Although “leftovers” might not be the first word that comes to mind when you’re craving a gourmet pizza, the truth is that pulling food from the pantry and refrigerator can give your homemade meal a special flare. In addition to using proper oven technique, delectable sauces and your grill, the meats and veggies on your pizza make a big difference. It turns out leftovers can make the perfect pizza toppings!

Using Leftovers as Homemade Gourmet Pizza Toppings

This is a picture of homemade pesto pizza.

Have you ever tried making pesto pizza out of leftovers?

The varieties of homemade gourmet pizza are endless when you use leftovers as your toppings. Dig through your pantry and get creative! Want a few ideas? How about a pesto pizza with roasted chicken, pancetta, caramelized shallots, pesto sauce, herb goat cheese and Romano cheese topped with cilantro. Or try Canadian bacon, pancetta, pineapple and Thai basil for a new twist.

Regardless of the toppings you choose, the dough is the foundation of your creation. Here’s a crust recipe from Simply Baking that we enjoyed:


  • 1 2/3 cups white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 2/3 cup warm water
  • 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for oiling and drizzling

Equipment: Very large baking sheet or a 12-inch pizza plate


This is a picture of Canadian bacon and pineapple gourmet pizza.

What do you like on your homemade pizza?

Mix the flour, salt and yeast together in a large bowl and make a well in the middle. In a pitcher, mix the water and oil together, then pour this into the well of the flour mixture and mix to make a soft but not sticky dough. Knead for 10 minutes by hand on a lightly floured counter or for 5 minutes in an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Bring the dough together to a smooth flat ball and place on a large, lightly floured baking sheet. Roll it out as flat as you can.

Cover the pizza dough loosely with oiled plastic wrap, making sure it is airtight. Let stand in a warm but not hot place for 30 to 40 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).

Remove the plastic wrap from the dough and roll out to a 12-inch circle to knock some air out, then prick holes all over the dough with a fork. Spread the sauce, leaving a 1-inch border, followed by the cheese and other toppings of your choice. Drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the crust is crisp and golden brown and the cheese has melted.

Download and print the full recipe here.

Now you’re ready to make your own homemade gourmet pizza! Which toppings will you try first?

Mary Hathaway, Owner of Dinner Diva, has been a personal chef since 2002. She cooks regularly for clients who have special dietary needs, value healthy cooking by using organic products where possible and those who want healthy family meals but have no time to cook. Whether it’s a dinner for 4, a holiday party for 20, or a set of meals for the week, all of the recipes are customized to her client’s needs or lifestyle. Go to: for more info.