Barbecue Tofu Pizza with Optional Chicken Substitution (Or, Make One of Each!)

If the quantity of photos I include in my posts indicates how much I love a recipe, then you can see that I really, really, really love this recipe.

I try not to go overboard on the photos – I usually include just a couple for each recipe – but I had to share four for this one. And really they’re not all that different from one another. And I wanted to include many more.

Here’s barbecue tofu pizza, in all its glory, whole.

Barbecue tofu pizza with optional chicken substitution | Kitchen Treaty

And again whole. But closer up.

Barbecue tofu pizza with optional chicken substitution | Kitchen Treaty

See all that homemade-barbecue-sauce-drenched tofu? The purple-pink bite of red onions? The cool cilantro?

And then? We cut it.

Barbecue tofu pizza with optional chicken substitution | Kitchen Treaty

Important to show a photo of that. Especially because now we’re that much closer to eating it.

Barbecue tofu pizza with optional chicken substitution | Kitchen Treaty

And now, finally, a close-up of a cut piece. Including a cross-section of tofu. Of course.

Here you get a good idea of just how melty all that cheese is, too. When that hot, gooey melted cheese meets the bubbling barbecue sauce (and all the things in between), magical things happen.

My notes on this recipe? “Ohmygosh soooo good.” I’m so articulate sometimes.

This vegetarian barbecue pizza recipe is essentially the same as your typical barbecue chicken pizza. Except I use this cornstarch-dredged-and-then-sauteed salt and pepper tofu. My happiest culinary discovery of late, salt and pepper tofu is crispy and, so far, has proven to be the perfect substitute for chicken in all kinds of dishes. I’m not big on one-for-one meat substitutions – there’s plenty of amazing healthy, nutritionally-complete plant-based food out there without needing to resort to that – but it’s been fun to play with. I keep this stuff by the bagful in the freezer – so easy to just grab a few hunks for all kinds of recipes.

So far, though, barbecue tofu pizza is my favorite.

I wrote the recipe so that you can choose to make one big pizza with either tofu or chicken, or you can make two smaller pizzas, like I do – one for my resident carnivore, who, of course, gets chicken; and the tofu for me.

And honestly? My guy is totally missing out.

Print Recipe

Barbecue Tofu Pizza with Optional Chicken Substitution

Crispy barbecue-sauce-coated tofu replaces chicken in this tangy, irresistible vegetarian version of barbecue chicken pizza. Feeding meat-eaters too? It's easy to make a tofu version for the vegetarians and chicken for the meat-eaters.

Yield: 4

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes


  • 1 pound (16 ounces) of your favorite store-bought or homemade pizza crust
  • 1 cup of your favorite barbecue sauce
  • 1 cup crispy salt & pepper tofu pieces -or- 1 cup large-diced cooked chicken (or 1/2 cup of each, if making two smaller pizzas)
  • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 8 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded (about 3 cups) (we use low-moisture whole-milk, but use what you like, even fresh - this recipe is very forgiving)
  • Kosher salt
  • Handful of fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Roll/pull/flatten the pizza crust dough to about 14 inches in diameter (if making one tofu and one chicken pizza, divide dough in half and shape into two pizzas about 8 inches in diameter.)
  3. Brush a cookie sheet with a little olive oil and carefully lay the pizza crust(s) on the cookie sheet.
  4. Spread 1/2 cup of the barbecue sauce onto the dough, leaving about a 1/2 inch border around the edges. (If making two pizzas, spread 1/4 cup on each pizza).
  5. Add tofu or chicken to a small bowl and add remaining barbecue sauce. Carefully toss and evenly place pieces over pizza crust. (If making two pizzas, place tofu in one bowl and chicken in the other, and pour 1/4 cup sauce over each. Toss and spread on respective crusts.)
  6. Lay sliced red onions over the top.
  7. Sprinkle with shredded mozzarella cheese.
  8. Bake for about 10 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is completely melted.
  9. Remove from the oven and sprinkle a pinch of kosher salt and the fresh cilantro over the top.
  10. Slice and serve!

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22 Responses to “Barbecue Tofu Pizza with Optional Chicken Substitution (Or, Make One of Each!)”

  1. Holly Waterfall posted on April 10, 2013 at 6:36 am

    oh my goodness YUM! This recipe looks to die for! My wife’s favorite pizza is BBQ chicken, and I don’t eat or cook meat, so she rarely gets to enjoy it. What a fantastic idea to sub tofu. brilliant! Thank you thank you :)
    beautiful photos, by the way!

    • Kare posted on April 11, 2013 at 8:45 am

      Thanks so much, Holly! I’ve been struggling so much with my camera lately so I really appreciate the compliment. Picking it up at the shop today and hoping for miraculous things (and much better photos than I’ve been able to snap of late!)

  2. dishing up the dirt posted on April 10, 2013 at 7:43 am

    We were just talking about having another pizza night this week! This sounds so stinking good! yum

    • Kare posted on April 11, 2013 at 8:44 am

      We do pizza night every Friday and I love it. Usually I have par-baked pizza crusts and sauce frozen in the freezer so it ends up being a super-easy dinner night. But we do tend to do the same ol’ thing – pepperoni for him, olive for me – and it can get a little old. Fun to mix it up. :)

  3. Kiran @ posted on April 10, 2013 at 9:06 am

    Heading over from Kiersten’s blog. I love anything and everything tofu!! Never thought of adding it onto a pizza!

    • Kare posted on April 11, 2013 at 8:43 am

      Hi there, so nice to see you! This is actually the first time I’ve ever added tofu to pizza – I feel like I’ve entered a whole new world. :)

  4. Alecia posted on April 10, 2013 at 10:16 am

    Hi Kare, I love your site and your recipes. I’m in the same boat with a carnivore (not like “Life of Pi”, just married to a meat-eater – HA!) I just started my own vegetarian blog this week and I would love your input if you have a chance to check it out. Thanks!

    • Kare posted on April 11, 2013 at 8:40 am

      Hi Alecia, love the name of your new blog! So cute. Have you seen this post by Recipe Girl? I wish I would have known about all those fabulous resources when I was first starting out.

      • Alecia posted on April 11, 2013 at 8:57 am

        Wow, what a wealth of information! Thanks for the link!

  5. Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious posted on April 10, 2013 at 11:28 pm

    Amazing! I love incorporating tofu into my recipes and this is definitely the perfect way to do it!

    • Kare posted on April 11, 2013 at 8:25 am

      Thanks so much! Tofu really is such an amazing ingredient, isn’t it?

  6. Bernadette @ Now Stir It Up posted on April 12, 2013 at 11:40 am

    I love this idea. I am always looking for a meatless option and your salt and pepper tofu tempt me always. I remember how much I liked that post when you posted it. The pizza looks awesome! Friday pizza nights are always awesome!

  7. Lisa @ Greek Vegetarian posted on April 13, 2013 at 1:56 am

    Fantastic! I’ve done tofu on pizza before, but only with a light pre-fry before placing on the pizza. I LOVE your recipe for salt and pepper tofu and will definitely be trying this. Thanks for the corn starch tip!!

  8. Kiersten @ Oh My Veggies posted on April 13, 2013 at 3:39 pm

    So you freeze the tofu and it’s still crispy when you reheat it? Ooh, I like the sound of that. I’d be throwing that in salads and wraps–oh, and on pizza. I’ve been wanting to do a BBQ pizza too, but you beat me to it! :D This is awesome!

  9. Cristen Berczy posted on April 21, 2013 at 2:57 am

    Most etymologists believe that barbecue derives from the word barabicu found in the language of the Taíno people of the Caribbean and the Timucua of Florida, and entered European languages in the form barbacoa. The word translates as “sacred fire pit.”..

    Check out all of the most interesting blog post on our very own blog site

  10. Carole posted on June 14, 2013 at 3:18 pm

    Lovely work! Would you be happy to link it in to the current Food on Friday which is about all things BBQ? This is the link . I do hope to see you there. Cheers

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  14. Judy posted on July 12, 2014 at 11:00 am

    Cheese is not vegan.  What else would you use ?

  15. Katherine posted on August 18, 2014 at 6:28 pm

    Just made this. Delicious and really easy! A great weeknight dinner. And I will DEFINITELY be making the salt and pepper tofu again for this and other recipes. There ended up being a couple too many cubes to squeeze onto the pizza, so I ended up eating them straight out of the bowl!

  16. Karly posted on February 2, 2015 at 6:10 pm

    I just made this and i’m in college and my roommates never dare to try my meals but they loved it!! 

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