BBQ Chicken Flatbread can be prepped ahead of time, and easily tossed together right before dinner. From the thin, chewy crust to the toppings- everything can be made in advance for an easy and delicious dinner.
Why this recipe works
Not only is this BBQ Chicken Flatbread incredibly delicious, but the recipe is very flexible.
The dough for the flatbread only takes 4 ingredients and very little hands on time or effort. You can make the flatbread dough up to a day ahead of time, or wait until you're ready to prepare the rest of the recipe.
The chicken breast can be cooked ahead of time if you like too, or you can even use leftover rotisserie chicken or roasted chicken from a previous night.
Even the bacon can be cooked in advance on paper towels in the microwave because the pieces crisp right up in the oven while the flatbread bakes.
And... the leftovers heat up even better the next day 😉
What you'll need
BBQ Sauce- use your favorite bottled store bought sauce or homemade sauce (like this easy Bourbon Honey BBQ Sauce- make a double batch and save the rest in the fridge for grilling and dipping!)
Chicken- I like to use baked chicken breast for this recipe; If I don't have a left over baked chicken breast, I'll quickly bake one in the oven. You can also use rotisserie chicken, and just pick roughly a cup worth of meat off.
Instant Yeast- Instant yeast is the most convenient. If you only have active dry yeast, take the water for the dough and heat it to 110°F – 115°F, and stir the yeast in. Allow it to dissolve for about 5 minutes until you see a foam on the water.
Bacon- Believe it or not, the thinner cut option of bacon is best for topping pizza with. Because it's thinner, it remains crispy even when added to the cheese and sauce.
Flour- all purpose or bread flour are both fine, bread flour being slightly more "chewy" and often preferred in pizza dough.
Cheese- A combination of Mozzarella and Monterey jack cheese shredded directly off the block. Avoid pre-shredded cheeses.
Prepare the dough first, as it needs to rest.
Not all flatbread doughs contain yeast, but I believe using the smallest amount necessary to this adds a nice bite and chew plus great flavor.
Combine the flour, yeast, salt and sugar. Add the olive oil (optional) and water and combine in a stand mixer with dough hook on low speed for 5-7 minutes.
The dough should become one solid ball that pulls away from the sides of the bowl, and is stretchy and smooth.
If you don't have a stand mixer with dough hook, turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead by hand for 10 minutes.
If you're not quite sure how to knead this dough, I have a detailed step by step photos on how to knead pizza/flatbread dough in my Sausage and Sweet Potato Pizza recipe.
Once kneaded, transfer the dough to a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap (or towel), and allow to rest for 60 minutes at room temperature, or overnight in the fridge.
This resting period is a very important step. It develops flavor, and also impacts the glutens and therefore the texture of the finished bread.
While the dough is resting, prepare the toppings.
If you are making the dough ahead and allowing it to rest overnight in the fridge, you can prepare the toppings in advance too.
Bake the chicken breast if it isn't already cooked.
Preheat an oven to 400°F, drizzle chicken with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake thawed chicken breast for 20-25 minutes, and frozen chicken breast for 30-40 minutes. Internal temperature should reach 165°F.
Once cooled enough to handle, pick it apart with your fingers into bite size pieces.
For the flatbread, I find it easiest to cook the bacon in a microwave. The reason for this is that it crisps back up in the oven, but also because the paper towels absorb more of the excess grease, instead of it pooling up on the flatbread.
How to microwave bacon
Lay 3-4 paper towels on a large plate and line strips of bacon side by side, but not overlapping (photo below, left). If you need to, cut the slices to fit on the plate. Microwave on high for 4-6 minutes, depending on microwave wattage until crispy (photo below, right).
Allow to cool for a few minutes, and then break it apart into ½ to 1 inch pieces and set aside.
The cheese and onion
Shred the mozzarella and Monterey jack cheese directly off the block rather than buying pre shredded cheese. It melts better this way.
Trim the ends off and peel a red onion. Cut the onion in half, lengthwise and then turn it so the flat side (the center) of the onion is face down on the cutting board. Starting at one end, cut thin slivers until the entire half is cut.
If you don't have a baking stone or baking steel, use a baking sheet. Preheat oven to 400°F if it isn't already.
For baking sheets: lay down a piece of parchment paper or sprinkle lightly with cornmeal.
On a lightly floured surface, stretch the dough out until it is about ¼ inch thick.
It doesn't have to be a pretty shape, it just has to fit on your baking sheet. Use gravity and stretch it when possible, rather than smashing it with a rolling pin, for a chewier, crispier bottomed crust.
Spread a thin layer of the barbecue sauce over the dough, starting at the center and working towards the edges.
Sprinkle about two thirds worth of the cheeses over the sauce, followed by the chicken and bacon FIRST (below, left). Top with remaining cheese-top cheese- and red onion and sprinkle lightly with black pepper or crushed red pepper (below, right).
Transfer the assembled flatbread to the oven directly on the center rack. Bake for an additional 12-18 minutes until cheese is melted and edges and bottom are golden brown.
Remove from oven and let cool for at least 5 minutes before slicing directly down the center (lengthwise) and then across in 2-3 inch wide sections.
- The yeast is optional as an ingredient, and can be left out. However, the resting process must be performed.
- Dough, chicken, bacon, cheese and onion may be prepared up to a day in advance, by cooking and slicing them accordingly, covered and stored in the fridge until ready to bake.
- Reheated flatbread is better the next day! To reheat, lay on a cast iron skillet or pizza stone/steel and bake at 200 degrees for 10 minutes.
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If you've made this BBQ Chicken Flatbread, or plan to make it, leave a rating or comment below!
BBQ Chicken Flatbread
For the Flatbread
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- ¾ cups water plus 1-2 tablespoons more
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- ½ tsp instant yeast
- 1 tbsp olive oil plus more for greasing bowl
For the Toppings
- 1 cup barbecue sauce
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese freshly shredded
- ½ cup Monterey jack cheese freshly shredded
- ½ red onion thinly sliced
- 1 cup cooked chicken breast or rotisserie chicken baked, and pulled apart into bite sized pieces
- 4 oz bacon cooked, chopped into bite sized pieces
- freshly ground black pepper
- Add flour (2 cups), water (¾ cups), salt (1 tsp), sugar (1 tsp), yeast (½ tsp), and olive oil (1 tbsp) to large bowl or stand mixer fitted with a dough hook and combine to form a smooth ball. (You can also use a bread machine, and add the ingredients to it and set it on the dough cycle.)
- Transfer the dough into a large, greased bowl (with olive oil) and cover with a light cloth or plastic wrap. Allow to rest at room temperature for one hour or in the fridge overnight.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Lightly sprinkle cornmeal over baking sheet, or line with parchment paper, or use a baking stone.
- Turn the raised dough out onto a floured surface and stretch the dough to about ¼ inch thick.
- Carefully transfer the stretched dough onto baking sheet or stone.
- Spread bbq sauce (1 cup) over the dough to the edges, using more or less to taste.
- Add two thirds of the shredded cheese evenly over the top (both kinds-estimate the amount).
- Spread cooked, shredded chicken evenly over cheese, followed by bacon.
- Spread remain shredded cheese over the top, followed by onions.
- Sprinkle with fresh black pepper or crushed red pepper, if desired.
- Bake for 18-22 minutes until cheese is melted and bottom of flatbread is golden brown.
- Flatbread dough can be made in a bread machine on the dough cycle, or kneaded by stand mixer or by hand. If not using bread machine, be sure to cover the dough and let it rest for 1 hours (bread machines go through the rest/rise cycle).
- Dough can be combined, covered and left to rest in fridge overnight.
- If using a baking sheet, sprinkle cornmeal lightly down first to prevent the raw crust from sticking.
- Cheese shredded off the block melts better than bagged, shredded cheese.
- Bake chicken breast through before picking apart into pieces and topping pizza.