Pizza is arguably the best comfort food in the United States. The savory open-faced baked cheesy pie boasts many different styles across the region. Even though each region may claim that their piece of pie is the best, we’ll let you be the final judge. Explore our guide to regional pizza styles across America and discover your new favorite slice!
Chicago Deep Dish
Perhaps the most non-traditional of all the styles of pizzas is the Chicago deep dish. A Chicago-style pizza resembles a pie due to its impressively large edges, created by the deep pan it’s prepared in. Pizza lovers that tackle the windy city’s pizza will definitely need a knife and fork, as this pie is usually two to three inches thick! Bite into a Chicago deep dish, and discover layers of cheese, an assortment of meats, vegetables, and tomato sauce as the top tier.
Detriot-style pizza has recently stepped into the limelight as Pizza Hut unveiled a handcrafted Detriot-style pizza as part of its delicious pizza offerings. Like a Chicago-style pizza, the Detriot pizza sports tomato sauce on top and is also considered a deep-dish pizza with a thick airy crust. However, Detriot-style pizza is not round like the Chicago deep-dish. Instead, it’s baked in a square pan and cut into squares.
Interestingly, it’s noted that this midwestern favorite is baked in square metal automobile drip trays from the automobile factories of Detriot. The square trays give Detriot’s deep-dish pizza its defining characteristic, the caramelized crust that forms around the edge of the pan from the burnt Wisconsin-brick cheese.
New Haven-Style Pizza
New Haven-style pizza, known as apizza (pronounced as “ah-beetz”) is often prepared at high temperatures in a coal-fired oven. This Connecticut favorite began in the early 1920s when Neapolitan immigrant Frank Pepe started selling his pizzas to factory workers on a pushcart.
Similar to New York-style pizza, New Haven-style pizza is crispy and thin, yet it has more of a chew and a more rustic rounded shape with a noticeable difference in the cheese. New Haven-style pizza includes significantly less cheese than New York-style pies.
New York Style Pizza
If there are only a few regions distinctly known for their pizza around the world, New York-style has to be one of them. New York-style pizza is well known for its thin crust that begs to be folded into a more compact, delicious package of cheese, sauce, and dough. More distinct features of this incredible pizza are derived from the heart of New York. Of course, we’re talking about the water. Specific mineral contents in New York’s tap water help deliver that magical, hand-tossed crust’s, wonderful texture and mouthfeel.
Some believe so strongly in getting the original New York City tap water for their pizza dough, they pay to have it shipped across the United States for use in their restaurants. New York-style pizza features a hand-tossed crust that’s lightly coated in sauce and high-fat mozzarella, then more toppings and cheese are added to create the finished pie. It’s not uncommon to see a single New York slice of pizza being grabbed and taken on the go thanks to how easy to fold it is.
Neapolitan Style Pizza
Neapolitan style pizza is another one of several regional pizza styles that most everyone is aware of. If the name isn’t ringing any bells, Pizza Margherita, that incredible pie with fresh sauce and large portions of ooey-gooey mozzarella, is a popular variant of Neapolitan style pizza. Toppings aside, the features that define Neapolitan are in the crust and cooking method.
First, the dough must be created with wheat flour, regional yeast or brewers yeast, and salt. Dough is hand-kneaded and rolled to no thicker than three millimeters after the rising process. Finally, the pizza is baked in a wood-fired oven at 905 degrees for just 60-90 seconds. The result is a soft, almost stretchy, dough with a soft flavor.
Contrary to what the name suggests, Greek-style pizza is not from the country of Greece. Instead, this doughy style earned its popularity in New England after Greek pizza shop owners dominated the market, particularly in Connecticut.
Instead of being tossed or stretched, the dough is allowed to proof and then cook in a shallow metal pan in the bottom of a pizza oven. Dough for the day’s pies is made in advance instead of being stretched or tossed to order. More oil is in the dough than other styles because of the olive oil coating the metal pans receive. It’s not uncommon to see Greek-style pizza cut into squares instead of the more traditional triangle shape.
Heading to the west coast will bring about a few changes of scenery and lifestyle. It also changes the pizza you can expect to find when walking into a local pizzeria. Unlike the massive pies that are capable of serving entire families, California-style pizza is typically made for just one person. The pie features a very thin-crust and feature a broad spectrum of intriguing toppings including fried eggs, broccoli, goat cheese, avocado, and even artichoke hearts.
Italy is home to several styles of pizza. Sicilian-Style pizza is among them, and is one of the most unique. It breaks the mold of several pizza norms. For example, Sicilian-style pies are usually square instead of round. Another feature diners may notice about Sicilian-style pizza is the way the pizza is assembled. If your pie arrives with the sauce on top and the toppings below the sauce, that wasn’t a mistake!
These pizzas have a thicker dough. Placing the toppings between the crust and the sauce prevents the sauce from soaking into the crust. Traditional toppings include herbs, onions, strong cheese, and anchovies, however available toppings tend to be more locally-focused.
Anyone passing through the quad-cities region around Iowa and Illinois may discover the magic of Quad-city style pizza. A very unique option in the pizza world, Quad-city pizza dough is made heavily from malted barley, which is also used in beer making. Diners may also discover other flavorful surprises in the crust such as red pepper flakes or cayenne powder. Assembly is a bit different with this style as well; the pizza toppings are placed above the sauce and under the cheese. Quad city pizza is sliced into rectangular strips.