This homemade pesto Pizza Rolls recipe is one of my favorite family recipes to keep on hand in the fridge or freezer for quick dinners and lunches. They are super easy to warm up and they even have a veggie right in the mix. So yum!
Pizza Rolls Recipe
Pizza rolls—which is a spiral of pizza dough, sauce, and cheese that get baked in a muffin tin—are a staple in our house. They only involve a few ingredients, they have a comforting mix of bread, cheese, and flavor. Plus, this pesto version has a dose of greens in the mix too.
You can make this pizza rolls recipe with store-bought or homemade pizza dough. And purchased or homemade pesto.
Whether you make these homemade pizza rolls as a make-ahead option for lunch, as an easy dinner, or as a freezer meal, I think you and the kids will love them. They’re such a fun way to serve pizza to kids.
Once you do the rolling and slicing once, you’ll be a total pro. (The only real trick is to cut them with a serrated knife.)
Plus: It’s so nice to serve up veggies that are actually fun to eat! Pesto counts as a vegetable in our house and it’s one of the best ways I’ve found to get my kids to eat kale and spinach. When you blend greens with Parmesan and olive oil, it magically transforms into a delicious pesto spread that pairs amazingly well with pizza dough and cheese (or pasta, of course).
TIP: They’re perfectly portioned for a toddler’s mealtime, though older kids and adults may need more than one.
Your toddler won’t eat? Help is here!
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Ingredients You Need
To make this recipe, you’ll need these ingredients, which you can pick up at any grocery store. (I like to use baby kale if using kale since it’s usually more tender.)
- Pizza dough: You can use homemade pizza dough or store-bought dough.
- Kale or spinach pesto (or any store-bought pesto you like)
- Shredded mozzarella cheese: This melts easily and lends the classic pesto pizza flavor.
- Grated Parmesan cheese to enhance the flavors even more.
- Sliced salami, shredded spinach, optional as fillings. Use thinly sliced salami to make sure it’s easy to eat and bite into for little ones once cooked.
Here’s a look at the process involved in making this recipe. It’s pretty easy once you get the hang of the rolling and slicing! Scroll down to the bottom of this post for the full recipe.
- Spread out the pizza dough into a big rectangle. It is easiest to do this on top of a piece of parchment paper to help prevent the dough from sticking to your surface.
- Top with a thin layer of pesto.
- Add salami and/or any veggies. (I show shredded spinach and salami here since some of my family members like both.)
- Top with shredded mozzarella cheese and Parmesan.
- Use the parchment to help you roll up the dough starting on one long side. Go slowly, tucking in the ingredients as you go if needed.Cut into 12 even sections using a serrated knife.
- Transfer to a greased muffin pan to bake. Grease the muffin pan well with nonstick spray and let the rolls cool for 2-4 minutes once you take them out of the oven to help them from sticking to the pan.
How do you make pizza rolls?
You make pizza rolls by stretching out pizza dough into a big rectangle, spreading on toppings, rolling up, slicing into spirals, and baking in a muffin pan in the oven.
Which pizza dough is best for this?
You can make your own homemade pizza dough or use a fresh ball of dough from the supermarket. It can be all-purpose flour or whole-wheat. They both work similarly.
TIP: You’ll find our method for making homemade pizza dough in the Notes section of the recipe at the bottom of this post.
Which type of pesto works well for pizza rolls?
We love to make this with Spinach Pesto or Kale pesto, but basil pesto from the store works too.
What kind of salmi did you use?
I prefer to use reduced-sodium and very thinly sliced salami here to ensure that it’s easy to chew. You could also use pepperoni.
How to Store
Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days in the fridge or in a zip-lock freezer bag with as much air removed as possible in the freezer for up to 3 months. To serve from frozen, place on a plate and microwave for 30-60 seconds or until warm.
Best Tips for Success
- Use thinly sliced salami if using to ensure that it’s easy to chew or omit it all together.
- Take your time rolling up the dough and fillings to keep it in place. It’s easiest if you place the dough on top of a big piece of parchment paper and use it to help you roll the dough up.
- Start slicing them in the center, then slice each half into even slices. Use a serrated knife.
- Use homemade pizza dough and homemade pesto, or store-bought pesto or dough.
We’d love to hear your feedback if you make this recipe if you try it for your kids, so please comment below!
Homemade Pesto Pizza Rolls
- 13-16 ounce pizza dough
- 1/2 cup pesto
- 4 ounces thinly sliced salami (or 1 cup shredded spinach, optional)
- 2 cups mozzarella cheese shredded
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Preheat the oven to 400° F and grease a 12-cup standard size muffin tin.Use your hands to stretch the pizza dough into an 11×16-inch rectangle on a piece of parchment paper.
- Spread enough pesto over the dough to cover
- Add the salami or spinach, if using. Add the cheeses.
- Starting on one long side, roll the dough up carefully. Use the parchment paper to help you roll it up.
- Use a serrated knife to cut into 12 even slices. (I cut it in half, then each half in half, then make the additional slices to make getting them even a little easier.)
- Place each slice into a prepared muffin cup, and bake for 18-20 minutes until the dough is baked through, the cheese is melted, and the tops are golden. Remove from oven and let cool in the pan for 2-4 minutes. (This helps them to be a little easier to remove from the pan.)
- Remove from pan, using a knife around the edges if needed, and let cool slightly on a wire rack before serving.
- Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days in the fridge or in a zip-lock freezer bag with as much air removed as possible in the freezer for up to 3 months. To serve from frozen, place on a plate and microwave for 30-60 seconds or until warm.
- Use thinly sliced salami to ensure that it’s easy to chew or omit it all together.
- Use the parchment paper to help roll up the dough around the fillings.
- Slice the rolls with a serrated knife.
- Make the Spinach Pesto ahead of time or use store-bought,
- Serve with a simple side of fruit or another veggie to make an easy meal.
- Homemade Pizza Dough: Add 2 teaspoons instant yeast to 1 cup warm water. Stir in 1 teaspoon sugar and let sit 5 minutes or until the yeast is puffy. Stir into a large bowl with 2 cups whole wheat flour, 1 cup all purpose, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and 1 teaspoon salt. Let sit, covered with a clean kitchen towel, for about an hour before using.
This post was first published March 2018.
These are so yummy but mine came out super oily. Like, oil pooled on the pan and dripped off the rolls. What might cause this? The pesto? I used Costco pesto, spinach, and fresh mozzarella I shredded at home just because that’s all I had on hand. Would fresh mozz cause more oil?
It could be that the moisture level in the fresh mozzarella caused that to happen. That would be my guess. Were you able to set them on paper towels to dry a bit?
These are so simple and SO delicious! Yet another wonderful recipe. I made them with Pillsbury roll-out pizza dough, pasta sauce, and a three-cheese cheddar blend (aka lackluster ingredients) and even so they were devoured in one sitting! Absolutely making them with pesto next. Thanks Amy!!
You’re so welcome!
Absolutely delicious! Used the Trader Joe’s herb pizza dough. It worked perfectly- can’t wait to make more. Will double recipe next time to have space to freeze. We ate the whole batch in one sitting- so good highly recommended 🙂
Amy, you have never steered me wrong! I just discovered your blog this summer and with a newborn and a toddler, your recipes have been so easy to whip up! My 2.5 yr old gobbled up this pizza roll last night!
I’m so glad to hear it and I appreciate the comment!
Sounds so yummy! I have everything to make it but the dough. Could I use puff pastry?!
I bet you could though I haven’t made them that way so I don’t know if the timing might differ. It might be less baking time needed
These are fantastic! We used Wholly Gluten Free frozen pizza dough and baked it for about 30 minutes because we did add some frozen spinach and gf baking usually takes longer. My little who’s been on a cheese strike loved these!
Hi Amy, we’re huge fans of all your recipes and insights! I have one kiddo who doesn’t eat cheese of any kind, in any format, ever. Could I simply omit the cheese from this recipe for some of them? The rest of the family loves cheese and these look so good!
Hi- I think that should be fine. They may not hold together exactly the same way, but the dough should bake sort of into itself, so I think it would work decently well!
These were delicious! My 1 year old, picky 4 year old, and I loved them! I added salt and pepper to the pesto and used pine nuts. My 4 year old helped me make them. Thanks for a great recipe that we will make often!
I just made these and I’m struggling with the inside being not quite done. I think maybe I made them too big. Any suggestions on how to adjust the cooking time or should I just do less ingredients of everything
Maybe try rolling the dough a little thinner?
Hi Amy! Thank you for all of your delicious recipes! I’m actually making your traditional pizza rolls as we speak. Do you think you could sub a thin layer or shredded chicken for the salami in these? Thank you again for making cooking for a toddler far less intimidating.
Sure, shredded chicken would work instead! And you’re very welcome. Enjoy them!
I just want to say “Thank you, Amy” on behalf of all of us working-first-time mommas. I used to scratch my head when thinking of what to make for my toddler. All the recipes I had take long or were spicy or textured for adults(which I didn’t mind pre-baby). Now, I need to keep in mind textures, portion, taste and versatility when feeding my toddler. I honestly would feel like a terrible mom at not being able to come up with new recipes for my little one. I always believed his food should be as complex and extravagant as what we eat, and boy did I stressed out! Long story short, your blog and recipes have helped me make yummy food for my boy that is simple and quick to make without any stress. I can cook ahead of time, store and leave for his babysitter to warm up. Thank you so so so so much!
I am so glad to hear that and even happier that it’s helping your life! (And I am a very tired Mommy too:)
These were perfect and delicious but they were too intimidating for my toddler to eat. She’s three and “prefers noodles”. She did make them with me however which was interesting (mostly she ate salami and pine nuts with handfuls of mozzerella plus a long interval for pooping). Also, while she did not eat any pizza rolls, she did eat gobs of broccoli. Perhaps this is a side effect I can contribute to the pizza roll recipe?
It sounds like it was a good experience at least!
The pesto (we made with spinach) was delicious! I never knew it was so easy to make pesto from scratch. It’s a hit with the whole fam. In fact, we loved it so much we made them three consecutive weeks! We’re on a pizza hiatus at the moment (3 weeks in a row was a bit much) but this has definitely become one of our go-to recipes!
I’m so glad!
This recipe was delicious. I did add more sunflower seeds and more parmesan but that could be because I used too much kale. Thank you for the recipe!
I’m so happy to hear that!