How Pizza is Enjoyed Around the World: 33 Delicious Variations

“I love pizza, meaning: Even when I'm in the middle of eating pizza, I wish I were eating pizza.” — Jandy Nelson

Pizza is probably the closest food to being universally beloved, so it’s no wonder that it’s enjoyed in countless forms across the globe. But what is pizza like around the world? In Italy, you will find traditional favorites such as pizza margherita and pizza quattro stagioni, while in Japan, you can enjoy fried okonomiyaki with a wild variety of toppings, such as tuna, octopus, kimchi, and seaweed. The How Long To Cook Calculator team created the ultimate visual pizza party with this chart that explores pizza from around the world:

How Pizza is Enjoyed Around the World: 33 Delicious Variations

What Country Actually Invented Pizza?

The origin of pizza has ancient roots. While flatbreads with toppings were eaten by Egyptians, Romans, and Greeks, the modern birthplace of pizza is traced to the Campania region of Italy, where the city of Naples is located. In the 1700s and 1800s, Naples was a thriving waterfront city that was infamous for its throngs of extremely poor working-class people called Lazzaroni. They needed sustenance that was cheap and quickly eaten — flatbreads with various toppings sold by street vendors and casual restaurants fulfilled this need. These early pizzas were garnished with toppings we love today, such as tomatoes, cheese, garlic, and anchovies. At the time, the wealthier classes of Italy frowned upon these “disgusting” eating habits, but that all changed when the country unified in 1891 and King Umberto I and Queen Margherita visited Naples in 1889.

Legend has it that the royal couple grew bored of French haute cuisine and decided to try pizza from Naples’s Pizzeria Brandi. The pizza variety that the queen enjoyed the most was called pizza mozzarella, which was topped with soft white cheese, tomatoes, and basil. It is said that from then on, that combo of pizza toppings became known as pizza margherita.

Despite the queen’s blessing, pizza continued to remain relatively unknown beyond Naples’s borders until the 1940s, when immigrants brought their pizza recipes to New York and other major American cities. Countless Neapolitans and other immigrants arrived in the U.S. for work and quickly became enamored with the flavor and aroma of pizza.

However, pizza was establishing its presence in New York decades before that. (When did the first pizzeria open) in the United States? Neapolitan immigrant Gennaro Lombardi opened what is officially deemed the first New York pizzeria in 1905 on Spring Street in Manhattan. The rest is delicious history.

What Makes NY Pizza So Good?

What is so special about New York pizza? Beyond the historical significance of New York pizza, there are many theories on what makes up the magic of a NYC slice. It’s challenging to pinpoint what makes any food superior, but there are several factors that play into why New York pizza is considered so legendary. Is NY pizza better because of the water? While emotion and pride may influence the debate surrounding this topic, there is some scientific basis to New York City tap water affecting the taste and texture of pizza and bagels. New York City has the largest unfiltered water supply in the United States, obtaining much of its water from the NYC watershed, which is located in the Catskills. New York calls this water “the champagne of drinking water,” as it has a good taste without any need for filtration. As it travels from the watershed through waterways and century-old pipe systems, it picks up natural deposits from the mountains. It is considered soft water, meaning it has lower concentrations of calcium and magnesium than hard water. Soft water tastes different than hard water and may have a saltier quality from increased sodium ions. Beyond the taste, the softness of NYC water affects how the gluten forms in dough. Hard water fortifies gluten and makes dough tough, whereas softer water creates a dough that is sticky and gooey. Smithsonian magazine describes New York’s water as the “Goldilocks of bagel water chemistry,” which of course mirrors pizza dough chemistry.

Another factor that may influence the quality of New York pizza is that it is often cooked at extremely high temperatures in ovens that are decades old. The theory is that just like a well-seasoned cast iron skillet, the oven has absorbed years worth of cheese and sauce vapor, imparting that deeply layered taste into to the dough. Others believe that it’s so good because NYC pizza achieves the perfect ratio of fat and carbs. Whatever the secret is, be sure to try a slice if you ever find yourself in the city.

We have included a full transcription of the infographic for accessibility here:




Olive oil dough that is pressed into the pan and has an airy and soft texture. It’s topped with sweet onions, oregano, and Parmesan cheese.

Australian pizza


Pizza topped with barbecue sauce, cheese, onions, bacon, and fried eggs

Portuguese pizza


Thin-crust pizza topped with ham, onions, olives, and hard-boiled eggs. The crust is sometimes filled with a creamy Brazilian cheese called requeijão.

Hawaiian pizza


Traditionally topped with pineapple and ham. The creator, Sam Panopoulos, was inspired by the sweet and savory combinations of Chinese cuisine.

Cuban pizza


Made with thick dough that is left to rise longer than usual and topped with mozzarella and gouda cheeses. Slow-cooked pork and bread-and-butter pickles are popular toppings.

Tarte flambée

Alsace, France

Thinly rolled bread dough covered with fromage blanc or crème fraîche, thin onion slices, and fatty bacon strips called lardons


Provence, France

Thick flatbread topped with caramelized onions, black olives, and anchovies, often enjoyed as an appetizer

Adjaruli khachapuri


“Pizza boat” stuffed with egg and cheese. The cheese is usually a blend of mozzarella and feta, but more traditional imeruli and sulguni cheese are also used.



Deep-fried dough made with sour cream or yogurt and topped with garlic, grated cheese, ham, parsley, and onions. It’s a popular street food.

Banana pizza


Banana is a popular topping for pizza in Iceland. It is often enjoyed with pineapple, ham, or blue cheese.

Tandoori paneer pizza


Pizza is an emerging fast food in India. Popular toppings include tandoori chicken, pickled ginger, and plentiful spices. Oregano packages are typically included with pizza orders instead of Parmesan cheese.

Pizza quattro stagioni


Popular style with various ingredients divided into four sections, with each one representing a season of the year

Margherita pizza

Naples, Italy

Also known as Neapolitan pizza, it is flash-baked for just more than a minute and then generously topped with sauce, slabs of mozzarella, basil, garlic, and olive oil.

Pizza bianca

Rome, Italy

Pizza dough sprinkled with olive oil, sea salt and herbs. It’s a popular street food.


Sicily, Italy

Thick, spongy crust topped with bread crumbs, onions, and a dry, crumbly cheese called caciocavallo

Pizza rustica

Southern Italy

Pizza with a light, flaky crust filled with sausage, smoked ham, pepperoni, ricotta, mozzarella, and Romano cheese; often eaten for Easter



Fried wheat flour crust with a colorful variety of toppings, including cabbage, seaweed, fermented tuna, octopus, pork, shrimp, kimchi, and spicy sauces

Bulgogi pizza


Pizza topped with bulgogi (marinated barbecued beef), veggies such corn and peppers, and bulgogi sauce (white wine, sesame oil, oyster sauce, and sugar). It has recently exploded in popularity in Korea.


Levant countries

Breakfast pizza topped with za'atar seasoning (sesame seeds, thyme, and oregano). Ground meat is sometimes added.


Levant countries

Flatbread with a minced meat (often lamb) topping flavored with onion, tomato, pine nuts, and spices


Oaxaca, Mexico

Large, crispy tortilla spread with refried beans, asiento (unrefined pork lard), lettuce, shredded meat, avocado, Oaxaca cheese, and salsa

Double Dutch pizza


Pizza with double the toppings: double cheese, double meat, and double onion


North Macedonia

Flatbread topped with cubes of salted meat, an egg, and hot peppers. It is so beloved that there is an annual festival to celebrate it.



Baguette-shaped pizza topped with cheese, mushrooms, and Polish ketchup. Feta and olives are popular garnishes.



Pizza topped with sardines, tuna, mackerel, salmon, and onions and served cold

Pizza crunch


Deep-fried pizza that may be served with salt and vinegar or brown sauce (similar to Worcestershire sauce) and fries

Catalan coca


Olive oil-soaked flaky crust that can be topped with savory or sweet ingredients such as mushrooms, peppers, or onions

Kebab pizza


Thin-crust pizza topped with cheese, tomato sauce, onion, peppers, and kebab meat. It is generously drizzled with kebab sauce, a tangy yogurt and mint mixture.



Crispy flatbread topped with spicy minced meat, onion, lettuce, lemon, and parsley

Deep-dish pizza

Chicago, Illinois, United States

Extra-thick pizza packed with cheese and topped with tangy tomato sauce

Detroit-style pizza

Detroit, Michigan, United States

Upside-down pizza with Wisconsin brick cheese laid down first and then topped with tomato sauce. The crust is chewy and crispy with a fried quality to it.

White clam pizza

New Haven, Connecticut, United States

This pizza is topped with olive oil, oregano, grated cheese, garlic, and fresh clams. It’s traditionally baked in a coal-fired oven at extremely high temperatures, creating a dry and thin crust.

New York-style pizza

New York, New York, United States

Thin, crispy dough topped with melted mozzarella cheese and tomato sauce. Popular toppings include pepperoni, mushrooms, or olives.

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