How many toppings are too many toppings?

Tony talks about balance in his book when it comes to toppings, sauce and cheese ratios. But how much is too much regarding toppings?

I have always wondered about that.

I've seen pizzerias limit toppings to four or, at the most, five. Then others have pies that are "everything-but-the-kitchen-sink". So what gives?

What's the proper balance for let's say a 16" & 18" respectively?

I'd like to find the right balance.

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Mike K.
posted over 4 years ago

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That's a very deep, philosophical question Mike. :-) My two cents:

Too much of anything (especially cheese) can throw everything off in my opinion.

From a functional perspective, it makes sense for pizzerias to limit toppings just because it creates potential for problems (e.g. the pie won't cook properly).

From a stylistic perspective, the kitchen sink approach works better when you have your standard toppings: onions, peppers, sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms, olives, etc.. All those toppings happen to mix and match pretty well.

When using toppings that are unconventional, the more you add, in terms of number of toppings, the more likely it is that you'll end up with a strange pairing.

Sometimes I'll make a pie with a main ingredient in mind (e.g. fried eggplant). I tend to keep those simple. Maybe some basil, but not a whole lot else just because can very easily end up with some pairings that don't work so well.

It's somewhat unrelated, but kinda related; a few months ago I read an interesting discussion on Quora about the ideal number of pizza toppings for group functions and someone brought up a very interesting point: the more toppings you add to a pizza, the more likely you are to have someone in a group dislike one of those toppings.


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Raj Irukulla admin
posted over 4 years ago


That makes sense.

My initial question wasn't so much about aesthetics or proper appearance, even though the eye eats, too, but rather than how to achieve a balance of toppings that please the palate and give you that "Ahhh" effect. I hope I'm not too confusing on this lol

The Burke Corporation has a Toppings Guide out but I'm not sure how accurate it is. I guess some testing is in order :)

Thanks, again, Raj.

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Mike K.
posted over 4 years ago

I am by no means an expert but I personally think less is more. In the area where I live it seems like piling as much stuff as you can on a pizza is the thing everyone thinks you should do but I don't think it works. I would rather have the right combination of 1-2 quality ingredients in the right proportions. I have always felt that if you want to know how good a place really is, get a pizza with nothing on it so there is nothing for it to hide behind.

Chuck W.
posted over 4 years ago

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