got hanging out in your cheese drawer. And now the fun part: toppings! The toppings can be just about anything. Open up your fridge and see what you’ve got. Chances are you’ve got pizza toppings in there and didn’t know it. You’ve had pizza before, so I won’t go over the basics, but don’t look over that leftover taco meat, bacon, broccoli, corn, etc. You’d be surprised how many veggies you can get your kids to eat when you let them put ‘em on their own pizza.

Alright, do you have your ingredients? I do!


Today I’ll be using French bread and English muffins for the crust, homemade pizza sauce, and a variety of toppings including pepperoni, halved cherry tomatoes, sliced olives, chopped red onion, chopped red pepper, and shredded chicken (the last three were leftovers I found in my fridge).

Prepare your ingredients. Chop up the toppings if you need to and slice the bread. My French bread wouldn’t sit flat, so I made it flat by slicing a bit off of the bottom. If you have older kids that can help with this step, now’s the time to teach them knife safety and let them assist.

kids-cook-pizza-1 Give them a crust. Then let them top it with sauce. Don’t be afraid, unless you have white carpet in your kitchen. (You have more problems than I can help you with if you have white carpet in your kitchen.) My kids took their newfound responsibility seriously, and topped their English muffins gingerly and with care.
kids-cook-pizza-3Next, let them load up on all those good toppings. Cheese first, then the rest. Hopefully they are so excited to top their own pizzas that they forget they are topping them with vegetables and/or meat. I’m always surprised what my picky kids will put on their pizzas when given the chance, so don’t shy away from things you think they wouldn’t normally like to eat. Now might be the time to introduce them to some exciting and adventurous pizza toppings! Why not anchovies?


Still not a popular option, I guess.

Alright! We’ve got those pizzas topped and ready to go. Now, there are two ways of cooking them. The easiest is to bake them the old-fashioned way. Pre-heat your oven to 375°F and arrange your pizzas on a baking sheet. When the oven’s hot, throw them in and turn on the oven light so your little chefs can monitor for doneness. Turn on the convection function if your oven has one; it helps the cheese get nice and golden brown. It’s also not a bad idea to clean up your work area while your pizzas are baking.

The time it takes for the pizzas to bake will depend on what you’ve used as ingredients, what kind of pan you have,  the arrangement on the pan, and the position of Jupiter in Pisces, so I don’t have a number of minutes for you. Just keep an eye and nostril out for them: if the cheese isn’t a nice golden brown then they are not done, and if you smell smoke they’ve gone too long.The second method is broiling. If you would like to keep the crust bottoms nice and soft or you are really impatient, broiling is the way to go. Arrange them on a broiler-safe pan so that they will be under the flames.  If your kids have piled their toppings in the shape of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, you are going to have to even them out a little so nothing catches on fire. (I’m really not trying to scare you or anything.) Watch them carefully so they don’t burn, which happens quicker than you’d think.

I broiled mine. I like my bottoms soft, which is why I don't exercise, much to the chagrin of my husband.
I broiled mine. I like my bottoms soft, which is why I don’t exercise, much to the chagrin of my husband.

Get excited and dig in! You’ve earned it.


I hope that you and your kids enjoy this activity as much as we do. Now why don’t you make an evening out of it and pop in a family movie and cuddle with your little chefs? (Ratatouille, maybe?)

Here’s a cheat sheet for you to use while planning your awesome Make Your Own Pizza night. (Click for a larger version.)

Kids Cook- PIZZA!



  1. Great article Roxie. Kids are always more excited about food they helped to create. The more they are involved in the process of getting food on the table, the more they are willing to try. Let them help prepare meals, let them pick out produce at the Farmer’s Market, even a non-reader can look at pictures in a recipe book and explore options with Mom and help make meal planning decisions. If you get them actively involved, more often than not, they will eat it cheerfully.

  2. Love this! Something I will definitely be doing…perhaps this week! Thanks for the idea AND the humor. 🙂

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