How To Layer A Pizza: What Order To Add Your Pizza Toppings

Whether you’re a self-proclaimed pizza aficionado or a newbie to the world of cooking, there’s one question that always seems to loom large – what order should you add your pizza toppings?

While it might not seem like such an important detail, adding your toppings in the right order can make all the difference in how your pizza turns out.

When it comes to baking that pizza, sauce and cheese often only need just enough heat to be warmed through, whereas toppings typically require more time in the oven.

Therefore, the traditional pizza order arrangement of “toppings on top” guarantees that each component receives the optimal amount of cooking time.

Of course, there are variants on this theme: Such as Chicago’s “deep dish” pizza inverts the order by first layering sausage and cheese, then sauce, and then baking it all together.

Let’s take a look at the best way to top your pizza like a pro!

The Basic Rules of Pizza Layers

cook making pizza

The pizza’s outermost layer will always be the layer that gets most of the heat, no matter how many layers you use.

Because of this, raw meat and veggies, which require the greatest heating and browning, should be placed in the top of the pizza, while the remaining toppings should be distributed evenly under that layer.

The Importance of Topping Order

Pizza cooking time can be affected by the order in which toppings are added.

Consistently placing toppings that need more time in the oven, like thick veggies, on top of the sauce can result in undercooked or mushy vegetables.

On the other hand, fresh herbs and greens, which are both fragile and easily wilted, should be added at the very end of cooking.

Moreover, the sequence of toppings might affect how the pizza’s flavors are distributed.

Meats and cheeses taste best when spread outward from the center of the pizza, whereas sauce and vegetables taste best when spread outward from the center.

Finally, when making a pizza, it is vital to think about the order of your toppings, as this will help you achieve a more harmonious flavor profile.

Common Topping Order

male hand spreading tomato puree pizza base with spoon old wooden background cooking concept close up

A common and effective order for adding your pizza toppings is as follows:

  1. Sauce
  2. Cheese
  3. Meat Toppings
  4. Vegetable Toppings

This ensures that the crust and any other toppings don’t get burned while the rest of the components cook thoroughly.

So toppings like onions and mushrooms, which take longer to cook, should go in first followed by vegetables like bell peppers and spinach, which only need a few minutes.

This method of pizza topping arrangement guarantees that the pizza will be cooked through and tasty every time.

If you arrange your toppings in a particular order, you can prevent using too many ingredients at once, which can dilute the pizza’s flavor and texture.

Optimal results can be achieved by carefully planning the order in which ingredients are added to the pizza based on their cooking times, textures, and flavors.

Other Things To Consider About Pizza Topping Order

There are some pizza toppings that may require some special consideration before adding to your pizza.

putting cheese on pizza

Here’s some examples of what I’m talking about:

  • Raw Meats: Raw meats such as bacon and sausage should be precooked before adding to the pizza to prevent undercooking.
  • Wet Vegetables: Wet vegetables such as mushrooms and onions can release moisture during cooking, causing the crust to become soggy. To prevent this, consider sautéing these vegetables first before adding them to the pizza.
  • Pesto: Pesto is a flavorful sauce made from basil and oil. It can be added as a base layer before the cheese, or as a topping after the cheese.
  • Fresh Herbs: Fresh herbs such as basil and oregano should be added after the pizza is cooked to preserve their fresh flavor.

How To Top A Pizza Step-by-Step

If you need a walk through, then we’ll lay out each of the steps in order for the proper layering of a homemade pizza.

Step 1: Put the sauce on the crust

First, spread the pizza sauce over the pizza dough crust.

Spoon some sauce onto the center of the pizza’s dough.

Spiral out from the center to coat the entire surface of the pizza dough with the sauce.

To get a good crust during baking, however, you shouldn’t put sauce on the rim.

Don’t forget to evenly spread the sauce on the dough.

portable pizza oven

Step 2: Add the cheese

Then, liberally sprinkle the pizza with cheese.

You can add as much or as little cheese to the pizza as you like.

It’s really just a matter of personal preference here as there are no rules as to the amount of cheese required on a pizza.

Step 3: Put on the toppings

Add the toppings to your pizza and you’re almost ready to bake that pie.

Sliced meats (like salami and pepperoni) and larger chunks of meat should go on the pizza first, followed by vegetables with the highest water content.

And now, you’re ready to pop that pie in the oven and bake yourself a yummy homemade pizza.

pizza coming out of pizza oven

Final Word

The pizza’s flavor and texture will be affected greatly by the order in which the toppings are added.

Commonly sauce is applied first, followed by cheese, meat, and then vegetables.

Always keep in mind that some toppings require additional preparation, such as sautéing wet vegetables or pre-cooking raw meats.

A delicious and precisely topped pizza is within your reach when you keep these guidelines in mind.

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