Homemade Pizza School

From Coast To Coast: Exploring 5 of America’s Famous Pizza Styles

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Beginning his journey in Genoa, Reinhart scours the countryside in search of the fabled focaccia col formaggio. He next heads to Rome to sample the famed seven-foot-long pizza al taglio, and then to Naples for the archetypal pizza napoletana. Back in America, the hunt resumes in the unlikely locale of Phoenix, Arizona, where Chris Bianco of Pizzeria Bianco has convinced many that his pie sets the new standard in the country. The pizza mecca of New Haven, grilled pizza in Providence, the deep-dish pies of Chicago, California-style pizza in San Francisco and Los Angeles—these are just a few of the tasty attractions on Reinhart’s epic tour.

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Updated: October 22, 2022

If pizza’s roots are planted firmly in Italy, then its branches are definitely in the United States. In the 1900s as Italian immigrants crossed the land of North America, so did their passion for pizza. 

Over the next 100 years, pizza lovers from coast-to-coast shaped the pizza-pie into a delicious lineup of styles; creating flavors so popular you can find them in homes across the country. 

Today we are taking you on a tour 5 of America’s famous pizza styles and the iconic places our gooey cheese and toppings loving hearts can mail our thank-yous to.

america's famous pizza styles - how to make them at home

America’s Famous Pizza Styles

New York-Style Pizza

Some might call New York ‘The Big Apple’, but let’s not get confused about what is really making our mouth water on the East coast, soft cheese covered pizza slices.

New York-Style pizza sticks close to its Italian start, remaining very similar to the pizza cities such as Naples are known for. Traditionally this pizza is sold by the large triangular slice with a noticeably thin and doughy crust. 

Due to its floppy design and the busy life of Manhattan dwellers, this pizza is known for being eaten folded in half and on the go. You’ll often find it topped first with a tomato-based sauce, then a layer (or two) of freshly shredded Mozzarella, and topped with iconic toppings like Pepperoni and Sausage.

Find A Slice: When it comes to suggestions for New York-Style pizza the options are endless but for a piece of pizza and history, you need to stop by Lombardi’s at 32 Spring Street. Open since 1905, Lombardi’s receives credit as the true originator of the New York-Style pizza slice.

Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza

Chicago took traditional pizza, and quite literally flipped it inside-out. Anyone who loves deep-dish will tell you there is nothing like cutting through inches of toppings and tomato sauce all held in place by a crispy pie-like crust.

Chicago could have stopped at giving us a deeper pizza than its New York counterpart, but they decided to take things a step further. Chicago style pizza features first a crispy cornmeal crust that is then layered with mozzarella followed by meat toppings and crowned with a thick layer of chunky tomato sauce. 

While you won’t be eating Chicago-Style pizza on the go, you can pretty much guarantee that one deep slice enjoyed around a table with friends is going to leave you feeling more than satisfied.

Find A Slice: The place for the best Chicago-style pizza is up for debate across the city with loyal Gino’s East and Giordano’s customers ready to defend their favorite spot at a moment’s notice. Still, we suggest you take a venture to Lou Malnati’s on North Michigan Avenue for a taste of Chicago-style pizza you won’t soon forget. Or one of the many Moretti’s locations.

St. Louis-Style Pizza

Developing beneath the rise of the gateway arch, St. Louis-Style pizza may fly a bit under the radar, but that has nothing to do with a lack of fantastic flavor. St. Louis-style pizza has a crust design all its own and swaps out mozzarella for Provel cheese which is a blend of Provolone, Swiss, and White Cheddar.

The crust of St. Louis-Style pizza makes it stand out from a crowd. The crust is made without yeast which not only changes the flavor profile, but also creates a thin cracker-like crust that is most easily cut into squares. 

If you’re looking to solve the “what do I do with this crust” problem at the end of a triangle slice, then St. Louis style pizza is your answer. The cheese and toppings go across the entire pizza surface allowing the square slices to create a span of topping greatness from edge to edge.

Find A Slice: Want to give St. Louis-style pizza a try? The locals will tell you to swing by Imo’s Pizza on Hampton Avenue (or any of their other locations across the city) for a taste of the city’s finest pie.

Detroit-Style Pizza

Pizza broke away from the traditional circle in the city of Detroit where it took on a thick chewy crust in the shape of a rectangle. Detroit pizza might also be the original ‘pan pizza’ as its rectangle shape comes from the fact it was first baked in pans designed to be automotive oil drip pans!

Detroit pizza purists start with a layer of pepperoni against the crust and then trade out mozzarella for Wisconsin Brick cheese with any other toppings “striped” on top. Crisp on the edges and chewy on the middle, the crust of Detroit pizza is thick on the bottom with toppings covering the surface to the edge. 

This is a pizza that packs in a hearty flavor to every bite.

Find A Slice: Shawn Randazzo, the owner of Detroit Style Pizza Company, was named World Champion Pizza Maker in 2012 and the awards have kept on coming. If you want a slice of true Detroit-Style pizza, then Detroit Style Pizza Company in Saint Clair Shores is the place to be.

California-Style Pizza

California couldn’t give just one city credit for its increasingly popular style of pizza. California-style pizza is a fresh vegetable lover’s dream. It draws on the taste of artichokes and arugula to bring a unique flavor to the pizza scene.

With a light, flaky crusty and size portioned to serve one person, this pizza is a tasty but lighter bite than the other pizzas in the United States. California pizza is designed to be decked out with fresh local produce that breaks the mold of traditional processed meats for topping. 

Worth noting is the fact that California-Style pizza is often vegan, using dairy-free alternatives for cheese and vegan friendly crust ingredients.

Find A Slice: A trip to the West Coast means you should stop by Pizzeria Mozza in Los Angeles for a truly Californian pizza experience.

If you made it through this list without creating your next major road trip plan, you’re a stronger soul than us. From the East to the West, the United States has proven it has a heart for pizza in all of its forms. Whether you are making your own pizza at home or heading out on the town, start planning a way to try each of America’s best pizza styles today.

And we highly recommend finding, or building a pizza oven, to help you on this journey through American style pizzas. We have three lists for your convenience: affordable pizza ovens, mid-range pizza ovens, high end pizza ovens. You’re sure to find one that fits your style and budget!

Share With Other Pizza Lovers:

Our friends over at Pro Pizza Ovens have released a handy dandy “Find Your Dream Pizza Oven” Quiz with just 5-6 questions to answer to choose the absolute best pizza oven for your family to buy for your home or backyard. Try it today!

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Authors

DK & Eliana

DK & Eliana

Thanks for reading about our homemade pizza journey! We're a young married couple who started making pizza at home on our wedding night and haven't looked back yet. We've learned over countless attempts of trial and error how to make the perfect pizza sauce, pizza dough, and exactly which pizza accessories to buy for your home setup...

FYI When you make a purchase or, sometimes, carry out some other action as direct result of clicking on a link at Homemade Pizza School, we will receive a small commission. Gratzie!

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