Pizza Hut has released not only a new menu item, but a new category of menu item—one simply called Melts. It appears to be a direct competitor to Papa Johns Papadias: Both items are essentially a cross between a quesadilla and a pizza. Picture two slices of sauceless pizza folded over along their perforation, then baked off and served as a handheld. Both Melts and Papadias are intended to feed just one person, and come with two pieces to an order. (And no, they’re not calzones—they’re open on the side.)
Pizza Hut’s Melts cost $6.99 per order, and they come in four varieties, each accompanied by a particular dipping sauce:
- Pepperoni Lover’s: Pepperoni and mozzarella; marinara on the side
- Buffalo Chicken: Grilled chicken, onions, buffalo sauce; ranch on the side
- Meat Lover’s: Beef, bacon, ham, sausage, pepperoni, pork; marinara on the side
- Chicken Bacon Parmesan: Bacon, grilled chicken, creamy garlic parmesan sauce; ranch on the side
I used a Pizza Hut–issued gift cart to purchase all four Melts. Each one features the same crisp thin crust sprinkled with parmesan and dry herbs, endowing them with that signature Pizza Hut smell that greets you every time you open the box. Right out of the oven, these Melts are a lot crisper than Papa Johns Papadias, which lean more toward doughy and soft. The texture of Pizza Hut’s take is more appealing and fairly satisfying; I always appreciate a crisp slice. If you prefer crunchy pizza over pillowy, you’ll likely enjoy these.
Curiously, there’s no vegetarian option, which feels noteworthy. Since the Pizza Hut menu doesn’t offer a build-it-yourself option with these new Melts, I’m sorry to say that it seems like all you vegetarians are out of luck.
Here are all of Pizza Hut’s Melts, ranked from worst to best.
The Buffalo Chicken Melt was my least favorite of the bunch. I’m actually kind of surprised, mostly because I’m a big Buffalo wing fan. This just didn’t have much flavor to it: The chicken sort of just coexisted with the cheese, sitting on the same bland level, giving the onions the chance to steal the show. There should have been tangy, sharp Buffalo sauce flavors coming to the forefront of each bite, but the sauce was almost nowhere to be found. A quick dip into ranch dressing only made the rest of the Melt seem bland by comparison.
My fiancée said she liked this one best, her reasoning being that out of all four Melts, this tasted the least like a slice of pizza. Thus, the novelty of the Melt concept stands out most here. Grade: C-
The Pepperoni Lover’s Melt was the simplest and closest to a quesadilla. It’s just mozzarella and pepperoni, which is fine, but there wasn’t much pepperoni in it, and it failed to live up to its name. The sauce cups we received were paired with the wrong Melts, so ignore the ranch in the background; I eventually figured it out and paired this one with the red sauce.
I’m giving it a C just because its flavors are fairly boring. Sure, dipping it in the marinara helped considerably, but in the end, this just tasted like a slice of pizza that involved work (dipping). Grade: C+
The Chicken Bacon Parmesan seemed boring on paper, but it ended up being one of my favorites. There was just enough bacon to make the flavor smoky and salty, and the creamy parmesan sauce gave it a little more flavor on the back end. You can’t taste the actual chicken very much, but then again, it’s fast food pizza poultry—you know you’re not getting that fresh-off-the-farm flavor at Pizza Hut. A little dip in ranch made up for any dryness. If you’re more of a white slice versus a red slice sort of person, this might be the Melt for you. Grade: B
There’s one thing that stands out about the Meat Lover’s Melt, and you can even see it in the photo: Unlike the others, this one’s packed with fillings. Normally, when I’m ordering a pizza, I skip “Meat Lover’s” options as a rule. There’s always just too much salt and grease associated with a meat-heavy pizza, so I try to lend some of that real estate to veggies instead.
But in the case of the Meat Lover’s Melt, all these fillings make it seem way more substantive. There’s more flavor, more moisture, more of everything (including a lot more salt, unfortunately). Dipping it into the marinara gives each bite a little more balance. Ultimately, this Melt feels the most like it deserves its own category of the menu—more than any other Melt, it goes beyond the feeling of simply eating two pizza slices folded together. If you’re looking for the best value and the most flavor, the Meat Lover’s Melt is the way to go. Grade: B+