Food and Nutrition
Food and Nutrition
Food and Nutrition
Food and Nutrition

Best Italian Pizza: Sicilian vs Neapolitan Pizza

Jump to RecipeNeapolitan pizza next to a wood fired oven.

Pizza is one of the most popular and beloved foods in the world. No matter where you are, there are so many different types of pizza. However, not all pizzas are created equal, and two of the most well-known and beloved styles of pizza in the world are Neapolitan and Sicilian pizza. These two pizza styles may have been created near each other, but they are completely different styles.

Neapolitan Pizza

Authentic Neapolitan pizza is considered by many to be the original pizza. It was first created in Naples, Italy around the 18th century and has since become a staple food in the city and beyond. Neapolitan pizza is made with simple, high-quality ingredients. The dough is hand-kneaded and left to rise for several hours before being formed into a thin crust. Neapolitan pizza is cooked in a wood-fired oven at high temperatures, which gives it a slightly charred crust and a chewy, tender interior.

One of the key characteristics of Neapolitan-style pizza is its simplicity. It's typically topped with just a few ingredients, including tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella cheese, and fresh basil leaves. Neapolitan pizza is all about highlighting the quality of the ingredients. The tomato sauce is often from fresh, locally grown san marzano tomatoes and the mozzarella is made from the milk of water buffalo that graze on the fertile plains surrounding Naples.

Neapolitan margarita pizza.

Sicilian Pizza

Sicilian pizza, on the other hand, has a much thicker crust than Neapolitan pizza. This pizza is thought to comes from Palermo in the 19th century. It's original, authentic version is called sfincione, which loosely translates to "thick sponge". That is because Sicilian pizza typically has a square or rectangular shape and has a thick, spongy crust.

Sicilian pizza is also known for its generous toppings. It's often loaded with tomato sauce, cheese, and various meats and vegetables. Some versions of Sicilian pizza are even topped with a layer of breadcrumbs, which adds a satisfying crunch to each bite.

While Neapolitan pizza is all about simplicity and tradition, Sicilian pizza is all about innovation and experimentation. There's no one "right" way to make a Sicilian pizza, so you'll find many different variations of this beloved pizza all over the world.

Sicilian pizza with pepperoni.

The Key Differences

So, what are the key differences between Neapolitan vs Sicilian-Style pizzas? Here is a breakdown of each part of the process.

The Crust

Depending on the kind of pizza, you can really create any type of pizza you want. Having different toppings is really what makes each pizza unique. You can add whatever toppings you want to either pizza but here are some of the more traditional toppings for each.

I think the crust is one of the main differences between the different pizza styles. Neapolitan pizza has an elastic, chewy crust with a nice char on the outside. The center is typically soft with the crust is slightly charred from the wood-fired oven. It is also always made in the classic round share.

Sicilian pizza has a thick, spongy crust that is often is a square/rectangle shape. Sicilian pizza dough often have a longer rise time since the dough it so much thicker.

The Toppings

Neapolitan pizza is typically topped with just a few high-quality ingredients. The most classic Neapolitan pizza is the margarita, with just tomato sauce, mozzarella, and fresh basil. Neapolitan pizza is all about the fresh ingredients.

Sicilian pizza, on the other hand, is often loaded with various meats, vegetables, and cheeses. I think Sicilian pizza can have more of a unique flavor because everyone makes it a little bit different. Since the crust is thicker you can really load on the toppings. A traditional topping combination for Sicilian pizza is onions, anchovies, tomatoes, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Originally they didn't include mozzarella on their pizza because they didn't have access to cow's milk. Today you will find it with and without mozzarella.

The Cooking Method

Neapolitan pizza is cooked in a wood-fired pizza oven at a high temperature. When you think of Neapolitan pizzas you can probably picture the large wood ovens that they cook in. This helps get the char on the edge while keeping the crust soft. With that said, you can still bake the pizzas at home but you just want to cook them at the highest temperature you can.

Sicilian pizza is often cooked in a conventional oven for a longer period of time. This lets the thicker crust bake all the way through and it gives a chance for all the topping to crisp up as well.

Wood fired pizza oven.

How to Enjoy

You can serve a Neapolitan pizza by cutting in traditional triangle pizza slices. Sometimes you will even get the whole pizza served to you without any cutting. They will just give you a knife or scissors and you can made your own slices. Neapolitan pizzas oven serve 1-2 people.

Sicilian pizza is cut into square shape pieces. Since the pizzas are typically larger and thicker you can share a pizza with closer to 3-4 people depending on the size.

Neapolitan Pizza Recipes

When making Neapolitan style pizza, I often use my own pizza dough recipe and then add on whatever toppings I have on hand. Neapolitan is my go to style of pizza. Here is my pizza recipe another one to try!

Sicilian Pizza Recipes

Since Sicilian pizza takes a little more time, I don’t make it as often. If you do want to put the time in to enjoy this delicious type of pizza, here are a few recipes to try.

Other Pizza Styles

Pizza was brought to the United States in the late 19th century by Italian immigrants coming to New York City. Here is where is spread throughout the United States to create New York Pizza, Detroit Style Pizza, and Chicago style pizza. If you have Sicilian and Detroit style pizza you can see the similarities in the shape and crust.

The Best Pizza Style

In the end, both Neapolitan and Sicilian pizza are delicious in their own right. It comes down to personal preference or just what you are in the mood for. Neapolitan pizza is all about simplicity and tradition, while Sicilian pizza is all about innovation and experimentation. Whether you prefer the thin, chewy crust of Neapolitan pizza or the thick, crispy crust of the Sicilian pizza, you won’t be disappointed either way.

So Neapolitan vs Sicilian-Style pizzas, which is the best pizza style for you?

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