Pizza has been solidified as a longtime staple in our homes and you really can never go wrong. There are many different options available, from making your own homemade pizza to calling up your local pizza dive.
Then, of course, you can also find specialty pizzas, frozen pizzas, and chain pizza delivery places as well.
On top of your pizza locales, you have a multitude of different types of pizzas as well. Some of the most common options are New York style and Chicago style.
These are two very distinct pizza styles. While every place has their own rendition of options like hand-tossed, thin crust, pan pizzas, stuffed crust, and more, these two types of pizza always stand out with their names.
What is the difference between New York pizza and Chicago pizza? One of the most easily identifiable differences between New York pizza vs Chicago pizza is their crust type. New York pizza’s crust is hand-tossed and thinner with a distinctive crunch. Chicago pizza is thick and designed to be loaded with toppings.
In this guide, we will do a full roundup of New York pizza vs. Chicago pizza.
We will walk you through the details and differences between these two popular pizza types so that you can identify just how different they really are and understand what goes in to making each style of pizza as well.
Keep reading to learn more about New York pizza vs Chicago pizza!
The Pizza Showdown
As we take a look at each of these, we will go through them individually to start with. We will discuss things like the crusts, toppings, sauces, spices, cooking processes, and even which is more popular.
Once we’ve hit these details for each pizza type, we will wrap up with a summary, taking a close look and comparison at how these two really do compare in the long run.
We’ve got a lot of ground to cover, so let’s get started!
New York Pizza
New York pizza uses a hand-tossed crust approach. The crust itself is usually quite large but it is also thin at the same time.
You will find New York pizza often sold by the slice because a single slice may be larger than a plate and perfectly satisfying on its own.
The crust is mostly thin but it has just a little bit of thickness on the end. A common way that people eat New York pizza slices is by folding them in half, almost like a pizza taco.
Let’ start by talking about the crust. Remember that this is the most notable difference between New York and Chicago pizza styles.
We mentioned this just slightly but the crust is like a hand-tossed crust. It is the perfect mix of thin crust and thickness. The ends are thicker so that you can hold the crust by the end and it not just fall apart.
On that same note, the crust is also made to be crisp so it has a distinct crunch when you eat the bread crust portion.
Your pizza won’t crunch where the sauce and toppings are part of the mix but it’s still thin, crisp, and just a little fluffy under the toppings.
This pizza is unique because the part of the pizza that hosts your toppings is both thin and pliable. This is how it is able to be folded in half to eat and it is one of the most common ways that people eat New York pizza.
If you go buy a slice of pizza from the gas station or a food stand selling pizza slices, it is probably New York style.
The sauce on a New York style pizza is a simple tomato sauce. It isn’t overly spiced or flavored and is just a basic sauce most of the time. It is dominantly tomato but it may have some spices added to it.
When sauce is applied to the New York pizza, it is typically applied in a very thin layer. This is because it has a lighter crust so it doesn’t need as much sauce.
The thin layer of sauce also helps when you fold your pizza in half to eat it so it can be eaten by hand and won’t be as messy.
If you compare the two sauces – you will find that New York pizza often has Italian spices in it but only a small amount is used so you may not even really notice the additional flavor.
Traditionally, a New York pizza only has cheese on it. Over the years, the pizza has been adapted and you can order New York pizza with any toppings you want.
On a New York pizza, the toppings are typically added in thin, single layers.
Keep in mind that the New York pizza is meant to be able to be folded in half and eaten with your hands so in order to keep the proportions correct to the cheese, the crust, and the sauce, you won’t find it just loaded down with toppings.
That is simply not the nature of the pizza.
As part of the toppings, you will also find that the cheese is different between the two pizza styles.
New York pizza uses grated mozzarella traditionally on it. This is because it has a low moisture content so the cheese melts consistently and won’t turn your pizza soggy.
Again, you see that the choices here closely reflect the fact that this pizza is created to be eaten with your hands so every little piece of the design carefully accommodates that.
What you will find is that both pizzas are equally popular to different regions and different uses, as well as different types of people.
New York pizzas are very common in New York, hence the name. They are also popular throughout the United States. They are commonly found at most pizza joints and food stands or food locales that sell pizza by the slice.
People seem to really love the ability to eat a slice with your hand by just picking it up and folding it in half. It’s a bit less messy and yet equally filling. It’s not quite as heavy.
Now, let’s look at Chicago pizzas.
Chicago style pizza is nearly the opposite of the New York pizza. It’s deep, it’s heavy, and it’s loaded. This is not a grab on the go and eat with your hands pizza but it is absolutely delicious as well.
This deep dish is very filling. It gets the name because it was originally created in Chicago. There are various types and styles that also fall into the category but the general consensus is that it is deep and loaded with stuff.
If you’ve ever heard of brands like Papa Murphy’s, these are a good example of Chicago pizzas. You can also find these in classic pizza restaurants around the globe as well.
Chicago pizzas are deep dish pizzas. They are literally made inside of a deep dish. The crust is thick and made to be deep and loaded with toppings, cheese, and sauce.
The edges of the crust aren’t like your typical handheld pieces that you just grab by that end crust.
Instead of being a thick end piece, the crust stands up around the edges, almost like the sides of a pie crust. It’s a thin piece that goes around the outer edges and a deep crust piece that is on the inside and the underneath layers of the pizza.
Chicago pizzas are always a deep style, but they can be prepared two different ways.
They may be made as a deep pizza loaded with toppings or they can be made as a stuffed pizza that uses a crust layer on both the top and the bottom and sandwiches all of those toppings in between the layers.
When you hear a pizza described as a deep dish pizza, it is a Chicago pizza. The crust is thick and it is usually pretty heavy as well. It’s like a crust bowl just ready to be loaded down with toppings.
Remember that the crust is one of the most differentiating factors between these two different types of pizzas.
The sauce is another unique identifier between these two pizzas. While pizza sauce is pizza sauce, there are some differences in how it is made but also how it is used on Chicago style pizza as opposed to New York pizza.
The sauce on Chicago pizza tends to be thick and chunky and it is just lightly seasoned. Chicago pizza sauce is also typically not as flavorful as New York style pizza sauce.
The light hand on seasoning is because more sauce is used. Since Chicago pizzas are so heart and full, they don’t season it as heavily because they don’t want the flavors of the sauce to overwhelm the pizza.
So on the Chicago pizza, you have more sauce and slightly less flavor to the sauce because there is so much more of it. In the end, the flavor combination evens out and there is plenty of sauce for the toppings and the crust of the pizza.
Chicago pizza is not meant to be eaten with your hands so large amounts of sauce are almost a must.
There really isn’t a traditional topping for Chicago style pizza, although pepperoni is definitely a popular option. It’s like the perfect combination of bread and grease and it is really good.
What you need to know about the toppings here is that they are applied generously, just like the sauce is.
Where New York pizzas add single layers of toppings, the Chicago pizza is filling the deep dish so you might get piles of toppings to fill in the pizza.
The toppings tend to be more substantial in comparison but it’s a wholly different approach to the pizza creation. This type of pizza is designed almost more like a casserole and it’s meant to be filling and served with a fork.
The toppings are layered and heaped in, even if you only have one topping of choice. There’s a lot of pizza to cover so it’s safe to say you will get a lot of toppings and it will be very filling as well.
Now, when you consider the cheese, this is also a little different. Chicago pizzas are very cheesy. This is because the cheese to topping to sauce ratio needs to be accommodated.
Remember this is a deep dish pizza so it needs more cheese to make the proportions right.
The cheese on Chicago pizza is usually layered and there is also usually more than one type of cheese but mozzarella will be the most dominant in the mix.
When it comes to comparing the popularity of Chicago to New York, they are both nearly equally as popular.
Again it depends on your preferences and your moods as well as where you are.
We will point out that you are less likely to find Chicago style pizza at food trucks and serve-by-the-slice places just because it is so much heavier and more filling.
It’s harder to serve in these types of environments as it is meant to be a sit-down meal.
You will find that these are sometimes even sliced and served in squares rather than in your traditional rectangle slice but it really depends on the serving location as well.
Chicago pizza is very filling and a little bit goes a long way.
The Chicago pizza is obviously very popular in the food culture of Chicago but it is also popular throughout the U.S. as well.
New York Pizza Vs Chicago Pizza Summary
Now that we’ve really broken it down for you, let’s review in a bit of a summary so you have a quick reference of the details.
The most noticeable difference in these pizza types is the crust. New York is thin and designed to be picked up and eaten a slice at a time in your hands.
It’s often eaten almost like a taco and is a large but flat slice. Chicago pizza, on the other hand, is a deep dish pizza that is stuffed full and will definitely require a fork and a plate to eat.
They both use sauces and toppings but they are used in different forms and capacities. New York pizza is all about a thin layer while Chicago is all about loading up the pizza.
With that in mind the sauces, toppings, and even cheese are used differently to create the style of pizza being made here.
When it comes to popularity, you will find there is a great debate. Some people love both types of pizza.
Then, there are the people who don’t like one or don’t like the other. They are both popular in their own ways and their own settings but they are served and are popular in very different ways.
What is most noticeable is that these two pizzas are nearly polar opposites in how they are made and meant to be enjoyed. There really isn’t a right or wrong here. They are both delicious and unique in their own ways.
But don’t take our word for it! Everyone has their own preferences and if you haven’t tried one or the other, you should most definitely put it to the test.
You never know, you just might decide you like something new.
While they are very different, they are both delicious in their own ways.