11 Controversial Pizza Toppings — And Why They're Actually Good

Controversial Pizza Toppings

Cheapism / milanfoto/istockphoto / Noah J./Yelp / bhofack2/istockphoto

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Controversial Pizza Toppings
Cheapism / milanfoto/istockphoto / Noah J./Yelp / bhofack2/istockphoto

Move Over, Pepperoni

You can find just about anything on top of a pizza. And why not? Variety is the spice of life, after all, so as long as everyone partaking in your pizza agrees on the toppings, get whatever you like. But there are some toppings that seem to draw the most ire from people, even if they've never tried them on a pizza before. Every topping — even the most controversial ones — deserve a fair chance. Here's why you should expand your pizza horizons.

Anchovy pizza

1. Anchovies

Do you like caesar salad? Cook with worcestershire sauce? Both those have anchovies in them. But for some reason, the salty little fish are reviled on pizza. They pack a huge umami punch, just like tomatoes and parmesan cheese, so it all works together. Anchovies may be one of the oldest pizza toppings in Italy, and we're not about to reject tradition. 

Ian's Pizza mac and cheese slice yelp
Meghan H. / Yelp

2. Mac and Cheese

Carbohydrates are fantastic. Cheese is fantastic. Pile more of both onto a pizza crust, and you get an over-the-top slice that's all about excess. Unlike a bowl of mac that can be pretty mushy, the pizza crust gives it texture. And if you like that crispy, caramelized cheese on top of your baked macaroni best, you're in luck, because you get more of it on a pizza.

Spago salmon pizza yelp
Vika N. / Yelp

3. Caviar

When you consider that pizza crust is just another form of blini, the little Russian pancake that are often served with caviar, it doesn't seem so weird. And if you've ever tried smoked salmon pizza, a California specialty, then you've probably had salmon roe on your slice as well. The salty pop offsets the creamy cheese base. 

Freshly baked pizza with arugula, tomato, red onion and mozzarella

4. Salad

We love juxtaposition in our food: sweet and salty, hot and cold, spicy and creamy. That's why fresh greens on top of a pizza work really well. Something like a BLT or taco pizza, which is topped with refreshing chopped lettuce (after it's out of the oven, naturally), is common in many parts of the country. And throwing a handful of lightly dressed bitter arugula on a pizza with prosciutto is a joy to cut through all those salty, rich ingredients.

Homemade Pineapple and Ham Hawaiian Pizza

5. Pineapple

Perhaps the most divisive pizza topping of all, pineapple gets a lot of needless hate. Sweet and savory things are fantastic together, as are cheese and fruit. So it makes sense that pineapple would work well on a pizza. That's especially true when you consider its super salty, greasy pork-filled toppings like pepperoni, ham, and bacon. If you don't hate on pineapple slices baked on your Easter ham, then you should also be open minded about it on your ham-topped pizza.

Related: Best Hole-in-the-Wall Pizza Joints Across America

Homemade pizza with broccoli, pesto sauce and cheese

6. Broccoli

Roasting broccoli until it's charred around the edges is one of the best ways to cook it. When you put it on a pizza that bakes in a super hot oven, the same delicious browning happens. The same magic happens for shaved brussels sprouts and spinach, all of which are amazing on pizza.

Margarita pizza with arugula and egg

7. Eggs

Eggs on pizza is for everyone who loves to dip their toast into a runny yolk. Breaking an egg into the middle of a Neapolitan-style pizza is amazing because the quick-cooking pie ensures that the yolk stays perfectly runny. Those crusts quickly turn into a yolk delivery vehicle, just like your morning toast.

Related: 25 Delicious Facts About Pizza, America's Favorite Comfort Food

Clam Pie, New Haven
Lynee G./Yelp

8. Clams

If you're afraid of clam pizza, head to New Haven where it's been a staple for decades. There's no tomato sauce, but the brininess of the clams and plenty of garlic make up for it. The pizza there is always nicely charred and crunchy in spots, which offsets the plump, juicy clams. 

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Stretch Pizza corn pizza yelp
Katie M. / Yelp

9. Corn

Someone needs to get the U.S. on board with the rest of the world when it comes to corn on pizza. It's a typical topping practically everywhere but here. Frankly, it makes sense. It's already the perfect size and shape for a pizza topping, it's easy to eat, everyone's familiar with it, and the light sweetness goes well with all those salty toppings. 

Bob's Pizza pickle pizza yelp
Noah J. / Yelp

10. Pickles

We've pickle-fied everything else at this point, so why not pizza? You can eat it with deep fried pickles and chase it with a pickleback shot. And like fried pickles, that tangy brininess goes well with the richness of melted cheese on pizza. If you're a dill pickles fan, then this is a pizza you should try.

Doc B's avocado pizza yelp
Tess C. / Yelp

11. Avocado

Creaminess is always welcome on a pizza. Topping it with avocado slices is a great way to achieve that without adding even more cheese, or dipping it in ranch dressing. Not only does it taste good, but it's also a great way to add richness to a vegan pizza. And guacamole on a Tex-Mex or taco pizza? Yes, please.

Hungry now? Check out the best cheap pizza deals for this month.