This Mini Spinach and Cheese Pizza Roll recipe is packed with nutrition—and even greens!—but the cheese, and silly spiral shape makes them much more appeal to toddlers and big kids. And: You can make them in about 30 minutes and stash them in the fridge or freezer for future meals.

pizza rolls on kids plate

Pizza Rolls

Serving up greens to little ones is often a tough sell, but when you package them in this fun format, it may be much less intimidating. These pizza rolls are one of those foods that I like to have on hand on nights when there are activities and commitments since they are so easy to warm up and serve.

This recipe takes the classic flavors of pizza and rolls them up into muffin-size pizza rolls that are a little crispy on the outside and tender and cheesy on the inside.

I like to add a little fresh spinach to my pizza rolls to amp up the nutrition—especially since I find that my kids don’t care as much about greens when they’re in a recipe that they otherwise love.

TIP: These even go from freezer to table in less than a minute when made and stored frozen.

Ingredients You Need

To make this recipe you’ll need:

ingredients in pizza rolls
  • Pizza dough: You can use homemade dough or a fresh ball of dough from the supermarket.
  • Pizza sauce: I usually use canned pizza sauce since it’s so easy. You can also use pesto if you prefer.
  • Spinach: I like to add shredded baby spinach to this recipe. (I sometimes swap in broccoli, too.)
  • Mozzarella cheese: Use shredded cheese so it’s easy to shred across the pizza dough.
  • Parmesan cheese: This adds a little extra flavor to this recipe.

TIP: You can use homemade dough and pizza sauce, or use store bought, according to your preference. See the Notes at the bottom of the recipe for all of the info.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Here’s how to make this pizza roll recipe. Scroll down to the bottom of the post for the full information.

how to make pizza rolls step by step
  1. Spread the pizza dough out into a rectangle using your hands or a rolling pin. I spread it onto a piece of parchment paper to help prevent it from sticking to the countertop.
  2. Layer on the sauce and the chopped spinach.
  3. Add the cheeses.
  4. Rolling from one long side, roll the dough up into a log. Use the parchment paper to help you roll it up.
  5. Slice into 12 even slices and place into a greased muffin tin.
  6. Bake until lightly golden brown. Let cool in the pan for a few minutes to allow the cheese to firm up slightly. This will make them easier to remove from the muffin pan.

TIP: Place the dough on parchment when forming it into a rectangle to avoid having it stick to the counter.

baked pizza rolls in pan

Frequently Asked Questions

What pizza dough works best in pizza rolls?

You can use homemade pizza dough, such as this Whole-Wheat Pizza Dough recipe, or a ball of fresh dough from your supermarket.

Do I have to use the spinach?

You can make this recipe with a lot of wilted spinach or just a little fresh and cut up spinach. It’s up to you and it works both ways. You could also try using finely chopped up broccoli or even kale instead of spinach.

What should I serve with these?

These pizza roll ups are a great lunchbox component or go well with a simple side of roasted veggies and fruit. We sometimes have them for family dinner and I serve a simple salad alongside for us parents and sliced cucumbers for the kids. We all love them.

Can I make these pizza rolls ahead?

Yes, just let them cool completely after baking. Then, store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days or in the freezer in a zip top bag for up to 3 months. Reheat for 30-60 seconds in the microwave. When serving to younger toddlers, cut up with a knife or a pair of kitchen shears for easy eating.

Why did my pizza rolls stick to the pan?

The best advice I can give for this is to grease your muffin pan well and use a nonstick pan. The older muffin pan I have works a lot less well than the newer nonstick one I have, which doesn’t stick at all when I make these. Then, let them cool in the pan for a few minutes to allow the cheese to firm up slightly before removing from the pan.

pizza roll on blue divided plate

How to Store

Store cooled rolls in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days, or in a freezer bag with as much air removed as possible in the freezer for up to 6 months. Warm in the microwave for 30-60 seconds or until warmed through.

Dice up for younger eaters if needed.

Best Tips for Success

  • Use homemade dough or fresh store bought dough like the kind they sell at Trader Joes.
  • Spread the dough out into an even rectangle so there’s (mostly) an even amount of dough in each sliced roll. I find it easiest to do this on a piece of parchment paper to help prevent sticking to the counter.
  • Use store bought pizza sauce or homemade. I like to cook down my Marinara Sauce until it’s thick and spreadable.
  • Grease your pan well.
  • Let them cool for about 5 minutes in the pan before removing them to give the cheese a chance to firm up a little.
  • If the dough on the underside seems undercooked, cover your rolls with foil and bake for an additional 4-6 minutes. (But also know they firm up as they cool a bit.)

Related Recipes


I’d love to hear your feedback on this recipe if you try it, so please comment below to share!

pizza-rolls-on-kids-plate

Favorite Pizza Rolls (with Spinach and Cheese)

Be sure to grease your pan well and roll the dough up fairly tightly around the fillings for best results. (But it's okay if they don't look perfect when they go into the pan!) 
4.89 from 44 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Total Time 28 minutes
Cuisine Italian
Course Dinner
Calories 145kcal
Servings 12

Ingredients

  • 1 cup baby spinach, roughly cut or chopped
  • 13-16 ounces pizza dough (at room temperature)
  • 3/4 cup pizza sauce
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400° F and grease a muffin tin very well, including around the top of each cup since the cheese may spill out a little.
  • Use your hands to stretch the dough into an 11×16-inch rectangle on a piece of parchment paper. (This helps prevent the dough from sticking to the counter. If it's hard to stretch, let it rest for 5 minutes and try again. Sometimes the gluten needs to rest.)
  • Spread pizza sauce over the dough to cover, then sprinkle on the spinach, mozzarella, and Parmesan. Starting on one long side, roll the dough up carefully and fairly tightly to enclose the toppings. (It might be a little messy, but it's okay! Use the parchment paper to help you roll.)
  • Use a serrated knife to cut into 12 even slices. I start in the center, then make a cut in the center of each piece, and then finish slicing to get the most even results.
  • Place each slice into a prepared muffin cup and bake for 22-26 minutes until the dough is baked through, the cheese is melted, and the tops are golden.
  • Let cool for 3-5 minutes in the pan to allow the cheese to firm up slightly, then transfer to a wire rack or a plate to serve. (You may need to use a a knife around the edges of the pan if the cheese spilled over.)
  • 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.

Notes

  • Homemade Whole Wheat Pizza Dough: Stir 2 teaspoons yeast and 1 teaspoon honey or sugar into 1 cup warm water. Let sit for about 5 minutes or until the yeast has puffed up. Add 2 cups whole wheat flour, 1 cup all purpose flour, ½ teaspoon salt, and 2 tablespoons olive oil to a medium bowl. Stir in the water, adding up to ¼ cup more if needed to make a smooth, sticky (but able to be kneaded) dough. Use your hands to knead about 10 times to bring it together into a large ball. Cover the bowl with a clean towel and let rest for at least one hour and up to 4. Proceed with the recipe.
  • Store cooled rolls in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days, or in a freezer bag with as much air removed as possible in the freezer for up to 6 months. Warm in the microwave for 30-60 seconds or until warmed through.
  • Use homemade dough or fresh store bought dough like the kind they sell at Trader Joes. This recipe works best if the dough is room temperature, not cold. If the dough is cold, it will be hard to stretch.
  • Spread the dough out into an even rectangle so there’s (mostly) an even amount of dough in each sliced roll.
  • Use store bought pizza sauce or homemade. I like to cook down my Marinara Sauce until it’s thick and spreadable.
  • Wilt a 5 oz package of spinach in 1 tbsp warm olive oil in a skillet, then squeeze out all of the liquid, OR simply cut up 1 cup fresh spinach.
  • Do your best to cut the slices evenly.
  • Grease your pan well.
  • Let them cool for about 5 minutes in the pan before removing them to give the cheese a chance to firm up a little.

Nutrition

Serving: 1roll, Calories: 145kcal, Carbohydrates: 16g, Protein: 8g, Fat: 6g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 17mg, Sodium: 453mg, Potassium: 81mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 445IU, Vitamin C: 2mg, Calcium: 122mg, Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Rate in the comments and tag @yummytoddlerfood on IG!

This post was first published October 2018.

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Great idea for giving pizza night a twist and convincing a stubborn kiddo to try something familiar but new! We loved this and will be adding it to the rotation 🙂

  2. These were so much fun to make! The only issue I had was that the cheese melted to the bottom and when it cooled, there was no cheese left inside. Do you have any recommendations on how to prevent this from happening?

    1. In my experience, if you let them cool a bit in the pan, the cheese sort of stays put (or at least can’t get all the way out) since it firms up as it cools. Did it all come out the bottom before you took them out of the pan?

  3. Thoughts on use of other veggies… I was thinking shred up some zucchini and yellow summer squash. Pat them dry of course. Thin slice mushrooms, maybe cook them first so they are softer. Maybe carrot ribbons, not to long tho. Thin slices of bell peppers, cooked to soften them. If you think any of this would work, any thoughts as to how many cups of veg?

    1. Hi- I think all of those would work fine the way you describe them. I would think about 1.5 cups spread over the batch? You can see what you think of the coverage and add a little more if the layer isn’t too thick. Hope it’s yummy!

  4. 5 stars
    These are so tasty! I used Wholly Gluten Free Premade Pizza Dough. It works really well! I wasn’t able to spread the dough quite as far as the recipe called for though. Still came out great. I did cheese and pepperoni filling. And then it just isn’t as fluffy as with regular wheat dough. Was more like a traditional New York pizza texture.

  5. 5 stars
    Such an easy recipe. It was a big hit in our home. My picky 2yo enjoyed the pizza rolls. We brushed the top with olive oil before putting them into the oven. Double bonus to get spinach there. Thank you Amy for the recipe. You’re amazing!!!!!!

  6. 5 stars
    LOVE this recipe. So easy and so versatile! I’ve used frozen spinach in this and have omitted the spinach completely. I’ve also tried it with pepperoni slices. My only advice with this is to cut them up so slicing it into “rolls” is easier. The pepperoni does make it a bit greasy as well.

    1. 5 stars
      I’ve done this and can say, yes it sure does! I’ve also used a pre-made that was billed as a “European Bistro” pizza dough, I think it was supposed to be more like a flatbread? Also worked a treat. Love this simple recipe.

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