Pepperoni Tops Americans' List of Favorite Pizza Toppings

Among pizza eaters, New York beats out Illinois as the state with the best pizza

Feb 23, 2016, 05:05 ET from The Harris Poll

NEW YORK, Feb. 23, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Pizza! There's no question that Americans eat it, love it, and are even comforted by it. In a recent Harris Poll, Americans weigh in on what they like, don't like, and where to find the best. Pepperoni is tops on Americans' list of favorite pizza toppings. Anchovies, on the other hand, rank first on the list of least favorite toppings. And in the great debate over New York style versus Chicago deep dish, Americans may have an answer as New York is seen as the best state to get a good slice while Illinois lands second.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll® of 2,193 U.S. adults surveyed online between January 13 and 18, 2016. Full results of the study, including data tables can be found here.

The favorites
Pepperoni may be in the top spot, but it's certainly not the only thing Americans like to put on their pies. Sausage and mushrooms rank second and third, while a simple cheese pizza ranks fourth. Adults point to onions as fifth, olives in sixth, and bacon as their seventh favorite. Ham/Canadian bacon and pineapple are tied for eighth place, while peppers round out the top ten.

While the toppings may be the cherry on top, a solid foundation can make or break the meal. When it comes to crust style, there's no majority rule though a plurality (29%) prefer thin crust. A bit more distantly, adults turn to regular crust (18%), deep dish (15%), and stuffed crust (14%). Fewer than one in ten prefers thick crust (9%), French bread (4%), or Sicilian crust (3%).

  • Interestingly, generation appears to play a factor in preferred crust style: Millennials don't just want toppings on their pizza; they want it in their pizza! Stuffed crust is the number one pick for this group, while all other generations default to thin crust as their top choice.

Six percent say they really have no preference when it comes to crust type, just give them the pizza already! Meanwhile a paltry 2% may be missing out on all the goodness as they say they don't eat pizza at all.

And the least
While Americans may be more or less united in eating pizza, they're also pretty aligned against certain ways to top it. Anchovies rank number one as America's least favorite pizza topping. Beyond that, one person's treasure indeed seems to be another's trash as most other top ten favorites also make an appearance on the least favorites list. Mushrooms fall second, followed by pineapple, onions and olives to round out the top five. Pepperoni, the number one favorite, is sixth on the least favorite list. Peppers and sausage rank seventh and eighth, while meat in general falls ninth. And an ordinary pie just won't do for some, as a plain cheese pizza rounds out the list of top ten least favorites.

Where to find the best
New York and Illinois top the list of states with the best pizza, with California landing in the number three spot. Unsurprisingly, the rankings change when looking across the regions:

  • Easterners stick to the East coast through and through. New York is number one, followed by Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
  • Dwellers in the Midwest maintain Illinois as the best, while they settle for New York as second. Ohio and Michigan tie for third place.
  • Those in the South jump all over the map, from New York at number one, to Illinois in second, with Texas taking spot number three.
  • Westerners stick to their roots, with California in the number one spot; New York and Illinois round out their top three.

The preferred way to wash it all down
Among those who drink alcohol at least a few times a year, a majority say their preferred adult beverage to wash down a slice is a nice, cold beer (54%). More specifically, non-craft domestic beer is number one (29%), followed closely by craft beer (24%) and import beer (23%).

Two out of ten (20%) say they're most likely to pick up a glass of wine, while imbibers are less likely to turn to flavored malt beverages (9%), liquor or cocktails (9%), or hard cider (8%). However, two in ten (21%) say skipping the alcohol altogether is the way to go.

And while beer may be the number one choice across each region, Westerners are more likely to turn to wine compared to any other region (30% vs. 16% South, 15% Midwest & 18% East).

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This Harris Poll was conducted online, in English, within the United States between January 13 and 18, 2016 among 2,193 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online. 

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, The Harris Poll avoids the words "margin of error" as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Poll surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in our panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of The Harris Poll.

Product and brand names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners.

The Harris Poll® #13, February 23, 2016
By Allyssa Birth, Senior Research Analyst, The Harris Poll

About The Harris Poll®
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SOURCE The Harris Poll