There was a small takeout restaurant in Manhattan that specialized in pizza rolls. These were whole pizza crust dough filled with vegetables or chicken, marinara sauce, and mozzarella cheese. The filled dough was rolled up to form a log. The ends were sealed and the roll was baked in a very high heat pizza oven until the dough was crisp and the filling was oozing and hot.
I used to pick up two or three at a time plus a small container of their marinara sauce for dipping. I would eat one roll for two days. I froze the other ones for when impromptu guests came to visit and I needed a quick snack, especially for kids. Reheating the roll was easy. I would then slice it into about 10 pieces that were an inch thick and serve with marinara and lots of napkins.
The little neighborhood place closed, leaving me without a resource for pizza rolls. Yet, not all was lost. I discovered that there are supermarket frozen pizza rolls that are actually tasty. They come with a variety of fillings. The outer dough is super crispy, and they cook in my air fryer in minutes.
To be clear, frozen pizza rolls aren’t really the rolls I remember. But they do taste similar. These are more like little packets of goodness that can be eaten in one or two bites. While not necessary, I think these are best served with a dipping sauce.
Tips for Air Frying Frozen Pizza Rolls
As with most prepared frozen snacks, it is best not to defrost them before cooking in the air fryer. Always cook pizza rolls in a single layer so they don’t fuse together. You can cook these in batches so that you can refill your serving platter as soon as the first batch disappears.
High heat is preferable for getting the pizza rolls to crisp up. I like to aim for 380°F to 400°F for good results. You might have to experiment with your particular air fryer.
These little packets can get pretty hot inside. To avoid burning your mouth, allow the hot pizza rolls to rest for a few minutes before serving. And, I recommend either a marinara or cheese dipping sauce to accompany the rolls.
Air Fryer Frozen Pizza Rolls with Dipping Sauce
- 1 bag or box of your favorite frozen pizza rolls
- Extra virgin olive oil spray or pump
Total time:7 min – Prep time:1 min – Cook time:6 min – Serves:4 people
1. Preheat your air fryer to 380°F for 5 minutes.
2. Give the basket or crisper plate of the fryer a light spray of olive oil. Place the pizza rolls in a single layer in the air fryer. Cook the rolls for 3 minutes. Shake the basket or flip the pizza rolls and continue to cook until they are crispy on the outside and hot on the inside, approximately 3 minutes. Repeat until all of the pizza rolls are cooked. You can keep the cooked rolls in a warm oven on a sheet pan until all are cooked.
3. Serve the pizza rolls while hot with a bowl or individual ramekins of marinara sauce for dipping.
Marinara Dipping Sauce
Make the marinara dipping sauce ahead of time. You can store this in the fridge for a few days, or freeze it for up to 6 months. Of course, you could always use your favorite jarred marinara sauce if pressed for time.
- 2 TBS extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 of a medium yellow or white onion, minced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp dried basil
- Pinch of cayenne pepper flakes (optional)
- 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- Water, as needed
- Salt and pepper to taste
Total time: 45 min – Prep time: 5 min – Cook time: 40 min – Serves: 6 people
1. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion and garlic to the oil and cook until just fragrant, approximately 4 minutes. Stir in the herbs and cayenne and cook for another minute.
2. Add the tomatoes and sugar to the pot and stir to combine. Bring the sauce to a low boil over medium-high heat. Turn the heat down to low and gently simmer the sauce for approximately 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add a few tablespoons of water if the sauce becomes too thick while cooking.
3. Turn off the heat and allow the sauce to cool for 15 minutes. For a smoother sauce, blend with an immersion blender or a countertop blender.
4. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve with your pizza rolls. This sauce will keep for a few days in the refrigerator. You can freeze it in an air-tight container for up to 6 months.
What Else to Serve with Pizza Rolls
While pizza rolls are a great appetizer all by themselves, it can be fun to build a large platter of one bite finger foods to accompany your pizza rolls. I have a platter that is approximately 14 inches in diameter that I will place a dipping sauce bowl in the center of and surround it with lots of colorful nibbles. This usually keeps my guests occupied while I prepare dinner. Here are a few ideas for filling a large platter or two medium-sized ones:
- Air fryer pizza rolls
- Cooked shrimp with tails on
- Large pitted green olives
- Air fryer frozen mozzarella sticks
- Salami slices
- Fresh snap peas
- Mini smoked hot dog links
- Baby carrots
This is a very attractive plate when arranged similar to a pinwheel or a pizza. Each section, or wedge, can be a different color to set them apart. For instance, place brown foods, then green, followed by white or red, and finished with orange. Be creative and make it fun. Serve with toothpicks and cocktail napkins.