The Big List of Pizza Styles

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January 11, 2018 (Last Updated: April 26, 2018)
header image for pizza styles post - this is a margarita pizza on a wooden pizza peel

We have embarked on our journey to investigate and eat Chicago deep dish style pizza, but that is far from the only kind of pizza. I thought it would be fun and informative to go past Chicago style pizza and try and make a big list of ALL pizza styles. I am sure there are pizza styles that are not listed here and please leave a comment below if you know of one. I may add it to the list (Note: if the only difference in your proposed style is toppings, it probably won’t qualify)!

Neapolitan Pizza Style

A simple pizza and the godfather of the pizza world. The EU identifies this pizza as having a very specific set of ingredients and processes to fall within the tradition of being a genuine Neopolitan. The ingredients are dough, San Marzano tomatoes, traditional fresh mozzarella cheese, basil, and extra virgin olive oil.

This pizza is cooked at high temps (reaching up to 1000 degrees) and often takes just a minute to cook.

Originates in Naples, Italy and the dough really is the star of this style.

New York Style Pizza

A direct descendant of the Neapolitan, but quite different.  The other super star of the pizza world. The dough is the biggest difference. While both pizzas are thin, the NY style is quite a bit more sturdy and easily folded up. Often served by the slice, while a Neapolitan is served whole. The NY style pizza is a favorite when on the move. Here is a list of differences.

Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza Style

Ahh, the muse of our current topic! So, a Chicago Style pizza has three really defining characteristics. First, It looks more like a pie than a pizza, as it is a very thick pizza (although not necessarily a thick dough) and can have many ingredients. I have been cooking my Chicago styles in my 14-inch cast iron pan, but spring release pie tins is a perfectly reasonable option for Chicago Style.

The second main item that identifies a Chicago Style is that the tomato sauce is added last. Because this is such a big pizza, if the cheese were on top it would burn. So, cheese is added at the bottom and then the toppings are added. Then, the sauce and maybe some parmesan cheese to finish it off.

Finally, there often is corn meal or semolina that is often added to the dough.

Chicago Thin Crust

Apparently, the locals order this more than the deep dish, leaving the Chicago style deep dish to the tourists. I am not a pizza hater, I will eat any pizza.

Chicago thin crust has a bit of a crunch. Here is a link to a good explanation of this style as well as recipes. I like how he explains the dilemma of the pizza peel. I have definitely had some pizza disasters due to sticking dough.

Neo-Neapolitan

If the Neapolitan is The Godfather of the pizza, the Neo-Neapolitan is the drunk uncle (druncle). Really, the primary difference between a Neapolitan and an Neo-Neapolitan is the dough. Neapolitan calls of “00” Italian flour, which refers to the fineness that it is milled at. A dough can make an entirely different pizza.

Additionally, the Neapolitan is a pretty strict definition of a pizza. It seems as though the Neo-Neapoltion does not really fall into the need to be exactly on point to be within the style. I mean, most of us don’t have water buffalo mozzarella laying around.

Here is a great recipe from a great pizza maker and here is a discussion on the dough.

Stuffed Crust Pizza Style

I debated really even including this as a style, as it comes dangerously close to being what I would consider stunt pizza. Yeah, it is pizza and, by definition, it is good. I feel like this was probably a big box marketing invention rather than a style.

What is it? Well, it is pizza with cheese in the crust.

California Pizza Style

The California style pizza really seems to be a matter of toppings. It takes traditional New York or Neapolitan style crusts and adorns them with California toppings. This style was innovated with the California cuisine movement and popularized by California Pizza Company and Wolfgang Puck throughout the 80s. So, whenever you see a sprout arugula avocado pie advertised, there is a good chance it is a California pie.

Ohio Valley Pizza Style

Whelp, Ohio has it’s own pizza style. The characteristics of this are that it is cooked in a rectangle shape, the cheese isn’t completely cooked, and any toppings (outside of sauce and cheese) are added after the pie is baked. Huh. You learn something new every day.

Grilled

Well, duh… it is grilled. One thing that is interesting about making this pizza is that the dough is partially grilled before any sauce, cheese, or toppings are placed in the pie. I have been meaning to try to make this on my grill, but seeing that it is -20 out right now here on ol’ Fargo, North Dakota, it is just gonna have to wait.

Montanara

Well, we Americans like to deep fat fry everything, right? That is what separates the Montanara from other pizza styles. The crust is deep fried before it is baked.

Vesuvio

I debated whether to add Vesuvio style pizza to the list as well, because it feels a little like stunt pizza. I could not find a whole lot of information on this topic, but there were some out there. There are two defining characteristics of this style of pizza. First, the pizza is partially folded. So, it is sort of half calzone and half pizza. Of the ones I saw, if you looked at half the pizza, it looked like a traditional pie. Only on the other half was there just a little bit folded over.

Also, the cheese in this style, as far as I could find, is ricotta instead of mozarella.

Old Forge Pizza

Who knew that Old Forge, PA had it’s own pizza style. It does. This pizza is characterized by it’s rectangle shape, thick crust, crispy edges, and variation of cheeses. It would not be uncommon to find American cheese in the blend. There is a white sauce version that usually comes looking like a Calzone

Pizza Bianca

So… this is pizza that does not have sauce OR cheese. Sorta bread?

Pizza di Sfrigole

Along the same lines as Pizza Bianca, but with pork baked right into the crust.

Grandma pizza

Grandma pizza is a lightly cheesed basic style of pizza. The crust is rectangular and baked in a way where the crust is crisp on the bottom and sides.

Sicilian Pizza

Basically, focaccia bread with toppings.

Trenton-style Tomato Pie

Trenton Tomato Pie is similar to the Chicago style pizza in that it the tomatoes go on top. While many other pizza styles celebrate cheese, this pizza really celebrates the tomatoes over the cheese.

Philly-style Tomato Pie

NOT the same as the Trenton Tomato Pie. Serious Eats describes the Philly Style Tomato pie as “saucy focaccia”. It looks like a risen and baked crust with a rich and deep sauce and maybe a bit more cheese.

Detroit

Ooooh. The Detroit pizza style looks like my kind of pizza. It is a deep dish pizza that has a very crispy bottom and edges. Similar to a Chicago style, oil is added liberally to help give a crunchy outer shell. Like many of the deeper dish pizzas, it has cheese placed right on top of the dough and then constructed from there. Instead of a circle, this pie is baked in a square.

Quad Cities Pizza Style

The quad cities is an area in Illinois and Iowa that covers four cities. Hence, quad cities. What makes the Quad Cities style of pizza unique? The dough is spiked with brewers malt and spices. This can give the pie a spicier taste profile. Traditionally, this pie style is cut into strips rather than squares or slices like other pizza styles.

Brier Hill Pizza

Named after a neighborhood in Ohio that had a large Italian immigrant population. Brier Hill pizza style is most different because they use Romano cheese instead of the traditional mozzarella. Additionally, hot peppers are the mainstay topping of this pizza style.

St. Louis

The defining characteristics of the St. Louis Pizza Style is that the crust is cracker thin and it uses a processed cheese that I have never heard of before, Provel. It is a cheese made up of cheddar, Swiss and provolone.

New Haven

This pizza style is a direct descendant of the Neapolitan, but it seems like it just kicks it up a notch. Like the Brier Hill style, this was born of an area filled with Italian immigrants.

The characteristics that separate New Haven Style from Neapolitan is that the pie is cooked longer and charred. Traditionally, it was cooked with coal as the heat source at very high temperatures. Finally, cheese is not a given on this pizza, unlike other pizza styles. You must order it as a separate topping.

Big List of Pizza Styles Summary

I never even knew that there were this many styles!I hope this huge list of pizza resources gets you going on making pizza styles you want! There just is more than I originally imagined!

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8 Comments

  • Reply
    Jason fly rohde
    January 11, 2018 at 12:49 pm

    You need to try also carbones pizzas pizza sandwich amazing and in mn, wi .

  • Reply
    Mimi
    January 13, 2018 at 4:12 am

    What a fun list! There are certainly a few I’ve never heard of! Without having tried them all, I still for for Chicago!

  • Reply
    Jeff the Chef
    January 13, 2018 at 10:46 am

    Wow, that is a big list. I’ve had all of them, until you get to Montanara, and then I’ve had none of them! I’ve got a lot of pizzas to eat, it seems!

  • Reply
    History of the Chicago Deep Dish Pizza - Ramshackle Pantry
    January 16, 2018 at 10:04 am

    […] It has tomatoes and cheese on top. Other toppings might be added. As we already discussed in the big list of styles, the Neapolitan is the godfather of […]

  • Reply
    Best Pizza Sauce Recipe for a Chicago Deep Dish - Ramshackle Pantry
    January 18, 2018 at 12:32 pm

    […] style deep dish pizza! We have already looked at several pizza recipes from the web and also a huge list of pizza styles, but now we are moving on to recipes! We are going to have a few detailed posts in the near future […]

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    Chicago Deep Dish Pizza Wrap Up - Ramshackle Pantry
    January 31, 2018 at 3:30 pm

    […] look around the internet at other blogger pizza recipes. The big list of pizza styles. Who knew there were so many styles!? We looked at all the elements of a great Chicago deep dish pizza. The history of the Chicago deep […]

  • Reply
    Marc
    February 12, 2018 at 9:57 am

    I have tried quite a few of those styles, and like most of them (Philly-style tomato pie is the exception — cheese is a key part of pizza for me). If I had to choose one as a favorite, it would be a toss up between Neo-Neapolitan and Detroit style.

    For Neo-Neapolitan, I like Pizzeria Delfina in San Francisco (and nearby). For Detroit style, I’m a big fan of Jets Pizza, which is available in Michigan and 24 other states (the nearest outlet to Fargo is in Minnesota). It’s rectangular and baked in a heavy pan to give a crisp crust. They have an interesting idea called the “8-cornered pizza”, which I think involves a pan with additional metal inserts that crisp some of the inner edges. An honorable mention for thin crust goes to the pizza at Cheese Board (Berkeley), which has a sourdough crust and some California-style toppings. They offer just one flavor combination a day. Beautifully crisp crust, nice sourdough tang.

    I have tried the Detroit-style recipe you linked to and it’s great — definitely worth a try. I can’t find brick cheese where I live, so I use the recommended substitution. With your proximity to Wisconsin, perhaps brick cheese is in your stores?

  • Reply
    Cara @ Street Smart Nutrition
    October 2, 2018 at 9:02 am

    I LOVE provel cheese! It’s so good when it melts, and really hard to find anywhere outside of St. Louis. I really miss it from when I used to live there!

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