Pizza Hut, one of America's favorite pizza chains, just launched its "cheesiest pizza yet" and, like many that have come before it, it's half pie, half appetizer. The chain's new Mozzarella Poppers Pizza starts as a regular pizza (you can add whatever toppings you want), and there are also little baby mozzarella sticks baked into the crust. If you want, you can leave them on and eat as you normally would, or you can pop them off to eat separately with marinara.
We did both, and we're conflicted.
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Thanks to our friends at Pizza Hut, The Daily Meal was able to taste test the Mozzarella Poppers Pizza on the day of its launch. The concept is great (who would ever complain about mozzarella sticks and pizza conveniently packed into one dish?), but the execution was so-so.
Staffers thought the pizza itself was fine, though it was nearly devoid of sauce. A side of marinara for the mozzarella sticks was a saving grace. As for the crust, we tried one slice by picking the mozzarella bites off, and another slice by biting into the mozzarella bites when they were still attached to the host.
"With the mozzarella bite on the crust, it's a nice blend of flavors. More cheese on a cheesy pizza is never a bad thing," one editor said. Without them, the crust was bland.
"This isn't really special to me after having the stuffed garlic knots," another editor said, speaking to Mozzarella Poppers Pizza's predecessor, another appetizer/pizza hybrid featuring 16 garlic knots stuffed with melted cheese baked into the crust. Before that, the Hut debuted its Garden Specialty Pizza with vegetables and plant-based Italian "sausage" - another winner. Mozzarella Poppers isn't bad. It's just OK.
Though if you want to save money on pizza and an appetizer, this is the way to go. Price is subject to vary by location, but a large Mozzarella Poppers Pizza without toppings is $13.99 in New York City. One large cheese pizza (without the poppers) is also $13.99, and an order of eight mozzarella sticks on their own is $5.29, which makes this option a pretty good deal.
If you want to try it for yourself, this limited-time-only specialty 'za is available nationwide right now. And since Valentine's Day is almost here, Pizza Hut has also brought back its heart-shaped pizza. If you want pizza without funny business on the crust, though, here's where to find the best pizza in your state.