wide super closeup of football shaped pull apart pizza

How To Make a Winning Football Shaped Pull Apart Pizza

Yes, there are some of us who love the game! And for the rest, there’s the party, the fun commercials and the over-the-top halftime show.

And for ALL of us, there’s the food!!!

Pinterest Challenge graphic wreath with a football in the middle

I’ve partnered with 11 of my blogging friends to bring you the best assortment of Super Bowl recipes you can imagine!

These ladies are all entertaining champions!!! So when you have a lineup of champions’ FFR’s (Fan Favorite Recipes), you know your game day food will be a victory!

Many thanks to Cindy at County Road 407

If you made your way here from Lynne at My Family Thyme, a hearty welcome!!! Her Mexican dip looked amazing, right?

Let’s get right to it!

Pull-Apart Pizza

pull apart football shaped pizza is on a platter with bowls of pizza sauce and pesto dipping sauce

Pull apart pizza is almost like focaccia, but more tender. It’s all about the dough, the dipping sauces and the flavorful mix-in’s you choose.

The level of ooey gooey cheesy goodness is up to you. Same with all the pizza mix-ins you want to add. Use my quantities as a starting point.

The Dough:

Because the main feature is the dough, I prefer to make my own. My go-to-pizza dough recipe is included on the recipe card just a bit below.

Mix-in Suggestions:

I specified 2 cups of shredded mozzarella, but in my cheese addicted opinion, that’s the minimum. I usually also add whatever bits and pieces of grate-able cheese I have in the fridge.

I’m actually a bigger fan of Italian sausage than I am pepperoni, so I’d substitute if that’s acceptable to the clan (or if I want more to myself).

Diced roasted red peppers, caramelized onion bits, bacon would all be great! Really your imagination is the only limitation. keep in mind that they should be diced or fairly small bits to mix through all the pizza dough.

Dipping Sauces:

Pull apart pizza needs the sauces!!!!

Serve with bowls of your choice of dipping sauces:

  • your favorite bread dipping oil (like Carrabba’s perhaps)
  • marinara or pizza sauce
  • ranch dressing
  • pesto alfredo sauce
  • garlic aioli

Assembling the Pull Apart Pizza:

snipping bits of pizza dough off the large mound
peak under a tea towel of hundreds of bites of dough on a cookie sheet

1) With kitchen sheers, cut the dough into small pieces onto a cookie sheet

2) Place sheet of dough bits back in proofing oven for 15 min. This second rise is optional.

3) Preheat oven to 400F

oil, butter and seasoning are in thee bottom of a large mixing bowl
pizza mix-ins of diced pepperoni and bits of meatballs are added to the. large bowl

4) In your dough bowl, whisk the garlic butter, olive oil and seasonings until incorporated. Stir in meat and any other mix-ins, then the cheese. Mix in dough bits by hand, tossing gently to thoroughly mix.

the football shaped mould is ready and fillled with the pull apart pizza

5) Transfer to football pan

6) Bake at 400 for 30 – 35 minutes

strips of white string cheese are next to a knife and positioned llike the lacing of a football are on a cutting board

7) While pizza bakes, slice mozzarella string cheese to width and length for the lacing and stripes

paartially cooked pull apart pizza is being basted with pizza sauce on top
woman's fingers are arranging the lacing on the football shaped pizza

8) Remove from oven. Brush top with marinara or pizza sauce to color thee football, add lacing and stripes of string cheese.

9) Place football back in the oven until cheese accents melt

pull apart football shaped pizza is on a platter with bowls of pizza sauce and pesto aoli

Pull Apart Pizza Snack

Yield: 1 extra large pull-apart pizza
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Additional Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 35 minutes

Pizza that's easy to make, easy to customize, easy to share, even easy to decorate like a football -- perfect for watch parties! Complete with dipping sauces.

Ingredients

Pizza Dough (see Note):

  • 1 1/3 cups warm water, divided in half
  • 5 tsp yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp honey or sugar
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 tsp garlic powder, optional
  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning, optional

Pizza:

  • 1 cup pepperoni, diced
  • 6 meatballs, cut in small bite-size pieces
  • 2 cups Mozzarella Cheese, shredded
  • 3/4 cup Butter (1 - 1/2 sticks)
  • 4 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Tbsp Italian Seasoning
  • 1 tsp Oregano

For Decorating:

  • 4 sticks of string cheese for decorating
  • Foil
  • Parchment paper

Instructions

My Go-To Pizza Dough:

1) Dissolve yeast and salt in half warm water. Let set 5 minutes.

2) Mix oil and sugar in other half of warm water.

3) Measure flour into large bowl. Mix in garlic powder and Italian seasoning. Add both water mixtures and mix together. Move dough to counter. Do not wash bowl yet.

4) Knead on slightly floured counter for 5 minutes.

5) Spray large flour bowl with cooking spray. Add kneaded dough, Turn dough to oil all sides.

6) Cover loosely with plastic wrap.

7) Let rise to double in proofing oven (100F) or warm location for an hour or two.

While Dough is Rising:

  • Prepare 9 x 13 pan:

Follow directions in the blog post below.

  • Prepare the Pizza "Mix-ins":

Dice the pepperoni and cut up the meatballs andd any other mix-ins you may be using.

Melt the butter with the minced garlic

Assemble the Pull-Apart Pizza:

1) With kitchen sheers, cut the dough into small pieces onto a cookie sheet

2) Place sheet of dough bits back in proofing oven for 15 min. This second rise is optional.

3) Preheat oven to 400F

4) In your dough bowl, mix the garlic butter, olive oil and seasonings. Stir in meat and cheese and any other mix-ins. Mix in dough bits by hand, tossing gently to thoroughly mixed.

5) Transfer to football pan (See NOTES below to make your football-shaped pan)

6) Bake at 400 for 30 - 35 minutes

7) While pizza bakes, slice mozzarella string cheese to width and length for the lacing and stripes

8) Remove from oven. Brush top with marinara or pizza sauce to color thee football, add lacing and stripes of string cheese.

9) Place football back in the oven until cheese accents melt

Serve warm with bowls of your choice of dipping sauces:

  • marinara or pizza sauce
  • ranch dressing
  • pesto alfredo sauce
  • garlic aioli
  • your favorite bread dipping oil

    Nutrition Information:
    Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
    Amount Per Serving: Calories: 478Total Fat: 29gSaturated Fat: 15gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 73mgSodium: 741mgCarbohydrates: 39gFiber: 2gSugar: 4gProtein: 16g

    These nutritional values are estimates and may vary widely based on the exact ingredients and quantities you use.

    Recipe Notes:

    Pizza Dough Substitutions

    I like to make my own Pizza Dough, but feel free to substitute any pizza dough you prefer — store bought, mix, frozen — but it needs to still rise while baking. You do NOT want a baked pizza crust that’s ready to just heat.

    Prepare the Pan for Football Shaped Pizza

    It’s the Super Bowl so that requires a bit of showmanship, a bit of fanfare, right? So let’s make this a Pull-Apart Football Shaped Pizza, complete with lacing and stripes.

    Use a 9 x 13 pan.

    Print out my pattern sized to fit the pan exactly — corner to diagonal corner! The pattern is in the Printables Library available to all South House Designs subscribers.

    Not a subscriber? No worries! You’ll gain immediate access when you subscribe right here:

    Thanks Bunches! Now back to our pizza:

    The Football Pattern:

    woman's hands cutting out the two ends of a football pattern on white paper

    There is a right half and left half. Print them, cut them out and overlap and tape together.

    You’ll use the football pattern twice. First while transforming a boring 9 X 13 dish into a football mold.

    And then again, while your pizza dish is baking, you’ll use it in preparing the mozzarella string cheese lacing and stripes.

    For the football shape:

    Tear off four pieces of foil about 12-inches long. Wad them loosely to start into a long triangular shape

    Tear off two pieces of foil to overlap to generously fill the pan including up and over the sides

    woman's hand pressing down two overlapping pieces of foil in a 9 x 13 baking dish

    Lay the large foil over the pan and gently press to the bottom.

    Lay the pattern in the bottom diagonally on top. Press down and fold the foil up along the edge of the football.

    Fill the triangular-ish empty corners with the foil wads, shaping them to just fill the voids.

    Fold the large foil over these fillers and over the lip of the pan.

    Replace the football pattern with a piece of parchment cut to the football shape.

    Add strips of parchment to be the walls of your football shape. Don’t worry, they’ll stand up once you start loading the pizza in to bake.

    Now your pan is ready for when you assemble your pizza.

    Remember to save the pattern to the side to help you with the lacing and stripes. Prep these string cheese details by setting them on the pattern. After baking, baste with marinara sauce for a bit of football color and add the lacing and stripes. Put it back in the oven until the cheese melts.

    pull apart football shaped pizza is on a platter with bowls of pizza sauce and pesto aoli

    Serve warm with dipping sauces!

    I hope you enjoy this recipe. It’s like the best of dipping yummy warm flavorful bread and ooey gooey cheese in one! Two of my culinary love languages right in one!!!

    Hmmm, maybe we’ll have it for super bowl and then again for Valentine’s Day!!!

    Be sure to add this pin to your recipes board, or your watch party board, or your snacking board or wherever it makes sense for you.

    Pin with a background of striped turf, a picture of the finished pull apart pizza and the caption: Watch Party Win: Pull Apart Pizza for Dipping

    More Champion Super Bowl Food Recipes

    Remember I said I had a team of Entertaining Champions all sharing their favorites. Just look at all the yumminess waiting for you!

    And now I need to send you on to Wendy at WM Design House — the newly ordained Queen of Nachos! Tell Wendy I said “Hi”.

    How will I ever decide? Maybe one of each and just invite more to the party?

    Did we miss your favorite? Let me know what you love to serve (or nosh on) at watch parties.

    round image of Diane smiling next to a Signature that reads: With Joy, Diane

    14 Comments

    1. Michelle | Thistle Key Lane

      Oh my goodness, what a fun appetizer! I can’t wait to try it and share the recipe with my daughter. She’s always looking for new recipes for her neighborhood gatherings!

      Reply
      • Diane

        Thanks Michelle! It would go great alongside your buffalo chicken sliders. Neighborhood gatherings are so fun! Happy football watching (go Chiefs)!

        Reply
    2. Cindy@CountyRoad407

      How cute is this! Love that it looks like a football and delicious to boot! Hoping to try this soon. Thanks so much for joining us. pinned

      Reply
      • Diane

        Thanks for organizing us again Cindy! I’m all about function first (so it is delicious and fun dipping), but then I want it to look great too.

        Reply
    3. Barbara Chapman

      What a fun idea, Diane, to make this football-shaped pizza! We have an Ooni and make pizzas every now and then. This will be fun to bake!! I love the cheese sticks laid out as the lacing. Can’t wait to try!

      Reply
      • Diane

        Oh, I bet it would be great out of an Ooni! Yum, you’ll have to let me know.

        Reply
    4. Wendy McMonigle

      This is such a cute idea, Diane! And who doesn’t love pizza? I would have never thought to make it in the shape of a football; so creative. I can’t wait to try this recipe.

      Reply
      • Diane

        Thanks Wendy! Anything bread, anything cheesey, anything with dipping sauces, is a winner in my book. So why not combine the three? I’m rather greedy that way — I want it all!!!! Kinda reminds me of your Nacho Bar — THIRTY-FIVE Toppings!!!! Who does that? YOU do!

        Reply
    5. Lora Bloomquist

      Oh, this sounds so delicious! What could get better than pull apart pizza? And yes-give me all the dipping sauces! Pinned!

      Reply
    6. Carol@Blueskyathome

      What a fun and impressive appetizer. It’s perfect for a Super Bowl party. I love making homemade pizza. Your so right – it’s all about the dough.

      Reply
      • Diane

        Thanks Carol! Cheese? Absolutely! Warm bread for dipping? Even better! And all your favorite sauces? If I’m dreaming, don’t wake me up!!!!

        Reply
    7. Lynn Vogeler

      This looks so yummy, I’m going to feature it in my newsletter this week.

      Reply
      • Diane

        Oh thanks bunches Lynn! If you love cheese 🙋‍♀️ and love dipping bread 🙋‍♀️ then you’ll love it!!!

        Reply
    8. TheJeepDiva Blog

      Love the idea of a football-shaped pizza! What a fun and creative twist on a classic dish. Can’t wait to try this recipe and impress my friends and family with my culinary skills. 🏈🍕

      Reply

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    Diane Sudhoff
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