Pizza toppings can be a battleground for passionate foodies. From the classic cheese and pepperoni to more adventurous choices, everyone has their favorites. But then there are those toppings that split the room – the ones that start heated debates at dinner tables. We’re diving into the 11 most controversial pizza toppings that have pizza lovers either cheering or cringing. Find out what makes these toppings so divisive!

BBQ Sauce. Photo credit: Canva Pro.
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Egg. Photo credit: Canva Pro.

An Egg on pizza can be a culinary curveball. When done right, it adds a creamy texture and rich flavor, but it can also be a source of contention for pizza purists. Some find the idea of a runny yolk on their slice unappetizing, while others love the extra layer of flavor it brings. It’s an unconventional choice that can make or break a pizza experience, keeping it firmly in the controversial toppings list.


Olives. Photo credit: Canva Pro.

Olives on pizza can be a point of contention due to their strong, briny flavor. They’re known to overpower the taste of other toppings, making them a risky choice for the uninitiated. Olive lovers appreciate the bold taste and textural contrast they bring, but for those who aren’t fans, they can be a dealbreaker. It’s a classic case of love them or hate them, placing olives in the realm of controversial pizza toppings.


Anchovies. Photo credit: Canva Pro.

Anchovies stir up pizza controversy with their bold, briny punch. Their intense saltiness and distinct fishiness can overwhelm the classic pizza flavors, making them a polarizing choice. Fans love the umami kick they bring, but detractors often find them too overpowering. It’s a classic case of ‘you either love them or you don’t,’ and anchovies certainly know how to start a lively pizza topping debate!


Clams. Photo credit: Canva Pro.

Clams on pizza are a bold choice that tends to split opinion sharply. Their unique seafood flavor and chewy texture can be a delightful surprise or an odd misfit on a pizza. While some applaud the innovation of clam-topped pizzas, especially in certain regional styles, others find the idea of shellfish on their pie hard to swallow. Clams challenge the traditional boundaries of pizza toppings, making them a controversial pick.

Mac and Cheese

Mac and Cheese. Photo credit: Canva Pro.

Mac and Cheese on pizza is a carb lover’s dream but a purist’s nightmare. This topping combo doubles down on comfort food but often gets flak for being excessively heavy and indulgent. While it’s a hit among those who love a cheesy, gooey overload, others argue that it’s just too much of a good thing. Mac and Cheese pizza walks the fine line between innovative genius and culinary excess, making it a controversial choice.


Mushrooms. Photo credit: Canva Pro.

Mushrooms on pizza are a divisive topping primarily due to their texture. Their earthy flavor is loved by many, but their sometimes slimy texture when cooked is a turn-off for others. Mushroom enthusiasts praise their savory depth, while critics can’t get past the chewy or slippery feel. This fungal topping can either be a star player or an unwelcome guest on a pizza, making it a subject of culinary debate.

BBQ Sauce

BBQ Sauce. Photo credit: Canva Pro.

BBQ Sauce as a pizza base or topping is a modern twist that’s stirred up its share of controversy. Its smoky sweetness is a far cry from the traditional tomato sauce, leading some to say it strays too far from what pizza should be. While BBQ lovers enjoy the bold, tangy flavor it brings, others feel it overpowers the more subtle flavors of cheese and dough. BBQ Sauce on pizza is a battleground between innovation and tradition.

Smoked Salmon

Smoked Salmon. Photo credit: Canva Pro.

Smoked Salmon on pizza is a gourmet choice that often divides opinion. Its rich, smoky flavor and oily texture can be a sophisticated delight for some but an out-of-place oddity for others. Traditionalists may balk at this fishy addition, arguing it’s better suited to a bagel than a pizza base. Smoked Salmon on pizza brings a touch of luxury but remains a controversial choice for those who prefer their pizza old-school.


Pickles. Photo credit: Canva Pro.

Pickles on pizza bring a tangy twist that not everyone can get behind. Their sharp, vinegary flavor can be seen as a jarring contrast to the usual mellow, cheesy goodness of a classic pizza. While pickle lovers might relish the added zing, others find it disrupts the harmonious blend of traditional pizza toppings. It’s a love or loathe situation, making pickles a contentious player in the pizza topping game.


Spam. Photo credit: Canva Pro.

Spam as a pizza topping can raise eyebrows for its unconventional nature. Known for its processed taste and somewhat mushy texture, Spam doesn’t always align with the typical pizza palate. It’s a wild card in the pizza world, often associated with quirky or experimental culinary choices. While it might be a hit in some regions, for many, Spam on pizza is a culinary step too far, leaving traditionalists scratching their heads.


Pineapple. Photo credit: Canva Pro.

Pineapple on pizza is a hotly contested topic that can turn pizza night into a heated debate. The main bone of contention? Its sweetness and juiciness clash with traditional savory pizza flavors. While some adore the tropical twist and the way it pairs with ham in the famous Hawaiian pizza, others argue it has no place in the realm of cheese and tomato. Pineapple’s presence on pizza continues to divide dinner tables worldwide.

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Roasted brussels sprouts with bacon and onions.
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Honey is poured into a glass with a wooden spoon.
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Gina Matsoukas is the writer, founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients as much as possible. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.

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