The Ultimate Showdown: New York Pizza vs. Chicago Pizza

New York Pizza vs. Chicago Pizza: A Comparative Analysis

Pizza is a popular culinary treat that has become a staple in many households. From homemade creations to local pizza joints, there are numerous options available to satisfy one’s pizza cravings. Among the various styles of pizza, New York and Chicago pizza stand out as two distinct and iconic variations. In this article, we will delve into the characteristics and differences between New York and Chicago pizza, exploring their crusts, toppings, sauces, cooking methods, and popularity. In the end, you will have a comprehensive understanding of these two popular types of pizza.

New York Pizza

New York pizza is known for its hand-tossed crust and thin profile. The crust is typically large in size, but still manages to maintain a delicate thickness. Often sold by the slice, a single slice of New York pizza can be larger than a plate and satisfying on its own. The crust is slightly thicker at the end, allowing it to be folded in half, similar to a pizza taco.

The crust

The most distinctive feature of New York pizza is its hand-tossed crust. The crust strikes the perfect balance between thinness and thickness, ensuring that it remains intact when held at the end. It is crisp and offers a satisfying crunch when eaten. While the crust is thin and crispy, it retains a subtle fluffiness under the toppings. This unique characteristic allows the pizza to be folded in half, a popular way to enjoy New York pizza. A slice of New York-style pizza purchased at a food stand or gas station is likely to adhere to this traditional crust style.

The Sauce

New York pizza is typically topped with a simple tomato sauce. The sauce is not heavily seasoned or flavored, allowing the natural tomato flavor to shine through. It is applied in a thin layer because the lighter crust does not require an excessive amount of sauce. This thin layer of sauce also makes it easier to fold the pizza without creating a messy eating experience. While Italian spices may be added to the sauce, they are used sparingly, resulting in a subtle flavor enhancement.

The Toppings

Traditionally, New York pizza is topped only with cheese. Over time, however, the pizza has evolved and it is now possible to order New York-style pizza with a variety of toppings. Toppings are usually added in thin, individual layers. It is important to note that New York pizza is meant to be folded in half and eaten by hand. Therefore, the proportions of cheese, crust, and sauce are carefully maintained to avoid overloading the toppings. Grated mozzarella is the cheese of choice for New York pizza because of its low moisture content, which ensures even melting without making the pizza soggy.


New York pizza holds a special place in the hearts of New Yorkers and is widely popular throughout the United States. It is commonly found in pizza parlors, food carts, and places that offer pizza by the slice. The ability to pick up a slice, fold it in half, and enjoy it with your hands has contributed to its popularity. New York pizza offers a less heavy and messy eating experience compared to other pizza styles.

Chicago Pizza

Chicago-style pizza is a stark contrast to its New York counterpart. It is deep, substantial, and loaded with toppings. Unlike New York pizza, Chicago pizza is not meant to be eaten on the go. Instead, it offers a deliciously indulgent dining experience.

The Crust

Chicago pizza is synonymous with deep dish pizza. They are baked in a deep dish, resulting in a thick and sturdy crust that acts as a vessel for an abundance of toppings, cheese, and sauce. The edges of the crust are distinct and rise up around the perimeter of the pizza like the sides of a pie crust. This unique structure consists of a thin outer layer and a deep crust layer that encompasses the inner and lower portions of the pizza. Chicago pizzas can be made in two ways: as a deep-dish pizza with toppings, or as a stuffed pizza with crusts on both the top and bottom that enclose the toppings.

The sauce

The sauce on a Chicago-style pizza is thick and chunky. It is lightly seasoned and allows the toppings and crust to shine without overpowering them with excessive flavors. Unlike New York pizza sauce, which tends to be more flavorful, Chicago pizza sauce strikes a balance between flavor and the need for a substantial amount of sauce. Because of the deep structure and generous toppings of Chicago pizza, a significant amount of sauce is required.

The Toppings

Chicago-style pizza does not adhere to a specific set of traditional toppings, although pepperoni remains a popular option. Toppings are generously applied to fill the deep dish. Unlike New York pizza, where toppings are added in single layers, Chicago pizza features stacked toppings that create a casserole-like experience. Toppings are layered continuously, including various meats, vegetables and cheeses. This abundance of toppings contributes to the overall thickness and richness of the pizza.


Chicago pizza is known for its deep-dish style and hearty nature. It is often considered a meal in itself due to its substantial size and filling ingredients. While New York pizza is known for its grab-and-go convenience, Chicago pizza is enjoyed as a sit-down dining experience. Chicago-style pizzerias have become iconic establishments, attracting both locals and tourists seeking to indulge in this unique style of pizza.


In summary, New York pizza and Chicago pizza have distinctive characteristics that set them apart. The New York pizza features a hand-tossed crust that is thin, crispy, and foldable, making it easy to eat on the go. It is complemented by a simple tomato sauce and modest toppings, resulting in a lighter and less overwhelming eating experience. In contrast, the Chicago pizza embraces its deep-dish structure, offering a thicker crust to support copious amounts of toppings, sauce and cheese. It provides a more indulgent and substantial meal that is best enjoyed in a sit-down setting.
Both New York and Chicago pizzas have earned their rightful place in the pizza landscape, attracting devoted fans and inspiring spirited debate. Whether you prefer the iconic foldable slices of New York or the deep-dish extravagance of Chicago, these pizzas continue to captivate taste buds and spark passionate discussions among pizza enthusiasts. So the next time you face the delicious dilemma of choosing between New York or Chicago pizza, consider your cravings and food preferences and enjoy the unique experience each style has to offer.


What is the main difference between New York pizza and Chicago pizza?

New York pizza is characterized by its thin, hand-tossed crust and lighter toppings, while Chicago pizza features a deep-dish crust with a substantial amount of toppings and cheese.

Can I fold a Chicago-style pizza and eat it like a New York pizza?

Chicago-style pizza is not typically folded like New York pizza. Its deep-dish structure and abundance of toppings make it more suitable for eating with a fork and knife.

Which style of pizza is more popular in the United States?

Both New York and Chicago pizza have significant followings, but New York pizza is generally more popular in the United States due to its grab-and-go convenience and lighter eating experience.

What types of toppings are commonly found on New York pizza?

New York pizza traditionally features simple toppings such as cheese, but it is also common to find additional toppings such as pepperoni, mushrooms, onions, and peppers.

Is the crust of a New York pizza always thin?

Yes, the crust on a New York pizza is typically thin. However, it may have a slightly thicker edge to provide a firm hold when folded.

Can I find New York-style or Chicago-style pizza outside of their respective cities?

Yes, New York-style and Chicago-style pizza have gained popularity and can be found in various cities throughout the United States and even in some international locations. However, authenticity can vary, so it’s worth looking for reputable pizzerias that are known for their faithful renditions of each style.