Pizza is one of the most popular foods in the world, and it comes in various styles and crusts. With so many options, keeping track of them all can be challenging. In this article, we’ll explore 11 different types of pizza and crusts, offering a taste of the diverse flavors and textures that make pizza such a beloved food.
11 Popular Pizza Styles
Nearly all pizza follows the same basic premise, pizza dough, olive oil, sweet tomato sauce, and cheese. There are a variety of toppings, but they’re not necessary to get a really great slice.
1. Neapolitan Pizza
Authentic Neapolitan pizza is considered the original pizza, hailing from Naples, Italy. It has a thin, soft pizza crust made from simple ingredients like flour, water, salt, and yeast. The crust is cooked at high temperatures, giving it a slightly charred appearance. There are two popular varieties of Neapolitan pizza:
When I think of Italian pizza, I’m thinking of a fresh mozzarella-covered Margherita pizza. Named after Queen Margherita of Savoy, this style pizza features tomatoes, mozzarella, fresh basil, and olive oil. The colors of the toppings represent the Italian flag, making it a patriotic symbol.
Marinara pizza is a simpler version, with a topping of tomato sauce, garlic, oregano, and olive oil. It’s named after the sailors who brought the ingredients from the New World.
2. New York-Style Pizza
New York pizza emerged in the early 20th century when Italian immigrants brought Neapolitan pizza to the United States. New York-style pizzas are known for their large, thin, foldable slices.
The crust is hand-tossed and crispy on the outside yet soft and chewy on the inside. Toppings are abundant, and a flavorful tomato sauce complements the generous layer of mozzarella cheese.
Although I love all different types of pizza, there’s a special place in my heart for New York-style pizza. Growing up in the tri-state area, I have fond memories of eating a floppy piece of pizza.
3. Chicago Deep-Dish Pizza
Invented in the 1940s, Chicago deep-dish pizza is famous for its thick, buttery crust and generous layers of cheese and toppings. The traditional pizza is baked in a deep pan, creating a pie-like structure that can be several inches thick. The sauce is typically placed on top of the cheese, making this pizza a hearty and filling meal.
Chicago pizza consists of:
- Dough: A buttery, thick crust extending up a deep-dish pan’s sides.
- Cheese: Slices of mozzarella placed directly on the dough.
- Toppings: Meat and vegetables layered on top of the cheese.
- Tomato Sauce: A chunky, seasoned pizza sauce spread over the toppings.
4. Sicilian Pizza
Sicilian pizza is the king of the thick crust. Sicilian pizza has a thick, spongy crust that’s crispy on the bottom and soft on the inside. It’s rectangular in shape and typically topped with tomato sauce, cheese, and various toppings. The origins of this pizza can be traced back to the Italian island of Sicily, where it’s also known as sfincione.
Sicilian pizza is characterized by:
- Dough: A thick, spongy crust made from a well-hydrated dough.
- Tomato Sauce: A rich tomato sauce infused with Italian herbs and spices.
- Cheese: Typically, a blend of mozzarella and Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano-Reggiano.
- Toppings: A variety of toppings, such as onions, anchovies, and olives, are used.
Some popular Sicilian pizza varieties include:
- Traditional Sfincione: A thick-crust pizza topped with tomato sauce, onions, anchovies, breadcrumbs, and grated cheese.
- Sicilian Grandma Pizza: A thinner-crust pizza topped with tomato sauce, mozzarella, and various toppings, similar to a traditional Sicilian pizza but with a slightly different crust.
5. Detroit-Style Pizza
Detroit-style pizza emerged in the 1940s and is characterized by its rectangular shape and crispy, thick crust. The crust is similar to Sicilian pizza but has a caramelized cheese edge that adds a unique flavor. The entire pizza is baked in a well-oiled pan, creating a crispy, fried texture on the bottom. Toppings are layered under the cheese, with a generous amount of tomato sauce spread across the top.
Detroit-style pizza consists of:
- Dough: An airy, thick crust that is crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.
- Cheese: Wisconsin brick cheese, which melts to form a crispy, cheesy edge around the crust.
- Tomato Sauce: A slightly sweet and tangy sauce.
- Toppings: A variety of toppings, such as pepperoni, mushrooms, and onions, are used.
Detroit-style pizza is typically served with toppings beneath the sauce, creating a unique presentation.
6. St. Louis-Style Pizza
Originating in the 1960s, St. Louis-style pizza features a thin, cracker-like crust that’s crispy and crunchy. It’s usually topped with Provel cheese, a processed cheddar, Swiss, and provolone blend. The pizza is typically cut into squares, also known as “party cut” or “tavern-style pizza,” and often includes toppings like sausage, pepperoni, and onions.
St. Louis-style pizza features:
- Dough: A cracker-thin crust made without yeast.
- Tomato Sauce: A mildly sweet and tangy tomato sauce.
- Cheese: A signature blend of provolone, Swiss, and white cheddar known as “Provel.”
- Toppings: A range of toppings, such as pepperoni, sausage, and vegetables, are used.
St. Louis-style pizza is typically served in square slices, known as “party cut,” and is enjoyed with various toppings, depending on individual preferences.
7. California-Style Pizza
California-style pizza was created in the 1980s and is all about innovation and fresh, local ingredients. The crust is usually thin and hand-tossed, similar to New York-style pizza. However, the toppings are what set it apart – think goat cheese, smoked salmon, artichoke hearts, and other unique ingredients that showcase the creativity of California cuisine.
California pizza is known for:
- Dough: A thin, crispy crust.
- Tomato Sauce: A light and fresh tomato sauce, or sometimes substituted with pesto or other non-tomato-based sauces.
- Cheese: A variety of cheeses, from mozzarella to goat cheese, are used.
- Toppings: Unique and gourmet toppings, such as avocado, sun-dried tomatoes, and arugula, are incorporated.
California pizza has a wide range of creative and gourmet varieties, such as:
- BBQ Chicken Pizza: Barbecue sauce, grilled chicken, red onions, cilantro, and mozzarella.
- Thai Chicken Pizza: Peanut sauce, chicken, bean sprouts, carrots, and mozzarella.
- Buffalo Style Pizza: Buffalo sauce, grilled chicken, and mozzarella cheese.
8. Roman-Style Pizza
Roman-style pizza comes in two primary forms: Pizza al Taglio and Tonda Romana. It is characterized by its rectangular shape and is typically sold by weight. You can find roman pizza in all Italian bakeries, except in a few places, I’ve always had fantastic pizza when visiting.
Pizza al Taglio
Pizza al Taglio is a rectangular pizza with a thick, airy crust, often sold by weight and served by the slice. The crust is light and chewy, and the toppings can vary greatly, ranging from traditional Italian ingredients to more experimental combinations.
Tonda Romana is a thin-crust pizza that’s crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. It’s usually served as an individual-sized pizza with a variety of toppings, making it an excellent option for those seeking a lighter, more personal pizza experience.
9. Greek Pizza
Greek pizza features a thick, chewy crust that’s often brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with oregano. The toppings are inspired by Greek cuisine and may include ingredients like feta cheese, Kalamata olives, spinach, and red onions. Greek pizza is typically cooked in a shallow, round pan, giving it a unique shape and texture.
Greek pizza includes:
- Dough: A thick, chewy crust made with olive oil imparts a unique flavor and texture.
- Tomato Sauce: A rich, herbed tomato sauce with a hint of garlic.
- Cheese: A combination of mozzarella and feta cheese.
- Toppings: Mediterranean-inspired ingredients, such as Kalamata olives, spinach, tomatoes, and red onions.
Greek pizza often features toppings like gyro meat, artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers, and traditional Mediterranean ingredients.
10. Gluten-Free Pizza
Gluten-free pizza caters to those with gluten sensitivities or dietary preferences. The crust is made from gluten-free flour like rice, almond, or sorghum, providing a delicious alternative for those who can’t enjoy traditional wheat-based crusts. Toppings can be customized to suit individual tastes, ensuring everyone can enjoy a slice of pizza.
Pizza comes in many shapes, sizes, and flavors, with each style offering a unique taste experience. Whether you prefer thin, crispy crusts or thick, doughy ones, there’s a pizza style out there for everyone. So go ahead, explore the world of pizza, and find your favorite slice!
11. Brazilian Pizza Styles
Influenced by Italian immigrants, Brazilian pizza has become popular in Brazil with its unique flavor combinations and generous toppings.
Brazilian pizza typically includes:
- Dough: A thin, crispy crust.
- Tomato Sauce: A light tomato sauce infused with herbs and spices.
- Cheese: Mozzarella, often used in generous amounts.
- Toppings: A wide range of toppings, including both savory and sweet options.
Brazilian pizza offers unique combinations of non-traditional toppings, such as:
- Frango com Catupiry: Shredded chicken and Catupiry, a creamy Brazilian cheese.
- Portuguesa: Ham, onions, green olives, hard-boiled eggs, and mozzarella.
- Sweet Pizzas: Dessert pizzas topped with ingredients like chocolate, bananas, and condensed milk.
What Is the Most Popular Type of Pizza?
The most popular type of pizza varies depending on location and personal tastes for regional pizza styles. However, the classic pepperoni pizza is often considered the most popular in the United States and many other parts of the world. Pepperoni pizza typically features a tomato sauce base, mozzarella cheese, and slices of pepperoni, a spicy and flavorful cured sausage. This combination of flavors and textures has made pepperoni pizza a favorite choice for many pizza lovers.
What Is the Difference between Neapolitan and New York-Style Pizza?
Neapolitan pizza has a thin, soft crust and is cooked at high temperatures, while New York-style pizza has a larger, thin, and foldable crust that’s crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside.
What Is the Best Cheese for Pizza?
Mozzarella is the most popular cheese for pizza due to its mild flavor and excellent melting properties. However, other cheeses like provolone, fontina, and gouda can also be used to create unique flavor combinations.
What Is the Origin of Pizza?
Pizza’s origins can be traced back to ancient civilizations, but the modern pizza we know and love today has its roots in Naples, Italy. The Neapolitan pizza, with its simple ingredients and thin crust, is considered the original pizza.
Can I Use a Regular Oven to Make Neapolitan Pizza?
Traditional Neapolitan pizza is cooked in a wood-fired oven at very high temperatures (around 900°F or 485°C). While a regular home oven can’t reach those temperatures, you can still make a delicious Neapolitan-inspired pizza by using a pizza stone and cranking up your oven to its highest temperature setting.
What is Traditional Style Pizza?
Traditional style pizza, also known as Neapolitan pizza, originates from Naples, Italy. It is the foundation upon which modern pizza variations are built. Neapolitan pizza has a thin, soft, and slightly chewy crust made from basic ingredients such as flour, water, salt, and yeast. It is cooked at high temperatures in a wood-fired oven, which gives the crust a slightly charred and smoky appearance.