Detroit Pizza vs Sicilian Pizza

Many pizza enthusiasts rate both Detroit-style pizza and its predecessor, Sicilian pizza, among the best types of a famous dish. The melting cheese, rectangular shape, and tasty crust make them a real treat for any diner. However, there are a couple of differences one must know before ordering.

Read my Detroit pizza vs Sicilian pizza guide, and find out which is better.

Sicilian and Detroit pizzas are thick and rectangular in shape. They are often considered to be the same. However, Sicilian pizza has a softer bottom and no blackened edges, while Detroit-style pizza has crispy bottom and sauce on top of the cheese.

Rectangular pizza slice on a plate

Detroit Pizza vs Sicilian Pizza – Key Features

They look the same, but they don’t taste the same. Even though they are both thick pies with a rectangular shape similar to pan pizzas, they are not prepared in the same way.

The obvious difference is that Detroit-style pizza is a heavier pie with more toppings, while Sicilian pizza boasts more cheese.

Here’s a link to my ultimate pizza size guide.

Origin of Sicilian Pizza

The Sicilian pizza originates from a picturesque region in Italy called Palermo. From there, the recipe was brought to the United States. It was called “sfincione,” which translates to “little sponge.” The recipe introduced a completely different approach to baking pizzas. The rectangular pans were used instead of round pans, and the pizzas are layered with:

  • tomatoes,
  • anchovies,
  • onions,
  • and herbs.

The cheese that comes on top should have a strong flavor. Pecorino romano and caciocavallo are most commonly used.

A rectangular pizza next to a plate

Origin of Detroit-Style Pizza

Detroit-style pizza is a spin-off of Sicilian pizza or even its descendant. It was made for the first time in 1946 in Detroit. The chefs credited with coming up with the recipe are Anna and Gus Guerra.

Apart from having a square shape and thick crust, it also has a fried, crunchy bottom. The crust needs to overflow with cheese that is a bit burnt. On top of the cheese, pizza sauce is added. The must-have topping on every Detroit-style pizza is pepperoni. Thick and small slices are usually used. The result is a pie with a doughy and gooey center that is crunchy on the outside.

Detroit-style pizza on a wooden board

Detroit Pizza vs Sicilian Pizza – Differences

Once you are introduced to the differences between the two pies, it’s easier to choose which one is more according to your taste. It will be impossible to get the two recipes confused. Let’s dive right in.

How the Toppings Are Layered

Layering of toppings on Detroit-style pizza is completely different than on a Sicilian pizza. The pepperoni on the Detroit-style pizza is placed at the bottom, and the cheese is added then. On top of the pie, one will find plenty of pizza sauce. This style of layering toppings will cause the crust to be crunchy.

Sicilian pizza requires creativity. Layering toppings is not a straightforward process, and one can choose to put anything on the pie. The most important thing is to put sauce right before it’s time to bake the pizza. The last step is to sprinkle breadcrumbs on the sauce.

Person adding toppings on a pizza

Pizza Edges

Sicilian pizza doesn’t have crispy edges like a Detroit-style pizza. Many restaurants opt for caramelized cheese they pour all over the Detroit-style pizza.

It’s important to place cheese from edge to edge so that the edges become a bit burnt and crunchy.

Sicilian pizza needs a lot of cheese to be put on the pie, but there shouldn’t be any edges. This is why, on Sicilian pizza, you’d find softer edges.

Added Cheese

Wisconsin brick cheese is considered the best for Detroit-style pizzas. It provides the pie with an exceptional taste, and it melts very well.

On Sicilian pizza, one can find caciocavallo, which has a strong flavor similar to provolone, and a bit of pecorino romano. The different flavor of the cheese impacts the taste of the pizza in a significant way.

However, both pizzas feature incredibly melting cheese which is an aspect that is similar.

Cheese on top of a pizza

The Pan That Can Be Used

For Sicilian pizza, one doesn’t have to search far and wide – any pan would do. But, for a Detroit-style pizza one needs to have a blue steel pan. It’s necessary for the bottom to come out blackened and crispy.

The Shape of the Pie

Even though Sicilian pizzas have become popular for their square shape, they don’t necessarily need to be prepared in this shape.

It’s possible to find Sicilian pizzas made in round shapes as well.

However, Detroit-style pizzas are only found in a rectangular shape. Otherwise, it would lose its name – Detroit-style pizza.

A slice of pizza on a plate

Overview of Difference Between Detroit and Sicilian Pizza

In the table below, you will find the key differences between Detroit-style pizza and Sicilian pizza so you can have a clearer understanding of what each recipe is like.

Detroit-style pizzaSicilian pizza
Generally sauce gets placed over cheeseIt doesn’t matter whether the sauce is placed underneath or on top of cheese
Toppings and cheese need to cover the edges of the pie as wellToppings don’t cover the edges
The edges are blackenedThe edges are not blackened
Wisconsin brick cheese is usedCaciocavallo and pecorino romano are used
Basil is not the traditional toppingBasil is the traditional topping
The dough is high-hydration breadThe dough doesn’t need to be high-hydration bread

Ready to Choose Sicilian Pizza or Detroit-Style Pizza?

Both pizzas have a unique and delectable flavor. The toppings that are picked out and the style of preparation might be different, but the end result is truly a delicious meal.

If you want to order Sicilian pizza, you should visit local pizzerias or buy frozen Screamin’ Sicilian pizzas that can be prepared at home in a matter of minutes.

Detroit-style pizzas are featured on the menu at Pizza Hut, while there are also frozen versions, such as Motor City Pizza Co.