If there’s one appetizer that signifies my Midwestern childhood, it’s these Pizza Rye Snacks. Loved by kids and adults alike, these small rye bread pizza-inspired bites are reminiscent of your favorite pizza yet unique in their own way. It’s what we call the best kind of finger food for a party!

Pizza Rye Snacks - rye toasts topped with your favorite part of pizza, the meat and cheese!

I first shared this nostalgic family recipe in 2015 (!) when FITK started, with a focus on incorporating more not processed foods. Which is exactly why this classic 90s recipe is made without Velveeta.

I know, that melty, cheese-like substance has its time and place, but sometimes we just gotta go ahead and swap out that real good, even better, rich, and satisfying cheddar cheese.

So, this version is loaded with the same flavors as the classic recipe with the one simple swap. One you and your family – and guests, and neighbors, and everyone around – will love.

What You’ll Need

This recipe is made using cocktail rye bread, sometimes known as party rye bread. It’s like a mini loaf of rye bread. You can also substitute cocktail pumpernickel bread if needed. This bread is easier to find around the holidays. Or, you could try to make your own party-sized rye bread!

Another option is to buy regular slices of rye bread and cut them into 4 squares for a DIY mini-sized bread slice.

The meat is a mixture of ground beef and Italian sausage. Choose your own spice level for the sausage – mild, medium, or hot will all work.

The spices are a simple blend of oregano, white pepper, garlic powder, and mustard powder. Along with Worcestershire sauce. They all come together for a savory, umami-loaded, explosion of flavor.

Flour and butter come together to create a roux with whole milk and shredded cheddar cheese for a deliciously irresistible cheese sauce.

Keep in mind, you want to shred your own cheese so it melts into the sauce well!

How to Make Rye Bread Pizza

It all starts with the toppings!

Prep the Meat

First, brown the meats in a large skillet, keeping in mind that less stirring will result in a lovely Maillard reaction and bring the most flavor.

Then, add in the spices and set aside while you make the cheese sauce.

Make the Cheese Sauce

Like most good cheese sauces, start with a roux of melted butter and flour that are whisked together. Then, stir in warmed milk. Once it’s combined, add the cheese in batches to prevent clumping, making sure each addition is melted in before adding more.

Be sure to taste test and add salt as needed, keeping in mind the salt level of the meat, too.

Rye pizza bread on sheet pan with parsley garnish.

Assemble the Rye Bread

With the rye bread laid out across a baking sheet, scoop a good-sized heap of the meat sauce on top of each bread piece. Once they’ve all been topped, place them in the oven for about 15 minutes to crisp the tops as well as the bread.

Once ready, remove and garnish with fresh parsley. It adds both color and a bit of freshness to the bites. The best kind of garnish!

Serving Suggestions

Serve the rye pizza snacks while they’re still warm from the oven. They are still delicious as they come to room temperature – if they last that long. Just like pizza, they’re good til the last bite!

If you love to dip, try a little ketchup or even ranch sauce as a pairing.

If you’re looking for other party appetizers to serve alongside them, try a fan-favorite layered taco dip, these herby breadsticks, or another party classic: caramelized onion dip.

No matter which way you serve them up, your guests are surely going to gobble them up!

Pizza Rye Snacks - rye toasts topped with your favorite part of pizza, the meat and cheese!

Did you make this recipe? Please leave a star rating and review in the form below. I appreciate your feedback, and it helps others, too!

Pizza Rye Snacks on white plate.
5 (2 ratings)

Get the Recipe Party Rye Bread Pizza Snacks

Make these mini rye bread pizza snacks for your next party. They're made with a melty cheddar cheese sauce (no Velveeta!) and a hearty meat mixture of beef and sausage. A crowd-pleasing, bite-sized appetizer!



  • Pre-heat oven to 325° and arrange rye bread slices on a baking sheet.
    1 loaf cocktail or party size Rye bread
  • Heat a large skillet or saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and sausage. Break apart with a spoon and cook until brown (let it rest some to create a nice Maillard reaction). Season with salt as it's cooking to layer in flavor.
    1 pound ground beef, 1 pound ground Italian sausage
  • Once cooked, drain the excess fat, then stir in the oregano, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, and additional salt and pepper as needed. Remove from heat and set aside.
    1 teaspoon oregano, 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • In a separate skillet or saucepan, create a roux by melting the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and continue cooking for a few minutes to get the flour taste to cook out. Slowly whisk in warmed milk. Whisk in mustard powder and white pepper. Remove from heat.
    5 Tablespoons unsalted butter, 5 Tablespoons all-purpose flour, 2 ½ cups whole milk, 1/4 teaspoon mustard powder, 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • Add shredded cheese 1/2 cup at a time, stirring to melt in between additions. Stir in the meat mixture until completely combined.
    2 cups cheddar cheese
  • Top rye bread slices with meat mixture. Bake for 15 minutes. Top with chopped parsley, if desired, and serve immediately.


  • Freshly shredded cheese will melt best!
Calories: 105kcal, Carbohydrates: 2g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 9g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 3g, Trans Fat: 0.2g, Cholesterol: 25mg, Sodium: 122mg, Potassium: 81mg, Fiber: 0.1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 112IU, Vitamin C: 0.2mg, Calcium: 57mg, Iron: 0.4mg
Did you make this recipe?Please leave a star rating and review in the form below. I appreciate your feedback, and it helps others, too!