What Is on a Hawaiian Pizza? Exploring Classic Toppings

Hawaiian Pizza: A Tropical Twist on a Classic Dish


While the name suggests a tropical origin, it was actually Sam Panopoulos, a Greek immigrant in Canada, who first introduced Hawaiian pizza. He did so in 1962 at the Satellite Restaurant in Chatham, Ontario. Interestingly, he named it “Hawaiian” after the brand of canned pineapple he used.

Key Ingredients of a Hawaiian Pizza:

  1. Pizza Crust: The foundation of any pizza, the crust can be thin and crispy or thick and doughy, depending on personal preference.
  2. Tomato Sauce: A savory sauce made from tomatoes, herbs, and spices that serves as the base layer on the crust.
  3. Mozzarella Cheese: A creamy, melt-in-your-mouth cheese that blankets the sauce and binds the toppings together.
  4. Ham: Often referred to as Canadian bacon, especially in the U.S., this meat adds a savory and slightly smoky flavor.
  5. Pineapple: Fresh or canned chunks or slices of pineapple provide a sweet and tangy contrast to the savory ingredients, making it the signature topping of a Hawaiian pizza.

The Great Debate:

Over the years, Hawaiian pizza has consistently divided opinions. On one hand, some people adore the blend of sweet pineapple with savory ham and cheese. On the other hand, purists argue that pizza should never include pineapple. Surprisingly, this debate grew so intense that the President of Iceland, in 2017, humorously commented about potentially banning pineapple on pizza.


When considering what to drink with Hawaiian pizza, there are several delightful options. For instance, a cold beer or a crisp white wine can further elevate its flavors. Conversely, for those who prefer non-alcoholic beverages, tropical fruit juices or sodas serve as excellent companions.


As with many culinary creations, Hawaiian pizza has seen numerous adaptations over time. Some chefs, looking to add a twist, incorporate toppings like bell peppers, bacon, or even jalapeños. Additionally, a few adventurous souls have even swapped out the traditional tomato sauce for BBQ sauce, introducing a smoky undertone.

Origins of Hawaiian Pizza

The Hawaiian pizza, a delightful fusion of tropical sweetness and savory Italian tradition, has been a topic of debate for many pizza enthusiasts. Despite its name, this pizza did not originate in Hawaii. Its roots can be traced back to the quiet town of Chatham, Ontario, Canada.

In 1962, Sam Panopoulos, a Greek immigrant, along with his two brothers, ran the Satellite Restaurant in Chatham. Always eager to experiment and offer something unique to their customers, they decided to put canned pineapple on their traditional ham pizza. The combination was an instant hit, and thus, the “Hawaiian” pizza was born. The name “Hawaiian” was derived from the brand of canned pineapple they used.

The pizza quickly gained popularity in Canada and eventually made its way to the United States and other parts of the world. However, its reception has been polarizing. Some adore the blend of the tangy pineapple with the salty ham or bacon, praising it as a perfect balance of flavors. Others, including some pizza purists, argue that fruit has no place on a pizza.

One of the most vocal critics of the Hawaiian pizza was the President of Iceland, Guðni Th. Jóhannesson, who in 2017 jokingly said he would ban pineapple as a pizza topping if he had the power. This statement sparked a global debate about the legitimacy of the Hawaiian pizza.

Regardless of where one stands in the debate, the influence of the Hawaiian pizza is undeniable. It stands as a testament to culinary innovation and the blending of diverse cultures. From a small town in Canada to tables around the world, the Hawaiian pizza has carved its niche in the vast world of gastronomy.

The Global Popularity of Hawaiian Pizza

Hawaiian pizza, with its distinctive combination of ham and pineapple toppings, has become a global phenomenon, transcending borders and cultures. Its journey from a small Canadian town to the menus of pizzerias worldwide is a testament to its universal appeal.

Across continents, the Hawaiian pizza has found a place in both local eateries and international pizza chains. In the United States, it ranks among the top ten most popular pizza toppings. Europe, too, has embraced this tropical twist, with countries like the UK and Germany listing it as a staple in many pizza parlors. Even in Asia, where culinary traditions are vastly different, the Hawaiian pizza has made its mark. From Seoul to Singapore, the sweet and savory combination has been adapted to local tastes, sometimes with variations like using barbecued pork instead of ham.

The global popularity of Hawaiian pizza can be attributed to its unique flavor profile. The sweet juiciness of the pineapple contrasts beautifully with the saltiness of the ham, creating a harmonious blend that tantalizes the taste buds. Its vibrant colors and tropical vibe also make it visually appealing, adding to its allure.

However, its widespread acceptance doesn’t mean it’s free from controversy. The debate over whether pineapple belongs on pizza has become a playful global discourse. Renowned chefs and celebrities have weighed in, further fueling the conversation. This debate, ironically, has only heightened the pizza’s fame.

In essence, the Hawaiian pizza is more than just a dish; it’s a symbol of culinary globalization. It showcases how a simple idea can evolve, adapt, and be celebrated in diverse cultures. Whether loved or debated, the Hawaiian pizza’s global footprint is undeniable, making it a true icon in the world of international cuisine.

Variations of Hawaiian Pizza

Hawaiian pizza, with its signature combination of ham and pineapple, has been a beloved (and sometimes debated) favorite for decades. However, as with many classic dishes, chefs and pizza enthusiasts worldwide have put their own spin on this tropical treat, leading to a plethora of variations. Let’s explore some of the most popular and intriguing twists on the classic Hawaiian pizza:

  • Spicy Hawaiian: For those who love a kick with their sweet and savory, adding jalapeños or chili flakes can elevate the traditional Hawaiian pizza. The heat from the peppers contrasts beautifully with the sweetness of the pineapple, creating a tantalizing flavor explosion.
  • BBQ Hawaiian: Swapping out the traditional tomato sauce for barbecue sauce gives the pizza a smoky undertone. Paired with the ham and pineapple, this variation offers a delightful fusion of tangy, sweet, and savory flavors.
  • Tropical Delight: Why stop at pineapple? Some adventurous souls add other tropical fruits like mango, peach, or even coconut shavings. These additions enhance the tropical vibe and introduce new layers of sweetness.
  • Chicken Hawaiian: Replacing ham with grilled or BBQ chicken offers a leaner protein option while still maintaining the essence of the Hawaiian theme. The chicken pairs well with the pineapple, especially when marinated in a tangy sauce.
  • Vegetarian Hawaiian: For those who prefer to skip the meat, bell peppers, red onions, and cherry tomatoes can be added. These veggies complement the pineapple’s sweetness and make for a colorful and nutritious pizza.
  • Cheese Burst Hawaiian: For cheese lovers, a stuffed crust filled with molten cheese or even a blend of cheeses on top can make the Hawaiian pizza even more indulgent.

Pairing Drinks with Hawaiian Pizza

Hawaiian pizza, with its unique blend of sweet pineapple and savory ham, demands a drink that complements its tropical flair and balances its flavors. Whether you’re hosting a pizza night or enjoying a slice at a pizzeria, the right beverage can elevate your Hawaiian pizza experience.

1. Beer: A cold, crisp lager or pilsner pairs wonderfully with Hawaiian pizza. The lightness of these beers contrasts the pizza’s richness, while their carbonation cuts through the cheese’s creaminess. For those who prefer craft beers, a hoppy IPA can accentuate the pizza’s salty-sweet profile, creating a harmonious blend of flavors.

2. White Wine: A chilled glass of white wine, especially those with fruity undertones, can be a delightful companion. Pinot Grigio, with its light and crisp nature, or a semi-sweet Riesling, which complements the pineapple’s sweetness, are excellent choices.

3. Tropical Cocktails: Embrace the tropical theme with a refreshing cocktail. A classic Piña Colada, with its pineapple and coconut flavors, mirrors the pizza’s tropical vibe. Alternatively, a Mojito, with its minty freshness, can cleanse the palate between bites.

4. Non-Alcoholic Options: For those abstaining from alcohol, tropical fruit juices like pineapple, mango, or passion fruit are natural pairings. They echo the pizza’s sweet elements while providing a refreshing counterpoint to its savory aspects. Sparkling water with a splash of lemon or lime can also offer a palate-cleansing effervescence.

5. Iced Tea: A tall glass of iced tea, whether sweetened or unsweetened, can be a versatile pairing. The tannins in the tea can balance the pizza’s sweetness, and a squeeze of lemon can add a zesty kick.

Making Hawaiian Pizza at Home

Crafting a Hawaiian pizza, a delightful blend of tropical sweetness and savory delight, is a joy for many. When you make it at home, not only do you get to customize it to your taste, but you also enjoy the aroma of a fresh pizza wafting through your kitchen. Here’s how to get started:

Firstly, Gather Your Ingredients:

  • Pizza Dough: Whether you opt for store-bought or homemade, ensure it’s of good quality.
  • Tomato Sauce: A rich, flavorful sauce sets the base. You can choose between homemade or your favorite store brand.
  • Mozzarella Cheese: Freshly grated mozzarella promises a gooey, melt-in-the-mouth experience.
  • Ham: Go for quality slices or dices.
  • Pineapple: While fresh chunks are a top choice, well-drained canned pineapple serves as a convenient alternative.

Next, Preheat the Oven:

Before you start assembling, crank your oven to its highest setting, usually around 475°F (245°C). If you own a pizza stone, it’s a good idea to let it heat up inside.

Then, Prepare the Base:

On a floured surface, roll out your dough to your preferred thickness. Once done, transfer it to a pizza peel or an inverted baking sheet, lightly dusted to prevent sticking.

After that, Assemble the Pizza:

Begin by spreading a generous layer of tomato sauce, leaving a small border for the crust. Follow this with a sprinkle of mozzarella, and finally, distribute the ham and pineapple evenly.

Now, Bake:

Slide your assembled pizza onto the preheated stone or pop the baking sheet into the oven. A baking time of 10-12 minutes should suffice, or until you see a golden crust and bubbly cheese.

Lastly, Serve and Enjoy:

Once out of the oven, give it a minute to cool. Then, slice it up and relish the harmonious play of flavors.

Debates and Controversies: A Double-Edged Sword

Debates and controversies have long been integral to human discourse. They challenge societal norms, push boundaries, and often lead to progress. However, they also come with their fair share of pitfalls, making them a double-edged sword in the realm of public discourse.

On one hand, debates are essential for a thriving democracy. They provide a platform for diverse voices to be heard, fostering a culture of open dialogue. Through debates, complex issues are dissected, different perspectives are presented, and solutions are sought. For instance, debates on climate change, healthcare, and civil rights have paved the way for significant policy changes and societal shifts.

Controversies, while often seen in a negative light, can also be catalysts for change. They bring attention to overlooked issues, prompting public discourse and demanding action. The #MeToo movement, for example, started as a controversy but led to a global conversation about sexual harassment and power dynamics.

However, the flip side of debates and controversies is less rosy. In today’s age of digital media, they can quickly spiral into polarized echo chambers, where extreme views are amplified, and middle ground is lost. Instead of constructive dialogue, we often witness mud-slinging, misinformation, and personal attacks. This not only dilutes the essence of the debate but also deepens divisions among communities.

Furthermore, controversies, when blown out of proportion, can overshadow more pressing issues. The media’s penchant for sensationalism can sometimes prioritize trivial controversies over substantive debates, skewing public perception and focus.

What Chefs Say About Hawaiian Pizza

Hawaiian pizza, with its unique blend of flavors, has sparked both culinary curiosity and controversy. Chefs, being experts in the realm of food, offer a diverse range of opinions about this iconic creation.

**1. Creativity Meets Tradition:

Some chefs applaud Hawaiian pizza for its fusion of sweet and savory elements. They view it as a testament to culinary creativity, where traditional Italian pizza takes on a tropical twist. Renowned chef Gordon Ramsay, for example, appreciates the innovation and balance it achieves.

**2. Balancing Act:

Hawaiian pizza’s combination of ham, pineapple, and cheese requires a delicate balance to avoid overwhelming the palate. Many chefs commend its ability to strike that balance, creating a harmony of flavors. Chef Wolfgang Puck has praised the harmony between the saltiness of the ham and the sweetness of pineapple.

**3. Controversy and Versatility:

Chefs also acknowledge the polarizing nature of Hawaiian pizza. It ignites spirited debates and discussions in the culinary world, and that debate itself is seen as a testament to the pizza’s significance. Chef Anthony Bourdain, known for his candid views, found amusement in the passionate arguments it sparked.

**4. Room for Exploration:

Some chefs see Hawaiian pizza as a canvas for culinary exploration. They experiment with variations, such as using different cheeses, adding jalapeños for heat, or infusing unique sauces to elevate the taste. Chef Jamie Oliver has been known to create playful twists on this classic.

**5. Personal Preference:

Ultimately, chefs often emphasize that food is a matter of personal taste. While some may frown upon pineapple on pizza, others genuinely enjoy the combination. Renowned Italian chef Massimo Bottura believes that food should evoke emotions and memories, and if Hawaiian pizza does that for you, it’s a success.

**6. International Appeal:

Chefs also recognize the international appeal of Hawaiian pizza. It has become a global favorite, transcending cultural boundaries. Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten appreciates how it brings people together over a shared love for pizza, regardless of their culinary backgrounds.

In conclusion, chefs’ opinions about Hawaiian pizza are as diverse as the toppings that adorn it. Some celebrate its creativity and balance, while others revel in the controversy it stirs. Ultimately, Hawaiian pizza remains a topic of spirited discussion and an example of how food can evoke passion, debate, and delightful culinary experiences.

Related Articles:


What is on a real Hawaiian pizza?

  • A real Hawaiian pizza typically includes the following toppings:
      • Ham: Slices of cooked ham or Canadian bacon.
      • Pineapple: Chunks or tidbits of pineapple, which add a sweet and tropical flavor to the pizza.
      • Tomato sauce: A tomato-based pizza sauce that serves as the base for the toppings.
      • Cheese: Mozzarella cheese is the most commonly used cheese on a Hawaiian pizza, although some variations may include additional cheeses.

What is on a Hawaiian pizza pizza?

  • The toppings on a Hawaiian pizza are typically referred to as “ham” and “pineapple.”

Wh at is on a Hawaiian Domino’s pizza?

  • The toppings on a Domino’s Hawaiian pizza typically include:
      • Ham: Slices of cooked ham or Canadian bacon.
      • Pineapple: Chunks or tidbits of pineapple.
      • Tomato sauce: A tomato-based pizza sauce.
      • Cheese: Mozzarella cheese is the standard cheese used on this pizza.

Which topping is not traditionally found on a Hawaiian pizza?

  • The toppings on a Pizza Hut Hawaiian pizza usually consist of:
          • Ham: Slices of cooked ham or Canadian bacon.
          • Pineapple: Chunks or tidbits of pineapple.
          • Tomato sauce: A tomato-based pizza sauce.
          • Cheese: Mozzarella cheese is commonly used, though variations may include additional cheeses or cheese blends.

1 thought on “What Is on a Hawaiian Pizza? Exploring Classic Toppings”

Leave a Comment