By Cassie Johnston
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This post was updated in February 2016.
If you ever find yourself in a Southern Indiana grocery store and see a young couple standing in the frozen novelties section shouting, “I LOVE TOTINO’S PIZZA ROLLS” at one another, stop and introduce yourself because that would be me and my handsome husband.
*waves* Hi, we’re dorks.
It all comes from this commercial, which is all kinds of ridiculous and hilarious. And that means it is fair game to turn into a Johnston Household Inside Joke. We scream “I LOVE TOTINO’S PIZZA ROLLS” way more than I feel comfortable admitting. Some of my very best slumber parties in middle school were punctuated by the burn of too-hot pizza roll filling on my tongue. Pizza Rolls are little deep-fried nostalgia packets. Delicious and sentimental!
Unfortunately, Totino’s Pizza Rolls don’t love me (or more accurately, my body). They are so delicious and junkfooderific, but my body just doesn’t seem to do so well with processed foods like these anymore. Even if my mind believes everything in moderation (including the occasional pizza roll dinner), my body doesn’t seem to want to get on board. So alas, I made my own. Are they exactly the same? No. Do they squash my nostalgia-driven pizza roll cravings? Absolutely!
When I first decided to try my hand at my own pizza rolls, I struggled with trying to figure out how to do the crust/pocket/dough in a way that was delicious, healthy and efficient. I wasn’t about to make my own dough and roll out 40,000 mini squares. Inspiration finally struck when I made baked mozzarella sticks—wonton wrappers! PERFECT.
Wonton wrappers are typically used when frying, but they also bake up beautifully. They get crispy and golden and hold onto filling like a champ. My grocery store (the one where you’ll find me screaming about pizza rolls) sells them in the natural foods cooler near the tofu and other meat substitutes.
For the filling, you can go in whatever direction makes you happy. I’ve made these without meat, and they are quite tasty, but my absolute favorite way to make them is supreme style with sausage, mushrooms, peppers, and diced pepperoni. A word of warning, if you do go the supreme route, you’re going to result in some greasy pizza rolls. Just dab the grease off with a paper towel and happily go on with your day. Even with the homemade tweaks, I still wouldn’t consider these an everyday healthy option. Everything in moderation!
And yes, we definitely started shouting, “I LOVE JOHNSTON’S PIZZA ROLLS” while consuming these. It’s our bit. We’re gonna go with it. Take it on the road. We’ll make millions!
5 from 1 reviews
Skip the unrecognizable ingredients, and make up a batch of Baked Homemade Pizza Rolls right in your own kitchen! Perfect for game day snacking.
Veggie-option: leave out the Italian sausage and the pepperoni when making the filling. You may need to add more olive oil to keep the mushroom mixture form sticking while cooking.
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I looooooove pizza rolls. They also remind me of my childhood!! I love the use of wontons for these.
These were a big hit tonight at my house. Thanks for sharing.
Totinos pizza rolls are definitely one of my favorite things ever. I’m so glad you decide to make this version so that I can eat my beloved pizza rolls without fear of dying from shock if I dared glance at the ingredient list! <3
Plinkett probably loves pizza rolls more than you do.
If you haven’t watched Plinkett, you need to.
oh lord have mercy. i am making these and will transport back to my childhood. yum!
My roommate and I used to HOUSE pizza rolls in college. OH man, I don’t think I’ve had one since about 2001.
Great idea of using won-ton wrappers! They really are amazing little culinary miracles, aren’t they? :)
This is a really great idea. I love pizza rolls!
These look terrific. Part of me still wants to fry them though!
I’ve never had Totinos, but these look AH-mazing! Pinned!
These look amazing! I will have to try them.
this is brilliant.
These look amazing–but the big question is: Will they cure a hangover like the Totinos pizza rolls? :)
These look amazing. Any idea how to freeze these so you can make lots ahead of time? Never know when a pizza roll craving will hit.
I would freeze them before baking. Just lay them out on a baking sheet, freeze, and then once they are frozen solid, pop into a freezer bag.
Would you thaw them out before cooking them?
I don’t think so. I’d just put them in frozen, and just add a few minutes cooking time.
I froze mine and my husband loved how easy they were for him to eat when I went out of town! I par-baked mine by baking for only 8 minutes then froze them on a cookie sheet and transferred to a baggie for freezer storage. To heat them up just put them in a toaster over for about 15 minutes on 350. they turn out really nice!
When I first saw this, I thought, “Oh, no, are those in wonton wrappers? Please don’t let them be in wonton wrappers.”
And then they were in wonton wrappers. :)
Cassie, I want to try these because I love your story!! Hilarious writing. Oh, and I also love pizza.
Does it really taste like the original? I’ve used wonton wrappers in other recipes and they’ve always seemed more like a crispy noodle to me rather than a bready-like replacement.
It’s enough to satisfy a pizza roll craving in a healthy and light way, but no, it isn’t exactly like the original. When I made them, the very edges were crispy, but the middle part of the wrapper was bread-y because it soaks up the filling (hence the pink tint to them).
These are pretty darn good! Yes, not quite the same as the frozen kind, but as you said, way healthier. after seeing all the crap that is in the totinos kind (cheese substitute? ick), I never bought them again. And these are pretty easy to make too, once I got the amount of filling right. Thanks for the recipe!
I love this! I used to call these pillow pizzas as a kid. Well, I still do. These look great and I’ll definitely be making them soon.
Pretty sure Dashing Dish came up with this.. and you only changed one thing, everything else was pretty much exact. You should at least give her credit. http://dashingdish.com/recipe/skinny-pizza-rolls/
I’ve actually never been to that (beautiful) blog before! As you can tell from my other recipes, I make sure to credit when I get the idea from other places. It’s really important to me because I’ve had my original recipes stolen before and it’s absolutely not fun. Great minds think alike, I guess.
And now I’m totally adding that blog to my reader. So much pretty.
Cassie…thank you for posting this recipe. I am inspired. And it is so fun to see when “great minds think alike”…
Do you think this would work with phyllo sheets?
Hmmm. It’s worth a shot! I think the end result would be a lot flakier and fragile. Let me know if you try it!
Can these be frozen?
I haven’t tried it, but I don’t see why not. I’d just pop them into the freezer to flash freeze right before the step where they go into the oven. Then pop them into a freezer bag.
I tried making these today but mine came out all soggy looking, nothing like the picture shown. I folowed the recipe exactly. I dont know what went wrong.
Hmm, that’s weird! If anything, wonton wrappers usually bake up TOO crispy and hard. I’m not sure what went wrong either. My batch was super crispy on the edges and a little softer in the middle. Sorry they didn’t work out for you!
My first batch came out the same way. I think a lot depends on your oven and the humidity where you live. I’d say cut back a lot on the sauce, which I’m pretty sure caused mine to be soggy, and save it for dipping!
We made these last night after I pinned them on Pinterest. Wow! Amazing!
We stopped buying prepared foods a few months ago and we try to find healthy alternatives. Pizza rolls are one thing we were missing. These are wonderful! We added some other veggie options and cooked up some turkey sausage too. We froze a handful of them for future use too.
Thanks so much!
I love you so much for this! I was recently diagnosed with lupus nephritis (of the kidneys) and have a ton of dietary restrictions (when I have never once been on a diet in my life). I nearly lost it about 2 weeks ago when I realized I could never, ever have a totinos pizza roll ever again. I mean, I only had them like twice a year now that I’m an “adult” but when you want them, you HAVE TO HAVE THEM!
So I’m super excited to try this recipe!!!!
I am so excited to try these tomorrow!!
Do you think these would work with layered phyllo dough? I have some I would love to use up.
Hmmmm, maybe! I do think the phyllo dough will make for a flakier texture, but it’s worth a shot.
Made these tonight and they were a success!! Being added to the Super Bowl spread :)
These look fantastic! I love the spin on this – definitely need to try it. After reading the side of some of the foods from my youth, I just have to shake my head at the stuff in it. I’d rather learn more “from scratch” cooking.
I made these for us last week and we were really happy with them. I halved the recipe and can’t want to use the rest of the wonton wrappers this week to make more! Thanks for a yummy new lunch treat.
Has anyone tried to freeze these? Can they be microwaved from frozen instead of baked, or would I need to bake them, let them cool and then freeze for that? I’m trying to find a healthy alternative to Totino’s that my son can take to school. Any feedback is appreciated!
My sister told me about this recipe. Living in the UK now, and I usually gorge myself on Pizza Rolls when I’m visiting the States. Now I can make them anytime I want. I’ll be sure to introduce them to my neighbours. *g*
I was wondering if using fresh lasagna sheets would work too? And I echo the question about how to prepare them for a school lunch. My best guess would be to freeze them unbaked and bake them first thing in the morning then pop them into a thermos. Hopefully they wouldn’t turn to mush. I might add an extra granola bar to the lunch bags the first time I try that.
I’ve never used lasagna sheets for it, but I imagine they’d not crisp up very well (just judging by how lasagna sheets act in a lasagna).
I just found you while googling for a healthy version of Totino’s Pizza Rolls! :) LOVE your blog!!
These look so tasty and even better than anything from the frozen aisle!
I am 57 y.o. and used to make these for my son and family since the early 80’s, I am now going to make them for my 15 y.o. grandson’s birthday.
What a genius idea! I love these little pizza rolls!
this just reminded me that I have been wanting to try these since I first saw them years ago, happening in my kitchen this weekend for sure
Dear god, these are beautiful. I’m doing Whole30 now but plan on making these next month. Thanks for sharing!
Can I fry this instead of baking it?
I’ve never tried it, but I don’t see why not!
They look great! Could you start cooking the sausage first and then add the veggies, so you could reduce or skip the oil? Drain on paper towels before adding the sauce. The idea of saving some of the sauce for dipping sounds good.
You could try it! Let us know how it works out!
i’m loving it. and its really great for me i can made it at home. thanks
I know this is an old post – but I’m commenting anyway !! :)
We used to make these but fry them I AM SO HAPPY to see the baked ones turn out so crunchy. I never thought of baking them. We don’t pre-cook the filling, we just grab pizza ‘toppings’ and pack them in. sauce, pepperoni, mush, green peppers, and roll then cook.
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