Pizza night is finally here — your favorite time of the week. It’s what you’ve been looking forward to since last pizza night, but now the same weekly debate begins — what toppings do you pick? You have your standard go-to options like plain cheese, pepperoni and sausage. Then you have more complex options like buffalo chicken and BBQ. But you also have the oddball choices that spark a debate between you and your family members — the ones people poke fun at in pop culture. Everyone has their opinion, and some are quite passionate about it.
Do you think your favorite toppings are a bit out of the ordinary? They could be, or they may not! Here’s a look at some of the most bizarre and controversial pizza toppings you’ll likely come across. See how your favorites compare!
The Most Hated Pizza Toppings
Anchovies and pineapple — you probably thought of one, if not both, of the following toppings when you considered what pizza toppings are the most hated. Most people in the world have their opinion on each of these toppings and whether or not either even has a right to be considered as such. So what do you think? Do anchovies belong on pizza? Does pineapple? Which one is worse? Or do you take a leap and order them together?
Anchovies are a type of fish, a member of the herring family to be exact — and that alone may be the first reason why people are repulsed by them being on a pizza. They are typically one to four inches long and have a very salty taste — but they don’t tend to have a fishy flavor. Anchovies have been a staple in various cuisines around the world since about the 16th century.
Despite their longstanding history, though, anchovies are not a popular pizza topping today. Many pizza shops still offer them as an option on the basis of tradition alone — and there are people who do love the salty pizzazz they add to pizza. So, whether you are one of those who love anchovies or you avoid them, these fishy pizza toppings are here to stay.
One of the most controversial topics you could discuss is whether or not pineapple belongs on pizza, and many people have weighed in on this issue. The verdict? It’s pretty much split. Pineapple is most often paired with ham for what was coined as the “Hawaiian Pizza” after the brand of canned pineapple used in the dish by its creator in the 1960s. The typical argument is that fruit doesn’t belong on pizza — not sure who’s going to tell those people the truth about tomatoes — but many consider the sweetness of the pineapple to be a great pairing with the savoriness of the cheese, sauce and ham, if you so choose.
Once thing to keep in mind is that the addition of pineapple also increases the risk of a soggy pizza if made incorrectly. Few other toppings are as juicy as this rebel, and if it’s not drained properly, pineapple can completely ruin the flaky crust below. While pineapple’s history doesn’t have the same longevity as anchovies, it’s still been around long enough to develop its own collection of avid lovers and haters alike.
The Least Popular Pizza Toppings
While anchovies and pineapple may be the most debated and hated pizza toppings, they aren’t alone as the least popular pizza toppings in America. They’re in good company alongside these contenders — mushrooms, onions and olives. Though they might not live up to the notoriety of anchovies and pineapple, it would probably be hard for you to think of more than a few people you know who actually like these toppings on their pizza.
Mushrooms are disliked by a large number of people to begin with, but even some of those who do like mushrooms agree they don’t belong on pizza. Adding mushrooms to pizza is an art form that not everyone can get right, which is probably why it’s among the least popular toppings. Do you add raw mushrooms or do you pre-cook them? And how many do you add so your pizza doesn’t become a soggy mess? If you’ve had mushrooms done wrong enough times, they’re sure to be on your least favorite toppings list, too. On the other hand, there are some people who will only eat mushrooms if they are on pizza because they’ve become such a staple in the toppings selection.
Onions, in general, are a food you either love or hate. They’re typically used as a way to add subtle flavoring, so making them the star of the show by topping a pizza with them may not seem like an obvious choice. When placed front and center, onions have a strong taste and smell that may not be for everyone. Also, onions have a short window when being cooked where the texture is just right. If you don’t cook them enough, and they have a dissatisfying crunchiness that is typically unwelcome on a nice, gooey pizza. If you cook them too long, and they become too soft and unappetizing. Cooked just right, however, and they can become delectably caramelized and pair well with other toppings of your choice.
Olives are a staple in the standard pizza topping offerings at many pizza shops all over the country, but they’re not among the more popular options. People often have a preference for black olives vs. green olives, and that alone may cause some of the debate over this topping — black olives are typically the version offered as a topping. The salty nature of olives gives people pause in a similar way that anchovies do, though it tends to be milder by comparison. Olives also have a long shelf life because they’re typically canned. This makes it easy for pizzerias to keep them on hand for those who do like to add a bit of a salty kick to their pizza.
Controversial Pizza Toppings
It seems there are always new varieties of pizza being created, and that means different or bizarre toppings. Are they good or bad? The jury is out, and it’s ultimately up to you. But here are some of the most controversial pizza toppings. You never know — one of these pizza topping options could become your new favorite if you give them a chance. Either way, you’re sure to stir up some opinions from your party.
Comfort Food Crossovers
Imagine your favorite food — other than pizza, of course. Now, imagine your favorite food on a pizza. We all know pizza is the ultimate comfort food, but pair it with another comfort food classic and you’ve got a unique combination of flavors. Depending on what food you picked, you’ve either sent your friends packing or invented a culinary masterpiece. From meatloaf or sushi to chicken pot pie or lasagna, the possibilities are endless. It’s up to you to determine if you enjoy this twist on tradition or if you’d rather stick with the toppings you know and love. Here are some more common comfort foods that just might be the change you need on your next pizza:
- Macaroni and cheese
- Bacon cheeseburger
- Chicken alfredo
- Loaded baked potato
- Chicken wing
Which of these pizzas do you think is the greatest comfort food hybrid? Depending on how you feel about food combinations, these pizzas will either gross you out or capture your heart.
This doesn’t refer to eating cold, leftover pizza the next morning, but rather a pizza that can include a number of your favorite breakfast staples, such as:
Whether you combine them all or just choose one or two, it’s likely the egg that will be met with the most resistance. Egg can be added to non-breakfast pizzas as well, and it tends to be in the love-it-or-hate-it category like so many other toppings. The debate only gets more heated when you decide how you like your eggs — fried or sunnyside up? That decision could make the difference whether your friends are sharing your pizza or if you’re keeping it all to yourself, so choose wisely — or perhaps, strategically? Whether you eat it at breakfast-time or dinnertime, this unique twist on the classic pizza may be met with hesitation from some.
Sauces and Veggies
In the spirit of creativity, even traditional pizza sauce may be replaced by something different. Hummus, Thai peanut sauce, enchilada sauce and teriyaki sauce are just some of the options that are a bit bizarre, especially since they don’t taste anything like tomato sauce. Are these sauce variations to be loved or hated? It depends on your tastes and the toppings they are paired with, but either way, they are certainly controversial.
How about veggies? Are you one of those who proclaims that veggies don’t belong on pizza at all, or are you one of those who says, “Yes, please!” to a pizza piled high with them? In addition to mushrooms and olives, other controversial veggie pizza toppings include zucchini, spinach, artichoke hearts and even broccoli. Whether they belong on pizza or not, though, one thing is for sure — many veggies do taste better with cheese!
Pizza: A Solution for Getting Your Kids to Eat Their Veggies
Is your kid a picky eater whose list of foods they don’t like just grows and grows? Even though veggies can be a controversial topping option, adding them to pizza can be a great way to change a kid’s mind about them. What kid doesn’t love pizza, right? Though you might not be able to convince them to try some of the more extreme toppings from this list, pizza is a great opportunity to add in veggies and foods to your kids’ diets that they don’t normally like and help change their minds about them. New foods or veggies don’t seem so scary when they’re paired with something fun, comforting and familiar like pizza. Learning to love these foods at an early age will make it easier to love them when they grow up.
You might try creating a game by writing down some of those veggie options and other topping ideas onto slips of paper and mix them in a bowl. Have your child pull a slip out to decide what veggie will be on the pizza that night and praise them for their choice. Spinach, broccoli and artichokes are all foods kids may not eat unless the circumstances are right. However, the gooey cheese and yummy sauce on pizza can alter the flavor of many foods, making them delicious for kids. Even the dreaded Brussel sprouts that many adults won’t even eat can be transformed when added to a delicious pizza. Who knows? Maybe you’ll even discover a new favorite topping of your own. You could even make a deal with your kid that you’ll get a food you don’t normally like on one half of the pizza if they get a food they don’t normally like on the other half. Then make sure to try a slice from each half. You might also get really adventurous and try a topping neither of you has ever had before and experience it for the first time together.
Pizza is also a great opportunity to teach kids about the major food groups. You’ve got the crust for their grain and cheese for their dairy. Pull up a chart and have them pick an item from each remaining food group for their pizza. This helps put them in control of what they’re eating, which means they’re more likely to eat it. It also helps encourage them to make healthy decisions. Afraid the combo they’ll create isn’t something you’d be willing to eat? Have everyone get a personal pizza. Discuss with your kids what you’re putting on your own pizza and why. Try something new yourself and show them that new foods can be fun. What are some foods your kids refuse to eat? Are they foods you dislike, too? Could you both learn to love them by adding them to your pizza?
Get the Toppings You Love at Giordano’s
Are there even crazier pizza toppings that you advocate for when it’s pizza night? We don’t judge — no matter what topping you love. We even offer the heavily debated anchovies and pineapple options. Will you be the daredevil who tries them together? Or will you stick with the classic pepperoni and cheese? Fear not. We also offer an individual version of our Famous Stuffed Deep Dish pizza so each person can load it up with the toppings they want most. Whether your tastes are more traditional or you prefer the less popular options, your nearest Giordano’s location has an assortment of toppings to make your mouth water.