Make Your Own Grilled Pizza

August 6, 2023

Make Your Own Grilled Pizza


We have a couple of go-to meals that feature guest participation when there’s a small crowd at Glover Gardens. You heard about one of them recently: Trash Can Nachos. They’re fun!

Another meal in the same vein is individual grilled pizzas on pre-made, pre-cooked crusts. As with Trash Can Nachos, all of the ingredients are available for the diners to design their own pizza, so everyone is like Goldilocks – their meal is just right.

We put out the ingredients and a license to create, the guests each assemble their own masterpiece, and the Grill-Meister grills them.

“Owning Your Pizza Experience”

These pizzas create a festive atmosphere – kids of all ages love to own their pizza experience and decide on their own toppings.  Part of the fun is the conversations that take place as the diners are assembling their masterpiece and checking out each other’s choices, sometimes approvingly, sometimes with a bit of skepticism. “Pineapple? Really?”

Be sure and have a surplus of ingredients;  the fun continues when everyone has had their first pizza but is still hungry for just a little more, and heated negotiations start up about what to include on communal pizzas that will be shared for seconds. 

The fundamentals are pizza crusts, a sauce, proteins, cheeses and veggies, and the options are limited only by your imagination. Be creative with your ingredient choices – we’ve included anchovies, artichoke hearts, leftover steak, grilled pineapple, and fresh jalapeños. We’ve put a dollop of fig jam on a minimalist pizza with olive oil, garlic, mozzarella, tomatoes and basil. The pizza below is my creation: chicken, bacon, arugula and several cheeses with just olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper on the crust.

These days, we usually do Make Your Own Pizza nights with the Grill-Meister’s homemade dough and use our small pizza oven, but the version on the grill using pre-made, pre-baked crusts is much easier and perfect for a party.

Make Your Own Grilled Pizza Recipe

Cooking & prep time:  1 hour; Serves 8 -12

Sample Ingredients (remember, it’s all up to you!)

  • Large jar of your favorite pizza sauce and / or olive oil (pesto is also a great choice – click here for the Glover Gardens Nutty Pesto recipe)
  • 12 individual pre-baked, ready-made pizza crusts
  • ½ – 1 lb. ham, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • ½ – 1 lb. cooked Italian sausage, sliced
  • ½ – 1 lb. pepperoni
  • ½ – 1 lb. cubed or shredded cooked chicken
  • 1+ lbs. of grated cheeses of your choice
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 large bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • ½ – 1 lb. sliced mushrooms
  • 1 tbsp. capers
  • 1 2.25 oz. can sliced black olives, drained 
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 4 oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, cut longways in narrow slivers
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

Garnishes / Post-Grilling Toppings

  • 1 tbsp oregano, basil or other fresh herbs, chopped
  • Thinly sliced green onions
  • Flavored balsamic vinegar, your favorite interesting jam or chile oil
  • More salt and pepper
  • Red pepper flakes

Cooking Instructions

Prepare a selection of desired ingredients using the list above as a guide and arrange them so that they are easy for guests to access. 

Preheat a gas grill  on high, using all burners, and spray with grill spray. 

Invite diners to assemble their own individual pizzas on a large paper plate, beginning with the pizza sauce (for a traditional pizza) or olive oil (for a white pizza), then layering on their personal selection of yummy toppings, plus salt and pepper (I like to lightly salt and pepper the crust after the sauce or olive oil and before the toppings).  Ask the diners to label their plate with their initials and hand it to the griller, who will add as many pizzas as possible to the grill and close it to allow them to bake, keeping the pizzas on the grill in the same order as the paper plates on the counter.  

Grill for 8-10 minutes, or until the ingredients are hot and the cheese is melted, checking the bottoms occasionally to ensure that they aren’t burning. Pizzas with more toppings will take longer to bake.

As the pizzas are done, they can be transferred back to their paper plate, and the diners can add more salt and pepper and garnish with any of the post-grilling toppings, if desired. 

The pizzas will not all be finished at the same time, so  this is not a “sit-down dinner” in which everyone waits to eat until the last person gets served. 

Note: you can also bake the pizzas in an oven at 425° for about the same amount of time.

Flatbread Version

Flatbreads work well, too, but this version is better in the oven on a baking sheet, as they are thinner and more fragile.

What to Do with the Leftovers?

From our experience, there won’t be many leftover pieces of pizza, because trading and sharing is part of the fun. There will be leftover toppings, though, which we throw into omelets, paninis or pasta dishes – all great options if you have company for the weekend.

Can It Be Vegetarian?

The Make Your Own Grilled Pizza Party can definitely be vegetarian-friendly, and while I’m not a vegetarian, I often do a veggie pizza, just because it’s so good. Present the meat ingredients separately from the non-meat, and you’re good to go.

Who’s at the Grill for this Party?

Teenagers who have a little experience using a gas grill can be the master griller, and this was a popular choice for our two sons when they hosted parties in their high school and college years. These days, it’s always the Grill-Meister. That’s him below, having a little fun hiding behind the pizza peel.

Serving Suggestions

A rule of thumb for Make Your Own Grilled Pizza Party side dishes is: keep it simple! The pizza is the star. A salad is all you need on the side. But you should always have snacks for your guests to enjoy before and during the pizza-making process, or they will snack on the pizza toppings! The random, non-composed picture below is the snack platter from a very small party of 4 on New Year’s Eve 2019, just the Grill-Meister and me with our next-gen millennial couple, the YGs (Young Glovers).

As you can see, we snacked on smoked salmon, fruit, cheese and crackers while the Grill-Meister cooked. the bacon that would be one of our pizza topping choices. It seems like over-indulgence, but remember, it was New Year’s Eve.

Dad Did It and Sent Me Pictures

My Dad has been over the rainbow since mid-2017, but he was a big follower of the blog for the two years its existence overlapped his, sometimes a recipe-tester, and my muse.

Dad and my Aunt-Mom traveled with his high school friend group occasionally, and on one of their last trips, in 2013 in Colorado, they had a Make Your Own Pizza night using my (unpublished) recipe. This was before the Glover Gardens blog was born, back in the time when I was collecting and documenting recipes for a future cookbook. Dad took the trouble to take pictures and share them with me, and it is a wonderful connection with him now to share some of them in this post.

Dad took quite a few more more pictures than I’ve shared here, using his Nikon DSLR. I like to imagine him moving around the table trying to get the best shot, knowing that I would appreciate and cherish his efforts.

I did.

I do.

I always will.

It was a “microjoy” to connect with Dad via these memories and images. I am beyond blessed to have had him in my life.

It’s also making me laugh, because, just like me on almost every Make Your Own Grilled Pizza occasion, Dad put the camera down and didn’t get any pics of the finished product. 😁

Eat it while it’s hot!

© 2023, Glover Gardens

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