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Types Of Pizza: A Full Guide To Different Styles & Toppings

types of pizza

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If you think back a few days or weeks, you’ll probably remember a day (or two) when you had pizza. While the dish originated in Italy, it has become incredibly popular in the United States. In fact, the U.S. now has tons of regional variations on the dish – which may not be recognizable to Italians, but that is delicious nevertheless.Popular pizza styles include the New York thin crust slice, Chicago deep dish, and classic Neapolitan. These pizzas can be topped with traditional ingredients like tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, and pepperoni – or serve as a springboard for a whole new combination. 

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The Origins of Pizza

It will probably not surprise anyone to learn that pizza originated in Italy – specifically, the Campania region, where the city of Naples is located. While many cultures consumed flatbreads with toppings long before pizza was invented, putting tomatoes, soft white cheese, and basil on top of a flatbread is an Italian creation.Pizza remained a delicacy that was largely confined to Italy until the 1900s. Around the turn of the century, Italian immigrants came to the U.S. – and brought their cuisine with them. The first pizza shops in the U.S. opened between 1905 and 1925 and quickly spread throughout the country.  As pizza became more popular, different regional variations began to emerge.

These styles varied considerably, from the well-known Chicago deep dish style pizza to the lesser-known Ohio River Valley pizza – which involves putting cold toppings on a pizza that is hot from the oven. Americans’ preferences for pizza style are often based on where they grew up, although some types – like a New York style thin slice – are popular throughout the country.

Today, 13% of the American population will consume pizza on any given day. If you own a pizzeria, that’s great news for your bottom line. Below, read more about the most popular styles of pizza – as well as some topping ideas that you may not have considered adding to your menu.

The Most Popular Types of Pizza 

Pizza is beloved across the United States. While it was originally considered an “ethnic” food, it quickly became a go-to meal and late-night snack for millions of Americans – regardless of background. While the style of pizza that you choose to serve may be based in part on regional preferences, it may still be a good idea to consider offering something a little different, like one of these unique styles.New York Style Pizza

New York Style Pizza

New York style pizza may be the most common type of pizza in the United States. It came from the Neapolitan-American style that Italian immigrants in the early 20th century brought with them. However, instead of being made in coal-fired ovens, New York style pizza is made in gas ovens.These pizzas typically have a thinner crust and are made in a large circular shape. A New York style pizza is topped with tomato sauce and a low moisture mozzarella. You can usually buy this type of pizza by the slice or as a whole pie.

Chicago Style Pizza

Chicago Style Pizza

Chicago is perhaps most famous for its deep dish pizza. This pizza consists of a buttery crust that is filled with cheese and your preferred toppings before being finished off with tomato sauce. The result is a calorie-dense pizza that may not be for everyone – but is certainly worth a try.While deep dish pizza may be more famous, Chicago has a second style that is often preferred by locals: thin crust or tavern style pizza. This pizza has a thin crust that is rolled into a circle before being baked. The thinness of the crust means that it’s often as crisp as a cracker. It is topped with sauce and cheese before being cut up into squares.

Roman Style Pizza

Roman Style Pizza

Most cities in Italy have their own style of pizza – and Rome is no exception. While Roman pizza is harder to find in the U.S., it’s worth a taste. Roman pizza is traditionally cooked in a long, rectangular pan. It has a thin crust, plenty of sauce, and little cheese. It is also served in a unique way. Rather than ordering by the slice or pie, you specify how much of the pizza you want the worker to cut for you. That’s why it is often referred to as pizza al metro in Italy, or pizza by the meter.

Sicilian Style Pizza

Sicilian Style Pizza

While it is less common in the U.S. than New York pizza, Sicilian pizza is just as delicious. Hailing from Sicily, this pizza consists of a thicker, chewier crust that is baked in a deep, square dish. The pizza is topped with tomato sauce and cheese.The American version of Sicilian pizza is different from the type that originated in Italy. The Italian style had a more complex sauce that included onions, herbs, and anchovies. It was topped with breadcrumbs and an optional grating of hard cheese like parmesan. The reason for the difference in cheese is simple – most of the milk produced in Sicily comes from goats and sheep, rather than cows, so mozzarella was generally not available. When Italian immigrants came to New York, they used what was available – including mozzarella cheese.

Neopolitan Style Pizza

Neapolitan Style Pizza

Neapolitan style pizza is the original. Hailing from Naples, it was the first type of pizza introduced in Italy and the U.S. While many types of pizza came from Neapolitan, there are a few things that set this pizza apart from the rest.The dough for this pizza is made using a special double zero flour before being kneaded from the center out, which creates a fluffy crust. Cheese is then distributed over the dough and then topped with peeled and hand-crushed tomatoes. These pies are cooked briefly in a super hot wood-burning oven, giving them a nice char on the outside of the crust.

Detroit Style Pizza

Detroit Style Pizza

Detroit style pizza was founded when a tavern owner in the city used repurposed steel utility trays from a car factory to make a version of Sicilian pizza. These pans were thick enough to be almost like a cast iron skillet, creating a fantastically crispy crust.The pizza dough is placed in one of these pans that has been coated in oil, then topped with sauce, toppings, and cheese. More toppings and tomato sauce are added on top. The cheese tends to melt and become caramelized, which gives a nice crispy texture to the pie.

St Louis Style Pizza

St. Louis Style Pizza

If you aren’t from Missouri, you may not have heard of St. Louis-style pizza. Like Chicago thin crust, St. Louis pizza has a cracker-thin crust that is topped with a sweet sauce and provel cheese. The pizza is then cut into squares.St. Louis style pizza is incredibly polarizing, which is why you probably won’t find it outside of the region. That being said, if you grew up on it, you probably have a special fondness in your heart for this unique pizza.

New England Style Pizza

New England Style Pizza

If you aren’t from New England, you may never have heard of its unique take on pizza, which is also referred to as Greek pizza. This pizza was popularized by Greek immigrants, who used olive oil in the crust, on the crust, on top of the pizza, and in the pan.The use of so much olive oil on these thinner crust pizza results in a crispy and (some would say) greasy slice. It’s usually cooked in an electric oven, so it lacks the char that you may find with a Neopolitan pizza. The sauce also contains olive oil, which results in a much thinner sauce than is typical.

California Style Pizza

California Style Pizza

When Italians created the first pizza, they probably never envisioned the types of toppings that Americans – more specifically Californians – would put onto the dough. Popularized by California Pizza Kitchen, a California style pizza consists of a standard dough topped by almost anything that you could imagine.A California pizza might have anything from artichoke hearts to barbeque chicken to salad. While these more unusual toppings aren’t for everyone, they are definitely something different – and give chefs the opportunity to get creative in the kitchen.

Buffalo Style Pizza

Buffalo Style Pizza

Everyone knows that Buffalo is famous for its wings – but did you also know that Buffalo has its own style of pizza? Buffalo-style pizza starts with a thick crust that is closer to focaccia than what we typically consider to be pizza dough. The dough is then topped with a mild red sauce and tons of cheese and pizza. While this pizza can’t be said to be healthy, its fans do say that it is delicious.Miami Style Pizza

Miami Style Pizza

Created by Cuban-Americans, Miami-style pizza is rarely found outside of Florida. It is similar to Sicilian style pizza, in that it has a thick, doughy crust. However, the layer of tomato sauce is very thin. Chefs then add toppings of their choice before a lawyer of mozzarella and gouda cheese.Calabrian Style Pizza

Calabrian Style Pizza

Calabrian style pizza came from the Calabria region of Italy. It is similar in style to Neapolitan, which isn’t surprising given its proximity to Naples. However, Calabrian pizza is thinner and crisper because it is rolled instead of tossed and cooked for longer. The crust also contains olive oil, which prevents the puffiness or bubbles that are often found on Neapolitan pizza. The flatter, crispier crust is the main feature that distinguishes this pizza from its close cousin.New Haven Style Pizza

New Haven Style Pizza

Like many regional pizza variations, New Haven style pizza isn’t for everyone. It is cooked in a coal-fired oven, giving it a distinctive char. It also doesn’t come with cheese unless you specifically ask for it.The dough for New Haven style pizza is fermented, proofed overnight, and then baked in a coal oven with tomato sauce (and cheese, if you request it). You can also choose a white clam style pizza if you are into seafood. While it may appear to be burnt if you aren’t familiar with this pizza, it has legions of followers throughout New England.

Favorite and Unique Pizza Toppings

When you think about pizza toppings, your mind probably goes to the old standbys: mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, and maybe mushrooms or even sausage. Yet there is a whole world of pizza toppings out there, going beyond the basic to the truly unusual. If you want to branch out a bit, here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Pineapple (controversial, yet delicious)
  • Ham
  • Chicken Tikka Masala
  • Pesto
  • Goat cheese
  • Onions
  • Pierogies
  • Meatballs
  • Shrimp
  • Caramelized onions
  • Chorizo
  • Eggs 
  • Tandoori chicken
  • Black olives
  • Green pepper
  • Barbeque chicken
  • Sweet onions
  • Fresh basil
  • Garlic and olive oil (for a white pizza)
  • Canadian bacon
  • Hot sauce
  • Honey
  • Balsamic vinegar reduction
  • Ground beef
  • Salami
  • Ricotta cheese
  • Banana peppers
  • Artichokes
  • Sopressata
  • Prosciutto
  • Thai sweet chili sauce
  • Spinach
  • Kielbasa
  • Shredded brussels sprouts
  • Jalapeno peppers
  • Thinly-sliced potato
  • Zucchini or squash
  • Sun-dried tomatoes
  • Roasted red peppers
  • Taco meat and fixings
  • Feta cheese

These toppings can be offered individually, or you can come up with your own specialty pizzas. Whether you decide to stick with the classics or go out on a culinary limb, your customers will appreciate your dedication to delicious, high-quality pizza.

Help Your Pizza Shop Thrive with Budget Branders

Pizza is one of the most popular dishes in the U.S. While there are regional variations in pizza styles, they all have one thing in common: great dough, sauce, and (usually) cheese. From there, the sky’s the limit when it comes to toppings.At Budget Branders, we aim to help pizzerias stand apart from competitors with high-quality, custom disposable products. Our products are affordable, and available in quantities that are manageable for an independently owned and operated pizza shop. Whether you want custom napkins, plastic cups, or wax deli paper, we have the products that you need at prices that work for you.

Custom-printed disposable products are a simple way to boost your restaurant’s 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.

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