10 American Pizza Styles You Must Try

10 American Pizza Styles You Must Try

Bored of ordering the same thing at every meal stop on your American road trip? From Chicago deep dish, to Colorado mountain pie, add some pizzazz to your pizza repertoire with this guide to the best pizzas in America!

Pizza originates from Italy, but has since diversified and is now enjoyed in dozens of forms by millions around the world. They’re available everywhere, from classy restaurants to even roadside stalls. In the USA, about 3 billion slices are sold each year – that’s 350 slices every second!

Throughout the country, you’ll find a multitude of pizza styles, each with their own distinct texture, ingredients and cooking style. Let us introduce you to ten of the coolest and craziest pizzas around!

1. Chicago Deep Dish

Image credit: Evil Angela

Even if you’ve never set foot in Chicago, Illinois, you’ve probably heard about its famous deep-dish pizza. As its name suggests, it’s cooked in a deep metal tray and is actually akin to a pie. Its thick buttery crust is piled with layers and layers of smooth tomato sauce, gooey mozzarella cheese and any toppings you want! Interestingly, due to its long baking time, the topmost layer is usually tomato sauce to prevent the cheese from burning.

Recommended pizzerias: Pequod’s Pizza, Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria

2. New Haven-style “Apizza”

Image credit: Krista

This specialty pizza from New Haven, Connecticut puts a slight twist on the authentic Italian Neapolitan. New Haven-style Apizza has a thin, chewy crust with flecks of char in classic Italian style and is cooked in a coal-fired oven rather than a wood-fired one. They’re typically lightly topped with a bit of tomato sauce, oregano and some grated pecorino cheese. Or you can opt for a “clam pie” which has no sauce – just olive oil, grated cheese, oregano, garlic and some fresh littleneck clams.

Recommended pizzerias: Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana, Modern Apizza

3. St. Louis-style

Image credit: Amy Meredith

The definitive characteristic of a pizza from St. Louis, Missouri is its cracker-thin crust that’s made without any yeast! Due to its sturdiness, this crust can be topped with plenty of stuff, including lots of slightly sweet sauce as well as local Provel cheese a processed blend of Swiss, provolone and white cheddar. Instead of the normal triangular wedges, a real St. Louis pizza is cut into small rectangles (“party cut”) which makes it great for sharing too!

Recommended pizzerias: Pizza-A-Go-Go, Imo’s Pizza

4. Detroit-style

Image credit: Yelp Inc.

This pizza originating from Detroit, Michigan is a must-try for pan pizza lovers! Its super thick and chewy buttered crust is sometimes even twice-baked just to get that crispy base. Its rectangular crust, usually baked in industrial metal trays rather than pizza pans, is loaded with mozzarella, sauce and toppings like sausage, pepperoni and mushrooms.

Recommended pizzerias: Niki’s Pizza, Motor City Brewing Works

5. D.C. Jumbo

Image credit: Jason Lam

Hungry in D.C.? Go for this enormous pizza slice, which can rack up about 1000 calories per 30cm-long slice, and takes TWO plates to hold! It has a thin, hand-tossed and pliable crust and doesn’t come in any unusual varieties, only cheese and pepperoni, but the media still goes crazy over it because of its size!

Recommended pizzerias: Adams Morgan, Jumbo Slice Pizza Kouzina Angelina’s

6. Colorado Mountain Pie

Image credit: Wally Gobetz

There’s only one place to get this: Beau Jo’s, which has locations throughout Colorado. But its signature pizza has become such a state staple that it’s well worth a mention on this list! The Mountain Pie, which can only be ordered by its weight in pounds (1lb., 2lb., 5lb – that’s between 0.4 and 2.3kg!), has a thick, hand-rolled crust layered with tons of toppings. For an extra treat, dip the crust in honey and have it for dessert!

Recommended pizzeria: Beau Jo’s

7. Sicilian

Image credit: Dale Cruse

This pizza style is especially popular in Italian-American enclaves across northeastern US (like Massachusetts, Oregon, Rhode Island, New Jersey and New York), since it was introduced to the country by Italian immigrants. It’s very similar to focaccia bread with some toppings. The crust, usually square, can be almost an inch thick, but it’s light, pillowy and airy. Purists put the sauce on top!

Recommended pizzerias: Di Fara (Brooklyn, New York), Santillo’s Brick Oven Pizza (Elizabeth, New Jersey)

8. Philly Tomato Pie

Image credit: Sarcone’s Bakery

A Philly Tomato Pie from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is exactly what it sounds like: essentially a thick-crusted pizza with copious amounts of tomato gravy and only a sprinkle of parmesan cheese. Because of this, the dominant flavour of a tomato pie is the sweetness and tartness of tomatoes. Not for cheese-lovers!

Recommended pizzerias: Sarcone’s Bakery, Tony Roni’s

9. California-style

The weirder the toppings, the more certain you can be of classifying a pizza as Californian. It’s a combination of the original hand-tossed Italian thin crust with exotic ingredients commonly used in Californian cuisine. (Think scallops, zucchini flowers, or smoked salmon with cream cheese!)

This style is typically accredited to Chef Ed LaDou, who was first noticed for creating a pizza with red peppers, ricotta cheese, mustard and pate in the 1980s. In 1985, Chef LaDou developed the first menu for California Pizza Kitchen, including the now iconic barbecue chicken pizza that spread California-style pizza across the nation.

Recommended pizzerias: California Pizza Kitchen, Wolfgang Puck, Spago

10. Ohio Valley

Image credit: Reese Jones

In Ohio, a fresh, piping hot crust is relied on to cook the rest of the toppings, so everything’s added only after baking the crust. You can expect cold mozzarella shreds and slices of pepperoni. If you love your pizza slathered in gooey cheese and sauce, you’ll find this an abomination. But if you’re the kind who eats cold overnight pizza, you should definitely give this a shot!

Recommended pizzerias: DiCarlo’s

There’s no such thing as too much pizza! Now that you’ve been introduced to the multitude of pizza styles that USA has to offer, it’s time to try them all! (Yes, ALL.)

About Author

Rachel Lee
Rachel Lee

Rachel loves to write, travel, and of course, write about travel. She believes that you can find beauty and wonder in the little things, in any little corner of the world. If you can't find her at a desk with her head stuck in a book or up in the clouds, she is probably dancing or even more probably checking the fridge.


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