Exploring the Best Regional Pizza Styles Across the U.S.

regional pizza styles

Pizza is more than just a meal; it’s an experience. A regional experience. Across the United States, various cities and states have put their own unique spin on this beloved dish, resulting in a delightful diversity of flavors and textures.

From thin and crispy to thick and chewy, there’s a regional pizza style to satisfy every palate. Here is a quick thumbnail guide tour through the country to explore the top 12 regional pizza styles that make each bite an adventure.

If you want to read more about the different pies across the US, I’d recommend Peter Reinhart’s American Pie which takes a deeper dive into the history, characteristics, and recipes.

1. New York Style Pizza

  • Characteristics: Thin, foldable crust with a crispy edge. My everyday NYC pizza dough recipe.
  • Origin: New York City, New York.
  • Notable Features: Large, wide slices; often sold by the slice; simple and classic toppings.

2. Chicago Deep Dish Pizza

  • Characteristics: Thick, buttery crust forming a deep dish; layers of cheese, toppings, and chunky tomato sauce on top.
  • Origin: Chicago, Illinois.
  • Notable Features: Knife-and-fork pizza; resembles a pizza pie; incredibly hearty.

3. Chicago Thin Crust Pizza

  • Characteristics: Thin, cracker-like crust; typically cut into square pieces (party cut).
  • Origin: Chicago, Illinois.
  • Notable Features: Emphasizes toppings over crust; beloved by locals.

4. Detroit Style Pizza

5. St. Louis Style Pizza

  • Characteristics: Very thin, cracker-like crust; topped with Provel cheese.
  • Origin: St. Louis, Missouri.
  • Notable Features: Cut into square pieces; creamy, tangy flavor from Provel cheese.

6. New Haven Style Pizza (Apizza)

  • Characteristics: Thin, slightly chewy crust; charred and crispy edges.
  • Origin: New Haven, Connecticut.
  • Notable Features: Cooked in a coal-fired oven; simple toppings; distinctive charred crust.

7. California Style Pizza

  • Characteristics: Thin, crispy crust; topped with unconventional and gourmet ingredients.
  • Origin: California.
  • Notable Features: Emphasizes fresh, local, and seasonal ingredients; innovative toppings.
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8. Sicilian Style Pizza

  • Characteristics: Thick, spongy crust; square or rectangular shape; topped with tomato sauce and cheese. Here is my go-to recipe, no fail Sicilian recipe.
  • Origin: Sicily, Italy.
  • Notable Features: Heavier than New York style; lighter than Chicago deep dish; doughy, satisfying bite.

9. Neapolitan Pizza

  • Characteristics: Soft, pillowy crust with a slight char; simple toppings like tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil. I tried a lot of different (but very similar) Neapolitan dough recipes for my outdoor oven and eventually conceded that Ooni had the simplest, most scalable Neapolitan dough recipe.
  • Origin: Naples, Italy.
  • Notable Features: Cooked in a wood-fired oven at very high temperatures; chewy and crispy texture.

10. Greek Pizza

  • Characteristics: Thick, chewy crust; often baked in a pan with a lot of oil.
  • Origin: Greek communities in the U.S., especially New England.
  • Notable Features: Heavy on toppings and cheese; crispy bottom; slightly spongy texture.

11. Grandma Pizza

  • Characteristics: Thin, square pie; crust similar to focaccia; topped with simple tomato sauce and mozzarella.
  • Origin: Long Island, New York.
  • Notable Features: Baked in a pan; hearty and simple; home-style appeal.

12. Old Forge Style Pizza

  • Characteristics: Rectangular shape; thick crust; topped with a blend of cheeses.
  • Origin: Old Forge, Pennsylvania.
  • Notable Features: Known as the “Pizza Capital of the World”; unique cheese blend; soft, chewy texture.

Exploring the different regional pizza styles across the United States is a journey through culinary diversity. Each style brings its own unique twist, reflecting the local culture and traditions. Whether you prefer the thin, foldable slices of New York or the thick, cheesy delight of Detroit, there’s a regional pizza style to satisfy every craving.

So the next time you find yourself in a new part of the country, do a little exploring and try a new regional style and discover a whole new world of flavors. Happy eating!


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