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Copycat Crazy Puffs

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  • Author: María
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 16-18 puffs 1x


We got Little Caesar’s at the house.


Units Scale

Quick Rise Dough:

  • 2 1/2 C (300 grams) all-purpose flour, plus up to 1/4 C more for kneading
  • 1 C warm water
  • 1 tbsp active dry yeast
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus more for the bowl
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder

Pizza Sauce:

  • 1 (15 oz) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 tbsp chopped Calabrian peppers
  • 2 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 2 tsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp minced fresh basil
  • 1/2 tsp minced fresh flat-leaf parsley

Crazy Puffs:

  • 1 C shredded low-moisture mozzarella
  • 1/2 C shredded muenster cheese
  • 4 oz thin sliced pepperoni
  • 4 tbsp garlic butter, melted
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder


  1. Begin with the Dough: In a large mixing bowl stir together the water, yeast, sugar, and salt. Let the yeast foam – it’ll take a few minutes, then add in the flour, onion powder, and tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil.
  2. Use a spatula to stir everything together into a sticky, shaggy dough. Sprinkle extra flour on the counter, then transfer your dough to the counter. Sprinkle a bit more flour over the top of the dough. Use your hands or a pastry cutter to knead the dough just until the extra flour has been incorporated, and the dough is less sticky.
  3. Lightly oil the same bowl you mixed the dough in. Transfer the dough back into the bowl and cover with a kitchen towel. Set it aside to rise while you work on the sauce.
  4. Make the Pizza Sauce: Place a medium skillet over medium high heat and add the extra virgin olive oil. Once the oil is shimmering, add in the tomato paste, calabrian peppers, and minced garlic. Stir, allowing the tomato paste to cook in the oil.
  5. Let the peppers and garlic darken and even char a little bit for extra flavor, then add the crushed tomatoes. Stir together to combine everything, then stir in the Italian seasoning, balsamic vinegar, and cracked black pepper. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes. To finish, stir in the fresh herbs. Taste, and add the sugar only if you think it’s too bitter or acidic.
  6. Preheat your oven to 475°F and make sure a rack is at the top.
  7. Start assembling the Crazy Puffs: grab two 12-well muffin or cupcake pan. Oil the insides of each well with extra virgin olive oil – this well help the cups brown, and prevent sticking. If you only have one muffin pan, that’s OK, just cook in two batches. I recommend making 16–18 puffs instead of 12 as I did for the puffs pictured, so they stay flat and better resemble Little Caesar’s version.
  8. In a large bowl, mix together the mozzarella, muenster, and garlic powder until well combined, and arrange your pepperoni on a paper towel lined plate, in a single layer. Microwave the pepperoni for 15 seconds, just until the edges begin curling and the grease releases.
  9. Portion your dough into 16–18 puffs. You can eyeball this, or use a kitchen scale to keep them evenly sized. Take each piece of dough and place it into the bottom of the muffin wells, then press them down into a flat layer.
  10. Baste each dough round lightly with garlic butter, and sprinkle on a bit of Italian seasoning. Use a small dry measuring cup (around 1/2 C size should work) to firmly press the dough rounds down into the bottom and sides of the muffin well.
  11. Next, sprinkle a small amount of the mixed cheeses, about a teaspoon or so, onto the top of each dough round. Spoon a tablespoon or so of pizza sauce into the center of each one. Top this with two pieces of pepperoni, if using, and then a heaping amount of the mixed cheese.
  12. Use your basting brush to drizzle garlic butter all over the top of the unbaked puffs, then dust with Italian seasoning. Finish with a little extra pizza sauce on top for razzle dazzle, then pop in the oven.
  13. Bake uncovered for 14 minutes, until the cheese around the edges has deeply browned. Tent the pan lightly with aluminum foil, and continue cooking until the dough is cooked through, and the cheese is fully browned, about 5-7 minutes more. It’ll vary, and you might not even need to do it at all!
  14. Pull the Copycat Crazy Puffs from the oven, baste generously with the remaining garlic butter. Repeat with the remaining ingredients if you’re cooking them in two batches. Dust all of the puffs with a bit more Italian seasoning and enjoy. Dassit!


  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
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