Pinsa Vs Pizza: Unraveling the Differences

Pizza vs. Pizza: Understanding the differences

Pizza is a globally popular dish that has been a staple in many cultures for centuries. However, there is another type of dough that has recently gained popularity and is making a comeback in culinary circles – pinsa. Pinsa is a type of Roman bread that predates pizza and offers a unique flavor and texture experience. In this article, we will explore the key differences between pinsa and pizza, including their ingredients, history, flavor profiles, textures, and uses.

1. Pinsa and Pizza: Origins and History

The history of pizza is as fascinating as it is ancient. The dish has evolved over time and has been enjoyed in different forms by different civilizations throughout history. On the other hand, pinsa, a type of Roman bread, has been part of the human diet since the 1st century AD. Pinsa predates pizza and was originally created as a way to cope with scarcity of resources. Early civilizations combined different grains to create a dense and nutritious bread. This eventually led to the invention of pinsa, which combines wheat, spelt, soy and rice flour to create a unique dough with its own distinct characteristics.

2. Flavor profiles: Pinsa and Pizza

The flavor profiles of pinsa and pizza differ significantly due to differences in their ingredients. Regular pizza dough is typically made with all-purpose flour, yeast, sugar, and salt, resulting in a relatively plain flavor. Pizzerias often add additional ingredients such as sugar, dairy products, and herbs to enhance the flavor of the dough. In contrast, pinsa dough gets its flavor from the combination of wheat, spelt, soy, and rice flours. This multi-grain composition gives pinsa a distinctive earthy and grainy flavor. The spelt flour adds a nutty and slightly tangy flavor, while the soy and rice flours add balanced earthy notes. Pinsa’s unique flavor profile allows it to complement a wide range of toppings and ingredients, resulting in a more cohesive and expressive flavor compared to traditional pizza dough.

3. Textures: Crispy, Tender and Chewy

One of the defining characteristics of Pinsa is its exceptional texture. Unlike traditional pizza dough, which is doughy with a slightly crispy exterior, pinsa offers a more complex textural experience. The combination of different flours in Pinsa dough creates a unique interplay of textures. Wheat flour adds body and chewiness, rice flour adds crispness, and soy and spelt flours add texture and additional chewiness. The result is a pinsa with a crisp, tender and chewy texture that is highly pleasurable to eat. In addition, the texture of the pinsa can vary depending on the baking time and preparation method. A lightly baked pinsa has a more tender and chewy texture, while a longer baking time produces a deeply caramelized crust with a crispy exterior and a light, fluffy interior. Pinsa can also be made without yeast, resulting in a classic flatbread texture with a crispy exterior and a slightly chewy center.

4. Uses: Standalone bread or pizza base

Pinsa can be enjoyed as a stand-alone bread, similar to focaccia. Its subtle flavor and delicious texture make it a delightful accompaniment to a glass of wine or a simple drizzle of olive oil. When used as a pizza dough, Pinsa is typically given an oblong shape. This sheet-like shape allows for a more even distribution of toppings and provides a soft and pliable base that can be textured by pressing the surface with various objects. For example, using chopsticks to make square indentations in the surface of the dough before baking adds visual appeal and creates pockets of crispy, chewy bread. Regular pizza dough, on the other hand, is used primarily as a base for toppings and requires the presence of toppings or condiments for flavor. Unlike pinsa, pizza dough is not typically eaten on its own.


In summary, while pinsa and pizza share similarities in their basic composition and purpose as bread-based dishes, they differ significantly in terms of ingredients, history, flavor profiles, textures, and uses. Pinsa’s multi-grain composition and unique combination of flours result in a distinctly earthy and grainy flavor, while pizza dough offers a more traditional bread flavor. Pinsa’s exceptional texture, ranging from crisp to tender and chewy, sets it apart from the more consistent texture of pizza dough. Whether enjoyed as a stand-alone bread or as a pizza base, Pinsa offers a delightful culinary experience with its nuanced flavors and textures. Understanding the differences between pinsa and pizza allows us to appreciate the diversity and richness of these beloved dishes in the realm of Italian cuisine.


Pinsa is a type of Roman bread that predates pizza. It is made from a combination of wheat, spelt, soya and rice flour, giving it a unique flavour and texture.

How is the flavour of pinsa different from pizza?

Pinsa has a distinctive earthy and grainy flavour due to its multi-grain composition. The spelt flour adds a nutty and slightly spicy flavour, while the soy and rice flours add balanced earthy notes. Pizza dough, on the other hand, has a relatively simple flavour, often enhanced by additional ingredients and toppings.

What is the texture of pinsa?

Pinsa offers a complex texture with a combination of crispiness, softness and chewiness. The wheat flour adds chewiness, the rice flour adds crispness and the soya and spelt flours add structure and additional chewiness. The texture can be varied by baking time, resulting in a range from lightly tender and chewy to deeply caramelised and crispy.

Can Pinsa be enjoyed on its own?

Yes, Pinsa can be enjoyed as a stand-alone bread, similar to focaccia. Its subtle flavour and delicious texture make it a delightful accompaniment to a glass of wine or a simple drizzle of olive oil.

How is Pinsa different from regular pizza dough?

Pinsa differs from ordinary pizza dough in several ways. It predates pizza and has a different historical origin. Pinsa’s flavour profile is distinct, with a multi-grain composition that results in an earthy and grainy taste. The texture of pinsa is also unique, offering a combination of crispiness, tenderness and chewiness. In addition, Pinsa can be enjoyed as a stand-alone bread or used as a pizza base with its oblong shape and versatile texture.

Can Pinsa replace pizza dough in traditional pizza recipes?

Although pinsa can be used as a pizza base, it has its own unique characteristics. The unique flavour and texture of pinsa can offer a different experience to traditional pizza dough. Pinsa’s oblong shape and unique texture make it a great alternative for those seeking a different pizza experience, but it may not completely replace traditional pizza dough in all recipes.