The Ultimate Guide to Different Types of Pizza Across America
The U.S. has wide-ranging regional pizza styles. From deep dish to tomato pie, these are some of the most popular and unique types of pizza.
New York-Style Pizza
First created by immigrants from Naples, Italy, this type of pizza features a thin, hand-tossed crust. New York-style pizza is typically cut into triangles and often sold by the slice—and many people fold it in half before taking a bite.
Classic New York-style pizza toppings are simple: marinara sauce and shredded mozzarella cheese. But if you’re looking to add something else to your slice, consider trying one of these unexpected pizza toppings.
There are serious debates about where to get the best New York-style pizza, but popular joints include Joe’s Pizza and Ben’s Pizzeria, which are just blocks away from each other in Greenwich Village. Joe’s Pizza ships nationwide through a service called Goldbelly.
If you’re a pizza enthusiast, exploring the best pizza places across the country while traveling to different locations can be an interesting prospect.
Chicago Deep-Dish Pizza
Since Chicago is famously the “Windy City,” it seems apt that its namesake pizza is heavy enough to stay on your plate during a tornado. The whole pizza is 1 to 2 inches thick, and it’s the only type of pizza you have to eat with a knife and fork.
A Chicago deep-dish pizza has a thick crust and is topped with mozzarella, meat and vegetables. The tomato sauce goes on last. Crumbled Italian sausage is a popular Chicago topping in addition to other classic pizza toppings like pepperoni, mushrooms and peppers.
Wondering what type of pizza is squared off? Here’s your answer: Detroit-style pizza was created when someone started using metal trays, which originally held small factory parts, to cook this rectangular deep-dish pizza. It has a thick, chewy crust and is also baked not once but twice for perfectly caramelized cheese—those crispy edges are sought after!
More so than specific toppings, Detroit pizza is known for having sauce on top of the cheese—it’s often applied in stripes across the pizza. The most popular topping is pepperoni—often seen cupped on top, or even sometimes layered directly on top of the crust, under the cheese.
You can get a Detroit pizza from Detroit Style Pizza Company—they also ship their pizzas nationwide through Goldbelly. It’s also pretty easy to make your own; just avoid these common homemade pizza mistakes.
St. Louis-Style Pizza
St. Louis-style pizza has an unleavened, super-crispy crust and sliced (never diced) toppings. The sauce is almost sweet and instead of mozzarella, it features “provel”—a blend of provolone, Swiss and white cheddar. This type of pizza is typically served with a “party cut”—a round pizza cut into squares.
As for other toppings, you might see full strips of bacon in addition to the usual meat and vegetable choices.
You can get St. Louis-style pizza from Imo’s Pizza, which has locations throughout Missouri, Kansas and Illinois, and ships nationwide through Goldbelly. Many St. Louis pizzerias, including Imo’s, also famously serve toasted ravioli.
Philadelphia Tomato Pie
Hailing from Philadelphia, tomato pie is an Italian-style type of pizza that has a thick, square crust topped with chunky tomato sauce. It rarely has cheese.
The term “tomato pie” can refer to many different things. Don’t confuse it with Trenton tomato pie, which is a type of pizza that has a round, thin crust with cheese in the middle and sauce on top. There’s also Southern-style Tomato Pie, which is made in a pie crust with fresh tomatoes, cheddar cheese, mayo and bacon.
You can get authentic tomato pie at Italian bakeries throughout the Philadelphia area.
The chef behind California Pizza Kitchen, Ed LaDou, created this famous thin, hand-tossed crust pizza. Served up on thin, chewy hand-tossed crust, this pizza style has made waves all over the U.S.
You’ll find a California-style pizza topped with all sorts of non-traditional ingredients, such as smoked salmon, Peking duck, goat cheese, arugula and more.
You can make this type of pizza yourself—check out our California Pizza Kitchen copycat recipes. You can also often find it at restaurants that serve California cuisine.
Quad City-Style Pizza
Hailing from a group of cities in eastern Iowa and western Illinois, Quad City-style pizza features malt in the crust. This secret ingredient gives this type of pizza a toasty, nutty flavor. And with chili flakes and ground cayenne in the sauce, Quad City pizza might have more of a kick than you’re used to.
You can get just about any topping you’d like on Quad City-style pizza, but purists opt for the signature lean sausage cooked with fennel.
If you’re near the Quad Cities, it’s worth stopping at Frank’s Pizzeria or Harris Pizza. You can also get Quad City-style pizza at Roots Handmade Pizza in Chicago.
Craving pizza yet? Take a look at our most popular pizza recipes.
Ohio Valley Pizza
We hope you’re ready for one of the strangest types of pizza on our list! Pizza makers in the Ohio Valley put their toppings, often including the cheese, on after the main pizza is cooked. This doesn’t mean the toppings are fully cold, though—the heat from the fresh pizza cooks them to perfection, especially when left to steam inside the pizza box. That’s not the only difference—Ohio Valley pizza has stewed tomatoes instead of sauce.
With Ohio Valley pizza, the important thing is that the toppings go on after the pizza comes out of the oven. Traditional toppings include shredded provolone cheese, pepperoni and banana peppers.
This style of pizza is made in a square pan, cut into squares and sold by the slice. You can get Ohio Valley pizza throughout eastern Ohio, western Pennsylvania and in parts of West Virginia.
Speaking of toppings, these are the best pizza toppings you haven’t tried yet.
New Haven-Style Pizza
This type of pizza, known locally as “apizza”, is popular in the New Haven, Connecticut, area. With Neapolitan roots, it’s similar to New York pizza, but New Haven-style pizza is known for its oblong shape and chewy crust. It’s cooked in a coal-fired oven, giving it a charred flavor.
The most simple version of New Haven pizza, sometimes also called tomato pie, focuses on the crust and sauce, with just a sprinkle of grated Romano on top. Mozzarella is considered a topping, so you can opt in or not.
New Haven is also known for its white clam pizza, which features olive oil, garlic, clams and grated Romano. For a similar flavor, try making our New Haven Clam Pizza.
One of the best-known places to get New Haven pizza is Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana, which has multiple locations throughout Connecticut and Massachusetts, as well as locations in New York and Rhode Island.
New England Greek-Style Pizza
Originating from Greek immigrants in New England, this type of pizza is baked inside of a pan in the oven instead of being laid straight on the bricks, so the crust comes out thick, soft and crispy (nearly fried) on the edges. It’s also known for being greasy—it’s made with lots of olive oil, which often soaks through the bottom of the pizza box.
New England Greek-style pizza is typically topped with tomato sauce, lots of oregano, mozzarella and cheddar cheese. It can have Greek-style ingredients such as feta, kalamata olives and artichokes, but the hallmark of a New England Greek pizza is the thick, oily crust.
You can find Greek-style pizza at Greek-owned pizzerias in the Boston area, throughout Connecticut and in other places across New England.
Tavern style pizza, or bar pizza, is pizza typically served in a bar. The crust is much thinner than Chicago deep-dish pizzas and resembles something closer to New York-style pizza. The notable feature of Tavern-style pizza is the thin, crispy crust that’s made by contact with the baking pan while roasting.
What also differentiates this pizza from others is how the toppings are spread. Since the pizza is cut into square pieces, the toppings are spread across the entire pizza.
While bar pizza isn’t necessarily regional, it’s become synonymous to Chicago. This pizza is also enjoyed in the Midwest and some cities in New York. It’s hard to determine the best pizza in every state when there are so many amazing options!
It’s believed that Neapolitan pizza originated from a meal eaten in ancient Rome. They would eat focaccia-like flatbread with toppings. Sound familiar? The pizza is cooked at extremely high temperatures for a short amount of time and is closer in size to that of a personal pizza.
The toppings are very traditional, and don’t pivot like other American pizzas. Neapolitan pizza is only made with simple ingredients like raw tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, basil, and olive oil. Unlike other pizzas, Neapolitan pizza also has more sauce than cheese.
To have a truly authentic Neapolitan pizza, the tomatoes must be either San Marzano tomatoes or Pomodorino del Piennolo del Vesuvio.
While this type of pizza originates in Italy, it has become popularized in New York restaurants like Ribalta.
What distinguishes Cuban pizza, or Pizza Cubana, from the rest is its thick, sweet crust. With a thin layer of tomato sauce and lots of cheese, the star of this pizza is found in the toppings.
Similar to a Cuban sandwich, the toppings on a Cuban pizza are usually sausage, diced ham or small pieces of seafood.
This pizza is popular in Miami and can be found at Rey Pizza, a local chain owned by Ralph Cuomo, 24/7.
Roman pizza, similar to Neapolitan pizza, is a focaccia-like thin crust. It is sometimes referred to as pizza bassa, or low pizza, to further distinguish it from Neapolitan pizza, or pizza alta. There are two versions of Roman pizza: one in a round shape and the other rectangular.
A classic version of this pizza is the Capricciosa, which is topped with ham, mushrooms, olives, artichoke, an egg and tomato.
Buffalo-style pizza features a semisweet sauce and a light, fluffy crust. They don’t skimp on the cheese in Buffalo as the pizza has plenty of mozzarella.
What makes this pizza stand out is the use of cup-and-char pepperoni. This type of pepperoni curls into a little cup when baked.
One of the best places to find Buffalo-style pizza is Bocce Club Pizza which ships nationwide.
Colorado-style pizza, or the Colorado mountain pie, is exclusively found in the Rocky Mountain area. The crust is thick and braided with honey. When you finish your pie, they have honey on the tables to use on the crust for a sweet treat.
Coloradans don’t cower in the face of toppings. At Beau Jo’s Colorado Style Pizza, the originator of the pizza, you can choose among 50 different toppings. An example is the “Firecracker” pie with hot sauce, ranch dressing, spicy chicken, fresh jalapeños and Monterey jack cheese.
You can find this pizza at Beau Jo’s Colorado Style Pizza, which has six locations across Colorado.
Grandma pizza is a distinct thin, rectangular style of pizza attributed to Long Island, New York. This thin-crust pizza is named after the home cooks that created the dish. However, this pizza gained popularity due to Umberto’s in New Hyde Park.
Since most home kitchens don’t have a pizza oven, Grandma Pizza is cooked in an olive oil-coated rectangular pan and topped with mozzarella cheese and tomato sauce.
The sauce is poured over the cheese on the pizza, which is then cut into squares. It’s most similar to a Sicilian pie, but has a thinner crust and more dense toppings.
Dessert pizza is a sweet take on the usually savory dish. While other pizza places have been open to the concept of honey on crust, dessert pizzas make the entire experience a dessert via sauce and toppings.
The sauce can range from chocolate, caramel or cream and be topped with anything your heart desires. People have topped their dessert pies with fruit while others try candied almonds, Oreos and even sweet cheeses.
The crust can be a traditional pizza crust or something more similar to cookie dough.
Like dessert pizzas, breakfast pizzas have also made a splash across the U.S. While there’s no specific region that they originate, they’re slowly rising in popularity.
These pizzas are purely topping based with endless combinations. Dimo’s Pizza in Chicago has a chicken ‘n waffles pie which includes mozzarella, fried chicken, melted butter, and mini waffle bites, all topped with maple syrup.
Other restaurants, such as Pizza Beach in New York, have egg-topped pies for a more traditional breakfast feeling.
Sicilian pizza originated in Sicily, Italy. The crust is thick and sponge-like. This is the differentiating factor that sets it apart, as well as the topping options. The pizza is cut into a rectangle and cooked with plenty of olive oil.
While you can choose in which order you place the sauce and cheese, Sicilian pizza typically has the sauce layer on top of the cheese.
It is often topped with onions, anchovies, tomatoes, herbs and strong cheese such as caciocavallo and toma.