My grandma knew how to rock leftovers. That woman would not waste one ounce of food. Not one ounce. She was the stereotypical example of someone who grew up during the depression. She did her weekly grocery shopping from the sales flyers and what she already had at home… she always had a freezer stocked with things that could easily be made into meals. Two things that were always in the freezer – extra spaghetti sauce and shredded mozzarella cheese. One of her favorite things to make for us kids (and one of our favorite things to eat) were these “pizza burgers”. They are, quite simply, split hamburger buns topped with spaghetti sauce, mozzarella cheese and pepperoni. Ironically, I can’t ever remember eating a hamburger at my grandma’s house, but she seemed to always have hamburger buns in her freezer!
For my entire life, I thought that this was a totally unique concoction of my grandma’s, then I posted an Instagram picture of these on Saturday when I made them, and so many of you were totally familiar with them! I’m not gonna lie, I was a little sad, as I thought they were my grandma’s own secret little recipe. BUT, that doesn’t make them any less awesome. As kids, these just seemed like the best things ever. Even as a teenager, I loved when my grandma would whip them up.
I probably hadn’t eaten them in at least 15 years, and when I made them over the weekend and opened the oven, I couldn’t believe it! It smelled just like my grandma’s kitchen when she would make them, and I would have bet my entire life savings before making these that they wouldn’t have any sort of characteristic smell.
These “pizza burgers” are a superbly easy lunch (or dinner) option if you have buns that are about to go stale, leftover (or jarred) spaghetti sauce, and some cheese in the fridge. If you have little ones, it’s a great recipe to get them helping in the kitchen. Use whatever sauce you like, whatever cheese and whatever toppings. I love how quick and customizable they are!
I also love that they remind me of countless days in my grandma’s kitchen :)
One year ago: Tomato Mozzarella Tart
Two years ago: Hot Corn and Cheese Dip and Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread
Three years ago: Malted Milk Ice Cream
Four years ago: Cranberry Orange Scones
Five years ago: Chunky Pecan Pie Bars
Six years ago: Pasta Fagioli
Seven years ago: Applesauce Oatmeal Muffins
- 2 Hamburger buns
- Spaghetti sauce, homemade or your favorite jarred
- Shredded mozzarella cheese
- Pepperoni or any other toppings of your choice
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Split the hamburger buns in half and arrange them cut-side-up on the pan. Spread a spoonful of the sauce over each half and top with shredded cheese and pepperoni (if using).
- Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the cheese is completely melted and the edges of the buns are starting to toast.
Did you make this recipe?
Leave a review below, then snap a picture and tag @thebrowneyedbaker on Instagram so I can see it!
Thank you so much for this recipe.
this is really good and yummy and you will need to make a lot because I have a family of 9 and I make 18 and it was not enough so with you have a big family like me you will need to make a lot with you have kid the are older then 14 you will need to make 4 each or even more
I do not like the excessive commercials on the website… But I will go head and try the recipes, hence the reason for the 4 stars..
For our family, we use a split French loaf with the same ingredients. Makes enough for 4.
Delicious, easy, and totally a kid pleaser!
These look delicious! I got a vicious craving for these (and I’m not even pregnant anymore) and I went out and bought all the ingredients. Now just trying to resist making one until lunchtime… :)
This is genius!! I always have leftover hamburger buns that I never know what to do with – problem solved!!!!!
My best friend and I growing up always made pizza burgers! This post brought me straight back to childhood. So nostalgic. So delicious!
My mom would make these with English muffins. But our favorite was leftover taco meat with mozzarella cheese on english muffins and baked til golden!! Mmm! Maybe I will make some of these tonight!
I adore pizza so much! These look delicious!
Add me to the list who made these using English muffins. My mom would make them when she and my dad were going out. They were a special treat (along with Hi-C – which we never got to drink unless it was a special occasion). I love to make them with the light English muffins now – what a great, low-calorie treat (and 8 g of fiber if you get the ones with the fiber).
Your grandmother sounds wonderful! Lucky girl.
Funny, now that you say it I don’t remember ever having a hamburger at my grandma’s house either. She always used hamburger buns for chipped ham sandwiches. We ate those if we stayed late there long enough on a Sunday to be hungry again after 1:00 p.m. “dinner”.
A favorite in our house. We’ve always used hamburger buns and Chef Boyardee pizza sauce :) We have them at least once a month.
These look so amazing, I know my boys would love these and I can’t wait to make them!
This brings back memories. I use to do this with English muffins when I was a kid and when my daughter was young. I also used baguettes, cut lengthwise, for a “classier” look. But my most favorite way to do this is to put a hamburger in the bun (minus the pepperoni) and have a “pizza burger” burger. Oh, oh, oh!! Love the flavor! I know what’s for dinner tonight. Thanks for the idea and for sharing your memories of your grandmother. :)
My beloved Grandmother who I went to live with when I turned 18 could make food from practically nothing..she fussed and fussed and had her thick espress she made from an old timey pot on the stove..She could make food taste like gourmet anyway she put it in the pot..She was from another time and another country spain and briefly cuba..She was used to servants and chefs who cooked for her, all was lost when her husband was killed on a railroad trestle thingie, she was young with two tiny daughters, she went into action..sold the coffe and farm lands and went to NYC and struggled but she made it to California and lived there for the rest of her days with me, she was quite elderly but what a looker, dresser, chef and to me the sweetest person, we were simpatico as she would be won’t to say, anything she cooked up was magic and yummee, she taught me to save every dime I had to get my college education, look pretty and presentable and to work like hell..I had no other relatives like her losing my mother her oldest daughter young..I learned from the best, my only child favors her in looks, smarts, and can she ever cook oooo la la..Love your blog, it reminds me what is important daily!
This post brought back memories of me as a kid in my mom’s kitchen helping her with one of mine and my siblings favorite recipes. Our version of pizza burgers was just slightly different. My mom would crumble and cook hamburger, mix in pizza sauce, top on halves of hamburger buns, add mozzarella and other toppings such as pepperoni and mushrooms and bake. Such a simple recipe but we loved them as much as her more complicated recipes. Thanks for bringing it all back, definitely making these soon :)
In our home when I was young we used english muffins for pizza. That continued when I got married and my kids were young. Now I eat gluten free so not so much anymore but it is a good, easy and quick meal.
I’ve not had these, but something similar that makes my mouth water just thinking about….top a toasted english muffin with a thick layer of Kraft Cheez Whiz and a slice of already cooked bacon (cut in half to easily cover the muffin) and place in the toaster oven/oven/broiler until bubbly…
That is so funny about your grandmother always having hamburger buns but never remembering eating a hamburger. When we would eat spaghetti (which was my favorite at my grandmother’s) she would always put butter on split hamburger and hot dog buns and toast them. For years I thought that’s what you were supposed to have with Spaghetti. I still do it today. Love!
I am definitely going to do these little pizza’s though!
Funny, I was just craving one of these the other day! We used to make them using bagels or English muffins.
I used to make these for myself all the time (was my own genious creation, I thought LOL) using some thick cut bread we’d get. I actually got the ingredients to make these at the grocery store this weekend LOL but reading this I got inspired to do another take. I LOVE buffalo chicken pizza, so you could take some buffalo sauce (I actually like it when it’s mixed about half buffalo/half spaghetti), some chicken bites (could even get lazy and go canned!), and some shredded provolone :)
We used english muffins in our house. I predict you will be making a lot of these for those sleep overs you will be hosting in your future. Just seeing that pic from the other day makes me still smile. You are going to be an awesome mom.
I remember these from my childhood. I still make them now and again with english muffins or a bagel. They are nothing fancy but I have to find a kid or adult who does not like them.
I love these kid friendly recipes! No snooty recipes here, haha, I’m just kidding.
Always looking for quick lunch with my girls that they’ll love and keep me out of the fast food line where I will just order fries and hurt my waistline, bleh.
Haha, I pretty much have the eating habits of a 5-year-old (ask my husband!), so yeah, I’m all about easy comfort food, not fancy food ;-)
In college me and a group of friends woulf get together and make these except we used bagels! AMAZING! Oh how I miss the college days
Congratulations on your big news!!!
And I love reading about your personal “connections” to a lot of your recipes….I do think that is what makes them so yummy!!!
Easy, Cheesy and totally get-in-my-belly delicious! That is my kind of burger! Pinned!
In my house, we used English Muffins. At some point, it was decided that too many mouths had been burned on hot cheese so the cheese then went on before the sauce and we had upside down pizzas! Still make ’em that way.
So funny. We used to make the same thing as kids except we used English Muffins. Enjoy. I might make these for my sons tonight.
These look great, I bought something very similar and our local bakery except they use halfed baguettes very yummy, will be sure to make yours, on a separate note just found out about your wonderful news, congratulations again to you. your husband and you growing baby bump :) (wait until you feel him/her move for the first time, very special :)