Red Pizza vs. White Pizza: A Deep Dive into Pies

Ah, one of the great debates about one of America’s favorite foods: red pizza vs. white pizza! Which is better? What’s the difference? It’s a debate with few worthy rivals, except the debate between pineapple-on-pizza lovers and haters. So what’s the story with the red vs. white pizzas that are served at the best Italian restaurants across the globe?

Red Pizza vs. White Pizza

Let’s start at the very beginning. Red pizza is simply any pizza made with tomato-based red sauce. White pizza is a classification for pies that are made without tomato sauce. These two traditions are equally venerable. Did you know that the ancient Romans ate white pizza? They would cut it up and eat it with cheese and chicory or figs. White pizza, also called pizza bianca, was first used to check the temperature of oven bricks before cooking the bread for each day.

As for red pizza, its history involves tomatoes, which were brought to Europe in the 1500s by explorers returning from expeditions to Peru. At first, many Europeans thought tomatoes were poisonous because tomato juice would leach out the lead in the pewter dinner plates of wealthy people, causing lead poisoning. Oops.

However, by the 1700s, peasants in Naples were discovered topping their flatbread with tomatoes, olive oil, sea salt, and chopped garlic. No plates were used, so no lead poisoning ensued! Word got out, and the rest is history (very delicious history).

Red pizza sauces vs white pizza sauce

Which is your favorite or do you just love all pizza?

Pizza With Some Red Sauce

Traditionally, red pizza has crushed Italian tomatoes as part of its sauce. It’s what most people first think of when they think of a delicious pizza pie. However, many experts and pizza aficionados insist on using canned tomatoes for the best red pizzas. But why?

People began canning tomatoes to preserve them at their peak freshness, of course, and the tradition continues because it simply tastes the best. Canned tomatoes create acidic and bright sauces, and a good tomato sauce will hold its own against classic Neapolitan pizza crusts, which are served slightly charred.

Pizza With Some White Sauce

Just as many chefs believe that white pizza is the superior pie. There is a vast array of toppings that pair beautifully with white pizza. These flavors really shine when they don’t have to compete with a good dollop of red sauce in a pie. One of the best white pizzas is pure Italian simplicity: oregano, garlic oil, and plenty of mozzarella cheese (and maybe then some more mozzarella). Less traditional pizzas can have different white sauces, ranging from alfredo to ranch to crème fraîche. However, they all must have garlic oil!

In the U.S., white pizza is most often made with an alfredo sauce comprised of parmesan cheese, garlic, salt, pepper, and milk. In Italy today, white pizza sauce tends to be lighter, made mostly with herbs, mozzarella, and olive oils. While the red sauce can contain a variety of different additives, whether it be spices or chunks of other vegetables like mushrooms or peppers, the white sauce is even more open to experimentation.

Which Is Better, Then? Test at Spizzico Italian Kitchen

The bottom line is that both types of pizza pies are fantastic. However, each style offers different experiences. Toppings today range from sardines to corn to ham and everything in between, so when it comes to choosing Team Red or Team White, why not be a fan of both?

Decide for yourself if you’ll be a loyal fan of one team or another; try the best red and white pizzas right here at Spizzico Italian Kitchen! Have questions about our menu, community donations, catering, or anything else? Contact us now!