Minnesota, the Land of 10,000 Lakes [and ice hockey], has its own pizza. Yep, you read that right. Minnesota pizza is a thing. While some people debate it, we actually live here in the beautiful state of Minnesota, and we can attest to it, Minnesota style pizza does exist, and we are going to tell you all about it.
Yes, we know Wrecktangle Pizza just won GMA’s Best Pizza in America for 2023 and it’s located in Minnesota; but that is not true local MN tavern style.
So, what is Minnesota Pizza?
Minnesota style pizza, or Sota style, as we say around here, is thin-crust pizza with a cooked sweet and savory sauce. Minnesota pizza is always covered to the very edge in all the classic pizza toppings, and then the cheese is added last to hold all of those tasty toppings in place.
When a Minnesota pizza comes out of the oven, it is always cut into squares, not slices. This is a critical distinction and could start an all-out brawl if referenced incorrectly. At least an online troll brawl.
Some debate whether this pizza is its own thing because it has some classic elements of other pizza styles. For example, Minnesota style pizza has a thin crust but not cracker thin like a St. Louis style pizza. It’s more of a New York style thin crust.
Minnesota pizza uses a distinct cooked sauce full of flavor, like a Detroit style pizza. And it’s cut into squares like Chicago tavern pizza, but definitely not like Chicago deep dish. Maybe Minnesota style pizza is a Frankenstein pizza pulled together with all the best parts of the other pizzas.
We admit we don’t know where Minnesota style pizza came from originally, but we know that it tastes good, and that is all we really need to know.
Where to Get Minnesota Pizza
Some might say that Red’s Savoy pizzeria put Minnesota pizza on the map. Their claim to fame is that they have been making Minnesota style pizza since 1965. They have been making this pizza for so long they have absolutely perfected the style.
While they don’t give away too many secrets, they do describe their sauce as “passive-aggressive.” The owners explain that the sauce starts with a sweetness that leads into savory, with a bit of a kick at the end. If you are up in this neck of the woods, you must visit Red’s Savoy.
If you want options, Broadway pizza has options. This famous local pizzeria has many locations throughout Minnesota, serving up some of the best Minnesota pizzas you can find.
The great thing about Broadway pizza is that they really know pizza and go beyond the classic pepperoni. You can find Minnesota style pizzas with various toppings like Cajun chicken, pulled pork with sauerkraut, Buffalo chicken with Alfredo sauce, and blue cheese, topped with Buffalo sauce.
If you are team pineapple on pizza, you will love their take on Hawaiian pizza with Canadian bacon, pineapple, and jalapeño bacon. Sweet meets spicy in this pizza. And Broadway offers a very Minnesotan pizza topped with Alfredo sauce, bacon, and tater tots.
Carbone’s makes amazing Minnesota pizza. They offer all of the fan favorites like Supreme, Meat Lovers, and pepperoni, but they have a few that stand out. Carbone’s makes a Taco pizza that is out of this world. Mexican food meets pizza; we will take it. And if you can’t decide between their famous pizzas and their amazing burgers, just get a Hamburger pizza, two unique foods in one.
Full disclosure, our teenage niece works at a Carbone’s Pizza in the area, so we didn’t list this one first. For nepotistic reasons. And no, we don’t get free MN style pizza whenever we want. Sadly.
Parkway Pizza is one of the best Minnesota has to offer. They make all the classic pizzas that will fulfill everybody’s cravings for pizza night, even vegans. Yes, that is right, Parkway Pizza has vegan pizza, and it’s not just one little offering on the menu.
They offer three different vegan pizzas plus a build-your-own option. So if you love Minnesota pizza and want to share it with all of your friends, head to Parkway Pizza; it has a pizza for every taste. And lots of locals proudly display their bumper stickers and yard signs to show support. You can’t miss ’em.
Detello’s is a family-run business that makes great Minnesota pizza. They also have pasta and other tasty goodies too. This small pizzeria is a local favorite and was voted “Reader’s Choice” winner for best pizza by the Sun Sailor Newspaper.
Plus, it was given the honor of “Best Pizza in the Twin Cities” by WCCO, so you know it’s good. They have all of the classic pizzas and favorite toppings you could ask for.
With 21 locations around Minnesota, this one is more of a famous local franchise. These pizzerias are old fashioned quality that bring great quality pizza every time. But make sure you double check your order upon receiving it.
Although the Pizza Man pizza is excellent, it’s hit or miss when it comes to service and getting your order correct. Don’t worry, we did the Minnesotan thing to do and left a strongly worded Google Review. That’ll teach ’em!
After loving this joint for most all of our lives, we’re happy to see it finally get the recognition it deserves. Our Mama’a Pizza review goes into more detail about why this one location of MN style pizza is on our list.
Honorable Mention: The Moose NE
We tried this once, on a whim, during a Minnesota Vikings football game. And we were pleasantly surprised. So hey, it’s been honorably mentioned and we hope to go back someday to do a more in-depth review.
How to Make Homemade Minnesota Pizza
If you want to try Minnesota pizza but can’t make it up north, we can teach you how to make it at home.
The first step is to make classic homemade pizza dough. The key to getting that thin crust is a rolling pin. Using a rolling pin to roll out that dough is the easiest way to get that crust. Next, you want to par-bake the crust for a couple of minutes to create a stronger crust.
When you are making thin-crust pizza, par-baking first helps the pizza hold the toppings, and on a Minnesota style pizza, the toppings are plentiful.
Once you have a par-baked crust, spread your sauce. While Red Savoy’s has a secret “passive-aggressive” sauce, we think you can use any cooked sauce. Try adding a little crushed red pepper for the aggressive part. Spread that sauce all over the crust to the edges.
“Oh, don’t ya know, this here pizza sauce has quite the kick, ya!”
Then, add your favorite toppings. Cover the whole thing with a grated cheese blend and bake to perfection, which usually takes about 6 minutes at 450ºF.
Now here is the key, grab your pizza cutter and slice up that pizza pie into squares like a true Minnesotan.
If you really want to get the full Minnesota experience, then add some favorite Minnesota foods to your pizza, like:
- Swedish meatballs
- Polish sausage
- Fried cheese curds
- Tater Tot Hot dish
- Smoked Walleye fish
- Sweet corn
Have you ever tried Minnesota pizza? What is your favorite way to top a Minnesota style pizza? Do you know of any other lesser known styles around this great country of ours?