Pan vs Hand-Tossed Pizza: Which One is Better?

Menus at pizzerias tend to have tons of options, from the seemingly endless list of toppings to the types of sauces. But another decision you’ll have to decide whether you want hand-tossed or pan. What’s the difference? Which one is better?

Pan and hand-tossed are two of the most popular pizza types. Pan pizza is known for its ultra-thick and chewy crust, while hand-tossed is flatter and thinner. Which one is better depends solely on personal preferences. 

Hi! My name’s Michelle, and I’ve said many times that my family and I love pizza. We eat it a few times a month, whether ordering from our fave pizzeria or making it homemade. Personally, I enjoy pan over hand-tossed, but I wanted to share the differences to help you decide.

Keep reading to discover the difference between pan and hand-tossed pizza (and decide which is “better).

Pan vs Hand-Tossed Pizza: 5 Differences

Before settling the debate about which type of pizza is better, we need to know the critical differences between the two. 

1. Hand-Tossed Has a Thinner, More Flexible Dough

The first dissimilarity is the dough.

Yes, hand-tossed and pan pizzas utilize the same type of dough. There is no difference in the ingredients used to make them.

However, hand-tossed tends to have a thinner and more flexible texture. That’s because it needs to be tossed into the air to achieve the ideal shape – hence the name “hand-tossed pizza.”

2. Pan Pizza Has a Thick and Fluffy Crust

Because the dough for pan pizza is not tossed into the air, it retains its air bubbles. This allows the dough to puff up while baking. In the end, you’re left with a dough that’s thick, fluffy, and indulgent. This is why “pan pizza” is also referred to as “deep dish” or “Chicago-style.”

On the other hand, hand-tossed pizza does not have as many air bubbles. This creates a thinner and flatter crust. However, it’s not as thin as a thin-crust pizza. It still has some fluffiness, making it the perfect in-between.

3. Pan Pizza Typically Has More Toppings

Now, this is not a definitive difference between hand-tossed and pan-pizza. Technically, you can use the same toppings on either type of pizza and enjoy sensational results.

However, pan pizza tends to have more toppings than a hand-tossed pizza. This is simply because the thicker crust can handle more weight. 

4. Pan Pizza is Crispier and Greasier

Because pan pizza has a thick and fluffy crust that’s essentially baked in a slab of oil, the crust becomes deliciously crispy and greasy

The hand-tossed pizza crust is less crispy and greasy. Instead, it has a slightly more dried-out texture. Don’t worry – it doesn’t taste dried out. It just isn’t dripping with oil which tends to be the case for pan pizzas.

5. Hand-Tossed Pizzas Are Eaten With Your Hands

When it comes to eating hand-tossed pizzas, it’s pretty basic. Grab a slice and go to town!

While you can do this with pan pizzas, they’re generally eaten with a fork and knife. That’s because the pizza is so thick and drenched with an exuberant amount of toppings. 

It is challenging to eat this kind of pizza by hand – yet, not impossible, so don’t feel you have to eat it with a fork and knife if you don’t want to!

Pan vs Hand-Tossed Pizza: Which is Better?

Now that you know the five main differences between the pan and hand-tossed pizza, it’s time to rule out which one is the “better” pizza.

Honestly, it all comes down to personal preference.

If you’re looking for an ooey-gooey pizza that’s impossibly chewy and loaded with toppings, then you should go the pan pizza route.

If you want a pizza that’s a bit thinner, less greasy, and easier to eat, hand-tossed is the way to go. 


You can’t go wrong with hand-tossed or pan pizzas. They’re both delicious choices. Don’t head out just yet, though. While I’m sure you’re eager to order a pan or hand-tossed pizza, I recommend taking a look at the frequently asked questions below; You might learn a thing or two!

Which crust is best for pizza?

Which crust is best depends on what you’re looking for. A thin crust is the best choice if you want a crispy and thin crust that puts the toppings on full display. If you want a chewy and thick crust with lots of toppings, go with a deep dish/pan. Opt for hand-tossed if you want something in the middle.

Which is better original pan or hand-tossed Pizza Hut?

The original pan is the better option if you want a pizza crust that’s incredibly chewy, thick, and fluffy. If you want a more traditional crust that isn’t too thin or thick, hand-tossed is the better option.

Why is pan pizza more expensive?

Pan pizzas tend to be more expensive because the dough is much thicker than other styles of pizza. Therefore, more dough is necessary to create the final product. Pan pizzas also tend to have more toppings compared to different pizza types, so you’ll need to pay for these additions.

Pan and Hand-Tossed Are Both Delicious Pizza Styles!

If you’re ordering a pizza and can’t decide on a pan or hand-tossed pizza, the best way to determine is to remember that pan = a deep dish and has a chewy and thick crust. Hand-tossed is the traditional style and is flatter and thinner but not as thin as a crunchy thin-crust pizza. It’s thought of as the perfect in-between of thin and deep-dish pizzas. 

Are you team #handtossed or team #panpizza? Is there any other difference you’d like to share?

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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *