At King Arthur, we draw on a lot of inspiration for our baking, like faraway travels or childhood memories. But honestly, one of our biggest sources of inspiration is … you! 

We love nothing more than to see the innovative spins our readers and customers put on our recipes to make them their own. And throughout the year, no recipe has been embraced more than our 2020 Recipe of the Year, Crispy Cheesy Pan Pizza. While the original recipe is enticing all on its own, the thick, pillowy dough has turned into the ultimate blank canvas for all sorts of edible creativity. 

Crispy Cheesy Pan Pizza overhead in a cast iron pan

Our original Recipe of the Year is a classic. But many people have taken this basic recipe and produced some truly incredible pan pizzas. 

It’s been almost a year since Crispy Cheesy Pan Pizza was crowned Recipe of the Year, so to celebrate, we’ve rounded up 10 of the most inventive, stunning, and mouth-watering variations that our customers have made. We hope they inspire your upcoming baking adventures. (They’ve definitely inspired ours.)

Rectangular pan pizza with smoked salmon and other toppings
Photo by @bagtobowl

1) Smoked salmon, cheddar, and Gruyère pizza  

Smoked salmon might not be as common a pizza topping as, say, pepperoni ... but that's why this pizza by Simon of @bagtobowl is such fun. He uses the base of Crispy Cheesy Pan Pizza (baked up in a Detroit-style 10" rectangle) as a vehicle for smoked salmon, cheddar, Gruyère, parsley-dill cream sauce, shallots, zucchini, and dried chili flakes. Mamma mia!

Pizza in cast iron skilled with circular design made of fruit toppings
Photo by @cerita_puspa

2) Apple, blueberry, cream cheese, and honey pizza 

We’re all about taking Crispy Cheesy Pan Pizza for a ride on the sweet side, and this fruit-topped pie by Puspa of @cerita_puspa looks perfect for the brunch table. She even shares directions to make your own! 

Here's how she does it: Whisk 4 ounces (113g) softened cream cheese with 1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar. Peel one large apple and slice thinly. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a pan over medium heat, then add the apple slices, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Sauté until tender. Put aside to cool.

Preheat your oven to 450ºF. When the pizza dough is ready to bake, gently spread the cream cheese on top. Sprinkle cheese on the edge of the pan (Puspa uses grated Parmesan along with shredded asiago and provolone), then arrange the apple slices on top of the cream cheese. Add fresh blueberries and sprinkle with more cheese if you'd like. Lastly, drizzle honey over the pizza. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes. Drizzle with more honey, then serve.

Baked pizza in cast iron skilled
Photo by @chaiandchillies

3) Gobi Manchurian pizza

This flavorful, spicy pizza from @chaiandchillies is seriously special. In her post on the pie, she shares the following: “Indian Chinese food is a category unto itself on the subcontinent, and one of my fave celebratory dishes is Gobi Manchurian — battered and fried sweet/spicy cauliflower.” 

For this pizza, she bakes garam masala, cumin, and other paratha spices directly into the crust. She sauces the pizza with a spicy tomato base spiked with Manchurian sauce, then tops it with shallow-fried cauliflower florets tossed with Manchurian sauce, chopped onions, green pepper, and some Parmesan. The result? A pizza that will definitely heat up the kitchen — in more ways than one! 

Baked rectangular pan pizza topped with burrata
Photo by @jlims

4) Squash, pesto, and burrata pizza

Fun fact: everything is better with burrata. Especially pizza! For this spring-inspired take, Joy of @jlims tops her pan pizza crust with squash, tomatoes, burrata, mozzarella, pesto, and crispy capers. She also calls Crispy Cheese Pan Pizza “one of the best things in 2020,” and though the competition was pretty scarce in a year like the one we’ve all been through, we’ll take it.

Round plated pizza with artfully drizzled sauce and cilantro
Photo by @culinarycrescendo

5) Bacon elote pizza

A popular Mexican street snack, elote consists of grilled corn on the cob topped with a mixture of mayonnaise, crema, lime juice, and chili powder and sprinkled with cheese. It’s divine. And you know what Ian of @culinarycrescendo had the brilliant idea to do? Put it on pizza.

And he doesn’t just stop there — as if things aren’t already tempting enough, he also adds bacon. Because too much of a good thing can actually be great. 

Baked pizza with slice cut out and no cheese topping
Photo by @stephanie.gyl

6) Crispy cheese-less pan pizza

Crispy cheesy pan pizza … without the cheese?! It may sound oxymoronic, but that doesn’t mean it’s not delicious. 

Rule-breaker Stephanie of @stephanie.gyl, who came up with this pioneering pie, says, “Revoke my Wisconsinite card now ... I prefer this to the cheesy version.” Gasp! Instead of cheese, she tops her pizza with toasted tomatoes, garlicky dairy-free pesto, and lots of olive oil. “Yes, it’s focaccia, not pizza,” she admits. We say, who cares?

Hand pulling slice from baked pizza
Photo by @the.practical.kitchen

7) Chicken Marsala pizza

In a way, it makes complete sense to take chicken Marsala for a pizza spin. After all, the comforting meal is a classic in Italian American red-sauce joints. So why not serve this creamy, hearty dish over crispy pan pizza dough? That's what Rebecca of @the.practical.kitchen does, resulting in a cheesy, decadent, delicious-looking dinner. 

And bonus! She shares the recipe on her blog, so you can recreate this pizza in your own kitchen.  

Hand holding slice of pizza with rest of pizza in background
Photo by @ironchefmom

8) French onion soup pizza

One of the world’s most comforting soups meets one of King Arthur’s most comforting recipes, and the world will never be the same. Shelley of @ironchefmom uses her favorite French onion soup recipe for the topping, while the interior remains, in her words, “soft, light, and airy.” 

It’s the soup + pizza mashup you’ll never be able to stop thinking about.

BBQ Chicken Pizza on a cooling rack
Photo by @wayofthedam

9) BBQ Chicken pizza

Topped with chicken, onions, and BBQ sauce, this pizza by Jamie of @wayofthedam is a hearty, flavorful spin that proves BBQ sauce really can be great on everything. And check out those beautifully crisped edges! Crispy Cheesy Pan Pizza always delivers, no matter how you decide to dress it up. 

Pizza topped with basil and prosciutto
Photo by @lstern608

10) Basil and prosciutto pizza

In a post full of downright innovative pizzas, we’re finishing off with a simpler pie adorned with two can’t-miss Italian ingredients: basil and prosciutto. There’s a reason they’re classics: bright, pungent basil alongside rich, decadent prosciutto. Liz of @lstern608 knows that keeping something simple doesn’t mean it can’t be revelatory.

A year full of pizza

When we named Crispy Cheesy Pan Pizza our 2020 Recipe of the Year, we knew we had a special recipe on our hands. But there was no way we could have anticipated the outpouring of love for this dish; the enthusiasm has spilled out from kitchens all over the country. 

We’re unbelievably thrilled this recipe has been embraced by so many of you — that it’s spiced up weekly pizza night, inspired you to make your own homemade pizza, or presented an opportunity to showcase your wildest pizza dreams. Thank you for taking our recipe and making it your own. We hope it holds a special place in your kitchen for years to come. 

Have you made Crispy Cheesy Pan Pizza? We'd love to hear about any variations you've made in the comments below! Any ingredients, flavor combinations, or styles you'd recommend? 

Rossi Anastopoulo
The Author

About Rossi Anastopoulo

Rossi Anastopoulo grew up in Charleston, SC, which is how she fell in love with biscuits. She geeks out over pie history and loves to bake anything that requires whipping egg whites.  

View all posts by Rossi Anastopoulo