I come from a family that loves to cook. We gather in the kitchen and spend time together while the food is readying. Now that my children are getting bigger and more self-sufficient, I like to find ways to bring us all together to cook as a family. The easiest (and safest) way right now is to throw a pizza party at home. Ten gold stars for everyone, let’s do this!
Pizza Party: Preparation
First things, first. We need to make sure there is enough room for everyone to gather comfortably. I make sure that the prep areas are ready to get messy, but with easy cleanup. All the necessities should be within arms reach (making special concessions for little arms). Here are your basic pizza party needs:
- Table space large enough for everyone to gather around
- You can create an “adult table” and “kids table” if this is a larger group
- Chairs for everyone to sit in or stable enough for the littles to stand on without them moving
- A plastic or vinyl table cloth that is taped or secured to prevent sliding.
- As a very “crafty” food project, people will be reaching and grabbing. Make sure the cloth is stationary.
- 2-3 trays of toppings depending on how spread out everyone is.
- Several large bowls of cheese as most people will be using this A LOT!
- Bowls of pizza sauce with ladles
- Aprons for everyone! Cooking can get MESSY. But oh, so much fun.
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Pizza Party Ingredients
Ingredients can range as far and wide as the taste spectrum will provide. I will break down each category by topping type, and then I will include some of my favorite combinations or “recipes” for you to try. If this is a kids’ pizza party, keep it simple- go with the basics.
You can create your homemade pizza dough from scratch. Making pizza dough yourself is very inexpensive. By making your own, you can separate portions that will fit with the different age ranges present. I like to make mine the night before. Here is an easy pizza dough recipe:
- 4 cups of bread flour (I prefer bread flour for the crust texture)
- 1.5 cups of warm water to bloom yeast in
- A packet of “pizza crust” yeast
- 1 teaspoon of sugar
- 2 teaspoons of salt (kosher is preferable)
- 2.5 tablespoons olive oil, I like to also brush the edges with this at the second bake.
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
You can mix by hand or use a dough hook, but I like the tactile nature of kneading it myself. Once mixed thoroughly:
- Let rise for 10 minutes in a warm location
- Separate portions of dough
- Depending on the skill level of your crew, you can have them form their personal crusts, or do it yourself.
- In a 475 degree oven, bake crusts for 5 minutes. When you are doing two separate bakes, this is “par-baking.” You are setting the crust without fully baking it.
- You can now start topping the pizzas
- After the pizzas are topped, bake for a second time 7-10 minutes or until the desired cooking level.
- PRO-TIP: Make a second batch of dough without garlic if you want to make dessert pizzas later
Other crust options
- Pre-made pizza crusts- frozen or shelf-stable
- Pita bread
Marinara sauce is what most people use for their pizza base. A delightful sauce seasoned with Italian herbs and spices will make for a simple base that everyone will love. You can pick up a jar or can of a pre-made one, or you can make your own. Here are my favorite sauce ideas for your pizza party at home:
- Alfredo sauce (white pie)
- Basil pesto
- Lemon artichoke pesto
- Seasoned olive oil
- BBQ sauce
- Buffalo Sauce
*Remember not to put a massive amount of sauce on the pizza base when making it. It will be like hot lava, and nothing will stay on the pizza when you pick a slice up. A couple of tablespoons for a 10″ is plenty.
Make your own cheese! Just kidding. Don’t do that. But DO pick up some different styles for people to enjoy. I love cheese, so I like to have lots of choices at hand. Here are my favorite pizza party cheeses:
- Shredded mozzarella- probably the most essential cheese for this gathering. Pick up this cheese as your primary cheese for a kids pizza party, and the others will be excellent additions.
- Italian blend- a blend will usually have various cheeses that you would find flavorful but not overpowering when mixed with the mozzarella. You will see aged provolone, parmesan, and romano in these blends.
- Feta crumbles or goat crumbles- if you enjoy a tangy bite, then this is a fantastic choice!
- Shredded gouda- you may have to shred the gouda yourself, but it will add a distinct flavor to your pizza party
- Bleu cheese crumbles- while this tangy cheese isn’t for everyone, it will make for some fun pizza combinations when used correctly
- Fresh mozzarella- I will usually pick this up in a slicing log form. The fresh form is the leading cheese for a classic Margherita pizza.
Selecting meats for your pizza party can be a simple as pepperoni. I am not here to knock the classic. I love me some pepperoni. But providing additional options for your guests can be fun and lead to new recipes that are super tasty! Please make sure all meats are pre-cooked and cooled before topping pizzas.
- Turkey Pepperoni
- Italian sausage crumbles
- Bacon crumbles
- Ham (look for “Canadian Bacon”)
- Grilled shredded chicken
- Genoa salami (or something soft)
- Ground beef
I am a big fan of vegetable pizzas. I love the classic fresh taste that they bring to the table. Here are the most popular pizza party vegetables for your menu:
- Green peppers
- Mushrooms (sliced portabella)
- Olives (black and sliced)
- Onion- I prefer mine already cooked but to each their own
- Tomatoes (sliced Roma)
- Fresh basil leaves- PRO TIP: this is found unrefrigerated in the produce section near the tomatoes.
When I say “non-traditional,” what I am speaking of are items that you would find on a handcrafted specialty pizza. These will not be revolutionary; they are just not on your classic vegetable pizza from the freezer section.
- Roasted red peppers
- Kalamata olives sliced
- Red onion
- Marinated onions (balsamic are my favorite)
- Sundried tomatoes
- Artichoke hearts
- Banana Peppers
- Roasted garlic cloves
- Shiitake or button mushrooms
- Fresh herbs- rosemary, oregano, cilantro
- Cut celery and carrots
- Pineapple (not a vegetable, and to some, debatably a pizza topping, at all)
- Sliced pears
Sometimes you want to feel fancy. I know I do. Here are some fun finishers for your completed pizza party menu:
- Powdered parmesan
- Red pepper flakes
- Garlic salt
- Balsamic glaze
- Ranch dressing
- Bleu cheese dressing
- Ketchup, Mustard, Relish
- Sour Cream
Dessert Pizzas for you Pizza Party
You may decide to make a second batch of dessert pizzas to include in this pizza party at home. If you are celebrating a birthday during a kids’ pizza party, this can be the cake in place of a traditional cake. Here are some tasty ideas for items you can put on a dessert pizza party dish:
- Non-garlic pizza dough baked like the one above
- Chocolate dessert sauce for the base
- Caramel sauce for the base
- Marshmallows and graham cracker can make a s’mores pie
- Cooked cinnamon apples
- Cookie-dough chunks
- Brownie batter chunks
- Powdered sugar
- Top with cherry or strawberry glaze
- Coconut shredded
- Ground peanuts
- Whipped cream
You will need to acquire a few tools or make sure that you have them available for use during this exciting get-together.
- Sharp pizza cutter
- Rim-free cookie sheet (dust with flour for easy removal)
- Pizza stone (optional)
- Brush for olive oil (I like to oil my crust edges before baking)
- Rolling pin (optional if not making the crust from scratch)
Classic and Fun Recipes
- Pepperoni and cheese
- Margherita- olive oil base, fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, Roma tomato
- White pie- alfredo base, mushrooms, spinach, onions, mozzarella, feta
- Greek Pizza- olives, artichokes, onion, tomato, feta
- Meat lovers- figure it out (lol)
- Hawaiian- pineapple and ham (add jalepeños and cilantro to jazz it up)
- Buffalo chicken- chicken, buffalo sauce, cut carrots and celery, bleu cheese crumbles
- BBQ Chicken- chicken, bbq sauce, red onion, jalepeños, mozzarella
- Hamburger pizza- ketchup and mustard base, ground beef, onion, gouda cheese, pickle relish
- Mexican pizza- marinara, ground beef, chorizo, mozzarella, red peppers, jalepeños, cilantro, avocado, salsa, sour cream
- Wild mushroom- pesto base, mushrooms, mozzarella, Italian blend, fresh herbs. Garnish with arugula and balsamic glaze
- Pear and bleu cheese- olive oil base, pears, bleu cheese, mozzarella, onions
There are countless combinations for your next pizza party at home. Enjoy creating new favorites and old classics while spending quality time with your friends and family. I hope that these pizza party ideas inspire you to cook at home and create lasting memories.
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Kim’s is the party planning, cupcake loving, celebration catalyst behind the Thrifty Little Mom Blog. Kim was a pro event planner for over 7 years before she became a full-time blogger. Kim is the author of: Live, Save, Spend, Repeat: The Life You Want with the Money You Have. She’s been featured on Time.com, Money.com, Good Housekeeping, Women’s Day and more! Kim aims to inspire you to create parties, celebrations and gatherings that everyone loves!