Sometime in the middle of fall last year, my youngest son came home from school with a lunchbox chock full of, well, lunch. He hadn’t eaten even a single bite of the stuff I’d sent. When I asked him why he hadn’t eaten lunch, he said “‘Cause it’s boring, Mom.”
This little incident kicked off a Google session where we sat down together and hunted for edible ideas that weren’t “boring” for him — and they couldn’t be complicated for me, either, because school lunch should be able to be packed in a snap!
Over the next few weeks, we tried a few of the ideas we’d gathered. Some were great. Easy to make, easy to pack, ingredients almost always on hand. Others proved to be less than fantastic. They took too long to prep, or arrived at school soggy and messy. By the end of the school year, most of the new ideas had been tried on and tossed out — except for this one. Making a pan of homemade pizza roll-ups at the start of each week proved to be the single most awesome lunchbox idea ever.
On Sunday evenings we could make a batch or two of these easy, pizza-inspired, cinnamon roll-style sandwiches, then all my kiddos had to do in the morning was slice off a roll, tuck it into a plastic baggie, and pack a few other favorite snacks alongside.
I love that — just like pizza — these rolls are super versatile: We never run out of flavor options. You’ll find a basic pepperoni pizza option here, but you can also add any of your favorite pizza toppings to these easy roll-ups. Sometimes we go vegetarian, sometimes we make meat lovers. Whatever we’ve got in the house, we just pop the ingredients into our pizza roll-ups, and the kids enjoy yummy spiral sammies all week long!
If you’ve heard the words “lunch was boring,” you’re not alone! Give their lunchbox a dash of flavor and fun with ideas for packing school lunch, creative lunchbox art, and one whole month of easy lunch ideas!
Don’t forget to check out this year’s back to school sales for some really great deals — even if school’s already started for your kiddos!
Make a batch of homemade pizza roll-ups and pack them with a few of our favorite combos. They go particularly well with:
- Pizza roll-ups + carrot sticks + apple slices
- Pizza roll-ups + green salad + ranch dressing
- Pizza roll-ups + pineapple skewers + bell pepper slices
- Pizza roll-ups + cucumbers + strawberries
One of the best things about this recipe is that no utensils are needed! Simply slice a pizza bun or two from your baking dish and pack them easily in these fun ways:
Bento box: Pop pizza spirals into the corner of a bento box, surround them with fresh veggies or green salad, and you’re ready to head out the door!
Sandwich box: Make mini pizza roll-ups, baking them into small squares that fit perfectly into a sandwich box. When it comes time to pack lunch, simply slice four mini buns and pack them in place of bologna and cheese!
Plastic wrap: No baggie needed! A small square of plastic wrap is a great way to keep your pizza roll-ups fresh until lunchtime. When it comes time to toss the trash, your kid will have a lot less to throw away.
Silicone cupcake wrappers: Keep your pizza buns cozy in reuseable lunch containers by tucking them into colorful cupcake wrappers. They’ll stay right where you put them until it’s time to eat!
Ready to make these delicious eats?! We snapped step-by-step shots to show you just how easy these yummy rolls are to make. Grab a baking pan and let’s get pizza spiraling!
As you might guess, this recipe starts with pizza dough. Unroll a tube of refrigerated crescent dough and press together each of the seams. You can also use a tube of refrigerated pizza dough, or a batch of homemade multi-grain or gluten-free pizza dough works, as well.
Spread pizza sauce on top of the dough (steer clear of spaghetti sauce, since it tends to be thinner than pizza sauce). Cheese goes next, of course!
Toss on your favorite toppings. We went with pepperoni, but olives, sliced veggies, ham, or pineapple taste great, too. If you like it on your pizza, you’ll love it on your pizza roll-ups!
Now, roll up the dough into a tight cylinder…
And place the pizza roll-ups into a prepared baking dish.
Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown. You’ll know the dough is cooked through when the edges of your pizza roll-ups turn a medium golden brown around the edges.
And, voila! Your pizza roll-ups are ready. Allow them to cool before covering and storing in the fridge. When it’s time to pack school lunches, simply slice a pizza bun or two from the baking pan and pack it in their lunchbox.
- 1 tube refrigerated crescent dough or pizza dough
- 3/4 cup pizza sauce
- 1 1/2 cups grated Italian blend cheese
- 15-20 pieces pepperoni
- 1 Tablespoon fresh basil (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Unroll a tube of refrigerated crescent dough and press together each of the seams. Refrigerated pizza dough, multi-grain or gluten-free pizza dough works, as well.
- Spread pizza sauce on top of the dough. Top with cheese.
- Place your toppings on top of the sauce and cheese.
- Roll up the dough into a tight cylinder and place the pizza roll-ups into a prepared baking dish.
- Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown. Allow them to cool before covering and storing in the fridge. When it’s time to pack school lunches, simply slice a pizza bun or two from the baking pan and pack it in their lunchbox.
Get more school lunch inspiration right here!