Pizza is America’s favorite food. There’s no question about that. We have pizza farms, pizza parties, pizza nights, and pizza dates. It’s one of those perfect foods. It’s simple; cheese, dough, sauce, and toppings. And of course, Americans have their choice of the best meats for homemade pizza.
Table of Contents
Here are our top meaty toppings for the best smoky, savory pizza whichever way you want. And if you don’t like meat, there are vegan pizza toppings you can find… if that’s really your thing.
The Best Meats for Homemade Pizza
Ok, so pepperoni is the classic meat pizza topping. But there are more types of pepperoni than just your simple round red pepperonis. You can find spicy pepperoni, cubed pepperoni, cup char pepperoni, gluten-free pepperoni, and plant-based pepperoni, just to name a few. So if you love pepperoni, try a new version of an old favorite.
Another favorite meat for homemade pizza is sausage. Sausage comes in many different forms. Italian sausage, which is ground with lots of spices like fennel, is probably the most common type of sausage to find on pizza, but there are other types too.
There is andouille, bratwurst, kielbasa, longaniza, chorizo, and even blood sausage. Some come pre-cooked, and you just open the casing others need a little love in a hot pan before adding them, and some just need to be sliced. Whether you like smoky sausage or spicy sausage, it all belongs on pizza.
Salami is a cured meat, and while you can find it all over the U.S., the Italians and Spaniards really have the best salami available. Salamis like sopressata, cacciatore, bresaola, mortadella, pancetta, speck, and pepper salami.
They are all delicious and make a great addition to a pizza. While most of these salamis fall into the hard or semi-hard category, there is one that is considered a spreadable salami called nduja, which is the key to a pizza a la Calabrese. You should be able to find specialty salamis in the international section of your local store or an Italian deli.
Canadian bacon is different than regular side bacon and is a form of back bacon that is cured, smoked, and fully cooked. Canadian bacon is always paired with the controversial pineapple for a Hawaiian pizza.
Some love the smoky Canadian bacon and the sweet pineapple combination, while others detest it. But if you love Canadian bacon but aren’t crazy about pineapple, you can still enjoy this salty meat on pizza with other toppings.
Prosciutto is Italian uncooked, unsmoked, and dry-cured ham. This salty meat is a favorite pizza topper in Italy. It is often paired with mushrooms, arugula, and artichokes but can really be added to any pizza that needs a salty finish.
Spanish jamón serrano is often confused with Italian prosciutto. And they do have similar features to the naked eye, but it’s the taste that defines each. Prosciutto and jamón serrano are both made from similar breeds of pig, but each has a different flavor and texture.
Italian prosciutto has a sweet, delicate flavor and a less dry texture than Spanish jamón serrano. And jamón serrano is a darker red than the pale pink prosciutto.
We love them both on pizza. The best way to use them both on pizza is to add them after the pizza has cooked to avoid them drying out and ruining the flavor and texture.
Chicken is one of those meats that really isn’t a classic pizza topping, but don’t tell that to a chicken Thai pizza or a chicken barbecue, or white chicken pizza.
Even though it’s typically not one of the best meats for homemade pizza, this famous white meat is starting to become a favorite protein on your pizza. Partly because of its flavor and texture and partly because it’s so good; Buffalo chicken pizza, anyone?
If you have ever traveled to Argentina or eaten in an Argentinian restaurant, then you might have experienced Argentina pizza which is a meat-heavy pizza usually topped with steak.
We love steak on pizza, especially when paired with stinky blue cheese or caramelized onions. We think the Argentinians may be on to something.
Steak pizza is served best with a dipping sauce like traditional Argentinian chimichurri, not Hidden Valley ranch. In Argentina, pizza is usually made on the grill, but you can make it at home in your pizza oven or home oven.
Ground beef is common on Meat Lover’s pizzas, supreme pizzas, and the cult classic Mexican pizza. It’s pre-cooked and often mixed with onions and jalapeños to create a Mexican flavor explosion on an Italian canvas.
If you like an intense pizza, then brown up some ground beef and make yourself a spicy Mexican pizza with ground beef.
Ok, so maybe you won’t find this in any pizzeria, but you can use up leftover turkey at home for your homemade pizza meat. This is a popular post-Thanksgiving or Christmas pizza for those with an excess turkey sitting in their refrigerator, but we think it is a good meaty pizza topping anytime.
You can even use deli-sliced smoked turkey with bacon and spinach or create new flavor combos with this festive white meat.
Meats for the Adventurous to Try on Homemade Pizza
If you like to explore either protein options or have an adventurous palate, there are a few game meats that are becoming more widely available in supermarkets, local butchers, and even online. You can find your own favorite unusual meat to put on homemade pizza.
A staple in the Middle East and Central Asia, lamb is actually one of our favorite meats in general. But on pizza? Try a style called Turkish lahmacun pizza and add lamb, it’s only natural.
Bison meat is lean, and you can find it ground or in chunks. It doesn’t have a strong flavor, and its lean texture lacks that fatty mouthfeel. We have tried bison a few different ways on pizza and found it really adds a nice touch. However, it can be spendy, but it’s worth trying at least once.
You may have tried venison if you have a friend or family member who is a hunter. It is becoming more and more available to the public. Venison tastes like a rich earthy natural meat. It isn’t as juicy as beef but rather smooth and firm. If you can find venison sausage, it’s the best way to add it to homemade pizza.
Wild boar is a common treat in Italy and is becoming available in online specialty butchers throughout the U.S. It is surprisingly different than simple pork; it has a rich nutty, earthy flavor.
What do you think are the best meats for homemade pizza?