Pizza Toppings Under Cheese or Over? [Why the Order Matters]

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Pizza Toppings Under Cheese or Over?

Are you wondering if you should layer pizza toppings under cheese or over?

This is a very common question, and the answer to this question depends on your preferences and the type of toppings you prefer.

So let’s dive into which toppings should go under the cheese and which should go over the cheese.

Let’s get started!

Do You Like Your Pizza Toppings Under Cheese or Over?

Generally, if you like your pizzas topped with vegetables, they should go under the cheese. On the other hand, if you add meats to your pizza, it should go over the cheese.

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When to Layer Toppings on a Pizza

Putting toppings on a pizza depends on what type of toppings you use. Pizzas with toppings on top tend to get baked at a faster rate than those with no toppings.

In general, the tomato sauce goes on top of the dough, then the cheese and toppings follow, but this is not always the case.

Many regional styles of pizza are made differently.

For example, the sauce is applied first, and then the toppings in Italy. This order makes it easier to spread the sauce.

However, the deep dish pizza is an entirely different story in Chicago.

Where the mozzarella slices go on top of the dough and beneath the pizza sauce. The cheese slices on top of the dough enhance the final product’s deliciousness while protecting it from becoming a soggy mess.

The best time to put the toppings on a pizza depends on the type of cheese.

Meats on top of cheese will get baked faster than those without. Depending on the topping, you can put the meat on top of a pizza or add it to your pizza before baking it.

Order of pizza toppings infographic
Pizza Toppings Under Cheese or Over Cheese?

Vegetable Toppings

Putting toppings on a pizza depends on what you like to eat. Although vegetables are mostly water, they can add flavor to the pizza. Generally, vegetable toppings should be placed underneath the cheese.

Although certain vegetables contain more water than others, most vegetables are made up of water. Much of the vegetable’s toppings moisture evaporates when you pile them on top of the cheese and bake the pizza at a high temperature.

All the moisture generated when vegetables are layered beneath a layer of cheese and baked at a high temperature gets retained between the cheese and the sauce.

When you cut the pizza, all that moisture is suddenly released into the crust, giving it a soggy bottom. The crust’s flavor and texture have practically been watered down by the excessive wetness, making it less pleasurable to consume.


For example, there are two factors to consider when putting fresh mushrooms on a pizza. A very thinly sliced mushroom placed on top of cheese while being heated to a high temperature can quickly dry up, turning it into tasteless cardboard.

The mushrooms should be buried under the cheese long enough to protect the thinly sliced mushrooms from heat while cooking them just enough.

Mushroom Pizza
Mushroom Pizza with Pizza Toppings Under Cheese

If the idea of buried mushrooms bothers you, try drizzling the sliced mushrooms with olive oil before placing them on top of the cheese. Most of the time, fresh mushrooms are cut into thicker slices, and canned mushrooms will survive the heat without any problems.

This way, they will not overcook and lose their flavor. Another tip is to put your pizza toppings under the cheese if you don’t like meat.

Placing toppings on a pizza depends on what you want to put on top. If you plan on adding fresh spinach to your pizza, you can precook it to prevent it from wilting.


Onions are best for a pizza topping when sliced thinly. Onions will dry out during the cooking process and should be placed under the cheese.

Vegetables also get sweeter and soft when cooked.


Another option for topping your pizza is adding tomato slices.

Tomatoes add thickness to your pizza, and you can use them to flavor the sauce and provide color and texture.

To add thickness, you can use tomato paste. If you’re unsure about the taste, experiment with a small amount first. Tinned tomatoes typically contain water, so drain the extra liquid before using them.

Another good option is cornstarch. You can use a teaspoon to make your pizza sauce thicker.

Tomato sauce can be made using extra virgin olive oil, butter, or flour. Then, you can add a pinch of salt and stir until combined. You can also use bread crumbs for a thicker sauce.

Bread crumbs are spongy and absorb excess water from tomato juice. They also do not affect the taste of your pizza.

However, baking soda is more suitable because it neutralizes tomato sauce’s acidity and makes your pizza alkalized.

Diced tomatoes are a good option if you don’t have time to peel the tomatoes. You can also make a puree with the seedy tomato pulp.

You can cook it down in a pot until it reaches the desired consistency. You can also use passata, a pureed tomato that’s been strained. It is a thicker form of tomato. In the US, it’s called tomato puree.

Meat Toppings

Generally, meat toppings should be placed on top of the cheese.

If you like meat, you should place it on top. However, if you are unsure what goes on top, don’t forget to cook the toppings first.


When fresh or dry-cured pepperoni is baked beneath layers of cheese, the flavor is comparable to that of the product as it comes out of the package. 

However, it crisps up, and the edges curl when you put the same pepperoni on top of layers of cheese and bake it in a pizza oven at a high temperature.

Pepperoni Pizza
Pepperoni Pizza with Pizza Toppings Over Cheese

It emphasizes the subtle smokiness and highlights the traces of pepper in the meat when you spread it over the cheese in the high-temperature pizza oven.

After baking, the pepperoni becomes crispy, giving your bite of pizza a delicious crunch.

The identical pizza will bake, taste, and feel drastically different if the pepperoni is positioned beneath the cheese.

Herbs and Green Toppings

Generally, herbs and green toppings should be placed underneath the cheese or after the pizza is cooked.

However, if you are putting baby spinach or another delicate leafy green on top, the spinach leaves will not hold up and may turn mushy.

If you’re using fresh spinach, you can place them under the cheese or place them after the pizza is cooked.

Herbs Pizza
Herbs Pizza with Pizza Toppings over Cheese

The order of toppings on a pizza can vary greatly depending on what you make and where you’re making it.

Overcooking cheese will curdle and become less pungent, making it difficult to cut and ruin the appearance of the toppings.

Furthermore, baking the dough before placing the toppings will save time.

As a result, they are the perfect topping for a pizza. In addition, you can use the vegetables that you like and put them on top of the pizza as well.

You can layer the vegetables on top of the pizza for a more flavorful dish.

The Last Slice

We hope that you have now learned how to layer pizza toppings under the cheese and over the cheese.

When layering your pizza, play around with the pizza’s toppings. Have cheese on the top and bottom and check the difference.

Get inspired by flavors and textures, and experiment with the layers, flavors, and textures of each component until you are confident that what you have produced is a work of culinary art.

We can honestly say it doesn’t get much better.

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