5 ideas to shape leftover pizza dough into a new dinner, snack or dessert tonight

Making homemade pizza dough is a great idea not only for pizza, but for other much-loved recipes as well; here are five ideas you can try in your kitchen.

Making your own pizza dough is a great idea, because you can create some incredible homemade pizza and know exactly what is in it. In other words, you can make your pizza as healthy as you want it to be! But, pizza dough is great for other recipes, as well.

When making pizza dough, always keep in mind what you might want to use any leftovers for later. That way, you will know exactly what to put into the dough, and what to leave out entirely. After all, do you want to make herb and spice pizza dough if you would like to make cinnamon rolls with the leftovers? Probably not! But, if you are thinking about doing breadsticks or flatbread, herbs may be just the thing that dough needs.

Here are five great things you can use your pizza dough for besides pizza.

Calzones: The first time I made calzones, I admit I was a bit nervous. It’s really not hard, but I just knew I was going to make a huge mess of it all with exploding sauce and leaky seals. But, that did not happen, and I found a great way to use pizza dough if we just were not in the mood for pizza for some reason. It is pretty simple: Flatten your pizza dough into individual calzone-sized portions. These portions, when flattened, should actually be TWICE the size you want your calzone to be, since you will be folding the dough on itself, so keep that in mind. At my house, the dough used for a 12” pizza would make about 4 calzones. Don’t stop with just pizza toppings, either! Experiment; ham and cheese with broccoli (pre-steamed is a good idea) is a favorite for a lot of people, for example. Place the toppings on the rolled-out dough, fold over, and pinch the edges closed; a bit of water around the edges helps with this. Do not over-fill; also, poke a few holes in the top of each calzone, and you should not need to worry about bursting while baking. Bake at 375 for about 20 minutes, or until golden.

Breadsticks: When making your dough, think about adding some herbs and spices. Whatever you like! I usually add a lot to mine. Just last night, I made dough with oregano, fennel, black pepper, red pepper flakes, garlic powder and basil—about a teaspoon of each into enough dough for two pizzas. While I used it all for pizza, this herbed dough makes fabulous breadsticks! Just take the dough and form it into a rectangle as you roll it out; transfer to your baking pan. Now, use your pizza cutter to cut the dough into sticks. Do not separate; as they bake, they will create pull-apart breadsticks! At this point, you can decide if you want to top your breadsticks with anything—cheese, bacon crumbles, pepperoni slices, etc.—or just brush them with some olive oil and put them into the oven at 425 for about 15 minutes. Straight or dipped in sauce or ranch dressing, they are fantastic!

Garlic Knots: This is a good way to use up leftover pizza dough, too, and they are a good addition to any family dinner where rolls are welcomed. Just take your dough and work some minced garlic into it (you also could have done this during the dough-making process, as well; I have done it many times, and it causes no problems whatsoever). Make some “ropes,” and then tie the ropes into “knots” on your baking sheet. Now, brush with garlic butter, made by simply mixing melted butter and garlic powder. Bake at 375 for about 15 minutes, or until golden; I usually brush again with the garlic butter near the end of the baking process, as well.

Flatbread: Roll your dough out thin and sprinkle it with sea salt. Pan fry with a little oil (approximately one teaspoon of olive oil or coconut oil—just enough to coat the pan). Really good with whatever you like your flatbread with—spread with hummus, it is fantastic!

Cinnamon Rolls: Yes, cinnamon rolls! Flatten your dough into a rectangle. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar; roll up. Cut into slices, then bake in a 375-degree oven for 10-15 minutes, until golden. Delicious as-is, but you can make a simple glaze if you like by mixing about ¼ cup melted butter with ½ cup powdered sugar and drizzling over the rolls when they come out of the oven. Another idea: Create the roll-up, wrap in plastic, place in the refrigerator, then unwrap and slice and bake in the morning for hot, yummy cinnamon rolls for a breakfast treat!

What are you favorite ways to use leftover pizza dough, Huliq readers? Leave your suggestions in the comment section below!

Need a pizza dough recipe to get you started? Give this tried and true recipe a go tonight!

Image: From the Kitchen of Mechele R. Dillard