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Pizza Vocabularly 101: Pizza Types

pizza types,

Put on your thinking caps.

If you really want to be a pizza expert, you’re going to want to learn some basic pizza terms. Today we are going to starting with pizza types. So grab your flashcards and start studying. There will be a test on Tuesday.

Pizza Types


Apizza is a New Haven-style pizza. It originated at Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana on Wooster Street in 1925. This style of pizza is cooked in a coal-fired oven. They have a very thin crust and does not include mozzarella unless requested. They are characteristically charred and have a chewy texture. Apizzas, although closely related tot he New York style, tend to be drier and thinner than its pizza relatives. A “plain” New Haven style pizza may also be called a “tomato pie”. The white clam pie, an apizza without sauce, is the most popular style of apizza. Instead, it is topped with fresh clams and grated cheese, olive oil, fresh garlic, and oregano.

California-Style Pizza

The california-style pizza was devised by chef Ed La Dou and Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California. Wolfgang Puck, after Austrian celebrity chef, restaurateur, and actor, popularized the style of pizza. This pizza is often without tomato sauce and uses fresh, nontraditional toppings. The style uses fresh vegetables and flavor combinations. Popular toppings include avocado, smoked salmon, goat cheese, peanut sauce, and barbecue chicken. California Pizza Kitchen, Extreme Pizza, and Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza are three major pizza franchises associated with California-style pizza.


A calzone is a stuffed, oven-baked pizza served with marinara sauce for dipping. A typical calzone is made from salted bread dough, baked in an oven, and stuffed with salami, ham or vegetables, mozzarella, ricotta, and parmesan, or pecorino cheese. Before cooking, calzones are folded to create a half moon. Originally made in Naples, calzones are often sold by lunch counters or street vendors.

Chicago Style Pizza

Also called a deep-dish or pan pizza, Chicago style pizza is a heavy, pan-cooked pizza that is typically eaten with a fork and knife. Backed in a gas oven like a casserole, the thick and buttery crust presses up against the sides of the pan, giving the pizza its characteristically high edge. The pan itself is round and steel, making it more similar to a cake or pie pan than a pizza pan. This gives space for about an inch of mozzarella, toppings, and chunky, canned tomato sauce. Although the entire pizza is very thick, in traditional Chicago-style deep-dish pizzas, the crust itself is thin to medium in thickness.

Deep-Fried Pizza

Deep-fried pizza is exactly what you think it is. This pizza is fried in hot oil before being topped and baked. This gives a different flavor and nutritional profile. The neapolitan-style dough is shaped, it’s rim docked, and then fried in oil for a minute before being covered with sauce, cheese, and toppings then baked in a wood-burning oven. The result is a crispy, light crust that is not greasy but still has a vague flavor of fried dough. Also called the“pizza fritta” in Italy and “Montanara pizza” in New York and other U.S. cities, deep-fried pizza is also available in chip shops in Scotland. 

Grandma Pizza

Grandma pizza is square with a thin crust. It is the kind of pizza you make at home on a sheet pan. The dough is pushed to the edge of the pan, then topped and baked. Sometimes the there is a layer of sauce over the layer of cheese. However, what makes grandma pizza special isn’t its toppings. It’s the dough. This dough has had no time to proof, resulting in thinner, more dense slices.

Neapolitan Pizza

The neapolitan pizza features a thin to medium crust. The dough is hand-stretched to a foot wide. According to the AVPN, the consistency of this pizza should be soft, elastic, easy to manipulate and fold. The center should be soft to the touch and taste. The dough is topped with a simple sauce of uncooked tomatoes. Fresh mozzarella is spread out in patches and the whole things is topped with basil/oregano. The end result should be very fragrant from the basil/oregano and garlic.

New York-Style Pizza

New York style pizza originated form Italian-American immigrants in New York City. It is thought to have first been made in coal-fired brick ovens with fresh mozzarella. There are several iterations of this type of pizza including the Neapolitan-American and the $1 slice. The sauce is mildly seasoned tomato sauce that should completely cover each slice out to the crust. As for toppings, you have your choice from a variety of meat and vegetable toppings to go over mozzarella cheese.