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This BBQ chicken French bread pizza recipe is a fun and easy way to get all your favorite pizza flavors in just 30 minutes! It’s incredibly cheesy, satisfying, and inexpensive to make.
Why you’ll love it
If you enjoy French bread as much as I do, you know there are endless ways to dress it up. This cheesy French bread pizza with BBQ chicken is one of my favorites with its bold flavors. It has that buttery, soft-yet-crispy French bread texture you crave. The best part? No fussing around trying to make pizza dough!
Ordering pizza is great, but this is one of those recipes where the kids can help assemble it, so it gets the whole family involved. It’s budget friendly, you can control the ingredients and portion size, and it’s just perfect comfort food during the week and a fantastic alternative for pizza night to change it up.
Ingredients for it
- French bread – you should be able to find a large plain loaf at your local grocery store or bakery no problem
- Butter – we’re using unsalted butter to prep the French bread base for the toppings
- BBQ sauce – here you can be creative. Pick your favorite variety that you’d normally use with chicken.
- Chicken – for convenience, I just bought a rotisserie chicken. You can use any leftover cooked chicken you have like this Easy Baked Chicken Breast.
- Red onion – for mild onion flavor and crunch
- Jalapeño pepper – added for a little kick, but you can definitely skip it if that’s not your thing! It doesn’t make it super spicy or anything.
- Mozzarella – it’s the king of melty cheeses on pizza, so naturally we’re using it here
- Smoked gouda – it gives another layer of flavor, so I definitely recommend seeking it out at the store.
- Cilantro – for a pop of freshness and herby contrast. If you can’t eat cilantro, just omit it or use chopped Italian parsley instead.
- Day-old bread tends to be a bit firmer, so that’s what I recommend using if possible.
- When cutting the jalapeño (or any hot pepper), make sure to wear kitchen gloves to protect your skin.
How to make chicken French bread pizza
This is an overview with step-by-step photos. Full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.
Preheat your oven to 400F. Cut the loaf in half lengthwise, taking care to be as precise as you can so that it cooks evenly, and place on a baking sheet. Spread the butter on each half. Bake for 5-6 minutes to crisp up the bread. Take it out of the oven, and add a layer of BBQ sauce.
Top with the cooked shredded chicken, jalapeno slices, and red onion. Sprinkle on the grated mozzarella and gouda, and then bake for 12 minutes, followed by broiling until bubbly and golden. Add the fresh cilantro, cut into slices, and enjoy immediately!
Tools for this recipe
Check out Natasha’s favorite kitchen essentials, gadgets, and cookware!
Substitutions and variations
- If you can’t find smoked gouda, try smoked cheddar, regular cheddar, or just use more mozzarella. The smoked gouda adds tons of flavor, so I highly recommend adding it if possible.
- If you’re someone who prefers going easy/light on pizza sauce, you can definitely add a bit less than suggested. This recipe has a fair amount of BBQ sauce.
- The possibilities for French bread pizza are virtually endless, so you can definitely have fun with the toppings! Try mushrooms or crumbling some Oven Cooked Bacon over top.
What to serve with it
- If you’re eating this homemade pizza bread as a main course for dinner, you could pair it with a Caesar salad with my Easy Homemade Caesar Dressing. A side salad with this Olive Garden Salad Dressing is another great option.
- It also makes an amazing game day appetizer or party snack. Serve it along with other classics like this Easy Buffalo Chicken Dip and Jalapeño Poppers for an impressive spread.
Leftovers and storage
- To reheat French bread pizza, loosely wrap it in foil (cheese side up) and warm it in the oven at 350F for 10-15 minutes. If needed, carefully broil to crisp it up again. You could also warm it up in your toaster oven if you only have a few pieces left.
- Leftovers will last a few days in the fridge, but keep in mind that bread does get stale and it could go a bit soggy as well, so I would eat it as soon as possible, ideally the next day.
- I don’t recommend freezing leftovers. The texture will definitely change after thawing.
I’d love to hear from you in the comments below if you made this easy French bread pizza or if you have any questions! How did you top yours? You can also tag me #saltandlavender on Instagram with your creations.
BBQ Chicken French Bread Pizza
- 1 (16 ounce) loaf French bread
- 1/4 cup butter (a half stick) softened
- 1 cup BBQ sauce use your favorite
- 2 cups cooked chicken I used rotisserie
- 1/2 cup red onion chopped
- 1 jalapeno pepper sliced (optional)
- 2 cups mozzarella shredded
- 1 cup smoked gouda shredded, see note
- 1 handful cilantro chopped (optional)
- Preheat your oven to 400F and move the rack to the top third of the oven.
- Cut the bread in half horizontally (try to do this as evenly as possible), add it to a baking sheet, and spread the butter evenly over the cut side of each half.
- Bake for 5-6 minutes (this crisps it up a bit so it's less likely to go soggy after adding the toppings), then take it out of the oven.
- Spread each half with the BBQ sauce, and then top with the chicken, red onions, jalapeno slices, and then the cheeses. I prefer to add the cilantro on after the pizza is cooked, but you can add it during this step before the cheeses if you prefer.
- Bake for 12 minutes and then broil for a few minutes until hot and bubbly (watch it carefully so it doesn't burn).
- Sprinkle the cilantro over top, slice into desired size pieces, and enjoy!
- If you can’t find smoked gouda, try smoked cheddar, regular cheddar, or just use more mozzarella. The smoked gouda adds another layer of flavor, so I highly recommend using it.
- This pizza is very flexible… feel free to adjust the topping quantities as needed or sub with something else.
- Serving size really depends how much people eat/what else it’s served with.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
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