Discovering Hawaiian Pizza

Hawaiian pizza, which contains pineapple and ham, is one of the most controversial variations of pizza. While some people swear by its sweet and savory flavor combination, others are vehemently opposed to it. In this article, we will explore the history of Hawaiian pizza, its variations, its preparation, and its current popularity.


Sam Panopoulos, inventor of the Hawaiian pizza

The origins of Hawaiian pizza can be traced back to Canada in the early 1960s. The most commonly cited origin story involves a Greek immigrant named Sam Panopoulos, who owned a pizzeria in Chatham, Ontario, along with his brothers, Elias and Nikitas. Panopoulos reportedly experimented with different pizza toppings, and one day decided to add pineapple and ham to a pizza, creating what he called a “Hawaiian” pizza. The name likely stemmed from the popularity of Hawaiian culture and cuisine at the time.

However, there are some conflicting reports about the true origins of Hawaiian pizza. Some claim that it was actually invented in Australia, while others argue that it was popularized in the United States. Regardless of its true origin, Hawaiian pizza has become a global phenomenon.


While the classic Hawaiian pizza consists of pineapple and ham, there are many variations of this pizza. Some people like to add additional toppings such as bacon, jalapeños, or even shrimp. Others prefer to replace the ham with other types of meat such as chicken or bacon.

Another variation is the “Hawaiian BBQ” pizza, which typically includes barbecue sauce, chicken, bacon, and pineapple. This pizza has a smoky and sweet flavor that many people enjoy.


The preparation of Hawaiian pizza is similar to that of any other pizza. The crust is typically made from a combination of flour, yeast, salt, and water. The sauce is made from tomatoes, herbs, and spices, and the cheese is usually mozzarella.

The toppings are what make the Hawaiian pizza unique. Pineapple is typically used in its canned form, as it is easy to distribute across the pizza. The ham is usually sliced thinly and scattered across the pizza along with the pineapple.


Despite its widespread popularity, Hawaiian pizza remains a contentious topic among pizza lovers. Those who dislike the pizza often argue that the sweetness of the pineapple clashes with the savory flavors of the ham and cheese, resulting in an unappetizing combination. Some have gone as far as to call it a “crime against pizza.”

On the other hand, proponents of Hawaiian pizza argue that the sweet and salty flavor combination is what makes it so appealing. They point out that pizza toppings are a matter of personal taste and preference, and that there is no “right” or “wrong” way to enjoy pizza.

The debate around Hawaiian pizza has even taken on political overtones. In 2017, the president of Iceland, Guðni Th. Jóhannesson, caused a stir when he declared that he would ban pineapple as a pizza topping if he could. His comments sparked a global conversation about food culture and identity.

Current Popularity

Despite the controversy surrounding Hawaiian pizza, it remains a popular pizza variation around the country. According to a survey conducted by YouGov in 2021, 12% of Americans consider Hawaiian pizza to be their favorite type of pizza.

In addition, many pizzerias and chains continue to offer Hawaiian pizza as a menu item. Dominos, for example, reported that Hawaiian pizza was one of its top-selling pizzas in 2022.

Hawaiian pizza has also become a cultural export, with variations on the classic recipe popping up in different countries around the world. In Japan, for example, Hawaiian pizza is often served with corn and mayonnaise, while in Australia, it is common to find Hawaiian pizza with additional toppings like mushrooms and bacon.

Some people argue that the popularity of Hawaiian pizza is a testament to the versatility of pizza as a food. It can be adapted to suit a wide range of tastes, and Hawaiian pizza is just one example.

Hawaiian Pizzas to Try

Pizza Hut (Various Locations): Although pineapple on pizza has been controversial, there’s no denying that Pizza Hut’s Hawaiian pizza is one of the most famous and popular versions of this pizza style. It features ham, pineapple, and mozzarella cheese on a classic pizza crust. You can find Pizza Hut locations all over the world, making it easy to try this classic take on Hawaiian pizza.

Pequod’s Pizza (Chicago, USA): This popular Chicago-style pizza joint offers a unique take on Hawaiian pizza with their Aloha pie. This deep-dish pizza features Canadian bacon, pineapple, jalapenos, and mozzarella cheese on a thick, crispy crust. Pequod’s is known for their caramelized crust and generous toppings, making this a must-try for anyone who loves deep-dish pizza and wants to try a twist on the classic Hawaiian.

Pizzeria la Notizia (Naples, Italy): This highly acclaimed pizzeria in Naples, the birthplace of pizza, offers a version of Hawaiian pizza that stays true to its Italian roots. Their Margherita con Ananas e Prosciutto Cotto features San Marzano tomato sauce, buffalo mozzarella, fresh pineapple, and Italian cooked ham on a traditional Neapolitan pizza crust. It’s a delicious fusion of Italian and Hawaiian flavors that’s sure to delight your taste buds.


YouGov. (2021). America’s favorite pizza toppings.

Dominos. (2020). Annual Report.

Smithsonian Magazine. (2017). A Brief History of Hawaiian Pizza.

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