Meat Lover’s Pizza

4.91 from 10 votes
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Are you feeding a hungry family on game day? This homemade meat lover’s pizza loaded with four types of proteins will easily do the trick.

However, I’d also include my buffalo wings, spinach artichoke dip, or a 7-layer dip for the ultimate party spread. Game on!

Meat lovers pizza cut into slices and topped with red pepper flakes.

Making a fresh pizza from the oven will be way better than ordering greasy delivery. This recipe is for hungry meat lovers looking for slices packed with protein. There are layers of pepperoni, sausage, and American and Canadian bacon. When making pizza at home, you control the quality of meats and the quantities.

You can even customize the meat toppings with any leftovers you have on hand. My family always enjoys making pizzas together as we watch the big game on the weekends. I like Hawaiian pizza, but my husband Jason is a big fan of this version and my buffalo chicken pizza.

Recipe ingredients

Ingredients needed to make this meat lover's pizza recipe.
  • Dough: You can make the pizza dough from scratch with instant yeast, flour, water, and olive oil. Just prepare it a few hours before you plan to bake so the dough has enough time to ferment and rise. Alternatively, store-bought dough can be used for convenience.
  • Sauce: A tomato-based pizza sauce is the ideal pairing with meat. The concentrated sweet flavor of ripe tomatoes and their natural glutamates help to enhance the savory taste of the toppings. I have an easy homemade marinara sauce to spread on the dough.
  • Cheese: I recommend mozzarella cheese because it’s soft, grates nicely, and is high in moisture. The abundance of water in the cheese’s protein matrix turns it quickly from a solid to a liquid that coats the pizza. This process happens around 130ºF (54ºC) for mozzarella, perfect for the quick bake time.
  • Meat: I use a mix of cured meats like bacon, pepperoni, and Italian sausage. I also use two types of bacon: smokey American bacon from the pork belly for crispiness and lean Canadian bacon from the pork loin for a heartier bite. I typically roast bacon in the oven each week for meal prep, so I always have some on hand, but you can quickly cook some on the stovetop.
  • Seasoning: Red chili flakes are optional, but add a lingering heat if you like a spicy kick. Dried Italian seasoning adds herbaceous notes to each slice.

See the recipe card below for all ingredients and measurements (US and metric).

Prepare the crust

Step 1: To get a crispy crust, preheat the oven to 500 degrees and set the oven rack to the lowest position. The heat builds from the bottom, then rises, which prevents a soggy crust.

Step 2: If refrigerated, let the dough sit out for 30 minutes at room temperature so it’s easier to stretch. If you made fresh dough (high five!), go ahead and start shaping.

Cook the sausage

Pieces of pork sausage cooking in a cast iron skillet.

Step 3: I use mild Italian sausage in case the kids want a slice, but you can opt for a spicy variety with lingering heat. Cook the sausage over medium-high heat, breaking it into smaller crumbles. It will take about 5 minutes to brown and cook through.

Prepare the pan

Step 4: Use a large baking sheet or pizza pan lightly greased with olive oil for a crispier bottom. I sprinkle cornmeal on the pan for a more rustic texture and to keep the dough from sticking.

Shape the dough

Person brushing oil on the crust of a round pizza dough.

Step 5: Start by using your hands to stretch the dough into a 10-inch circle. If sticky, lightly dust with flour. Don’t add too much, or it will become tough from the extra protein. Press the dough into a 12-inch circle or rectangle shape into the pan. Brush oil on the edges for more golden, crispy edges.

Add the toppings

Jessica using a spoon to spread pizza sauce over a dough placed on a sheet pan.

Spread the sauce

Jessica placing freshly grated mozzarella on top of a dough with pizza sauce.

Sprinkle with cheese

Jessica placing pieces of bacon on top of a pizza loaded with meat.

Step 6: Now, for the fun part, add the toppings! Layer the pizza sauce first, followed by the mozzarella. Next, add the flatter pieces of meat, like the pepperoni and Canadian bacon. Then sprinkle on the chopped bacon and sausage. Lastly, add the oregano and red chili flakes for extra spiciness.

Bake the pizza

Sausage, bacon, and pepperoni on a pizza.

Step 7: Bake until the cheese is hot and melted about 10 to 12 minutes. Baking at the bottom of the oven is better so that the crust gets crisp and thoroughly cooks. This location also prevents the surface from browning too quickly before the dough is done.

Step 8: Transfer the pizza to a cutting board and slice it up! It’s best to enjoy each piece while still hot and crunchy.

Flavor variations

There are plenty of ways to customize this meat lover’s pizza recipe. Try these flavorful options:

  • Pizza Dough: Use store-bought pizza dough if you’re short on time. I usually find 1-pound portioned raw dough in the refrigerated section at the grocery store. Alternatively, pre-baked crusts are another option. Just make sure to follow the package directions.
  • Sauce: For convenience, use store-bought pizza sauce or even open a can of crushed tomatoes for more of a Neapolitan-style flavor. Try Alfredo sauce for a creamy and cheesy twist!
  • Cheese: Add fresh slices of mozzarella or smoked gouda or cheddar. For extra flavor, sprinkle some parmesan on top right before serving. It’s a dry-aged cheese. It doesn’t melt well, but it has a nutty and salty taste for extra umami notes.
  • Meat: Ground beef is also an excellent option for a more neutral taste. I would use 80 to 90% lean so that there is enough fat to add flavor and to keep the beef from drying out in the oven. Pulled pork, tri-tip, shredded chicken, sliced sausage, chorizo, or linguica are delicious meat options.

Serve this with

Frequently asked questions

Can I use a different type of cheese?

Yes! Provolone or smoked gouda would add a nice flavor. Cheddar can be mixed with mozzarella for a more fermented, sharp taste. Before serving, add parmesan cheese as a salty garnish, as it doesn’t melt very well.

Can I add some vegetables?

Thinly sliced red and green bell peppers, red onions, olives, and mushrooms would be excellent additions.

Can I use a pre-baked pizza crust?

Yes! Use a 12-inch-sized crust. Follow the manufacturer’s directions for temperature and bake time.

Slice of meat lovers pizza loaded with hearty toppings.

Freshly grated cheese is best

It’s easy to use pre-shredded cheese from the store. However, manufacturers use unknown quantities of anti-caking agents like cornstarch, potato starch, or cellulose to keep the shreds from sticking together. These ingredients prevent the cheese from melting as well. Take a few minutes to freshly grate a block of mozzarella for a smooth melt.

Meat Lover’s Pizza

Are you feeding a hungry family on game day? This homemade meat lover's pizza loaded with four types of proteins will easily do the trick.
4.91 from 10 votes
Prep Time45 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Course Entree
Cuisine American

Ingredients 
 

  • 1 pound pizza dough
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • 8 ounces Italian sausage, mild or spicy
  • 2 teaspoons cornmeal, optional
  • ½ cup pizza sauce, or marinara sauce
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 ounce pepperoni, 8 slices
  • 1 ounce Canadian bacon, 2 slices, cut into smaller pieces
  • ¼ cup cooked bacon, ¼" dice, about 2 slices
  • ¼ teaspoon oregano, fresh or dried, optional
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional

Instructions 

  • Preheat the Oven – Set the oven rack to the lower position and the temperature to 500ºF (260ºC).
  • Prepare the Dough – Allow the prepared pizza dough to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  • Cook the Sausage – In a medium skillet or saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the meat, breaking it into small pieces. Cook until browned, about 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer to a bowl to cool while preparing the rest of the pizza.
  • Prepare the Pan – Lightly brush a large baking sheet with olive oil. Evenly sprinkle cornmeal on the pan if desired for a crunchy crust texture.
  • Shape the Dough – On a lightly floured surface, stretch and shape the dough into a 10-inch circle—transfer to the baking sheet. Press into a 12-inch circle. Leave the edges slightly thicker, about ½-inch tall and wide. Brush olive oil on the edges to make the crust crispier when baked.
  • Add the Toppings – Spread the pizza sauce over the dough, followed by the mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, Canadian bacon, sausage, and bacon. Sprinkle on oregano and red pepper flakes, if desired.
  • Bake – On the lowest oven rack, cook until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is melted and bubbly, about 10 to 12 minutes.
  • Serve – Immediately slice with a pizza cutter and serve while still hot.

Recipe Video

YouTube video

Notes

  • Homemade Dough: My pizza dough recipe makes enough for two pizzas. Double the topping ingredients, or use one crust and save the other for later.
  • Storing: Cover and refrigerate for up to 5 days.
  • Reheating: Place on a sheet pan and broil on the lowest rack until cheese is hot and bubbling, about 5 minutes. Alternatively, microwave in 15 to 30-second intervals until the cheese is melted.

Nutrition Facts

Serves: 8 servings
Calories 383kcal (19%)Carbohydrates 29g (10%)Protein 18g (36%)Fat 22g (34%)Saturated Fat 9g (45%)Polyunsaturated Fat 2gMonounsaturated Fat 8gTrans Fat 1gCholesterol 53mg (18%)Sodium 1029mg (43%)Potassium 187mg (5%)Fiber 1g (4%)Sugar 4g (4%)Vitamin A 276IU (6%)Vitamin C 2mg (2%)Calcium 151mg (15%)Iron 2mg (11%)

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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