How to Сhoose: Hand Tossed Pizza vs Pan Pizza

Pizza lovers have probably wondered at least once which pizza is tastier: Hand Tossed Pizza vs Pan Pizza. Both pizzas are absolutely good and tasty, but they have different points.

Whichever you like more, both pan pizza and hand tossed pizza are quite unique and stand out from the others. Hand tossed pie is thin and delicious, with a pizza crust that would remind you of cracker and allow to enjoy the flavors. Pan pizza is thick, juicier than hand tossed one, fluffy, and filling.

Hand tossed vs pan pizza is basically up to your taste.

Hand Tossed Pizza vs Pan Pizza: The Challenge of Choice

The inhabitants of the north of Italy believed that the only true was cooking hand tossed pizza on thin dough. And this is quite understandable – this region, of which Naples is one of the centers, had an excellent climate, and local farmers rarely suffered from crop failures and lack of food.

But the population of the southern regions of this country was much less fortunate – due to climatic features, drought often destroyed their entire crop. Therefore, in an effort to save as much as possible, they made the pan pizza thick enough to compensate for the small amount of topping.

Of course, with the development of new technologies and tourism, such an imbalance disappeared, and residents of the southern regions began to live better than those in the north. However, the gastronomic preferences remained the same. Therefore, if in the south of Italy, a waiter brings you pan pizza on a thick dough, then do not be surprised – this is considered the norm there.

So, what’s the difference? Find out in our article.

Hand Tossed Pizza vs Pan Pizza: Two Types Difference

Many pizzerias offer a choice of two pizzas, hand tossed pizza or pan pizza. There are pros and cons to both, so choosing can be difficult.

The difference is not only in the pizza dough, but also in the filling and sauce.

Hand tossed is a classic pizza with golden brown crust and less air bubbles inside the dough.

Pan pizza is baked in a deep frying pan or cast iron skillet. Due to this, the dough, which rests in a container richly oiled, is well fried. This gives the crust a characteristic crispy taste, and the fillings have the right degree of roasting.

List of differences

Hand tossed dough is made of flour, dry yeast, some salt and warm water. A pan pizza crust is made of flour, dry yeast, pinch of salt, water, and oil. Sometimes sugar can be added to empower the yeast. Some people even state that sugar helps to form the crunсhy crust.

The hand tossed pizzas sauce includes tomato sauce, olive oil and herbs. The pan pizza sauce uses a tomato paste and herbs, and the sauce is slightly sweeter in taste.

Hand tossed pizza bakes quickly in the oven at a high temperature, pan pizza bakes longer and at a lower temperature.

Pan pizza is usually larger than hand tossed pizza.

Hand tossed pizza has thin crust. Therefore, it is less satiating than pan pizzas which are cooked on thick crust.

That is why, hand tossed pizza or any thin pizza positions on a menu frequently with some appetizers such as salad and bread sticks. Pan pizzas don’t include any side dishes.

Pan Pizza Varieties

Some differences between Italian and American pizza

Dough. Italians prepare pizza according to old recipes; thin and crispy dough is used as the base, the thickness of which cannot be more than 1/5 inch. But the best pizza for those who prefer a lush and soft base with amazing crispy edges is American, the thickness of the base of this dish is at least half an inch, while the dough has a sweetish taste.

Components. For the preparation of Italian pizza, only the freshest products are used: mozzarella, tomatoes, meat or seafood, cheese, vegetables, and mushrooms. And what better pizza to order if the soul is required extravaganza of taste? In this case, it is better to choose American, because its composition may include fruits, sausages, canned food, pickles and even chocolate.

Filling. In Italian pizza, the ingredients should not overlap each other, this requirement is mandatory. Whereas in the preparation of the American components can be arranged in layers.

Still have questions? Read more Italian pizza vs American pizza: Let’s Compare.

Hand Tossed vs Pan Pizza: Key Differences

The Pizza Sauce

Authentic pan pizza is made with a sweeter sauce that is thicker in texture. There are many more toppings on pizza, including gooey cheese, sausages, and pepperoni. Therefore, pan pizza is higher calorie than it hands tossed pizza.

Here’s a calorie calculator from Domino’s. Build the same pizza only with different crusts and you’ll see.

The Pizza Crust

Pizza dough varies in texture. Pan pizzas have a crispy crust, but at the same time, an airy dough inside.

The hand tossed pizza has a thinner and crispier crust with a lighter texture due to hand tossing, you will find a golden brown crust that is pleasant to crunch on.

Authentic pan pizzas and any thick crust pizzas would have something you’d call a bread-like texture and fluffy crust with delicious buttery taste. Hand tossed style pizza will have crunchy thinner crust, that is much less greasy, because it doesn’t use too much olive oil.


A fairly significant difference between these pizzas lies in the amount of cheese topping for each piece. A slice of hand tossed crust pizza will contain about one ounce less cheese than pan pizza. The pan pizzas often contain a combination of several cheeses, including fresh mozzarella cheese and white cheddar.

Have you ever been to a mozzarella cheese factory? Take a peek!


Both pizzas originally don’t have vegetables in toppings. Although hand tossed pizza may include minced garlic. Hand tossed pizza will not be suitable to carry much topping without breaking, so loading it with vegetables would not be the best idea.

Cooking process

Cooking methods for Pizza hut hand tossed vs pan pizza are slightly different as well. Pan pizza dough is made with oil resulting in a thicker crust with yellowish tint. Originally, it is a deep dish pizza with thicker crust fried in vegetable oil. Pizza Hut hand tossed pizzas are baked at high temperatures in pizza oven.

Pan Pizza Varieties

These pizzas are baked in a cast iron pan and have a thick base. These include the beloved by many Detroit style pizza, rectangular Sicilian pizza and Chicago deep dish.

The classic Sicilian pan pizza involves a large number of tomatoes, Italian cheese and anchovies. Mushrooms, onions, and olives are sometimes added. Sprinkle the pizza with herbs. The dough is baked for about half an hour. But it should be soft and tender.

Chicago pizza

There are two versions of thick Chicago style pizzas.

Deep dish pan pizza with rather high sides made of dough of medium thickness, which is baked in special pans, in fact – an open pie with an abundance of toppings.

Stuffed pan pizza, that is, “stuffed” – everything is the same, only another layer of dough is placed on top, holes are made so that the contents are baked better, and poured with a layer of sauce.

Here’s a detailed post about deep dish pizza if you want to know more.

Chicago pizza pie

New York Style Pizza

Of the American ones, it is closest to the Neapolitan that is a thin soft hand tossed pie with a crispy crust, easily bent in half, but does not break. There is not much sauce, but dried basil, garlic powder and oregano are often used.

Thin Neapolitan Pizza

The recipe for the dish was legalized by A.P. Scanio, Minister of Agriculture of Naples. According to the traditional recipe, pizza should be 35 cm (13 inches) in diameter and with small sides around the edges.

Ingredients: basil, garlic, olive oil and anchovies. It is difficult to cook it at home. It is believed that if you replace at least one component, then the pizza immediately ceases to be Neapolitan.

Italian margherita pizza

Features of Thin Crust Hand Tossed Pizza

Hand tossed pizzas consist of a base less than a centimeter, plastic and dense, but able to withstand the filling. Thin crust pizza is for example New York style pizza or Pizza Hut hand tossed pizza, which are often baked on a burning hot pizza stone.

Valued for:

  • Hand tossed pie allows you to enjoy the abundance of toppings – this way you can feel the taste of the ingredients better.
  • Hand tossed pizzas easily fold in half, transforming into a Mexican tortilla.
  • Pizza hut hand tossed pizza is suitable for a snack or satisfying the first signs of hunger.
  • Hand tossed pizzas will save you from overeating, because it is so easy to eat the whole pizza and realize it at the moment when your fingers are already being licked.
  • Are you taking care of your figure? Hand tossed pizzas have fewer calories, and all the juice is in the filling, which gives satiety and a good mood.
  • Hand tossed pizza will be baked much quicker.

Benefits of Pan Pizzas

Lush, soft, and airy dough with soft sides allows you to enjoy pizza in a classic way.

The main advantages of a deep dish pizza:

  • The satiety of pizza on a thick dough is twice as high – satisfies hunger until the next meal in comparison to hand tossed version.
  • Volumetric sides in pizza can be eaten with additional sauce.
  • The combination of dough, sauce and filling is perfect, because the base is soaked with the aroma of the ingredients while it is baked in the oven.

Detailed Comparison

The content of the ingredients for the dough is often the same. The most commonly used are dry yeast, all-purpose flour, warm water and oil, usually olive. The main difference between hand tossed and pan pizza is the cooking technique that affects the final result.

Thickness of the crust

As we mentioned, hand tossed pizza has a thin base, while pan pizza has a thick, airy base. By tossing the dough with your hands, you remove air bubbles from it, so it is not as porous and does not increase in volume when settling like pan pizza.

Pan pizza will remind you of focaccia in texture.

Hand tossed pizza dough is flat and very thin as if it will break from too much topping. Hand tossed pie will require some skills in tossing and kneading the dough.

Pan pizza is usually baked with oil, so it looks greasier than hand tossed version.

Crunchiness of the dough

Both pizzas will delight you with a crispy dough. Pan pizza is crispier and more golden brown because it is actually fried in oil while baking in the oven. Hand tossed pizza tends to be finer due to the lack of excess moisture and soft.


Obviously, a pan pizza can handle more toppings without breaking its integrity. Hand tossed often contains one type of cheese. And pan pizza includes a whole combination of cheeses such as provolone, mozzarella, cheddar and so on.

Some people love putting green peppers for crunchiness, black olives, fresh basil leaves.

We can say that these are two completely different products.

Hand tossed pizza dough always has less yeast, requires much less water to knead, and is denser. It does not rise during baking. Thin bubbles form inside hand tossed dough, but the dough remains thin.

Two types of flour are added to the dough for pan pizza – fine flour 00 and hard varieties of fine flour. And when baking, it always rises strongly, hence the lush sides of the pizza.

Features of Thin Crust Hand Tossed Pizza

Hand Tossed Pizza And Pan Pizza Recipes

Pan Pizza

The most delicate fluffy dough with fluffy golden edges, homemade juicy sauce with spices, tender mozzarella and pieces of everything that you yourself wish. Hot, ruddy, thick, fragrant pan pizza straight from the oven to your table!

Ingredients for topping

  • Pepperoni
  • 1 cup mashed tomatoes in their own juice or fresh tomatoes,
  • 1/2 tsp marjoram,
  • 1/2 tsp basil,
  • 1/2 tsp oregano,
  • 1/4 tsp salt,
  • 1 clove of garlic.

Ingredients for pizza dough

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 3 tsp fresh yeast (or 3.5 g dry = 1 tsp),
  • 1 tsp sugar,
  • 1/2 tsp salt,
  • 1 tbsp olive oil.

Cooking pan pizza

For pan pizza dough pour warm water into a deep bowl and dissolve salt and sugar in it. The water should be warm to the touch, but not hot, so that the yeast in it will be as comfortable as possible.

Sugar is necessary for yeast to maintain vital activity, activate their growth, and salt acts as a natural flavor enhancer in the dough.

Add olive oil and instant dry yeast. Yeast is meant to be 100% fresh, viable and alive. Otherwise, your pan pizza crust simply will not rise.

In parts, sift the premium wheat flour into the dough, kneading the dough first with a spoon, and then with your hands. In any pastry, it is important not to overdo it with flour. Focus on the consistency of the dough. If it is too sticky to your hands, then gradually add more flour.

Once the dough is no longer sticky to your hands, it is ready. Let it be slightly sticky rather than resilient to resemble a basketball. Form the pizza dough into a ball, cover with cling film and let rise in a bowl in a warm place for an hour.

After this time, the dough will increase significantly in volume.

It must be kneaded by hand and again removed for proofing in a warm place for half an hour. This will make the dough as fluffy as possible.

Then roll out the pan pizza dough into a circle with a diameter of about 30 centimeters. The thickness is about 5 millimeters. The sides may be slightly thicker than the base. Transfer the base to parchment paper greased with oil.

Spread tomato sauce all over the pan crust and sprinkle with a third of the total volume of cheese, grated on a coarse grater.

Put half-smoked sausage or pepperoni, cut into circles.

Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top and bake the pan pizza in an oven preheated to 400 degrees until golden brown.

Hand Tossed Pizza

Is Domino's pan or hand tossed better?

For the hand tossed pizza dough:

  • Water
  • Salt
  • Wheat flour
  • Yeast

For the hand tossed pizza sauce:

  • Tomato paste
  • Water
  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • Garlic
  • Basil (dry)
  • Olive oil

For the hand tossed pizza topping:

  • Tomato sauce
  • Pepperoni
  • Hard cheese
  • Olive oil

Cooking hand tossed pizza

Heat the water until slightly warm.

Sift the flour through a sieve into a wide bowl in which it will be convenient to knead your hand tossed crust.

Add salt.

Add warm water and yeast.

Mix everything first with a spoon, then knead the dough with your hands. If the dough is sticky, add a little more flour. The dough should be soft, not sticky to your hands.

Wrap the fresh dough in cling film or cover with a towel and leave to “rest” for 30 minutes. During this time, the gluten will swell, and the dough will become more pliable.

For the sauce, spices and herbs can be used as desired.

Peel the garlic, cut into thin slices.

In a small cast iron skillet, lightly heat the oil. Lay out the garlic cloves. Simmer the garlic over low heat, turning over, 1 minute. This will give the oil a light spicy flavor.

If you want to enhance the savory taste of the sauce, you can chop the garlic more finely or grate it.

Remove the garlic from the pan.

Pour the tomato paste into the pan and stir. Warm the pasta over low heat for 1 minute, stirring occasionally.

Pour water into the pan, stir.

Add salt, sugar, basil, mix. Bring the sauce to a boil.

Simmer the sauce over low heat until thickened, about 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the skillet from the heat, cover with a lid and let the sauce cool for a bit.

Prepare the ingredients for the filling. They can be different depending on the desires and tastes. Use the prepared tomato sauce chilled. You can take any cheese.

Roll out the dough into a thin round layer, form small sides for hand tossed pizza. It is convenient to do this immediately on parchment.

Use your hands if you want to stay true to the authentic hand tossed pizza.

Brush the dough with oil.

Then apply the sauce onto oiled dough.

Cut the pepperoni into thin slices, spread evenly over the dough.

Grind cheese on a fine grater.

Sprinkle grated cheese on top of pizza.

Using a pizza peel, transfer the pizza to the oven. You can also use a baking sheet to place the pizza into the oven.

Bake hand tossed pizza in a preheated oven at 500 degrees for 15-20 minutes until lightly browned.

italian thin crust pizza

Easy versatile recipe

Making dough. Dissolve sugar and yeast in warm water. Only in warm, in no case cold and not hot, so as not to kill the yeast.

Mix flour with salt and sift into a mixing bowl.

Pour the oil and yeast mixture into the flour. Knead the dough in a combine for 7-10 mixer, then another 2-3 minutes with your hands. The dough will be smooth, elastic, not sticky and very pleasant. Pull the dough into a ball.

On a surface sprinkled with flour, immediately after kneading, roll out the dough into a round layer with a diameter of 30 cm (12 inches). Cover with a towel and leave to proof for 30-40 minutes, depending on the degree of desired splendor and thickness of the pizza in a warm place.

Cooking classic Italian pizza sauce. Grind the tomatoes, send them to a saucepan and boil to a thicker state under the lid (otherwise it splashes over) over medium heat. The volume will decrease by about one and a half times. Add salt and spices, garlic passed through a press. Cool down.

We prepare and cut the ingredients for the filling – peppers, mushrooms, sausage, olives…

We collect pizza on a baking sheet. Pour all the tomato sauce, half the cheese onto the prepared dough, evenly distribute it over the pizza. We spread the components of the filling and sprinkle the remaining grated cheese on top.

We bake pizza at 450 degrees C for about 10 minutes.

What Obvious Mistakes Do Many Make When Trying to Bake Pizza at Home?

Baking pizza at low temperatures and without pizza stone. In a professional brick oven, the temperature is set to about 800 degrees, but in home ovens, the maximum allowable values ​​​​are 500. Therefore, you need a pizza stone – it will help to properly distribute the heat and then the pizza will not be burnt on top and underbaked on bottom.

Warm up the stone by setting the temperature to the minimum. Roll out the dough, lay out the filling and use a spatula, transfer the pizza to a hot stone with a pizza peel. Bake for 15-20 minutes.

Especially when you deal with hand tossed pizza the temperature has to be high, as it bakes quickly.

The easiest way is to roll out the dough on baking paper, after sprinkling it with flour. This will save you from completely unnecessary movements, as you can send the pizza to the oven right on the parchment.

You can and should experiment with the ingredients for the dough. So, advanced gourmets prepare pizza dough from a mixture of flour and semolina. It turns out crispier and tender. You can use this mixture not only for making dough, but also for powdering a baking sheet.

The final taste of the dish depends on the dough. Therefore, the base is prepared from several varieties of wheat (regular and coarse) and spread on a hot baking sheet.

True pizzaioli knead the dough very quickly but leave it to rise for a couple of days. Their movements are smooth, but confident, they try to knead every fold, fill the dough with oxygen, make it soft and elastic.

A true master will never use a rolling pin. They with the dough with bare hands, stretch it, toss it into the air, twists it, thinning his “canvas”.

The thickness of the classic Neapolitan pizza is exactly 3 mm in the center and 1-2 cm along the side. This strict rule is followed in all restaurants.

To keep the dough from getting wet, you can grease it with extra virgin olive oil.

You should not stock up on freshly prepared dough for the future, after defrosting its delicate texture may be broken, and you will not be able to achieve the perfect result by making every effort.

Until a person tries which pizza they liked best on a thick dough base, or on a thin one, they will not know it. Some people like it better when pizza dough is rolled thin because the thicker the pizza, the more it will resemble a regular, open pie.

The most important thing in pizza is that the dough is properly kneaded, moderately soft, then even a thin pizza will not be dried.

Some chefs always make the dough thin, roll it out to a quarter of an inch, and if you consider that yeast is added to the dough, the dough will rise, and it will turn out to be about half an inch.

But we repeat, in order to determine which pizza you like best, you need to try to make it from both thinly rolled dough and thicker rolled dough.

Other people think thin-based pizzas are more nutritious because the pizza’s beauty is in the toppings.

Pizza on a thick dough is more satisfying, since the dough itself is high-calorie, and even with a filling, and even with sides around the edges, here you can put the filling without sparing.

But real Italian pizza is always prepared on a thin crust. The choice is yours.

american pan pizza


Is Domino’s pan or hand tossed better?

It is all up to your personal preferences. Both pizzas are extremely delicious. If you crave for lighter pizza with thin and crispy crust, then opt for hand tossed pizzas. If you’re a fan of Chicago style pizza with loads of delicious mozzarella cheese, more toppings and golden brown thick crust, then you should choose from a pan pizza family.

Which is thicker pan or hand tossed?

Pan pizzas usually have about one inch deep pan crust, so they would be much thicker than thin crust hand tossed pizza. If you are all up for a filling meal then a pan pizza with a bready crust would make a perfect pizza choice for you.
Hand tossed crust is thin and crunchy.

What is the best cheese for pizza?

Mozzarella is a soft cheese that spreads evenly over pizza when melted. Due to it, the pizza is tender and juicy, it literally melts in your mouth. A huge mistake is to use hard cheeses, although they give a pleasant tarter aftertaste, but they melt much worse and do not give juiciness.

Which crust is best for pizza?

Hand tossed vs pan pizza crust is a highly debatable question. Once again, it is all up to your taste. Whether you like thicker crust pan pizza or thin pizza crusts such as Pizza Hut hand tossed pizza.
Both pizza crusts are made using essentially same ingredients, with small difference in using oil.

Are there toppings that are better to use for hand tossed pizza, or vice versa on a pan pizza?

No, the whole point is not in the original ingredients, but in their quantity.
If the proportions are not maintained and too much sauce or toppings are put on a hand tossed pizza, then it will clog the taste of the dough – one could just as well make a salad from these ingredients, not a pizza.
And if you put a little stuffing on a pan pizza, you will chew empty bread.
Pizza is the perfect balance of toppings and dough. So any filling will suit any dough, the main thing is to check the proportions, especially with hand tossed version.


Some believe that the beauty of pizza is in its filling, and the pizza dough should be less than half an inch as a “support”, others cannot imagine this dish without an airy base, which should be exactly the same as the filling, or even more.

Everything is up to your preference. Thin pizza lovers will appreciate hand tossed pie. Those who want big filling meal have to choose pan pizza.

So, the best pizza is hot, fragrant, with a crispy crust around the edges. But arguing about which fillings and the thickness of the dough is better is pointless, because for every lover of the dish a certain taste is special and loved.

Malena Miller

“If you love pizza as much as I do, then I think we can get along.”

I run this blog and I love making pizza. I have 150 pizza recipes. I want to share with you the secrets of cooking pizza

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