Cheese please...and then some.
Pizza. Wonderful pizza. What’s not to love about homemade bread smothered with sauce, cheese, and toppings of your choice? In our humble opinion, absolutely nothing. Even the pickiest eaters love a simple cheese pizza. For adventurous eaters, though, pizza is an endless experiment. It all starts with the bread, and there are plenty of options: flatbread, thin-crust, whole wheat, stuffed crust, French bread, deep dish, and the list goes on. Next comes the sauce, and even though red sauces are the go-to, white sauces, pesto, barbecue sauces, and other creations can set the base for the pizza. And finally, the toppings. Pizza toppings usually start with a type of cheese, but from there, you can pile on whatever your heart desires (unless your heart desires anchovies—please don't do that). Whether you’re making pizza at home, ordering delivery, or visiting a local pizza joint, deciding which toppings you want can be a lengthy process. Some pizza toppings can divide a room (ahem, pineapple), but others are universally loved. These are the best and most popular pizza toppings, plus a few recipes for you try them out with.
Recipe: Pepperoni Pizza
Poll after poll, pepperoni always tops the list of America’s favorite pizza toppings. When it doubt, you can’t go wrong with a classic.
Whether they crisp up in the oven or go on the pizza caramelized, onions are a popular topping that add a little salty or a little sweet, depending how they’re prepared. Red onions often accompany barbecue chicken pizzas, while white and yellow onions are popular for supreme pizzas.
Recipe: Pea Pesto Flatbread
Bacon goes well with anything (try us), so of course it’s a popular pizza topping. This fresh spring recipe gets salty, meaty flavor from just a few bacon crumbles. You’ll also see pizzas topped with pancetta, which is bacon’s Italian cousin.
Recipe: Antipasto Pizza
People either love or hate olives, but even if you’re not a fan, you might actually like the salty bite black olives add to a generously topped pizza. Or you’ll just pick them all off. Either way.
Recipe: Quick BBQ Chicken Pizzas
The winner winner of weeknight meals goes well on pizzas, too! BBQ chicken, buffalo chicken, and chicken bacon ranch are common pizza orders that contain this protein.
Spinach is a delicious way to add a little green to your pizza. Another popular green found on pizzas is arugula. Unlike spinach, which is usually cooked with the pizza, arugula is placed fresh on top of the pizza for a fresh, peppery pop. Try our Fig Flatbread for an arugula-topped pizza recipe.
Recipe: Grilled Tomato-Peach Pizza
Regardless what else comes atop your pizza, a few fresh basil leaves will taste amazing with it. This simple summertime pizza would make a delicious cookout appetizer or light dinner paired with a salad.
Recipe: Fig, Ham, and Ricotta Pizza
Ham is often paired with the aforementioned pineapple for Hawaiian pizzas, but it can be delicious with other toppings (we’re looking at you, meat-lovers’ pizza). For a fancier feel, try prosciutto, or Italian ham.
Recipe: Shrimp-Pesto Pizza
Although tomato-based sauces are the far-and-away favorite for pizza, pesto can make any pizza feel lighter. Even if you don’t top the whole pizza with pesto, a drizzling on top of a marinara-or white sauce-based pizza tastes amazing. This quick and easy pizza recipe is made on the grill, which makes it perfect for a summer night.
In case you haven’t noticed the trend, meat is always popular on top of pizzas. Whether you’re going for a dressier steak pizza, a kid-friendly cheeseburger pizza, or a pizza topped with meatballs (actually a thing), beef always has a place on pizza.