Pepperoni Dip features homemade pizza dough balls baked in a skillet, filled with a flavorful pizza sauce dip complete with fresh mozzarella, cream cheese, pepperoni and fresh basil. The result is a delicious and fun pull apart pizza dip!
We are definite pizza lovers — especially pizza made in fun, kid-friendly ways like my English Muffin Pizzas and French Bread Pizza. Both are perfect for lunches with your kids and are simple enough for your kiddos to help you make them!
Why This Recipe Works
- Easy pizza dip recipe with cream cheese. Adding the cream cheese to the pepperoni dip makes it creamy and delicious!
- Perfect pizza dip appetizer! This is the perfect appetizer for any celebration — game days, holidays, parties and more. You have all your favorite pizza flavors for a perfect dip everyone will love.
- Made with homemade pull-apart rolls. The best part of this easy pepperoni dip recipe is having the pizza balls surrounding the pepperoni dip. People can pull apart their roll, dip and enjoy.
- Pizza Dough: I’ve linked my favorite homemade pizza dough recipe here! You’ll use half the batch — leaving the rest for pizza crust for another night.
- Pepperoni Slices: Cut into quarters. You can scatter whole slices of pepperoni along the top of the cheesy pepperoni dip as well. Either works just fine.
- Cream Cheese: Cream cheese pizza dip is the way to go! The cream cheese adds an extra creaminess to the pizza dip appetizer.
- Pizza Sauce: You’ll want to use pizza sauce instead of marinara sauce or spaghetti sauce because it tastes different!
- Fresh Mozzarella Cheese: Be sure to use fresh mozzarella! Cut or break it into pieces. You can also use the mozzarella pearls which makes this much easier.
- Fresh Basil: Chopped for garnish. I recommend adding the fresh basil in addition to the dried. It just brings in an extra punch of flavor.
- Make garlic infused oil. Heat 1 T olive oil and 1/2 tsp minced garlic in a cast iron skillet over medium low heat for 1-2 minutes, or until fragrant. Transfer to a small bowl.
- Cut and portion the dough. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface. Pat or roll the dough to about 8×8 inches on a lightly floured surface. Cut the dough into 36 pieces and roll each into a ball. Then roll each ball into the garlic olive oil.
- Place the balls around the edges of the skillet. Place the olive covered balls around the edge of the skillet, about 18 balls fit in my skillet. Place the remaining balls on top, staggering between the seams of the balls underneath. Leave the space in the center for that delicious pepperoni dip!
- Let rise. Cover the skillet with plastic wrap and let rise for 45 minutes or until the balls are puffed up slightly. While rising, heat oven to 400ºF.
- Bake the pizza dough balls. Remove the plastic wrap from the skillet and bake for 18-22 minutes or until the balls are lightly golden brown on top.
- Make the pepperoni dip. While the dough is baking, add 8 oz softened cream cheese, 3/4 cup pizza sauce, 1/4 tsp oregano, and 1/4 tsp dried basil in a medium sized bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese mixture until smooth. Stir in 1 1/2 cups mozzarella pieces and almost all of the 3/4 cup chopped pepperonis. (You’ll save some to top.)
- Add the pizza dip to skillet and bake again. Remove the skillet from the oven. Spoon the pizza dip mixture into the center of the skillet. Place remaining pepperoni slices on top of the dip. Return the skillet to the oven to cook for 8-10 minutes or until the cheese mixture is heated through and the rolls are golden brown on top.
- Garnish and serve. Remove the skillet from the oven. Top with fresh chopped basil. Pull one of the bread balls and dip into the pizza cheesy goodness! Enjoy!
You can use a spoon or whisk to mix the cream cheese/pizza sauce mixture. I used a hand mixer because it speeds up the process. You just want to make sure you thoroughly combine all of the ingredients.
Don’t skip doing the pizza dough balls! Honestly, it is the enjoyable part of this pepperoni pizza dip recipe. This is a family favorite because my kids love picking out a pizza dough ball from the skillet and dipping it in the middle.
You can use regular sized pepperonis and cut them like I did or you can use mini pepperoni.
If you don’t have a skillet, you can use a regular baking dish (square or circle – pie plate is a great option because it will mimic the skillet look). Be sore to spray the bottom of the dish with cooking spray.
You can use homemade or store-bought pizza dough. I have the perfect homemade pizza dough recipe if you’d like to try it! Or you can make the dip separately and use with your favorite breadsticks or with garlic bread.
Feel free to make variations of this classic pepperoni pizza dip with your favorite pizza toppings — green peppers, mushrooms, sausage pieces, etc are some great additional toppings.
If you make my homemade pizza dough, you’ll only need about half of the batch for this pizza dip recipe. However, I rarely half the recipe because I’ll place the leftover pizza dough in the fridge (wrapped in plastic wrap), and we’ll make a thin crust homemade pizza the following night for dinner. (I’m all about that two-birds, one-stone meal prep life 😊.)
Make Ahead, Storing, and Freezing
You can make the pizza dough in advance and store it in the fridge or freezer. I wouldn’t combine the dip ingredients too far in advance though. Just make that portion the same day.
Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge. Reheat in the microwave.
To store pizza dough, after it’s made, wrap it in plastic wrap and store it for up to 3 days in the fridge. If you want to freeze it, divide the dough into the portion’s you’ll need for your recipe (for this one, divide into the little balls – for regular pizza, divide into balls the size you want your pizza to be when rolled out). Coat the balls lightly in olive oil and place in an airtight freezer bag.
Thaw overnight in the fridge then let sit (covered) at room temperature for 30-60. Roll out or proceed with the recipe.
Sure! I wouldn’t make it too far in advance, but you can make the pizza dipping sauce a day or 2 (max) before needing to bake it. You definitely can make the pizza dough as far in advance as you’d like. You can freeze the pizza dough and let it thaw, then separate it into the dough balls to let rise. In fact, my pizza dough recipe makes enough dough for 2 pizzas, so I usually make the entire batch and freeze the other half to use for dinner or this pepperoni pizza dip later on.
I wouldn’t. Freezing anything with dairy in it won’t hold over well. Dairy is susceptible to separating after it’s been frozen and thawed. Since this dip includes cheese and cream cheese, the consistency and look will most likely be compromised. However, you can make the pizza dough ahead of time and freeze that.
Yes! I’m a big proponent of things you can make ahead of time. If you want to free some pizza dough for later, Taste of Home has easy directions to follow: Simply divide the dough into balls that, when rolled out, will make the size of pizza you’d like. Lightly coat the pizza dough balls with olive oil. Put the balls in a sealed freezer bag, removing all the air before putting in the freezer.
Up to 3 months!
I would recommend following Taste of Home’s directions: Let the dough sit in the fridge overnight, then in the morning move the pizza dough from the fridge to the counter for 30 minutes to an hour before rolling it out.
You have a few options, you can make the pizza dough, let it rise and make the pizzas right away, or you can make the pizza dough, wrap it in plastic wrap and store it in the refrigerator until you need it.
More Delicious Pizza Recipes
Pepperoni Pizza Dip
- 18 oz pizza dough
- 3 oz pepperoni - cut into quarters (about 3/4 cup)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced - about 3 garlic cloves
- 8 oz cream cheese - softened
- 3/4 cup pizza sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella - or 6 oz fresh mozzarella, diced
- fresh basil - chopped for garnish
- In a cast iron skillet over medium low, heat olive oil and garlic until garlic is fragrant about 1-2 mins. Transfer the oil and garlic to a small bowl.
- Place the dough on a lightly floured surface. Pat or roll the dough into a rough 8×8 inch square. Cut the dough into 36 pieces, about ½ oz each.
- Roll each into a ball, and then roll each ball into the garlic olive oil. Place the olive covered balls around the edge of the cast iron skillet. 18 balls around the outside of the skillet. Place the remaining 18 balls on top, staggering between the seams of the balls underneath. The center of the skillet will be empty.
- Cover the skillet with plastic wrap, and let sit for 45 minutes or until the balls have puffed up slightly.
- Meanwhile, Preheat oven to 400°F. Move the oven rack to the middle position.
- Remove plastic. Place skillet in the oven and bake for 18-20 minutes, or until the balls are a bit golden brown on top.
- While the skillet is in the oven, place the cream cheese, pizza sauce, oregano, and dried basil in a medium size bowl. Use an electric mixer to beat until the mixture is smooth. Stir in the shredded mozzarella (or fresh chopped mozzarella) and ¾ of the chopped pepperonis.
- Remove the skillet from the oven. Spoon the cheese mixture into the center of the skillet, sprinkle the remaining pepperonis on top. Return to the oven to cook for 10 minutes or until the cheese mixture is heated through and the rolls are golden brown on top.
- Remove the skillet from the oven. Top with the fresh chopped basil. Serve warm.