12 Best BBQ Pizza Toppings in 2024

The best BBQ pizza toppings are a mix of smoky meats like pulled pork or chicken, a tangy BBQ sauce, and a combination of cheeses. Add some red onions and cilantro for a burst of freshness.

As a confessed pizza lover, I know the magic is in the toppings. BBQ pizza is no different. It’s a symphony of flavors where each topping plays a crucial role.

But the question is, how do you strike the right balance? That’s the puzzle we often find ourselves trying to solve.

Now, we will dissect the anatomy of a perfect BBQ pizza. We need to know the role of each topping and how they come together to create a mouthwatering masterpiece.

Whether you’re a fan of the classics or looking to experiment with something new, there’s something for everyone.

What Are The Best BBQ Pizza Toppings?

What Are The Best BBQ Pizza Toppings

Regarding BBQ pizza, the right toppings can make all the difference. Add smoky meats like pulled pork or chicken, which pair perfectly with a tangy barbecue sauce. Mozzarella and cheddar add a creamy richness.

Red onions and cilantro for a pop of color and freshness. These toppings create a harmonious blend of flavors that define a BBQ pizza.

In the following sections, we’ll delve deeper into each topping and why they work so well together.

1. BBQ Chicken

BBQ Chicken

BBQ chicken is a lifesaver when it comes to making BBQ chicken pizza. It’s not just about adding a protein source; it’s about infusing your pizza with a smoky, savory flavor that’s hard to resist.

To prepare a homemade BBQ chicken pizza, the trick is in the preparation. Start with well-cooked, tender chicken pieces. Marinate them in your favorite BBQ sauce.

This allows the chicken to absorb all those tangy, sweet, and smoky flavors. When you add this to your pizza, you’re not just adding chicken; you’re adding a burst of BBQ goodness in every bite.

Placement is important too. Spread the chicken pieces evenly across the pizza, ensuring each slice gets its fair share. Every bite you take will have that delicious BBQ chicken flavor.

And don’t forget a final drizzle of BBQ sauce before baking. This attention to detail will elevate your BBQ chicken pizza from good to great. So, give it a try and experience the difference for yourself.

2. Bacon


Bacon is another topping that can take your homemade BBQ pizza to new heights. Known for its rich, smoky flavor, bacon adds a layer of depth and complexity that’s hard to beat.

When using it as a topping, cook the bacon before adding it to your pizza. You want it crispy but not overly. Because it will continue to cook in the oven, cut it into small, bite-sized pieces to distribute your pizza evenly. This way, you get some delicious bacon in every bite.

But bacon does more than add flavor. It also adds a delightful crunch, contrasting the soft and chewy pizza crust. The combination of the smoky bacon, tangy BBQ sauce, and creamy cheese is a match made in pizza heaven.

So, don’t forget the bacon next time you make a BBQ pizza. It might just become your new favorite topping.

3. Beef Brisket

Beef Brisket

Beef brisket is a BBQ pizza topping that’s often overlooked but can transform your pizza experience. Known for its rich, meaty flavor and tender texture, beef brisket can make your BBQ pizza feel like a gourmet meal.

When using beef brisket as a topping, it’s essential to prepare it properly. Slow-cooked until it’s tender and juicy, the brisket should be shredded into bite-sized pieces. This ensures it’s evenly distributed across your pizza. It also gives you a taste of that delicious beef in every bite.

But the magic of beef brisket doesn’t stop there. It also pairs beautifully with BBQ sauce, absorbing its tangy, sweet flavors. The result is a topping that’s bursting with BBQ goodness.

So, if you want to elevate your BBQ pizza, try the beef brisket. It’s a topping sure to impress even the most discerning pizza lovers.

4. Red Onions

Red Onions

Red onions are a simple yet effective topping for   BBQ pizza. They bring a sharp, slightly sweet flavor that cuts through the richness of the meats and cheese. It provides a much-needed balance.

To use red onions on your BBQ pizza, remember that a little goes a long way. You just thinly slice them. Ensure they cook evenly and don’t overpower the other flavors. Distribute the slices across your pizza. Allow their vibrant color to stand out against the other toppings.

But the role of red onions on a BBQ pizza isn’t just about flavor. They also add a crunchy texture and a pop of color, making your pizza visually appealing.

So, don’t underestimate the power of red onions. They might be a simple topping, but they can make a big difference in your BBQ pizza experience.

5. Jalapeno

Best BBQ Pizza Toppings - Jalapeno

Jalapenos are a fantastic topping for a BBQ pizza if you want to add some heat. They bring a spicy kick that complements the sweet and tangy flavors of the BBQ sauce. It creates an exciting and balanced flavor profile.

When using jalapenos, consider your heat tolerance. Feel free to add them generously if you like spicy foods. But a few thinly sliced rings might be enough if you’re more sensitive. Remember, adding more heat later is more accessible than taking it away.

But jalapenos do more than add heat. They also bring a fresh, slightly tangy flavor that can brighten up the rich, smoky flavors of your BBQ pizza.

So, try jalapenos to add a little excitement to your BBQ pizza. They might be the spicy twist you’ve been looking for.

6. Smoked Sausage

Best BBQ Pizza Toppings - Jalapeno

When topping a BBQ pizza, smoked sausage is an undisputed star. With its flavorful profile and inviting smoky aroma, smoked sausage makes an excellent topping on BBQ pizza.

Start with a high-quality smoked sausage for that robust flavor and enticing smoky aroma. Slice it thinly for even cooking, and to infuse each bite with its meaty goodness. Sprinkle a generous layer of mixed cheese once your BBQ sauce is spread on the dough. Preferably mozzarella and cheddar for the perfect gooey base.

Now comes the sausage; scatter your slices evenly across the cheesy surface. Add thinly sliced onions or bell peppers for a refreshing crunch, balancing the sausage’s rich flavor.

Finally, bake until the cheese bubbles and the sausage is slightly crisped. With the right balance of flavors, this smoked sausage topping will take your BBQ pizza from ordinary to extraordinary.

7. Cheese (Blue cheese, Gouda cheese, Mozzarella cheese, Cheddar cheese)

Best BBQ Pizza Toppings - Cheese

The flavor and undefined taste of pizza secret could lie in the cheese. Opting for the right cheese blend can transform your BBQ pizza into a mouth-watering treat.

  • Let’s start with blue cheese. With its strong, tangy flavor, this cheese pairs wonderfully with the sweet and smoky BBQ sauce. However, it’s powerful, so use it sparingly for a surprising burst of flavor.
  • Then there’s Gouda. This semi-hard cheese is creamy and smooth, adding a comforting richness that complements the bold BBQ sauce.
  • On to the classic pizza cheese: mozzarella. Mozzarella melts beautifully, creating that irresistible, stringy texture synonymous with pizza. Its mild flavor balances the stronger cheeses and the zesty BBQ sauce.
  • Finally, with its sharp taste and excellent melting capabilities, cheddar cheese offers depth and a golden, bubbly surface when baked.

So, for your next BBQ pizza, consider this blend of cheeses. Scatter them evenly over your sauce-slathered pizza dough and let the oven do its magic. The result will be a melting pot of flavors that’s simply divine. An enjoyable medley of cheeses can make your BBQ pizza the talk of the table, with each bite bursting with delicious complexity.

8. Italian Cheese Blend

Best BBQ Pizza Toppings - Italian Cheese Blend

A standout choice to make pizza is the Italian cheese blend, a mix of mozzarella, provolone, Romano, and Parmesan. Each cheese brings its unique taste and texture, creating a symphony of flavors on your pizza.

  • Mozzarella, the star of the blend, is known for its creamy, mild flavor and exceptional melting quality. It forms the perfect gooey base.
  • Provolone adds a slightly sharper taste, enhancing the overall flavor profile.
  • Romano gives the pizza an extra zing with its robust and salty punch.
  • Lastly, when baked, Parmesan lends a nutty flavor and a beautiful golden crust.

Now, how to use this blend on your BBQ pizza? Spread a generous layer of BBQ sauce on your pizza dough. Then, sprinkle the Italian cheese blend evenly. Ensure that every bite gets all four cheese flavors.

Add your other toppings – perhaps some grilled BBQ chicken or roasted veggies. Finally, bake until the cheese is bubbly and slightly browned.

Too much cheese can make your pizza greasy, while too little might leave it lacking in flavor. So, experiment to find your perfect cheese-to-topping ratio.

9. Pineapple

Best BBQ Pizza Toppings - Pineapple

Now, let’s talk about a topping that can take your BBQ pizza to the next level – pineapple. With its sweet and tangy flavor, this tropical fruit is a game-changer for BBQ pizza.

When using pineapple, ensure it’s well-drained to prevent your pizza from becoming soggy. Fresh pineapple is the best choice for its vibrant flavor, but canned pineapple can work in a pinch. Cut the pineapple into bite-sized chunks for even distribution across the pizza.

As you layer your pizza, scatter the pineapple pieces over the BBQ sauce before adding your cheese and other toppings. This allows the pineapple to bake into the pizza, infusing it with its unique flavor.

Remember, BBQ pizza with pineapple isn’t just about taste; it’s about the experience. Combining sweet pineapple, tangy BBQ sauce, and your favorite toppings make a delicious and fun pizza. 

10. Green Bell Pepper

Best BBQ Pizza Toppings - Green Bell Pepper

BBQ pizza is a crowd-pleaser, and one topping that complements it beautifully is the green bell pepper. This vibrant vegetable brings a crisp texture and a slightly sweet, mildly bitter flavor. It pairs wonderfully with the rich, smoky BBQ sauce.

Cut the green bell peppers into thin slices. This ensures they cook evenly and integrate well with the other toppings. Thick slices might remain crunchy and could overpower the balance of flavors on your pizza.

Layer the green bell pepper slices over the BBQ sauce and under the cheese as you assemble your pizza. The green bell peppers enhance the taste of your BBQ pizza. It also adds a pop of color, making your pizza visually appealing.

11. Pulled Pork

Best BBQ Pizza Toppings - Pulled Pork

BBQ pizza is a versatile dish that pairs well with various toppings. Pulled pork is a standout choice. This tender, flavorful meat adds a hearty element to your pizza. It enhances the smoky BBQ base with its rich, savory taste.

When using pulled pork, ensure it’s well-seasoned and cooked until it’s tender enough to pull apart easily. Spread it evenly across your pizza, giving every slice a fair share of this delicious topping.

Layer the pulled pork over the BBQ sauce and under the cheese. This helps the flavors meld together during baking. It helps to create a harmonious blend of smoky, savory, and cheesy goodness.

12. Cilantro

Best BBQ Pizza Toppings - Cilantro

To add a unique twist to your perfect pizza, add cilantro. This aromatic herb has a fresh and slightly citrusy flavor. It brings a new dimension to the rich and smoky profile of BBQ pizza.

When using cilantro, it’s best to add it after the pizza has been baked. This preserves the herb’s vibrant flavor and color. Chop the cilantro leaves and sprinkle them over the hot pizza. The heat from the pizza will slightly wilt the cilantro, releasing its distinctive aroma.

Adding cilantro to your BBQ pizza enhances the taste and adds a pop of green that makes the pizza visually appealing. So, for a refreshing twist on your next BBQ pizza, don’t forget to top it with a handful of fresh cilantro. Enjoy the burst of freshness on your pizza night.

How to Choose BBQ Pizza Toppings?

The best BBQ pizza caters to your taste. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different combinations to find your perfect BBQ pizza. Choosing the right toppings for BBQ pizza can elevate it from good to great.

Here are some key points to consider:

1. BBQ Sauce

The foundation of any BBQ pizza is the sauce. Opt for a high-quality BBQ sauce that balances sweetness, tanginess, and smokiness. You can use homemade BBQ sauce if you want. Spread it evenly on your pizza dough to ensure every bite is flavorful.

2. Type of Meat

The meat you choose can add a hearty and savory element to your pizza. Pulled pork, cooked chicken, or even smoked sausage are excellent choices. Ensure the meat is well-cooked and seasoned before adding it to your pizza.

3. Protein

Don’t limit yourself to traditional meats. Consider other protein sources like tofu or tempeh, mainly if you’re catering to vegetarians or vegans. Marinate those in BBQ sauce and bake before adding to the pizza. It is a protein-packed topping.

4. Cheese

The right cheese can make or break your BBQ pizza. Mozzarella is a classic choice for its mild flavor and excellent melting properties. For a twist, try smoked gouda or cheddar to complement the BBQ sauce.

5. Vegetables

Adding vegetables can bring a fresh and crunchy contrast to the rich BBQ flavors. Bell peppers, red onions, or pineapple can add color and taste. Remember to slice them thinly for even cooking.

6. Sauce

While BBQ sauce is given, consider adding a drizzle of another sauce after baking. A ranch or garlic sauce can add another layer of flavor. It will make your BBQ pizza even more delicious.

7. Additional Flavors

Don’t be afraid to add some unexpected flavors to making homemade pizza. A sprinkle of chili flakes can add a kick of heat. While a drizzle of honey can balance out the smokiness of the BBQ sauce. Fresh herbs like cilantro or basil can also add a burst of freshness.

8. Get Creative

The best part about making your BBQ pizza is the freedom to experiment. Try different types of cheese. Use a variety of meats. Or even add some unconventional toppings like peaches or pickles. Assemble the pizza by balancing the flavors. So, no ingredient overpowers the others.

Topping CategoryAdditional Information
BBQ SauceChoose a high-quality BBQ sauce balanced with sweetness, tanginess, and smokiness.
Type of MeatOpt for well-cooked and seasoned meats like pulled pork, chicken, or smoked sausage.
ProteinDon’t limit yourself to traditional meats. Tofu or tempeh can be great protein-packed toppings for vegetarians or vegans.
CheeseMozzarella is a classic choice, but smoked gouda or cheddar can add a unique twist.
VegetablesFresh vegetables like bell peppers, red onions, or pineapple can add color and taste.
SauceIn addition to BBQ sauce, consider adding another sauce like ranch or garlic for extra flavor.
Additional FlavorsAdd unexpected flavors, like a sprinkle of chili flakes for heat or a drizzle of honey for sweetness.
Get CreativeExperiment with different types of cheese, various types of meat, or even unconventional toppings like peaches or pickles.

How to Prepare BBQ Pizza (Step by Step)

How to Prepare BBQ Pizza

There’s something uniquely satisfying about BBQ pizza: its smoky flavor, gooey cheese, and crispy crust. It’s a delightful fusion of two beloved food items that will impress any gathering.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on a BBQ chicken pizza recipe bursting with flavor and cooking to perfection.


  • Nonstick cooking spray for greasing
  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 12-count package of slider rolls
  • 1 cup shredded Italian blend cheese
  • 1 cup marinara sauce
  • 4 ounces sliced pepperoni
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon dried Italian seasoning

Garlic Basil Butter

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 fresh basil leaves, chopped


  1. Preheat the oven: Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Line a baking sheet with foil and grease with nonstick spray.
  2. Prepare the chicken: Season both sides of the chicken pieces with a pinch of salt and pepper. Grill for 2–3 minutes per side until golden brown. Remove from the grill and let cool slightly, then slice into strips.
  3. Prepare the slider rolls: Cut the sheet in half to separate the top and bottom, leaving the individual rolls intact. Transfer the bottom rolls to the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle evenly with half of the shredded Italian cheese, then dollop half of the marinara sauce. Top with pepperoni. Then add the remaining ½ cup shredded Italian cheese, ½ cup marinara sauce, and the sliced grilled chicken. Place the top slider rolls on top.
  4. Bake the sliders: Cover the sliders with foil. Then transfer to the oven and bake for about 15 minutes, until the cheese has melted.
  5. Prepare the garlic basil butter: While the sliders bake, make the garlic basil butter. Combine the garlic, butter, and basil in a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds until the butter is melted. Stir to combine.
  6. Final baking: Remove the sliders from the oven. Uncover, and spoon some of the garlic basil butter on top. Then sprinkle with the red pepper flakes and dried Italian seasoning. Return the oven and bake for 5 minutes until the top is golden brown.
  7. Serve: Brush with the remaining garlic basil butter, then serve immediately. Slice between the rolls or pull them apart to separate them into individual sliders.

Popular BBQ Pizza Recipes

BBQ pizza is a delightful fusion of smoky, sweet, and savory flavors that’s a hit at any gathering. Here are two popular BBQ pizza recipes you can try at home.

1. Garlic Basil Grilled Chicken Pizza Sliders

This recipe puts a fun twist on pizza night with deliciously easy garlic basil grilled chicken pizza sliders. Here’s a brief overview:


  • Nonstick cooking spray,
  • Boneless skinless chicken thighs,
  • Kosher salt,
  • Freshly ground black pepper,
  • Slider rolls,
  • Shredded Italian blend cheese,
  • Marinara sauce,
  • Sliced pepperoni,
  • Red pepper flakes,
  • Dried Italian seasoning,
  • Garlic cloves,
  • Unsalted butter,
  • Fresh basil leaves.

Preparation: The chicken thighs are seasoned and grilled, then sliced into strips. The slider rolls are cut in half and topped with cheese, marinara sauce, pepperoni, and grilled chicken. Then bake until the cheese has melted. The sliders are finished with a garlic basil butter topping and served immediately.

2. Instant Pot Root Beer Pulled Pork Pizza

This recipe uses an Instant Pot to create juicy barbecue pork with a unique root beer twist. Here’s a brief overview:


  • Garlic powder
  •  Onion powder
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper
  • Ground coriander
  • Smoked paprika
  • Pork shoulder
  • Canola oil
  • Yellow onion
  • Root beer
  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Barbecue sauce
  • Green cabbage
  • Pickled red onions
  • Carrot
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Mayonnaise
  • Sandwich rolls

Preparation: The pork is coated in a spice mixture, browned in the Instant Pot, and then cooked with onion, root beer, vinegar, and barbecue sauce. While the pork is cooking, a pickled onion slaw is prepared. The pork is then shredded and served on sandwiches with barbecue sauce and slaw.

Remember, the beauty of pizza is its versatility. Feel free to experiment with different sauces, cheeses, and toppings to make a BBQ pizza that’s uniquely yours.

Tips for the Perfect BBQ Pizza

Tips for the Perfect BBQ Pizza

Creating the perfect BBQ pizza is an art. Here are some tips to help you master it:

1. Use a good quality pizza dough

The foundation of your BBQ pizza is the dough. Using high-quality homemade pizza dough can significantly impact the final product. It should be fresh and have excellent elasticity. This will allow it to stretch without tearing. You can get a crispy crust on the outside yet soft and chewy on the inside.

2. Preheat your grill to high heat

 Preheating your grill to high heat is crucial for a perfectly cooked pizza. A hot grill will help to quickly cook the crust, giving it a nice, crispy texture. It also helps to melt the cheese and cook the toppings evenly.

3. Cook the pizza over indirect heat

Cooking your pizza over indirect heat is a great way to ensure it cooks evenly. This method involves heating one side of your grill to high heat and leaving the other side off or on low. Place your pizza on the cooler side of the grill. This allows the pizza to cook more slowly, preventing the bottom from burning while the toppings cook perfectly.

4. Don’t overload your pizza with toppings

You may want to load your pizza with all your favorite toppings. But less is often more when it comes to pizza. Too many toppings can weigh down the dough and make it soggy. Stick to a few well-chosen toppings that complement each other and the BBQ flavor.

5. Let the pizza cool for a few minutes before slicing and serving

After removing your pizza from the grill, let it cool for a few minutes before slicing and serving. This allows the cheese to set a bit and makes the pizza easier to slice. It also helps the flavors to meld together.

6. Monitor the pizza

Keep a close eye on your pizza as it cooks. The heat of grills can vary, and you don’t want to end up with a burnt crust. Rotate the pizza occasionally for even cooking. Also, check the crust’s bottom regularly to ensure it’s not burning.

Remember, making the perfect BBQ pizza is a labor of love. Take your time, pay attention to the details, and most importantly, enjoy the process and the delicious results.


Can I use any BBQ sauce for BBQ pizza?

Absolutely! The choice of BBQ sauce can significantly influence the flavor of your pizza. You can use any BBQ sauce that you enjoy. Some people prefer a smoky, hickory BBQ sauce, while others prefer a sweeter, honey-based sauce. It’s all about personal preference. Remember, a good quality sauce can make a big difference, so choose wisely.

What type of cheese works best on BBQ pizza?

Mozzarella is a classic choice for any pizza due to its excellent melting properties and mild flavor. However, you might want to try smoked gouda or cheddar for BBQ pizza. These cheeses add a unique twist and complement the smoky flavor of the BBQ sauce.

Can I make a vegetarian BBQ pizza?

Of course! A vegetarian BBQ pizza can be just as delicious as its meaty counterpart. You can use a variety of vegetables like bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, and even pineapple. For protein, consider using tofu or tempeh. Just marinate them in BBQ sauce and bake them before adding them to the pizza.

How can I get a crispy crust for my homemade BBQ pizza?

You will need a pizza stone, a hot oven, or a grill to achieve a crispy crust. Preheat your cooking appliance to a high temperature before baking your pizza. Also, if you’re using a pizza stone, heat it in the oven as it preheats. Cooking your pizza over high heat will help achieve that desirable crispy crust.

Can I use store-bought pizza dough for my BBQ pizza?

Yes, you can! While homemade dough is always a great option, store-bought pizza dough can be made in real-time and yield delicious results. Look for fresh pizza dough in the refrigerated section of your grocery store for the best quality. Just remember to let it come to room temperature before you start stretching it for your pizza.


So, there you have it, my fellow pizza lovers. We’ve journeyed through the delicious world of BBQ pizza topping, and I hope it’s left you inspired. We’ve tackled the challenge of finding that perfect smoky, sweet, and savory balance, and I believe we’ve seen some winning combinations.

Remember, the best BBQ pizza toppings make your taste buds dance. The choice is yours, whether the classic mix of pulled pork, tangy BBQ sauce, a medley of cheeses, or something more adventurous.

As we part ways, I leave you with this promise: armed with these insights, your next BBQ pizza will be a showstopper. So, preheat that oven and make some pizza magic happen.

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