Crispy yet soft Japanese milk bread topped with savory tangy oregano-flecked pizza sauce, gooey mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, green peppers, and red onions make up this Japanese pizza toast. So good, it’ll give you nostalgia for a memory you’ve never even had.
Toast is still having it’s moment in the sun. Remember when avocado toast seemed like such a crazy thing to spend money on? Now, avocado toast is as common as burgers. Toast cafes are still a thing – I think it’s safe to say toast is here to stay. Toast is definitely a thing in Japan, it’s a staple at kissaten or retro Japanese coffee shops. Kissaten are roaring back into style. Everyone wants a little bit of that old school cozy diner coffee-shop vibe, which is exactly what kissaten are.
Earlier this year, Mike and I were super lucky that we got some traveling in before no travel became a thing. We happened to celebrate our wedding anniversary with a perfect pizza toast snack. It was a out of the blue super rainy day in Tokyo and we had planned on wandering around but instead we spent a good chunk of time in the cutest little cafe/bar where I had a coffee and Japanese purin and Mike had the best ever pizza toast and a beer. It was gooey and cheesy and the toast was amazing because Japan really knows how to make bread.
What is Japanese pizza toast?
To really know Japanese pizza toast, you have to visit a kissaten. Kissaten are Japanese style-tea rooms/coffee shops. They serve sweets and tea, coffee, sandwiches, spaghetti, and of course, pizza toast. They were super popular in the Showa era and have a kind of 70s vibe: very dark, wooden, and full of booths and classic vintage striped diner ware.
Pizza used to be a specialty item in Japan, very uncommon and not at all widely available. In the 60s, one kissaten took it upon themselves to create pizza toast, a simpler, easy to make kind of pizza snack. Maybe you think pizza toast is a poor imitation of pizza, the sad slice of bread that you make into toast when payday is no where near. But really, pizza toast is something that should be celebrated. When done right, it tastes like pizza, but not. Pizza toast is its own thing, and what a glorious thing it is.
How to make Japanese pizza toast
- Sauce. Spread a generous amount of sauce on your bread. You can do a double decker, like I did, or a single slice of toast.
- Top. Add a generous bed of cheese then your favorite pizza toppings of choice.
- Bake. Bake it in the oven or a toaster oven until the cheese is gooey and melty and the bread is crisp. Serve it up on a retro diner plate with a knife and fork and enjoy!
Japanese pizza toast ingredients
Bread. Japanese milk bread or shokupan is ideal, but you can make pizza toast on any bread. If I don’t have any milk bread, I prefer a nice fluffy soft white bread. Sometimes I cut the crusts off.
Pizza sauce. Go ahead and use your favorite pizza sauce. If you don’t have any pizza sauce on hand, you can simmer a bit of crushed tomatoes with garlic powder and oregano, the oregano will make it taste just like pizza sauce.
Pizza toppings. Here’s where you can get creative! I went with classic toppings: pepperoni, onions, and green peppers. You can do ham and cheese, pineapple (I love pineapple on pizza), mushrooms, caramelized onions, basil, broccoli, roasted potatoes, meatballs…I could go on and on.
Cheese. Of course cheese pull mozzarella is a fave and what I used but again, you can use whatever stretchy cheese you like: provolone, cheddar, pepper jack, fontina, gruyere, or even brie or burrata!
Japanese Pizza Toast
Japanese pizza toast is crispy yet soft Japanese milk bread topped with savory pizza sauce, gooey cheese, pepperoni, and green peppers.
- 2 tbsp pizza sauce
- 2 slices milk bread see notes
- 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
- 10 slices pepperoni or to taste
- 1/4 bell pepper sliced, or to taste
- 1/8 cup red onion sliced, or to taste
Evenly spread the pizza sauce on both slices of bread then top with cheese.
Place one slice on top of the other, with the cheese facing out. Top with green peppers, pepperoni, and red onions.
Toast in the oven until the bread is crisp and the cheese is melty, about 5-7 minutes at 350°F.
Store in a covered container in the fridge for up to 2 days.
To reheat: toast in a 350°F oven for 5-7 minutes or until the cheese is melty and toast is reheated throughout.
Japanese Pizza Toast
Amount Per Serving
Calories 360 Calories from Fat 106
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat 3.6g23%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.