30 Pizza Toppings, Ranked Worst To Best

There are few foods quite as beloved and universally-recognized as pizza, and though classic flatbread variations hail from Naples, Italy, it's safe to say that just about every country has put a unique spin on the iconic dish. One of the easiest ways to apply variation to pizza is by way of toppings, and there is certainly no shortage of toppings out there. 

Pizza purists may stick with pepperoni or perhaps even just classic cheese, whereas dough daredevils may opt for some more wildcard toppings like figs, anchovies, or broccoli. While you can put just about anything on a pizza, that doesn't mean that you necessarily should — naturally, some toppings are just better than others.

We ranked a list of pizza toppings that range from life-changing to questionable to downright atrocious. While it ultimately comes down to personal preference, if you're looking to switch up your pizza game, it's a good idea to know which toppings are worth ordering and which ones to avoid at all costs. 

30. Broccoli

On its own, broccoli is a delicious vegetable, but on pizza, it's an absolute abomination. We're not sure who was staring at a perfect cheese pizza one day and thought that said pizza would be improved by broccoli, but we certainly aren't grateful that somehow the topping caught on. 

There's just nothing redeemable about broccoli as a pizza topping. It tastes incredibly bland, the texture is bizarre and weirdly crunchy yet soggy, and simply put, just about any other topping will taste better on a fresh pie than broccoli.

29. Eggplant

There isn't much nice to say about eggplant as a pizza topping, but if we had to give it a compliment, we'd mention that it is a good bang-for-your-buck topping, as just a few slices will cover nearly the entire circumference of even the largest pizza. Otherwise, we don't have kind words for eggplant in this context, and it's best to steer clear of the purple fruit during your next pizza excursion.

Not only does eggplant offer no remarkable flavor enhancement to a pizza, but it manages to make the overall texture worse. Unless you're a fan of mushy mess on top of your pizza, eggplant is best reserved for lasagna and ratatouille. 

28. Spinach

The good news about spinach as a pizza topping is that it doesn't really affect the texture of the pizza. The bad news is that it doesn't really affect the taste, either, and if you're going to splurge on toppings, it's a good idea to go for those that pack some sort of flavor.

If you're looking to get some greens in on your next pie, then sure, spinach is a viable option. Otherwise, there's not a whole lot of reason to include it, especially when there are plenty of other (tastier) green toppings out there.

27. Tomatoes

There's something a teensy bit redundant about putting tomatoes on top of a pizza. You've already got a whole layer of tomato sauce as the base, and now you need to top it off with even more tomatoes? At that point, the pizza wouldn't even taste cheesy — it'd just taste like a tomato bomb.

To make matters worse, sliced tomatoes do not provide a good texture for pizza as they become quite mushy after baking. Tomato sauce is one thing — a good thing — but sliced tomatoes as a topping just shouldn't exist. 

26. Bell pepper

Bell peppers are good for many purposes, from dipping to stuffing to sautéing. As a pizza topping, however, they're a bit lacking, seeing as they don't offer too much flavor on their own. 

The fruit-that-acts-like-a-vegetable certainly provides a certain refreshing element to pizza, but brings little else. Bell peppers aren't exactly known for their strong flavors, though they are known for their crisp flesh. Alas, once baked, any and all crispiness is lost in the bell pepper, making them a less-than-desirable topping choice.

25. Artichokes

If you've ever had artichokes on a pizza, then they've likely been canned artichoke hearts, which definitely earn some points for convenience. Canned artichokes also provide a subtly earthy, salty flavor profile which should pair well with a pizza, but unfortunately, they just don't really do the trick.

Perhaps it's the texture of canned artichokes that doesn't quite work in a pizza context. They're a bit mushy and quite awkward to eat. You don't necessarily want a whole heart in a single bite, but it's ultimately pretty hard to avoid. So instead of enjoying pizza with artichokes, it's often like tolerating artichokes with pizza.

24. Chicken

This may be the first controversial ranking so far on this list, but it's one we're standing by. Chicken is a delicious and incredibly versatile protein, but of all the things you can put on pizza, it's best to skip the poultry. Why? Well, it really just doesn't bring much to the table, and if it comes down to enjoying a plain cheese pizza or enjoying one with chicken, we'd venture to say that the cheese one is the better choice.

Of course, if we were talking about buffalo or barbecue chicken pizza, it would be a different story. But we're talking about plain old grilled chicken, and it's just not exciting enough to rank higher.

23. Potatoes

On one hand, potatoes are perhaps the most bizarre option on this list. After all, who has a beautiful, crusty pizza and has the desire to pile starchy slices onto it? If you do ever have such a desire, you might be surprised to find that it isn't quite as weird as it sounds. 

Now, are we recommending you put thinly-sliced potatoes on your pizza? No, not really, as potatoes don't really add much flavor and make the pizza a bit mushy. But if you're a spud enthusiast through and through, well, it just might be the topping for you.

22. Shrimp

Everyone's favorite sea bug makes for just an okay pizza topping — if you really love shrimp, then you'll probably at least like shrimp pizza. But if you feel mostly neutral (or negatively) about shrimp, then it's best to avoid it altogether. 

Shrimp does pair well with quite a few flavors, but cheese really isn't one of them. So unless you enjoy your pizza sans cheese, save shrimp for scampi and skip it here.

21. Arugula

Arugula is an underrated green that beats spinach any day, both on its own and on pizza. The slightly bitter green offers much more flavor complex than similar vegetables like spinach or plain lettuce, though it isn't so overpowering that it'd take over a whole pie.

Another perk to arugula is that you may be more inclined to add it after the pizza bakes as opposed to before. Will the pizza be incredibly enticing? No, but it won't be the worst slice you've ever eaten, either.

20. Beef

When you imagine beef on a pizza, a few images may appear in your mind. Perhaps you picture steak or thinly-sliced beef, but for the sake of this ranking, we're referring to beef in the ground context. 

Beef is far from the worst protein you could put on a pizza, but it's also far from the best. It's a decent middle-ground option; if you're looking to bulk up your pizza's protein, then sure, slap on some beef. If you're looking for a pizza that has a little more appeal, you can do better.

19. Garlic

There are few foods that aren't improved by garlic, and we're certainly not arguing that pizza is one of them. We're simply arguing that there are better pizza toppings out there, and it can be a bit tricky getting the garlic-to-pizza ratio just right. 

If you opt for minced garlic, it's highly unlikely that the dispersion will be equal. And if you slap on whole cloves, one bite may have nothing but cheese, whereas the next is a garlicky overload. Thin slices are probably the best option, but can still be tough to manage

18. Figs

Fresh figs are far from a conventional topping, and much like potatoes, they're more of a wildcard on this list. But we think they deserve a rightful place on here — not too high up the ranking but somewhere safely in the middle.

The biggest perk of adding figs to a pizza is, of course, the honey-like sweetness that they bring. There aren't too many sweet toppings out there, but we appreciate anything that offers some relief from the same old savory or salty profiles.

17. Extra cheese

When in doubt, you can't go wrong with adding more cheese to a cheese pizza. Many pizzas feature the ever-creamy and neutral mozzarella as their base, but why stop there? Load on cheddar, pepper Jack, or even some fresh ricotta if you want to get fancy. 

It's obviously not a bad idea to add more cheese to pizza. But it's certainly playing it safe, and with so many meats, vegetables, and even fruits that you could pile onto a pie, you might be doing yours an injustice by only adding more cheese.

16. Anchovies

If there's one topping on this list that's overly hated (well, aside from pineapple), it would be anchovies. The tiny little fish get a bad rap, and we really can't figure out why. 

Maybe it solely comes down to appearance with anchovies, because they really do bring salty, savory goodness to a pizza. Yes, they do also add a distinct fishy flavor, and they can be perhaps a bit too salty, but there are far worse things you could slap onto a pie.

15. Lobster

Not all pizzas are high-brow, and in fact, we'd consider most pizzas to be casual cuisine. That said, if you're looking for a way to turn any pizza into something quite decadent, just put some lobster on it.

It's not exactly realistic to get lobster as a topping every time you order pizza, which is why we're not ranking it any higher. If you do have the chance to enjoy the seafood delicacy on a fresh pie sometime, however, we definitely recommend going for it. The subtly sweet, rich, and buttery flavor of lobster works incredibly well on a cheese pizza.

14. Ham

Without pineapple, ham seems like a bit of a miscellaneous topping, often overlooked in favor of other types of meat. We're here to put some respect on ham's name, as it offers a really nice, salty flavor and plays well with cheese.

We're also a big fan of the topping-to-pizza ratio that you get with ham. Each bite is packed with just the right amount of cheese and the ham chunk is neither too thin nor too thick — ideal for those who crave balance in their lives (and pizzas).

13. Basil

Margherita pizza enthusiasts will be pleased to find basil pretty high up on this list. It's really hard to deny the freshness that this sweet, aromatic herb brings to the table. 

Typically tacked onto a pizza after baking (after all, no one likes burnt basil leaves), fresh basil adds an earthy, herbaceous quality that really balances out the rich, savory goodness of the cheese. It may not be the most groundbreaking topping out there, but we appreciate the pop of color that basil steadfastly provides.

12. Mushrooms

Now we're really starting to get into the best of the best pizza toppings. Though they couldn't quite crack the top 10, mushrooms are an excellent pizza topping, as they provide a rich umami flavor. 

Mushrooms are also an ideal topping for those who don't want meat but still want something hearty. Featuring a subtly meaty flavor without actually being meat, mushrooms are filling, nourishing, and welcome at just about any pizza party.

11. Corn

Corn may not be the first pizza topping to come to mind for most people, and in fact, it may not even come to mind at all. As it turns out, the grain makes for quite the delicious pizza topping, as it provides some surprising flavor complexity packed into a little kernel. 

Not only will you find a subtle sweetness with corn on pizza, but you'll find a refreshing juiciness that works well with the otherwise savory pie. Okay, maybe juicy corn doesn't sound like the most appealing topping, but trust us — corn is underrated, so next time you order a pizza, consider giving the grain a spin.

10. Prosciutto

Fans of ham may want to consider stepping up their pork game and opt for some type of prosciutto next time, which officially begins our top 10. You may think that prosciutto only belongs on a deli sandwich or perhaps a charcuterie board, but we encourage you to expand your horizons and slap some of the salty, thinly-sliced goodness onto a pizza.

What makes prosciutto a better option than ham? For one thing, prosciutto offers a slightly more compelling flavor, and its texture works remarkably well on pizza. It's nice and chewy as is, but once baked, it crisps up beautifully.

9. Onion

Whether you slice or dice them, onions have a welcome place on just about any pizza. Onions are a versatile ingredient in any type of cooking across any type of cuisine, so it's no surprise that they make such a good pizza topping. 

And you can't go wrong with the type of onion you opt for — red, white, yellow, and even green onions would all taste good on a pizza. Offering just the right amount of sharpness, tanginess, and umami, onions complement a cheese pizza without overpowering the flavor too much.

8. Pickles

The thought of putting cucumber slices on a pizza is not something that excites us, nor is it something we recommend. But pickles? Well, pickles are a different story, and we most definitely recommend slathering your pie with the tangy little slices.

Classic pickles offer a vinegary flavor that works really well with cheese. They also offer a perfect crunch and perhaps even offer up hints of dill into the mix. Pickles are an amazing pizza topping, albeit an oft-overlooked one.

7. Honey

Drizzling honey onto a pizza may be a newish fad, but it's one that is definitely worth the hype. Whether you enjoy plain and simple honey or you opt for hot honey, it provides a very welcome sweetness to any pizza and helps provide relief from all that savoriness. 

While honey is more of a drizzle or garnish than a strict topping, we still felt it deserved a place on this list and a top spot at that. Even if you don't add any other toppings to your pizza, honey will add enough complexity to take your pie from plain and boring to unique and bold

6. Bacon

Believe it or not, you don't have to limit your bacon consumption to just the morning, nor do you have to opt for a breakfast pizza to enjoy the popular pork on a pie. You can slather any old cheese pizza with some chopped bacon, and we highly recommend that you do. 

Much like ham and prosciutto, bacon adds an unbeatable salty element to any pizza. Bacon also adds a richer, fattier flavor to pizza, which is what sets it ahead of other pork contenders. 

5. Black olives

Perfectly salty and surprisingly buttery, black olives are of the best canned ingredients you could add to a pizza. The flavor combination of cheese and black olive is absolutely a winning one, and even those who don't really like olives can still get behind their rich flavor profile.

Black olives are also great textural toppings, blending in nicely with the cheese without becoming too mushy. They work well with other toppings but also taste good all on their own, and that's what we consider to be a highly successful pizza player.

4. Sausage

If you want a pizza that's really hearty and meaty, then sausage should be your topping of choice. There's something so filling about a sausage pizza, with the rich, savory chunks of pork really rounding out even the tiniest of pizzas and giving them some depth. 

Sausage is such a classic pizza topping that you really don't need to think about pairing it with anything else. Offering a savory, meaty flavor with just the right hit of heat, sausage is an iconic go-to topping for a reason.

3. Jalapeños

Unlike bell peppers, jalapeños are most definitely not lacking in the flavor department. The beauty of jalapeños, especially in the context of pizza, is that you might enjoy fresh-sliced or jarred, pickled peppers here. Both are equally as delicious.

Fresh jalapeños will offer brightness and plenty of heat to a pizza, whereas jarred ones will offer a softer bite. If you're a fan of spice, then it's impossible to make a pizza taste worse with jalapeños, so they really are a foolproof topping.

2. Pineapple

We really, truly, and wholeheartedly cannot fathom why pineapple pizza is so polarizing. It's one of the few sweet options available, and we consider it to be a true pioneer in the pizza world. 

Any given cheese pizza will be rich, savory, or salty enough on its own. But it won't be sweet, which is where the mild, juicy flavor of pineapple comes in. Providing just the right hit of sweetness and acidity, we don't care what the pineapple haters have to say — this fruit has earned its spot atop a fresh pizza.

1. Pepperoni

There is simply no pizza out there more iconic than a classic pepperoni, which is why the salty pork topping has earned the top spot on this list. Was there really ever any doubt? Sure, you could go with any topping from the top 10 spots on this list and end up with a good pizza, but for a truly great pizza, you can't go wrong with pepperoni.

Pepperoni is such a successful topping for a few reasons. One, it brings a salty, meaty, and subtly spicy flavor profile to the pizza. Two, it bakes so beautifully into the pie, submerging effortlessly into the pool of melted cheese. And three, it just looks visually appealing — some pepperoni even curls up when cooked. And have you ever seen a picture of a pepperoni pie and not felt hungry? We certainly haven't, so with that, we'll conclude this list and go promptly place an order for a pepperoni pizza.