The first time we had a cheeseburger pizza from our local chain pizza store, I just knew I'd regret allowing our kids to order it. Surprisingly enough, though, it works. My family raves that this pizza tastes just like the burgers we get from a burger joint "run by more than four guys," if you catch what I'm laying down.
If you've never had a cheeseburger pizza before, it's exactly what it sounds like: a sesame seed pizza crust is smothered in a "special sauce" and topped with sharp cheddar cheese. Then, it's topped with savory ground beef—seasoned just as you would your juicy burgers—plus pickles, fresh tomato slices, and more cheese.
Because pizza Fridays are my family's thing, we've made cheeseburger pizzas more times than I can remember, but we've never made it the same way twice. Start with the classic recipe, but experiment with the toppings, crust, or cooking method as you become more familiar with it.
The Best Ground Beef Ratio
I prefer to use the same type of ground beef when making this pizza that I use for my burgers. Ground chuck (80/20) is my go-to burger meat because it has a good amount of fat (where that "20" comes from) which helps flavor the meat while also keeping it juicy. Since the ground beef will be cooked twice, first in the pan to brown it and second in the oven while baking on the pizza, it's important to use ground meat with at least 10 percent fat in it. No one wants bone-dry burger meat on their pizza.
Another key to its flavor is seasoning the meat before it's browned to seal in the spices. Cooking it with the onions adds even more flavor. Once the seasoned ground beef is fully cooked, it’s ready to top the pizza dough.
Swaps, Subs, and Variations
- Your cheeseburger pizza is your masterpiece, so customize it with your favorite toppings. I'm always down for a bacon cheeseburger, but maybe your pizza looks like a bacon and mushroom cheeseburger pizza.
- Use a homemade, store-bought, or packaged mix pizza dough for this recipe. One of the appealing parts of this pizza is its convenience, especially when you get some help from the store.
- The secret sauce can be swapped out for a Thousand Island dressing. If your favorite burger joint has its own sauce, pick up a bottle and use that instead.
- Because dill pickles impart a more savory flavor, that's what I prefer to top my pizza with. However, if you're into a sweeter contrast, use bread and butter pickles instead.
- Replace the sharp cheddar cheese with Colby jack, mild or medium cheddar, or Swiss cheese.
- Sprinkle everything bagel seasoning, garlic powder, Parmesan cheese, or poppy seeds on the crust instead of sesame seeds.
- The rest of the toppings really are endless. Well, I mean, within reason, you still need to pick up the slice, after all. Add cooked, crumbled bacon, sliced mushrooms, pickled jalapeño slices, or sautéed green peppers with the burger meat and onions to vary your cheeseburger pizza.
- Baking your cheeseburger pizza in an oven is delicious, but grilling this pizza is clutch!
Beefy Dinners for Busy Families
Shredding your sharp cheddar cheese at home is the best way to get that ooey-gooey melt on it. Pre-shredded cheese is coated in an anti-caking mixture that inhibits its full melting potential.
For more texture on the pizza, top the pizza with the lettuce after it's baked. You can throw on more pickles and tomatoes then, too.
For prepping the pan
3 tablespoons cornmeal
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup yellow onion, minced
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 pound ground chuck
1/2 yellow onion (about 1 cup), minced
2 teaspoons burger or steak seasoning
1-pound ball pizza dough, fully risen
Flour, as needed for shaping the dough
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon cold water
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups Secret Sauce (or Thousand Island dressing), divided
2 1/2 to 3 cups (12 ounces) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
3/4 cup dill pickle slices
10 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup shredded romaine lettuce
- 1 (12 or 14-inch) pizza pan
Preheat the oven to 400°F (204°C).
Sprinkle a 12-14-inch pizza pan with the cornmeal. This will keep your pizza crust from sticking to the pan later. Set the pan aside.
Prepare the secret sauce:
In a medium bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, yellow onion, ketchup, yellow mustard, lemon juice, sweet paprika, and salt until smooth. Once the mixture is smooth, allow it to sit at room temperature or in the fridge to allow the flavors to combine while you start cooking the ground meat. You’ll have between 1 1/4 and 1 1/2 cups of sauce.
This sauce can be made a week in advance.
Brown the ground beef and onions:
Add the ground meat and onions to a large skillet. Turn the stove up to medium-high heat and sprinkle the burger seasoning over the beef and onions. Cooking the meat this way eliminates the need for additional oil in the pan, as the fat will render from the meat.
Once the stove has been turned on, start breaking up the meat and mixing in the onions and spices with a spoon or spatula.
Cook until the meat is fully cooked and no pink remains, about 10 minutes. Use a large spoon to drain off most of the fat; discard the fat. Set the skillet aside, off the heat.
Par-bake the pizza crust:
Lightly flour your hands and a rolling pin. Roll the pizza dough out into a circle that's 1-2 inches larger than your pizza pan.
Pizza dough that’s straight from the fridge is easier to shape than room temperature dough, as you need little to no flour to keep it from sticking.
Prepare the egg wash in a small bowl by whisking together the egg yolk and cold water.
Brush a 1 1/2-inch border around the outer rim of the pizza dough with the egg wash. Roll the edges of the pizza in 2 inches towards the center of the circle to create the pizza crust. Brush a light layer of the egg wash onto the crust you've just formed and sprinkle the sesame seeds onto the egg wash. Use the tines of a fork to prick holes in the dough in the center of the pan.
Slide the pan into the preheated oven and bake for 10 minutes.
Assemble and finish baking:
Once the pizza dough is lightly browned and has blistered slightly, remove the pan from the oven.
Use the back of a wide spoon to spread 1 1/4 cups of the secret sauce onto the pizza crust. Sprinkle half of the shredded cheddar cheese over the sauce, then top the cheese with the seasoned burger-onion mixture. Next, arrange the pickles and halved tomatoes on top of the beef and top with the remaining cheese.
Bake the pizza until the cheese is fully melted and the pizza crust is golden brown in color, 10-12 minutes.
If you are using a 12-inch pizza pan, you may need a little less sauce and cheese.
Garnish and serve:
Once the pizza is fully baked, remove it from the oven and allow it to cool for 1-2 minutes before sprinkling it with the shredded lettuce and drizzling the remaining 1/4 cup of secret sauce over it.
For easy drizzling, put the sauce in a piping bag, squeeze bottle, or plastic food storage bag and then snip off the tip.
Cut and serve while hot. This pizza is best when eaten on the same day it's prepared.
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|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Servings: 6 to 8|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 47g||61%|
|Saturated Fat 15g||75%|
|Total Carbohydrate 38g||14%|
|Dietary Fiber 3g||10%|
|Total Sugars 6g|
|Vitamin C 4mg||18%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|