Pizza people are often VERY particular about the nuances of various pizza styles and with good reason. Pizza starts as a blank slate: dough with toppings. How that dough is prepared, handled, baked and topped drastically alters the end result. So, to help with the confusion of categorization, I will provide for you a quick guide to various pizza styles from MY perspective. Someone is going to disagree with me, I am certain but that would happen no matter how I did this. I will aim to make this generally appealing and approachable my most, rather than just purists and bakers. (This is not literally every style of pizza but it will cover a lot...)
- Often served by the slice, NY style pizza is stretched thin and the slice should have a nice crisp to it on the underside. The slices are often quite large and while the standard slice is simply cheese and tomato sauce, the toppings can vary quite broadly.
- Detroit style pizza is a rectangular pie made in high-walled blue steel pans. The crust is thick and this style always features a caramelized cheese edge. Traditionally this edge is made with the highly processed, brick cheese but many prefer cheddar. As the pie bakes, fat renders out of the cheese and fries the bottom of the crust.
- Chicago style pizza is not deep dish, it is a cracker thin, square-cut bar pizza and it is fantastic. The crust is quite crispy and the slices are quite snack-able. The sauce is also often quite tangy.
- Deep dish pizza is what Chicago is probably more famous for. This is basically a meat pie. The crust is often flaky as the baking pan is usually lined with fat (likely butter) and these pies are frequently stuffed with sausage, mushrooms, tons of cheese and a lot of sauce. Obviously fillings vary but calling this pizza feels like a stretch. It has more in common with a British meat pie.
- Sicilian Style Pizza is rectangular pizza that is baked on a sheet tray and has a pillowy interior yet a crunchy exterior. Grandma pizza is usually a slightly less thick (~1 inch) Sicilian style pizza. Often, the toppings are a bit more "rustic" looking as well.
- Pinsa is a very moist, long fermented dough. The interior is light and pillowy but the exterior is often quite crispy. These are usually formed into an oval and have a high percentage of rice flower. They are also lower in calories and far lighter than your typical pizza.
- Apizza (ah-beetz) is a coal or gas fired style that often features a somewhat charred crust. These pies are thin, relatively crispy and topped with things like clams or just tomatoes and cheese.
- St. Louis Style pizza is another cracker thin, square-cut pizza but this one is topped with a highly processed, tangy cheese called provel. It is very snack-able and very rich.
- Neapolitan style pizza is very particular. Technically speaking, the organization Vera Pizza Napoletana must accredit you and the sauce/cheese/flour etc. must all be of a certain type (from Italy and what not). That all said, the style is known for its soft, pillowy crust that is baked to a semi-charred, leopard spotted finish. The classic Neapolitan Margherita will feature fresh, bight tomatoes, Mozzarella di Bufala, fresh basil and a nice dose of olive oil.
Neo-Neapolitan Style Pizza and beyond...
- California Style Pizza, Trenton tomato pie, pizza al taglio...the list goes on and on. There are SO many specific, highly regional styles of pizza that I really did not want to list them all. That being said, this covers a lot of pizza staples. I hope this can be a helpful reference guide for you as you navigate the pizza landscape.
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