California Pizza Kitchen Pizzas, Ranked Worst To Best

When you want a pizza, it seems like there are almost unlimited options at your disposal. If you consider yourself good in the kitchen, you may want to try to whip one up yourself. On the other hand, if you're in a hurry and want something that's as easy as can be, you might look for a frozen pizza at your local grocery store. And don't even get us started on all the delivery options that are just a few clicks away. But oftentimes, these pizzas aren't really going to hit the spot. So, just where should you go when you want a delicious pizza that's also creative, out of the ordinary, and really, really delicious?

California Pizza Kitchen is a great option. You won't find them everywhere in the states, but if you're lucky enough to live close to one, then you should definitely take advantage and check it out for yourself. Before you go, though, you should familiarize yourself with the menu so you have a better idea of what you want to order. With so many different options to choose from, after all, it can be difficult to pick!

Therefore, we've ranked California Pizza Kitchen's pizzas. We started with the worst of the group and worked our way down to the best. See if you agree with our ranking, or just get a better idea of what you should order the next time you're there.

22. Traditional Cheese

We really have nothing against a good cheese pizza. How can you not enjoy this classic? But when it comes to the traditional cheese pizza you'll find at California Pizza Kitchen, we think you should pass it up in favor of one of the more interesting pies on the menu. That's because, in all honesty, this pizza is pretty boring. In fact, it might remind you of something you would get at a place like Domino's or Papa John's, which isn't exactly a glowing recommendation.

This pizza comes with sauce and mozzarella cheese on the crust, and that's it. No other toppings, nothing. And while we love a good mixture of carbs, cheese, and tomatoes, this combo misses the mark when we compare it to the other pizzas in the lineup. Sure, it may be appropriate to order when you have your picky friends over for dinner, but true pizza lovers are likely to opt for something a bit more exciting. Let's leave this one to the kids.

21. Hawaiian

Look, we know that some people absolutely love Hawaiian pizza. And in theory, it should taste amazing. It has a great combination of sweet and savory flavors, which usually taste great together. But in practice, Hawaiian pizzas, in general, are just not that good (yeah, we said it). Unfortunately, the same is true for the Hawaiian pizza you'll find at California Pizza Kitchen. It features massive chunks of pineapple along with applewood smoked ham. Honestly, we just think that the flavor of the pineapple is too strong — it blocks out almost every other flavor.

One thing we do like about this pizza, though, is the slivered scallions on top. That gives it a fresher, more interesting taste, and it also just looks good to add a bit of green to the mix. But don't get us wrong: The scallions don't make up for the fact that the pineapple on this pie is really overwhelming.

20. Plant-Based BBQ Chicken Pizza

Calling all vegetarians! We know that it can be difficult to find meat-free foods at fast casual spots, so it's always nice when you find something you can actually eat. It's even better when that item isn't just a side salad or fries. That's why you'll probably get excited when you see the plant-based BBQ chicken pizza on the menu. But we're here to tell you that it doesn't really live up to the hype.

First of all, the BBQ sauce on this pizza is pretty sweet. In fact, we think that it's way too sweet, as it distracts from all the other flavors. But the worst part of this pizza is the plant-based meat. If you're not used to eating meat on a regular basis, you might not mind this stuff too much. But if you're accustomed to eating real chicken and then take a bite of this, you'll realize that it has an odd texture and a less-than-desirable flavor. We wish CPK would've chosen a different protein to replace the chicken on this pizza.

Of course, if you're veggie and are looking for a pizza you can actually enjoy, don't write this one off! But if you're a meat eater anyway, you can find something better on the menu.

19. Pepperoni

Who doesn't love a pepperoni pizza? It's a classic — almost as classic as a cheese pizza. But that doesn't mean you should order one when you're at California Pizza Kitchen. While this may be a good order at a restaurant that doesn't have a wide selection of pies to choose from, it's not as good of a choice when you consider the other options you have at this spot. The pepperoni itself is good, and it has a nice sprinkling of oregano on top. But when you get down to it, this pizza is kind of boring.

There aren't any veggies on it, so you're not going to get any freshness to break up all the fattiness from that pepperoni. And since the slices of pepperoni are so huge, they can be kind of overwhelming. Plus, if you really want the flavor of pepperoni, there are other, better pizzas that have those meaty slices you love plus a ton of other delicious ingredients.

18. Five Cheese + Fresh Tomato

Here's another one that's not bad, per se, but just not that interesting when compared to the other pizzas on the menu: the Five Cheese + Fresh Tomato. Let us just say this: This pizza is really, really cheesy. They weren't lying when they said "five cheese." But unfortunately, all that cheese overtakes the sauce, resulting in a pie that feels kind of dry. The tomatoes add a hint of freshness that the pizza needs, but they're hard to eat: Once you take a bite out of one, you might accidentally pull it off the pizza and eat it all in one bite.

Again, this is the kind of pizza you can get just about anywhere, so it's not the best idea to get one when you're at a place that has pizzas that you've never tried before. The only exceptions? If you have a sensitive stomach, this might not be a bad choice (unless you're lactose intolerant, of course — then it's definitely a bad idea). Also, it's a viable veggie option for those who would prefer to skip the plant-based BBQ chicken.

17. Mushroom Pepperoni Sausage

You know how we said there were better pizzas out there than the plain pepperoni that still featured this beloved meat? Well, the mushroom pepperoni sausage pizza definitely fits that bill. While it still doesn't even come close to our favorite pizza on the menu, we think this one is slightly more interesting. As the name suggests, in addition to pepperoni, you'll also find mushrooms and sausage on this pizza. The sausage adds another layer of meatiness, and the mushroom shares a similar texture.

While we love that this pizza has more on it than just slices of meat, it's still got a bit of an overwhelming flavor to it. With two different types of meat coming together, this pizza feels really heavy. While they could've decided to add a refreshing vegetable to the mix to make it a little bit lighter, they chose to add mushrooms instead. Don't get us wrong — we love mushrooms — but they're not exactly the most refreshing plant food out there.

If you do want something really hearty, though, this pizza is not a bad way to go.

16. The Original BBQ Chicken Pizza

Here's a fun fact you may not have realized until now: the BBQ chicken pizza was actually the invention of California Pizza Kitchen. That's right — this famous chain came up with this pizza that's now in different restaurants across the country. Therefore, you might expect that the original BBQ chicken pizza would be out-of-this-world delicious. But while it's definitely better than the meatless version, we don't think that this is really the most fantastic option on the menu.

As we mentioned before, the BBQ sauce that they use on this pizza is super sweet — so much so that it really takes away from the other flavors. Since the chicken is quite bland, it can't really stand on its own. The result is a pizza that's kind of dry, kind of sweet, and overall just pretty lackluster. While California Pizza Kitchen definitely does this pie better than most of its competitors, it's still just not the best concept in the world.

However, if you want to get a taste of how the BBQ chicken pizza got its start, then this is a must-order meal.

15. Margherita

The Margherita pizza is one of the most all-time classic pies out there. Perhaps that's because it's a super simple recipe. Crushed tomatoes, cheese, and basil come together on a pizza crust to make a timeless flavor combination that just about everyone will love. And just for the record, the Margherita is way, way better than the plain cheese pizza. To be honest, they don't even really compete. That being said, we still wouldn't recommend this pie if you happen to be visiting California Pizza Kitchen.

The best Margherita pizzas are not going to be found at a big chain like California Pizza Kitchen. Instead, you'll want to go to a small Italian neighborhood and find some nondescript pizza spot. You'll have much better chances there finding a perfect Margherita pizza. The one you'll get at California Pizza Kitchen isn't bad, per se, but it's not the best you'll taste either. In the meantime, you'll be passing up all the amazing pizzas that this chain does so well.

14. California Veggie

We love a pizza that's packed to the brim with vegetables. It's such a nice change of pace from all those pizzas that are absolutely dripping in meat juices. And that's why we love the fact that California Pizza Kitchen included the California veggie pizza on the menu. If you're a true veggie lover, you're not going to believe this list of ingredients: broccolini, Cremini mushrooms, eggplant, roasted corn, sundried tomatoes, and red onions. Add either mozzarella or goat cheese into the mix, and you have a completely veggie-friendly pizza.

This pizza is definitely a solid choice, especially if you're trying to get more veggies into your diet on a daily basis. However, there's nothing about this pie that's particularly interesting. The combination of veggies just feels kind of random, like there's nothing to really tie the ingredients together. It's not a fantastic pizza, but those who love a wide variety of veggies are likely to eat this thing up.

13. The Works

If you're having a hard time choosing which pizza to get, you're not alone. It can definitely be difficult to make the best decision, especially considering how many options you have at a place like California Pizza Kitchen. Those who are really at a loss for what to get may want to consider The Works pizza. With this order, you get to taste a wide variety of ingredients all together on one pie. There's a nice balance of meats and veggies, so it's the kind of thing that will please everyone.

On this pizza, you'll find pepperoni, spicy Italian sausage, red onions, green peppers, olives, Cremini mushrooms, mozzarella, and plenty of oregano. We think that this is a solid combo, though it does seem like a lot of ingredients for a single pizza. It gives you a taste of a ton of the different ingredients on the menu, which makes this a perfect pizza to get if you're sharing with a large group of people. However, it may seem too similar to what other, less interesting restaurants are doing.

12. Thai Chicken

Now we're getting into some of the more interesting pizzas on the list. When have you ever seen a Thai chicken pizza before this? If you want to try something completely new, then this may just be the pizza for you. It all starts with Thai peanut sauce in place of the red sauce. It may not taste the best on the pizza crust, but we have to give them points for creativity. Then, mozzarella, bean sprouts, julienned carrots, fresh cilantro, chicken, and slivered scallions all come together to create a super light, fresh pizza.

We love that this pizza isn't heavy and the fact that it presents us with so many flavors we've never had on a pizza before. The bean sprouts are nice and crunchy, and the carrots are surprisingly tasty when combined with the mozzarella cheese. That being said, the combination does seem a little bit forced, like it's a "fusion" food rather than something that came together naturally. Try it and decide for yourself what you think.

11. Roasted Garlic Chicken

Generally, we would say that chicken doesn't really belong on a pizza. It's definitely not something you would see in on a pizza in Italy, and more American. It seems that the Italians would know best. However, we can't not enjoy the roasted garlic chicken pizza from California Pizza Kitchen. When you put roasted garlic on anything, it's probably going to taste pretty fantastic, after all. This pizza also contains caramelized onions, mozzarella, Parmesan, slivered scallions, and plenty of cracked black pepper.

It seems to have just the right combination of rich and fresh ingredients to bring the whole pizza together nicely. The caramelized onions and the garlic are a bit sweet, while the scallions add a nice lightness to the pizza. Admittedly, the chicken isn't amazing apart from the fact that it is doused in all that roasted garlic goodness, but we'll give it a pass here since the rest of the flavors in this pie are so good.

10. Spicy Chipotle Chicken

Here's another chicken pizza, but this one has a much-needed kick that takes the chicken from just blah to something you might actually crave. It's the Spicy Chipotle Chicken Pizza, and if you love a lot of spice but not super fatty meat, then this pizza is a fantastic option. The first thing you'll notice when you order this pizza is its appearance. It comes out looking really beautiful because of all the bright colors. It includes adobo sauce, shaved poblanos, Monterey Jack cheese, a salsa made of black beans and roasted corn, lime crema, and fresh cilantro.

This pizza definitely has some spicy components to it, so if you're sensitive to spice, you might want to skip out on it. But overall, the spice level really isn't too intense — most people can probably handle it. However, all those slightly spicy ingredients come together to create a really unique taste. It may not go especially well with the pizza crust, but other than that, we have no complaints.

9. Carne Asada

If you're looking for a standard, traditional pizza, you're not going to want to order the Carne Asada Pizza. For example, instead of the classic red sauce you're used to, you're going to get cilantro pesto instead. In lieu of pepperoni, you'll find marinated steak that falls apart when you bite into it. And the Parmesan is replaced by Monterey Jack cheese. All of these changes might be unconventional, yes, but that doesn't mean that they don't taste amazing. Add in the fire-roasted poblanos, the yellow onions, and the fresh cilantro, and you can see why we love this menu item. It has just the right amount of spiciness and a whole lot of savory goodness from the steak, the onions, and the cheese.

Though this pizza tastes really good, it's the kind of thing that you might get tired of after a while. It's nice as a novelty, but do you really want it for your entire meal? We suggest ordering this one when you're going to be ordering a lot of different pizzas and sharing with your friends. That way, you get a slice or two and then get to move onto something else.

8. California Club

If there's one pizza on this list that you could immediately recognize as a creation of California Pizza Kitchen, which one would it be? Without a doubt, the California Club. Brace yourselves, because this pie is definitely really out of the ordinary. First, it starts somewhat normally with applewood smoked bacon, chicken, and mozzarella cheese. That's not too wild, right? Well, after it's baked, the chaos begins. The pizza is topped with tons of arugula, avocado, fresh tomato, romaine lettuce, and torn basil. There's basically a whole salad on top of this pizza. It's all finished off with a lemon-pepper mayo that really brings all the flavors together.

For those who love eating fresh foods, this pizza is a dream come true. It may be a pizza, but it almost feels like you're making a healthy decision by eating it (bad news for you: you're probably not). However, it didn't rank higher on our list because it has limited appeal. Not everyone wants their side salad to actually come on top of their pizza. If you love your fresh veggies, though, it's worth a try.

7. Wild Mushroom

Mushroom lovers, are you out there? Get away from Mellow Mushroom — we have a pizza we know you're going to love from California Pizza Kitchen. It's the wild mushroom pizza, and it's beautiful to behold. This pie boasts three different types of mushrooms: Cremini, portobello, and shiitake. They all have very different textures, which means that when you eat them all together, they create a lovely, unexpected texture combo. The pizza is finished off by romano and mozzarella cheese as well as slivered scallions and cracked black pepper. You can also ask for white truffle oil on this pizza as well, if that's your kind of thing.

Overall, we love the simplicity of this pie, and we think that using three different types of mushrooms really sets this apart from your average mushroom pizza. Of course, not everyone is going to love mushrooms — they have a really specific texture that not everyone can get down with. But if you're the kind of person who never turns their nose up at mushrooms, this is a seriously glorious pizza.

6. Avocado Super Green Pizza

If you want a pizza that's going to make you feel like you just ate a salad and drank a kale smoothie after your 5 a.m. run, we've got just the thing for you, without all the hard work. It's the avocado super green pizza, and it may be a little bit over the top. It's not even technically what you would think of as a pizza. Instead, it starts off with that signature cilantro pesto that we love, along with baby greens, smashed avocado, red onion, cucumber, salsa verde that's made in-house, fresh lime, and toasted sesame seeds.

See what we mean? It's basically just a salad on a piece of bread. But you know what? It tastes great. While we hesitate to actually call it a pizza, we definitely think it's one of the better items on the menu at California Pizza Kitchen. Not every chain restaurant offers options that feel so healthy, so we want to take advantage when one like California Pizza Kitchen does.

5. Spicy Milano

Not everyone likes a spicy pizza, but if that's your thing, then the spicy Milano is definitely worth checking out. Just be warned: This one actually is really spicy. First, it starts out with a spicy marinara sauce. Then, they add on Italian sausage, serrano peppers, Cremini mushrooms, spicy pepperoni, and yellow onions. It's finished off with romano and mozzarella cheeses as well as fresh oregano that brings the whole dish to life. With all of these ingredients working together, it's clear why it's such a good option.

There's a perfect meat-to-veggie ratio on this pizza. You've got the Italian sausage and spicy pepperoni, but they're balanced out by the serrano peppers, the mushrooms, and the yellow onions. And once you add in the extra spiciness of the marinara sauce into the mix, it all comes together to make a fantastic pizza.

This pizza isn't for everyone because of its intense spice, but if you love the heat, then you have to give it a try.

4. Sicilian

We absolutely love that this pizza is so simple and so delicious at the same time. The Sicilian is a perfect option for those who don't want something that's going to be overwhelming but still want lots of flavor — without too many toppings. That's because it comes with Italian sausage, spicy capicola ham, and salami. All of that is placed on top of the mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses as well as that same spicy marinara sauce that's also in the spicy Milano. This stuff really is amazing, and it takes every pie it touches to the next level.

But the real star of the show here is, perhaps surprisingly, the herbs. This pizza comes covered in fresh basil and oregano, which add a light and refreshing flavor that works well with all that meat and spiciness.

Plus, we love that this pizza comes on a thin crust. Since there aren't too many ingredients on top, you don't have to worry about them sliding off. But because there isn't too much bread in the mix, you can really focus on the top-notch ingredients on top of the pizza. One thing is for sure: The Sicilian is a must-try menu item at California Pizza Kitchen.

3. Tostada

It's questionable what authenticity really means when it comes to food. But we know one thing for sure: The Tostada Pizza from California Pizza Kitchen is probably not what comes to mind when you think of either authentic Italian or Mexican food. But just because it's the new kid on the block doesn't mean that it's not super tasty. It contains black beans, herb ranch sauce, tortilla strips, lettuce, and Monterey Jack cheese. It's also served with salsa. And if you want to make it even heartier than it already is, you can also add lime chicken or carne asada.

As you can imagine, this pizza has a fresh flavor with all the greens on top. But while it's nice and light, it's actually quite filling at the same time. If you aren't that hungry, we wouldn't suggest getting the meat on top — it's already got protein from the beans, anyway. For those who absolutely love Mexican (or Tex-Mex) food, this pizza selection is a no-brainer.

2. Shrimp Scampi

Shrimp on a pizza? It almost sounds sacrilegious. But when it comes to the Shrimp Scampi Pizza you'll find at California Pizza Kitchen, it's clear that this recipe is a real winner. The lemon-garlic shrimp packs a ton of flavor, but it doesn't end there. This pizza also features mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses, red chili, and fresh arugula and oregano. And perhaps the most important part: the caramelized onions. All of these flavors come together perfectly. While the shrimp is light, it has that meatiness you want in a pizza. The fresh herbs offer brightness to the dish, while the caramelized onions add that perfect amount of sweetness.

California Pizza Kitchen recommends that you order this pizza on cauliflower crust, but we still think you can't beat real pizza dough. However, regardless of what kind of crust you order your Shrimp Scampi Pizza on, you should know that this is definitely one of the best of the bunch.

1. Spicy Honey Bee

Now, this one might seem a bit wild to some people, but once you give it a try, you too will see that it's absolutely genius. It's the Spicy Honey Bee Pizza, and it's definitely our favorite one on the entire menu. Wondering why? Well, to start off, the spicy marinara and capicola ham go so, so well together: It's a match made in heaved. Then, we love the fact that they used both mozzarella and gorgonzola cheese — it's something different that we haven't seen in most of the other pizzas on the menu. The Mediterranean herbs add a nice kick of flavor and freshness that we can't get enough of.

And all of those ingredients are amazing, but the most important one is something you may not be expecting: red chili honey. This honey is red hot, and it complements the spicy marinara sauce really well. Plus, with that savory and sweet push and pull going on, this pizza is exactly what a Hawaiian pizza should be.

You're not going to find a pizza like this just anywhere, so if you order anything the next time you're at California Pizza Kitchen, make sure it's the spicy honey bee pizza.