Exploring The Memphis Best Pizza Recipe

Memphis is renowned for its rich musical heritage and delicious barbecue, both of which contribute to a vibrant and diverse pizza scene. Discovering the Memphis best pizza recipe in Memphis delves into a culinary tradition that surpasses food to become a local cultural icon. This discovery looks forward to bringing to light the essence of what makes a Memphis pizza truly exceptional—both local flavors and outstanding techniques. 

Memphis pizza is unique because of its fusion of traditional Italian methods with Southern culinary influences. The crust is influenced by classic Neapolitan styles and thick, chewy variants that signify the hearty nature of Southern cooking. In this pizza, toppings play a major part; it essentially concentrates on locally sourced ingredients. It can be fresh vegetables and artisanal cheeses, alongside the ubiquitous smoky barbecue meats that the city is known for. 

The article will analyze different recipes from celebrated Memphis pizzerias, assessing ingredient combinations, preparation strategies, and cooking methods. It ensures to define the quintessential Memphis Best pizza recipe, a kind that incorporates the outstanding culinary landscape of the city while inviting both local tastes and huge epicurean interests.

What is Memphis-style pizza? 

A pack of distinctive culinary creations that bounce back the city’s rich cultural and gourmet heritage is necessarily found in Memphis-style Pizza. Well, this kind of pizza is distinguished by its fusion of traditional Italian pizza-making techniques with distinctive Southern flavors. Generally, the crust can vary from thin and crispy to thick and chewy, depending on the pizzeria, however, it frequently maintains a hearty and satisfying texture that links well with the Southern comfort food traditions. 

In Memphis-style pizza, we can find an incorporation of barbecue elements, which is one of the most noteworthy features of pizza. Well, this is not uncommon to find pizzas topped or presented with smoked meats like pulled pork, chicken, or brisket, all staples of Memphis barbecue. With that, the Memphis-style Pizza customarily uses barbecue sauce as a base which is tangy and sweet, giving it a distinct and flavorful twist, instead of traditional tomato sauce. 

Memphis-style pizza is kinda famous and has a classic flavor, due to the blend of local ingredients. Elements like vegetables, artisanal cheeses, and specialty meats that are fresh and locally found play a vital role in defining the dish. Additionally, the majority of Memphis pizzerias use proper wood-fired ovens, which add a particular smoky flavor and crispy texture to the crust. 

Memphis-style pizza is a mouth-watering representation of the city’s culinary assortment, blending Italian pizza traditions with the bold and authentic smoky flavors of Southern barbecue. 

Memphis Best Pizza

Unique Topping that can be tried to satisfy taste buds

While exploring Memphis-style pizza, I found that it offers an exciting opportunity to discover unique toppings that highlight the city’s vibrant culinary traditions. One of the must-try toppings is barbecue pulled pork, which is a popular Memphis staple. This tender, smoky meat gives a rich, savory flavor to the iconic Memphis-style pizza. It is the best to perfectly complement a traditional base. 

One can also go for smoked brisket as a unique topping. Slow-cooked to perfection, the topping provides a deep, smoky taste that complements well with the tangy sweetness of barbecue sauce. Frequently used as a base in Memphis-style pizzas. 

If you are searching for a taste of the sea, try out pizza with the topping of fried catfish. For a crispy texture and a mild sweet flavor, you can add southern favorites to pizza. It will be both surprising and delightful when tasting. 

If you enjoy the southern delicacy, then Pimento cheese can be used as a topping, it is uncommon yet gives delicious flavors to pizza. Its creamy, tangy texture adds a layer of twists and richness that’s hard to resist. 

A combination of collard greens and pickled jalapenos are also outstanding toppings to try. Collard greens will add a slightly bitter, earthy flavor, while the pickled jalapenos bring a piquant heat that cuts through the richness of the cheese and meat. 

The above-highlighted unique toppings not only signify the creativity of Memphis pizzerias but also acknowledge the rich culinary heritage of the city, making each bite a thrilling adventure. 

5 Memphis best pizza recipes

Neapolitan Pizza

Talking about the best pizzas in Memphis attracts my attention to Neapolitan Pizza, which has its origin in Naples, Italy. It is a celebrated culinary tradition known for its simplicity, quality ingredients, and meticulous preparation. Neapolitan Pizza is identified by its significant thin crust, this style is admired worldwide for its authentic taste and commitment to specific guidelines instructed by the “Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana (AVPN)”.


For the dough

  • 500g (4 cups) Tipo “00” Flour (all-purpose flour) 
  • 325ml (1 ⅓ cups) water
  • 10g (2 tsp) sea salt
  • 3g (¾ tsp) active dry yeast

For the toppings

  • 400g (14 ounces) San Marzano tomatoes (crushed) 
  • 250g (9 ounces) fresh mozzarella di bufala (sliced or torn into pieces) 
  • Fresh basil leaves
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt to taste


To prepare the dough 

Take a large bowl mix yeast in the water and let it sit for a few minutes till it becomes frothy. 

Then add flour and salt to the yeast mixture, and stir well to combine all together. 

Transfer the combined dough to a flour-dusted surface and knead it for like 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. 

Keep the dough aside in a slightly greased bowl, covering it with a damp cloth. 

Let it rest and rise at room temperature for 8-24 hours until it doubles in size. 

Preheat the oven

If a pizza stone is available then place it in the oven and preheat to the highest temperature possible (500°F – maximum). Else use a wood-fired oven, prehey to 800°F.

Shape the dough

Divide the risen dough into four equal parts, shaping each into a ball. Dust some flour on the surface, then stretch each ball and shape it into a round pizza (10-12 inches) in diameter. But be cautious, not to deflate the dough too much, especially keep the edges airy and fluffy for a perfect texture. 

Arrange toppings

Spread a layer of crushed San Marzano tomatoes over the base, leaving a small border around the edges. 

Equally, distribute the mozzarella di bufala pieces over the placed tomatoes. 

Now sprinkle a pinch of sea salt to taste, top it with fresh basil leaves, and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. 

Bake the pizza

Transfer the pizza to the preheated pizza stone or directly onto the oven rack. Bake it for 90 seconds to 2 minutes in a wood-fired oven or 7-10 minutes in a conventional oven. Make sure to bake till the crust is blistered and the cheese is bubbly and slightly browned. 


Take out pizza from the oven and let it cool down before slicing. Before serving garnish with fresh basil leaves and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil is optional. 

Thus, enjoy an authentic Neapolitan Pizza, which includes a perfect blend of simple ingredients and traditional techniques. 

Memphis Best Pizza

New York-style pizza

Pizzas are best and delicious in their unique texture. A beloved variation that originated in New York City in the early 1900s is New York-style pizza. This style is distinguished by its large, thin, and foldable slices, frequently eaten on the go. The base is prepared authentically with a hand-tossed method. It has a moderate thickness around the edges, tapering to a thinner and crisper middle. The preparation is commonly baked in a gas-fueled pizza oven, which helps acquire its unique texture. 

New York-style pizza has a supreme flavor profile, it is defined by its high-gluten flour crust, tangy tomato sauce, and ample amount of mozzarella cheese. It includes common toppings like pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, and vegetables, however, a classic plain cheese slice is a typical New York favorite. For a signature chewy yet crispy texture pizza, a proper fermentation process and high-temperature baking are essential. 


For the dough

  • 500g (4 cups) bread flour or high-gluten flour 
  • 325ml (1 ⅓ cups) water (room temperature) 
  • 10g (2 tsp) salt
  • 5g (1 tsp) sugar
  • 3g (¾ tsp) active dry yeast
  • 30ml (2 tablespoons) olive oil

For the sauce

  • 400g (14 ounces) canned crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced) 
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste 

For the toppings

  • 500g (18 ounces) shredded low-moisture mozzarella cheese
  • Toppings of Choice (pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, bell peppers, etc.) 


To prepare the dough

Mix sugar and yeast in the water in a big bowl, and let it sit for a few minutes till it turns frothy. 

Add flour and salt to the yeast mixture. Combine well until the ingredients come together. 

Put some olive oil and mix well till incorporated. 

Shift the dough to a floured surface, and knead till it turns smooth and elastic (preferably 10 minutes). 

Let the dough rest for 1-2 hours till it doubles in size at room temperature. To get more flavourful dough, refrigerate it for 24-72 hours and then let it set to room temperature before using. 

To prepare the sauce

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a medium saucepan, add minced garlic, and saute till it is fragrant. After that add crushed tomatoes, oregano, basil, salt, and pepper. Simmer it for 20-30 minutes until the sauce thickens slightly. Add or lessen seasoning according to taste, and let it cool before putting it to use. 

Preheat the oven 

Place a pizza stone in the oven and preheat at 500°F (or maximum temperature) for around half n hour. 

Shape the dough

Divide the risen dough into two equal parts and shape them into a ball. Now dust some flour on the surface, then stretch the dough into a large thin circle (approximately 14-16 inches in diameter). Shift it to a baking sheet or parchment paper. 

Things to Assemble 

Put a thin layer of prepared tomato sauce over the base, avoiding a small border around the edges. 

Equally, distribute shredded mozzarella cheese over the spread. Arrange toppings of choice. 

Baking process

Put it prepared based on the preheated pizza stone. Bake till the crust turns golden and the cheese is bubbly and lightly browned (say suppose 10-12 minutes). 

To Serve 

Keep aside the baked pizza and let it cool down before serving. Then, slice it down evenly and enjoy a prominent taste of New York-style pizza, which offers a perfect crispy, chewy crust and a solid flavour of melted cheese. 

No doubt, that New York-style pizza is one of the best Memphis pizza recipes, due to its simplicity and deliciousness. 

Memphis Best Pizza

Chicago deep-dish pizza

Going through the list of the best Memphis pizza recipes, I came across Chicago deep-dish pizza. It is a culinary icon that originated in the Windy City (during the 1940s) and is knowingly credited to Pizzeria Uno. Apart from its thin-crust counterparts, the pizza is also recognized for its thick, buttery crust that lines a deep, round pan, like a pie more than a traditional pizza. 

The detailing trait of a deep-dish pizza is its layering, which is a cheese that goes directly on the crust, followed by many toppings and ultimately a spread of chunky, flavorful tomato sauce on the top. This typically used the technique of layering averts the cheese from burning during the prolonged baking time needed for such a substantial pie. 

The crust is usually made from a dough rich in butter or oil, offering a flaky, almost pastry-like quality to the base. The sauce preparation includes crushed or chunky tomatoes, seasoned with garlic, oregano, and other Italian herbs. Usual fillings highlight mozzarella cheese, Italian sausage, pepperoni, bell peppers, onions, and mushrooms, although the variations or combinations are endless. 


For the dough

  • 450g (3¾ cups) all-purpose flour
  • 180 ml (¾ cup) of warm water
  • 90 ml (6 tablespoons) of melted butter
  • 60 ml (4 tablespoons) of olive oil
  • 7g (2¼ tsp or 1 packet) active dry yeast
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 30g (2 tablespoons) cornmeal

For the sauce

  • 800g (28 ounces) canned crushed tomatoes
  • 3 cloves of garlic (minced) 
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the toppings

  • 500g (18 ounces) of shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 250g (9 ounces) Italian sausage (cooked and crumbled) 
  • Sliced Pepperoni
  • Sliced bell peppers
  • Sliced onions
  • Sliced mushrooms
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese (optional as per taste preference) 

Instructions to Follow 

Dough preparation

Dissolve the sugar in warm water and sprinkle the yeast over the top. Let it sit for about five minutes until foamy. 

Now mix flour, salt, and cornmeal with the foamy yeast, melted butter, and olive oil to make a dough. 

Knead it well on a floured surface till it turns smooth and elastic. 

Now slightly grease the bowl, place the dough, and cover it with plastic wrap until it turns double in size. 

Sauce preparation

Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat, add minced garlic, and sauté it until aromatic. Then add crushed tomatoes, oregano, basil, sugar, salt, and pepper. Let it cook for half an hour (maximum) to get a thick texture. Let it cool down before putting it to use. 

Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C). 

Set up the pizza. 

Punch down the risen dough and roll it out onto the floured area to form a circle of about 12–14 inches in diameter. 

Grease a pizza pan or a 10-inch round cake pan with some oil or butter. Set the dough in the greased mold in such a way that it covers the bottom and comes up the sides. 

Spread evenly the shredded mozzarella cheese over the base; assemble cooked Italian sausage, pepperoni, onions, mushrooms, or any toppings of choice. 

Spread the sauce finely over the top assemblings (and you can add Parmesan cheese on top as per preference). 

Process to Bake

For 30-35 minutes, bake the pizza in a preheated oven till its crust becomes golden brown and the sauce bubbles up. 

Keep it aside to rest and allow layers to set for a while before slicing. 


Serve evenly sliced pizza, rich with layers of cheese, toppings, and tomato sauce. 

The recipe captures the essence of Chicago deep-dish pizza; it hits the list of Memphis’s best pizza recipes as it offers a hearty, flavorful experience that stands as evidence of the city’s unique take on this beloved dish. 

Memphis Best Pizza

BBQ Chicken Pizza

To name a mouth-watering fusion of authentic pizza and classic American barbecue flavors, BBQ Chicken Pizza will be the right choice. This combination especially features a tangy and sweet barbecue sauce instead of the traditional tomato base, topped with cooked chicken, red onions, cilantro, and mostly a blend of cheeses. The credit for the inventive concept of BBQ chicken pizza is awarded to California Pizza Kitchen (CPK) for introducing it in the 1980s by Chef Ed LaDou. 

The style offers a unique flavor profile that amazingly pairs with the smoky, savory chicken. Red onions have a sharp, lightly sweet contrast, while fresh cilantro offers a burst of freshness. For additional toppings, elements like bacon, bell peppers, or even pineapple can be used for a sweet-savory twist. The outcome is an absolutely different pizza fusion, hitting a list of favorite choices for many. 


For the dough

  • 4 cups (500 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1⅓ cups (325 ml) of warm water
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 2¼ tsp (one packet) active dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 tsp. salt

For the toppings

  • 1 cup favorite barbecue sauce
  • 2 cups cooked chicken breast (shredded or diced) 
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (preferably recommended) 
  • 1 small red onion (thinly sliced) 
  • Fresh cilantro leaves (chopped for garnish) 
  • Salt and pepper to taste


To prepare the dough

Melt the sugar in the warm water, add yeast over the top, and let it sit for about 5 minutes till it becomes foamy. 

Mix the flour and salt; add the yeast solution with olive oil until it comes together. 

Shift the dough to a flour-dusted surface and knead well till it turns smooth and elastic. 

Set it in a lightly greased bowl, cover with a wet cloth, and let it rise in a warm place. The process will take 1-2 hours until it doubles in size. 

Chicken preparation

Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper and cook them in a skillet over medium heat till they are completely cooked. Shred or dice the cooked chicken coated with barbecue sauce and toss it. 

Preheat the oven (and pizza stone, if available) to 475°F (245°C). 

Shape the dough. 

Take out the dough and roll it out into a shape of your choice, about 12–14 inches in diameter. 

Transfer the shaped dough to a baking sheet or pizza peel. 

Assemble with layering and topping.

Spread a generous layer of barbecue sauce over the dough, skipping a small border around the edges. 

Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella and smoked gouda cheese evenly over the sauce spread. Arrange barbecue-coated chicken and sliced red onions evenly over the cheese layer. 

For additional toppings, you may use bacon or bell peppers. 

Bake process

Place the pizza in the preheated oven and bake it for 12–15 minutes, till the crust becomes golden and the cheese is bubbly and lightly browned. 

Process to Serve

Let the baked pizza rest for a while, allowing its layers and toppings to set perfectly. While slicing to serve, garnish it with fresh cilantro leaves. The recipe will satisfy your taste buds so well by offering a blend of smoky, tangy, and savory flavors. 

BBQ Chicken is among the hit recipes of Memphis Pizza, which gives a delicious twist on traditional pizza, bringing the hearty, rich flavors of barbecue to a classic favorite. 

I found an amazing video you should watch! Check out “The Steps To Making The Best PEPPERONI PIZZA At HOME – NO FANCY EQUIPMENT NEEDED” by Quang Tran. Enjoy!

Recipe By Quang Tran

Pepperoni pizza

Pepperoni pizza is one of the most famous and iconic varieties of pizza, especially in the United States. Distinguished by its generous toppings of pepperoni slices, it is in demand for its savory and mildly spicy flavor profile. Its origins can be traced back to Italian American communities, where it became known as a variation of traditional Italian pizza with prominent American influences. 

This pizza features a regular base of tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese, topped with thin slices of pepperoni, which crisp up perfectly in the oven. The fatty texture and mild heat from its seasoning contrast deliciously with the creamy mozzarella and tangy tomato sauce. Thus, a combination makes pepperoni pizza a hit choice for many pizza foodies, whether enjoyed at a pizzeria, ordered as takeout, or made at home. 


For the dough 

  • 500 g of all-purpose flour (4 cups) 
  • 1½ cups warm water (325 ml) 
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 2½ tsp. active dry yeast (one packet) 
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 tsp. salt

Elements for the sauce

  • 14 ounces of canned crushed tomatoes (400 g) 
  • 2 cloves of minced garlic
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, as per taste

For the toppings

  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 5 ounces of pepperoni slices (150 g) 
  • For tempting presentation and extra flavors, grate Parmesan cheese with red pepper flakes for garnish. 

Instructions to keep in mind

For dough preparation

Melt sugar in the warm water, add yeast over the top, and let it sit for a while till it becomes frothy. 

Combine flour, salt, yeast mixture, and olive oil until they come together to form a dough. 

Knead the dough for around 10 minutes to get a smooth and elastic texture. 

Set it aside in a greased bowl and cover it with a damp cloth, so let it grow double in size (it may take 1-2 hours in a warm space). 

To prepare a sauce

Heat some olive oil in a saucepan over a medium flame. Put the minced garlic in the pan in the pan and sauté until aromatic. Now add crushed tomatoes, oregano, basil, salt, and pepper. Allow it to simmer for half an hour until the sauce thickens. Keep it aside to cool down. 

Make sure to preheat the oven to 475°F (245°C). If you have a pizza stone, then place it in the oven during the preheating process. 

Roll out the dough.

Take the dough, roll it out on a floured surface, and give it any shape, about 12–14 inches in diameter (standard size). Shift it to the parchment or baking sheet. 

Assemble the layering and toppings.

Spread a layer of the prepared sauce over the base, leaving the edges. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese evenly on the sauce. Now assemble the pepperoni slices perfectly and equally over the cheese. 

Baking process

Bake the pizza in the preheated oven for 10–12 minutes. You can also take out the pizza when the crust turns golden, the cheese bubbling, and it is slightly browned. 

Serving Process

After allowing the pizza to set its layer at room temperature, sprinkle Parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes for additional flavors. Cut even slices of the pizza and enjoy an irresistible blend of crispy pepperoni, melted cheese, and flavorful sauce. 

Pepperoni Pizza is absolutely a shortlisted style of Memphi’s best pizza recipes. The recipe significantly captures the essence of authentic pepperoni pizza preparation, perfect for satisfying cravings for such iconic comfort food. 

So here we came to the end of the article, where we have gone through different Memphis best pizza recipes. The five most delightful and iconic styles are highlighted above, signifying their origin, authenticity, and inventiveness. This is it for the present piece of work. 

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