Hand-Tossed vs. Handmade Pan Pizza – The Difference

What is Pan Pizza? 

Hand-tossed vs. handmade pan pizza, is there a difference? So, what is pan pizza? As per its name, this is pizza baked in pans or deep dishes.

Pan pizza has a thicker crust, is crisp on the exterior, and is doughy on the interior, with toppings and sauce layered on top. 

Pizzeria Uno created the pizza 1940s in Chicago, Illinois, and it eventually spread to other regions of the United States.

Pizza with black olive

The Definition of Hand-Tossed Pan Pizza

Hand-tossed pan pizza involves hand-stretching the dough to form a pan-shaped crust. Several ingredients, such as sauce, cheese, meats, vegetables, and herbs piled on top of the dough in a deep dish or skillet and then baked on a stone or slab. 

Pan pizza crust manually tossed is crispy in texture using yeast and high-gluten flour in its customary preparation. These pizzas are popular for their wonderful toppings and crunchy dough. 

Hand-tossed pan pizza has its roots in the United States; one of the popular ones is the New York-style pizza. 

Due to its distinctive texture and flavor, hand-tossed pan pizza has become a favorite option among pizza enthusiasts. 

What is Handmade Pan Pizza?

What is handmade pan pizza? This pizza is made from scratch and does not use pre-made dough or ingredients. This type of pizza has a unique texture and taste, as well as high-quality ingredients.

Making handmade pan pizza starts with the dough, made using a combination of flour, water, yeast, and other ingredients. Then after hand kneading, the dough rises, creating a flavorful crust. 

Once the dough has risen, the process of hand forming starts before placing the dough in a skillet or pan and then topped with various ingredients such as sauce, cheese, meats, vegetables, and herbs.

The dough for handmade pan pizza uses high-quality ingredients, such as unbleached flour and fresh yeast. This results in a crust that is crispy on the outside and doughy on the inside, with a unique texture and taste. 

The toppings used on handmade pan pizza are also typically high quality and often sourced from local or artisanal producers.

Handmade pan pizza is a popular choice among pizza lovers who appreciate the care and attention that goes into making it. 

Making handmade pan pizza can take longer than using pre-made dough and ingredients, but the results are worth the wait.

Handmade pan pizza typically sells by the pie rather than the slice, as using a deep dish makes the pizza quite thick, and one slice can often be enough to fill a person up.

Handmade pan pizza is a delicious and distinct type of pizza distinguished by its high-quality ingredients, distinct texture, and delectable taste. It’s ideal for those who appreciate the care and attention that goes into making it, as well as those who enjoy experimenting with different toppings.

What is the Difference Between Handmade and Hand-Tossed Pan Pizza?

The preparation of handmade and hand-tossed pizza is different. While the making of both types of pizza requires a deep dish or pan, the preparation method and ingredients used differentiate them. 


Handmade pan pizza vs. hand-tossed dough ingredients are the same, comprising olive oil, flour, yeast, salt, and warm water are the ingredients. The dough for hand-tossed pizza is softer and thinner because of the tossing in the air to give it the ideal shape before baking.

The dough ought to be just a little malleable. During baking, the dough of a hand-tossed pizza frequently puffs up and spreads. Pan pizza has a firmer and thicker crust. Due to the pan’s lack of expansion space, the pizza is fluffier.


Another difference between hand-tossed and pan pizza is the thickness and chewiness of the crusts. The hand-tossed crust contains fewer air bubbles and doesn’t rise as much as a crust cooked in a pan.

Hand-tossed pizza has a less-cheesy dough and a flatter top than a regular pizza. The air bubbles are often ruptured and cause crumbling dough when tossed. The result is a thin or medium crust because the dough won’t rise in the oven. 

Pizza in a deep dish or pan features a thicker, fluffier dough and more cheese. Because a pan is a confined space, the dough rises much higher, resulting in a thicker crust. 


Handmade pan vs. hand-tossed toppings for both thin and thick-crust pizzas are similar. The crust of a hand-tossed pizza has fewer toppings than a pan pizza and is much lighter. 

You can add extra toppings because of the pan pizza’s broader crust which you can change to suit your preferences. Pan pizza will usually have heavy toppings because they have a thicker crust, 

Compared to hand-tossed pizza, pan pizza uses more cheese on the toppings. Texture

Hand-tossed vs. handmade pan pizzas also differ in texture. Handmade pizza is dry and soft, while pan-made pizza is usually golden and crunchy from cooking the pizza in oil. The toppings added to the pizza, such as cheese, can also have an impact on the texture of the pizza. 


Handmade pizza has a loaf of bread which is comparable to a flatbread. Pan pizza has a fluffier taste and is bread-like, and has a 1-inch (2.5 centimeters) crust.

However, for both, the flavor will usually depend on the toppings such that hand-tossed toppings are less oily as they are dehydrated, resulting in a crunchy texture.

How to Make Hand-Tossed Pan Pizza at Home

Making hand-tossed pan pizza at home can be a fun activity. You can make your favorite pizza without going out. It is a great option for pizza night with family and friends or for a fun weekend activity.

Making a pan pizza is simple, and here is a simple step-by-step method to follow. 

  • Start by making the dough as preferred, then pour oil into the iron skillet and preheat the oven to 527 degrees Fahrenheit (275 degrees Celsius).
  • Ensure the dough spreads evenly, all with the edge touching the sides of the skillet, to ensure the crust cooks uniformly.
  • Add the ingredients you want on your pizza, such as sauce, cheese, pepperoni, meat, and seasonings on top of your pizza.
  • Bake the pizza for 20 to 25 minutes, until the cheese is bubbling and the crust is brown, then serve and enjoy.
Pizza with cheese

How to Make Homemade Pan Pizza at Home

Making homemade pan pizza requires patience, and it takes practice to master the skill of tossing and turning, but with time and practice, you will get better at it. 

  • After preparing traditional pizza dough, shape it into a smaller circle by using your fingers to spread it out. Use your fingertips to smooth the edges to create a round shape, and press firmly to form a thick crust around the edges.
  • To prepare a small pizza crust, ensure the dough has a firm structure. Then, sprinkle flour on the surface and dough, and using your dominant hand and holding the dough like a dinner plate, start tossing the dough counter-clockwise.
  • This step will take a bit of practice to master; however, allow the dough to rotate and fall back into your hand until you get the desired shape. 
  • Then place the pizza into the pan and add all the toppings you want. Bake at 527°F (275°C). for 12 to 15 minutes, serve and enjoy. 

FAQs on Pan Pizza

Between Handmade and Hand-Tossed Pan Pizza – Which is Healthier?

When comparing the healthiness of handmade and hand-tossed pan pizza, there are a few factors to consider. Handmade pan pizza is generally healthier as it uses high-quality, fresh ingredients sourced from local or artisanal producers. 

The preparation of dough from scratch means it contains fewer additives and preservatives. Additionally, when making pizza at home, you have control over the amount of salt, sugar, and oil you use, which can make a difference in the overall nutritional value of the pizza. 

On the other hand, some hand-tossed pan pizza uses pre-made dough and ingredients, which can contain more additives and preservatives, and may not be as fresh. 

It is also important to remember that the toppings and the processed ingredients and quantities can make a difference in the overall healthiness of the pizza.

What are the Most Common Forms of Hand-Tossed Pan Pizza?

Chicago Style Pan Pizza

The most common forms of hand-tossed pan pizza are deep-dish and Chicago-style pizza.

Deep-dish pizza is a type of pizza that originated in Chicago, which has a thick, crispy crust and layered toppings stretched out as a rectangle. The flour used to make the dough has a high gluten content and requires pre-baking before adding toppings. 

Toppings vary greatly, but standard options include pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, onions, and peppers. The sauce spread on top of the toppings usually contains tomatoes, olive oil, and various herbs and spices.

Neapolitan Pizza

The traditional Italian pizza originated in Naples, Italy, and is known for its thin and crispy crust and simple toppings, such as tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, basil, and olive oil. 

Neapolitan pizza cooking requires a wood-fired oven at a high temperature, which results in a perfectly cooked crust characterized by leopard spotting on the edges.

New York Style Pizza

This pizza originated in New York City and has a large, thin, and foldable crust. New York-style pizza usually sells by the slice and is often topped with various condiments, like oregano, red pepper flakes, Parmesan cheese, and garlic powder.

The best way to maintain the delicious crispy taste of the New York Style pizza is to cook wood, coal, and gas deck ovens.

Sicilian Pizza

Sicilian pizza originated in Sicily, Italy, was brought to America by Silician immigrants in the 19th Century and has a thick and doughy crust. Sicilian pizza usually sells by the square and can be topped with various ingredients such as tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and anchovies.

Detroit Pizza

This pizza originated in Detroit and has a thick, square-shaped crust and crispy edges. Detroit-style pizza typical toppings include various ingredients such as pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, onions, and peppers.

Why is Hand-Tossed Pan Pizza so Special?

Hand-tossed pan pizza is special for a variety of reasons. One of the main reasons is its unique texture and taste.

This method allows for a crispy crust on the outside and a doughy texture on the inside, creating a unique balance of textures not found in other types of pizza.

Another reason why hand-tossed pan pizza is special is its versatility. The toppings used on hand-tossed pan pizza vary greatly, from classic pepperoni and sausage to more unique options like bacon and goat cheese. There are endless possibilities when creating new and delicious pizza combinations.

The deep-dish or pan-cooking method also allows for more generous portions of toppings, cheese, and sauce, resulting in a more satisfying and fulfilling pizza experience.

Where Does Handmade Pan Pizza Come From?

Handmade pan pizza origins trace back to Naples, Italy, where pizza has been a traditional food for centuries. Pizza makers in Italy even have an organization called the National Pizza Makers Association that monitors the production and quality of the pizza. 

Handmade pan pizza, however, is a variation of traditional Italian pizza and originates in the United States. 

The pizza is a variation of the classic American-style pizza, developed by pizza makers who wanted to create a thicker crust, similar to the deep-dish pizza from Chicago. 

What are the Different Forms of Handmade Pizza?

Handmade pizza comes in many different forms with unique characteristics and flavor profiles. Here are a few of the most popular forms of handmade pizza:

Stuffed Pan Pizza

The preparation involves stuffing the pizza with desired toppings on the dough, then folded over and sealed before baking. This pizza is perfect for those who dislike eating pizza crust.

The origins of stuffed pan pizza are controversial and date back to Anthony Mongiello from Brooklyn, who filed a patent in 1985. However, Pizza Hut popularized it in 1995, which resulted in a lawsuit by Mongiello for copyright infringement which he lost. 

Today stuffed pizza is a popular dish in slumber parties and many family and friends gatherings. 

Fruit and Nut Pan Pizza

Fruit and nut pan pizza, which is best as a dessert and made from premade dough topped with fruits and nuts and then baked until the crust is brown and the toppings have bubbles. 

What is so Unique About Handmade Pizza?

Handmade pizza is a perfect choice for pizza lovers who appreciate the care and attention that goes into making it and enjoy experimenting with different toppings. 

Here are the reasons why handmade pizzas are unique:

Fresh Ingredients

Handmade pizza uses high-quality, fresh ingredients often sourced from local or artisanal producers. This results in a pizza that is flavorful and unique in taste. The common ingredients for making a delicious handmade pizza are handmade dough, freshly crushed tomatoes, and high-quality cheese.


Handmade pizza is customizable, allowing you to create a pizza tailored to your taste preferences. To create a truly unique pizza, you can choose from various toppings, sauces, and cheeses.

The Process

Because it is handmade, it adds a personal touch and a sense of authenticity to the pizza. The dough-making process requires some hand-kneading, hand-forming, and placing the toppings by hand, resulting in a truly one-of-a-kind pizza.

The Details

When making handmade pizza, the process requires attention to details such as the temperature, timing, and technique used to make the dough and cook the pizza. The result is a high-quality pizza with a unique texture, taste, and appearance.

Nutritional Value

Handmade pizza contains fewer additives and preservatives and is lower in sodium than mass-produced pizzas, making it a healthier option.

Is There a Difference Between Original and Hand-Tossed Pizza?

There are several distinct differences between original and hand-tossed pizza. 

The main difference between the two pizzas is the crust. The original pizza has a thick crust, while hand-tossed pizza has a thinner crust due to the air that gets into the crust as a result of rising.

The other difference is the sauce; the original pizza uses chunkier and rustic sauce, while the sauce for hand-tossed pizza is much smoother and lighter. 

Another difference is the size and shape of the pizza; original pizza, such as Neapolitan pizza, is typically small and round, while hand-tossed pizza can be of different sizes and shapes, like square, rectangle, or round.

Lastly, toppings for hand-tossed pizza are much lighter to the fluffier taste of dough, while toppings for original pizza are much heavier. 

Pan pizza

Final Verdict

In conclusion, handmade and hand-tossed pizzas are two different types of pizza made using similar ingredients but differ in preparation and cooking processes resulting in two different-tasting pizzas.

Pan pizza is growing in popularity in many American pizzerias, and people of all ages enjoy it, making it a perfect choice for pizza lovers looking for something special.

Handmade and hand-tossed pizzas have unique flavors, and the choice between the two depends on one’s preference for the taste and the process of making the pizza.