Pizza is the most popular food in America (as well as on Instagram), so it isn’t surprising that several studies have focused on the classic Italian dish. For instance, some scientists have found a link between your personality type and your favorite pizza topping; others discovered that pizza (not money) increases productivity in the workplace; while still others found that just looking at pictures of a pepperoni-smothered pie with your spouse can improve the happiness of your marriage. Yes, seriously.
Well, if you have ever wondered about what toppings people prefer on their pizza across the country, today is your lucky day. Delish recently joined forces with Slice, a nationwide online and mobile ordering platform for local pizzerias, to identify the three most popular toppings in each state — and the findings may surprise you.
First off, vegetarian pizza didn't top of the list in any of the states. Every single state prefers at least one meat item — usually pepperoni — on its pies.
The most popular topping combination in the country — sausage, pepperoni and mushrooms — isn’t exactly the most nutritious. Favored by those in Illinois, home of the deep dish, as well as people living in the states of Indiana, Nevada, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Arizona, Colorado and Oklahoma, your average slice is anywhere from 285 to 312 calories.
California may be considered the most health-conscious state in the union, so it isn’t shocking that its residents tend to stay away from those carb- and calorie-heavy stuffed crusts. However, they also aren’t topping their pizzas with kale and avocado. Pepperoni and mushrooms are actually the toppings of choice.
And get this: People in Hawaii aren’t necessarily heaping their plates with Hawaiian pizza. While ham is one of the state’s three favorite toppings, pineapple didn’t make the cut. Instead, sausage and artichoke hearts top pies in the Aloha State. Because, um, whose taste buds aren’t titillated by the combined flavors of ham, sausage and artichoke?
In fact, pineapple is popular in only two states — Maine and Oregon — and neither pairs it with ham. While the East Coast crowd prefers the fruit with mushrooms and pepperoni, those on the West Coast opt for thick crust with pepperoni.
Black olives also proved to be a less-than-popular choice — unless you live in Idaho, where residents like them tossed on a thin-crust pizza with pepperoni.
Bacon, one of the more fattening toppings you can add to a pizza, isn’t just for breakfast in Massachusetts, where it gets layered with pepperoni and extra cheese and weighs in around 350 calories a slice. It’s also popular in Michigan (home of Domino’s and Little Caesars), where pepperoni, bacon and ham pizzas are the golden combination, and in Connecticut (yes, where Mystic Pizza is located). Missouri is also a pork-loving state: Bacon, sausage and pepperoni is its jam.
In Kansas, where barbecue is almost a religion, you will find beef and pepperoni pizzas. And over in Nebraska they add a little sausage to the meat party.
New Jersey and New York are traditionally serious about their pizza, so it isn’t surprising that folks in both states keep their pies pure and simple (but not too healthy), with extra cheese, sausage and pepperoni.
Here’s the bottom line: Pizza is delicious. But from this research it’s obvious that most of the pizza being ordered isn’t exactly healthy. The average slice of cheese pizza is around 285 calories, so the calorie count will only increase by adding more toppings to your order. As always, moderation is key. One slice of pizza won’t do too much damage to your diet, but eating an entire pie probably will.
If all of this pizza talk is too cheesy for your taste, there are healthier options. For instance, you can opt for whole-grain or multigrain dough, ditch meats and even go dairy-free. For some inspiration, here are 10 delicious dairy-free pizza recipes.
And if you are curious what pizza is popular where you live, head over to Delish for the full list.
Read more: The 14 Best Foods for Your Heart
What Do YOU Think?
What is your favorite pizza combination? Are you surprised by the most popular pizza orders? How many slices of pizza do you eat in a sitting?