15 Different Types Of Pizza In The US

Pizza's origins may lie elsewhere, but Americans have taken this time-honored dish and made it all their own. We've redefined essential characteristics, changed ingredients, and taken the cooking method well beyond its legendary Italian origins. You probably know about Detroit, Chicago, and New York-style pizza, but what else does the United States offer regarding inspiration, style, and unique toppings? From a lack of yeast to special baking trays, ovens, and topping configurations, pizza comes in many distinct formats that push traditional boundaries.

Like most people, I rank pizza as a top-three food, no matter the type. As a result, my first-hand experience enjoying it and seeking it out around the country played a large role in creating this guide. I also referenced top pizza restaurants from different regions, professional pizzaiolos, recipes, consumer insights, and more. Keep reading to learn about 15 different types of pizza in the U.S. so you know exactly what makes each regional specialty different and unique.

New York pizza

New York-style pizza is one of the most beloved, recognizable types of pizza in the nation. Originally brought over by Italian immigrants in the early 1900s, its dough is hand-tossed, thinly stretched, and topped with all the usual suspects (red sauce, mozzarella, and various toppings). The result is an oversized pie with enormous slices that serve as an entire meal. Sure, you could order a pie at most places, but slices are where it's at for this iconic style of pizza. Due to the giant size of the slices and thin crust, most people fold a New York-style slice in half to eat it. Not only does it create a more robust mouthfeel, but it also makes handling significantly easier, especially if you're on the go.

There are several theories about why New York City pizza is the "best." From the city's water used to make the dough to the deck ovens used to cook the pies to the precise amount of toppings used, no one is exactly sure why New York City slices are so unique. Regardless, it has long since spread from the city for which it is named and has become a widespread favorite across the United States. Today, you'll find it almost anywhere you go, and considering its crowd-pleasing appeal, it's no surprise people across the nation seek it out.

Chicago deep-dish pizza

Chicago deep-dish pizza is easily recognizable by its thick buttery crust and signature layering style, which places the sauce on top of the other ingredients. It still gets regular pizza toppings like shredded mozzarella, cured meats, and veggies; they just go underneath the sauce. The sauce also tends to be thicker and chunkier than other classic pizza types. In addition, Chicago deep-dish pizzas are constructed in tall pans, like a cake pan. As a result, they are able to hold significantly more toppings than other types of pies. The result is a cheesy, gooey, dense pie with an abundance of toppings perfect for an ultra-filling meal. In fact, this pizza is so robust that many choose to eat it with a fork and knife.

Authentic Chicago deep-dish pizza isn't quite as widespread as classic New York-style slices. Its unique textures and configuration can be polarizing. Some people love it, others hate it and claim it is not a pizza at all. Still, with some luck, you should be able to seek it out in most major cities. If not, you can always try making it at home. Due to the thick crust, it isn't the simplest task, but with a few tips and the right tools, you may be able to create a pizza that gets quite close. Or, you could always have one of the most iconic Chicago pizza spots, Giordano's, ship a frozen one to your door.

Detroit pan pizza

Detroit-style pizza may have a thick crust and come from the same general region as Chicago deep-dish, but that's about all these two types of pizza share. Chicago's signature pies are heavy and dense, but Detroit-style pan pizzas are light and airy despite their thick crust. They also develop a thin, crunchy layer of cheese around the edges and corners thanks to overflow during the baking process. People in the know order small, four-corner pies to get nothing but corner slices. While they are just now gaining traction outside the Detroit area, many believe it is the superior pan pizza.

Buddy's Pizza in Detroit invented this drool-worthy pie in 1946. Using "borrowed" forged steel pans from neighboring automotive plants, the staff at Buddy's baked the first Detroit square-shaped pizza. The new style was inspired by Sicilian pizzas, but thanks to the unique pans, something new and exciting emerged.

Aside from the cookware, Detroit Pizza is special for several reasons. First, its dough is double-proofed and put into the pan so it can rise and stretch two times before moving forward. Next, Buddy's lines the top of the crust with pepperoni before adding crumbled, not shredded Wisconsin brick cheese. This format helps the dough soak up lots of flavor. Then, the rest of the toppings are added, followed by stripes of sauce across the top. This configuration may vary somewhat depending on where you manage to track down a Detroit pizza, but the essential elements remain the same.

St Louis pizza

St. Louis-style pizza isn't the most common type of pizza outside the tri-state area from which it was born. Still, its defining characteristics make it a noteworthy, delicious style of pizza nonetheless. You can easily spot St. Louis-style pizzas by their extra thin and crunchy cracker-like crust, made from unleavened dough. The round pie is also cut into small square pieces, ideal for gatherings and parties. Additionally, St. Louis pizzas feature lots of Provel cheese, which was also invented in St. Louis. The signature cheese is a processed mix of provolone, cheddar, and Swiss that melts exceptionally well without becoming stringy. This pie style also tends to have a slightly sweeter tomato sauce, but the cheese and crust are the main attraction.

St. Louis-style pizza was originally created by Imo's Pizza. While it may have started as a small operation, it has since grown to have about 100 stores in Missouri, Kansas, and Illinois. If you're ever in the area, you'll have plenty of options to grab a pie from the company where it all began. Even if you tend to prefer thick crust, it's definitely worth a try.

Quad City pizza

Known for its massive quantity of lean sausage made from a secret recipe, Quad City Pizza is a meat lover's dream. Harris Pizza, the original Quad City pizza creators, build their round pies with so many toppings that a small typically weighs about 2.5 pounds. Of course, all the toppings don't have to be sausage, but considering it's the signature ingredient, you'll be bummed if you try one without it.

In addition to the extreme amount of toppings, Quad City Pizza is made with brewer's malt and molasses-infused dough, a generous portion of mozzarella cheese, and spoonfuls of spicy marinara. After baking, the sweet, nutty-flavored hand-tossed crust is cut into long strips with scissors. The finished result is a perfect blend of deep flavors that people in the region have come to know and love. If you're ever in the Quad Cities, which are part of both Illinois and Iowa, stop by one of Harris Pizza's locations for more than a mouthful of quality pizza. After all, who knows if this style will ever spread beyond its small Mississippi River region?

California pizza

Inspired and cemented in the landscape by notable chefs like Wolfgang Puck, Ed LaDou, and Alice Waters, California-style pizza reflects the state from which it was born in many ways. From the diverse population to a love for fresh, locally sourced foods, this innovative pizza is a fantastic representation of Californian culture. It features a chewy, hand-tossed thin crust, but that's not what makes it stand out. What makes it so special is its utilization of unique toppings.

With California-style pizzas, the focus primarily lies on bright, coastal flavors. Still, any non-traditional toppings are acceptable, and fusing culinary traditions has become a standard for these flavorful pies. BBQ sauce, smoked salmon, broccolini, arugula, goat cheese, nuts, eggs, avocado, and more can all be found gracing the tops of these delicious pizzas. There are several reasons why California-style pizzas have such unconventional toppings, but suffice it to say that the region's proud culinary landscape takes all the credit. When you're in the mood for something fresh and out-of-the-ordinary, they hit the spot every time. Of course, they are still pizzas, so you get all the comfort of a traditional pie, too. Thanks to places like California Pizza Kitchen, you can now get these pizzas all over the United States.

Philly tomato pie

Across the Eastern Seaboard, you'll find various interpretations of tomato pie, but what they all have in common (except for the ones made in New Jersey) is that they don't have any cheese. We know this sounds sacrilegious and may even disqualify it from being called pizza to some, but its paired-down format means it doesn't weigh you down quite as much as a regular pizza. It doesn't have all the fancy toppings or tons of cheese, but it is delicious all the same. Plus, it is typically served at room temperature, so it's pretty convenient.

In Philadelphia, the crust on tomato pie is similar to that of a Sicilian pizza. It has a thick, focaccia-like consistency, and the pie and slices are rectangular in shape. The springy dough is topped with tomato sauce and sometimes a dusting of parmesan and herbs, but really, there's not much to it. However, its deliciousness lies in its simplicity. You'll occasionally find Philly tomato pies topped with a few toppings, like anchovies, but we recommend trying it the original way first. Don't look for it in your typical pizza shop, though, as it is generally only offered at bakeries.

Buffalo pizza

Buffalo, New York is best known for being the home of Niagara Falls, but its culinary scene may surprise you, too. Of course, they have made their zesty, spicy buffalo sauce synonymous with wings, but they proudly have a pizza all their own as well. Buffalo Pizza is the perfect blend of New York Pizza and Chicago deep-dish regarding crust. It is medium-thick, giving you lots to chew without taking over the entire dish, as some would say happens with thick-crust pizzas.

When it comes to toppings and cheese, Buffalo Pizza does not mess around. It has about double the amount of sauce as a New York slice and approximately three times the cheese. It is also revered for its use of charred-crispy pepperoni. All together, the toppings start to ooze over the edge, leaving you with flavors that abound in every bite. If you're looking for the perfect middle ground between thin and thick-crust pizza, look no further than Buffalo-style pizza.

Colorado mountain pie

Admittedly, Colorado mountain pie is pretty much exclusive to one small pizza chain with a handful of locations in the state, Beau Jo's. However, it has a long-standing cult following that makes it more than deserving of a place in our national round-up of different types of pizza. The origin of this unique style of pie is shrouded in a mythology surrounding big wooly mammoths and a recipe carved on a turtle shell (yes, you read that right), but there's no denying its distinct traits.

Colorado mountain pies feature a round shape and a thick rolled-over crust, which is ideal for holding a massive pile of toppings. It is sold by the pound and gives you the option to choose between more than 50 toppings and ingredients. Instead of using sugar, as is customary, the crust is made with honey. When you've devoured the center of the pie, most people dip the crust in honey too, which, as Beau Jo's says, provides you with a built-in dessert.

New Haven apizza

New Haven, Connecticut's signature style of pizza is actually called apizza, which pays homage to the dialect of Italian settlers in the region. It is similar to authentic Italian pizzas from Naples in the way it is cooked in brick ovens, but in New Haven, they are coal-fired as opposed to wood-fired. The crust for apizza is created via a lengthy cold fermentation process that leads to a chewy texture and a unique taste. It is also cooked until it develops a heavy char that results in a slightly bitter flavor.

Apizza's sweet sauce counterbalances the char on the crust, leading to a complex array of unique flavors. Traditionally, apizza does not come topped with mozzarella cheese. Instead, crushed tomatoes, a bit of Pecorino Romano cheese, and olive oil are customary. However, bacon and clams are also considered a local toppings specialty. Today, you can load up your apizza any way you want, so don't let the whole no mozzarella thing discourage you from giving it a try.

Sicilian pizza

Originally from Sicily, Italy, Sicilian-style pizza is well-known in the United States and beyond. Its signature thick crust is loved by anyone who craves a bit more bread without a super dense texture overall. Sicilian pizza crust undergoes a lengthy proofing, which leads to an airy sponge-like texture with lots of crumbly goodness. Then, it is shaped into a square or rectangle and topped with mozzarella cheese and sauce. The sauce typically goes on top to ensure the crust cooks properly without losing its crunchy texture.

Sicilian-style pizzas are a newer rendition of a classic Sicilian sfincione, which has the same springy crust but typically lacks cheese. In Palermo, where sfincione is a common street food, it is usually topped with anchovies, tomatoes, oregano, and onion. In the United States, you can order it with all the pizza toppings we have become accustomed to, cheese included. Its widespread popularity also makes it easy to find in most cities and states.

Neapolitan pizza

Neapolitan pizzas may have originated as a dessert pie, but it has since developed into a style of saucy, cheesy pizza that we all love. It is not known for its abundant toppings but instead relies on basic, top-quality ingredients and expert production methods to make it a crowd-pleasing favorite. According to Forno Piombo, it all starts with fresh tomatoes, fresh sliced mozzarella, fresh basil, and olive oil. Each ingredient is used sparingly, so every element shines through without overpowering another.

Hand-tossing the dough is also essential to ensure the proper chewy consistency of Neapolitan pizza crust. For cooking, wood-fired brick ovens are customary. They allow the pizza to cook rapidly and create a delicious char. Recreating one of these iconic pizzas at home isn't very accessible because you need a super high-heat oven to achieve the scorched crust. However, if you have the tools, it can be done. Just make sure to follow a few tips from a Neapolitan pizzaiolo, and you'll be cooking like the pros in no time.

New England Greek pizza

Greek immigrants in Boston are credited with inventing New England Greek pizza in the 1960s. Aside from Greek-inspired toppings, what makes this style of pizza unique is its heavy use of oregano and medium-thick, greasy crust, which is best consumed fresh out of the oven. They are cooked in a pan drizzled with olive oil, resulting in a crunchy texture that could almost be equated to deep-fried dough. Sounds delicious, right? Unfortunately, this delectable pizza isn't widely available outside the Boston area, but its amazing texture and stylized toppings make it a sought-after style for anyone close by.

As you might suspect, Greek Pizza is generally topped with typical Greek ingredients like Kalamata olives, artichokes, and feta cheese. Pepperoni is also common. Mastering the perfect Greek-style pizza crust is pretty challenging. If the toppings are calling you, you could always make a Greek pita pizza to get your fix. Still, considering the crust is a defining characteristic of this style of pie, it won't really do the authentic version justice.

Pizza cone

Unlike the pizza pies we are familiar with, pizza cones are in a league all their own. At first glance, you may not even realize that they are pizzas. It isn't until you take a closer look that you notice it has all the essential ingredients: cheese, tomato sauce, and crust. That's because, as opposed to a regular pizza, which is flat and cut into slices, pizza cones are single-serving, easy-to-hold portions with an array of toppings inside what can only be described as looking like an ice cream cone made out of pizza crust.

The delectable pizza cone invention is the perfect cup for all kinds of ingredients, not just traditional pizza toppings. Some places, like the Twisted Sourdough Co. in Las Vegas, serve them filled with spicy Latin flavors or alfredo pasta. Even if you don't have a place serving pizza cones nearby, there are lots of ways you can get in on the pizza cone trend. From making your own DIY molds to purchasing specific equipment, don't let this new craze pass you by.

Stuffed pizza

Stuffed pizza comes in two formats. The first involves stuffing the crust with cheese or possibly pepperoni. This style of stuffed pizza is popular thanks to the prevalence of chain pizza shops like Pizza Hut and Domino's, but it can also be found in a grocery store's frozen aisle. And you can make a stuffed crust tortilla pizza snack at home, but it is more of a knock-off version of the original. Either way, it elevates boring crust to new heights. Essentially, it takes cheese-stuffed breadsticks and pizza and turns them into one succinct dish. As a result, you'd be hard-pressed to find someone who leaves their crust behind on the plate.

The other, arguably more gourmet version of stuffed pizza, is shaped like a classic deep dish pie. However, instead of stuffing the crust, it features a thin layer of crust covering the top to create the stuffed pizza effect. Inside, the thicker bottom crust is layered with cheese, sauce, and toppings — in that order. The unique layering inside keeps the dough crispy, and thanks to the additional layer of crust on top, the mountain of toppings is easily contained within.