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The Great Pineapple on Pizza Debate

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Updated: April 16, 2022

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The great pineapple on pizza debate has been going on for years, and whether you love it or hate it, there is no denying the popularity of Hawaiian pizza. Of course, pizza was invented in Naples, Italy, as a simple dish of crust, cheese, and sauce. In Italy, they still keep it pretty simple. 

pineapple on pizza hawaiian pizza
Photo by bckfwd on Unsplash

But over the years as pizza has grown in popularity, reaching every part of the globe, pizzaiolos have gotten more creative with their pizzas. And somewhere along the way, the pineapple was added to the list of toppings, and it took off. So how did a sweet fruit like pineapple get added to this savory dish?

Who Invented Pineapple on Pizza?

Hawaiian pizza was not invented in Hawaii, nor was it invented by a Hawaiian native. Instead, this sweet, savory combo was invented in Canada by a Greek immigrant, Sam Panopoulos. He had a restaurant and was looking for something new to try.

At the time in 1962, Hawaii had recently become a state, and everything Hawaiian-themed was taking off in popularity, from tiki bars to hula skirts to canned pineapple.

Canned pineapple was being exported from the islands for the first time, and its popularity exploded. Around this time, pineapple was added to jello, fruit salads, and other dishes. So Panopoulos decided to try it on pizza at his restaurant in Ontario, Canada, in 1962. It was an experiment that everyone loved. And, the rest is history.

Nowadays, Hawaiian pizza is one of the most popular pizzas at any pizzeria. But there are still some that don’t believe pineapple should ever be added to pizza.

Where the Pineapple on Pizza Debate Originated

Pineapple on pizza is controversial because pizza lovers who are traditionalists do not like this fruit added to the savory dish. Some complained about the acidity.

The sweet yellow fruit has too much acid, and it clashes with the acidity of the tomato base. Others just don’t like the texture and the deviation from traditional Italian pizza.

We fall somewhere in between on the pineapple on pizza debate. My wife is on board with pineapple on pizza. While I’m not staunchly against it, I prefer not to add a taste of the tropics to my Italian pizza.

Pineapple on pizza shouldn’t be a deal-breaker. I mean, pizza is pizza. It’s always good. At one time, arugula and blue cheese were considered odd pizza topping choices, and now they are popular. There are many unusual ways to top your pizza, and they are all good in their own way.

How to Use Pineapple on Pizza

pineapple on pizza debate
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Most home chefs use canned pineapple when they add it to pizza. Canned pineapple is easy to find and comes in chunks, rings, or crushed—any of these works great.

However, for some pineapple pizza enthusiasts, the chunks are too big, and the rings are the preference because you can cut them to the size you like. All of the pineapple lovers we surveyed agree that crushed pineapple is best served with ice in a frilly cocktail and not on the pizza

Some home pizzaiolos like to use fresh pineapple. If you live somewhere where fresh pineapple is readily available, then it’s a great option. Up in the North, the fresh pineapple isn’t always available, and when it is, it is overpriced and underripe. 

If you choose to use fresh pineapple, this affordable kitchen gadget makes it easy to the core and get to the meat of the pineapple. The core of the pineapple should never be used on pizza.

Instead, run that through the blender with some water and a small piece of fresh peeled ginger, then strain and add more water for a refreshing beverage. If you like a cocktail, throw a little rum or vodka in to make a satisfying adult drink.

Did you know you can actually use every part of the pineapple? Don’t throw the prickly skins away. Save them to make a fermented Mexican drink called tepache. I mean, if you are going to buy a whole pineapple, you might as well use every part.

So whether you use canned or fresh pineapple, you should always dry off the fruit before adding it to your pizza. Just place the fruit on a paper towel and squeeze out the excess moisture.

If you skip this step, your pizza will get soggy as the heat from the oven makes the pineapple sweat even more, and you will end up with a pineapple pizza soup.

More than Just Hawaiian

pineapple on pizza
Photo by Pineapple Supply Co. on Unsplash

The classic way to use pineapple on pizza is, of course, the famous Hawaiian pizza. In the food industry, anything with pineapple is called Hawaiian. But this versatile fruit can be used to make other great pizzas.

Sweet on Sweet

Using sweet pineapple with other sweet ingredients makes a sweet on sweet pizza. Some examples are:

  • Sweet corn, pineapple, and olives
  • Mandarin oranges, pineapple, ham, slivered almonds
  • Sweet BBQ pork with pineapple

My wife loves the sweet on sweet combo. Her go-to pineapple pizza gets dipped in a sweet creamy condensed milk sauce. There are lots of dipping sauces to choose from when you are going for the sweet on sweet combo.

Sweet on Heat

Another favorite pineapple combo is the sweet with heat. That hot and sweet combo is commonly found in Chinese and Thai food. Here are a few ways to mix sweet pineapple with a tasty heat source:

  • Jalapeno and pineapple pizza
  • Habanero tomato sauce with pineapple and peppers
  • Spicy sausage, pineapple, and pepperoncino

You can make this sweet hot combo by simply adding hot sauce to any pizza with pineapple. Hot sauce makes everything better.

Sweet Adjacent

Sweet adjacent means that the sweet is an afterthought, not the dominating flavor. Think of it like an orchestra and the pineapple is just one of the musicians working together to create something beautiful. A few examples of the sweet adjacent pineapple pizza are:

  • Thai chicken pizza with peanuts and pineapple
  • Supreme pizza with pineapple
  • Vegggie pizza with pineapple

Where do you stand on the pineapple on pizza debate? What unusual pizza toppings do you love on your pizza?

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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...

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