Deep-Fried Pizza Is Like Being At The State Fair (But Better)

As much as we may try to deny it, the simple truth is that everything tastes better fried. Even pizza — a near perfect food — can be made better with a light golden fry. While some self-proclaimed pizza snobs and chefs can't get behind fried pizza, we think the satisfying crunch is reason enough to throw any preconceived notions straight out the window.

While deep-fried pizza may sound like an American invention that would be found at your typical state fair, it actually comes straight from Naples, Italy. In the aftermath of World War II, when food and brick ovens were in short supply, the Neapolitans made due by frying their pizza. Similar to a calzone (which can be baked or fried), fried pizza is folded over and sealed, with the cheese, sauce, and fillings tucked neatly inside. Neapolitans gave their fried creation a new name – pizza fritta. Also referred to as panzerotti, fried pizza is a common street food in some regions of Italy.

To fold or not to fold

Crafting a fried pizza may seem like a task better left to professional street food vendors, but (although it would help) you don't necessarily need a deep fryer to whip one up at home. You can just as easily get the job done with a few inches of cooking oil in a cast iron Dutch oven.

The recipe for a traditional Neapolitan fried pizza would have you roll out the dough in a typical circular shape, cover it in toppings and then fold it over on itself, sealing the edges together before tossing the cheesy half moon in the fryer. If folding and sealing sounds out of your wheelhouse, however, you can achieve a similar result by frying a thin disk of pizza dough in cooking oil before topping it as you would a pizza, and placing it briefly in the oven. Because the pizza dough is only meant to be fried for a few minutes on each side, fried pizza should be lightly crispy without being overtly crunchy.