does pineapple belong on pizza
Food & Drinks

Does Pineapple Belong On Pizza?

Pizza is one of the most versatile and readily available foods. It can be eaten almost any time of the day, and it comes in different variations with no limitations when it comes to toppings.

One of the most debated pizza toppings is pineapple. While many people enjoy its sweet and tart flavor, there are also those who despise its taste and texture. In this article, we consider both sides. Join us as we take a closer look at the pros and cons that often accompany this age-old question. But before we dive in, let’s review the interesting history of pineapple pizza.

A Quick History of Pineapple Pizza

Pineapple Pizza

We have the Italians to thank for introducing pizza to the world. But who gets the credit for putting pineapple on pizza? Given the divisiveness of the topic, the person behind the pizza topping is likely to be either adored or abhorred.

The man behind the idea is Sotirios “Sam” Panopoulos. He was a Greek-born Canadian businessman and cook who invented this much-debated pizza in 1962. To this day, the controversy surrounding his pizza creation remains loud and ongoing.

According to the story, Sam settled down in Elliot Lake, Ontario, where he worked in the mines. Together with his brothers, Sam owned and operated the Satellite Restaurant located in Chatham where they offered an all-American menu of fries and burgers as well as some Chinese dishes.

In the 1960s, Sam got the idea of putting pineapple on his pizza thanks to inspiration from American and Chinese dishes that often combined sweet and savory flavors. During his first attempt at pineapple pizza, he used canned pineapples. When he served his creation to his customers, they loved it and the rest, as they say, is history.

Back then, there was no debate yet on whether pineapple should be used as a pizza topping because many people enjoyed it. As a result, pineapple on pizza earned its official name — Hawaiian pizza — which is still how we refer to it today.

Although the Hawaiian pizza had zero connection with the island of Hawaii, the name might have come from the tiki trend that was taking over North America just as the pineapple pizza rose in popularity.

Does Pineapple Belong on Pizza?

Belongs on Pizza

If you want to spark debate in any social gathering, all you have to do is ask, “Does pineapple belong on pizza?” Almost everyone has an opinion on the matter and will passionately defend their stance.

Even the famous chef, Gordon Ramsay, couldn’t help but publicly share his opinion as a guest on Comedy Central’s The Nightly Show. During his appearance, he began asking the audience about possible pizza toppings. When someone suggested pineapple, Gordon vehemently responded, “Pineapple does not go on top of pizza.”

Meanwhile, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Paris Hilton, and Jimmy Kimmel have been vocal about their love for pineapple pizza. Regardless of where you stand, let’s give both sides of the argument a fair chance by considering their reasons.

Why Pineapple Belongs on Pizza


Image source: Pinterest

Here are the most frequent arguments of people who love pineapple pizza.

#1. Pineapple complements other toppings.

Pineapple on pizza advocates believe that pineapple complements the taste and texture of the pizza crust and its other toppings. The tropical pineapple balances the nutty flavor of mozzarella cheese and the saltiness of ham and pepperoni.

#2. Pineapple is one of the healthier pizza toppings.

The light tang that the pineapple provides is refreshing to the palate. Since it’s a fruit, it’s a little healthier than other toppings like, say, pepperoni which is loaded with fat and calories.

Pineapple contains vitamins and minerals that include vitamins A, B6, E, and K; calcium; folate; iron; magnesium; phosphorous; potassium; and zinc. Pineapple also contains fiber and antioxidants that can boost our immunity and help our bodies fight inflammation.

#3. Pineapple can satisfy our sweet tooth.

Since pineapple is naturally sweet, it can be a healthier way to satisfy one’s cravings. Instead of reaching for a bar of chocolate, you can opt for a pineapple pizza and let the fruit’s delicious juices satiate your appetite.

Of course, pizzas aren’t all that healthy overall because they contain generous amounts of salt, cheese, processed meats, and unhealthy sauces. However, you can introduce a few tweaks to make it less harmful.

Aside from including pineapple in your toppings, opt for healthier ingredients like shrimp, chicken, and vegetables. You can also trade the dough of your Hawaiian pizza with a thin crust or a cauliflower crust.

#4. Anything goes when it comes to pizza toppings.

Some people are more adventurous with their food than others. They believe that they can put anything — including pineapple — on pizza and it will still come out delicious.

And why not? Historically, many people have experimented with an assortment of unusual pizza toppings. They are so varied and unique that pineapple on pizza seems like a classic pairing by comparison.

According to the pizzeria Papa John’s, some of the most uncommon toppings are:

• Tomato ketchup and mustard
• Heinz Baked Beans
• Peas
• Cold fish
• Macaroni cheese
• Crab
• Mashed potato
• Chocolate
• Caramelized onions, goat’s cheese, and apples
• Crocodile, emu, and kangaroo
• Peanuts, curry powder, chicken, bananas, and pineapple
• Fries, burgers, and chicken nuggets
• Squid ink

#5. Pineapple makes you feel like you’re on a tropical vacation.

Throughout history, pineapple has become heavily associated with island life. It is a tropical fruit after all. One bite and it transports some people to a tropical vacation with white sand beaches, salty breezes, and palm trees.

That isn’t something you get from other toppings like pepperoni, bell peppers, and onions.

Why Pineapple Doesn’t Belong on Pizza

Doesn’t Belong on Pizza

Image source: Pinterest

Now that we’ve given Hawaiian pizza lovers a chance, let’s consider the naysayers.

#1. The flavor of pineapple overwhelms the other toppings.

Some believe that the taste of different pizza toppings should complement and balance each other out. Pineapple’s strong and distinctive flavor doesn’t make this possible. Instead of creating a harmonious blend on the palate, it overpowers the other flavors so one can only taste the pineapple.

There are also those who believe that cheese and pineapple make a horrible combination.

#2. Fruits don’t belong on pizza.

Another argument for people who prefer their pizzas without pineapple is the idea that fruits don’t belong on pizza. Meat and vegetables are okay but when you introduce fruits, it gets a little weird.

#3. When combined, pineapples and tomatoes are too acidic.

Pineapples and tomatoes are fine on their own but when you put the two together, the flavor profile becomes unpleasantly acidic. This is especially problematic for those with sensitive digestive systems because it can cause an upset stomach.

#4. Pineapple creates a soggy crust.

The pineapples that are used as pizza toppings usually come from a can which means that they have been soaking in syrup for a good amount of time. Even after they’re strained, the pineapple chunks will retain some of the liquid which can affect the integrity of the crust and make it soggy.

#5. Pineapple makes leftover pizza less palatable.

One of the great things about pizza is it’s delicious even when reheated. Whether you pop it in the microwave or oven, it’s still a mouthwatering dish. However, if your pizza has pineapple on it, the fruit topping becomes dry and tough, making your reheated pizza less enjoyable to eat.

#6. Its taste and texture don’t belong on pizza.

The juiciness and firmness of pineapple can be too much for some pizza-loving people. Compared to other toppings, pineapple is more firm and thus more difficult to eat. The juicy sweetness of pineapple can also ruin the savory flavor of pizza. It challenges the status quo that fruits and sweet treats make better desserts than main dishes.

What Does the Majority Say?

Majority Say

Image source: Pinterest

Anyone who eats pizza has an opinion about pineapple on pizza. But it’s interesting to discover what most people prefer.

According to a 2023 poll that surveyed American adults, most people like having it as a topping. Fifty-nine percent — in fact — said that they liked or loved it. This means that only 41% expressed a dislike for the pizza topping.

If you look at other surveys, you’ll find that most of them have pineapple-loving respondents. So, when it comes to the majority, the pro-pineapple group wins.

Interestingly, several famous chefs have expressed their aversion to pineapple as a pizza topping. Aside from Gordon Ramsay, chefs Bobby Flay and Anthony Carron are against it.

Chef Emily, who owns pizzerias in New York, offers a more balanced take. According to her, “Everything, even pineapple, is an acceptable pizza topping as long as it is balanced and not overpowering.”

A Few Parting Words

No matter how you feel about pineapple as a pizza topping, it all comes down to choice. Whether you belong to the majority who like it or the slightly smaller group who prefers their pizzas sans pineapple, we encourage you to experiment with different pizza variations and toppings until you find your favorites.

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