While pizza has a very rich global history, it has become a very important part of American culture. No matter what city or state you’re in, you’re likely to find at least one pizza shop in town, and it’s become a staple food for all kinds of occasions. Although pizza is prevalent throughout the United States, the type of pizza you will find in each area is very different. You will find that locals take pride in their pizza and what makes it special, and that many people throughout the US have a favorite type of pizza. Here are the different types of pizza you will find throughout the United States and what makes them unique.
When you think about your classic greasy pizza, you’re probably thinking about New York style pizza. This is the type of pizza that you often find at local by-the-slice shops and delivery places. The slices are very wide, there’s lots of cheese and oil, and there’s a light layer of sauce. In fact, the slices are often so wide you have to fold them to get them into your mouth. New York style pizza also has a thinner layer of crust, with a slight crunch to it. However, the crust isn’t completely hard – it’s still got a soft, buttery texture. You can find New York style pizza in major cities throughout the US, but it’s best experienced in NYC itself.
Chicago pizza is ubiquitous, and most people either love it or hate it. That’s because it’s very different from other pizzas around the US – it’s deep dish pizza. This pizza is made in a pan and is incredibly thick, with huge layers of soft crust, sauce, cheese, and toppings. These pizzas take about 45 minutes to make, but they’re worth the wait. You usually need a fork and knife to handle them, and there’s no way you’ll be able to eat a whole one on your own. Although restaurants throughout the US have tried to replicate classic deep dish pizza, you really need to head to Chicago to see what it’s all about.
This small city in Connecticut is known for more than just being home to Yale University – they actually developed their own style of pizza. The defining feature of a New Haven pizza is the crust, which is charred on the outside but perfectly chewy on the inside. These pizzas have a light layer of toppings and are cooked in very, very hot ovens to ensure they achieve the perfect crust. They are also usually misshapen, which is another unique quirk of the New Haven pizza. You can find this style of pizza in many towns on the East Coast.
This city may be known for producing cars, but many people outside of Detroit don’t realize that there’s also a local style of pizza. Detroit style pizzas are made in square pans that result in a very crunchy crust, and a thick layer of cheese covers the entire thing. The crispy finish is what really sets Detroit pizza apart from other pizzas around the US, and purists will even bake their pizzas twice to ensure that they are perfectly crispy. This style of pizza shares a lot of similarities to the traditional Sicilian pizza, but with a unique Detroit twist.
California style pizza is much lighter than its counterparts on the East Coast or Midwest. It has a very light, soft crust and thin layers of cheese and sauce. It also isn’t as greasy as the pizza you’d find in other parts of the country. However, what really sets California pizza apart is its wide range of toppings. Californians aren’t scared to put anything on a pizza – you’ll find pizzas topped with seafood, vegetables, even fruit. It may sound intimidating, but once you visit an authentic Californian pizza spot, you’ll see how well it works. California Pizza Kitchen has brought this style of pizza across the country, so you can try it no matter where you live.
St. Louis pizza is designed for sharing and makes an excellent party snack. It’s cut into squares and has a very thin crust that’s easy to eat. The cheese, toppings, and sauce go all the way to the edge of the pizza, and the sauce really makes use of the sweetness tomatoes provide. St. Louis pizza also uses a cheese that’s unique to the region, called Provel. It’s a combination of provolone, cheddar, and swiss, and is made using liquid smoke. Don’t be surprised if you end up eating an entire St. Louis pizza – they’re very addictive.
Rhode Island offers a very interesting style of pizza that you can only get in this little state. Called the “pizza strip,” this is essentially a slice of fresh baked bread topped with cheese, sauce, and seasoning. Although it tastes similar to a traditional pizza, it’s much different in the way it’s cooked. Pizza strips are very light and make the perfect midday snack.
This region of the country, which includes Ohio and the states surrounding it, is where you’re most likely to find this unique type of pizza. With this style of pizza, the crust is baked first, by itself, and then toppings are added afterwards. The heat from the crust cooks the toppings. This style of pizza is somewhat rare since it’s very non-traditional, but you can still find it in the Ohio Valley region.
*While pizza is a very important part of American culture, it has different meanings to people in different states. Pizza has evolved over time to become a point of pride for these locations, and it’s very interesting to see how these different styles of pizza influence each other. While all of these pizza styles are yummy, most people have a favorite – what’s yours?!