Get the flavors of a pizzeria right in your kitchen with this easy recipe for homemade pepperoni hot pocket using an air fryer. Imagine biting into a crispy, golden crust, revealing a steamy, cheese-filled center, bursting with spicy pepperoni slices. This air fryer pizza pocket recipe transforms simple refrigerated pizza dough into the perfect after school snack or weeknight dinner recipe.
Hot Pocket vs. Calzone vs. Stromboli
Homemade calzone, homemade stromboli, and homemade hot pocket each offer distinct takes on stuffed Italian breads.
- A calzone is a pizza folded into a half-moon shape, filled with cheeses, meats, and vegetables. It’s either baked or fried, resulting in a crispy exterior and a gooey center.
- Stromboli, originating from the United States, differs in preparation and shape. Rolled into a long cylinder, it’s filled with abundant cheese and less dough compared to a calzone. It’s then sliced for easy sharing.
- The hot pocket (pizza pocket) caters to convenience and quick preparation. Designed for microwave cooking, it’s a sealed bread pocket with a variety of fillings, ranging from breakfast to pizza flavors.
The key differences lie in their cooking process, the different ways they are shaped, and cultural origins. Calzones are folded, strombolis are rolled, and hot pockets are designed for quick cooking. Each brings a unique aspect to enjoying Italian-inspired flavors in bread-based dishes.
Why You’ll Love This Pizza Pocket Recipe
TASTE: Cheesy, flavorful filling that pizza lovers will enjoy.
TEXTURE: The outside of the pizza pocket has a crispy texture while the inside is gooey and delicious.
PROS: This recipe is very quick to make. From start to finish is about 15 minutes. Perfect for an after-school snack.
CONS: Depending on the size of your air fryer and the size of your hot pockets, you will likely have to cook these in two batches. Different air fryers have a different capacity.
WOULD I MAKE THIS AGAIN? Definitely! These make very convenient snacks.
METHOD: Air Fryer
Full printable air fryer hot pocket ingredients list and instructions are in the recipe card below.
- Pizza Dough: Use refrigerated pizza dough like Pillsbury pizza crust, Trader Joe’s pizza dough or make your own using my favorite yeast pizza dough recipe. Alternatively, you can use refrigerator crescent roll dough.
- Pizza Sauce: Use pizza sauce or marinara sauce.
- Mozzarella Cheese: Freshly shredded low-moisture mozzarella cheese if preferred but you can also use pre-shredded cheese.
- Seasoning: Use Italian seasoning or make your own Italian seasoning.
- Pepperoni: Any size pepperoni will work. Most deli departments in grocery stores will slice pepperoni fresh for you or you can buy in a package. You can substitute cooked Italian sausage or vegetables like green peppers for the pepperoni.
- Optional: An egg, salt and parmesan cheese, melted butter or olive oil are optional.
Gluten Free Option
Make this gluten free by using gluten free pizza dough and gluten free pepperoni. As always, make sure your work space is free from gluten contamination.
Homemade hot pockets provide a versatile and delicious option for meals or snacks. Here are five delectable filling ideas for own homemade hot pockets, each offering a unique flavor profile. Use your favorite pizza toppings:
- Hot Ham and Cheddar Cheese Hot Pocket: A classic hot pocket combination, this filling brings together the savory taste of ham with the richness of cheddar cheese. This kind of hot pockets is ideal for a comforting and quick lunch option. The key is to use quality ham and a good melt-able cheddar for the perfect hot pocket experience.
- Pesto Chicken Hot Pocket: For a more gourmet twist, try filling your hot pockets with pesto-coated chicken. Add in some mozzarella cheese, and you have a delightful combination that tastes fresh and satisfying. This favorite hot pockets option is perfect for those who enjoy the herby flavors of pesto.
- Spinach and Ricotta Hot Pocket: Combine cooked spinach with ricotta cheese for a vegetarian hot pocket. Add mozzarella cheese and your favorite seasonings. This combination is both nutritious and flavorful.
- BBQ Beef and Onion Hot Pocket: Fill your hot pockets with slow-cooked BBQ beef and caramelized onions and smoky barbecue sauce for a hearty meal. This option is great for utilizing leftover BBQ beef, transforming it into a new and exciting dish.
- Creamy Garlic Mushroom Hot Pocket: Sauté mushrooms and add a creamy parmesan garlic sauce and mozzarella and enclose them in your hot pocket pastry for a rich and indulgent option. This filling is particularly appealing for those who love a creamy texture in their hot pockets.
Each of these fillings can be adjusted according to personal preferences, allowing you to create the perfect hot pocket for your palate. Experiment with different cheeses, sauces, and proteins to find your ideal combination. Making your own homemade hot pockets not only allows for customization but also ensures you’re eating fresh and wholesome ingredients. Enjoy the process of creating these tasty, portable, and satisfying meals that can easily become a household favorite for anyone who is a fan of hot pockets.
Full step-by-step hot pocket air fryer instructions are in the recipe card below. You can print or save to Pinterest for later.
Enjoy these homemade air fryer hot pockets. These instructions are for air frying. Instructions for cooking in the oven are listed below.
Step 1: Unroll your refrigerated pizza dough or roll out your homemade pizza dough with a rolling pin to about ¼-inch thick. Cut your pizza dough into 8 even squares.
If your pizza dough is sticking to the surface place it on parchment paper or use all purpose flour to create a lightly floured surface.
Step 2: Spread a spoonful of pizza sauce on half of each square, leaving space around edges. Pizza sauce on the edges will prevent the crust from sealing closed but it will still be tasty so don’t stress too much about perfection.
Step 3: Add a tablespoon or two of mozzarella cheese on the sauce.
Step 4: Place two pepperoni slices on top of the cheese.
Fold the dough over, covering the sauce and cheese. Crimp edges with a fork.
Optional: In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and 1 tablespoon of water to make an egg wash. Brush this mixture over the top and sides of the hot pockets.
Step 5: Add a small slit on top of each pocket, then top with Italian seasoning and more cheese.
Optional: you can sprinkle with salt and use grated parmesan cheese.
Place air fry pizza pockets in a single layer in the air fryer basket.
Step 6: Cook the air fryer hot pockets at 370°F for 5 minutes until golden brown.
Cook time will vary depending on the size of the calzones/hot pockets. Allow them to cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.
Optional: Brush melted butter or olive oil over the top of the top of the hot pocket.
Why Use An Egg Wash
Using an egg wash on the top of a homemade pizza pocket serves several purposes. It helps in browning the dough, giving it a golden, appealing color when baked. The egg wash also creates a glossy sheen on the surface, making the pizza pocket more visually appetizing. Additionally, it helps any toppings or seasonings stick to the dough during baking. Egg wash can also be used along the edges before crimping which will help seal edges, ensuring the filling stays contained within the pizza pocket.
Baking these air fryer hot pockets in the conventional oven is easy and takes just an additional 10 minutes for this cooking method. It will yield a flaky hot pocket.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
- Prepare hot pockets as instructed up until putting them into the air fryer.
- Place the homemade hot pockets on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Bake in the center rack of the oven for 15 minutes.
- Remove from the oven when the top is golden brown. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.
See More Air Fryer Recipes
Love canned dough? Here are 21 Air Fryer Pillsbury Biscuit Recipes.
- While filling your pizza pocket crust, be careful not to get ingredients caught into the edges while sealing. Moisture prevents the two sides from sealing together.
- Cheese melts and shrinks when cooked, so fill your calzone generously with cheese and other fillings. Sparse filling leads to a flat hot pocket.
- If you have time, apply egg wash on the top of the calzones; it gives the crust a nice, golden, crispy outside.
Store leftover homemade pizza pockets by first allowing them to cool completely. Then, wrap them individually in aluminum foil or plastic wrap, or place them in an airtight container. Refrigerate for up to 3-4 days. For longer storage, freeze them in a single layer on a cookie sheet before transferring to a freezer-safe bag (Ziploc freezer bag) or container, where they can be kept for up to 2 months. To reheat, use an oven or toaster oven for best texture.
To reheat leftover hot pockets in an air fryer, preheat the air fryer to 350°F (175°C). Place the leftover pizza pockets in the air fryer basket in a single layer, ensuring they’re not overcrowded. Heat for 3-4 minutes if refrigerated or 10-12 minutes if it’s frozen hot pockets. Monitor to make sure they don’t cook too long. Check to ensure they’re heated thoroughly and the crust is crispy before serving.
Frequently Asked Questions
This hot pocket air fryer recipe does not require flipping the hot pocket. Due to the vents on the top of the pizza pocket flipping it would allow cheese to drip out while cooking.
Yes, preheating your air fryer helps achieve a consistent cooking temperature, resulting in evenly cooked pizza pockets.
Seal the edges of the pockets firmly, and avoid overstuffing them. Avoid getting sauce inside the seam. Making a few small slits on top can also help release steam.
Tips For Using An Air Fryer Safely
Air fryers offer a healthier cooking method, using less oil than deep frying and relying on hot air circulation like a convection oven. Here are key tips for using your air fryer:
- Preheat the air fryer for consistent cooking results. This step ensures immediate cooking and takes less time due to lower wattage.
- Avoid overcrowding the basket to ensure even cooking. Overcrowding can lead to less crispiness. Cook in batches for larger meals.
- Adjust cooking times and temperatures, as air fryers cook faster than ovens. Experiment to find the right balance. If converting an oven recipe, lower the air fryer temperature about 25°F compared to the oven temperature.
- Clean the air fryer after each use to maintain taste and functionality. Be cautious of the hot exterior and basket.
An air fryer is a versatile addition to any kitchen, enabling healthier cooking of favorite foods with less oil while cooking an easy meal.
Air Fryer Pizza Pocket Recipe
- Air Fryer
- 1 can Pillsbury pizza dough or make your own
- ¼ cup pizza sauce
- ¾ cup mozzarella cheese shredded
- ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 16 pepperoni slices
- 1 egg optional
- 1 tablespoon water
- Roll out your pizza dough and cut it into 8 even squares
- On each square, place a spoonful of sauce on one half (corner to corner). Leave a slight space around the edges.
- Sprinkle a tablespoon or two of cheese.
- Top the cheese with two pepperoni.
- Fold the sauce-less side of dough over onto the size with sauce and cheese. Crimp the edges with a fork.
- (OPTIONAL) Make an egg wash in a small bowl by whisking together the egg and 1 tablespoon water. Brush the egg wash over the top and sides of the calzones.
- Make a small slit in the top of the pocket then sprinkle with Italian seasoning and more mozzarella cheese. Optional: sprinkle with salt and parmesan cheese instead of mozzarella.
- Air fry for 5 minutes at 370° F. Pizza pockets should be a nice golden color and cheese on top should be browned.
- Optional: Brush golden hot pocket with melted butter or olive oil.
- Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.
- You can use a variety of toppings in these pizza pockets! For example: Alfredo sauce, mozzarella, and cooked chicken!
- These pizza pockets will keep in an airtight container or bag for 2-3 days. To reheat, just air fry at 350° F for 3 minutes.
- Preheat your air fryer to 350°F (175°C).
- Remove the hot pocket from its packaging and place it in the air fryer basket. Avoid using the crisping sleeve that comes with the hot pocket for microwaving. The crisper sleeve is for use in the conventional oven.
- Cook the hot pocket for about 11-13 minutes, until it’s heated through and the outside is crispy.
- Carefully remove the hot pocket from the air fryer, as it will be hot, and let it cool for a couple of minutes before eating.