Pequods - Most Popular Pizza Topping

It’s all fine and good to know what “America’s” favorite pizza toppings are or even to learn about favorite pizza toppings by state, but we wanted to know about the most popular pizza toppings in our own backyards.

That’s why we surveyed our biggest fans from both our Chicago and Morton Grove restaurants to see what they consider their favorite toppings on our favorite food.

(Our 2020 pizza topping research was such a hit, we re-ran the numbers for 2022. Check out the most popular pizza toppings of 2022.)

The Search for Your Favorite Pizza Toppings

Okay, okay, so maybe this wasn’t the most scientific survey design. We’re a pizzeria, not a sociology department. We just thought it would be fun to see how many people actually like anchovies and whether you’re all a bunch of meatheads or are willing to put some vegetables on your pies.

And if you’re not having fun in the pizza business, you’re doing something wrong.

We collected data from just over 500 folks out there about common pizza toppings. Yes, we asked about pineapple. No, we didn’t ask about more esoteric or unique ingredients like shrimp or truffles. We only had so much room on the survey.

Then we got down to analyzing the results.

Our Totally Expert Analysis of Your Top Toppings

When asked which toppings would be on your favorite pizza and let you choose as many as you liked, the clear winner was . . . can you guess?

Pepperoni, of course. Slightly more than two-thirds (68%) of people said they loved pepperoni on their pizza. That’s compared with a score of 47% for sausage. Meats like ham, Canadian bacon, and Italian beef all came in at 20% or less.

But here was a real shocker: Sausage was not the number two ingredient. Rather, your second favorite topping was mushrooms! That means more people are ordering mushrooms on their pizzas than sausage.

Now, if you’re like us, you probably think those two go pretty well together. This is pizza, so to each their own, but take it from us, if you like sausage and mushroom separately, you’ll love them partying together on a pizza.
That means sausage was number three, right? Wrong. The number three ingredient was extra cheese. Can’t say we blame you. It’s hard to get enough of that gooey mozzarella, and it’s great for holding your pepperoni and mushrooms in place.

Sausage, in fact, came in fourth in our survey and it represented one of only two meats to make the top 10 (pepperoni, obviously, being the other).

You guys like your vegetables!

What about pineapple and anchovies? Well, pineapple didn’t make the top 10, but only by a few votes. It was 11th overall with a preference of about 23%.

To learn how anchovies fared, you’ll have to check out part two of our survey report. (Spoiler: It’s called “The Least Popular Pizza Toppings.”)

Geeking Out on Meat and Vegetable Subcategory Data

But that’s not all! If we really geek out, we can drill down a little farther into meats and vegetables separately. Here we find the data . . . more or less matching the overall rankings pretty closely.

The top three meats are, in order, pepperoni, sausage, and bacon. But check out these percentages: Pepperoni received over twice as many votes as sausage, and sausage received over twice as many votes as bacon, which only received 8.5% of the votes.

In other words, many of you might choose two or even all three of these for any given pie, but if your back was against the wall (say, if you were doing a scientifically sketchy Pequod’s online survey), you’re on Team Pepperoni.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the same goes for veggies. The top three vegetable toppings were mushroom, onion, and green pepper. Mushroom outscored onion about 2 to 1, while green pepper was only 3% behind onion.

Interestingly, the overall distribution was closer than with the meats, and green pepper outscored black olives, though they came in lower in overall rankings.

Our expert interpretation? You feel less passionate about your vegetable toppings and probably include two or more whenever you put them on your pie. You may like some of them in combination more than you care for them individually.

With the possible exception of green pepper people, who though a smaller portion of you, feel strongly enough to prefer them to the otherwise popular black olives.

The Top 10 Pizza Toppings

Here they are, then, your top 10 pizza toppings, ranked by how many people in our survey said they would include these ingredients in their favorite pizza:

  • Pepperoni
  • Mushroom
  • Extra cheese
  • Sausage
  • Onion
  • Black olives
  • Green pepper
  • Fresh garlic
  • Tomato
  • Fresh basil

How many of your favorite toppings made our top 10? How well did your favorite meat or veggie fare compared to the alternatives? Did your fellow Pequod’s customers surprise you in their topping preferences?

You have read about the most popular toppings, now see what customers had to say were their least favorite pizza toppings.

The good news is you can always get what you want on your pie no matter how popular or unpopular it is with other people. But maybe this will inspire you to be brave next time and finally take a chance on an ingredient you normally shy away from.

Black olives, anyone?