Chicago Pizza vs New York Pizza: What’s the Difference

Some people say New York pizza is the best type of pizza. Others claim Chicago pizza reigns supreme. But if you don’t know the difference between the two, you likely find yourself silent during these debates. Which side are you on?

The only way to know is to understand the fundamental differences between Chicago and New York pizza.

Hi! My name’s Michelle, a self-taught baker that’s enjoyed baking all kinds of foods and desserts for the past ten-plus years. I make (and order) plenty of pizzas, and sometimes I’m in the mood for a Chicago dish, while other times I find myself craving a slice of New York-style pizza.

There are many differences between these two pizzas. So much so that there are very few similarities. Are you curious to know what the exact differences are? Then you need to check out this article.

By the end, you’ll know exactly whether you’re #teamChicagopizza or #teamNewYorkpizza!

6 Differences Between Chicago and New York Pizza

There are six – that’s right, six – noticeable differences between Chicago and New York pizza. That said, they’re very different, which is why there is such a debate about which one is considered the “best.”

Let’s take a closer look at these differences.

1. Crust

The most apparent difference between Chicago and New York Pizza is the crust.

New York has a very thin and pliable crust. That’s why it is traditionally folded before it’s consumed.

Chicago pizza, on the other hand? The sky-high dough can be described as nothing less than a deep-dish pizza.

So, if you’re looking for a thin-crust pizza, you’ll want to opt for New York pizza. But if you want tons of thick crust to chew on, opt for the Chicago-style slice.

2. Toppings

While the crust thickness is the most obvious contrast between Chicago and New York pizza, it’s not the sole difference.

Another essential dissimilarity is the toppings.

Because New York slices are so incredibly thin, they can’t handle too many toppings. There is typically a thin layer of sauce, cheese, and a maximum of three additional toppings, such as pepperoni, basil, or meatballs.

On the other hand, Chicago-style pizza is so impossibly thick it can handle a multitude of toppings (and they’re typically layered invertedly, too!). There is definitely no limit when it comes to toppings for this kind of pizza. The more, the merrier – so pile on the sauce, cheese(s), and toppings!

3. Serving

When most people think of a slice of pizza, they think of a long, triangular-shaped piece of cheesy heaven.

And this is true for New York pizza.

However, Chicago-style pizza is not served the same way.

Because Chicago pizzas are impressively thick, they’re typically served in squares – kind of like a plate of lasagna.

4. Eating

Another noteworthy difference between Chicago Pizza and New York Pizza is how they’re consumed. Neither are eaten in the “traditional” way.

New York pizzas are flexible. With this type of craftsmanship, they’re designed purposely to be folded before they’re eaten. So, if you order a New York slice, be prepared to fold it in half. You might half to, considering New York slices are very big!

Chicago pizzas are thick and loaded with toppings. They typically can’t be picked up and eaten like a “regular” pizza. Instead, these kinds of pizzas are eaten with a fork and knife. Otherwise, you’ll likely end up with a mess everywhere.

5. Size

Let me break it down for you:

Chicago pizzas are thick.

New York pizzas are larger-than-life.

To make it more straightforward, Chicago pizzas don’t exceed 12 inches, but what they lack in length, they make up in inches. New York pizzas can be as large as 36 inches. Amazing.

6. Baking Style

The final difference between Chicago and New York pizza is how they’re baked.

Chicago Pizza is best described as a pan pizza. That’s because it’s stretched inside a pan/skillet, with the edges as high as one desire. Then, the toppings are added – typically invertedly, with the sauce on top. It’s then cooked inside the pan.

New York pizza is hand-tossed. This means that once the dough is adequately kneaded, it’s stretched in the air, allowing it to be as wide as one prefers (which will be pretty broad for a New York slice!). Finally, it’s baked on a pizza stone rather than a pan.


Did you know there were so many dissimilarities between Chicago and New York pizza? Pretty wowing, don’t you think? Before you make your case in a Chicago pizza vs New York pizza debate, I implore you to look at these frequently asked questions.

Is New York or Chicago pizza better?

Which one is better depends on who you ask. This is because everyone has a different view on which pizza style is best. Some prefer the long and lean New York slice, while others want to dive into a tower of crust, sauce, cheese, and other yummy toppings.

What makes Chicago-style pizza different?

Chicago-style pizza has an incredibly doughy crust at least one inch high. This allows for tons of sauce, cheese, and toppings, almost always requiring consumers to eat it with a fork and knife. The toppings are commonly inverted, which is also thrilling for pizza lovers!

Why is Chicago pizza so thick?

Chicago pizza – otherwise known as deep dish pizza – is stretched and baked inside of a pan. This allows the edges to be much higher than those baked on a pizza stone. That creates the thick crust that’s the perfect bed for endless toppings. Yum.

Chicago Vs. New York Pizza – Which One’s Best?

There are quite a bit of differences between Chicago and New York pizza, from the width and length to the toppings and how it’s eaten. Both are exceptional styles of pizza, though – give both a try!

Are you a Chicago pizza fanatic, or do you prefer New York? Why do you prefer one over the other? Share with us, and let’s debate in the comment section!

About Michelle
I have been a lover of sweets since day one. This led me on a self-taught baking journey starting at the age of 13. It's been over 10 years since the start of my baking adventures, and I’ve learned a lot along the way. Now, people rave about my delectable treats, whether it’s a chocolate cake or a strawberry crepe.

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