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Pan Pizza vs. Hand Tossed – Differences? Similarities?

Pan Pizza vs. Hand Tossed – Differences? Similarities?

Maybe you have been to a pizza restaurant recently and found yourself tripped up when someone who works there stops to ask if you would like your pizza hand-tossed or as a pan pizza.

You aren’t sure which one is better, and you aren’t sure about the differences between the two if you are being honest with yourself. That is why you need to check out the information that we have to provide to you here.

We break down how pan pizza and hand-tossed pizza are similar to one another, how they are different, and which one you should choose. 


Pizza dough balls on wooden table.

The ingredients that make up both a pan pizza and a hand-tossed pizza are generally the same. They include: 

  • Yeast
  • Salt
  • Warm water
  • Flour
  • Olive Oil

The difference comes in when you look at how the dough of each type of pizza is used. For example, the hand-tossed pizza is going to use a softer and thinner dough for its creation.

The reason for this is that the dough needs to be thrown in the air as it is being prepared. That is a hallmark staple of how hand-tossed pizza is created, and that is why it has the name “hand-tossed”.

The pan pizza will have a thicker dough that is also stiffer to the touch. This type of pizza will not leave much room in the pan for it to expand when it is cooked, and it is certainly something that people order that way on purpose. The dough is meant to fit the pan and nothing more. 

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How They are Prepared?

Pizza dough and rolling pinon table.

People often overlook the preparation of their favorite pizzas as a relatively unimportant detail, but that just isn’t true. The preparation of a pizza determines a lot about how it will ultimately taste in the end.

Make your pizza just right, and you should be in great shape for a delightful experience. However, each type of pizza is made a little differently. Here is what you need to know about hand-tossed versus pan pizza preparation styles. 

The experience of preparing a hand-tossed pizza is fun to watch. The preparer will knead the dough until it is soft and then begin to toss it in the air. They are trying to find just the right shape for that pizza so that they can get it to conform to the way that they want it to look and taste for the lucky person who gets to try it out. 

Once you have the hand-tossed pizza in exactly the right shape and size, then you will stick it in the oven at a temperature of approximately 500 degrees for about 10 to 15 minutes to get it cooked just right. It will come out of the oven piping hot and ready to be served.

Pan pizzas are a bit easier to prepare than a hand-tossed one. When making a pan pizza, one will need to form the dough into a ball and add oil to it (this helps with forming it into a ball in the first place). Next, the preparer will use their fingertips to press the dough ball into the shape of the pan or skillet that they are using to cook the thing.

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They should press it into the exact shape of the skillet or pan that they are working with. There should be little to no room between the edge of the dough and the edge of the pan when done properly. 

After that, the pan pizza is cooked in an oven at 500 degrees for about 25 to 30 minutes to achieve perfection. 

A Big Difference in the Crust

A two pan pizza.

One of the biggest differences that you will find between a hand-toss pizza and a pan pizza is in the crust. The hand-tossed pizza has a thinner crust with much less cheese on it than the pan pizza.

The tossing motion that is used to create the hand-tossed pizza will eliminate certain air bubbles in the dough that would have caused the dough to rise more than it normally would. Thus, the hand-tossed pizza is designed with the idea of eliminating some of the crust from its creation in the first place. 

A pan pizza is meant to be heavy on dough, cheese, and toppings. It is meant to be a very hearty way to serve pizza, and you can see the difference between a pan pizza and a hand-tossed pizza in the way that the crust comes out. 

The pan pizza will appear greasier than a hand-tossed pizza because there is oil used to make a pan pizza. The hand-tossed pizza does not have that, and thus does not come out of the oven with the greasy look and taste that the pan pizza may have.

Still, plenty of people love a hand-tossed pizza just fine. It is just one of the differences that people sometimes note when talking about how these different styles of creating pizza ultimately result in different outcomes. 

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Two hand tossed pizza.

There is a similarity between hand-tossed and pan pizza in terms of the toppings that you can find on both. That is to say that both types of pizza tend to have a significant number of toppings on them. People love toppings on their pizza, and it is nice to know that there are options available to people no matter what specifically they want to put on their pizza.

There is not a preferred style in terms of which toppings need to go on which pizza, but you might want to opt for a pan pizza if you want a more concentrated number of toppings on your pizza as this style of pizza is less spread out and ultimately results in more toppings going on a smaller surface area. 


Pan pizza on skillet.

Both of these styles of pizza are said to have a crispy taste to them. This is due in part to the fact that they are both cooked at such high temperatures.

When you consider the fact that each pizza goes into the oven at 500 degrees, it is hardly a surprise that they come out tasting a little crispy. That said, you can certainly appreciate the fact that each type of pizza has been specifically created with the customer in mind. 

The pan pizza has a little more of a doughy taste to it which is what many people like. However, some prefer the crispy crunch that comes with a hand-tossed pizza. They also like the cooking process that goes into creating a hand-tossed pizza as well, so it makes sense that some people opt for this choice when given the option. 

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Whatever your ultimate preference may be, the point is that the taste of your pizza is something that should matter a great deal to you. If you do not currently have a way to get your hands on a tasty pizza that meets your needs, you might want to try one of these two options. 

Which One is Better? 

Hand tossed pizza on white isolated background.

The ultimate question on the minds of pizza lovers is which style of pizza is best to order. You don’t want to waste your money ordering a sub-optimal type of pizza when you can know what the best option truly is. 

The answer to the question is that hand-tossed seems to be the preferred option of many. From the fact that it is a larger pizza to the reality that this type of pizza is more available in more markets, there is no question where the public comes down on this one.

You can potentially fit more types of toppings on this pizza, and the crispy taste is something that you are bound to enjoy. Unless you are the type of person who simply cannot go without a bread-like taste to your pizza, you should probably opt for hand-tossed pizzas as the way to go whenever you place your order.