The Ultimate Guide to Regional Pizza Styles
You have to love regional pizza! For a dish with the same basic ingredients, regional pizza styles are all totally unique—and they each have some very passionate fans.
Chicago deep-dish pizza
Since Chicago is famously the “Windy City,” they seem to have opted for a pizza heavy enough to stay on your plate during a tornado. The thick crust fills a deep-dish pan, followed by mozzarella, meat and vegetables. The tomato sauce goes on last. The whole pizza is one to two inches thick, and it’s the only pizza you have to eat with a knife and fork.
Detroit pizza was created when someone started using metal trays, that originally held small factory parts, to cook this square, deep-dish pizza. It’s similar to Chicago deep-dish, because this pizza style is incredibly thick and has tomato sauce on top. Detroit also bakes their pizzas not once but twice for perfectly caramelized cheese.
Dreamed up by Ed LaDou, the chef behind California Pizza Kitchen, this regional style is made for those who prefer their pizza fancy, thank you very much. You’ll find a California-style pizza topped with all sorts of non-traditional ingredients and unusual combinations, from smoked salmon to Peking duck. Served up on thin, chewy hand-tossed crust, this pizza style made waves all over the U.S.
Quad City-style pizza
Hailing from the Quad Cities, malt is the secret ingredient that gives this regional pizza’s crust its toasty, nutty flavor. The Quad Cities’ red sauce might have more kick than you’re used to, with added chili flakes and ground cayenne. You can get any toppings you like, but purists will opt for the signature lean sausage cooked with fennel.
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Ohio Valley pizza
We hope you’re ready for one of the strangest pizza styles on our list! The Ohio Valley puts their toppings on after the main pizza is cooked. It doesn’t mean the toppings are served cold. The heat of the fresh pizza cooks the toppings to perfection, especially when left to steam inside the pizza box.
That’s not the only difference—they also make their pizza with stewed tomatoes instead of sauce. This pizza is made in a square pan, cut into squares and sold by the slice.
St. Louis pizza
To say St. Louis pizza is divisive would be an understatement. St. Louis serves up their ‘zas on an unleavened, super-crispy crust. The sauce is almost sweet, and they’ve opted for a cheese called “provel,” a blend of provolone, Swiss and white cheddar, instead of mozzarella. Toppings are sliced, never diced, and the final product receives what is referred to as a “party cut”—a round pizza cut into squares.
Tomato pie (Philadelphia)
Hailing from Philadelphia and parts of New York, this is not a pizza, this is a tomato pie. The thick, square crust is topped with chunky tomato, and finished off with Pecorino Romano cheese.
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New York thin crust
First created by immigrants from Naples, Italy, the pizza features a hand-tossed crust with tons of southern Italian-style marinara and cheese. Eaters fold the pizza in half before taking a bite. However, if you’re digging into Washington, D.C.’s jumbo New York-style pizza, you might want to roll it up and call it a pizza burrito.
New Haven pizza
This New Jersey pizza admittedly looks, well, weird. It’s irregular and oblong in shape, with a crust even thinner than New York. The pizza is usually served on wax paper on a giant square tray. Locals swear by its crust, which ranges from soft to crispy depending on how scorched it comes out of the brick oven. A traditional, plain pizza focuses on the crust and the sauce, having just a sprinkle of grated Romano on top.
Greek pizza (New England)
Whipped up by Greek immigrants in New England, this Greek pizza is not the kind you’ll find in many parts of the U.S. The pizza is baked inside a pan in the oven, not laid straight on the bricks, so its crust comes out thick and soft. Topped with tomato sauce and lots of oregano, the pizza is finished off with mozzarella and cheddar. Being Greek, there’s olive oil everywhere—it often soaks through the bottom of your pizza box.