Pizza is one of the most popular foods in the United States. This dish went from being something largely enjoyed by Italian immigrants to being beloved across all corners of the country. Today, there are many different types of pizza that reflect regional preferences as well as traditional recipes from Italy.
One of the best parts about pizza is that it is infinitely customizable through different sauces and toppings. Some of the most popular toppings in the U.S. include classics like pepperoni and mushroom and newer combinations like ham and pineapple or spinach and feta. In this post, we will offer our opinion on which pizza toppings are the best.
Budget Branders works with restaurants of all sizes across the U.S., including pizza shops. We offer high-quality disposable promotional products in quantities and at prices that independently-owned pizzerias can afford, such as custom plastic cups or deli paper for individual slices.
Top Pizza Toppings Ranked
When it comes to pizza toppings, the sky is truly the limit. When pizza first came to the United States, it typically featured classic toppings like a tomato-based sauce (or tomatoes), mozzarella cheese, and basil. Today, you can find unusual pizza toppings like onions and mashed potatoes for pierogi pizza or even taco components for a taco pizza.
Below, we have ranked what we believe to be the best pizza toppings. For purposes of this post, we are considering toppings individually, rather than in combination. In other words, instead of listing out the ingredients for a supreme pizza, we talk about each of the components separately.
So which pizza toppings do we think reign supreme? Read on to learn about our top picks which combine US consumer data with some of our own selections.
Pepperoni is a classic pizza topping. It’s one of the most liked toppings with 64% of Americans saying they like pepperoni on their pizza. This variety of spicy salami is made from seasoned, cured pork and beef. It is often paired with mushrooms, or with sausage and peppers for a supreme pizza.
Sausage is another great option for pizza, with the bonus that there are so many different flavors and varieties of sausage available! Sausage is the second most popular topping in America with 56% of Americans reporting that they like sausage pizza. Whether you choose a mild, sweet, or spicy sausage, you can add a lot of flavor to your pie.
Mushrooms can be a very divisive topping. People either love them or hate them and there’s rarely an opinion that falls in between. It would seem the strong opinions toward mushrooms err on the positive side because 54% of Americans were found to like mushroom pizza. Even if you’re not a huge fan of mushrooms on their own or in other dishes, it’s worth trying on your pizza. The earthy flavor of mushrooms pairs beautifully with classic pizza toppings like red sauce and cheese.
4) Extra Cheese
Cheese is a standard topping on pizza, whether you go for classic mozzarella, fresh mozzarella, feta with spinach for a Greek twist, or even goat cheese paired with caramelized onions. So does extra cheese count as a topping? We vote that it does – because nothing is better than an extra gooey, bubbly layer of cheese. Extra cheese was found to be the fourth most popular topping with 52% of Americans stating that they liked extra cheese.
Onions are a core component of many dishes, and for good reason: they add both texture and flavor. They’re also a remarkably versatile ingredient, from spicier raw white or yellow onions to sweeter red or vidalia onions. You can also add caramelized onions for an entirely different flavor profile! Onions are the fifth most popular pizza topping with 48% of Americans saying they like onion pizza.
Most pizzas are topped with a tomato-based sauce. But tomatoes are also a topping of their own, particularly on higher-end pies. Roasted tomatoes are a great way to top a pizza, especially when paired with fresh mozzarella and basil for a margarita or caprese pizza.
Like tomatoes, basil is often incorporated into tomato sauce. But this herb is also a star on its own as a topping. Chopped fresh basil adds a certain brightness to pizzas that can make it feel like a more gourmet meal.
Let’s face it: there are few dishes that can’t be improved with a little bit of bacon. The same is true for pizza. While pepperoni and sausage are the more traditional meat toppings, bacon is a great addition to almost any pizza (including a breakfast pizza!). Whether you choose traditional bacon, pancetta, or Canadian bacon, it’s a surefire hit.
Although bacon is already on our list of pizza toppings, we think that ham deserves a spot as well. It is often lighter and less greasy compared to bacon, while still maintaining a salty, porky goodness that pairs so well with cheese and other toppings.
We know that pineapple is a controversial pizza topping…but have you ever had it? Typically served with ham or spam on a Hawaiian pizza, the combination of salty and sweet isn’t for everyone. But we still think it makes a great offering, especially for fans of the combo.
Whether you’re into sweet or spicy, peppers are a great addition to your pizza. When they’re cooked on top of a pie, they usually retain a bit of crunch, which makes them the perfect addition to any pizza.
12) Black Olives
Olives aren’t for everyone, but if you’re into this briny treat, then black olives are a fun way to add a little extra flavor to your pizza. One of the trickier parts about black olives is that their flavor tends to spread, so it might not be a great option for anyone sharing a pie with someone who doesn’t love olives.
Chicken isn’t a traditional pizza topping – but hear us out – it can still be pretty great. It can be used with a number of different flavor combinations, from bacon ranch to barbeque to buffalo chicken. As long as it’s pre-cooked and cut into bite-sized pieces, it’s an excellent choice as a pizza topping.
Not everyone wants greens on their pizza, which is understandable. But spinach can be a fun addition, particularly to non-traditional pizzas like a garlicky white pizza or a Greek-style pie. As a bonus, it can make you feel virtuous even while chowing down on a slice.
Tomato sauce may be the classic base for pizzas, but it isn’t the only possibility. Pesto – a sauce traditionally made from basil, pine nuts, parmesan cheese, and olive oil – is a more flavorful, upscale option. Offering pesto is a great well to elevate your menu.
We have already listed a bunch of different meat options for pizza…so why not beef? Ground beef, in particular, can be a fun add-on, whether it’s cooked into mini-meatballs, as taco meat, or even made into a “cheeseburger” pizza. You can even thinly slice steak to add to a pizza for a higher-end treat!
17) Pulled Pork
In many areas of the United States, pulled pork (and barbeque generally) is practically a religion…so why not add it to pizza? Just small bits of pulled pork can add a lot of flavor and interest to a pizza, particularly when combined with barbeque sauce, red onions, and cheddar cheese.
Other Toppings to Consider
Pizza toppings are a very subjective thing. Between nostalgia and personal preferences, everyone has their own favorites. While you can’t go wrong sticking to the classics, it doesn’t hurt to offer a wide range of toppings for customers who might like something a little different.
Some of these toppings – like sun-dried tomatoes – are not highly perishable, so they are easy enough to keep on hand. You can also offer ingredients that you may use in other dishes so that these items serve double duty (which can cut down on waste). Possible toppings to offer include:
- Goat cheese
- Ranch dressing
- Pierogies (or the components of pierogies!)
- Banana peppers
- Jalapeño peppers
- Tandoori chicken
- Chicken tikka masala
- Barbeque chicken
- Hot sauce
- Hot honey
- Balsamic vinegar glaze
- Shredded brussels sprouts
- Cured meats like prosciutto, sopressata or capicola
- Ricotta cheese
- Zucchini or other types of squash
- Ricotta cheese
- Thai sweet chili sauce
- Sun-dried tomatoes
- Roasted red peppers
- Taco meat and related toppings
- Feta cheese
- Roasted corn
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The beauty of pizza is that it can be personalized in so many different ways. As a pizza shop owner, you may be able to increase sales by offering not only the most popular toppings but a few unique variations as well. You can also boost your reach and attract more customers by using custom-branded disposable products.
Budget Branders works with pizzerias to provide them with custom promotional products, such as branded napkins to serve with your pies. We know that independently-owned pizza shops can’t buy millions of disposable products at once, which is why we offer all of our items in smaller quantities. Our products are priced fairly, so you can add your name, logo, and/or slogan to your disposable products for pennies on the dollar.
Using custom-printed disposables is just one way that you can increase your marketing efforts. If you want to learn more, fill out a contact form or send us a quote request for one or more of our products. Have questions? Simply press the live chat button to get started.