Smoky Chipotle BBQ Chicken Pizza with Cilantro and Red Onion

Smoky Chipotle BBQ Chicken Pizza with Cilantro and Red Onion
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About This Recipe

The sun-splashed vineyards of Napa and Sonoma, the heady aroma of fermenting grapes, the lush landscapes cradling boutique wineries; this is the heart of California's wine country. A place where food and wine dance in a passionate embrace, celebrating the bounty of the earth. Amidst this tapestry of flavors, inspired by the rich culinary and vinous heritage of the region, a recipe was born: the Smoky Chipotle BBQ Chicken Pizza with Cilantro and Red Onion.

Our pizza’s inception was a delightful accident. Picture this: a backyard barbecue in Sonoma, with friends and family savoring the smoky aroma of grilling chicken, while chipotle marinated ribs sizzled alongside. An idea sprouted - what if these flavors were captured on a pizza, echoing the hearty outdoor grills that are such an integral part of California's culinary culture?

Starting with a simple pizza dough, stretched and ready, it gets brushed with olive oil. Then comes the pièce de résistance, a smoky chipotle BBQ sauce, each smoky note reminiscent of the outdoor barbecues that are so much a part of our local tradition. Shredded chicken, marinated and grilled to perfection, joins thinly sliced red onions, adding layers of flavor. And just when you think it can’t get better, a shower of mozzarella and smoked gouda cheeses blankets the toppings, promising a melty, gooey finish.

But the pizza is just the beginning. When you're in wine country, every dish beckons a wine to complete the experience. And what better wines to pair with our smoky, spicy pizza than a juicy Zinfandel or a robust Syrah?

A good Zinfandel, like the ones produced by Ridge Vineyards in Sonoma, mirrors the peppery zest of the chipotle while complementing the BBQ flavors. Its fruit-forward profile is balanced, ensuring that neither the wine nor the pizza overshadows the other. On the other hand, if you happen to be in Napa, don't miss out on trying the Zinfandel from Brown Estate. Their wine boasts a depth of flavor that resonates beautifully with our pizza's smoky notes.

But if Syrah is more your speed, then you're in for a treat. With its dark fruit flavors, smoky undertones, and hints of spiciness, it’s a match made in heaven for our BBQ Chicken Pizza. Shafer Vineyards in Napa crafts a Syrah that's lush, teeming with nuances of smoked meat and black pepper, echoing our pizza’s smoky essence. Equally compelling is the Syrah from Donelan Family Wines in Sonoma. When paired with our pizza, it's a gastronomic experience that’s quintessentially Californian.

To round off the meal, consider a fresh arugula salad, drizzled with a vinaigrette infused with local olive oil, or perhaps a cheese board featuring artisan cheeses from the valleys. These sides not only complete the meal but also highlight the fresh produce and dairy that our region is so proud of.

To all visitors to Napa or Sonoma, here’s a tip: dive into our culinary traditions. Create this pizza at your next home gathering and pair it with our local wines. It's not just about the recipe, but the stories, the terroir, and the community that stands behind every bite and sip. It’s a slice of our Californian heart, shared with love. Cheers to good food, excellent wine, and memories waiting to be made in our beautiful wine country!

Hero Ingredient Spotlight: Smoky Chipotle BBQ Sauce

The smoky chipotle BBQ sauce is the heart and soul of the Smoky Chipotle BBQ Chicken Pizza. The sauce derives its unique flavor from the chipotle chili, a smoke-dried jalapeño, native to Mexico. The chipotle lends a deep, smoky flavor, combined with a mild-to-medium heat, making it perfect for BBQ sauces. Packed with antioxidants and capsaicin, which can boost metabolism, this spicy ingredient not only tantalizes the taste buds but offers health benefits too. When paired with the tangy sweetness of a traditional BBQ sauce, the result is a symphony of flavors that elevates any dish it graces, especially our wine country-inspired pizza.

How to: Rolling Out the Perfect Pizza Dough

  1. Surface Preparation: Begin with a clean and dry countertop. Lightly flour the surface to prevent the dough from sticking.
  2. Hand Technique: Start by pressing the center of the dough, moving outwards, to push the air to the edges and form a crust.
  3. Rolling: Using a rolling pin, start at the center and roll outwards. Rotate the dough by 90 degrees occasionally for an even circle. Ensure consistent pressure for uniform thickness.
  4. Checking the Thickness: Ideally, aim for a 1/4-inch thickness for a crisp base. For a softer, chewier crust, roll it a little thicker.
  5. Transferring the Dough: Once rolled, gently fold the dough in half and then again into a quarter. Transfer to the baking sheet or pizza stone and then unfold.


  1. Can I use a different cheese instead of smoked gouda? Absolutely! You can experiment with cheeses like provolone, cheddar, or even pepper jack for a spicier kick. However, smoked gouda adds a unique smoky flavor that complements the chipotle BBQ sauce.
  2. What's the best way to store leftover pizza? Store any leftover pizza slices in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. For reheating, use an oven or a skillet for a crispy crust.
  3. I have a gluten allergy. Can I make this with gluten-free dough? Yes, you can use gluten-free pizza dough for this recipe. Just ensure all other ingredients, especially the BBQ sauce, are gluten-free.
  4. What can I substitute for the smoky chipotle BBQ sauce if I can't find it? You can use a regular BBQ sauce and add a teaspoon of chipotle powder or smoked paprika to achieve a similar smoky flavor.
  5. Do I need a pizza stone to make this pizza? While a pizza stone helps achieve a crispier crust, you can also use a regular baking sheet. If using a baking sheet, consider preheating it in the oven for a crisper base.

Tips for Success

  1. Preheat the Oven: Always ensure your oven is fully preheated before baking the pizza. A hot oven guarantees a crispy crust and well-cooked toppings.
  2. Quality of Ingredients: Using fresh ingredients, especially fresh cilantro and red onion, will greatly enhance the flavor profile of your pizza.
  3. Sauce Distribution: When spreading the smoky chipotle BBQ sauce, ensure an even distribution but avoid over-saucing. This ensures every bite is flavorful without making the crust soggy.

This Smoky Chipotle BBQ Chicken Pizza with Cilantro and Red Onion is a culinary tribute to the vibrant flavors of California's wine country. Follow these insights and tips to craft the perfect pizza that encapsulates the essence of Napa's eclectic influences. Happy cooking!

Recipe Overview

Smoky Chipotle BBQ Chicken Pizza with Cilantro and Red Onion
Lily Anderson
4 servings
Calories Per Serving:
Prep Time:
Cook Time:
Total Time:

Ingredients List


  • 1 prepared pizza dough (store-bought or homemade)
  • 1/2 cup smoky chipotle BBQ sauce
  • 1 chicken breast, cooked and shredded
  • 1/3 cup red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup smoked gouda cheese, shredded
  • 1 jalapeño, thinly sliced (optional for added heat)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Step-by-Step Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 475°F (245°C). If you have a pizza stone, place it in the oven during preheating.
  2. On a floured surface, roll out the pizza dough to your desired thickness.
  3. Brush the dough lightly with olive oil, ensuring even coverage.
  4. Spread the smoky chipotle BBQ sauce over the surface of the pizza dough, leaving a small border around the edge.
  5. Sprinkle the shredded chicken over the BBQ sauce.
  6. Distribute the red onion slices and jalapeño (if using) evenly across the pizza.
  7. Mix the mozzarella and smoked gouda cheeses and scatter over the toppings.
  8. Season with salt and pepper.
  9. If using a pizza stone, transfer the pizza onto the preheated stone using a pizza peel. Otherwise, place the pizza on a baking sheet.
  10. Bake in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes, or until the crust is golden and the cheese is bubbly and slightly browned.
  11. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with fresh cilantro.
  12. Slice and serve immediately.

Share Your Results

Was it everything you dreamed it could be? Let me know how it turned out for you and share a picture on social media with the hashtag #LilyCooksNapa

Hello and welcome to Napa Home Chef! We're thrilled you're joining us to explore the vibrant world of wine country cooking. Our team has crafted bold, creative recipes inspired by Napa Valley's lush landscapes, bountiful harvests, and world-renowned wines. We hope you enjoy the journey with us!

Get ready to experience the rich flavors and unique culinary delights that embody the essence of wine country living. Happy cooking!

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