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This copycat California Pizza Kitchen BBQ Chicken Pizza recipe pairs sweet and tangy BBQ sauce with chicken, gooey mozzarella, smoky Gouda, zippy red onion, and fresh cilantro. It’s a unique and absolutely delicious combination of flavors! And bonus, using store-bought dough from your pizzeria or grocery store means it’s quick and easy to whip up for pizza night at home.

copycat california pizza kitchen bbq chicken pizza recipe

When I was in law school, I liked to meal prep when I had time. My rotation consisted of things I could dump and forget in the slow cooker (like beef stew), prepare large batches of at one time (such as meatballs), or cook with minimal hands-on effort (like roast chicken).

But I also liked to keep a few store-bought favorites stashed in my freezer, including a couple frozen California Pizza Kitchen BBQ Chicken Pizza. I fell in love with that unique pizza flavor combo!

Chewy crust is a delicious base for sweet, tangy BBQ sauce, tender chicken, a blend of gooey mozzarella and smoky Gouda cheeses, the peppery bite of red onion, and the fresh flavor of verdant cilantro.

Give this pizza a try and it might become a new family favorite!

slice of bbq chicken pizza on plate

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • We use cooked chopped chicken, so technically this is a leftovers meal! Feel free to use grilled chicken, baked chicken, or roast chicken (and rotisserie chicken also works well). Or even leftover turkey after Thanksgiving would be delicious!
  • You will save a ton of time by using store-bought pizza dough from your local pizzeria or grocery store.
  • The cheeses here are very forgiving. I like the blend of mozzarella cheese (for the gooey factor!) and smoked Gouda cheese (for a touch of smoky flavor). However, feel free to use any cheese combination you like! Cheddar, provolone, and fontina are all great choices.
  • The blend of flavors is a real winner! Don’t skip the cilantro, it really brightens it up.
hand holding slice of bbq chicken pizza

The Best BBQ Chicken Pizza Recipe

Ingredients

bbq chicken pizza recipe ingredients
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Pizza dough
  • BBQ sauce
  • Mozzarella
  • Smoked Gouda
  • Red onion
  • Cooked chopped chicken
  • Fresh cilantro

Step-by-Step Instructions

how to make bbq chicken pizza
  1. Drizzle the oil inside a large bowl. Place the dough inside the bowl and turn it to coat in oil. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and let it sit at room temperature for 1 hour.
  2. Preheat the oven to 450F. Gently deflate the dough, but don’t push out all the air. Spread it out onto a 12-inch pizza stone or similar sized baking sheet, pressing it out with your fingers. Use the tines of a fork to prick several holes in the dough (this is called “docking” it).
  3. Spread the BBQ sauce evenly on top, leaving a border of about 1/2-inch all around.
  4. Evenly sprinkle on the mozzarella and smoked Gouda cheeses.
  5. Then add the onion and chicken.
  6. Bake until the crust is golden and the cheese is melted, about 15 minutes.
overhead view of bbq chicken pizza on pizza stone

Storage

Store leftovers wrapped in the fridge for up to 4 days.

You can reheat pizza in a 375F oven until warm, about 10 minutes. Check out the Notes in the recipe card below for more methods to reheat pizza.

bbq chicken pizza recipe graphic

California Pizza Kitchen BBQ Chicken Pizza FAQs

Who Invented BBQ Chicken Pizza?

American pizza chef Edward LaDou developed this pizza for California Pizza Kitchen.

He had been working for Wolfgang Puck at his restaurant Spago in Los Angeles, and he had developed a name for himself with his unusual pizza combinations. (Think along the lines of toppings like pâté, smoked salmon, and duck sausage.)

In 1985, Larry Flax (co-founder of California Pizza Kitchen) asked LaDou to develop the menu for CPK. LaDou accepted and developed the restaurant’s first menu, which included the BBQ Chicken Pizza!

You can find out more about the history of this pizza on Wikipedia and Hungry Howie’s.

copycat california pizza kitchen bbq chicken pizza

What’s on California Pizza Kitchen’s BBQ Chicken Pizza?

LaDou’s original pizza included cooked chicken, BBQ sauce, onion, fontina cheese, and cilantro.

What’s on Domino’s Memphis BBQ Chicken Pizza?

According to Domino’s, their pizza contains grilled chicken, fresh onion, mozzarella, provolone, cheddar, and a tangy tomato-based Memphis-style BBQ sauce with white vinegar and sweet molasses.

What’s on Pizza Hut’s Backyard BBQ Chicken Pizza?

According to Pizza Hut, their pizza has grilled chicken, bacon, and onion. It also has cheese, but their website doesn’t specify what kind.

hand holding plate with slice of bbq pizza

Side Dishes That Pair Well with BBQ Chicken Pizza

homemade bbq chicken pizza on pizza stone with plate of pizza

Let’s Connect

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Copycat California Pizza Kitchen BBQ Chicken Pizza Recipe

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Other Time1 hour
Servings: 8 servings
This copycat California Pizza Kitchen BBQ Chicken Pizza recipe pairs sweet and tangy BBQ sauce with chicken, gooey mozzarella, smoky Gouda, zippy red onion, and fresh cilantro. It’s a unique and absolutely delicious combination of flavors! And bonus, using store-bought dough from your pizzeria or grocery store means it’s quick and easy to whip up for pizza night at home.

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Ingredients
 

  • 1/2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound pizza dough ball thawed if frozen (look for it at your local grocery store or pizzeria)
  • 1/2 cup BBQ sauce
  • 3 cups shredded mozzarella
  • 1 cup shredded smoked Gouda
  • 1 small red onion thinly sliced
  • 1 cup cooked chopped chicken
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves chopped (for garnish)

Instructions
 

  • Drizzle the oil inside a large bowl. Place the dough inside the bowl and turn it to coat in oil. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and let it sit at room temperature for 1 hour.
  • Preheat the oven to 450F.
  • Gently deflate the dough, but don’t push out all the air. Spread it out onto a 12-inch pizza stone or similar sized baking sheet, pressing it out with your fingers. Use the tines of a fork to prick several holes in the dough (this is called “docking” it).
  • Spread the BBQ sauce evenly on top, leaving a border of about 1/2-inch all around. Evenly sprinkle on the mozzarella and smoked Gouda cheeses, and then the onion and chicken.
  • Bake until the crust is golden and the cheese is melted, about 15 minutes.
  • Top with the fresh cilantro and serve hot.

Notes

  • Recipe Yield and Serving Size: This recipe makes 1 (12-inch) pizza. Cut it into 8 slices, and each slice is 1 serving.
  • To Freeze and Heat Uncooked Pizza: You can make the pizza up to the point of baking it and then freeze it for up to 2 months. When you want to cook it, thaw it to room temperature (I leave it overnight on the counter), and then bake it as directed.
  • To Freeze Cooked Pizza: Another option is to bake the pizza and then freeze the leftovers for up to 2 months. Let the pizza cool to room temperature, and then freeze the slices layered between pieces of parchment paper in an airtight container.
  • To Reheat Pizza in the Oven: Preheat the oven to 375F. Place the pizza slices (thawed if frozen) onto a foil-lined baking tray. Bake until the cheese is melted and the pizza is warm, about 10 minutes.
  • To Reheat Pizza on the Stovetop: Place the pizza slices in a cast iron skillet or stainless steel skillet over medium to medium-low heat. Cover, leaving the lid slightly ajar, and cook until the cheese is melted and the pizza is warm, about 5 minutes.

Nutrition

Calories: 441kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 82mg | Sodium: 1160mg | Potassium: 182mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 501IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 431mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutritional information is automatically calculated and should be used as an approximate.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: BBQ Chicken Pizza, BBQ Chicken Pizza Recipe, California Pizza Kitchen BBQ Chicken Pizza

Share it with me on Instagram and leave a comment to let me know your thoughts!

bbq chicken pizza pin

This post was first published on An Edible Mosaic on September 21, 2010. I updated it with more information on September 22, 2022.

Faith, author of An Edible Mosaic.
About Faith

I’m the writer, recipe developer, photographer, and food stylist behind this blog. I love finding the human connection through something we all do every day: eat! Food is a common ground that we can all relate to, and our tables tell a story. It’s my goal to inspire you to get in the kitchen, try something new, and find a favorite you didn’t know you had.

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Recipe Rating




32 Comments

  1. Mmmmm, this looks amazing! I love the idea of bbq chicken as a pizza topping – love CPK! :)

  2. Faith

    This was my favorite item at California Pizza Kitchen! There, you made it at home and it looks fantastic!

  3. You know how much I love pizza! I have never had barbecue chicken pizza and definitely need to give it a try! The smoked gouda sounds wonderful.

  4. this pizza is stellar, faith!

  5. Heavenly Housewife says:

    I’ve been to CPK once when visiting my mom in FL. Fun place, but your pizza looks even better, seriously!
    *kissses* HH

  6. Betty @ scrambled hen fruit says:

    I love California Pizza Kitchen! This pizza looks so good, I have a skillet that will be perfect for this- thanks!

  7. This sounds great… I know that a lot of people look down on CPK because it’s a chain, but I love it too!

  8. Your pizza sounds and looks amazing!Love the flavors and I would love mine with cilantro.

  9. I love the sound of this pizza! Gouda is one of, if not my most favorite cheese. This looks excellent!

  10. Blond Duck says:

    (Fainting and drooling at the same time.)

  11. Faith, I can’t eat this because of the combination of meat and milk but I can tell you this is one stunning dish. Your photo sells it.

  12. I love CPK! We used to eat there all the time. But your pizza looks 100X better…

  13. A fabulous pizza! What mouthwatering topping.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  14. That is the best pizza in the world! It’s all I ever get at California Pizza Kitchen! I plan to make this next week!! Hubby will love it!

  15. This is a great looking pie, I know I’d love this. I hope you are having a great day. Blessings…Mary

  16. Wow…this looks delicious. Thanks very much for sharing.

  17. This brown crust and the melted cheese makes my heart bit faster. I love it!

  18. I think this is the first California-style pizza I first fell in love with. On first thought, you wonder how it could possibly work as a pizza topping. But one bite convinces you that it sure does.

  19. EEEEEE!!!!!! My eyes are POPPING! I MUST email this to a friend. I love, love, love this!!!

  20. Great job with your pizza. Beautiful. You put the California Pizza Kitchen to shame.

    Two thumbs up!

  21. I love bbq chicken pizza and like to add bacon to it.

  22. You and I have must have very similar tastes because I love me some CPK bbq chicken pizza as well!

  23. marla {family fresh cooking} says:

    This pizza is such a great idea. Great recipe! xo

  24. This is a great idea Faith! I’ve seen a skillet cookie too. Plus you would get a perfectly round circle (what I never get when I make pizza at home :P )

  25. The Southern Cookbook says:

    Awesome! Looks great, I love bbq chicken pizza.

  26. The crust looks amazing, Faith! Love the combination of toppings, too!

  27. Our California Pizza Kitchen closed, so will have to settle for homemade!

  28. That is one mighty fine looking pizza, have to try it!

  29. theUngourmet says:

    Mmm. I love BBQ Chicken Pizza. I’ve tasted it but not at California Pizza Kitchen. My daughter ordered the Greek and I ordered the Wild Mushroom last time we ate there. They were nice too. It looks like your version turned out just wonderfully.

  30. 5 Star Foodie says:

    The pizza looks fantastic prepared in cast iron skillet!

  31. I have no words to describe just how amazing this looks!

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