Cheeseburger Pizza with Secret Sauce


Cheeseburger Pizza with Secret Sauce is the yummy combo of classic cheeseburger meets pizza! 


Somebody had a birthday today!


My dear Mom – aka Shirls, Ma, Skip, Iowa Mom Eats and/or the. best. Mom. ever. :)

Last Friday my whole family got together to celebrate with dinner and drinks, but since today was her actual big day, Ben and I invited my parents over for a fun and informal dinner of Cheeseburger Pizza.

Pizza had an affair with a cheeseburger, and their love child was this insane Cheeseburger Pizza. Muwahahaha!


This head spinning pizza starts with Trader Joe’s pizza dough that’s stretched out and smothered in a secret sauce. Fine – I’ll tell you what’s in there. It’s ketchup mixed with Thousand Island dressing. It tastes like a Big Mac!

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Next, layers of seasoned ground beef and chopped pickles are layered on top.

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(Pickles IN the pizza!)


Finally a generous layer of cheese goes on top before the pizza is popped into the oven.


I was totally tickled to see this American & Cheddar blend at the store. Classic cheeseburgers usually have a slice of American nestled on top of the burger patty, while many pizzas use cheddar as their cheese of choice. This blend combined the best of both worlds.


And it was soooo good!


We were all like, ok this seriously tastes like a cheeseburger!! before realizing that, wait, it actually is a cheeseburger. The bread is just baked in a different way. That’s neither here nor there, though. We gobbled this up quick!


Cheeseburger Pizza with Special Sauce

Serves 4


Cheeseburger Pizza with Secret Sauce is the yummy combo of classic cheeseburger meets pizza! 


  • 3/4 lb lean ground beef
  • Salt, pepper, onion powder
  • 1 pizza crust (homemade or store bought)
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 2 Tablespoons Thousand Island dressing
  • 1/2 cup chopped dill pickles
  • 2 cups shredded american/cheddar cheese blend
  • 2 vine-ripened tomatoes, seeded & chopped
  • 1/3 cup onion, chopped
  • 2 cups shredded lettuce


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sauté ground beef in a skillet over medium-high heat, seasoning generously with salt, pepper and onion powder. When the meat is no longer pink, drain and return to the skillet.
  2. Spray a pizza pan with non-stick spray, then stretch the dough on top. Mix ketchup and Thousand Island dressing together, then spread on top. Add layers of cooked ground beef, pickles and cheese. Bake pizza according to the dough's package directions.
  3. When pizza is fully cooked, top with tomatoes, onion and shredded lettuce.

This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats,


Wouldn’t be a birthday in the IGE household without a big slice of Pepperidge Farms Birthday Cake!

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Since there was only 4 of us tonight (my brother, sister-in-law and nephew were unable to come) we cough, splitthecakeinto4pieces.


We all confessed that, for as many years as we’ve been eating Pepperidge Farms Cake for our family members’ birthday, we’ve wanted to do this, and tonight was perhaps the only opportunity we might ever have.


Afterwards we all unanimously agreed to never do it again. Blerg. Cake coma.


Happy birthday to the best Mom I could have ever asked for!



Do you have any birthday traditions?

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    Awesome pizza!!! I love unique pizzas.

    • oops— I forgot to add my traditions. I love getting a manicure for my birthday. It’s kinda my happy birthday to myself :) For other people’s birthday, I just LOVE spoiling them!

  2. Happy birthday, IME!

  3. Machelle 09.27.2011

    HaPpY BiRtHdAy to your mom!!!!!!!!! pizza looks great!!! love those PF cakes, and they ARE kinda small, so , ya know, it’s ok to have a 4th of one all to yourself, all at once, what the heck!! ha! when i lived close to my mom she would make me homemade custard for my birthday.

  4. Melissa 09.27.2011

    Awe, so sweet! Happy birthday, IME! :)

    In my family, we always have cakes from the local grocery store for birthdays–they are the BEST! And when we were kids, our mom would make our beds for us on our birthdays. Every other day of the year, we had to do it ourselves, but on our birthdays, mom treated.

  5. Ashley 09.27.2011

    I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate the “Print this recipe” link. I have quite a few mis-matched pieces of paper covered in copy-and-pasted recipes, so this will be great! Thanks!

  6. So cute. :) Happy birthday to IME!

    That pizza is ridiculous. It’s now moved up to the top of my to-make-for-dinner list for next week. :)

  7. awww, how fun! that pizza looks fantastic.

  8. Erin 09.27.2011

    Love how much you love your mom. :)

  9. happy birthday iowa mom eats!

    can i ask a question. kristin, how in the world do you get your TJ’s pizza dough into such a perfect circle?!?!

    • Emily 09.27.2011

      ditto to this question…I can’t for the life of me roll out their pizza dough, what’s your secret?

      • Iowa Girl Eats 09.27.2011

        The secret is to let the dough rest on the countertop for at least 20 minutes. Otherwise it just shrinks right back on itself. Then I take it and…you know what – maybe I’ll just make a video of how I stretch it out next time!!

  10. Iowamom 09.27.2011

    Happy Birthday Iowa Mom Eats!

    Our tradition for our kids is they get birthday cake and ice cream for breakfast. :) It’s so fun and they really look forward to it. It’s basically just an excuse to have more cake/ice cream!

  11. That looks so good!! Happy birthday to your mom!! We are big into birthdays in our home too!

  12. erica 09.27.2011

    happy birthday iowa mom eats!!!

  13. We have a tradition of “birthday breakfast” in our house. The birthday honoree gets to select their special breakfast of choice and the other person makes it and has it all ready (w/ presents!) on birthday morning. My family did this growing up and I think it has stuck around for all of us kids. Super fun.

  14. Nancy 09.27.2011

    Happy Birthday, Shirley!!! Cheeseburger pizza sounds like a terrific way to celebrate!

  15. Dawn Marie 09.27.2011

    Happy Birthday IGM! You look mavalous! ;-)

  16. ktlovespie 09.27.2011

    Happy Birthday to Iowa Mom Eats!!

    My parents always left us a birthday balloon to wake up to in the morning. I always loved that. We also got to pick where we wanted to go out to dinner, anywhere we wanted!

    For my BF’s birthday I bought him a Pepperidge Farm Birthday cake since I didn’t have the time to make one. Now I see why you love them. They are awesome!

  17. Karla 09.27.2011

    Yay—happy birthday Iowa Mom Eats! Looks like an absolutely lovely celebration and the pizza looks delish!

    My family used to always let the lucky birthday boy/girl pick the restaurant that family would go to for dinner, and that would often be capped off with a little Hy-Vee sheet cake, Dairy Queen ice cream cake or Whitey’s pie! (Although we’d only pick one of the above, of course :))

  18. Rachel 09.27.2011

    Happy birthday IME! We don’t really have many b-day traditions…My husband & I will take the other one out for dinner but that’s about it. Since our son’s b-day is the beginning of January, and more often than not, we have piles of snow on the ground, I’ve taken to letting him choose what he wants for dinner and what type of cake he wants, and then I make that for him. Even if it simply hot dogs & tater tots!

  19. Sarah 09.27.2011

    I love that you guys gave into the temptation to split the cake in 4! One of our birthday traditions is birthday person gets the middle of the cake, instead of having to start on one edge and work across :)

  20. girliefriend 09.27.2011

    Happy Happy Birthday IME! Hope you had the most wonderful day!
    Kristin you’re lucky to have such a wonderful relationship with your family.

  21. Wendy 09.27.2011

    That’s funny we always do those cakes for birthdays too. :)

  22. debbie 09.27.2011

    that cheeseburger pizza is such an interesting concept…it could be delicious but I don’t know if it would be way too much! Happy birthday to your mom!

  23. Happy Birthday to IGE Mom!
    I love funfetti cake. My mom bakes it for me every year! Yum!

  24. Lindsey 09.27.2011

    We always go out for a family birthday supper, and then for cake either share a couple desserts or all go back home for homemade cake.

  25. Lo 09.27.2011

    Aww, happy birthday Iowa Mom Eats!! She seems so lovely!! This post reminded me of a burning question I always wonder about when I hear about ‘American’ cheese. What the heck is American cheese?? I always assumed it would just be cheddar, but here in Canada we definitely don’t have American (or Canadian, for that matter) cheese!

    • Dawn Marie 09.27.2011

      Oh you don’t want to know!!! It’s processed icky-ness! ;-) It’s like velveeta but in slices I think. I don’t eat either really. blech! I am 100% Merican!

  26. I NEVER would have thought to use thousand island in the sauce… brilliant!

    For our birthdays growing up, DQ ice cream cake with a random cartoon character was what we got…. now I’m trying to convince my husband that birthdays call for doughnuts from the Hiland Park Bakery

  27. Happy birthday to your momma! A quarter of that cake sounds like a great idea to me!

  28. Julie 09.28.2011

    I secretly love Big Macs. The first one I had in awhile was while studying abroad this past spring…and man. it. was. good (kind of ashamed that I ate it much less enjoyed it?! haha). Anyways, I will definately have to make this pizza as it seems like a more “socially acceptable” (plus a little healthier!) way to eat a Big Mac! Thanks for sharing and happy belated b-day to your mom!! :)

  29. Eleni 09.28.2011

    Happy Birthday to your mom!
    I always get a fruit pizza instead of cake for my birthday. So good!

  30. Hope 09.28.2011

    Happy Birthday to your mom! It looks like you and your family had a great time celebrating! That pizza looks amazing!!! I am totally going to have to try this! I cannot wait. :)

  31. J 09.28.2011

    OMG that sounsd so yummy! I have to make that! I have only had cheeseburger pizza once from a local pizza place and it was good! I bet home made is even better!

  32. L 09.28.2011

    Homemade angel food cakes are my family’s birthday tradition–no store bought allowed!

  33. Shani 09.28.2011

    Okay, I’ve been obsessing over your blog for months now…. but no I just HAVE to comment- because it was my Mom’s birthday on the 27th, too! I drove our to surprise her with a cake and her favorite dinner. Yay for mom birthdays! (Also, adding bacon to this would probably make it even more sinfully delicious. And alvacado… and…. dang, I better get pizza-makin’!)

  34. Linda Kidd 09.28.2011

    You forgot a name “MAC”

    Your a luck gal to have such a wonderful Mom.

    Tradition would be to celebrate birthday for 1 month

  35. CycloneMom 09.28.2011

    Happy Birthday to your Mom, Iowa Moms are the best!!

    When my oldest child turned one, I made her birthday cake–Wilton shape pan, individual frosting stars ala Wilton decorating, homemade chocolate buttercream. I used a frosting tool that my Mom had given me–my hand was in pain by the end of the cake! Now 8 years later I have three girls and make them special cakes/cupcakes every year. I’ve even started baking for friends and family (I made the birthday cake/cupcakes for the morning anchor woman who interviewed you for her son’s 1st birthday). All because of that first birthday cake!

    We also have Happy Birthday banners that we put up over the girls’ door so it is the first thing they see when they wake up.

  36. Anne 09.28.2011

    Happy Birthday Skip! I’m not opposed to cutting a cake into 4 pieces…..give me a cake coma ANY Day! Love the recipe. I always made a balloon bouquet for the kids; the number of balloons was their age–until age 18. Needless to say, that one was huge!

  37. Aw, I love IME! Happy birthday!

  38. jen 09.28.2011

    Awe, happy birthday IME! {a day late} :)

  39. MOM 09.28.2011

    The cheeseburger pizza was amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What a joy to have dinner made for you for your birthday-that’s just the best!

  40. Ha, I totally would have split it 4 ways too! Birthday traditions – we always order cake from the same bakery… which I love but honestly, every time I see you writing about another birthday, it really makes me want to go grab one of these Pepperidge Farm cakes and give it a try!

  41. Meredith 09.28.2011

    Your parents are ADORABLE!

  42. Holly 10.01.2011

    Making this RIGHT now :) Can’t wait to try it…it smells OH so good!! & Happy Birthday IME- sorry I’m a bit late!

  43. Beth 10.01.2011

    We made this pizza tonight… It was a hit! You’re right, it tastes SO much like a real cheeseburger. I got some dubious comments while I was assembling it, but the taste won everyone over. Thanks for this fun new recipe.

  44. […] the week that is perfect for a day of watching football games. This past weekend’s recipe was Cheeseburger Pizza with Secret Sauce, curiosity of Iowa Girl Eats! I changed it up just a bit, and have the recipe I followed below. I […]

  45. Ha I love the secret sauce! Will have to try that!!

  46. […] Inspired by: Iowa Girl Eats […]

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