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NATIONAL PIZZA DAY: THE MOST POPULAR PIZZA TOPPINGS IN EVERY STATE

NATIONAL PIZZA DAY: THE MOST POPULAR PIZZA TOPPINGS IN EVERY STATE

5 minute read time

Whether you have it deep dish or paper-thin, dunk it in garlic sauce or make your own in a rustic oven, pizza is loved by pretty much every American. There are so many different styles, opinions (do pineapples belong on a pizza?) and hundreds of different toppings. While it originated in Italy, the pizza is now arguably just as popular in the US as the humble cheeseburger.

To mark National Pizza Day on February 9, we decided to find out what the most popular pizza topping is in every state, since the beauty of pizza is that there’s an offering out there for everyone, after all.

And for those who have a food sensitivity, our expert nutritionist Sal Hanvey has put together two pizza recipes for those who are vegan or gluten intolerant, to help everyone enjoy pizza this week.

To discover what the most popular topping is in every state, we used Google search data to look at the number of average monthly searches for dozens of different pizza variations. 

As we can see, almost half of states think pepperoni pizza is the best topping. Pepperoni pizza is an American concept, and the slightly spicy, salty meat which dots the top of pizza pies is still the US’ favourite topping.

In particular, there’s a cluster of pepperoni lovers in the south, including Texas, Louisiana, New Mexico and Mississippi, broken up by Florida and Arizona, which prefer white pizza and pesto pizza respectively.

A stark contrast to the spicy cured meat, vegetable pizza was the second most popular offering in the US, with 12 states opting for the meat-free pizza. This is evidenced by the number of Americans opting for plant-based food reaching new heights, with more than half a million people registering for Veganuary this year. Vegetable pizza dominated in the likes of Illinois, Iowa and Ohio.

Pizza is known for its gooey, melted cheese, and whether it’s mozzarella, cheddar, pecorino or gorgonzola, seven states preferred their pizza simple, with just cheese on top.

In Indiana, greek pizza was the star of the state, with over 33,000 searches each month for the dish, 32,000 more than its nearest rival, veggie pizza. Olive pizza was also top in Minnesota, while New Yorkers favorite is white pizza, opting to remove the classic neapolitan sauce for a white sauce, often made out of milk, salt, pepper, garlic and a cheese such as parmesan.

Some states were spoilt for choice and had more than one topping as their favorite with a joint number of monthly searches. Alaskans like pepperoni, bbq chicken and chicken, bacon and ranch all equally, while Maine residents like Greek and Buffalo chicken respectively.

In total, the toppings appeared:

Pepperoni – 24 states

Veggie – 12 states

Cheese – 7 states

Greek – 5 states

BBQ chicken – 4 states

Buffalo chicken – 2 states

Green pepper – 1 state

Olive – 1 state

White pizza – 1 state

Pesto – 1 state

Chicken, bacon and ranch – 1 state 

Sal Hanvey, nutritionist at YorkTest, said:

“Pizza is one of the most loved meals in America, and no matter where you go, you can expect to find a pizzeria nearby. Simple to prepare, affordable and customizable, pizza is a perfect meal for a social gathering, or a solo feast.

“We decided to do this research to showcase just how different states like their pizza. While pepperoni is clearly the star of the show, it’s interesting to see just how many states prefer vegetable or greek pizza, showing you don’t need meat to make a pizza taste great.”

Recipe – Dairy Free Margherita Pizza (by Sal Hanvey)

-Makes 8-10 average pizzas

-Proofing time for dough: 1-2 hours

-Prep time 30 mins

-Total time 2 hours max

Ingredients:

For the tomato paste:

-1 small tin of tomato paste

-1/2 cup water

-1/4 tsp sat

-1/4 tsp black pepper

-1/4/tsp dried basil

-1/4 tsp oregano

-1/4/tsp thyme

-1/4 tsp garlic powder

-(or shop bought tomato paste for pizzas)

For the pizza base:

-1kg  (4 ¼ cups) plain flour

-650ml (2 ½ cups) water (temperature 38c approx)

-20g salt

-15g active dried yeast

-(or you can purchase a pre made pizza base)

Toppings and Dressings:

-Vegan mozzarella balls

-Fresh basil leaves (optional for scattering)

-Chilli oil (optional for dressing )

Method:

-Dough:

-Make your dough 1-2 hours ahead of time.

-Add yeast to the water and add flour and salt.

-Knead constantly for 10 mins until it resembles a window pain effect.

-Weight into 150g balls and place on a tray allowing them to proof until they double in size.

Pre-heat oven to 180c/ 350f

In the meantime:

Make your Pizza sauce:

Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix.

Once the dough is ready, roll it out to about 9 inches wide on a floured surface.

Add your tomato paste.

Add your vegan mozzarella balls.

Cook directly on the middle shelf of the oven for 15-20 mins.

Remove from the oven and slice.

Scatter fresh basil leaves and chilli oil over the pizza and add cracked black pepper and enjoy!

Recipe – Vegan Pepperoni Pizza (by Sal Hanvey)

-Makes 8-10 average pizzas

-Proofing time for dough: 1-2 hours

-Prep time 30 mins

-Total time 2 hours max

Ingredients list:

For the tomato paste:

-1 small tin of tomato paste

-1/2 cup water

-1/4 tsp sat

-1/4 tsp black pepper

-1/4/tsp dried basil

-1/4 tsp oregano

-1/4/tsp thyme

-1/4 tsp garlic powder

-(or shop bought tomato paste for pizza base)

For the pizza base:

-1kg (4 ¼ cups) plain flour

-650ml (2 ½ cups) water (temperature 38c approx)

-20g salt

-15g Active Dried Yeast

-(or buy pre made pizza base)

Toppings and Dressings:

-Vegan cheddar cheese

-A few packets of vegan pepperoni (depending how many you make)

-Fresh basil leaves (optional for scattering)

-Chilli oil (optional for dressing)

Method:

-Dough:

-Make your dough 1-2 hours ahead of time.

-Add yeast to water and add flour and salt.

-Knead constantly for 10 mins until it resembles a window pain effect.

-Weight into 150g balls and place on a tray allowing them to proof until they double in size

Pre-heat oven to 180c/ 350f

In the meantime:

Make your Pizza sauce:

Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix and apply to the base evenly, as much as you like.

Once the dough is ready, roll it out to about 9inches wide on a floured surface.

Add your tomato paste.

Add your vegan grated cheddar cheese.

Add your vegan pepperoni slices.

Cook directly on the middle shelf of the oven for 15-20 mins.

Remove from the oven and slice.

Scatter fresh basil leaves and chilli oil over the pizza and add cracked black pepper and enjoy!

Methodology

To reveal the most popular pizza topping in every state, we took 30 different pizza toppings and used Google Keyword Planner to discover which ones had the highest number of Google searches on average.

When there were two or more toppings with the highest number of search queries, we included both in the infographic.

Research is accurate as of 27 January 2022.

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