Italian Pizza vs. American Pizza: A Slice of History

December 19, 2022
Last updated on February 01, 2023
Italian Pizza vs. American Pizza: A Slice of History

Pizza: a delectable fare relished globally, yet its genesis stems from Italy's soil. An archaic script from Naples in the 1700s, records the initial appearance of pizza. Subsequently, it transformed into a staple in Italy's culinary arts. Yet, the dish also established itself in the United States, metamorphosing into a cherished cuisine in its own right. This treatise shall delve into an exploration of the disparities between Italian Pizza vs. American Pizza.

Italian Pizza vs. American Pizza: The Basics

Prior to delving into an ultimate comparison, it's imperative to grasp the fundamental tenets of Italian and American pizza.

Italian Pizza

Italian pizza, referred to as Neapolitan pizza, showcases a thin, crunchy crust, and an emphasis on utilizing fresh and uncomplicated ingredients. The conventional method for crafting Italian pizza entails hand-kneading the dough, leaving it to ferment for several hours, and subsequently adorning it with a tomato sauce base, mozzarella cheese, and an assortment of toppings such as basil, olives, or anchovies.

Finally, the pizza is baked in a wood-fired oven at an extreme temperature, not exceeding 90 seconds, yielding a pizza with a crispy exterior, a soft and moist center, and a harmonious blend of flavors.

A Neopolitan Pizza: image by Nathan Hughes

The Italian pizza showcases a spectrum of regional variations, such as the Neapolitan, Roman, and Sicilian pizzas, each possessing its unique attributes. The Neapolitan pizza, for instance, flaunts a plush and airy crust, while the Roman pizza boasts a thin and crunchy crust.

In Italy, popular toppings encompass tomato, mozzarella, basil, olives, and anchovies, with regional variations prevalent. For instance, in Rome, it's not uncommon to encounter pizzas with toppings limited to olive oil, salt, and pepper.

American Pizza

In contrast, American pizza boasts a thicker and chewier crust, often laden with a plethora of toppings. The dough, usually composed of flour, yeast, sugar, and oil, ferments for a briefer duration.

The pizza is then garnished with tomato sauce, cheese, and a diverse array of toppings such as pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, and bell peppers. The pizza is baked in a gas or electric oven at a reduced temperature, for several minutes, resulting in a pizza with a crispy crust, a soft and cheesy center, and a wide range of flavors.


A New York-style Pizza: image by Hungrydudes

Similar to Italian pizza, American pizza encompasses regional variations such as the New York-style, Chicago-style, and California-style pizzas. The New York-style pizza, for instance, is characterized by its large and thin slices, while the Chicago-style pizza flaunts its deep-dish crust.

In the United States, popular toppings include pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, and bell peppers, with regional variations in evidence. For instance, in California, pizzas with toppings of fresh vegetables, seafood, and even fruit are commonplace.

Italian Pizza vs. American Pizza: Comparison and Contrast

The fundamental distinctions between Italian and American pizza lies in their ingredients, toppings, and preparation methods.

Ingredients: A Tale of Two Pizzas

When it comes to ingredients, Italian pizza showcases simple, fresh components such as tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, and olives. Meanwhile, American pizza, in contrast, typically features a wider range of toppings, including pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, and bell peppers.

Preparation Methods: A Study in Contrast

In terms of preparation and cooking methods, Italian pizza is traditionally baked in a wood-fired oven at a high temperature for a brief interval. On the other hand, American pizza is baked in a gas or electric oven at a reduced temperature over a longer duration.

Cultural and Historical Influences

The cultural and historical influences in the evolution of Italian and American pizza play a pivotal role in their variations. Italian pizza has its roots firmly planted in Italy's traditional, rustic cuisine, while American pizza has been molded by the diverse blend of cultures that define the United States.

This dynamic has contributed to a more diverse range of toppings and styles in American pizza, whereas Italian pizza tends to stick to tried-and-true recipes and ingredients.


In terms of taste, both Italian and American pizzas leave an indelible impression. Italian pizza boasts a harmonious blend of flavors with a slightly charred exterior and a tender interior. Meanwhile, American pizza is characterized by its crunchy crust and a multitude of toppings that produce a kaleidoscope of flavors with each bite.


Ultimately, the choice between Italian Pizza vs. American Pizza comes down to personal preference. Both types offer delicious and satisfying options, but they appeal to different tastes and preferences. Whether you prefer the simplicity and balance of flavors in Italian pizza or the diversity and variety of toppings in American pizza, one thing is for sure: both types of pizza offer a delicious and satisfying experience.

Profil Picture Jessica Ainsley

Say hello to Jessica "Jess" Ainsley, a 30-something food blogger and freelance copywriter based in the West Coast. With a passion for all things related to food and cooking, Jessica spends her days testing out new recipes and sharing her culinary adventures on her popular blog.

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