Inspired by a patient at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Cheeto pizza is a unique and remarkably delicious spin on classic cheese pizza. With perfectly baked pizza dough, savory pizza sauce, and gooey mozzarella cheese, topped with cheesy, crunchy Cheetos and finished off with an optional cheesy garlic-butter sauce on the crust. Serve it with a drizzle of hot honey to really put it over the top!
🧀 What is Cheeto Pizza?
Cheeto pizza is exactly what it sounds like, but also SO much more delicious than it sounds. Chewy pizza dough topped with savory pizza sauce, gooey mozzarella, and a dusting of crushed Cheetos, then finished off with a layer of whole Cheetos for an added crunch. It’s SO, so good. I may have eaten… a lot of it.
Where Did Cheeto Pizza Come From?
This is not a dish of my own creation. No, all of the credit belongs to Della, a patient at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and the culinary team at St. Jude’s Kay Kafe.
At St. Jude, you’ll find children from all over the world in various stages of treatment for pediatric cancer. Treatment plus homesickness often means patients lose their appetites or develop strong cravings for unique or familiar foods. The culinary team doesn’t hesitate to go above and beyond, preparing and creating a variety of meals and dishes at their patients’ request. They’ll even get in touch with a patient’s family back home to get the exact mac and cheese recipe grandma uses so they can recreate it! Anything to make sure the kids have foods they can and want to eat.
A few years ago, one St. Jude patient, Della, had to have a blood transfusion on her birthday. The staff threw her a birthday party, and instead of a birthday cake, Della had an extra special request – a Cheetos pizza. Of course, the culinary team delivered!
I was so moved by the story and the incredible Kay Kafe team that I couldn’t help but create my own version of Della’s Cheeto pizza in her honor as we team up with St. Jude this week for their 48-Hour Giving Blitz.
🏥 About St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
Located right here in Memphis, TN, St. Jude is the leader in the fight against childhood cancer. Their mission? “Finding cures. Saving children.” Plain and simple. They have the best survival rates in the WORLD for some of the most aggressive forms of childhood cancer.
Not only do they devote their resources to studying and treating cancer and other life-threatening diseases, but they share everything they discover so that doctors and scientists worldwide can use and build on that knowledge, saving thousands more children.
The majority of St. Jude’s funding comes directly from individual contributions. Those donations make it possible for St. Jude to treat any child – regardless of race, religion, or family’s ability to pay – without ever billing the families for treatment, travel, housing, or food.
💰 St. Jude 48-Hour Giving Blitz
For the next 48 HOURS, we’re raising funds to help support St. Jude in their mission to understand, treat, and defeat childhood cancer.
Since 1962, the treatments developed at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20% up to 80% – but they aren’t stopping there. Their goal is to increase the survival rate from 80% to 100%. We want to help them get there.
Please join us in helping the doctors and researchers at St. Jude continue the fight to make it so no child dies from pediatric cancer.
100% of the donations made through this blitz will go directly to St. Jude.
🍕 What Makes This Recipe So Good
- I know, a Cheeto pizza sounds a little odd at first. Trust me on this, though. It’s AMAZING. It doesn’t feel like you’re sitting down with a pizza and a bag of Cheetos. Instead, it’s like you took a classic cheese pizza, doubled down on the cheesiness, and gave it a crunchy boost. The way the textures blend – the doughy crust and the gooey mozzarella and the crunchy Cheetos – it’s unbelievable.
- It’s honestly really fun to make, especially if you’ve got kids. Seriously, tell them that for dinner tonight, you’re making cheese pizza topped with Cheetos. They may not even believe you! You could really get them involved by letting them help stretch the dough, spread the sauce, sprinkle the cheese, crush the Cheetos… Dinner and a memory!
👩🏼🍳 Chef’s Tips
- When you’re topping the pizza dough, you’ll want to work quickly, especially if you’re using a wet dough. The moisture in the dough can make the cornmeal wet, which will make the dough stick to the parchment paper or the peel even if you dusted it really well first.
- Cheeto pizza or not, I’ve never been able to get a pizza peel to cooperate with me. I don’t even bother with it anymore. Instead, I just slide the pizza and parchment paper onto the hot baking sheet directly! The pizzas always turn out perfectly baked, and I skip the potential pizza peel frustration.
- The oven needs to be very hot, so be sure it’s fully preheated before you put the pizza in to bake. You’ll need to preheat the baking sheet or pizza stone at the same time – don’t cook the pizza on a cold pan or stone!
🍩 More Kid-Friendly Recipes We Love
- Keto Donuts with Vanilla or Chocolate Glaze
- Gluten-Free Muffins for Kids (with Blueberries and Avocado)
- Peanut Butter Frozen Yogurt Bark
- Air Fryer Grilled Cheese
- Tart Cherry Gummies
- Hot Dog Soup
- cornmeal to dust surface
For the Cheeto Pizza
- 2 ½ cups crunchy Cheetos divided
- 1 16-ounce ball ready-to-bake pizza dough at room temperature
- ½ cup pizza sauce
- 1 ½ cups shredded mozzarella low-moisture preferred
For the Garlic-Butter Cheeto Crust (Optional)
- ¼ cup butter
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- crunchy Cheeto dust reserved from above
Serving Suggestions (All Optional)
- hot honey
- ranch dressing
- flat baking sheet or pizza stone
- Food processor optional; or plastic bag
- parchment paper
- pizza peel optional
- rolling pin optional
- Large spoon optional
- Small microwave-safe bowl optional
- Pastry brush optional
- pizza cutter
For the Cheeto Pizza
- Add ½ cup crunchy Cheetos to food processor bowl. Secure lid on food processor and pulse until Cheetos are ground to dust. Set food processor aside. Note: Alternately, place ½ cup Cheetos in sealable plastic bag and beat Cheetos with rolling pin until smashed into dust. Set aside.
- Position oven rack in middle or lower-middle of oven. Place baking sheet or pizza stone on center of oven rack, then preheat oven to 475° Fahrenheit.
- Cover flat work surface with sheet of parchment paper, then dust parchment paper evenly with cornmeal.
- Place ball of pizza dough on parchment paper. Using hands, form and stretch ball of dough into thick, even disc shape. Work quickly, as body heat and ambient temperature will make dough wet and sticky. Lightly apply cornmeal to hands if needed to help with sticking.
- Cover dough with second sheet of parchment paper, then use rolling pin to roll dough into large circle, 12 inches in diameter and approximately ¼-inch thick. Work from center of dough outward toward edges, and keep dough evenly thick across entire disc. Don't worry if dough is not perfectly round at edges. Note: Alternately, use hands instead of rolling pin and stretch dough into desired shape and size, being careful to avoid leaving excessively thick or thin spots.
- With top sheet of parchment paper still covering pizza dough, carefully lift bottom sheet of parchment paper up off of work surface. Swiftly flip stack over, keeping dough sandwiched between parchment paper, so that bottom sheet of parchment paper is now on top of dough.
- Carefully peel away top sheet of parchment paper and lightly dust pizza dough evenly with cornmeal.
- If using pizza peel, use parchment paper beneath pizza dough to flip dough over onto pizza peel. Remove parchment paper and discard.
- If not using pizza peel, recover dusted dough with parchment paper. Flip stack over again so cornmeal-side of dough is on bottom, then remove top sheet of parchment paper and discard.
- Working quickly, top dough with ½ cup pizza sauce. Use back of spoon or measuring cup to spread sauce evenly across entire pizza, leaving approximately 1-inch-wide border of uncovered dough around edge for crust.
- Top pizza sauce with 1 ½ cups shredded mozzarella, making sure to spread cheese out into one even layer if possible. Sprinkle Cheeto dust from food processor evenly over top of mozzarella. Note: Reserve 1 tablespoon Cheeto dust to use in garlic-butter sauce if making.
- If using pizza peel, carefully transfer pizza onto baking sheet or pizza stone in preheated oven. If not using pizza peel, carefully pull oven rack out of oven as needed, then slide or place parchment paper with pizza directly onto baking sheet or pizza stone. Return rack to oven.
- Bake pizza 5 minutes, then check doneness. Rotate pizza as needed if pizza begins to brown unevenly. Continue baking pizza, checking doneness every 2 minutes, until cheese has melted and crust is rich, golden brown. If using garlic-butter sauce for crust, prepare sauce while pizza bakes.
For the Garlic-Butter Cheeto Crust (Optional)
- Place butter in microwave-safe bowl. Microwave butter in 30-second bursts, stirring between each, until butter is melted.
- Add garlic powder to bowl with melted butter and stir until well incorporated. Set aside until ready to use.
- Once pizza is baked to desired doneness, carefully remove pizza from oven and set aside.
- Immediately top pizza with 2 cups whole crunchy Cheetos, spreading Cheetos out into one even layer. If using garlic-butter Cheeto sauce, carefully brush garlic-butter over pizza crust, then immediately sprinkle reserved Cheeto dust over sauce.
- Carefully slice pizza into 8 slices. Serve warm with ranch or hot honey drizzle if desired.
Number of total servings shown is approximate. Actual number of servings will depend on your preferred portion sizes.
Nutritional values shown are general guidelines and reflect information for 1 serving using the ingredients listed, not including any optional ingredients. Actual macros may vary slightly depending on specific brands and types of ingredients used.
To determine the weight of one serving, prepare the recipe as instructed. Weigh the finished recipe, then divide the weight of the finished recipe (not including the weight of the container the food is in) by the desired number of servings. Result will be the weight of one serving.