Rectangle School Pizza featured image
Sheet Pan School Pizza is an easy and fun way to make a pizza with memories! Simply bake your homemade crust, cover it with sauce, cheese, and your favorite toppings, and enjoy eating your rectangles as you remember.
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Table of Contents
  1. Homemade Sheet Pan School Pizza
  2. Why We Love This School Pizza Recipe
  3. Ingredients
  4. Substitutions and Additions
  5. Recommended Tools
  6. How to Make School Pizza in a Sheet Pan
  7. Tips from Recipe Developer
  8. Storage Tips
  9. Frequently Asked Questions
  10. School Pizza Recipe

This School Pizza “Lunch Lady Pizza” is a fun retro recipe that recreates the authentic look and taste of the classic school cafeteria pizza. Using simple ingredients that you can pronounce, it is so quick and easy to prepare this rectangular sheet pan pizza at home as you simultaneously pay tribute to your past and remember being served your slice by the lunch lady.

Rectangle School Pizza hero image

Homemade Sheet Pan School Pizza

Sheet Pan Pizza is an easy way to make my own copycat version of a pizza from my past! Today we are recreating the original lunch lady school pizza recipe!

While we all loved that Friday pizza day school slice, loaded with red sauce and gooey cheese, this revised recipe is a close substitute. But because it is made with real ingredients, it’s healthier–I bake my pizza crust from scratch, cover my sauce with a mixture of lean browned beef and Italian sausage and then sprinkle it with freshly shredded mozzarella cheese or your favorite toppings.

Similar to the Classic Cafeteria Pizza, spreading the sauce and toppings all the way to the edge of the thin crust is a must in order to achieve the authentic look of the original Lunch Lady Pizza.

Why We Love This School Pizza Recipe

  • Quick and easy to make copycat recipe.
  • Uses real ingredients to recreate the classic school lunch pizza.
  • Made in a sheet pan – easy to cut and serve! No pizza stone needed.
  • No kneading the dough or needing to let the dough rise.
  • Big enough to feed the whole family and perfect for Pizza Fridays.

Other Retro Recipes

a slice of Rectangle School Pizza

Ingredients

  • Unbleached All-purpose flour
  • Instant nonfat dry milk: Skim milk powder can be substituted for the nonfat dry milk. See note in “Tips” regarding the instant dry milk
  • Salt
  • Water
  • Granulated sugar
  • Rapid-rise yeast
  • Extra virgin olive
  • Yellow cornmeal 
  • Lean ground beef
  • Mild Italian sausage 
  • Pizza sauce
  • Mozzarella 
  • Dried Italian season (optional garnish)

Substitutions and Additions

  • Tasty Toppings: Feel free to add your favorite pizza toppings, like sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms, onions, bell peppers, olives, parmesan cheese or anything you fancy.
  • Vegetarian Version: Omit the meat and add extra cheese or your favorite veggies to make a simple cheese pizza or a very veggie pizza.
a slice of Rectangle School Pizza on a plate
  • Half sheet pan (18×13)
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • Mixing Bowl
  • Measuring tools
  • Silicone spatula
  • Heavy bottom saucepan or a 10-inch skillet
  • Pastry brush
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How to Make School Pizza in a Sheet Pan

This School Pizza is so much better than the bland, red-and-white rectangle slice you remember when you think “school cafeteria pizza” because it is made with real ingredients (nothing artificial here!). In a matter of minutes, you can easily make a homemade dough, top it with sauce, meat, and cheese, and bake it into the best bite of Lunch Lady Pizza that tastes like the perfect pizza from your past.

  1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees and generously coat the entire sheet pan with 2 tablespoons of the extra virgin olive oil then sprinkle the surface with the cornmeal. Set it aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, with the paddle attachment, add all-purpose flour, instant nonfat dry milk, salt, granulated sugar, quick-rise yeast and the remaining 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil.
  3. Slowly pour in the warm water to your dry ingredients (no more than the 2 cups, to get a pourable consistency to your dough)
    collage 1 school pizza
  4. Spread the dough completely over the cornmeal-coated baking sheet and allow it to sit for 10 minutes.
    Pro Tip: I find it easiest to spread the dough with a silicone spatula.
  5. Bake the pizza crust for 10-12 minutes, or just until starting to get golden, on the lower rack of your oven.
    collage 2 bake dough in baking sheet
  6. While the crust is baking, cook the ground beef and mild Italian sausage over medium-high heat.
    Pro Tip: Be sure to break the meat up as it cooks so it looks like the topping on school pizzas.
  7. Drain the meat and set it aside.
  8. Spread the pizza sauce over the top of the baked crust.
    Pro-Tip: To get that authentic look you remember so well from school, spread the sauce almost right to the edge of the crust.
  9. Sprinkle shredded mozzarella cheese over the sauce.
    spread sauce and sprinkle cheese over the dough
  10. Sprinkle the cooked meat topping over the cheese.
  11. Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella over the top of the meat.
  12. Sprinkle the Italian seasoning over the cheese.
  13. Return the pizza to the oven and bake, on the middle oven rack, for an additional 10-12 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
    school pizza with ground beef
  14. Carefully slice the pizza into 12 rectangular pieces.

Tips from Recipe Developer

  • You can use a 16 oz. jar of your favorite pizza sauce, just make sure not to use a jarred marinara sauce because it will be too watery and will make your pizza crust soggy.
  • To get that authentic look you remember so well from school, spread the sauce almost right to the edge of the crust.
  • Instant nonfat dry milk powder is used for this recipe because it adds richness, and tenderness, to the pizza crust without adding additional liquid to the recipe. The milk also helps with the browning of the crust. The crust for this recipe is meant to be soft and tender, not chewy like a traditional pizza. The instant nonfat dry milk powder is shelf stable so you can keep it as a pantry staple.
  • I highly suggest using unbleached All Purpose flour with this recipe.  Bleached flours tend to be softer and don’t always perform consistently. I love King Arthur brand if you can get it or any brand name unbleached All Purpose flour. I also find that generic brands do not perform as well.

Storage Tips

  • To Store: Store any leftovers in an airtight container, in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
  • To Freeze: You can freeze the pizza for up to 2 months.  Let the pizza cool and place the slices in a freezer bag
  • To Reheat: To reheat, heat in the microwave or in the oven.
slicing the Rectangle School Pizza

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make this pizza in advance?

Yes, it is easy to make this pizza in advance. Bake the crust as directed above, spread the sauce, add the meat and cheese, but do not bake it. Allow it to rest and completely cool. Cover with plastic wrap and then with aluminum foil. When you are ready to bake, uncover the pizza and bake at 425°F until the topping is bubbly and slightly golden. Slice, serve, and enjoy!

How many servings will this pizza make?

I usually cut my pizza into 12 (4 in. x 4 in.) pieces. However, you can slice the pizza into 9 5 ⅓ in x 3 ⅓ slices as well.

Can I use store-bought dough for my pizza?

Yes, you can buy refrigerated pizza dough as a shortcut for this recipe. However, be sure to let the dough come to room temperature first so it’s easier to stretch and press the dough.

Can I substitute standard yeast (active dry yeast) for rapid-rise yeast?

Yes, you can substitute standard yeast for rapid rise yeast (instant yeast)
You will not add the active dry yeast directly to your bowl of dry ingredients, instead, you will add it to your warm water along with the granulated sugar and allow it to sit for 3-4 minutes or until it gets foamy. You will then proceed with the recipe at step 3 for the pizza crust.

Rectangle School Pizza on a sheet pan
5 from 8 votes
Rectangle School Pizza featured image

School Pizza

Serves — 12
Sheet Pan School Pizza is an easy and fun way to make a pizza with memories! Simply bake your homemade crust, cover it with sauce, cheese, and your favorite toppings, and enjoy eating your rectangles as you remember.
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Rest Time 10 mins
Total Time 1 hr

Ingredients
  

Pizza Crust

  • cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup instant nonfat dry milk powder
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1⅔-2 cups warm (105°F) water
  • tbsp granulated sugar
  • 0.25 ounce packet (2½ teaspoons) rapid-rise yeast (also known as instant yeast)
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil divided
  • 2 tbsp yellow cornmeal

Topping

  • ½ pound lean ground beef
  • ½ pound mild Italian sausage
  • cup pizza sauce
  • 4 cups freshly shredded mozzarella
  • 1 tsp dried Italian season

Instructions
 

Pizza Crust

  • Preheat the oven to 475°F. Coat the entire surface of an 18×13 rimmed baking sheet (also known as a half sheet tray) with 2 tablespoons of the extra virgin olive oil then sprinkle the surface with the cornmeal to keep the crust from sticking to the tray once baked. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, with the paddle attachment, add the all-purpose flour, instant nonfat dry milk, salt, granulated sugar, quick-rise yeast and the remaining 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil.
  • With the mixer on low, slowly pour in the warm water to your dry ingredients. Start with the 1 ⅔ cups then you may need to add a tablespoon at a time, but no more than the 2 cups, to get a pourable consistency to your dough. My dough took a tablespoon or so more than the 1 ⅔ but did not take the entire 2 cups.
  • Continue to mix on low for 2-3 minutes or until you have a smooth, pourable, dough. A few small lumps are fine. It should be the consistency of a thick pancake batter.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared rimmed baking sheet and gently spread the dough into an even layer that covers the entire surface of the baking sheet. Allow the dough to rest in the pan for 10 minutes.
  • Bake the pizza crust for 10-12 minutes, or just until starting to get golden, on the lower rack of your oven.
  • While your pizza crust is baking you can prepare your toppings.

Topping

  • In a large, 10-inch skillet, over medium-high heat, cook the ground beef and mild Italian sausage for 7-8 minutes or until no pink remains. Be sure to break the meat up as it cooks. (That way it looks more like the topping on school pizzas)
  • Transfer the cooked meats to a paper towel lined plate and set it aside.
  • Once the crust has baked for 10-12 minutes, remove from the oven and evenly spread the pizza sauce over the top of the crust.
  • Sprinkle 2 cups of the shredded mozzarella cheese over the sauce.
  • Next you will evenly sprinkle the cooked meat topping over the cheese.
  • Top the meat with the remaining 2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese.
  • Lastly, sprinkle the dried Italian seasoning over the cheese.
  • Return the pizza to the oven and bake, on the middle oven rack, for an additional 10-12 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Carefully slice the pizza into 12 rectangular pieces.

Jenn’s Notes

Storage:
  • To Store: Store any leftovers in an airtight container, in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
  • To Freeze: You can freeze the pizza for up to 2 months.  Let the pizza cool and place the slices in a freezer bag
  • To Reheat: To reheat, heat in the microwave or in the oven.
Tips:
  • You can use a 16 oz. jar of your favorite pizza sauce, just make sure not to use a jarred marinara sauce because it will be too watery and will make your pizza crust soggy.
  • If you do not have rapid rise (also known as instant) yeast, you can substitute it with a packet of active dry yeast instead. This is a standard yeast that can easily be found at your local grocery store in the baking aisle. You will not add the active dry yeast directly to your bowl of dry ingredients, instead, you will add it to your warm water along with the granulated sugar and allow it to sit for 3-4 minutes or until it gets foamy. You will then proceed with the recipe at step 3 for the pizza crust.
  • To get that authentic look you remember so well from school, spread the sauce almost right to the edge of the crust.
  • Instant nonfat dry milk powder is used for this recipe because it adds richness, and tenderness, to the pizza crust without adding additional liquid to the recipe. The milk also helps with the browning of the crust. The crust for this recipe is meant to be soft and tender, not chewy like a traditional pizza. The instant nonfat dry milk powder is shelf-stable so you can keep it as a pantry staple when they want to make tender loaves of white sandwich bread, chewy cookies or this pourable pizza crust.

Nutrition Info

Calories: 405kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 57mg | Sodium: 1005mg | Potassium: 447mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 585IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 307mg | Iron: 3mg
Jennifer Fishkind

About Jenn

Jenn is a mom to three beautiful boys, wife to an amazing husband, social influencer and blogger. I love all things easy recipes, easy crafts, all things hacks, traveling EVERYWHERE and feeding my Pinterest addiction!

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