When I think about pizza, one thing comes to mind for me – movie night.
As a kid, I wanted movie night to be every single night, just so I could have an excuse to eat pizza.
My mom and I would alternate between choosing the movies and choosing the type of pizza every single week. I always got so excited when it was my turn to pick the toppings, because that meant I would get double cheese, which I loved.
Hey, as a kid I had some simpler (okay, let’s just call them pickier…) tastes.
We would spread a blanket on the floor of the living room in front of the TV to have a picnic. Even though we had to push away a sniffing dog from time to time, it was the best ever way to eat pizza.
Now, pizza has evolved into something more than just a treat for movie night. It’s what my husband and I order on busy weeknights. It’s what I order when we are having people over to watch the big game, and I don’t feel like cooking.
Pizza always reminds me of gathering people together to enjoy a meal that’s filled with classic flavors. And there are so many different ways to eat it.
There’s the calzone, and thin crust. You can choose deep dish or New York style. Or even cute little mini bites.
The options are endless with all the different toppings available, and it’s a meal that is so much easier to customize than most others out there.
Instead of choosing between the classics, it’s time to upgrade your pizza game and go homemade with an ingredient that you may have overlooked in the past:
The humble spud.
Potatoes are one of those ingredients that I love to work with. They go with everything, and they can even step in to be a vehicle for an entree, if you wish. Plus, they’re gluten free!
That exactly what this recipe is all about. Instead of choosing between crust types, use a baked potato to make your pizza dreams come true.
You don’t have to order delivery, wait in line for takeout, or worry about making a crust at home when you get that craving.
Instead, you simply bake up some potatoes, open them up, and stuff them with your favorite toppings.
Since potatoes go with everything, you can use any of toppings you love on a traditional pizza, or even go for topping combinations that you’ve never tried before.
Here, you can see that I’ve gone with some classics.
First, there’s pepperoni and jalapeno, which is my all-time favorite. Then you have pineapple and Canadian ham, which is my husband’s absolute favorite.
I also did a sausage and peppers version, as well as an all-vegetable option with onions and bell peppers.
The sausage and peppers was a huge hit with my husband, and I loved the option of having all vegetables for a healthier take.
You will love making these for yourself on a random weeknight, or even for friends when they come over for movie night. It’s the ideal way to bring the baked potato back into rotation, in a whole new way.Print
Give the humble baked spud a makeover with this easy pizza potatoes recipe. They are simple to make and take barely any active time to cook.
- 4 large Russet potatoes, scrubbed and dried
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup your favorite pasta sauce
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Additional Pizza Topping Suggestions:
- All-natural chicken sausage links
- Canadian ham
- Bell pepper
- Sliced olives
- Sliced jalapenos
- Grated Parmesan cheese
- Red pepper flakes
- Fresh herbs
- Preheat oven to 375˚F. Place one baking rack in the center of oven, with the other rack just below it.
- Pierce the potatoes a few times, using a sharp knife. Rub the potatoes evenly with olive oil. Season the outside with salt. Place potatoes directly on the middle rack. Place a baking sheet underneath the potatoes on the second rack.
- Bake for about 1 hour, or until they can be pierced easily with a fork. The exact baking time will depend on the size of your potatoes.
- Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes, until they can be handled safely. Leave the oven on.
- While potatoes cool, if using sausage, roughly chop links into 1-inch pieces. Heat the sausage according to package directions. I prefer to warm mine in a skillet over medium-high heat, but you can also warm in the microwave.
- Slice each potato down the center and gently push inward from each end to open. Place potatoes cut side up in a 9-by-9-inch baking dish.
- Add 1/3 cup of chopped warm sausage to each potato, if using, as well as whatever other toppings you would like to use, for a max 1/2 cup filling each.
- Spoon 1/4 cup sauce over each potato, then sprinkle with 1/4 cup cheese. Place pan in the oven and bake another 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Serve warm.
Nutritional information below does not include optional toppings.
- Category: Potatoes
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: Dinner
Keywords: pizza, baked potatoes, cheese, easy weeknight meals
Cooking By the Numbers…
Step 1 – Clean Potatoes, Grate Cheese, and Measure Remaining Ingredients
Scrub the outside of the potatoes well. Pat dry with paper towels. Starting with potatoes that are of roughly equal size means they’ll all be done at the same time, so I try to look for Russets that are about 8 ounces in weight each.
Shred the mozzarella cheese with a box grater until you have 1 cup total.
Measure out all remaining ingredients as they are listed on the ingredients list. Prepare all other toppings as desired. Be sure to chop all ingredients into bite-sized pieces.
Preheat oven to 375˚F. Place a baking rack in the center of the oven, with the second rack just below it.
Step 2 – Bake Potatoes
Using a sharp knife, pierce the potatoes at least twice each. Rub them with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
Place potatoes directly on the middle rack of the oven. Place a baking sheet on the rack beneath the potatoes, or a piece of foil. This will help to keep your oven clean.
Bake for 1 hour, turning halfway through cooking, until each can be pierced easily with a fork.
Remove from the oven and let cool for about 5 minutes, until they are cool enough to handle.
Don’t turn the oven off, but remove the baking sheet.
Step 3 – Prepare Toppings
While the potatoes bake and cool, if you are using sausage, chop the links into bite-sized pieces. Heat the sausage according to the directions on the package.
I like to warm and brown mine in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
If any of your other toppings require additional prep, you can do that now. Otherwise, take this time to read a few chapters of a book, do the dishes, or enjoy a tasty snack!
Step 4 – Finish and Serve
Slice each potato down the center lengthwise, then gently push in from both ends to open.
Arrange them in a 9-by-9-inch metal, ceramic, or glass baking dish, cut side up.
Add about 1/3 to 1/2 cup total of toppings to each potato. Spoon over 1/4 cup of sauce, and then sprinkle with 1/4 cup grated cheese.
To cut down on dishes, you could even using the baking sheet that you put in the oven while baking the potatoes, but I prefer a baking dish with higher walls, since it’s easier to keep the potatoes filled and to serve from.
Place the baking dish in oven and bake for another 5 minutes, until cheese is melted and toppings are warmed through. Remove from the oven, and serve immediately.
Want to Prepare These Ahead of Time? No Problem!
If you want to save some time in the evening, you can easily make the potatoes in advance. It’s so easy to bake a batch of potatoes on a lazy Sunday afternoon, and keep them on hand until you’re ready to use them.
Just bake the potatoes the night before, let them cool completely, and refrigerate in an airtight container or zip-top bag. You can store baked potatoes in the fridge for 3-5 days, but freezing isn’t recommended since defrosted spuds tend to be watery.
When you’re ready to serve, simply reheat them in the oven.
To avoid drying out the potatoes when you reheat, allow them to return to room temperature, then heat them up for about 10-12 minutes or until heated through, at 450˚F directly on the rack. Then you can proceed with the rest of the recipe.
Whatever you do, just avoid cooking the potatoes entirely in the microwave. You won’t get the same results as the oven will provide, and that crispy skin is one of my favorite parts of a baked potato. Most of the nutrients are in there, too!
Craving even more delicious pizza recipes? Check out some of the best homemade crusts and flavor combos right here:
- Easy-to-Make Honey Whole Wheat Crust
- Healthy Cauliflower Crust
- Pesto with Goat Cheese, Kale, and Mushrooms
- Crispy Einkorn Crust with Kefir
- Pizza Pockets
What toppings will you put on your pizza potatoes? Tell us in the comments below, and be sure to rate the recipe once you try it for yourself.
Photos by Meghan Yager, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on September 5, 2011. Last updated: December 30, 2019 at 10:18 am. With additional writing and editing by Allison Sidhu.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Meghan Yager
Meghan Yager is a food addict turned food and travel writer with a love for creating uncomplicated, gourmet recipes and devouring anything the world serves up. As the author of the food and travel blog Cake 'n Knife, Meghan focuses on unique foodie experiences from around the world to right at home in your own kitchen.