Everyone understands what you’re talking about when you say the word “pizza.” But the particular type of pizza you think of can vary widely, especially if we’re talking about the best pizza.
There are so many different styles of pizza in America (and even in Italy) that one size never fits all. Here are nine kinds of pizza that you should know.
There are plenty of guides out there that will try to tell you what makes a great pizza — and point you in the direction of where to find it. But frankly, the best pizza is often the pizza you grew up with.
In my own case, as a born and bred New Yorker, it’s hard to think of pizza as anything other than a long and foldable thin-crust slice, smoky from the oven and garnished with nothing more than marinara and cheese (pepperoni if you’re feeling devilish).
So I say it’s time to acknowledge our own biases and give up on declaring any single style the best. Even if there’s only one that truly feels like home, there’s also an adventure to be had in stamping one’s pizza passport and taking in pizza attractions from across the globe.
It’s time to fire up the oven and get a batch of red sauce ready: These nine recipes will guide you well beyond your pizza comfort zone.
1. Sicilian pizza “la regina”
Sicilian-style pizzas are thick and bready, practically a focaccia with extra toppings. Easily made in a sheet pan, they’re the perfect pie for feeding a crowd. Make this delectable prosciutto-topped pie and you’ll quickly realize why it’s named for a queen.
Get our Sicilian pizza “la regina” recipe.
2. Neapolitan pizza
Naples is credited with giving birth to the modern pizza. In fact, Neapolitans take their pies so seriously that there’s an association dedicated to certifying pizzas that are true to the city’s style.
Made with ultra-fine 00 flour, Neapolitan crusts are distinguished by their thin, crispy centers, and puffy, spotted edges, which are produced by a quick firing at very high temperatures.
Get the Neapolitan pizza recipe.
3. Roman-style pizza
As a style, Roman pizza can be a bit hard to define. Pizzas thick and thin, round and square can be found within the city’s boundaries.
But it’s pizza al metro that stands out as the most unique of them all. Long and thin, these pies are cut to order and sold by the kilo, for a slice that’s served as you like it.
Get the Roman-style pizza recipe.
4. New York-style thin crust pizza
No matter where you are, there’s probably a restaurant in your neck of the woods that claims to make New York style pizza. But unless you’re actually in the Big Apple, most of them don’t even come close to the real deal.
Skip the impostors and make it at home — you’ll have a better chance of getting something that actually resembles the pie as it was intended to be.
Get the New York-style thin crust pizza recipe.
5. Chicago-style deep dish pizza
With deep dish, there’s no room for subtlety between the lava-like oceans of sauce, gushing pools of cheese, and fortress of a crust that just manages to hold it all together.
Go into this one with an empty stomach and a can-do attitude, come out on the other side with a full belly and the feeling of having conquered the Vesuvius of the food world.
Get the Chicago-style deep dish pizza recipe.
6. St. Louis-style pizza
St. Louis pizza is the nerdy weird kid of American pizzas: It’s thin and gawky (with a cracker-crisp crust), wears clothes that don’t fit quite properly (the toppings reach all the way to the rim), and has a taste for the obscure (it’s topped with Provel cheese, a processed blend that’s impossible to track down outside of the St. Louis area).
Most other pies would beat it up and steal its lunch money, but it’s precisely those oddities that seem to have made it a hometown icon and favorite.
Get the St. Louis-style pizza recipe.
7. New Haven-style clam pizza
New Haven pizza has the rusticity of a Neapolitan and the no-nonsense attitude of a New Yorker. But where it really sets itself apart is the toppings, particularly the clams that adorn the style’s most famous pie.
Get the New Haven-style clam pizza recipe.
8. Detroit-style pizza
Detroit-style pizza features crispy fried edges and affinity for thick and heavy toppings, which are supported by a pillowy crust that’s not too far off from a Sicilian. For extra authenticity, bake this one in an industrial auto parts tray, just like they do in the Motor City (you have one lying around, right?).
Get the Detroit-style pizza recipe.
9. California pizza
California pizza is one of the few pizzas that’s less distinguished by its crust than by the toppings you put on it. Cheese and sauce are limited to a supporting role so that more eclectic ingredients can take center stage (especially vegetables, because it’s California, after all). Our summer squash pie carries on the tradition proudly.