A post-holiday pizza night
If you ask me, cranberry sauce doesn't get enough recognition as a superb post-turkey day ingredient superpower. Everyone is so focused on how to transform the meat and dressing into a whole new dish that the cranberry sauce often gets relegated to sandwich spread. Don't get me wrong, I love a leftover turkey cranberry sandwich, but I think the cranberry sauce can do more. This Cranberry Jalapeno pizza is my go-to way to use leftover cranberry sauce for a superb post-holiday pizza night.
Let's talk cranberry sauce for a moment
My cranberry sauce of choice for this Cranberry Jalapeno Pizza is this easy Orange Cranberry Sauce made from whole, fresh cranberries, orange, honey, and cinnamon. If you prefer to use the canned jiggly kind, you can technically use it, but be prepared for a fair bit more spreading of the sauce compared to the whole, chunky kind.
Can I use fresh Jalapeno peppers instead?
Yes, of course! I prefer to use spicy pickled jalapenos (sometimes called Nacho jalapenos) for this pizza because I always have a jar tucked in my refrigerator door, but if you've got a few fresh jalapenos on hand, feel free to use them instead. I find that they are a bit more crunchy than the pickled variety and I prefer the consistent spice and tanginess of the pickled variety, but they're both good.
Optional topping additions
Though this Cranberry Jalapeno Pizza is great in its simple form, we will occasionally take it one step further and drizzle the top with a bit of warm honey. Depending on the tartness of your cranberry sauce, this can help balance the flavor of the spicy and tangy pickles jalapeno peppers. We generally bake this pizza sans-meat once we're starting to get burnt out on the turkey, post-Thanksgiving, but if you are still on the turkey train, this pizza is great with a bit of leftover shredded turkey added to the top before baking.
WHAT TEMPERATURE IS BEST TO BAKE PIZZA AT?
Your aim is a perfectly golden crust and nicely caramelized toppings, so the hotter the better. Many professional pizzerias keep their ovens heated to 800 degrees F or higher, but most home ovens only reach temperatures between 500-550 degrees F so this recipe is created with those constraints in mind. I bake my pizzas at 500 degrees F / 260 degrees C and get wonderful results. If your oven tops out at 450 degrees F / 232 degrees C, I have tested that temp many times over as well and it works well, though you’ll want to plan on a few extra minutes in the oven, especially if your pie is piled high with toppings.
REHEATING PIZZA LEFTOVERS
It would be cliche if I made a joke about leftovers and pizza right now, so we’ll just skip that and assume you didn’t eat the entire pie for a moment. My two favorite methods for reheating pizza so it retains it’s crisp crust while remelting the cheese, is in the oven or in a cast-iron pan on top of the stove.
Oven method: Bake on a sheet pan at 350 F / 175 C for 10 minutes or until pizza has reached your desired level of warmth and crispness.
Stovetop method: Set pizza in a cast-iron pan over medium-low heat. Allow to cook until the crust has reached your desired level of crispness. If the cheese isn’t melted enough for your taste you can add a few drops of water to the pan (away from the pizza) and cover the pan for a minute or two to allow the steam to melt the cheese further.
WHAT TOOLS DO I NEED TO MAKE THIS RECIPE?
- A baking sheet
- Parchment paper
- A medium skillet
- A small saucepan
- A whisk
- A kitchen scale or measuring cups
- Measuring spoons
- A rolling pin (only if you prefer an evenly thick pie) otherwise your hands are your best tool
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This Cranberry Jalapeno pizza is my go-to way to use leftover cranberry sauce for a superb post-holiday pizza night.
For the cheese sauce base:
- 1 tbsp garlic-infused olive oil (may sub for 1 tablespoon olive oil + 2 minced garlic cloves)
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 ½ tbsp all-purpose flour
- ⅔ cup whole milk
- ⅔ cup parmesan cheese, grated
- ¼ tsp Kosher salt
- ⅛ tsp cracked black pepper
- 1 pinch ground nutmeg
For the pizza:
- Preheat your oven to 500 degrees F / 260 degrees C and set a bakers half sheet to the side.
For the cheese sauce base:
- In a small saucepan over medium-low heat melt the garlic-infused olive oil (or olive oil + minced garlic) with the butter.
- When the butter has fully melted, add the flour and whisk to combine fully.
- Once the mixture has started to simmer and become frothy, add the milk slowly, whisking to combine. The mixture will look chunky at first but will smooth as you whisk.
- Once the milk is combined, add the parmesan cheese and continue to whisk until combined fully.
- Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. The sauce should have thickened considerably at this point and be fairly smooth. If your sauce is too thick, add additional milk 1 tablespoon at a time, whisking to combine. Remove from heat and reserve to the side until ready to assemble the pizza.
Assembling the pizza:
- Shape your dough. If you prefer a classic pie-shape with a thicker crust compared to the center of your dough, I suggest hand-stretching your dough. If you prefer your pizza to be an even thickness, I suggest rolling your dough out with a rolling pin.
- If you are hand-stretching your pizza dough:
- I like to rub a small amount of olive oil into my hands first; this allows me to shape the dough easier without it ripping accidentally from friction.
- Press the dough down with the palm of your hand into a disk shape, then use your fingertips to gently press down on the dough disk, further flattening it.
- To further extend the dough, I prefer to press one palm on top of one side of the dough and with the other hand lift the alternative side of the dough and gently work the dough outward, pulling very gently with the tips of my oiled fingers (like a very discrete “come hither” motion) to slowly stretch the dough out. Rotate slightly and repeat until the dough is shaped and stretched to your liking. If you find that the dough starts to snap back or is beginning to tear, allow the dough to relax for a minute or two before proceeding again. Transfer your stretched dough to a sheet of parchment paper.
- If you are using a rolling pin:
- I prefer to place my dough between two sheets of parchment paper to avoid the dough sticking to my rolling pin, but if you prefer you can also sprinkle a bit of flour over the dough ball as well as wiping some over your rolling pin by hand to prevent sticking instead. Once the dough has been rolled to your preferred size and shape, peel the top layer of parchment paper off (if using). The bottom layer that the dough is resting on can be utilized for your baking sheet. If you find that the dough starts to snap back or is beginning to tear, allow the dough to relax for a minute or two before proceeding again.
- If you are hand-stretching your pizza dough:
- Transfer your shaped dough to the reserved baking sheet.
- Top with reserved cheese sauce, using the back of a spoon spread the sauce out evenly over the dough.
- Top the pizza with mozzarella and parmesan cheese, then top with generous spoonfuls of the orange cranberry sauce in evenly dispersed dollops.
- Finally, add the pickled jalapeno peppers, dispersing them evenly on the top. I prefer to add mine directly next to the dollops of orange cranberry sauce so you get a bite of spiciness at the same time as a bite of the tart and sweet cranberry.
- Bake for 14-16 minutes or until the crust has reached your preferred level of crispness and the cheese is fully melted. I find that pizzas that have a thinner topping layer take less time to bake and heavier-topped pizzas generally take a bit longer to bake so watch your pizza closely after the 14-minute mark and adjust as desired.
- Once the pizza is baked, drizzle the top with honey if desired, slice, and serve warm.
Nutritional information on Whip & Wander is provided as a courtesy and is approximate only. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of the nutritional information given for any recipe on this site.
We generally bake this pizza sans-meat once we're starting to get burnt out on the turkey, post-Thanksgiving, but if you are still on the turkey train, this pizza is great with a bit of shredded turkey added to the top before baking
- Serving Size: ¼ of the pizza
- Calories: 559
- Sugar: 10 g
- Sodium: 1008 mg
- Fat: 24 g
- Saturated Fat: 11 g
- Carbohydrates: 61 g
- Fiber: 2 g
- Protein: 26 g
- Cholesterol: 43 mg
Keywords: Cranberry Jalapeno Pizza