Cactus Bread {Copycat Recipe}

filed under: Dessert on August 30, 2019

If you have ever tried Cactus Bread, you are a lucky soul. It is a sweet, soft, slightly spiced dessert pizza that folks who go to Pizza Ranch make a special point to get! I also have an Apple Cactus Bread if you want a little extra flavor! Just in case you love desserts, don’t miss my Piggy Pie Dessert and Blueberry Lemon Heaven Dessert

Taking A Slice of Cactus Bread

What is Cactus Bread?

Cactus Bread is the name given to the cinnamon-sugar glazed dessert pizza found at The Pizza Ranch restaurants. The actual Pizza Ranch recipe is a closely guarded secret, but I think I have cracked the code. I spent an entire day making different versions and trying out several varieties of crusts and toppings. I am confident in telling you that this is the best homemade version you will EVER try!

Cactus Bread is broken down into 4 main components:

  • Pizza Dough
  • Cinnamon Butter Topping
  • Crumble Topping
  • Glaze

While the actual pizza only takes about 20 minutes to make (total!) I want to break it down so that you are able to fully understand each technique before starting.

Pizza Dough for Cactus Bread Dessert Pizza

Pizza Dough

I have to tell you, I tested 5 different homemade pizza dough recipes before settling on this one. Why did this one end up winning?

  • it has 2 ingredients
  • it is softer, a bit denser, which holds up well to the sweet
  • it requires no rising time

So let me break it down. The dough is made up plain greek yogurt and self-rising flour. You mix those together in a bowl until mostly combined. Pour it out onto a clean countertop and start kneading. This only takes about 5 minutes, you are basically trying to get a smooth consistency to the dough. After having made this so many times, I can tell you how to problem solve!

Dough too Dry?

Add in more greek yogurt 1 tablespoon at a time. Knead it in until combined and see if it is a perfect consistency.

Dough too Wet/Sticky?

Add in more self-rising flour, 1 tablespoon at a time. Add it during the kneading phase and knead until it is fully incorporated.

Roll out the dough to the size of a pizza stone. It will be about 1/2 inch thick, and that’s perfect. Place on a pizza stone in the oven for 5-6 minutes. You want the dough to not look wet in the middle and for the edges to just start to brown. Remove and top with cinnamon topping.

PRO TIP: You can also make this dough in a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment.

Spreading butter and cinnamon mixture over pizza dough for Cactus Bread

Cinnamon Butter Topping

This couldn’t be easier. Take butter, granulated sugar, and cinnamon and put into a microwave-safe dish. Heat for 20-30 seconds then stir. Using a pastry brush, get an even layer all over the semi-baked pizza dough. You may think that the layer looks a little thin, but trust me, it’s enough.

Sprinkling Crumble on Cactus Bread

Crumble Topping

Arguably, this is my favorite part of cactus bread and what I spent the most time perfecting. I settled on the same crumble that I use for my Lemon Cream Cheese Coffee Cake. It’s perfect and goes perfect with this recipe.

Grab these ingredients:

  • butter
  • flour
  • confectioners sugar

The butter should be cold and cut into small cubes. Add all ingredients to a bowl and using a fork or your hands (I prefer hands, and often let the kids help out with this step) and combine all ingredients, making sure the butter is broken down and no larger than a pea when you are done. That’s it!

Cactus Bread Before Baking and After Baking

There is no shortage of crumble on this pizza and that is exactly how it should be! Once you get the toppings on the semi-baked crust, you can do the final bake. Pop it back into the oven for 6-7 minutes, or until the crumble is just starting to turn golden brown. The pizza should rest for about 5 minutes before adding the glaze.

Drizzling Glaze on Warm Cactus Bread

Easy Glaze

Ok, so I know this might be controversial, but I kept the glaze as SIMPLE as possible. It is simply confectioners’ sugar and milk. You take 1 cup of confectioners’ sugar and 1-2 tablespoons of milk. (I prefer whole milk.) Start with 1 tablespoon then add more milk as needed to reach a loosed consistency. Pour the glaze over the warm cactus bread. You are now done and ready to serve!

Overhead view of finished Cactus Bread Drenched in Warm Glaze

BAM! That looks almost as good as it tastes! My mouth waters just thinking about it.

Tips & Tricks for 2-Ingredient Pizza Dough

Can you make this dough ahead of time?

Sure! Just make the dough and knead it to a smooth consistency. Wrap it in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator until you are ready to use, up to 3 days.

What can you use instead of self-rising flour?

If you don’t happen to have self-rising flour on hand, you can make your own! The recipe is simple. I like the recipe I saw on King Arthur Flour’s website years ago.

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Just whisk everything together in a bowl and use for this recipe. (Ingredient amounts are for making 2 cups of flour, which is what you need for this recipe.)

Can you use a flavored yogurt?

I don’t recommend it for this recipe. You certainly don’t need any more sweetness (trust me, it has enough!). Plain greek yogurt is preferred, the brand name is not as important.

One Slice Cut From Cactus Bread

Can I use Store-Bought Pizza Dough?

Yes! If you have pizza dough to use, line a 9×13-inch baking dish with the dough. Bake the dough for 6 minutes at the oven temperature suggested on the pizza dough packaging. Next, remove it from the oven and add the toppings. Put the baking dish back in the oven to bake for an additional 12 minutes (or until the pizza crust is cooked). Let the bread sit for a few minutes before drizzling the glaze.

Close Up of the Crumble and Glaze on Cactus Bread

Love this Recipe? Try These Other Popular Dessert Pizza’s

Fruit Pizza {2 Ways}

Peanut Butter Dessert Pizza

Heath Brownie Dessert Pizza

Blueberry Pie Dessert Pizza

And just in case you want a more traditional Pizza Crust:

Homemade Pizza Dough

5 from 1 vote
Cactus Bread Recipe
Cactus Bread
Prep Time
8 mins
Cook Time
12 mins
Cooling Time
5 mins
Total Time
25 mins

Cactus Bread is a sweet, soft, slightly spiced dessert pizza that folks who go to Pizza Ranch make a special point to get!

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cactus bread, dessert pizza
Servings: 8 servings
Author: Amanda Rettke -
Crumble Topping
  • ½ cup (1 stick or 113g) cold butter, cubed
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • cup confectioners' sugar
Bread Dough
  • 3 cups self-rising flour
  • 2 cups plain greek yogurt
Cinnamon Butter Topping
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1-2 tablespoons milk
Crumble Topping
  1. In a medium bowl, add the cold cubed butter, flour, and confectioners sugar. Using your fingers, sift the flour mixtur over the butter and then start breaking down each cube into pea-sized pieces. When done, every ingredient should be well incorporated. (It is ok to have a few chunks.) Place in the refrigerator until ready to add the crumble.

Bread Dough
  1. Preheat oven to 475°F.

  2. In a large bowl, add the self-rising flour and yogurt. Use a spoon to mix together as well as you can, then switch to your clean hands. Mix with hands until ingredients are coming together and then turn out onto a clean surface to knead for about 5 minutes. If the dough is too dry (crumbly), add a tablespoon of yogurt. If it is too wet, add a tablespoon of self-rising flour.

  3. Once the dough is kneaded and smooth, roll it out into a 10-12 inch circle. It should be about 1/4 inch thick.

  4. Place dough on a parchment-lined pizza stone or a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the edges just start to brown. Remove from oven. (It will bake again once toppings are added.)

  1. While the dough is baking for the first time, melt together butter, sugar, and cinnamon in microwave for about 30 seconds. Stir.

  2. In a separate bowl, mix confectioners' sugar and 1 tablespoon milk until smooth and creamy. If too thick, and in another tablespoon milk. Set aside.

  1. After the dough has been removed from the oven, brush the cinnamon butter over the dough in a thin layer, covering the entire surface.
  2. Sprinkle the cold crumble topping over the cinnamon butter, getting out to the edges.

  3. Place back into the oven for 6-8 minutes, or until the crumble no longer appears wet and is starting to turn golden brown.

  4. When done, remove from the oven and let sit for about 5-10 minutes.
  5. After it has cooled down a little bit, drizzle with all of the glaze. Serve immediately.

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  • nancy k says:

    Yikes…this is the Weight Watchers dough recipe that I use constantly to make individual pizzas. I LOVE it and the fact it is so easy to adjust because the proportions of yogurt to flour is 1/1. So I usually is 1/3 cup of each to make a small pizza and often use low fat sour cream if I am out of yogurt…works just as well.
    I can’t wait to try this sweetened up version…it looks sooo yummy. I just never thought to use this dough for anything but pizza but I do know my niece uses it to make “bagels” when she is in the mood and wants a quick solution.
    Thanks for sharing…I am off to make one right now!!

  • Paula says:

    Thanks, I’ve been looking for this for years. I’m sure my weight and blood sugars won’t like it.

  • Karen says:

    Too sweet for my peeps

  • Michelle says:

    What a hit. Decided to try half a batch just to sample. Took it to work and gone in minutes. Was requested to make a double batch tomorrow. Awesome and easy. Love it.

  • Appleberry says:

    Do you use 2 cups or 3 cups of flour? In your substitute comments above, you mentioned needing 2 cups. But recipe card says 3 cups. Thanks

    • Elizabeth Keeney says:

      Hi, Appleberry! I work with iambaker and am happy to help with questions. Use 3 cups of self-rising flour in this recipe. I think you are looking at making your own self-rising flour if you don’t have any on hand. That recipe calls for 2 cups of all-purpose flour, plus baking powder, plus salt. I hope this clears it up. Have a wonderful day!