Italian pizza vs American pizza

neapolitan pizzas on table with glass of wine

Did you know pizza’s history can date back as far as the ancient Greeks, Romans and Egyptians who enjoyed similar flatbreads adorned with toppings?

In the modern day, pizza is classically an Italian dish, with roots in Naples, but the delicious dish has been adopted worldwide, and different cultures have put their own spin on classic Italian pizza.

Today, we’re going to delve into the key differences between Italian pizza and American pizza, to find out who does it best.

History and Origins

Italian pizza history

The first Neapolitan pizza was served in Naples in the 18th century. The classic Margherita pizza was created in honour of queen Margherita of savoy.

American pizza history

Pizza in America came slightly later, with its origins being pinpointed to the arrival of Italian immigrants in the late 1800s.

Key Differences Between Italian and American Pizza

Pizza crust differences

Whilst Italians allow their dough to sit and rise for days to ensure its lightness, American pizza can be made with all different types of flour which means there is less consistency across all American pizzas.

Pizza Sauce variations

Sauce enables you to easily differentiate authentic Italian and American pizzas. Whilst Italian sauce will be made with freshly picked tomatoes and garlic, American chefs may create thicker sauces from canned tomatoes.


Another factor which can differentiate pizza from Italy or America is the use of pizza toppings – those being traditional vs. Innovative toppings. Italian pizzas may be adorned with fewer topping varieties than American pizzas.

For example, it is more likely to see pineapple on an American pizza than an italian pizza.


Italian pizzas feature fresh mozzarella di Bufala, a cheese made from buffalo’s milk. They use this cheese in scoops to create the pizza’s unique and delicious taste. Meanwhile, Americans made use the likes of cheddar cheese on pizza.

Pizza Cooking Methods

Authentic Italian pizza is typically baked in a woodfire pizza oven, whereas American pizza is cooked on a grill, gas-powered oven, or electric oven.

Pizza serving differences

There are even differences in how pizza is served in Italy in comparison to America. In Italy, pizza is often eaten as a meal with cutlery, enjoyed with alcohol like wine. Meanwhile, American pizza is consumed as less of an experience and more consumed on the go. Slices are usually eaten by hand, or folded.

Regional pizza styles within Italy and America

Whilst there are differences between American and Italian pizza, there are also regional pizza differences within each country too.

In Italy, there are three main styles of pizza.

The first is called the Margherita. The classic Margherita pizza is thin-crust pizza made with Naples-style pizza dough in a wooden oven. Unlike the Neapolitan pizza, which uses fresh and creamy mozzarella, there is also Sicilian pizza, which uses a hard sheep’s milk cheese.

Over in America, New York- style pizza has a thin crust much like a Neapolitan pizza. However, a Chicago deep-dish pizza has a thick crust which looks like a bowl.

traditional italian pizza

The Cultural Significance of Pizza in Italy and America

The pizza cultural significance varies between Italy and America. In Italy, pizza is an important part of social gatherings and celebrations, whereas in America, pizza is adored for its convenience, affordability and its deliciousness.

Consumer Preferences and Popularity

We love pizza so much because when glutamate is sensed in the mouth, our brain is excited and craves more.

Whilst we all know and love pizza, research has been done into different pizza preferences and pizza popularity.

Results have suggested that consumers would prefer pizza with more natural ingredients- much like the Italian style pizza.


Overall, we have explored that the main differences in Italian vs American pizzas pertain to their ingredients, cooking methods and cultural significance – whereby Italian pizza appears to be fresher and hold greater importance in the country.

So… do you prefer Italian or American pizza?

If your answers is Italian (and it should be) then why not come and simple some authentic Italian pizza at Cinqeucento? We serve delicious Neapolitan pizzas just like our Nonna used to make, and our broad menu is sure to have the perfect flavours for you.

Pizza FAQs

How much pizza is eaten in America?

About 350 slices or pizza are consumed every second in the USA

What is America’s favourite pizza topping?


How is Italian pizza served?

Always on a round plate