What is Brooklyn Style Pizza

What is Brooklyn Style Pizza? An Inside Look at This Iconic American Dish

Pizza is one of those universally loved foods that has captured the hearts and taste buds of people across the globe. Among the many regional styles and variations, one that has gained immense popularity and reverence is the Brooklyn style pizza. As someone who has indulged in various pizza styles, I can confidently say that the distinct thin and crispy texture of Brooklyn style pizza truly appeals to pizza lovers everywhere.

But what exactly makes this style of pizza so special? Today, I’ll be exploring the rich history, unique characteristics, and enduring popularity of Brooklyn style pizza, answering the burning question – what is Brooklyn style pizza?

The Origins: From Naples to New York

To truly understand the Brooklyn style pizza, we need to trace its roots back to the birthplace of pizza itself – Naples, Italy. Pizza, in its most basic form, consisted of just a few simple ingredients: flour, tomato pizza sauce, and cheese. This humble dish quickly spread across the globe, with each region putting its own spin on the beloved recipe.

It was in the early 20th century that pizza made its way to America, brought over by Italian immigrants seeking new opportunities. One of the most widely cited accounts dates back to around 1905 when Gennaro Lombardi opened the first pizzeria in New York City, marking the beginning of America’s iconic pizza legacy.

As the popularity of pizza grew, Americans began adding their own unique touches, altering spice levels and experimenting with different toppings. It was within this melting pot of cultures and flavors that the Brooklyn style pizza emerged, adapting the traditional Italian recipe to suit local tastes and preferences.

What Makes Brooklyn Style Pizza Unique?

At its core, Brooklyn style pizza stands out as a distinctive American pizza style, influenced by its Italian roots but ultimately forging its own identity. To truly understand its appeal, we need to explore the key characteristics that define this iconic dish.

The Crust: Light, Crispy, and Airy

One of the most defining features of Brooklyn style pizza lies in its crust. Unlike the thicker, chewier crusts of other styles, the crust of a Brooklyn pizza is remarkably thin, crispy, and airy. This texture is achieved through a meticulous dough preparation process, which involves using less dough than a traditional New York-style slice and stretching it to achieve a larger, thinner base.

The secret to this crust’s unique texture lies in the addition of a touch of extra oil to the dough, ensuring a crisp exterior that contrasts beautifully with the tender, almost pillowy interior. It’s this perfect balance of textures that has won over countless pizza enthusiasts, myself included.

Balanced Flavors and Large Slices

Another hallmark of Brooklyn style pizza is its harmonious balance of flavors. Unlike the often-criticized soupy texture of Chicago deep-dish, this style achieves a seamless harmony between the crust, sauce, and toppings. Each bite delivers a perfect symphony of flavors, with no single element overpowering the others.

It’s also worth noting that a standard Brooklyn style pizza often boasts an impressive 18-inch diameter, allowing for larger, foldable slices. This nod to its origins as a convenient, street-style snack has only added to its appeal, making it a perfect option for those who prefer a hearty portion.

The Birth of a New York Icon

While the roots of Brooklyn style pizza can be traced back to Italy, its true origins lie in the vibrant streets of New York City. As pizza gained popularity among locals, a distinct Brooklyn style began to emerge, quickly becoming a beloved classic in the city’s culinary landscape.

One of the key factors that set Brooklyn style pizza apart from its New York-style counterpart was the unique way it was prepared. Unlike the traditional method of layering the cheese over the sauce, Brooklyn pizzerias developed a “secret” technique of placing the sauce on top of the cheese. This small yet significant tweak was believed to be influenced by the unique water composition in New York City, which lent the crust its signature texture and flavor.

Traditional Brooklyn Pizza: A Flavor Explosion

When it comes to the flavors of a traditional Brooklyn style pizza, richness and indulgence take center stage. While undoubtedly delicious, it’s important to note that these pizzas can be high in fat content due to the generous use of creamy mozzarella cheese.

The sodium levels in a classic Brooklyn pizza may also be a concern for some, but it’s essential to remember that pizza can still be part of a balanced diet. After all, it also provides essential nutrients like protein, fiber, and various vitamins and minerals.

As for toppings, traditional Brooklyn style pizzas often feature a robust array of flavors, including pepperoni, onions, mushrooms, meatballs, sausages, and olives. These toppings work in perfect harmony with the crust and cheese, creating a flavor profile that is both bold and satisfying.

How Brooklyn Style Pizza is Made

So, what goes into the making of an authentic Brooklyn style pizza? Let’s break it down into two key components: the base and the condiments.

The Base

  1. Dough Preparation: As mentioned earlier, the dough for a classic Brooklyn pizza requires less dough than a traditional New York-style slice. This dough is then stretched and shaped to achieve a larger size, which ultimately contributes to the pizza’s signature crispiness.
  2. Crispy Texture: To ensure that perfect crispy exterior, a touch of extra oil is added to the pizza dough. This simple yet crucial step sets the stage for the contrasting textures that make Brooklyn style pizza so unique and enjoyable.

The Condiments

  1. Cheese Blend: One of the hallmarks of a true Brooklyn style pizza is the signature blend of mozzarella and provolone cheeses. This combination lends the pizza its creamy and flavorful profile, setting it apart from other styles that rely solely on mozzarella.
  2. Emphasis on Creaminess: In a traditional Brooklyn pizza, provolone cheese is used more generously than mozzarella, contributing to the pizza’s overall creamy texture. This added richness is a defining characteristic that sets Brooklyn style pizza apart from its contemporaries.
  3. Recommended Toppings: Alongside the signature cheese blend, Brooklyn pizzerias often offer a variety of classic toppings to complete the flavor experience. Pepperoni, onions, mushrooms, meatballs, sausages, and olives are all popular choices that pair perfectly with the crispy crust and creamy cheese base.

Serving Brooklyn Style Pizza: A Unique Presentation

One of the unique aspects of Brooklyn style pizza is the way it’s presented and served. Unlike the traditional triangular slices, these pizzas are often cut into square-shaped pieces. This unconventional shape serves a practical purpose – ensuring that the thin, crispy crust holds up well and doesn’t fall apart during consumption.

While the square shape is traditional, some pizzerias may offer the option for regular triangular cuts, catering to customer preferences. Regardless of the shape, the presentation of a Brooklyn style pizza is a sight to behold, with each slice showcasing the perfect balance of crust, cheese, and toppings.

Ordering the Perfect Brooklyn Style Pizza Slice

When it comes to ordering the perfect Brooklyn style pizza slice, you have a few options to consider. One choice is to seek out authentic Neapolitan pizzerias that specialize in this style, ensuring you get the true taste and experience of a traditional Brooklyn pizza.

Alternatively, popular fast-food chains like Domino’s and others may offer their take on Brooklyn style pizza, allowing for more customization with additional toppings. While these options may not be as authentic, they can still provide a satisfying pizza experience, especially for those with specific dietary preferences or cravings.

If you opt for customization, you’ll be presented with a wide array of topping choices, ranging from classic favorites like BBQ chicken and spinach to more unique options like pesto, meatballs, sausage, and garlic. For cheese lovers, additional choices like parmesan, ricotta, and extra mozzarella can take your pizza to new heights of indulgence.

Ultimately, the decision between authenticity and commercial customization comes down to personal preference. While traditional pizzerias strive to deliver the cultural essence and taste of authentic Brooklyn style pizza, chains prioritize customer choice and convenience, allowing you to create a pizza that caters to your specific cravings.

The Art of Eating Brooklyn Style Pizza

When it comes to the act of enjoying a Brooklyn style pizza, there are no strict rules to follow. While some traditionalists may prefer to eat with their hands, others may opt for utensils – it’s entirely up to personal preference.

However, one standard technique that many pizza connoisseurs swear by is folding the slice in half. This simple yet effective method ensures that all the flavors – from the cheesy goodness to the crispy crust – are enjoyed in every bite. It’s a practical approach that also pays homage to the street-style origins of this iconic dish.

Regardless of how you choose to savor your Brooklyn style pizza, one thing is certain – it’s a cultural experience that’s best shared with friends and family. Whether you’re indulging at a cozy pizzeria or enjoying a slice at home, the act of savoring this delectable dish is a wholesome and enjoyable experience that brings people together.

Inclusivity and Variety: Brooklyn Style Pizza for All

One of the beautiful things about Brooklyn style pizza is its ability to accommodate a wide range of dietary preferences and restrictions. With its versatile base and endless topping options, this style of pizza can cater to vegetarians, vegans, and those with specific dietary needs.

Vegetarians, for instance, can enjoy a delicious meat-free version of Brooklyn style pizza by opting for toppings like fresh vegetables, pesto, or even plant-based meat alternatives. Vegans can also indulge by requesting a dairy-free cheese substitute or opting for a tomato-based sauce without any animal-derived ingredients.

The versatility of Brooklyn style pizza ensures that no one has to miss out on this iconic culinary experience, making it a truly inclusive and welcoming dish.


In the vast and diverse world of pizza, Brooklyn style pizza stands out as a true icon – a cherished American favorite that has made its mark across nations with its unique flavors and textures. From its crispy, airy crust to the perfect balance of cheese, sauce, and toppings, this style of pizza has captured the hearts and taste buds of countless pizza enthusiasts, myself included.

As someone who has explored various pizza styles, I can confidently say that Brooklyn style pizza is a must-try for anyone who considers themselves a true pizza lover. With its rich history, cultural significance, and delicious appeal, this iconic dish deserves a spot on every pizza connoisseur’s bucket list.

So, the next time you find yourself craving a pizza experience that’s both authentic and indulgent, remember the distinct thin and crispy texture of Brooklyn style pizza. Treat yourself to a slice (or two) of this iconic American dish, and celebrate the flavors and traditions that have made it a beloved culinary masterpiece.

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