We Asked 3 Chefs if Pineapple Belongs on Pizza, and They All Said the Same Thing

published May 10, 2024
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It’s 2024, and yes, we are still talking about whether pineapple belongs on pizza. Despite the introduction of buffalo chicken pizza, stuffed crust pizza, and even dill pickle pizza, pineapple on pizza is still contentious. 

The origin of pineapple-topped pizza was so innocent. Credit goes to a Greek pizza maker in Canada in the 1960s who was inspired by sweet-and-sour chicken, which, you got it, features pineapple. He decided to try ham and pineapple to capture the same savory-sweet interplay of flavors. Little did that chef know that he had opened a Pandora’s grease-flecked pizza box. 

Fast-forward over 50 years to a culture that embraces both classic, traditional dishes as well as wild, out-of-the-box ones. If sushi can be a burrito and cottage cheese can be cookie dough, why can’t we move past the pineapple debate? So I decided to settle the debate once and for all, and asked three chefs the ultimate question: Does pineapple belong on pizza? Here’s what I found out. 

So, Does Pineapple Belong on Pizza?

Pizza master Anthony Mangieri of Una Pizza Napoletana in New York City and owner of Genio Della Pizza crafts Neapolitan pizzas with the utmost attention to detail and ingredients, which landed Una being named the No. 1 pizzeria in the world by 50 Top Pizza in 2022. Surely, he must find pineapple on pizza out of place? Absolutely not. Mangieri maintains that “anything can go on pizza if it is a beautiful, high-quality ingredient and the flavors of the composed pizza are balanced.” The menu at Una is small, but in addition to classics like Margherita and Mariana pizzas, Mangieri has a rotating special pizza “including ones with watermelon and oranges, and both were lovely.” 

Next, I checked in with Arnold Myint, chef and owner of International Market in Nashville. Myint is a 2024 James Beard Award semifinalist for Best Chef Southeast for the Thai cuisine served at International Market. Myint is also a Top Chef and Food Network Star alum. Between his Thai heritage, Southern roots, and cooking chops, I wasn’t sure where he would land on the topic, but it turns out he is pro-pineapple. Like many of us, Myint is an “all-inclusive type of eater. There are times I’m craving a meat lovers or supreme moment that I would douse with ranch dressing, and there are times when I sit back with a beautiful wood oven-charred crust, simple cheese with a hint of pepper flakes.” Even though it’s not part of his usual pizza order, he could “imagine a [pizza with] grilled or pickled pineapple or even a pineapple chutney.”

Finally, I went off the mainland to a place decidedly not tropical and connected with Erik Slater, executive chef and owner of Seward Brewing Company in Seward, Alaska. Slater is a self-proclaimed pizza nerd with a wood-fired oven at the restaurant fueled by local birch wood and (two!) at his home for never-ending tinkering and experimentation with pizza. He says it best, “pineapple on pizza isn’t a debate. It’s a matter of choice.” To make it work, he is on the same page as Mangieri, “there’s got to be a balance of sweet, salty, and fat, and when you hit that right, it makes a great and satisfying bite.”

Why Pineapple on Pizza Will Continue to Be a Hot Topic

Though I was pleasantly surprised to find everyone on the same page, it made me wonder about the roots of opposition. After reading various articles and way more chat threads than intended, I was able to boil down the disdain to a few key points. 

  1. Pineapple throws off the pizza’s balance of flavors, adding too much acidity since there is already sharpness from tomato. 
  2. Pineapple is too wet and can compromise the bottom of the crust, potentially making it soggy. 
  3. People think it’s out of place. 

The first two points are easily dismissed since that comes down to the pizza maker’s execution, as explained by Mangieri and Slater. As for the third point? It all comes down to personal preference. At the end of the day, you can love or hate it, but yes, pineapple belongs on pizza. As Slater puts it, “Love is love, doesn’t matter who it is or what it is, even pineapple on pizza.”