The “grandma pizza” style is gaining more and more popularity as it continues to move out of Italian-American neighborhoods and into pizza shops everywhere. If you’ve ever wondered what a grandma pizza pie is, you’ve come to the right place.
The basics of a grandma pizza are a rectangular or square shape, baked in a pan, and on the thinner side.
Grandma Pizza Is Not Sicilian Pizza
Let’s first get something very important out of the way – grandma pizza is not Sicilian pizza. Although commonly thought of as similar, grandma pies and Sicilian pies are pretty different when you get down to it.
As for how the two styles are similar, they’re both made in rectangular or square pans with olive oil, stretched to fit. Some may refer to these two styles of pizza as “sheet-pan pizza,” especially those who are only familiar of these styles because it’s what they know as homemade pizza.
In baking, there is a step in the process called proofing. This is when the dough is allowed to rest and rise before final shaping and baking. We’re telling you this because the proofing process is one area of difference between grandma-style pizza and Sicilian pizza. With a grandma pie, the dough is proofed for a shorter period of time, which lends itself to a thinner, more dense dough.
History of Grandma Pizza
Grandma pizza traces its roots back to Long Island, New York, where it was a normal offering in Italian-American homes, often made by mothers or grandmothers, hence the name. Grandma pizza involves simple ingredients and an efficient process, allowing mothers and grandmothers a quick way to feed the children. Grandma pizza eventually made its way onto the menu of pizzerias and its popularity and availability have grown immensely.
As some of the best and most well-known pizza makers started expanding across the U.S., ones that have ties back to these neighborhoods, they’ve brought the grandma-style pizza pie with them.
Pan-Baked with Olive Oil
Grandma pizza is cooked in a pan, often a sheet pan that is rectangular or square. The dough is heavily oiled and there is a noticeable olive oil taste and texture to the final product. The crust isn’t super thin, but it’s thinner and crispier than Sicilian pizza, and can have more of a crunch. This has to do with the proofing process we talked about before. The shorter proofing time keeps the dough more dense and less airy, as it doesn’t allow for the dough to rise as much. There is where grandma pizza gets it thinner, more dense crust from.
You’ll often notice that grandma pizza comes with the cheese under the sauce. This is what most classic grandma pizza recipes call for. If you didn’t grow up on this style of pizza, that might surprise you, but it’s completely normal. Grandma pizza is usually served in square pieces, as opposed to triangular slices that NY-style pizza or Neapolitan pizza are served as.
Due to the denser nature of the crust, grandma pizza can have good shelf life after it is baked. This is likely another reason why mothers and grandmothers loved making this pizza at home, as it can often be kept in the refrigerator for a couple of days after and still hold up quite nicely. If you’re looking for a type of homemade pizza to make, grandma pizza could be just what you’re looking for, especially if you enjoy leftover pizza.
Where To Find Grandma Pizza in Vegas
In Las Vegas, Vincent Rotolo’s Good Pie pizza shop is the most well known for its grandma pizza, but one can also find it at places such as Above the Crust, Bambino’s East Coast Pizzeria, and Brooklyn’s Best Pizza & Pasta.
In November 2019, Top Vegas Pizza attended the inaugural Las Vegas Pizza Festival. We had the pleasure of trying Good Pie’s “The Good Good” and Brooklyn’s Best’s grandma pizza, both of which we’re fans of.