What are Different Countries' Favorite Pizza Toppings?

Mary Elizabeth
Mary Elizabeth

Some people think that pizzas come in two varieties: cheese and pepperoni. But the range of pizza toppings is actually quite varied and different pizza toppings prove to be popular in different parts of the world. In the United States, while there are national favorites, different regions and cities also have particular preferences. In the end, your pizza possibilities are limited only by your imagination.

Hard boiled eggs, which are used to top pizza in Brazil.
Hard boiled eggs, which are used to top pizza in Brazil.

Seafood
Seafood pizza toppings are popular in a number of places: squid and eel pizza in Japan; red herring or mockba — a combination of mackerel, salmon, sardines, tuna, and onions — in Russia; and shrimp and pineapple in Australia. But it you think there are no seafood pizza toppings in the United States, think again: oysters, crayfish, tuna, and Cajun shrimp show up on gourmet pizzas. In fact, though seafood doesn’t make the top ten at either Papa John’s or Domino's, anchovies are number 13 on an AOL survey of favorite toppings, while shrimp came in at 16.

Canadian bacon, which is used to top pizzas in many countries.
Canadian bacon, which is used to top pizzas in many countries.

Meat and Fowl
In three recent US surveys, pepperoni is the number one meat topping in American, with sausage a close second. What comes next depends on who you ask: it could be ham, or Canadian bacon, followed by ground beef, bacon, or chicken. In India, ground lamb is a pizza topping of choice. Meanwhile, although they haven’t reached favorite status — yet Unites States pizza makers have also experimented with venison and duck pizza.

Spinach, which is often used to top pizzas.
Spinach, which is often used to top pizzas.

Additionally, you can go beyond talking about just laying different items on the pizza and talk about preparation styles. In the United States, favorites include barbecue pizza, Mexican pizza, white pizza, and five-cheese pizza. In other countries you can find such favorites as barbecued pizza in Australia, curried pizza in Pakistan, and Tandoori-style pizza in India.

A pizza with jalapenos on it in an oven.
A pizza with jalapenos on it in an oven.

Fruits and Vegetables
Polls differ on the top vegetable in the United States for pizza toppings, but mushrooms, onions, green peppers, and olives are often in the top ten. Also popular are tomato slices, pineapple — the top fruit, spinach, garlic, eggplant, broccoli, and potatoes. In other parts of the world, one can find preferences for pickled garlic in India, sweet potato in Korea, and coconut in Costa Rica. If you think those are unusual, consider that there are United States, pizzas made with dandelions, sprouts, and nuts.

Pepperoni is a popular pizza topping in the US.
Pepperoni is a popular pizza topping in the US.

Combinations
Combination toppings are also popular. Examples are Mayo Jaga in Japan — a combination of potatoes, bacon, and mayonnaise, and “Double Dutch” in the Netherlands — a combination of double cheese, double onions, and double beef. For green peas and hard-boiled eggs, try Brazil, and for sunny-side-up eggs, head to Germany for a breakfast pizza.

Mushrooms are a common pizza topping in the US and many other places.
Mushrooms are a common pizza topping in the US and many other places.
Mayonnaise is used as a pizza topping in Japan.
Mayonnaise is used as a pizza topping in Japan.
Salmon may be used as a topping on a seafood pizza.
Salmon may be used as a topping on a seafood pizza.
Sardines are used as a pizza topping in Russia.
Sardines are used as a pizza topping in Russia.
Barbecue chicken is a favorite pizza topping in the United States.
Barbecue chicken is a favorite pizza topping in the United States.
Mushrooms are a popular topping for pizza.
Mushrooms are a popular topping for pizza.
In Japan, a pizza may be topped with squid.
In Japan, a pizza may be topped with squid.
In some regions of Italy, including Sicily, leftovers are used on pizza.
In some regions of Italy, including Sicily, leftovers are used on pizza.
In the U.S., pizza toppings can include anchovies, duck or chicken.
In the U.S., pizza toppings can include anchovies, duck or chicken.
Mary Elizabeth
Mary Elizabeth

Mary Elizabeth is passionate about reading, writing, and research, and has a penchant for correcting misinformation on the Internet. In addition to contributing articles to wiseGEEK about art, literature, and music, Mary Elizabeth is a teacher, composer, and author. She has a B.A. from the University of Chicago’s writing program and an M.A. from the University of Vermont, and she has written books, study guides, and teacher materials on language and literature, as well as music composition content for Sibelius Software.

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Discussion Comments

rosoph

I think that the easy pizza toppings -- mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, and basil -- are the best. This is a favorite in Italy, and is known as the Margherita Pizza. It was named after Queen Margherita in 1889, when it was first made in her honor. The colors of the toppings on this pizza are white, red, and green, to represent the Italian flag.

reader888

In Sweden, pizza topping ingredients include bananas and curry. These are used together, along with either ham or chicken.

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