Pizza came to prominence on June 11, 1889 when a Neapolitan chef created the “Pizza Margherita” to honor the Queen consort of Italy. We imagine the debate over which pizza toppings are the best began no later than June 12, 1889.
We’re here to put this argument to bed once and for all (Or, ignite even more controversy, possibly.)
Here are the 10 best pizza toppings, ranked:
Garlic, in all forms, can add complex taste and flavor profiles to your pizza. If you haven’t tried it as a pizza topper, you need to change that ASAP.
Roasted garlic gives your pie a rich, nutty, and subtly sweet taste that will have you mowing down slice after slice. Oh, and that pre-minced garlic that you try to avoid in the kitchen? It’s excellent on a bar or tavern style pizza as it bestows an extra crunch upon every bite.
Pro tip: Order garlic on your next pizza.
Pro tip No. 2: Use mouthwash after.
Love eggplant parm? Of course you do. That’s why you should fuse the two together to create a uniquely satisfying pie.
In Italy, you’ll find pies topped with melanzane everywhere, especially when it’s peak season. Eggplant-topped pizzas aren’t ordered as frequently in the U.S., but they’re available at most pizzerias.
Opt for carmelized onions when you want a touch of sweetness to your pie and raw onions when you want your pizza to still have a bit of crunch.
Raw onions can be tricky due to the moisture they give off, but those crispy edges also get a nice char in the oven. Don’t worry, your expert pizzaiolos know what they’re doing.
Popeye approves. For bonus points, go for a spinach + garlic combo!
You may consider basil to be more of a garnish than a topping but, gosh darnit, it goes on top of the pizza, and it deserves its due.
Basil blends beautifully with the flavor of the tomato sauce when applied to pizza before baking. But, we really think basil shines when they’re added to the pie after baking, which allows it to wilt only slightly while maintaining much of its crisp.
They say that bacon makes everything better. That sentiment may be a bit overblown, but it’s definitely true for pizza.
Bacon adds porky goodness to pizzas with a major crunch that pepperoni and sausage (more on those later) can’t supply. And, if you’re feeling fancy, you can swap out bacon for its highfalutin cousin pancetta, when available.
4. Extra cheese
Q: What’s better than cheese?
A: Extra cheese.
We’ve been known to double up our pies with more of the standard low moisture shredded mozzarella, but the “extra cheese” option knows no bounds. Add burrata, caciocavallo, parmesan, or any other cheese your heart desires.
Button mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, even thin-sliced canned mushrooms – we don’t care what kind of mushroom it is, we’ll take ‘em all. The underrated mushroom is your key to a pie with extra umami power.
When sausage is baked on top of a pizza, its delicious oils and fat bless the entire pie with rich flavor.
You had to know that pepperoni would be at the top of this list. Super porky, mildly spicy, and a bit chewy, pepperoni is the undisputed king of pizza toppings.
That goes for all forms of pepperoni, by the way. Pepperoni cups are nothing short of divine for their ability to hold mini-pools of delectable grease, but no one turns down the large thin slices either.
— Zach Links is an L.A.-based sports journalist who is equally concerned with the outcome of the game and what he’ll be eating at halftime. In addition to serving as a staff writer for The Sauce, he’s also the lead writer and editor of ProFootballRumors.com. You can follow him on Twitter @ZachLinks and on Instagram @FatZachLinks.