Pizza Hut's Cheez-It Pizza: Does the crossover gimmick deliver?

Jay Boller

Jay Boller

Restaurants are becoming increasingly aware that millennial motivations can be reduced to two things: Instagramability and nostalgia. 

With that in mind, Pizza Hut concocted the Cheez-It Pizza, which takes your favorite childhood cracker and balloons it into a realm of ridiculousness that demands smartphone camera snaps. As a trashy gimmick, it's a whole lotta fun. As a food item you're chewing, tasting, and digesting? It's mostly forgettable, save for one unmistakable dash of food-science flavor wizardry. 

The Cheez-It Pizza is more like four mini-calzones than an actual pizza. These puffy orange squares are oven-scorched around the edges, with a slight flaky crunch that meets your teeth. Pizza Hut's stunt hinges on capturing a convincing Cheez-It essence, and I'm happy to report that the cheddary aftertaste is ripped from the cracker aisle. 

Things go downhill from there. 

Inside the thin Cheez-It Pizza pouch, you confront a spongy, paste-like filling that can diplomatically be described as "cheese adjacent." The soupy marinara dipping sauce adds much-needed moisture to the dry affair, but its lacking in both texture and zing. Compared to rivals like Dominos and Papa John's, Pizza Hut might occupy the lowest rung with regard to overall quality, and that's apparent with the ingredients at play here. 

But none of that really matters with the Cheez-It Pizza. If you're seeking a try-it-once drunk food laugh, go ahead and order it. It's not gross-out bad, it's highly scarffable, and fellow millennials in your feed with be delighted by the WTF-ery of it all. That's what the Hut's marketing team is gambling on. 

Pizza Hut's Cheez-It Pizza
Overall: C
Concept: B+
Taste: C+
Texture: C
Quality: C-
Value: C+
Price: $7.49
Availability: Nationwide for a limited time