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Barbecue Chicken Pizza Recipe

I don’t know about you, but I still love pizza. I fell in love with it as a teenager and have really never moved on since. Sure, my taste in pizza has definitely matured, but the love still remains. There’s just something about gooey melted cheese atop delicious ingredients and tender pizza crust that just gets me every. single. time.

So yesterday we talked about barbecue sauce, which was fun (for me – I hope so for you too!). But what I’m more excited about is to share this barbecue chicken pizza recipe with you today. It starts with a chewy buttermilk pizza crust that’s topped with tender chicken breast coated in the tangy barbecue sauce from yesterday. And then it ends most spectacularly with whole milk mozzarella, caramelized red onion, finely chopped cilantro, and a creamy, cool sour cream drizzle. What’s not to love?


Let’s start with the pizza crust since it’s the foundation of this recipe and what takes the longest to prepare (mostly inactive time, though). I’ll caveat this by saying this recipe takes nearly three hours from start to finish. There’s about an hour and a half of inactive time in there for the pizza crust proofing, but alas, good pizza takes some time. You could always short cut it with pizza dough from the grocery store – totally acceptable on those week nights when time is super limited. But I do recommend you do the scratch version when you can.


I found the original version of this crust recipe on I was looking for a buttermilk pizza crust recipe because I had leftover buttermilk and pizza crust seemed like a good idea. I’ve actually been working on perfecting this recipe since November, and I’ve really taken it a long way. It really is quite easy to prepare (it relies heavily on a stand mixer). Best part is that it doesn’t require any manual kneading – the mixer does all the work. And when you’re ready to assemble the pizza, it just requires a quick roll out with a  rolling pin.  Easy peasy. You’ll definitely want to add this pizza crust to your repertoire. Eventually I’m going to publish it on its own.

So once your crust is done, you can either prepare all the remaining ingredients and refrigerate them until ready to use or you can wait until about 45 minutes to an hour before the crust is ready and start prepping the final ingredients. It’s really up to you. I’d start with the caramelized onions though because those take about 25 minutes on the stove. You want to cook them low and slow to really coax all the liquid and sugars out of the onion. Below you can see how much they’re reduced by the cooking process. Remember, great caramelized onions do take time!


Once the onions are set, I’d move on to the chicken next. I like to slice the chicken breast thinly but if you prefer to do chunks of chicken breast, go for it. There’s really no right or wrong with that. Be careful to avoid overcooking the chicken. What you want to do is just sear the outside so that no more pink is showing then add the barbecue sauce and continue to cook until the sauce is heated. Chicken breast over cooks really easily because there’s hardly in fat in it to help retain moisture.  Just be mindful of cooking time and heat levels.


Finally, we move into the final assembly and toppings (yay!!). Once the pizza crust is finished rising, you’ll give it a quick roll out to the size of your pizza sheet (or pizza stone – I really need to get a pizza stone! I feel like I’m really missing out).  Also, you can easily roll this into a rectangle if you’ve got a rectangle dish to use. Spread the barbecue chicken nearly to the edges of the crust – don’t worry, crust will pop out anyways (this dough gets a good rise in the oven). Top liberally first with shredded whole milk mozzarella then finish with the caramelized onions and lots of freshly chopped cilantro. Your pizza is finally ready for the oven.


While your pizza is baking, the final step is to prepare the sour cream drizzle. Of course if you aren’t a fan of sour cream, you can skip this, but it’s inclusion is highly recommended. It’s simple and adds a great tangy flavor to the finished pizza. Preparation consists of mixing sour cream with a few dried spices plus salt and pepper.


Once mixed, carefully spoon the mixture into a small plastic storage bag. Seal the bag, carefully releasing all the excess air but not allowing sour cream to escape the bag. Once done, carefully snip one of the bottom corner tips from the bag. The farther in you into the bag, the wider your sour cream drizzle will be so keep that in mind. This is basically a make-shift pastry bag and will allow you to make the lovely little sour cream lines you see below.


And that’s it! You’re now ready to be eating your über-tasty barbecue chicken pizza. I like the way this crust recipe rises and forms a chewy, but crispy-on-the-edges crust. It’s a very satisfying pizza and once you start eating it, it’ll be hard to stop. Trust me, I know. Jeremy almost had to have an intervention. Thankfully, we only made one pizza so there was only so much damage I could do. Ha, I jest… Sort of.


Anyway, are you ready to tackle pizza? Yes? Awesome – let’s get to that recipe!


Yield: 8 slices (3-4 servings)

Barbecue Chicken Pizza Recipe

This pizza takes a bit of time to make but is well-worth the time and effort. The tangy barbecue sauce makes this pizza recipe something special. The pizza is finished with whole milk mozzarella, caramelized red onion, freshly chopped cilantro and a cool sour cream drizzle. You'll love it!


Pizza Crust:
  • 1-.25 ounce package active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water (about 110 ºF)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons light olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
Caramelized Onions:
  • 2 tablespoons light olive oil
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
BBQ Chicken:
  • 2 tablespoons light olive oil
  • 1 pound chicken breast, sliced into thin strips
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup BBQ sauce
Other Pre-Baking Toppings:
  • 1 cup shredded whole milk mozzarella
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro
Sour Cream Drizzle:
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt


Starting the Pizza Crust:
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water. Let stand 10 minutes, until frothy.
  2. Add flour, buttermilk, olive oil, and spices. Mix on medium with dough hook for 5 minutes.
  3. Dough will be rather sticky. Carefully place in a greased bowl and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  4. While the dough is resting/rising, proceed to prepare the rest of the ingredients.
Caramelized Onions:
  1. Heat oil over medium to medium low heat.
  2. Add onions and salt and slowly cook until onion is caramelized, about 25 minutes.
BBQ Chicken:
  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.
  2. Add chicken breast strips in a single layer and sprinkle with salt.
  3. Cook on the first side then flip and finish cooking. You just want to sear the chicken so no raw parts are showing.
  4. Stir in the BBQ sauce and turn heat off.
Sour Cream Drizzle:
  1. Mix all ingredients in a small bowl.
  2. Transfer sour cream to a small piping bag or a small Ziploc bag. If using Ziploc bag, use scissors to snip a small part of the tip of the bag.
  3. Drizzle sour cream on warm pizza after it's removed from the oven.
Assembling the Pizza:
  1. Preheat oven to 450 ºF.
  2. After two hours, turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and using extra flour, roll into a round with a rolling pin.
  3. Transfer crust to pizza pan lined with foil (use non-stick spray) or parchment paper.
  4. Spread with desired toppings and bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
  5. Let baked pizza cool for 5 minutes before serving so toppings can set.

If you need to make the barbecue sauce from scratch, tack on an additional 30 minutes to prep time. You should be cooking the barbecue sauce while the pizza crust is rising. This will minimize additional time spent in the kitchen.

Prep:2 hours, 20 minutes

Cook:25 minutes

Total:2 hours, 45 minutes

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