Neapolitan Vs New York: Which Pizza Style Reigns Supreme?

Pizza is beloved across the globe, but not all cheesy, saucy pies are created equal. Two styles reign supreme in the pizza world: the classic Neapolitan pizza of Italy and the iconic New York slice.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Neapolitan pizza features a thin, soft crust topped with fresh mozzarella and basil. New York pizza has a hand-tossed crust and chunkier sauce. Both offer unique textures and flavors.

From crust style to toppings and baking methods, this comprehensive guide will compare Neapolitan and New York pizza. You’ll learn the history, ingredients and experience of eating these iconic regional pizzas. Grab a slice as we settle the debate over which pizza style takes the crown!

The Origins and History

Neapolitan Pizza History

The origins of Neapolitan pizza can be traced back to Naples, Italy, in the 18th century. It was in Naples that the iconic pizza margherita was created, named after Queen Margherita of Italy. Legend has it that in 1889, the queen visited Naples and was presented with three different pizzas.

She preferred the one topped with tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and basil, which represented the colors of the Italian flag. This simple yet delicious combination became known as the pizza margherita and is still popular today.

Neapolitan pizza is known for its thin, soft, and chewy crust. It is traditionally cooked in a wood-fired brick oven at high temperatures, resulting in a slightly charred and blistered crust. The use of high-quality ingredients, such as San Marzano tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella, is also a defining characteristic of Neapolitan pizza.

Today, Neapolitan pizza is protected by the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana (AVPN), an organization that certifies pizzerias around the world that adhere to strict standards in the preparation and cooking of Neapolitan pizza.

New York Pizza History

New York-style pizza, on the other hand, has its roots in the Italian immigrant communities of New York City in the early 20th century. These immigrants brought with them their traditional pizza-making techniques from Naples and adapted them to suit the tastes and preferences of their new home.

New York-style pizza is characterized by its large, thin, and foldable slices. The crust is typically crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside. It is often topped with a generous amount of tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, and various toppings, such as pepperoni or mushrooms.

One of the key factors that contributed to the popularity of New York-style pizza was the establishment of pizzerias that offered pizza by the slice. This made it more accessible and convenient for people on the go, and it quickly became a favorite street food in the city.

Today, New York-style pizza is synonymous with the city itself, and there are countless pizzerias throughout New York City that serve this iconic style of pizza.

For more information on Neapolitan pizza history, you can visit the official website of the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana at To learn more about New York-style pizza, you can visit the website of the New York Pizza School at


Neapolitan Crust

Neapolitan pizza is known for its thin and soft crust, which is made from a simple dough consisting of only flour, water, salt, and yeast. The dough is typically hand-kneaded and left to rise for several hours, resulting in a light and airy texture.

Neapolitan crusts are traditionally cooked in a wood-fired oven at high temperatures, which gives them a slightly charred and blistered appearance.

The key to a perfect Neapolitan crust lies in its simplicity. The dough is stretched by hand, creating a thin center with a slightly thicker, airy edge known as the “cornicione.” This chewy and flavorful crust acts as the foundation for the toppings, allowing them to shine without overpowering the overall taste.

If you’re looking for an authentic Neapolitan pizza experience, be sure to look for pizzerias that are certified by the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana (AVPN). These establishments adhere to strict guidelines regarding the ingredients, preparation, and cooking methods of Neapolitan pizza.

New York Crust

New York-style pizza is known for its large, foldable slices and a crust that strikes a balance between thin and thick. The dough is typically made with high-gluten flour, water, yeast, salt, and a touch of olive oil, resulting in a chewy texture with a slight crunch on the outside.

The crust of a New York-style pizza is often hand-tossed, which gives it a characteristic shape and allows for air bubbles to form during the baking process. It is then baked on a hot pizza stone or in a deck oven, resulting in a crust that is slightly crispy on the bottom, while still remaining soft and chewy on the inside.

The thickness of the New York crust provides a sturdy base for the generous toppings that are typically piled high on these pizzas. From gooey mozzarella to savory pepperoni, the crust can hold up to the weight of the toppings without becoming soggy or limp.

It’s worth noting that New York-style pizza has become so iconic that it has been imitated and adapted in various forms around the world. However, for an authentic New York pizza experience, head to one of the many pizzerias in the city that have been perfecting this style for decades.


One of the key differences between Neapolitan and New York-style pizza is the sauce. Neapolitan pizza typically features a simple sauce made from San Marzano tomatoes, which are known for their sweet and tangy flavor.

These tomatoes are grown in the volcanic soil near Mount Vesuvius in Italy, giving them a unique taste. The sauce is often made with just a few ingredients, such as olive oil, garlic, and basil, allowing the flavors of the tomatoes to shine through.

On the other hand, New York-style pizza tends to have a more complex sauce. It is usually made from a combination of crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, and various herbs and spices. The sauce is often cooked before being spread onto the pizza dough, which gives it a richer and more intense flavor.

Some pizzerias in New York even add a touch of sugar to balance out the acidity of the tomatoes.

While both styles of pizza have delicious sauces, the Neapolitan sauce is known for its simplicity and the use of high-quality ingredients. It is often described as bright and fresh, with a subtle sweetness.

The New York-style sauce, on the other hand, is bolder and more robust in flavor, with a hint of sweetness and a touch of spice.

It’s worth noting that the sauce is just one element of the overall pizza experience. The dough, cheese, and toppings also play a significant role in determining the taste and texture of the final product.

Ultimately, the choice between Neapolitan and New York-style pizza comes down to personal preference and what you’re in the mood for.


When it comes to the cheese used on Neapolitan and New York-style pizzas, there are some key differences. Neapolitan pizza traditionally uses fresh mozzarella cheese made from the milk of water buffaloes. This cheese is known for its soft, delicate texture and creamy flavor.

It is typically placed in small chunks on the pizza, allowing it to melt and create a luscious layer of cheese on top.

On the other hand, New York-style pizza typically uses regular cow’s milk mozzarella cheese. This cheese has a firmer texture and a milder flavor compared to buffalo mozzarella. It is usually shredded or grated and evenly spread across the pizza, resulting in a more even distribution of cheese.


Neapolitan Pizza New York-style Pizza
Uses fresh buffalo mozzarella Uses regular cow’s milk mozzarella
Soft, delicate texture Firmer texture
Creamy flavor Milder flavor
Placed in small chunks Shredded or grated

Both cheese options have their own unique characteristics that contribute to the overall taste and texture of the pizza. It ultimately comes down to personal preference – whether you prefer the creamy richness of buffalo mozzarella or the more even and slightly milder taste of cow’s milk mozzarella.

If you want to learn more about the different types of cheese used in pizza, you can visit for a comprehensive guide on pizza cheese.


When it comes to pizza toppings, both Neapolitan and New York styles offer a wide variety of options to satisfy everyone’s taste buds. However, there are some distinct differences in the types and combinations of toppings used in each style.

Neapolitan Style Toppings:

Neapolitan pizza, which originated in Naples, Italy, is known for its simplicity and minimalistic approach to toppings. The classic Neapolitan pizza typically has a thin crust, topped with San Marzano tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese, fresh basil leaves, and a drizzle of olive oil.

These traditional toppings are chosen to enhance the flavors of the dough and create a harmonious balance.

While the classic Margherita pizza is the most popular Neapolitan style pizza, there are also variations that include additional toppings such as sliced tomatoes, garlic, anchovies, or olives. However, it is important to note that the focus of Neapolitan pizza is on the quality of the ingredients, rather than an overload of toppings.

New York Style Toppings:

New York style pizza, on the other hand, is known for its generous portion of toppings. The crust is typically thick and chewy, allowing for a hearty combination of ingredients. The most common toppings found on a New York style pizza include pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, onions, peppers, and extra cheese.

One of the unique aspects of New York style pizza is the ability to customize your toppings according to your preference. Whether you prefer a classic combination or want to experiment with unique flavor combinations, New York style pizza offers endless possibilities.


In terms of toppings, Neapolitan and New York styles take different approaches. Neapolitan pizza focuses on simplicity and using high-quality ingredients to enhance the flavor of the dough. On the other hand, New York style pizza is all about abundance, with a wide variety of toppings to choose from.

While both styles have their own merits, it ultimately comes down to personal preference. Some may prefer the traditional and refined flavors of Neapolitan pizza, while others may enjoy the bold and hearty combination of toppings on a New York style pizza.

For more information on Neapolitan and New York style pizza, you can visit and

Baking Methods

When it comes to pizza, the baking method plays a crucial role in determining the final outcome. Both Neapolitan and New York style pizzas have distinct baking methods that contribute to their unique characteristics.

Neapolitan Pizza Baking Method

Neapolitan pizza is traditionally baked in a wood-fired oven at extremely high temperatures. These ovens can reach temperatures of up to 900°F (480°C), which results in a quick cooking time of around 60-90 seconds. The high heat creates a blistered and charred crust with a soft and chewy interior.

This method allows the toppings to retain their freshness and flavors, resulting in a delicious and authentic Neapolitan pizza.

According to the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana, the official organization that regulates Neapolitan pizza, there are specific guidelines for the dough, sauce, and toppings used in Neapolitan pizza. The baking method is an essential part of achieving the desired texture and taste.

New York Style Pizza Baking Method

New York style pizza, on the other hand, is typically baked in a standard gas or electric oven. The temperature is lower compared to a wood-fired oven, usually around 475°F (245°C). The pizza is placed on a baking stone or a preheated pizza pan to ensure even cooking.

The lower heat and longer cooking time, usually between 10-15 minutes, result in a crispy yet foldable crust. The crust is slightly thicker than Neapolitan pizza, and the toppings are often generous and piled high.

The longer baking time allows for the flavors to meld together and create a delicious combination of cheese, sauce, and toppings.

Comparison of Baking Methods

Baking Method Temperature Cooking Time Characteristics
Neapolitan 900°F (480°C) 60-90 seconds Blistered and charred crust, soft and chewy interior
New York Style 475°F (245°C) 10-15 minutes Crispy yet foldable crust, generous toppings

It’s important to note that while the baking method is a significant factor, other elements such as the dough recipe, sauce, and toppings also contribute to the overall taste and texture of the pizza.

So, whether you prefer the quick and intense heat of a wood-fired oven or the slower baking process of a standard oven, both Neapolitan and New York style pizzas have their unique appeal. Ultimately, the choice between the two comes down to personal preference and the flavors that tantalize your taste buds.

The Dining Experience

When it comes to the dining experience, both Neapolitan and New York-style pizzas offer their own unique charm. Neapolitan pizza is known for its simplicity and traditional preparation methods. The dough is made with just four ingredients – flour, water, salt, and yeast – and is hand-kneaded before being topped with fresh ingredients such as San Marzano tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and fresh basil.

The pizza is then cooked in a wood-fired oven at a high temperature for a short amount of time, resulting in a crispy yet chewy crust with a slightly charred flavor.

New York-style pizza, on the other hand, is all about the big, foldable slices. The crust is thin and crispy, but still has a soft and chewy texture. It’s typically larger in size and can be topped with a variety of ingredients, including the classic combination of tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, and pepperoni.

One of the defining features of New York-style pizza is its ability to be folded in half, allowing for easy eating on the go.

Both styles of pizza offer a delightful dining experience, but they cater to different preferences. Neapolitan pizza embodies the essence of traditional Italian cuisine, with its fresh and simple flavors.

It’s best enjoyed sitting down at a cozy pizzeria, savoring each bite and taking in the atmosphere. On the other hand, New York-style pizza is perfect for a quick and satisfying meal on the move. Grab a slice from a street vendor or a bustling pizzeria, fold it in half, and enjoy the hustle and bustle of the city as you take your first bite.

Comparing the Experience:

Neapolitan Pizza New York-style Pizza
Traditional Italian flavors Classic American style
Simple and fresh ingredients Wide variety of toppings
Wood-fired oven cooking Regular oven cooking
Sit-down restaurant experience On-the-go street food

Ultimately, the dining experience is subjective and depends on personal preference. Some may prefer the traditional and authentic flavors of Neapolitan pizza, while others may enjoy the convenience and variety of New York-style pizza.

Whichever style you choose, one thing is for sure – both Neapolitan and New York-style pizzas have a special place in the hearts (and stomachs) of pizza lovers everywhere.


Neapolitan and New York pizza each have devoted fans worldwide. Neapolitan offers a thin, chewy crust with fresh flavors. New York boasts a hearty hand-tossed crust with sweet, chunky sauce. When it comes to America’s favorite food, the ‘best’ pizza comes down to individual taste.

The regional traditions of Italy and New York City have given us these two iconic pizza styles to savor and debate over. There’s no better way to decide between Neapolitan and New York pizza than to sample both for yourself!

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