Stuffed crust pizza can sound like a bizarre fever dream – a pizza with more cheese inside the crust? But it is very, very real. Who invented stuffed crust pizza, and where can you get it?
Stuffed crust pizza is exactly what it sounds like – it’s a pizza with a crust stuffed full of cheese and maybe other toppings. It’s the perfect treat for sacrilegious pizza eaters who leave their crust behind.
Since its invention in 1995, stuffed crust pizza has taken on new forms. For example, Pizza Hut once launched a pizza with a hot dog stuffed crust. In New Zealand, they sell Marmite-stuffed crust pizza. And in Japan, there are shrimp and mayonnaise stuffed crust pizzas. So cheese isn’t really a requirement, but it is the most common crust filling.
Corporate overlords, Pizza Hut, claim to have invented stuffed crust pizza in 1995. But it turns out the real origins of the dish might actually lay with Brooklyn’s Anthony Mongiello, a cheese maker who filed a patent for the revolutionary food in 1987. He sued for $1 billion in 1999, but lost the case on the grounds that the products were similar but his patent hadn’t actually been infringed.
At Pizza Hut, the stuffed crust pizza was invented by Patty Scheibmeir. Her initial experiments involved wrapping string cheese in pizza dough, and the development process took about three years.
When Pizza Hut launched stuffed crust in 1995, they spent a reported $45 million on advertising to popularize the new offering. This explains why it’s a familiar slumber party dish for the average millennial.
Stuffed pizza is different than stuffed crust pizza. Stuffed pizza is similar to deep dish pizza, but it is assembled more like a pie. The bottom and sides of a deep dish pan are lined with pizza dough, then stuffed with cheese and toppings. This layer is enclosed by an additional layer of dough on top, like a pie, and then tomato sauce goes over everything. It’s kind of like a calzone, deep dish hybrid.
These days, stuffed crust is available from places other than Pizza Hut – it’s even available frozen in the grocery store, and there are recipes online if you want to get crazy and stuff your own crust. There may also be a pizzeria in your neighborhood selling stuffed crust pizza, or, even better, toiling tirelessly on the next innovation in pizza technology.