Let’s get one thing straight: I know “breakfast pizza” isn’t “real pizza,“but that doesn’t mean it’s not delicious. Much like the Chicago-style deep dish, my favorite type of breakfast pizza is “more of a pan.” (I’ve been going back and forth figuring out whether or not I should drop this off at “Will it make a casserole?“, and ultimately decided it was the most honest decision.)
Most pizzas are said to be built on a crust made with a flour-based dough, and removing the toppings this crust will often trigger the Italian or Italian American closest to the region. But the breakfast pizza is already such a rule breaker, I see no reason not to break one more. Bend over and bake your breakfast pizza on a hash brown crust.
Gluten free gentlemen will appreciate the lack of traditional flour, but the main reason for making this crust is that it tastes really good. It’s like a firmer, more portable version of the much-loved Cracker Barrel hash brown casserole. The egg and cheese help the grated potato stick together to form a cohesive crust, and the whole thing is baked in a 400°F oven until golden brown. It’s savory, crispy and just a little mushy – a perfect vehicle for your favorite breakfast foods.
The toppings are up to you. Once you’ve made the crust, you can get pretty wild. Bake the mixture into mini rounds and use them as the base for a Benedict, or mash it into a quarter sheet pan and top with scrambled eggs and bacon. You can also do what I did and use the Italian sausage sauce as the “sauce” and then crack whole eggs directly onto that “sauce”. There are plenty of options and almost no wrong answers.
Breakfast pizza with hash brown crust
For the dough:
- 1 pound frozen shredded hash browns, thawed
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
- 3/4 tsp coarse kosher salt (reduce to 1/4 tsp if using table salt or fine sea salt)
- 1/4-1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper, depending on how much you like white pepper
For the toppings:
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella
- 1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar
- 1 cup prepared sausage sauce (regular or Italian)
- 3 eggs
Preheat your oven to 400℉. Add all of the crust ingredients to a bowl and toss to combine. Line a quarter baking sheet with parchment paper and press the hash brown mixture into the pan to create an even layer. Bake until golden on top, 30 to 40 minutes.
Remove the crust from the oven and sprinkle the two cheeses on top (I make the cheese first to prevent the sauce from soaking the crust). Spoon the sausage sauce over the cheese and press down with the back of a spoon if necessary to spread it. Make three small divots in the sauce with a spoon, then break an egg into each divot. Season each egg with a pinch of salt and a grain of pepper, then bake for 15 minutes for runny eggs, or 20 minutes for a firmer yolk. Serve immediately with lots of hot sauce.