Meat vs. Veggie: The Ultimate Guide to Pizza Toppings for Every Palette

  • By: Mike
  • Date: September 14, 2023
  • Time to read: 6 min.

Meat vs Veggie Pizza? A common dinner time debate.

Pizza is a beloved staple that invites endless creativity in toppings. But one of the big debates remains meat lovers vs. veggie enthusiasts.

Should you load up on pepperoni and sausage? Or pile on peppers, mushrooms and more? This guide explores how to pick the perfect pizza toppings whether you crave meaty or veggie pies.

Meat Toppings for Max Flavor

For pizza carnivores, meat toppings provide hearty richness and flavor. From crisped pepperoni to smoky bacon, meat satisfies pizza cravings with protein.


The quintessential pizza meat, pepperoni provides salty, spicy and slightly charred crispy bites. Go with lots of thin slices for the best meaty distribution.

Sausage and Ground Beef

Italian sausage and ground beef crumbles supply savory, grease-cutting flavor to pizza. Cook before topping to avoid a greasy pie.


Who doesn’t love bacon? The crisp, salty pork pairs perfectly on pizza. Add crumbled bacon or whole strips, maybe alongside pineapple for a sweet salty twist.

Ham and Salami

Salty cured meats like ham, salami and prosciutto add bold flavor when layered on pizza, especially with cheese.


Chicken transforms pizza into a meal with versatility. Use crisped chicken cutlets, buffalo sauce, bbq or garlic Parmesan with red sauce or white sauce.


These tiny fish pack an umami punch on pizza. Their brininess balances tomato sauce and cheese richness.

Veggie Toppings for Freshness

For a lighter, brighter pizza, vegetables add nutrition without sacrificing flavor. From produce market finds to freezer faves, veggies make pizza healthy, colorful and crave-worthy.


Meaty mushrooms like cremini, portobello and white button lend deep umami savoriness to veggie pies. Go for sliced or chopped.


Sweet onions, red onions, shallots and scallions all provide flavor layers, from sharp to mellow. Caramelized onions are a treat.

Bell Peppers

Tri-color bell peppers – red, green, yellow, and orange – give sweetness and crunch. Other hot peppers like jalapeno or banana peppers bring spice.

Spinach and Kale

Pile on leafy greens for a nutrition boost. They wilt down beautifully on hot pizza.


Briny, salty olives make a flavorful plant-based topping. Green, black or kalamata olives work on any veggie pizza.


Fresh, sun-ripened tomatoes are ideal but even canned diced tomatoes add tasty acidity and texture, especially when roasted first.

Broccoli and Cauliflower

These cruciferous veggies add great texture contrasts when roasted or raw. Try spirals for visual appeal too.


Meaty roasted eggplant, especially with garlic and herbs, makes a hearty veggie topping. Thin slices prevent a soggy pie.


Marinated or roasted artichoke hearts lend unique flavor for veggie lovers. Mix in other veggies or make a deconstructed artichoke dip pizza.


When sweet corn is in season, add kernels cut from the cob to pizza for pops of juicy sweetness.

Balancing Meat vs Veggie Toppings

The best pies feature a carefully crafted blend of meats and veggies. Here are some tips for the ideal combo:

Use Restraint

Limit toppings to 2-3 meats and 1-2 veggies for balance. Too many make pizza sodden.

Match Intensity

Pair bold meats with assertive veggies like spicy sausage and onion or pepperoni with mushrooms. Milder toppings complement without competing.

Layer Strategically

Underneath toppings prevent a soggy crust. Place meats on top of veggies to avoid grease-soaked dough.

Get Colorful

Choose toppings with contrasting colors like red meat, white onions, green peppers, and black olives for visual appeal.

Include Texture Variety

Think crispy, meaty, juicy, crunchy. Bacon for crispy, chicken for chew, tomatoes for moisture, peppers for crunch.

Roast First

Roasting concentrates flavor and removes water from meats and veggies alike. This intensifies taste without making crust soggy.

Specialty Pizzas for Meat & Veggie Lovers

Certain beloved pie styles cater to meat fans or veggie devotees. Consider these specialties for focused flavor.

Meat Lover’s Dream

Pepperoni, Italian sausage, bacon, ham or prosciutto – pack on any and all cured meats. The combination of flavors and textures is hard to beat.


Contrast salty ham or Canadian bacon with sweet juicy pineapple and a hit of spice from jalapenos or chili flakes. It’s a perfect sweet, salty and spicy trio.


The kitchen sink of meats and veggies. Pepperoni, sausage, onions, peppers, mushrooms, olives – you name it, it’s on there. Great for big crowds.


The classic Neapolitan pizza allows juicy tomato sauce, melted buffalo mozzarella and fresh basil leaves to shine in their simple glory.


Artichokes, spinach, roasted eggplant, roasted peppers, olives, feta cheese create vibrant Mediterranean flavors.

Pesto Veggie

A blank pesto canvas invites any combination of meatless toppings. Try mushrooms, tomatoes, peppers, spinach, peppers, onions, broccoli, artichokes.

White Veggie

Ricotta sauce makes a creamy base to build unique veggie pies like butternut squash, caramelized onions, crispy kale with lemon zest. The options are limitless.

BBQ Chicken

Tangy BBQ sauce replaces tomato sauce for a change of pace. Top with chicken, onions, peppers, and cilantro.

Making Great Pizza for Meat & Vegetable Fans

Use these preparation tips to build pizzas with maximum flavor:

Start with a Quality Crust

A sturdy yet crisp crust holds hefty toppings without getting soggy. Opt for higher protein bread flours for structure.

Use the Right Cheese

Low moisture mozzarella contains less oil to prevent a greasy pie. Grated blends melt easily. Mix in Parmesan, feta or goat cheese for interest.

Sauce in Moderation

Too much sauce will make crust soft. Use just enough to coat the base then layer toppings over the sauce.

Roast Veggies First

Roasting concentrates flavor and removes excess moisture from veggies. Toss in olive oil, salt, pepper and roast at 400°F.

Cook Meats Beforehand

Pre-cooking meats like sausage, pepperoni and bacon prevents raw pork and grease on the pizza.

Finish with Fresh Herbs

No matter the toppings, freshly chopped basil, oregano, chives or cilantro add a final punch of flavor and aroma right before serving.

Use High Oven Heat

Crank it to the highest temp, ideally 500°F or above, for proper dough crisping and melted toppings without overcooking.

Pizza Tools for Topping Success

Having the right tools makes topping pizzas a breeze:

  • Benches and scrapers handle sticky dough without extra flour mess.
  • A pizza peel easily slides topped pizzas into the oven.
  • A pizza cutter quickly divides the pie into perfect slices.
  • Graters make fast work of shredding piles of cheese.
  • Quality knives chop vegetables and slice meats thinly and evenly.
  • Sheet pans help organize toppings as you build.

With the right prep, any combination of meat and veggie toppings can create your perfect pizza! Don’t be afraid to get creative with sauces, cheeses and passion for pies.


What are the most popular pizza toppings?

Pepperoni, mushrooms, onions, sausage, bacon, ground beef, bell peppers, olives, chicken, tomatoes.

Which vegetables work best on pizza?

Mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, spinach, bell peppers, broccoli, eggplant, artichokes, roasted garlic.

What’s the best way to cook vegetables for pizza?

Roast them in the oven first to intensify flavor and reduce water content. Toss in olive oil and seasonings.

How do you keep vegetable toppings from making pizza soggy?

Roast them first. Also layer under cheese and other toppings to prevent direct contact with the crust.

What are quick tips for cooking meat before adding to pizza?

Pan fry crumbled sausage and ground beef. Microwave pepperoni slices. Bake bacon strips. Sauté cubed chicken.

How can you prevent a greasy pizza with lots of meat toppings?

Choose lower-fat meats like chicken or Canadian bacon. Cook off excess grease before topping pizza. Blot pizza with paper towels after baking.

What are good pizza toppings for those who don’t love veggies or meat?

Extra cheese, olives, pineapple, peppers, garlic, corn, artichoke hearts.

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