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Pickle pizza, with Canadian bacon and dill, delivers big flavor

(Scott Suchman for The Washington Post/food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post)
Thin-Crust Pickle Pizza
Active time:30 mins
Total time:40 mins, plus 30 mins to preheat oven
Servings:2-4 servings (makes one 12-inch pie)
Active time:30 mins
Total time:40 mins, plus 30 mins to preheat oven
Servings:2-4 servings (makes one 12-inch pie)

Pickles on pizza? You’ve probably seen this topping popping up on pies all around the country. We were inspired to create our own after tasting the “Kinda Big Dill” pie from Quad City Pizza in Minnesota.

The mornay sauce was adapted from Jacques Pépin’s recipe in “A French Chef Cooks at Home.” We reduced the yield of the sauce (and added a bit of garlic), but you may still have some leftover. Use it to make another pizza or to dress vegetables, or top eggs, chicken or fish. Also, it freezes beautifully.

Pickle pizza started as a novelty, but now it’s a big dill

We preferred this pie with a thin crust, but if you want to mimic Quad City’s dough, make the one included in this recipe, Quad Cities-Style Pizza. For thicker crust, use 1 pound rather than a 1/2 pound of dough. You’ll need to increase the baking time, to 13 to 15 minutes.

Also, we found store-bought sliced pickles too thick for this use, so we bought whole dill pickles and sliced them to about 1/8-inch thickness.

Make the pizza vegetarian or add thinly sliced Canadian bacon or ham. To save time and effort, use store-bought dough and substitute store-bought alfredo sauce for the mornay.

Storage: Leftover pizza can be refrigerated for up to 4 days. The mornay sauce can be refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 2 weeks. If frozen, defrost in the refrigerator; then whisk or stir it until smooth. No need to reheat, if using it for pizza. If using as a topping for other food, reheat in a heavy-bottomed pot over low heat, stirring occasionally, until just warm.

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For the sauce

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced or finely grated
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated parmesan cheese

For the pizza

  • All-purpose flour, for dusting
  • 1/2 pound store-bought pizza dough (see headnote)
  • Vegetable or olive oil, for brushing the dough
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill fronds, divided, plus more as needed
  • 6 slices (1 3/4 ounces) thinly cut Canadian bacon or boiled ham, optional
  • 1 1/4 cups (4 ounces) coarsely grated part-skim mozzarella cheese, plus more as needed
  • 1 1/2 large dill pickles (about 1 1/2 ounces), thinly sliced, plus more as needed (see headnote)

Step 1

At least 30 minutes before you are ready to bake, place a pizza stone or inverted large, rimmed baking sheet on a rack in the upper third of the oven; preheat to 475 degrees.

Step 2

Make the sauce: In a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Stir in the flour until smooth and cook, stirring constantly, until it bubbles and froths — do not let it brown — about 1 minute. Add the milk, whisking constantly, until it boils, about 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the garlic, salt and pepper. Cook, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and cool for about 2 minutes. Add the egg yolk, whisking fast to avoid curdling, then whisk in the cheese. (You should have about 1/2 cup.)

Step 3

Dust your work surface lightly with the flour and set a large piece of parchment paper nearby. Using a rolling pin, roll the pizza dough into a 12-inch circle or square. Gently slide the parchment under the shaped dough.

Step 4

Spread an even, thin layer of the sauce on the crust, leaving about 1/2 inch of from the edge bare. (You will probably use a generous 1/4 cup, so reserve the rest for another use (see headnote). Brush the edges of the crust with the oil. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the dill over the sauce, then arrange the Canadian bacon or ham, if using, on top. Evenly top with the mozzarella going all the way to the edge of the crust. Scatter the pickle slices around the pie and sprinkle generously with the remaining dill.

Step 5

Slide the pizza with the parchment onto a pizza peel or rimless baking sheet, then transfer it to the heated pizza stone or sheet pan. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and slightly browned and the crust is slightly browned on the edges.

Step 6

Remove the pizza from the oven and slide it, still on the parchment paper, onto a cutting board. Sprinkle with more fresh dill, if desired, let sit for about 2 minutes and serve.

Nutrition Information

Per serving (2 slices), based on 4

Calories: 303; Total Fat: 13 g; Saturated Fat: 6 g; Cholesterol: 78 mg; Sodium: 1207 mg; Carbohydrates: 33 g; Dietary Fiber: 2 g; Sugar: 4 g; Protein: 15 g

This analysis is an estimate based on available ingredients and this preparation. It should not substitute for a dietitian’s or nutritionist’s advice.

Pizza recipe from recipes editor Ann Maloney. Mornay sauce adapted from “A French Chef Cooks at Home” by Jacques Pépin (Touchstone, 1980).

Tested by Ann Maloney; email questions to

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