Pizza lovers this one is for you, a layered baked pizza dip, the perfect appetizer that is loaded with cheesy goodness, pizza flavor, pepperoni, and fun. And did I mention how easy it is to make? With just a few minutes prep and 20 minutes bake time, you get this ooey, gooey, cheesy dip that is sure to be a hit at your tailgating party, gathering, or celebration.
What is not to love about a pizza dip? This dip is super easy to make, and can be made ahead, easy to customize with your favorite toppings and flavors, and is always a hit with kids and adults. I mean, think layers of melty, gooey, cheese, and delicious pizza flavors, all served with your favorite dippers: breadsticks, pita chips, veggies, etc.
What will you top your pizza dip with? Pepperoni is classic, but the world is your oyster. Read below for all my topping ideas, and some tips and tricks to make the best pizza dip for your party
What You Need to Make Pizza Dip
This recipe is so eazy peazy and the ingredients are easy to find, and easy to customize to your liking. But here are the basics of what you need:
- Cream cheese, softened: A brick of cream cheese is the base of this dip. You can use a light cream cheese if you want. I recommend using your favorite brand.
- Grated mozzarella cheese: You can fresh grate here, or use a pre-grated, I have tested and tested and it does not make a significant enough difference.
- Grated parmesan cheese: Use a good quality grated parmesan for the best tasting results, but even the kind from the can works for this dip.
- Pizza sauce: Pick your favorite pizza sauce, or make your own (I love this Pizza Sauce option that is quick, easy, and homemade). When I buy pizza sauce, my favorite one is Classico or Delallo brand. Both have great flavor.
- Toppings: Pepperoni or whatever pizza toppings you want to add.
Recommended Topping Options
This recipe is so fun to customize. It is really only 5 ingredients, three of which are delicious cheese, which makes a great base to build a different flavor profile if you want. I personally love it with just the pepperoni for that classic combo. However, make it a meat lovers with sausage too. Or a combo by adding peppers and olives, etc. Or, change it up and make it Hawaiian, or Chicken! You can play with it and have some fun. Here are the recommended toppings.
- Meats: Pepperoni, sausage crumbles, Canadian bacon, bacon, ham, shredded chicken, ground beef.
- Veggies: Peppers, onions, mushrooms, olives.
- Herbs: Fresh basil
- Fruits: Pineapple, tomato slices
How to Make Pizza Dip
Making this incredible pizza dip should be complicated because it tastes THAT GOOD. But it isn’t. It is seriously so easy, you simply layer your ingredients in a 9 inch round pie plate or baking dish, and then bake! But I will give you the easy breakdown here with some tips for making it even easier.
Step One: Spread Softened Cream Cheese Around the Bottom
Spray your 9 inch round baking dish with non-stick spray, then spread the cream cheese across the bottom.
This is the hardest step because the cream cheese isn’t going to want to spread evenly. But it is totally ok if it is not perfect. You just want to do your best to get a nice even layer. One trick is to simply warm your cream cheese up in the microwave for 20 seconds before spreading, or make sure it is nice and softened before starting.
I like to pull it out of the fridge early, and if I don’t do it fast enough, I will stick it in my pocket and let my body heat do the work to soften it while I gather and measure the other ingredients.
Step Two: Layer Mozzarella
Next you are going to layer your shredded mozzarella cheese. As mentioned previously, you can use pre-shredded mozzarella, or use a box grater to shred it fresh. The real key here is finding a good quality cheese that is going to melt well and give you that yummy texture we want.
Step Three: Add Parmesan
Now sprinkle your grated parmesan all over the top of that. Again you can grate it fresh or use the pre-grated kind. For fresh dishes I always suggest grating fresh, but where this is baked and it is going to combine with all the other ingredients, I did not see a big difference between fresh grated and pre-grated.
Step Four: Spread Pizza Sauce Over
I think the pizza sauce you choose makes the biggest impact on the flavor of this pizza dip. I love one with a robust tomato flavor, and that offers some hints of the Italian herbs etc. But what I like may not be your preference, so my tip is this: Pick a sauce you love on its own, and you will love in this dip.
Step Five: Repeat Cheese Layers
Now you add that second layer of cheese. Like seriously it is soooooo yummy.
Step Six: Toppings
Now is the time to load on your toppings. I love the classic pepperoni for this dip. Everyone I have ever served it to has raved about it. So just evenly spread 10-15 pepperoni on top!
Pick your favorite pizza topping flavors, and load those on top instead. If you want you can pre-cook things like mushrooms or onions to help give the final texture or result a boost. But fresh works great too.
Step Seven: Bake and Serve
Now bake your pizza dip in your preheated oven for 20 minutes until the cheese is melty and starts to get golden brown and bubbly.
This recipe is so perfect for parties and tailgating and I love pairing it with:
- Garlic Bread
- Toasted Slices of Baguette
- Mini Naan (pictured)
- Bagel Chips
- Pita Chips
I get it, sometimes even easy recipes feel like too much when we are prepping for an event or party, so don’t worry, I’ve got your back, here is how you can make this dip ahead of time to make life easier:
- Assemble the dip as instructed, making those beautiful layers of cheese and sauce. But instead of baking it right away, simply cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
- When ready to bake, let it sit out for 20-25 minutes so it can come up to room temp, and bake as instructed in the recipe. Or, add 5-7 minutes to the bake time and bake immediately from fridge.
Tips and Tricks
- Grate the Parmesan and shred the mozzarella from a block for a slightly better consistency. We like things easy over here, so pre-grated works just fine, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. But the pre-grated cheeses sometimes have a little corn starch like coating on them to keep it from clumping, which makes them not melt as well, so if you have the time and the desire, grate fresh.
- I love using my homemade pizza sauce or marinara for this recipe. But canned is awesome, and I love the Classico and the Rao’s and the Delallo Brand. Skip store brands!
- I do not recommend making substitutions for the cream cheese. However, sour cream or greek yogurt can be used in its place, but it will change the overall flavor and consistency.
- Amp flavor by adding seasonings to your cream cheese. You can add the seasoning directly to the cream cheese before spreading it on the bottom, but you can skip this step and it still tastes great and keeps things simple.
- Use mini pepperoni and layer them throughout for a more pepperoni filled dip with more pepperoni in every bite.
- Serve hot, as this dip will change in consistency as it cools, and not be as spreadable.
- This dip does not freeze well.
- Garnish with basil or other Italian herbs when finished for a prettier dip.
- Serve with crusty bread, mini naan, french bread, veggies, crackers, chips, or whatever dipper you want. But keep in mind, a sturdy dipper is better for this dip as it is thick and cheesy.
Store in an airtight container and refrigerate for 3-5 days. This dip doesn’t freeze well as the dairy separates after freezing/reheating.
Other Great Recipes:
- 8 ounces cream cheese softened
- 1 1/2 cups grated mozzarella cheese divided
- 1 cup finely grated parmesan cheese divided
- 1 cup pizza sauce of choice
- 15 pepperoni or more as desired
- 1/4 tsp Garlic powder Optional
- 1/4 tsp Italian Seasoning Optional
- Preheat oven to 375 F.
- Spray a 9-inch glass pie dish with cooking spray.
- If using seasonings (totally optional), stir them into the cream cheese in a small bowl.
- Spread cream cheese in the bottom of the pie dish, as evenly as possible.
- Spread half the mozzarella over the cream cheese.
- Sprinkle half the parmesan over the mozzarella.
- Cover with pizza sauce gently spreading it with a spatula or knife until all cheese is covered.
- Add remaining 3/4 cup mozzarella over sauce and remaining parmesan over that.
- Top with pepperoni slices.
- Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until cheese has melted bubbly. Serve with dippers of your choice.
Our recipe card software calculates these nutrition facts based on averages for the above ingredients, different brands, and quality of produce/meats may have different nutritional information, always calculate your own based on the specific products you use in order to achieve accurate macros for this recipe.
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