The Differences Between Italian Pizza and American Pizza

Margarita Pizza

Written by Tuscan Pizza Team

We're an awesome group of pizza loving fanatics. When it comes to making and eating pizza, there is none greater than the Tuscan Pizza team. Come say hi the next time you're in the area. Live, love, pizza!

May 6, 2018

If you love pizza as much as us, you’ve probably wondered what the differences are between Italian pizza and American pizza. While pizza was created in Italy, it’s safe to say that it evolved and reached peak interest in the US. So let’s take a look at this evolution and how Italian pizza and American pizza differ.

Italian Pizza American Pizza
The Crust Very thin crust resembling a cracker. From thin to very thick.
The Sauce Olive oil, pureed fresh tomatoes, garlic, and oregano. Tangy and often slow-cooked over the course of a few hours.
The Toppings One topping at a time or no toppings. A variety of toppings.

The Crust

Not all crust is made equal. There’s a large difference between Italian pizza and American pizza and it all starts with the crust.ย  Most Italian pizzerias skillfully stretch out the dough to the point where it resembles a cracker with tomato sauce and cheese on it. It’s so thin and light that many people eat a whole pie by themselves. As an aside, Sicilian pizza, a vastly different take on the traditional pie, is completely different. It is thick, rectangular, and much heavier. American pizza, on the other hand, comes in a large variety of crusts:

  • New York floppy slices
  • Chicago deep-dish
  • Detroit pan
  • New Haven coal fire

Regional pizzas aren’t just restricted to where they originated though. Even in places not known for their pizza, you can usually find a “NY style” pizzeria or two. The U.S., unlike Italy, also has a large number of chain pizzerias that have their own unique twists on the crust.

The Sauce

Italy offers sauce that many Americans might not be used to.

Instead of slow-cooked tomato sauce like we offer here in the US, Italy uses olive oil, pureed fresh tomatoes, garlic, and oregano. This gives their pizza a herby taste that U.S. consumers may not come across often.

Then again, Italians wouldn’t be used to the tangy sauces that many American pizzerias use on their dough.

The Toppings

Americans have such diverse tastebuds that pizzerias are required to offer a whole slew of toppings and cheeses.

Even when you order a plain pie, American pizza has much more cheese than Italian pizza. This is because, in Italy, whole pies are often consumed on the go. This means they need to be very light and digestible. It’s also the reason why Italian’s tend to not order their pizza with only one topping.

In fact, mixing toppings is part of American evolution. No other country offers as much variety as we do here in the United States. Whether it’s a meat lover’s special, the works, or something in between, American pizza is unlike any other pizza in the world. With all of that being said, hopefully, we were able to clear up the differences between Italian pizza and American pizza. No matter your preference though, we can all agree that pizza is amazing.

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