Hot pockets are hand-held frozen pizza pockets that hold a lot of nostalgia for anyone that remembers coming home from school and popping one of these into the toaster or microwave and enjoying an after-school pizza snack.
They had a buttery croissant-like crust and were filled with meatballs, pepperoni, or ham and cheese. If you remember this tasty snack, you will be happy to learn how to make homemade hot pocket pizza that’s even better than the original.
What is a Hot Pocket?
Hot pockets are a creation of Chef America and were introduced to the public in 1983; in 2001, Nestle took over. Hot pockets are pocket-like turnovers filled with meats, cheese, and vegetables. They hit the market right around the same time that everyone was bringing microwaves into their kitchens.
They were a hit with latchkey kids like us who spent hours after school alone because they were filling and easy for any kid to throw in the microwave.
Why People Loved Hot Pockets
Hot pockets are portable pizzas that anyone can make and enjoy. Just ask well-known comedian Jim Gaffigan about hot pockets; he has several comedy bits about the savory snack and is known to big a big supporter of everything hot pocket.
Hot pockets are so popular they have over 50 types of different hot pockets flavors. From classic hot pockets of ham and cheese to pizza to lean to pretzel bread to croissants to breakfast, all of these hot pockets are still on the market and still beloved by hot pocket devotees.
We thought it would be fun to try and make our own homemade hot pocket pizza. We are going to take the classic pizza hot pocket and make it better.
How to Make Homemade Hot Pocket Pizza
Hot pockets are similar to calzones, where all of the pizza toppings, cheese, and sauce are all wrapped up in pizza dough. But the crust is actually different than pizza dough. Hot pockets have a more buttery crust without yeast.
They are flaky similar to a pie crust, but without the sugar, so the taste stays savory and doesn’t lean sweet. Aside from the taste of the crust, calzones are a different shape. Calzones are a half-circle shape. Basically, imagine taking a whole pizza and folding it in half, and there you have a calzone.
But hot pockets are just like their name, more of a pocket shape meant to be eaten with one hand. While calzones are often served on a plate covered in marinara sauce, a hot pocket is meant to be held in one hand with maybe some dipping sauce.
Our recipe is for a flakier crust that truly mimics the hot pockets experience. But if you like homemade pizza dough and prefer that to a croissant-y buttery crust, then follow the same instructions just use your rolled-out pizza dough.
What you will need:
- 1 ½ cups of flour
- ⅔ cup of milk
- 6 Tablespoons of cold butter
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon baking powder
Equipment you will need:
- Stand mixer
- Rolling pin
- Baking sheet
- Parchment paper
- Pastry brush
First, mix the flour and the cold butter cut into pieces in the stand mixer and pour in the milk while it’s mixing. Then add more flour, just a little at a time to keep it from sticking.
Knead for about five minutes. Now the dough doesn’t have yeast and doesn’t need to rise, but it does need to rest. So place it in the refrigerator covered in plastic wrap for one hour.
While the dough is chilling, prepare your toppings. Now you can go old school and keep it simple with classic pepperoni and mozzarella, or if you have some mini meatballs, you can use those.
We like to make a couple of classics and then a couple more sophisticated hot pockets with a mix of peppers and onions, and Italian sausage. We made one with Gruyere cheese and caramelized onions.
The beauty of these is that you can really make any filling you want! Traditional calzone fillings would work here, too, like ricotta and spinach.
When your dough is ready, roll it out into a rectangle; a roughly 20 by 12-inch rectangle should give you about eight hot pockets. Add the filling in the center. We suggest a dab of marinara, then your filling and cheese.
Then fold it over and pinch it to keep it together. Once they are ready, place them on parchment paper and put them in the refrigerator for thirty minutes.
After thirty minutes, take them out, brush them with milk, and add some Italian seasonings and a little garlic powder. Bake them at 400ºF for 15 minutes. When they are done, resist the urge to bite into them right away unless you like burning the top of your mouth.
When they have cooled for about ten minutes, they are ready to serve with dipping sauce, hot sauce, or just on their own.
- Make sure the butter is cold. Flaky crusts always start with cold butter.
- If you don’t have a stand mixer, you can use a food processor or blender. Mixing by hand is tricky because the butter is cold; it’s not impossible, just difficult.
- Make a big batch because they freeze well.
- Experiment with different fillings.
Fillings for Homemade Hot Pocket Pizza
- Mushrooms, roasted garlic, and zucchini
- Thinly cut steak and blue cheese
- Pancetta, spinach, and Fontina
- Shredded chicken and cheese with enchilada sauce
- Thai chicken with peanut sauce and chilis
- Canadian bacon and pineapple
- Nduja salami, olives, and mushrooms
Ideas for Dessert Hot Pockets
If you have a sweet tooth and don’t want a full-blown dessert pizza, you might enjoy making sweet hot pockets. These will follow the same dough recipe, but instead of adding pizza toppings, try adding apples, honey, and cinnamon.
Or a layer of cream cheese with apricot jam, or try spreading a thick layer of Nutella or raspberry jam. Dessert hot pockets are a cross between a McDonald’s apple pie and a pop tart but ten times better than both.
Whether you like sweet or savory hot pockets, we have you covered. What do you think about our homemade hot pocket pizzas? Do they hit the spot?