Pineapple to pistachio – chefs' favourite pizza toppings

Pineapple to pistachio – chefs' favourite pizza toppings

Pineapple to pistachio – chefs' favourite pizza toppings

by Great British Chefs23 May 2024

From Margherita to pepperoni and hot honey to burrata – whether you have a hankering for the classics or fancy something more adventurous, there's a pizza topping for everyone. We asked some of our chefs what they order when they're in the mood for a slice.

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Pineapple to pistachio – chefs' favourite pizza toppings

From Margherita to pepperoni and hot honey to burrata – whether you have a hankering for the classics or fancy something more adventurous, there's a pizza topping for everyone. We asked some of our chefs what they order when they're in the mood for a slice.

Great British Chefs is a team of passionate food lovers dedicated to bringing you the latest food stories, news and reviews.

Great British Chefs is a team of passionate food lovers dedicated to bringing you the latest food stories, news and reviews as well as access to some of Britain’s greatest chefs. Our posts cover everything we are excited about from the latest openings and hottest food trends to brilliant new producers and exclusive chef interviews.

At its core, pizza is the perfect example of Italian cooking; a few simple, delicious ingredients brought together to create a fantastically satisfying end result. So much so, in fact, that it has become one of the most familiar dishes around the world; there are few places where it's impossible to find a version, whether it's in supermarket freezers, bought by the slice or wood-fired to order. Different countries now have their own spin on it, from Turkey's pide (see Selin Kiazim’s köfte recipe here) to Greek pizza and several takes around America which have become almost as famous as the classic Neapolitan.

Pizza is something of a leveller; between the many combinations of toppings, sauces and bases, most of us are partial to some variety of slice. We were curious about what some of the country's most talented chefs top theirs with, so we asked around and have collated their answers below – spoiler: it's not just us who can't resist a bite of crispy, oily pepperoni. In the mood to whip one up? We've got plenty of recipes this way, including Sicilian-style, a classic Neapolitan and pizza Fiorentina, or, to save yourself time, why not use one of Crosta & Mollica's ready-to-top sourdough pizza bases (available via Ocado, Waitrose, Sainsbury's and Tesco)?

Ben Tish

I like a white pizza base, with fior di latte and pecorino with mortadella and pistachio pesto. I’ve had similar in Sicily using salami rosa, which is a salami-mortadella hybrid with chilli and pistachio. I’ve made a version at one of our pubs, which is a winner. In second place it's tomato sauce with mozzarella, ricotta, aubergine and marjoram. Simple and delicious and, again, Sicilian-inspired.

Michelle Trusselle

The funny thing is that I don't really eat pork that often but when it comes to pizza I have to have a bit of pork on there. By a bit, I mean a lot – whether it be pepperoni, 'nduja, sausage or meatballs, I'm here for it! Growing up, having a pepperoni pizza was always the family favourite. I think there's something special about how the pepperoni fat melts into the cheese; it's just so tasty. But a great vegetarian pizza is also real treat. I'll either have a topping of wild mushrooms, mozzarella and truffle or a mix of Mediterranean vegetables like peppers, artichokes and olives – extra cheese on both, please!

Chantelle Nicholson

I am a bit of a fan of very, very good classic Margherita, with the best tomato base (it needs to stick to the base and not run), oozy mozzarella and loads of basil and chilli oil – ideally chilli crisp. I think I had it as a combination at home; I had a takeaway pizza and just decided to add extra cheese, fresh basil and chilli crisp. The best! 

Matt Beardmore

If there’s one pizza topping I would have to choose above all others, it would be pepperoni. It’s unbeatable. Nothing is as joyous as salty, fatty, slightly spicy pepperoni. Like most people, my first encounter with it was through Pizza Hut and, while I don’t eat there anymore, I still remember just how much happiness a pepperoni pizza and bottomless ice cream there gave me as a child. My honourable second places goes to pineapple and ham (Hawaiian pizza). I haven't been to Hawaii, but I'm guessing they probably don't eat this. I just think ham and pineapple gets an unfairly hard time, because in terms of components, it makes sense; salty ham, sweet acidic pineapple and fatty mozzarella make for a really satisfying bite.

Andy Beynon

My favourite pizza topping is the classic Napoli, it’s so simple and packed full of flavour. Good quality anchovies are super important, followed by capers, a super fresh tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese, piled on a super thin base with crushed chilli on top. It’s a party in your mouth and never disappoints. I’m also a big fan of white base pizzas – mushroom and truffle usually takes my vote, complete with a creamy garlic dip or butter on the side. 

Will Bowlby

Pepperoni and chilli oil, with lots of pepperoni, cooked until they crisp up and form a little puddle of red oil in their well. I know its sacrilege but I also quite like a barbecue base as an alternative to the norm, or a crispy white pizza with the likes of potato, rosemary and Taleggio. It's strictly not a pizza, but an Alsatian tarte flambée does this brilliantly.

Robert Chambers

My love of pizza started at a young age when I used to come home from school on a Friday and my nonna would do a sfincione in this large round baking tin that she had for years. It baked it so well we’re the bottom and the sides where crunchy but the rise was fluffy and full of flavour. Mozzarella wasn’t used, it would make the dough a bit wet, so instead caciocavallo was the replacement, with some hand-crushed tomatoes, olives, dried oregano, a few anchovies torn apart and a few chilli flakes. It was out of the world. A few years later I would spend the summer holidays in my family's village in the south of Italy, and the mozzarella di buffalo is the best in the world there, so whenever I’m in Italy I’m always going for a pizza buffalina. It's just something special. Also pizza fritta – wow, what a treat. The dough goes a bit sweet, crispy but slightly soft due to the heat inside. It's not typically served with tomato, more with ricotta provola and pork belly or endives with raisins, pine nuts and provola – it makes a great breakfast.