New York Style Pizza vs. Chicago Pizza: What’s The Difference?

Regarding culinary conversations, pizza is no longer a stranger to debate. It is universally agreed that pizza is made from the crust, cheese, sauce, and toppings, but there are different ways to mix the ingredients to make our favorite pizzas. It turns out pizza lovers are becoming pickier and pickier. So, it makes sense that everyone might be interested to know which is the best pizza. In this blog, we will focus on New York-style pizza vs. Chicago-style pizza.

New York Style Pizza vs. Chicago Pizza: What’s The Difference?

What Is New York-Style Pizza?

New york style pizza can be dated to 1905, when the first American pizzeria was founded in Little Italy, Manhattan. Gennaro Lombardi, the founder, and Antonio TotonnoPero, his employee, started making the pizzas and sold them to people by the slice. Since then, this pizza recipe has been a favorite of most New Yorkers.

A classic New York Pizza is mainly characterized by generously sized slices that are thin and flexible. It has more ingredients than the traditional Neapolitan pizza. The New York dough is hand-tossed and is made using sugar, olive oil, high-gluten bread flour, yeast, and water.

What Is New York-Style Pizza?

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For the toppings, a new york slice is made with heavily seasoned tomato sauce that is typically made of canned tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, sugar, salt, and herbs like crushed red pepper, basil, and oregano. The cheese used is always grated low-moisture mozzarella.

That said, New York-style pizzas can have extra/ additional toppings of your liking, including vegetables, meats such as sausage and pepperoni, or any other kinds of cheese on top of the mozzarella cheese.

After the pizza comes out of the oven, some common condiments put on top of the slice include garlic powder, dried oregano, crushed red pepper, and grated Parmesan cheese.

What Is Chicago-Style Pizza?

Chicago-style pizza usually refers to deep-dish pizza, and it was invented in 1943 at the original location of Pizzeria Uno in Chicago. Some say Ike Sewell invented the Chicago deep dish pizza, but others contend it was invented by chef Rudy Malnati and cook Alice May Redmond. In 1955 Sewell and Riccardo, founders of Pizzeria Riccardo, merged and opened Pizzeria Due. Since the popularity of Chicago pizzas has grown exponentially, achieving global fame and admiration.

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What Is Chicago-Style Pizza?

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Chicago deep dish slices are usually made with a thick crust crispy-edged; it’s not crunchy but not too doughy. It is cooked in a deep dish pie pan and layered with cheese, fillings such as meat and vegetables, and sauce, in that order.

Chicago-style pizza takes longer to cook than traditional pizzas because its thickness and assembly procedures are different and more meticulous. For most pizzas, the crust is prepared first, followed by sauce, cheese, and other toppings, but for the deep dish of Chicago, it’s assembled oppositely. Cheese is usually the first topping, followed by meats, vegetables, and other toppings, and the uncooked tomato sauce is added atop the final layer.

The Differences Between New York and Chicago Pizza

1. The Crust

One of the most fundamental distinctions between Chicago-style and New York-style pizza is the style of their crusts. New York pizzas usually have thin, crispy crusts, almost similar to Neopolitan pizzas but a bit sturdier.

New York-style pizza thin dough

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The new york pizza crust is topped with a thin layer of tomato sauce, cheese, and toppings. Even though the new york style pizza crust is crispy, it won’t crunch where the sauce and toppings are; it’s a little fluffy under the toppings. You can fold your pizza slice in half to eat it with this crust.

On the other hand, Chicago-style pizza usually has a thicker crust that extends from the bottom and covers the full height of the pizza. The bowl-shaped appearance of the crust is what earned this pizza the deep dish pizza name.

Chicago-Style Deep Dish Pizza dough

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The pizza’s crust allows room for tomato sauce, cheese, and other toppings. The crust edges aren’t like the typical pieces you simply grab by that end crust. Instead of being a wide-end piece, it stands up around the edges, almost like the sides of a pie crust. However, you might sometimes find that Chicago-style pizzas come with another layer of dough on the top, called stuffed pizzas.

2. The Cheese

New York-style pizza tends to come with a single layer of mozzarella cheese. Mostly it uses grated low-moisture mozzarella cheese but not the fresh mozzarella usually used in most types of pizzas. This is mainly because the pizza has a low moisture content, so the cheese melts consistently.

New York pizza toppings

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The Chicago-style pizza has room for more toppings, meaning it also has enough room for more cheese. They usually use different types of cheese and can have multiple layers of these cheeses. Even though the pizza pie can be made with different cheeses, mozzarella will be the most dominant in the mix. 

3. The Sauce

Another contrast between each city’s style of pizza is the sauce used. The NYC pizza usually uses a seasoned tomato sauce that balances heat and sweet flavors. The sauce tends to be thinner and is spread more finely in a light layer because the light crust doesn’t need as much sauce.

Adding sauce to the pizza

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Chicago-style pizza, however, features ample Chicago pizza sauce that is often chunkier than the sauce used in other pan pizzas. One good bit about the Chicago crust is that it can hold more tomato sauce without becoming soggy. The sauce used in Chicago-style pizza is usually chunkier than the New York pizza.

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4. Toppings

Traditionally, New York pizza only had cheese on it, but over the years, the pizza has been adjusted, and you can order New York pizza style with any toppings you want. However, the toppings are added in a single thin layer.

New York pizza toppings

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Since the New York pizza is meant to be folded in half and eaten with your hands, it won’t have too many toppings. On top of the crust and the mozzarella cheese, there is typically only room for two to three more toppings.

Chicago Pizza pie recipe

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Where New York pizzas add single layers of toppings, the Chicago pizza usually offers enough room for layers of toppings thanks to the thicker and denser crust. The toppings here are layered and heaped in, even if there is only one topping of choice.

5. Oil

One further distinction between the Chicago and New York pizzas is the amount of oil used. The New York slice is covered with oil to the point where it pools on the surface and drips off the bottom.

With the additional room that Chicago deep-dish slices offer, the oil is more evenly spread and tends to stay drier rather than pooling.

6. Cooking Style and Time

The new york style pizza is hand-tossed, while the Chicago pizza is a pan pizza. The dough is stretched for the New York Pizza by tossing it in the air and later baked on a slab in a hot oven. This technique yields a thin-crust pizza as wide as your oven can hold.

Cooking Style and Time

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As for time, the NY pizza can be prepared in 10 minutes or less. This is thanks to the oven temperatures that can go up to 700 degrees.

Chicago deep dish dough is stretched inside a cake pan or cast-iron skillet. But before placing the dough inside the pan, it must be oiled properly. When stretching out the dough on the bottom of the pan, it is also stretched on the walls of the pan. The good bit is that it can be made as high as you want.

The Chicago pizzas take around ten minutes to get the crust ready, but it can take up to 30 minutes to bake other ingredients once assembled. This extra time contributes to totally different textures in the cheese and dough.

7. Size

 New York-style pizza  size

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When it comes to size, the new york style pizza is usually gigantic when compared to the Chicago Deep-Dish. Typically the pizza is usually between 12 inches to 36 inches wide. Nevertheless, in terms of thickness, it is smaller than the Chicago-style pizza.

 Chicago piza size

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On the other hand, the Chicago pizza hardly goes past 12 inches (30cm) in diameter. That is because the dough used usually follows the size of the pan. However, what it lacks in terms of width is compensated by its thickness. The Chicago deep dish pizza’s crust is usually medium thickness. The deep dish is stuffed with layers of cheese, Italian sausage, and uncooked tomato sauce, which builds up its thickness.

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8. How its Served

The new york style pizza is usually served in the normal signature triangular slices, while the Chicago pizza is cut into small square or rectangular pieces. Normally the new york style pizza is cut before serving, and the deep dish is unsliced when you order takeout; this way, the cause and all the toppings are held together.

Even though you can find some areas that sell Chicago pizza in slices, it is mostly sold uncut. It is mostly eaten as a sitting-down meal. On the other hand, New Yorkers eat their slices on the subway, standing at counters, or walking down the street.

You can easily have your new york style of pizza on the move, but eating the Chicago pizza will require an entire sit-down meal with a fork, knife and napkin since they are usually messier.

9. Pizza-Eating Experience

The Newyork and Chicago-style pizza deliver sensational flavor and unique eating experiences. The new york style pizza will offer an easy, convenient, cheap, and perfect eating experience for city-goers and workers with little time to spare on their busy work days.

Pizza-Eating Experience

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Conversely, the Chicago deep dish is a little slower to consume and plausibly more elegant. However, as we have mentioned earlier, these pizzas require a proper sit-down meal with cutlery and napkins since they can get messy with all that extra cheese, sauce, and toppings.

Which Pizza Takes The Crown?

Pizza lovers have different opinions and preferences about pizza, which is okay. Ultimately, it must be accepted that human tastes are not the same.

Which Pizza Takes The Crown?

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In terms of NYC-style pizza vs. Chicago deep-dish pizza, busy city dwellers looking to have a heavy snack will likely prefer the New York pizza that is tasty and much easy to eat. However, hungry folks who wish to have a heavy meal of a thick, chunky, delicious, and hearty pizza on sit-down dining would appreciate the Chicago pizza. So basically, the winner of this pizza battle frankly depends on who is eating the pizza.

Wrapping up

The main distinction between Chicago-style and New York-style pizza is the structure of the ingredients. In the Chicago-style pizza, cheese comes first, then sauce. But with New York-style pizza, the sauce comes first, then cheese.

Chicago vs. New York Pizza Wrapping up

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Other key distinctions are that the New York style is thinner and cooks quickly, while the Chicago pizza has a thick crust and cooks longer.

That said, both the Chicago pizza and the New york pizza have their own merits, and it would be impossible to say which is better than the other. You can try out both varieties since the ultimate decision of what pizza is better will rely on your preference.

We hope this article has helped you differentiate between the two pizzas.

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New York Style Pizza vs. Chicago Pizza: What’s The Difference?