Chicago vs New York Pizza: Which Is Better?

Chicago vs New York Pizza featured photo

The Chicago vs New York pizza debate has been going on forever and people definitely have their chosen favorite. Both pizzas have notable differences and unique characteristics that make them a popular food choice amongst locals and tourists alike.

A Chicago pizza is a thick-crust pizza with many layers of cheese, toppings, and tomato sauce. It is prepared in a pan and it looks more like a pie rather than a pizza. A New York pizza has a thinner crust and is topped with fewer sauces, toppings, and cheese.

I have eaten many slices of Chicago-style and New York-style pizzas and I definitely have my favorite kind of pizza. In this article, I will be talking about the differences between a Chicago and New York pizza so you can decide which one would be the top choice for you.

What Is A Chicago Pizza?

What Is A Chicago Pizza

The Chicago pizza,  also known as the Chicago deep-dish pizza, was developed in Chicago, Illinois in 1943. The Chicago deep-dish pizza was invented by Ike Sewell and Ric Riccardo. These two people have a love for Italian cuisine and they opened Pizzeria Uno, located in Chicago, in 1943. Sewell and Ricardo wanted to experiment with an Americanized version and a more filling version of a pizza, hence the Chicago pizza was born.

A Chicago-style pizza is a reverse order of how a pizza is made. There are a variety of toppings you can find on a deep-dish pizza. But, usually, a Chicago deep-dish pizza has many layers of cheese, sausages, and tomato sauce which is where it gets its “deep-dish” name. This kind of pizza also looks more like a pie than a pizza with its high crust.

What Is A New York Pizza?

What Is A New York Pizza

The New York Pizza originated in Manhattan, New York, as the name implies. This pizza first came to be when Gennaro Lombardi opened America’s first pizzeria, Lombardi’s.

In comparison to Chicago’s pizza, New York pizza has a much thinner crust. New York pizzas are typically 18 to 20 inches big and are cut into wide triangle slices. The most known characteristic of a New York pizza is its thin and foldable crust. This type of pizza is just crispy enough for the slice to be foldable without tearing the pizza apart.

Chicago vs New York Pizza: What’s The Difference

Chicago vs New York Pizza What’s The Difference

If you are a pizza lover, you can immediately tell whether a pizza is a Chicago or a New York-style pizza. They have glaringly obvious differences but let’s take a closer look at how these pizzas differ and what makes them so unique.


Because of its high crust, a Chicago deep-dish pizza is prepared and cooked in a deep pan. The pizza does get baked in the oven, but it is cooked just like how a pie is baked – in a pan.

Being baked in a pan allows the crust to keep its shape and keeps the toppings from spilling while the pizza is cooking. Because of this, the cooking time of a Chicago pizza is longer to be able to cook the crust and toppings all the way through.

New York pizza, on the other hand, is prepared on a pizza peel as its shape is just like your regular pizza. A New York-style pizza is also usually cooked in a fire-burning oven to achieve a crispy crust.


As we said earlier, New York-style pizza has a thinner crust than a Chicago-style pizza. The deep and thick crust of a Chicago-style pizza allows for more toppings, sauces, and cheese to be out on the pizza without the dough tearing.

A New York pizza, however, can only accommodate fewer toppings, less sauce, and cheese as the dough might tear if the toppings are too heavy.

With a thinner crust, a New York pizza allows the eater to be able to fold the pizza in half without it breaking.

Chicago is well-known for its deep dish pizza but, they also have a Chicago Tavern-style pizza that is a thin-crust pizza with square slices. This tavern-style pizza has a thinner crust than a New York Pizza and is very different from a Chicago deep-dish pizza.


Both styles of pizzas use fresh mozzarella cheese but, New York-style pizzas use grated low-moisture mozzarella cheese while a Chicago pizza uses sliced or shredded mozzarella cheese.

Having a deep crust, a Chicago pizza is not limited to one type of cheese. It can also have a variety of cheese layers in the pizza depending on the flavor of the pizza.

Tomato Sauce

Both Chicago and New York pizza use tomato sauce as their base or its top layer in a Chicago pizza’s case. The difference is in the tomato sauce’s thickness and how it goes on the pizza.

A New York pizza’s sauce has a thinner consistency and just has enough to cover the dough to prevent it from getting soggy or tearing up. A Chicago pizza, on the other hand, has a thicker and chunkier tomato sauce.

Pizza Experience

Pizzas are usually eaten by hand and it is the same case for New York pizzas.

A New York-style pizza is often sold in slices and can be easily eaten on the go by people who are in a rush, as New Yorkers often are.

A Chicago pizza, however, is just like a meal in itself. It is eaten with a knife and fork because of its thick crust and many layers of toppings, sauces, and cheese. You can definitely try eating a Chicago pizza using your hands but, a knife and fork is the way to go, especially if it is fresh out of the oven.


Most pizzas are usually greasy and you often have to pat them down with a paper towel to remove some of the oils on top of the pizza. Cheese, when melted, produces oil as its protein molecules fall apart and it becomes a greasy pool of oil.

New York pizza is made in the usual way – sauce on the dough, then the toppings, and cheese on top. Since the cheese is the last layer on a New York pizza, it spreads oil on top as it cooks, making the pizza greasy.

A Chicago pizza, on the other hand, is inverted. The cheese touches the dough, followed by the toppings, and then is finished off with the chunky tomato sauce. The Chicago pizza is made in reverse in order to prevent the cheese from burning as this kind of pizza is cooked longer. Since the cheese is on the bottom, the top of the pizza is just filled with rich and chunky tomato sauce.

Final Thoughts

We can see why there is still a debate about Chicago vs New York Pizzas. Both pizzas have their own appeal and many people just can’t decide whether they like one or the other.

A Chicago pizza has a lot more toppings because of its deep crust while a New York pizza can be easily folded as it has a thinner crust. New York pizza is definitely for people who like to eat pizza on the go.

I personally prefer a New York-style pizza as I like my pizza’s crust thinner. But, I would not say no to a Chicago pizza! Hopefully, this article helped you decide once and for all which pizza is better for you. But, there is no shame in liking both. If you have any other questions, do let us know!