Why is Pizza Called Pie: The Surprising Origins Behind the Name

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Are you a pizza lover who has always wondered why this popular dish is called “pie”? You’re not alone.

The word “pie” typically brings to mind a sweet dessert, but pizza is a savory dish that doesn’t seem to fit the definition. So why is pizza called pie?

The term “pizza pie” can be traced back to Italian immigrants who brought their traditional dishes to America in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

In Italy, a pie is called a “torta” or “crostata,” but when Italian immigrants arrived in the United States, they found that the closest thing to their beloved dish was the American pie.

To help their customers understand what they were selling, Italian immigrants began calling their savory pies “pizza pies.”

History of Pizza

Pizza has a long and rich history, dating back to ancient civilizations. The origins of pizza can be traced back to the ancient Greeks, who made a flatbread called plakous.

This flatbread was topped with herbs, onion, and garlic and was often eaten with cheese and honey.

The Romans also had their own version of pizza, called “picea”, which was a flatbread topped with cheese, honey, and bay leaves.

However, it was not until the 16th century that pizza as we know it today began to take shape.

In Naples, Italy, pizza was sold on the streets and was often sold by street vendors who would carry the pizza in large metal drums.

The pizza was typically topped with tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, and basil, representing the Italian flag’s colors.

In the late 1800s, Queen Margherita of Savoy visited Naples and tried the pizza. She loved it so much that she requested to have a pizza made with tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, and basil, which became known as the Margherita pizza.

Pizza then spread to the United States, where it became popular among Italian immigrants in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

In 1905, the first pizzeria in the United States, Lombardi’s, opened in New York City. Today, pizza is one of the most popular foods in the world, with countless variations and toppings available.

History of Pizza

Why is Pizza Called Pie

Pizza is often referred to as a “pie,” which can be confusing because it’s not sweet and doesn’t look like a traditional dessert pie. So why is pizza called pie?

One theory is that the word “pie” comes from the Italian word “piazza,” which means “square” or “marketplace.”

Pizza originated in Naples, Italy, and was sold by street vendors in the city’s markets.

The vendors would use a flatbread as a base and top it with various ingredients, including tomatoes, cheese, and herbs. The resulting dish was a quick and easy meal that could be eaten on the go.

Another theory is that the word “pie” comes from the way pizza is cooked. Traditional pizza is baked in a round, shallow dish called a “pizza pan” or “pizza pie.”

The dish has high sides resembling a pie dish, and the pizza is often cut into slices resembling pie wedges.

Regardless of the origin of the term, calling pizza a “pie” has become a common way to refer to this beloved dish. In fact, many pizza restaurants and chains use the word “pie” in their names or marketing materials.

So the next time you order a pizza, remember that you’re actually ordering a “pie” – a delicious, savory pie that has become a staple of American cuisine.

why pizza is called pie

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Pizza vs. Pie

When you think of pie, you may imagine a sweet dessert filled with fruit or custard. However, pizza is also commonly referred to as “pie.” So, what’s the difference between the two?

First, let’s talk about the crust. Pie crust is typically made with flour, butter, and water and is rolled out and placed in a pie dish before being filled with ingredients.

Pizza crust, on the other hand, is made with flour, yeast, water, and sometimes olive oil. It is typically stretched or rolled out and then topped with sauce, cheese, and toppings before being baked.

Another difference is the fillings. Pie fillings are usually sweet, such as fruit, custard, or cream. On the other hand, pizza toppings are savory and can include cheese, meats, vegetables, and herbs.

Finally, the size and shape of the two are different. Pies are usually round and come in different sizes, from personal-sized to large enough to serve a crowd.

Pizzas can also be round but can also be rectangular or square. They are typically larger than pies and are meant to be shared.

In conclusion, while both pizza and pie are referred to as “pie,” they are quite different in terms of crust, fillings, and size.

So, the next time you’re craving a slice of pie, make sure you specify whether you mean a sweet dessert or a savory pizza!

Pizza vs Pie

Regional Differences

When it comes to pizza, there are many different regional variations that exist across the world.

In the United States, for example, New York-style pizza is a popular choice and is characterized by its thin, crispy crust and large slices.

On the other hand, Chicago-style pizza is known for its deep dish crust and hearty toppings.

In Italy, where pizza originated, there are also many regional differences.

Neapolitan pizza, which is made with San Marzano tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella, is a popular choice in Naples.

In Rome, pizza al taglio, or “pizza by the slice,” is more common and is typically served on a rectangular sheet.

In other parts of the world, such as Brazil and Argentina, pizza is often served with unique toppings such as corn, green peas, and hard-boiled eggs.

In Japan, pizza is often made with seafood toppings such as shrimp and squid.

Overall, the regional differences in pizza are a testament to the versatility of this beloved food.

Whether you prefer a classic margherita pizza or something more adventurous, there is sure to be a regional variation that suits your taste buds.

Regional Differences


Now you know why pizza is called pie.

It all started with the early Italian immigrants who brought their traditional dishes with them to America. They called their savory pastry dish “pizza,” which means “pie” in Italian.

Over time, the term “pizza pie” became popular, and eventually, the word “pie” was dropped, leaving us with the term “pizza” that we know and love today.

Pizza has become an iconic food in America, and its popularity continues to grow. From thin crust to deep dish, this delicious dish has countless variations.

Whether you prefer classic toppings like pepperoni and mushrooms or more exotic flavors like pineapple and ham, there is a pizza out there for everyone.

So next time you order a pizza, remember its roots in Italian cuisine and the history behind its name. And most importantly, enjoy every delicious bite!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the origin of calling pizza a ‘pie’?

The term “pie” was used in the past to refer to any dish that consisted of a dough shell filled with various ingredients.

This is why pizza, which is essentially a dish made up of a dough base topped with sauce, cheese, and other toppings, is sometimes referred to as a pie.

Is pizza considered a type of pie?

Yes, pizza is considered a type of pie due to its similar structure. Both dishes consist of a crust or shell filled with various ingredients.

Why do some people argue that pizza is not a pie?

Some people argue that pizza is not a pie because it is not typically sweet and does not have a top crust.

However, the term “pie” has historically been used to describe any dish consisting of a dough shell filled with various ingredients, whether sweet or savory.

What is the difference between a pizza pie and a regular pie?

The main difference between a pizza pie and a regular pie is the type of filling used.

A regular pie typically has a sweet filling, while a pizza pie has a savory filling made up of sauce, cheese, and various toppings.

Do Italians refer to pizza as a ‘pie’?

Yes, Italians also refer to pizza as a “pie.” The term “pizza” is actually derived from the Italian word “pizzaiola,” which means “pie maker.”

Why do some people call pizza a ‘pie’ instead of just ‘pizza’?

As mentioned earlier, the term “pie” has historically been used to describe any dish that consists of a dough shell filled with various ingredients. Therefore, calling pizza a “pie” is simply a way of describing its structure and composition.

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Sarah is a passionate pizza lover who enjoys exploring the world of pizza. She believes that pizza is not just a food, but an art form that brings people together. Through her writing, Sarah aims to share her love for pizza and provide useful tips, recipes, and insights to help pizza enthusiasts of all levels. Whether you're a seasoned pizza lover or a newcomer to the world of pizza, Sarah's articles will guide you through the vast and delicious world of pizza. Join her on a journey to discover the best pizza recipes, cooking techniques, and insider tips, all served with a side of love for the ultimate pizza experience.

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