The Ultimate Pizza Topping Guide – Which Toppings Should You Choose?

From the bustling streets of Naples to the cozy kitchens of friends and family, I’ve savored and experimented with an array of pizza toppings.

Each pizza I craft is a new story, a unique blend of tradition and innovation. The fact is that the right toppings can transform a simple pizza into a masterpiece.

However, there are additional factors to consider, like the occasion, amount, pairing with drinks, and more. Stay with me because I will share some insights and ideas in the following sections.

Key Takeaways

  • Pizza is a delicious and adaptable dish that can suit any occasion. You can create your masterpiece by trying different toppings, from traditional to adventurous.
  • To make your meal even more enjoyable, you can match it with the right wine that complements the flavors.

Do You Want a Vegan Pizza?

Roasted Vegetables - vegan toppings

For those who embrace the plant-based lifestyle or simply want to experiment with a lighter, greener pizza, the world of vegan toppings offers a delightful array of flavors and textures.

As someone who loves to explore the richness of vegetables and plant-based ingredients, I’ve discovered that vegan pizzas can be just as satisfying and flavorful as their traditional counterparts.

  • Roasted Vegetables: A classic choice. Think bell peppers, zucchini, eggplant, and mushrooms. Roasting these veggies brings out a natural sweetness and a smoky flavor that’s irresistible on pizza. I love the caramelized edges of roasted bell peppers, which add a subtle charred flavor.
  • Artichokes: These are a must for an earthy and slightly tangy touch. Marinated artichokes, in particular, offer a delightful zing.
  • Olives and Capers: For those who crave a salty, briny kick, olives and capers are your go-to. I find that a mix of green and Kalamata olives adds both color and a spectrum of flavors.
  • Sun-Dried Tomatoes: Chewy, sweet, and intensely flavorful, sun-dried tomatoes are a powerhouse topping. They bring a concentrated burst of tomato goodness that fresh tomatoes can’t match.
  • Spinach and Arugula: These leafy greens add not only a nutritional punch but also a fresh, peppery taste. I particularly enjoy the contrast in textures they bring when added just before serving.
  • Pineapple: For a controversial twist, pineapple does bring a tropical sweetness that complements the savory elements beautifully. It’s a love-it or hate-it topping, but I find it adds an exciting dimension.
  • Vegan Cheese: Today’s market offers a variety of vegan cheeses. From cashew-based to soy-based, these cheeses melt and stretch impressively, giving that satisfying cheesy pull we all love.
  • Nutritional Yeast: For a cheese-free option, nutritional yeast sprinkled over the top adds a cheesy, nutty flavor and is packed with B-vitamins.
  • Fresh Herbs: A scattering of fresh basil, oregano, or thyme right before serving adds a burst of freshness that elevates the entire pizza.
  • Unique Spreads: Don’t forget about the base! Traditional tomato sauce is great, but pesto, hummus, or a rich pumpkin puree can be delightful alternatives.

Why I Love These Toppings

Vegan Pizza - Sun-dried tomatoes

The roasted vegetables add depth, while the olives and capers introduce a salty balance. Sun-dried tomatoes and pineapple offer a sweetness that contrasts the savory elements beautifully.

The vegan cheeses and nutritional yeast provide that cheesy comfort, while fresh herbs inject a pop of freshness. And let’s not forget the innovative spreads that lay the foundation for these incredible toppings. Naturally, the toppings you will choose will largely depend on the pizza style you want to achieve.

Recipe I Recommend

Hummus and Roasted Veggie Vegan Pizza

Roasted vegetables and hummus pizza recipe

Ingredient Amount Preparation
Whole Wheat Pizza Dough 1 ball Stretch to a 12-inch base
Hummus 1/2 cup Spread evenly on the base
Roasted Bell Peppers 1/2 cup Chopped
Marinated Artichokes 1/3 cup Chopped
Kalamata Olives 1/4 cup Sliced
Sun-Dried Tomatoes 1/4 cup Chopped
Fresh Arugula 1 handful Add after baking
Vegan Mozzarella 1/2 cup Scattered over the top
Nutritional Yeast

Or do You Prefer a Protein-Rich Slice?

Ground Lamb Toppings for pizza

Topping your pizza with various meats not only enhances its flavor but also adds a satisfying richness. As a connoisseur who values the art of balancing flavors and textures, I have experimented with various meats to discover how they can elevate a pizza to new culinary heights. Here are some unique and classic meat toppings to consider:

  • Spicy Chorizo: This Spanish sausage, with its bold flavors and smoky undertones, adds a kick that spice lovers will adore.
  • Smoked Bacon: The smokiness and crispness of bacon bring a delightful contrast to the softness of the dough and cheese.
  • Prosciutto: Thin slices of this dry-cured ham offer a delicate, salty flavor that pairs beautifully with sweeter elements like figs or a balsamic glaze.
  • Grilled Chicken: A healthier option, grilled chicken adds a lean, protein-packed punch. Marinating it in herbs and spices can introduce an additional layer of flavor.
  • Ground Lamb: For a more exotic twist, ground lamb seasoned with Middle Eastern spices like cumin and coriander offers a rich, earthy taste.
  • Anchovies: These small, salty fish are not everyone’s cup of tea, but they add an intense umami flavor that can be quite addictive.
  • Beef Meatballs: Small, spiced meatballs distribute the rich taste of beef evenly across the pizza, ensuring a burst of flavor in every bite.
  • Pepperoni: A classic for a reason, pepperoni provides a spicy, slightly tangy flavor that’s beloved by many.
  • Sausage: Italian sausage, with its fennel and anise notes, adds a unique flavor profile that complements traditional pizza toppings like peppers and onions.
  • Duck Confit: For a luxurious twist, duck confit brings a rich, indulgent flavor that pairs well with sweet and tangy sauces.

Why These Meats Stand Out

beef meatballs

Each meat topping mentioned above brings a unique flavor and texture to the pizza. Spicy chorizo and pepperoni ignite a fiery taste, while smoked bacon and prosciutto add a subtle, smoky savoriness.

Ground lamb and beef meatballs introduce a rich, earthy flavor, and grilled chicken offers a lighter, healthier option without compromising on taste. Anchovies add a bold umami kick, and duck confit provides a touch of luxury. They will taste really good even after reheating, you can be absolutely sure of that.

Recipe I Recommend

Meat Lover’s Pizza

Meat Lover's Pizza

Ingredient Amount Preparation
Classic Pizza Dough 1 ball Stretch to a 12-inch base
Traditional Pizza Sauce 1/2 cup Spread evenly on the base
Pepperoni Slices 1/2 cup Layer evenly over the sauce
Cooked Italian Sausage 1/3 cup Crumbled or sliced
Bacon Bits 1/4 cup Fully cooked and crumbled
Ham, Diced 1/3 cup Cut into small pieces
Shredded Mozzarella Cheese 1 cup Spread evenly over the toppings
Grated Parmesan Cheese 2 tbsp Sprinkle on top before baking
Red Onion, Thinly Sliced 1/4 cup Add for a bit of sharpness
Green Bell Pepper, Chopped 1/4 cup Add for a hint of freshness
Oregano (Dried) 1 tsp Sprinkle over the top

How About Pairing it With a Good Wine?

The right wine can complement the flavors of the pizza toppings, creating a harmonious blend of taste and aroma. Here, I explore various pizza toppings and the types of wine that pair beautifully with them.

Margherita Pizza and Pinot Grigio

The light, crisp character of this white wine complements the tangy tomato sauce and fresh basil without overwhelming the delicate mozzarella. Pinot Grigio’s subtle citrus notes enhance the freshness of the basil, making it a harmonious match for this classic pizza.

Pepperoni Pizza and Chianti

Chianti, a medium-bodied red wine from Tuscany, is an excellent choice. Its vibrant acidity cuts through the richness of the pepperoni, while the wine’s rustic, cherry, and herbal notes play well with the spicy and savory elements of the pizza.

BBQ Chicken Pizza and Merlot

This medium-bodied red wine, known for its smooth tannins and juicy fruit flavors, complements the smoky sweetness of the BBQ sauce. Merlot’s hints of blackberry and plum add a lovely depth to the chicken, making each bite a delightful experience.

Hawaiian Pizza and Riesling

This wine, often characterized by its balance of sweetness and acidity, mirrors the sweet and savory profile of the pizza. A Riesling with a touch of sweetness can especially highlight the tropical notes of the pineapple while offsetting the saltiness of the ham.

Four Cheese Pizza and Prosecco

The effervescence of this sparkling wine cuts through the richness of the cheese, cleansing the palate between bites. Prosecco’s light and fruity profile provides a refreshing contrast to the dense, savory flavors of the pizza.

Meat Lover’s Pizza and Shiraz

Shiraz, with its bold flavors and notes of black pepper and dark fruit, stands up well against the intense meaty flavors. Its spicy undertones and hint of smokiness align perfectly with the variety of meats on the pizza.

Maybe You Are Into Something More Exotic?

Smoked Salmon and Caviar Pizza

For those with a taste for adventure, exploring exotic pizza toppings can be an exciting culinary journey. These unconventional choices often combine unique flavors and textures, creating a pizza experience that’s far from ordinary.

  • Duck and Hoisin Sauce: Duck offers a richer, more flavorful alternative to traditional meats, and when paired with hoisin sauce, it brings an Asian twist to the pizza. The sauce’s sweet and salty flavors complement the duck’s richness.
  • Buffalo Mozzarella and Truffle Oil: Buffalo mozzarella has a richer taste and creamier texture than regular mozzarella. Drizzling truffle oil over the pizza adds an earthy aroma that elevates the whole dish.
  • Fig, Prosciutto, and Balsamic Glaze: The combination of sweet figs, salty prosciutto, and tangy balsamic glaze creates a symphony of flavors. Each ingredient adds a different note, making every bite a unique experience.
  • Smoked Salmon and Caviar: For a touch of luxury, smoked salmon with a spoonful of caviar offers a gourmet twist. The smoky flavor of the salmon is enhanced by the salty burst of the caviar.

Recipe I Recommend

Fig, Prosciutto, and Balsamic Glaze Pizza

Ingredient Amount Preparation
Neapolitan Pizza Dough 1 ball Stretch to a 12-inch base
Extra Virgin Olive Oil 1 tbsp Brush over the base
Mozzarella Cheese (Shredded) 1 cup Spread evenly on the base
Fresh Figs (Sliced) 4-5 figs Arrange on top of the cheese
Prosciutto (Thinly Sliced) 6 slices Layer over the figs
Balsamic Glaze Drizzle Drizzle over the pizza before serving
Fresh Arugula 1 handful Add after baking

What is the Best Choice for a Group of People?

Selecting the ideal pizza for a group can be a delightful yet challenging task, considering the varied tastes and preferences. The key is to find a balance that caters to everyone while still offering a delicious and satisfying experience. These are the best options for your next pizza night.

  • Classic Combo Pizza: A traditional combination with toppings like pepperoni, mushrooms, bell peppers, onions, and olives is often a crowd-pleaser. It offers a little bit of everything, catering to both meat lovers and veggie enthusiasts.
  • Build-Your-Own Pizza Station: If you’re hosting a gathering, setting up a build-your-own pizza station can be a fun and interactive way to please everyone. Provide a variety of toppings, sauces, and cheeses, allowing each person to create their own masterpiece.
  • Half-and-Half Pizzas: When ordering for a group, consider half-and-half pizzas. This approach allows you to cater to different tastes on the same pizza. For instance, one half could be a meat lover’s special, while the other half is vegetarian.
  • Margherita Pizza: Often, simplicity wins. A Margherita pizza, with its classic flavors of tomato, mozzarella, and basil, is generally well-received by most people. It’s a safe and tasty option that rarely disappoints.
  • Specialty Pizzas: Depending on the group’s preference, specialty can be a great option. Whether it’s a BBQ chicken pizza, a Hawaiian pizza, or a gourmet option with unique toppings like goat cheese and caramelized onions, these pizzas can add an exciting twist to the menu.

A Classic is My Favorite

Classic Pizza

Ingredient Amount Preparation
Hand-Tossed Pizza Dough 1 ball Stretch to a 14-inch base
Marinara Sauce 3/4 cup Spread evenly on the base
Mozzarella Cheese (Shredded) 2 cups Spread evenly over the sauce
Pepperoni Slices 1/2 cup Arrange over the cheese
Cooked Italian Sausage (Crumbled) 1/2 cup Scatter across the pizza
Mushrooms (Sliced) 1/2 cup Distribute evenly
Green Bell Peppers (Chopped) 1/2 cup Sprinkle over the top
Red Onion (Thinly Sliced) 1/4 cup Layer on the pizza
Black Olives (Sliced) 1/4 cup Add as the final topping
Dried Oregano 1 tsp Sprinkle over the top

FAQs

Can I Put Raw Sausage on Pizza?

It’s advisable to pre-cook sausage before adding it to pizza. This ensures that the sausage is fully cooked and safe to eat, as the short baking time of a pizza might not be enough to cook raw sausage thoroughly.

What Cheese is Best for Pizza?

Mozzarella is widely considered the best cheese for pizza due to its excellent melting qualities and mild flavor. Other popular choices include Provolone, Parmesan, and Cheddar, which can be used alone or in combination for added flavor.

Can You Put Raw Chicken on Pizza?

Raw chicken should not be put directly on pizza, as it requires a longer cooking time to be safe for consumption. It’s best to cook the chicken thoroughly before adding it to your pizza to ensure it’s fully cooked when the pizza comes out of the oven.

What’s the Healthiest Pizza Topping?

Vegetables are the healthiest pizza toppings, offering a range of nutrients with minimal calories. Options like bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, and spinach are great choices for adding flavor and nutrition without excess fat or calories.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to pizza, the key is balance – in flavors, textures, and ingredients. The joy in creating and enjoying pizza lies in the experimentation and the personal touch each chef or pizza enthusiast brings to the table.

It’s not just about following recipes but also about understanding how different elements come together to create something greater than the sum of its parts.