California Pizza Kitchen-Style Gluten Free BBQ Chicken Pizza

California Pizza Kitchen-Style Gluten Free BBQ Chicken Pizza

Person taking a piece of pizza from pie on brown surface You really need to try this gluten free bbq chicken pizza. Even if you have never eaten at California Pizza Kitchen. Even if their unfortunate dabbling in an unreliably gluten free menu for a time hurt your feelings real bad. Even if you think you don’t like red onions or cilantro (okay fine you can always leave one or both of those out). It’s just so … delectable. It’s not like you couldn’t have thought of this combo yourself. And it’s not like these ingredients are, each separately, something to write home about. But together? Crazy good. And now that you have the recipe for my Thick-Crust Gluten Free Pizza from GFOAS Bakes Bread right here on the blog? No excuses!*

*ETA: Make the pizza crust on the grill in the summertime, and keep that kitchen cool but still enjoy this amazing pizza!

Pizza being taken from the entire pie

That hand model? That’s my 12-year-old. She doesn’t even really care for red onions. Except here on this pizza! This pizza is just … magic.

California Pizza Kitchen-Style Gluten Free BBQ Chicken Pizza—Step by Step How-to!!

I’m not even sure you needed the step-by-steps. But here they are. Maybe you’re a visual person. I want to meet you where you are—in your eyes, or in your ears. Or something like that which actually makes sense. You feel me?

BBQ Chicken Pizza on brown surface

If you’re one of the few people who actually follow me on Instagram now (the final social media frontier, to me at least), you knew this bbq chicken pizza was coming. You knew! I posted a photo of it last week. I finally started using Instagram a bit because I am deep deep deep in prep for the photo shoot next week for Gluten Free Classic Snacks: 100 Recipes for the Brand-Name Treats You Love (coming early 2015!). And I wanted to share some of it with you. Instagram just seemed like a natural place to share, say, Gluten Free Twix Bar-Style Cookies, waiting to be dressed up as GF Twix for the shoot. I’m also going to share behind-the-scenes photos from the shoot. Come along! It’s fun (really!).

Like this recipe?

Prep time: Cook time: Yield: 2 thick 12-inch pizzas


Thick-Crust Gluten Free Pizza Dough from page 187 of GFOAS Bakes Bread (reprinted here on the blog)

1/4 cup (56 g) extra-virgin olive oil

1 pound bone-in chicken parts

1 tablespoon kosher salt

About 3/4 cup (6 fluid ounces) gluten free BBQ Sauce (follow the link for homemade, or use your favorite ready-made sauce—I like KC Masterpiece since it’s gluten free and the first ingredient is tomatoes, not high-fructose corn syrup)

5 ounces smoked gouda cheese, grated

5 ounces low-moisture mozzarella cheese, grated

1/2 small red onion, peeled, halved and sliced very thinly

Chopped fresh cilantro, for sprinkling


  • Make the pizza dough according to the recipe instructions and place the dough in the refrigerator in a sealed container.

  • Make the chicken. Preheat your oven to 375°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and place the chicken parts on top. Drizzle about half of the olive oil evenly on top of the chicken pieces, and sprinkle with kosher salt. Place in the center of the preheated oven and roast until the juices from the chicken run clear and the meat registers 165°F on an instant-read thermometer (about 45 minutes). Set the chicken aside to rest until it is cool enough to handle. Remove the meat from the bones and discard the skin. Shred the chicken with two forks and set it aside. Increase the oven temperature to 400°F.

  • Shape the pizza dough. Place a pizza stone (or overturned rimmed metal baking sheet) on the bottom rack of your oven and preheat the oven to 400°F. On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough until smoother as directed in  These General Shaping Tips. Divide the chilled dough into two equal portions, and roll each into a ball. Sprinkle both lightly with flour, and cover one with a moist tea towel so that it doesn’t dry out. Using well-floured hands and a rolling pin, as necessary, pat and roll out the first piece of dough on a lightly floured surface into a 12-inch round, rotating the dough and flouring it frequently, to prevent sticking, as shown in the gluten free pizza shaping video. Roll and pat the dough more thickly as you work from the center of the dough to the edges to create a crust. Transfer the round of dough to a piece of unbleached parchment paper. Repeat with the second piece of dough. Using a pastry brush, brush the entire surface of each pizza round sparingly with extra-virgin olive oil.

  • Top the pizzas. Spread an even layer of about 1/4 cup of the bbq sauce on top of each pizza, leaving a 1-inch border all around. Top each with about half of the shredded chicken, drizzle lightly with more bbq sauce, then top each with 3 ounces of grated smoked gouda cheese, followed by 3 ounces of grated mozzarella cheese, and a sprinkling of sliced red onions.

  • Bake the pizzas. Place each crust, one at a time, each still on its parchment paper, on the hot pizza stone. Bake until the crust is browned and your toppings are cooked as desired (about 7 minutes, but time will vary depending upon how crisp you’d like the crust). As soon as each pizza is removed from the oven, sprinkle it with chopped cilantro. Allow the pizza to set for a few minutes before slicing and serving.



P.S. If you haven’t yet, I hope you’ll consider picking up a copy of Gluten Free on a Shoestring Bakes Bread! I appreciate it, more than you know. Let’s teach the world what gluten free pizza should taste like!

Comments are closed.

  • […] BBQ chicken pizza. […]

  • Lucy
    May 11, 2014 at 5:12 PM

    Nicole, Happy Mother’s Day!
    I baked most of the day yesterday, getting all the lunch box goodies ready for the week. I had to say your Chewy Granola Bars were a hit! I had to take a picture to show you :)
    Thanks so much! I should be getting a large donut pan here soon and will be baking your lovely donuts next!
    Have a great day!

  • Marianne
    May 10, 2014 at 2:29 PM

    My first try at the pizza dough from your book,but my starter isn’t rising…weighed my ingredients,temp of water etc ok….am I expecting to much?

    • marianne
      May 10, 2014 at 2:55 PM

      oh…tried the back of the stove tip…success !

  • Lorna
    May 9, 2014 at 2:03 PM

    My last endeavor was the Braided Stuffed Pizza and I’m about to start another batch of Pizza dough starter….so it will be a couple of days before we can bite into this yummy looking pizza….but it’s coming and I;m sure it will be worth waiting for!

    • May 10, 2014 at 9:33 AM

      Without a doubt, Lorna!

  • Rhonda
    May 9, 2014 at 1:42 PM

    This is my newest favorite non traditional pizza flavor! I will now try it your cheese mix and pizza crust recipe (been using just smoked gouda and a bagged pizza crust mix). I like Stubb’s BBQ sauce, not only gluten free, but hcs free, too and “all natural ingredients”, whatever that really means.

    • May 10, 2014 at 9:33 AM

      Good to know about Stubb’s BBQ sauce, Rhonda!

  • kizzl
    May 9, 2014 at 12:21 PM

    Oh my. I can practically smell this it looks so good.

  • Jennifer S.
    May 9, 2014 at 11:58 AM

    Total yumminess! love it! :) made the pizza crust with the ham/cheese/mustard wrap deal – everyone LOVED IT TO PIECES!!!
    I just followed you on instragram but I don’t use it much. all of this social media hurts my head.

    • May 10, 2014 at 9:33 AM

      I hear you, Jennifer! It kind of hurts my head, too. So glad that other braided pizza combo worked so well.

  • Donia Robinson
    May 9, 2014 at 10:52 AM

    I love you, but I still think we should have boundaries. Maybe you don’t need to be in my eyes or ears?? ;)

    • May 10, 2014 at 9:34 AM

      But it’s nice in there, Donia. :)

  • Jessie Crooks
    May 9, 2014 at 10:28 AM

    I’m doing a GFOAS pizza dough challenge tonight. I made the thick crust dough and the old school recipe from ’09(?) on Monday to let them both slow rise in the fridge. I think one of my four pizzas NEEDS to be topped with this (and maybe some bacon?). Yum! Thanks for the idea!

    • May 10, 2014 at 9:34 AM

      Oh, Jessie, there’s just NO comparison! But you’ll find out for yourself. :)

  • Anneke
    May 9, 2014 at 10:26 AM

    This will have to wait for next week, as my pizza dough got used up last night, but I know I will love it! Minus the cilantro. I’m one of the people who thinks that tastes like soap, which is apparently a genetic thing? Who knew? But, I digress. I did want to mention that my pizza dough was in the fridge much longer than usual (4 days instead of my typical one day) and it made a tremendous difference in the flavor. I am now going to fit in the prep for pizza crust on Sunday night, without fail, so it is ready to use Thursday or Friday. This is going to be yummy! Have fun with the big photo shoot!

    • Jennifer S.
      May 9, 2014 at 11:56 AM

      Anneke – are you using the recipe recommended amount of water or are you increasing it to get it to rise properly.

      • Anneke
        May 9, 2014 at 12:32 PM

        Hi Jennifer! I do the recipe exactly as written (although I double it, 6 people to feed, many of them teenagers!). I weigh everything, including the water. I would say the fridge rise doesn’t increase quite as much as some of the other breads, but it rolls out and works just fine with the quantity I get. Hope that helps!

        • Jennifer S.
          May 9, 2014 at 12:43 PM

          I’ve been playing with the water. I added more last time and it rose fantastically in the fridge, was still easy to use, and baked up nice and fluffy just like Nicole’s pics. I was pretty excited!!!

        • Michelle
          May 9, 2014 at 5:23 PM

          I live in a dry climate, and I always have to add a touch more water, or it won’t rise properly. I want to give a shout out to the Stubb’s mention above ^. Love that stuff!

        • Jennifer S.
          May 12, 2014 at 11:00 AM

          Michelle: I think I got this idea from you on facebook! I need to play around with it more as I had several containers of ricotta bread explode in my fridge because of over rising!!! but it turned out so nice, soft, and fluffy! can you tell me how much extra you are adding?

        • Michelle
          May 13, 2014 at 9:59 AM

          Isn’t that ricotta bread amazing? So fluffy! I just made another loaf yesterday, and it is gorgeous. I have been thinking that I need to measure exactly how much extra I am using and make notes in my cookbook. I have been experimenting, and ended up getting some pizza crust too wet, so it was too heavy to rise. (I was so mad because I have been making some wonderful pizza!) It’s probably about an ounce extra- depends on our weather and the recipe. I’ll let you know when I get it more exact. The humidity here is very low, which is why I think I need the extra liquid. About how much extra are you adding?

        • Jennifer S.
          May 14, 2014 at 10:26 AM

          so I can’t remember (isn’t that bad) but I added more to the initial slurry/rise (or whatever it is we call it) and then I added a tad more to the end recipe as well. Not a whole bunch though (this is for the pizza crust – I have no earthly clue what I did on the ricotta bread anymore), and it was a little bit harder to work with but then again it was only in the fridge like a day so had I left it may have gotten better. All I know is that I finally produced something that looks like Nicole’s and that made me wildly excited!!!

        • Michelle
          May 14, 2014 at 11:19 AM

          I do the same- I add a little extra to the starter and to the dough itself. Maybe just a tbsp. or so. It comes out so nicely!

        • Michelle
          May 14, 2014 at 11:22 AM

          Also, I barely touch it when I am shaping it and I use very little flour. It’s still pretty sticky, but it seems to work for me.

        • Jennifer S.
          May 16, 2014 at 10:42 AM

          oh my, I think I use way more water, I need to scale back I think. Mine is sticky too but it’s worth it to have that fluffy yummy loaf!! :) thanks for the tips!

        • Michelle
          May 16, 2014 at 10:50 AM

          It’s possible that I use more extra…. I haven’t been paying good attention… It’s been fun to chat with you about this. I have been thrilled to make such great bread and pizza!

  • Lucy
    May 9, 2014 at 10:18 AM

    Nicole your pictures are soooo yummy looking, I wouldn’t change a thing! The dough looks so good you would think it’s delivery! Delissio Pizza watch out!
    I was thinking tonight would be pizza night, this looks amazing!
    Hugs :)

    • May 10, 2014 at 9:35 AM

      Aw, thanks, Lucy!

  • Richard A Schmitt
    May 9, 2014 at 9:34 AM

    This came out just in time! I have the Thick Crust Pizza Dough in the fridge and was planning on using it today! BBQ Pizza is the choice of dinner tonight, once again thank you for all your recipes Nicole!

    I was even worried about making the dough, never had much success before, but as of this morning it looked like I did it just right from your directions!

    • May 9, 2014 at 9:52 AM

      Never fear, Richard! I’m here for you! So glad you’re set to make this tonight. You won’t be sorry. :)

  • John Lachett
    May 9, 2014 at 9:15 AM

    Crushing on you SO HARD for this!! Totally making this as soon as the in-laws are gone*. Thank you once again!!

    Your GFF,

    John L

    *so they don’t know we’re eating pizza because we’re supposed to be on a diet.

    • May 9, 2014 at 9:51 AM

      Your in-law are enforcing a diet, John?! What a killjoy. :/

      • John Lachett
        May 9, 2014 at 10:01 AM


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