Is Italian pizza really “better” than American pizza? We’re very biased on this site, of course, but apparently there are valid arguments on both sides. 

It may surprise you (it shocked me), but some people actually believe that American pizza is better than Italian pizza. So we’ll try to have an honest look at the reasons why some might prefer American pizza to its Italian counterpart.

In short, Italian pizza is often thin and crispy, with just a simple tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese, and very few (if any) “toppings.” 

American pizza, on the other hand, is thicker and chewier, with a more complicated sauce and definitely more toppings…there are rumors that even various tropical fruits are placed atop an otherwise normal pizza in the U.S. 

Let’s try to dive deeper into this controversial debate without resorting to violence or name-calling. (But just in case things escalate, we apologize now…) 

The Differences Between American and Italian Pizza

As mentioned, American pizza is typically made with a thicker crust, while Italian pizza has a thinner, lighter crust. American pizza also tends to be heavier on the cheese, while Italian pizza is lighter on the cheese. moderate on the sauce, and puts the crust at the forefront.

But let’s get real here for a moment. Naples, ITALY is the birthplace of pizza and to try the original version will make you believe that you’ve never eaten pizza before in your life. That New York “pizza looking” concoction? Well, it can be good enough, I guess… just don’t compare it to the original and pretend that it’s close to being the same thing.

The Italians aren’t joking around here. They have asked for The European Commission to designate Italian pizza with the Vera Pizza Napoletana (Real Naples Pizza) certification, which is a codification of the traditional Neapolitan style of pizza that’s ancestral to most pizza styles around the world. (See:

In short, it must be a soft crust pizza made with Italian 00 flour, mineral water, sea salt, and neutral yeast. The toppings are limited to “marinara” (tomato, oil, oregano, garlic) or “Margherita” (tomato, oil, mozzarella, basil), and it must be cooked in a wood-fired oven. 

You see, there’s no room for “BBQ Chicken Pizza,” “Cajun Shrimp,” or god forbid, “Hawaiian Pizza.” Not if you’re trying to avoid a visit from the local Don with an offer you can’t refuse. 

pizza schifosa

Well, it all comes down to personal preference. Some people prefer the “creativity” of (so-called) American pizza, while others will only accept the authenticity of Italian pizza. The choice is yours. 

What is Italian Pizza?

Traditional Italian pizza is made with a few simple ingredients: tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, fresh basil, and extra-virgin olive oil. This combination of ingredients creates a light, fresh, and flavorful pizza that is unlike any other.

The key to making traditional Italian pizza is to use high-quality ingredients. The tomatoes should be fresh and ripe, the mozzarella should be made from fresh buffalo milk, basil leaves plucked right from the tree, and the olive oil should be extra-virgin. 

9 Amazing Health Benefits Of Mozzarella Cheese

The most popular type of traditional Italian pizza is the Margherita pizza, which is topped with tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil. Other popular types include marinara, which is topped with tomatoes, garlic, and oregano, and al diavolo, which is topped with mozzarella and spicy salami (pepperoni).

No matter what type of traditional Italian pizza you choose, you can be sure that you’re getting a delicious and authentic experience. So if you’re ever in the mood for some truly authentic pizza, be sure to try traditional Italian pizza. You won’t be disappointed.

Is Italian Pizza Healthy?

Is Italian pizza healthy? It’s a valid question, given that pizza is often considered to be unhealthy food. After all, it’s loaded with cheese and carbs, right? But there are some health benefits to Italian pizza that you may not be aware of.

For one, pizza is a good source of protein. The mozzarella cheese on pizza contains all the essential amino acids that your body needs to build and maintain muscle. Not to mention a healthy dose of calcium. And the dough used to make Italian pizza is usually made with whole grains, which are a good source of fiber. 

Pizza sauce also contains lycopene, a substance that has been shown to protect against heart disease and some forms of cancer. Sauces made from San Marzano tomatoes are a good source of vitamins A and C.

So while pizza may not be the healthiest food out there, it’s not as bad as some people make it out to be. And when it comes to Italian pizza, you can rest assured that all of the ingredients are fresh and authentic. Use your own backyard pizza oven and you can make a pizza that’s both healthy and delicious!

Types of American Pizza

When you think of American pizza, you might automatically think of the many chains around the country like Pizza Hut, Dominoes, or Papa John’s. But the truth is, there are all sorts of different styles of American pizza – and each region of the United States has its own unique style. In this section, we’ll take a closer look at two of the most popular types of American pizza.

new york style pizza

What is New York Pizza?

One of the most common types of pizza is New York-style pizza. This type of pizza is characterized by its large, thin slices. New York-style pizza is usually baked flat in a very hot, coal-fired brick oven, which gives it a unique flavor.

The sauce is usually made with tomatoes, garlic, and herbs, and the cheese is a domestic version of mozzarella. They say that the New York water is key in creating the unique flavor.

New York pizza is typically served slice by slice, and it is eaten with your hands, often folded in half.

What is Chicago Pizza?

Chicago-style pizza is another popular type of American pizza. This type of pizza is deep-dish style, meaning it has a thicker crust. Chicago-style pizza is usually baked in a pan, which makes it “taller” and gives it a different texture than other types of pizza.

chicago style pizza

The dough for this type of pizza is typically made with a high gluten flour, which imparts a chewy texture. Once the pizza is baked, it is typically topped with a layer of cheese, followed by a layer of meat and vegetables.

If you’re from Chicago, you know all about Chicago-style pizza. But for those of us who are not from the Windy City, Chicago-style pizza can be a bit of a shocker due to its sheer mass and density. 

If you’re looking for a heartier pizza option, Chicago style is the way to go. And if you’re ever in Chicago, be sure to check out one of the many famous pizzerias that call the city home. A few to mention: 

  • Gino’s East
  • Pizzeria Uno
  • Pizzeria Due
  • Lou Malnati’s
  • Giordano’s

American Pizza vs Italian Pizza – FAQs

What ingredients are in authentic Italian pizza?

The products that provide the base for “Pizza Napoletana” include wheat flour type “00” with the addition of flour type “0” yeast, natural water, peeled tomatoes and/or fresh cherry tomatoes, marine salt, and extra virgin olive oil.

Other added ingredients can include, garlic and oregano for “Pizza Napoletana Marinara,” buffalo milk mozzarella, fresh basil and fresh tomatoes for “Pizza Napoletana Margherita Extra,” and mozzarella STG or Fior di Latte Appennino and fresh basil for “Pizza Napoletana Margherita.”

Does Italian Pizza Have Sauce?

Usually, yes. The most common is a tomato sauce made from San Marzano tomatoes. However, there is a “white pizza” (pizza bianca) that has no sauce.

Italian Pizza vs American Pizza Calories?

A typical Margherita pizza (tomato sauce, mozzarella, basil, and a drop of oil of olive) is around 250/300 calories per 100 grams, and the average slice is about 120 grams. So about 275 calories is a fair number. For “American pizza,” it’s about twice that amount due to heavier ingredients and more of them.

Rick Zullo

Former doctor, current science teacher, and life-long food lover, Rick's passion for Mediterranean cuisine was ignited while living as an expat in Rome, Italy. 


{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

Get this Free Recipe Book!

From a family-owned organic farm in Italy