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!) 
4.91 from 50 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. Had fun making it together. Dough did not get cooked through despite leaving it in longer and longer. Unable to eat it. Bust of a dinner. Really disappointed. Did anyone else have this problem?

  2. 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 🙂

  3. 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?

  4. 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!

  5. 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.

  6. 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!!!!!!

  7. 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.

  8. 5 stars
    Really tasty recipe!

    I made this once before and thought the dough was too thick. Second time around, I found that I only needed about 2/3 of the dough for the rolls. Still stretched it to the same dimensions and it was a just-right thickness for us. Cooking time was more like 16 mins bc of this. Used the remainder of the dough to make a small pizza. Not sure if it’s relevant, but used the dough the same day I made it.

    1. Which part was thick? If the dough layers seemed thick, you could simply make that part a little thinner next time.

  9. 5 stars
    Another winner, Amy! I made these with my 2.5 year old and it was an enjoyable activity for both of us. We followed your recipe exactly and they were great. We used your pasta sauce (the one you linked cooked down with about a tablespoon of a recipe for pizza seasoning I found online since I couldn’t find one on your page) and then also made your whole wheat pizza dough. We’ve had a whole week of trying out 5 of your recipes and they’ve all be hits. You have a gift.

  10. Made these for my sons school lunch this week and added chopped pepperoni. I forgot them in the oven! They turn out slightly more brown on the bottom but I tested on and it was absolutely delicious. I’m almost hoping he thinks they’re too burnt so I can take them for my lunch all week!

  11. 4 stars
    Made these last weekend and heated up during the week for a quick weeknight dinner. I’m excited to try some other flavor combinations. I did have a hard time getting the dough to stay in my desired rectangle shape. Do you have any tips when working with a refrigerated store-bough pizza dough in a ball?
    Thanks!

    1. If it’s hard to stretch it out, make sure it’s at room temp (so not cold) and if it’s not holding the rectangle, let the dough rest for 5 minutes and then try again. That usually does it!

  12. 5 stars
    I made these today, just added some feta cheese and olive to give more flavour, it looked dry, but to my surprise, it was moist and nice when eating .. I will make them again.. thanks

    How are they going to look in kids lunch box? Without warming them up, do they taste good, will have to try the leftover..

    1. The kids may or may not like them in a lunchbox, but we’ve had good success with sending them in a thermos.

  13. 5 stars
    I made 2 batches for my son’s 2nd birthday party today and they were a huge hit with the kids and adults!! I made the whole wheat dough and found them a little on the dry side, but no one else complained!

  14. These were a hit with the whole fam! I made dough in my bread machine and whipped up two batches of these in no time. So awesome to have 12 go right into the freezer with very little extra effort. Turned out perfectly chewy, gooey and delicious!

  15. 5 stars
    Thanks this was delicious both my 2 yo & husband really enjoyed them.

    I look forward to trying more of your recipes.

  16. Can’t wait to try these. I have a silly question. Is it a cup of spinach leaves that you then chop? Or chopped pieces that fill 1 cup?

    Also, can we add any additional toppings inside?

    Thanks!

    1. I usually measure the spinach first, then chop it. You can add a thin layer of any other finely chopped pizza toppings you like!

  17. 5 stars
    Delicious! I added some salt, dried oregano and olive oil per my family’s preferences but I’m sure it would be delicious as written. We’ll definitely be making these again.

    1. I haven’t tried them any other way but I suspect that the cheese would come out and make a giant mess on the baking sheet so I wouldn’t recommend it.

  18. 5 stars
    I’m so excited to see you have a recipe for homemade pizza dough! This recipe is on my standing rotation and typically have has great success with store bought dough from Trader Joe’s and Safeway, but haven’t been able to find store bought during SIP. I followed a pizza dough recipe from Smitten Kitchen which was much too sticky to roll out (it’s my fault as she clearly states it’s a sticky dough in her recipe) and my son misses his pizza rolls so much! I literally can’t wait to try out your dough!

  19. 5 stars
    Very easy and yummy! Had no issues with sticking to pan or raw dough after baking. Used Pilsbury thin crust packaged dough and barely had to do any rolling/pressing. Added a little garlic powder.

  20. Hi there. Is the amount of dough used for this recipe roughly half of a full pizza dough ball you would get at a grocery store? Or the full bag? Thanks!

    1. It should be a full ball, but you’d need to weigh it or look at the ounces on the label to check.

  21. 5 stars
    very tasty! My little guy is going through a picky phase and thankfully he liked them too! I used crescent dough pressed into a rectangle which worked well.

  22. 5 stars
    If you put bake proof paper under each one or use cup cake paper cups no sticking. I make my own dough it doesn’t take long you can make instant dough. These are delicious we put garlic as well

  23. 3 stars
    Delicious but I too found that they stuck to the pan like crazy even with a lot of spray. I took them out after 20 minutes and at that they were slightly overcooked but overall happy with the result.

    1. I find that pans range a lot. I have one older pan that things stick to and a newer nonstick that these don’t stick to, so that could be the issue.

  24. 5 stars
    My husband, 3 year old daughter and I made these together today and we all loved them and had fun in the process! Great Sunday lunch for us and a few left over for me to use for her lunches this week. I loved that I got her to eat a vegetable and she didn’t even know it!!

  25. I’ve made these twice with store-bought dough, and both times the dough has been uncooked in the middle, despite extra baking time. I’ve ended up throwing it all out. Is there a particular brand or type of dough you would recommend?

    1. I’ve done it with the kind from Trader Joe’s and homemade. You could cover the pan with foil to trap more heat inside the pan.

      1. I tried baking it with foil on for 20 minutes, and another 10 minutes without, but they were still raw in the center.

      2. Which dough did you use? I’m really sorry this keeps happening—I’m not sure what the issue is!

      3. I’ve tried several different types of pizza dough available at my grocery store. Whole wheat pizza dough is not available, so maybe the recipe doesn’t work without whole wheat dough.

      4. Sure, just spread the dough on a greased baking sheet or pizza stone and bake at 450 degrees F for about 12-16 minutes.

  26. 4 stars
    These tasted yummy but I cooked them longer than suggested and they were sought on the inside and the muffin tin was a huge pain to clean after. Even though they were good, I don’t think I will be making these again.

  27. These turned out beautifully. My 7 year old daughter ate 3 while my super picky 3 year old gave it a go. But, they were really stuck on my muffin pan and I scratched my non-stick pan to get them out. Maybe I need to use a lot more oil to grease the muffin tin or cook it for less time? Or would these still turn out if I use muffin liners?

    1. Hi Lori! I’m glad to hear that the kids liked them (mostly!) but sorry about the sticking and your pan. I would recommend greasing them a bit more with nonstick spray (and maybe spray the top of the pan to prevent any cheese that sticks on the flat surface from getting too stuck) and removing them from the pan soon after you pull them from the oven before the cheese has a chance to firm up too much. You can try letting them sit for a minute or two, then either use a butter knife to pop up the bottoms and tilt them in the pan so there’s room for air to flow underneath each or remove them completely to a wire rack to cool. I think they would work well if you used silicone muffin liners but I’m not sure I’d recommend paper ones. Have a good day

    1. Yes, just cut it up before you pack it so it’s easy to eat. I sometimes warm them first and pack in a thermos as another option.

    1. Yes! Let cool fully and freeze in a zip top freezer bag for up to 3 months. Reheat in the microwave in 15-30 second increments. It doesn’t take long!