REVIEW: Little Caesars Stuffed Crazy Crust Pizza

Remember when Little Caesars pizza was available in Kmart stores? You could celebrate a Kmart Red Light Special with a hot and ready pizza for five bucks. Then Kmart went bankrupt and was purchased by Sears, which also went bankrupt. But those events weren’t enough to kill Little Caesars, which still stands tall. Pizza! Pizza! Its latest product is the Stuffed Crazy Crust Pizza.

The round offering features a stuffed crust brushed with the chain’s signature Crazy Crust, a buttery-flavored garlic spread sprinkled with Parmesan. Pepperoni and cheese versions are being advertised, but if you create your own pizza, it’s available as a crust option. I decided to go with the pepperoni. Also, this review will focus only on the Stuffed Crazy Crust since there’s nothing new about the pepperoni and cheese.

Before trying this, the only question I had was, “If an end crust hater stole this pizza from me, ate only the inner parts of the pizza while I chased him around in an abandoned Kmart with Yakety Sax playing on the PA system, and then gave back the box with only the stuffed crust, is what’s left tasty enough that I would eat it instead of discarding it, feeding it to birds, or pressing charges against the end crust hater?”

Well, if that wacky hypothetical series of events ever happened, I’d be perfectly fine with eating just the Stuffed Crazy Crust because I was pleasantly surprised by how good it is.

For this review, I purposely chopped the end crust off two slices and ate them. While I wish the garlic spread was strong enough to make me self-conscious during a conversation, it’s relatively noticeable. Also, the garlic does enhance the rest of the pizza if you take a bite of the crust and follow it up with a bite from the other end. But the Parmesan is quite mild. Although, as you can see in the photos throughout this review, it wasn’t sprinkled liberally on my order. The mozzarella inside provides some salty, cheesy goodness, but its flavor is milder than the Parmesan. As for its texture, there’s a slight crispiness in some areas, but for the most part, it’s similar to regular stuffed crust.

Overall, end crust haters are gonna end crust hate, but I think what Little Caesars’ Stuffed Crazy Crust Pizza offers might be flavorful enough to make some end crust haters think twice before tossing it back into the box.

Purchased Price: $11.99*
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1/8 pizza) 393 calories, 21 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 1 gram of trans fat, 49 milligrams of cholesterol, 990 milligrams of sodium, 33 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 3 grams of sugar, and 19 grams of protein.

*Because I live on a rock in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, things are a bit pricier here. You’ll probably pay less than I did.

REVIEW: Domino’s Pepperoni Stuffed Cheesy Bread

Domino's Pepperoni Stuffed Cheesy Bread Top with cheese and a single pepperoni slice

When you combine bread, cheese, and meat, there’s no possible way to go wrong, right? That’s what I believed before writing this review. But unfortunately, the new Pepperoni Stuffed Cheesy Bread from Domino’s was disappointing in more ways than one.

I have to admit, I first opened my box to quite the pretty picture — a thick golden loaf featuring rivulets of scorched cheese dripping from every crevice, densely-sprinkled flecks of garlic and Parmesan, and a single ruby-hued piece of pepperoni smack dab in the middle, like a beautiful ribbon hinting at the even more beautiful present within.

Domino's Pepperoni Stuffed Cheesy Bread Side. It's like the Battlestar Galactica if it was made of bread and cheese.

If you place your order through the Domino’s website like I did, you’ll notice this side dish and/or entrée is specifically described as “8-Piece Pepperoni Stuffed Cheesy Bread.” But I should note that mine was barely perforated, so ripping apart a single piece was not the cleanest endeavor. Upon tearing off a hunk (which, due to said difficulties, I think technically constituted two pieces), I was greeted by my first hint that this bread might not be all I’d chalked it up to be.

Innards of the Domino's Pepperoni Stuffed Cheesy Bread. It's mostly bread. There's so little cheese that a mouse will probably walk right by.

Peering at the cross-section, the innards didn’t look that different from a regular load of bread. There was the slightest clue of mozzarella cheese seeping out from the center and a thin slip of red that signaled the presence of pepperoni, but the fillings certainly weren’t as jam-packed as the word “stuffed” would imply.

A different looks at the innards of the Domino's Pepperoni Stuffed Cheesy Bread. There aren't many pepperoni, but slightly more than there is cheese.

Unfolding my slice confirmed that, yes, there was a small amount of fluffy mozzarella and the telltale gleam of orange grease (Domino’s website also mentions cheddar, but it looked and tasted like part of the cheese melted on top), but there were only two limp pieces of pepperoni sitting side-by-side. That ratio was pretty consistent throughout the rest of my meal, and it just doesn’t feel right that it would only contain eight measly single-layered pieces throughout the dang thing.

Unfortunately, this tasted pretty much just how that inside looked: like bland bread that was crispy on top and soft on the inside, with only the occasional faint suggestion of spicy pepperoni or sweet cheese. When the cheese did shine through, it pleasantly reminded me of what’s in the stuffed crust from Papa John’s… and reignited my decades-long desire for Domino’s to introduce their own stuffed crust pizza, but I guess that’s a different story. I also got a strangely earthy aftertaste that I couldn’t quite put my finger on, but it wasn’t great.

Honestly, I got some of the garlic Parmesan seasoning on my hand when I was opening this, and it’s sad to say that licking that off was the most flavorful part of this meal by far.

When my dad is disappointed by junk food that he’d been looking forward to, he’ll lament that “It wasn’t worth the calories,” and that’s exactly how I felt here; maybe you won’t hate this, but if you’re planning on eating something bready, cheesy, and meaty anyway, you definitely can—and should!—do a lot better.

Purchased Price: $9.24
Rating: 5 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (per 1 piece) 170 calories, 8 grams of fat, 15 milligrams of cholesterol, 310 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 7 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Papa Johns Garlic Epic Stuffed Crust Pizza

Papa Johns Garlic Epic Stuffed Crust Pizza Whole

When Papa Johns showed up fashionably late to the stuffed crust pizza party in December of 2020, it may not have been timely, but it certainly arrived with a splash. The somewhat silly-titled “Epic Stuffed Crust” was no different than what Pizza Hut innovated in 1995, and yet, in my humble but experienced opinion, the Papa beat the Hut at its own game.

As a child of the 90s, the stuffed crust is an ever-shining beacon of culinary genius and one that will keep Pizza Hut in my heart forever. But its quality has gone so downhill in recent years that I never go there unless it’s to try a new unique item, unlike Papa Johns, which I keep on speed dial. For its third iteration of the Epic Stuffed Crust, Papa makes the pizza even more Papa-ified by incorporating the signature garlic sauce that makes it stand out amongst the other chains. It’s an Epic Stuffed Crust Pizza with a garlic parmesan seasoned and drizzled crust, original pizza sauce, melty cheese, and your choice of one topping, which comes standard as pepperoni.

Papa Johns Garlic Epic Stuffed Crust Pizza Crust

This review is pretty straightforward – if you like Papa John’s Stuffed Crust and its Special Garlic Dipping Sauce, you’ll like this pie. In fact, I only have two gripes with this pizza.

  1. I just moved to a denser and crazier part of the city where, for some reason, the one topping promotion is $20.99 instead of $13.99, so it cost more than I expected.
  2. I wish there was more garlic.

Papa Johns Garlic Epic Stuffed Crust Pizza Cheese

This is a cheesy, indulgent, downright delicious, and addictive pizza that very well might be my favorite iteration of Papa John’s best-in-class stuffed crust, but it isn’t all that garlicky. The seasoning on the crust is excellent and does very well to elevate the epic-ness of having tons of perfectly ooey gooey cheese in the crust, but it leans much more into the parmesan than the garlic for a nice crunchy umami bite that’s wonderful, but not garlicky.

Papa Johns Garlic Epic Stuffed Crust Pizza Slice

The toppings at Papa Johns have always seemed like the freshest and most abundant of all the mainstream chains, which is why it has been my favorite for over a decade. The sauce is sweet yet robust, the cheese has a nice dense flavor, and the pepperoni brings a nice crispiness and a hint of spice. Speaking of which, any time you’re ordering a pizza from a chain like this, make sure to get it well done. You’re very rarely, if ever, going to get a burnt pie, but these places crank out so many pizzas at such a fast rate they may pull it when it’s a touch underdone, and requesting well done, like I did, will ensure you get a properly cooked and delicious pizza.

While this could use some actual diced garlic like you’d find on garlic knots to really bring the concept home, it’s still an absolutely delicious pie that’s, without a doubt, my favorite new fast food item this year. Plus, if you’re getting this for $14 instead of $21 like my unfortunate metropolitan-dwelling self, it’s a helluva deal, and I’d grab it while you can.

Purchased Price: $20.99 (but should be $13.99 in your area)
Size: Large 1 Topping
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 slice) 420 calories, 16 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 35 milligrams of cholesterol, 990 milligrams of sodium, 39 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 4 grams of sugar, and 16 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Red Baron Fully Loaded Hand Tossed Ultimate Pepperoni Pizza

Though factual evidence isn’t as plentiful as I’d like it to be (which, okay, maybe means my supposition is NOT true), it feels like nowhere are food cost increases more jarring than in the frozen pizza aisle. At most of my local grocery stores, a middle-of-the-road pizza like Tombstone or Red Baron, when not on sale, is somewhere between $6 and $7. A Totino’s — and I know, I know, it’s hardly a “pizza” (but it serves its own sort of purpose, like a McDonald’s hamburger) — is $2. And while I don’t want to be “old man yells at cloud” about it, I remember a time not all that long ago when these things were just a smidge over $1.

And then you get to the “top shelf” frozen pizza. At my closest grocery store, the DiGiorno Fully Stuffed Crust Ultimate Three Meat Pizza is $15.79. Take a moment and let that sink in. (I’ll also remind you that I live in Kansas City, not on a coast, and not on a rock in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.) The Screamin’ Sicilian Stuffed Crust Pepperoni is on sale… for $10.49. It’s hard to imagine anyone paying these prices, but I guess someone is. But when you can get a carryout two-topping from Dominos for slightly less than this, your frozen pie had really better bring it, right?

So is the Red Baron Fully Loaded Hand Tossed Ultimate Pepperoni Pizza worth the sticker shock? Look, I cannot in good conscience ever recommend that someone pay almost $10 for a frozen pizza. I just can’t. However, I can say that, compared to other pizzas at the same price point, this pizza is pretty great.

Though the “hand tossed” crust is pedestrian in terms of taste, it supports the heavy pizza well. There are three types of pepperoni present, regular circular, what seems to be a thicker cut triangle variety, and cubed. Accordingly, each bite is packed full of salty little bits of deliciousness. It’s worth noting that, for frozen pizza pepperoni, these things carry a bit of spice; not enough to make someone with an aversion to heat avoid it, I don’t think, but something that might surprise you if you’re not expecting it. The cheese isn’t snappy, but it stretches a bit, which isn’t ideal if, like me, you go at it too fast and end up with a napalmed chin. It appears to be a blend of mozzarella and cheddar, and there’s some parmesan sprinkled on the top, too, if I’m not mistaken. The sauce tastes like a canned generic pizza sauce, but it works.

Here’s what really struck me about this pizza — the sauce, coupled with the parmesan, really evoked the flavor of a Chef Boyardee home pizza kit. You know the kind. It comes in a box with the dough mix and the canned sauce. (And, in olden times, a packet of grated parmesan and Romano cheese.) If you’ve had that, you’ll have a good sense of how this pizza tastes. It tickled something nostalgic in me and momentarily made me forget that I was an adult paying exorbitant prices for any and everything, including frozen pizza. For that reason — and the fact that the pizza was damn tasty — I’ll buy it again. Provided, of course, that I find it on sale.

Purchased Price: $8.99 ($9.99 regular price)
Size: 28.75 oz
Purchased at: Hy-Vee
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1/6th pizza) 370 calories, 19 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 50 mg of cholesterol, 950 milligrams of sodium, 34 grams of total carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 5 grams of sugar, and 17 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Pizza Hut Cheesesteak Pizza

When eating a cheesesteak, you’re guaranteed to get some steak in EVERY bite because it’s loaded with meat. But that isn’t the case with Pizza Hut’s new Cheesesteak Pizza.

The limited time offering comes with Alfredo sauce, green bell peppers, onions, parmesan oregano seasoning, mozzarella cheese, and Pizza Hut’s new grilled sirloin steak strips on your choice of crust.

The sirloin steak strips are easy to chew, somewhat meaty-tasting, and lightly seasoned with something that reminds me of what’s in the chain’s Italian sausage, but their flavor doesn’t excite my taste buds as much as pepperoni or Italian sausage. Plus, as I mentioned in the opening, there’s not enough of them on the pizza to get the cheesesteak-inspired flavors in every bite. Even after some minor rearranging of toppings to spread the meat a bit more evenly across my pizza’s face, there were still many bites that were sans steak.

Maybe the person who made my pizza was being a little stingy or having a bad day, or perhaps that’s how many there are supposed to be because I imagine adding more steak would increase the price to a higher aMOOunt. (Sorry, horrible steak joke.) Unfortunately, if you think you can fix this by getting more meat, there doesn’t seem to be an option to add extra steak when ordering online.

The meatless bites were okay because the garlicky Alfredo sauce, mozzarella cheese, and parmesan oregano seasoning are flavorful enough that it’s not like eating a pizza’s end crust. But overall, the green bell peppers, onions, and seasoned steak make my taste buds think I’m eating a less flavorful supreme pizza.

Pizza Hut’s Cheesesteak Pizza is a nice change of pace-kind of pizza, but its flavor didn’t wow me. But it did make me yearn for a supreme pizza. Because when eating one, there’s a better chance I’d get some meat with almost every bite, much like an actual cheesesteak.

Purchased Price: $15.99*
Size: Medium
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 slice – hand tossed crust) 220 calories, 9 grams of fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 20 milligrams of cholesterol, 410 milligrams of sodium, 25 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, less than 1 gram of sugar, and 11 grams of protein.

*Because I live on a rock in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, things are a bit pricier here. You’ll probably pay less than I did.