We are sure we got your tastebuds activated when we mentioned the word ‘Pizza’ Pizza Hut has served this popular Saturday late-night cravings for over 60 years.
Thanks to the Carney brothers, now we have a sweet lovers’ quarrel on hand-tossed pizza vs pan pizza.
Obviously, nothing beats the taste of these two- but yes, there are significant differences, as a Pizzaiolo would state.
The main difference that first catches the eye is the visual presentation. Pan pizza is often called a dip dish because it has a thick crust containing melted cheese and all other heavenly goods.
So when you take a bite, everything will be mashed up, and you’ll taste a fluffy texture.
Contrarily, hand-tossed pizza has a thinner crust. And for that reason, when it’s heated, the pizza bakes a bit crispier hence you’ll get more ingredients in your mouth than the crust itself.
However, this will be our topic today: pizza hut pan vs. hand tossed. So get your ovens preheated and get ready for some pizza class!
Which Type of Pizza From Pizza Hut is Most Popular?
Based on recent research, the top favorite in Pizza Hut is the Original Pan Crust, and the Classic Hand Tossed Crust comes second. The Thin Crust and Stuffed Crust come just after them.
As stated above, the Pizza Hut pan vs. hand tossed battle is so close in line. The popularity depends on four major factors: the dough preference, the texture, the dough-to-topping ratio, and the taste.
Interestingly, the dough is the factor that navigates the features of other factors.
Compared to pan vs. hand tossed, pan pizzas have a fluffy, bouncy dough, so the texture is soft and delightfully chewy since it spreads out in height and width, so topping capacity is higher- and you can taste more of that bread.
Contrarily, hand-tossed pizzas have a thinner crust, so it’s not chewy; instead, they will look more like tortillas, toppings will be less heavy on this side, but you’ll taste more of them than the crust.
The battle is still ongoing. Let’s see if hand-tossed pizzas can take over pan pizzas!
What is a Pizza Hut Pan Pizza?
Different takes on this classic pan pizza style are based on other regions. The history is rich, and so are the flavors! A vivid description will make you more intact with today’s article.
For our pan pizza delights, we’ll discuss the three most popular choices for pan pizzas—the Detroit style, the Sicilian style, and the Chicago style.
Pan pizzas are baked at almost 270 degrees Celsius for 15-20 minutes based on the texture preference. Also, they are supposed to be soft as they spread in the oven.
01. Detroit Style
The most decadent pan pizza is unquestionably the Detroit style. A fluffy base with a pastry crust on the bottom. The cheesy edges and decadent toppings are just a match made in heaven.
It was first termed ‘Detroit’ when Shawn Randazzo won the Las Vegas International Pizza Expo World Championship. Before that, it was just ‘Sicilian’ style pizza.
The style was invented in the mid-40s by Buddy’s Rendezvous based on the Sicilian pizza that Anna Guerra’s mother used to make. An employee claimed it was their recipe, in any case.
The unusual rectangular shape comes from the metal pans they used to bake in Buddies. These bluish steel pans were utilized from waste materials that were initially meant to be automobile scrapes.
However, it was thought to be ideal for a deep pan pizza. The sauce stripes on top represent and admire the motor city in Detroit.
The ingredients for the dough will be strong bread flour, warm water, instant dry yeast, salt, and olive oil.
The extraordinary design lies with the preparation of dough, where you have to let it rise for a long time and dimple it from the top to the edges.
The dough needs to be filled with cheese, plenty of pepperonis, and sauce for the toppings.
Marinara sauce is best suited for this pan pizza. Add red pepper flakes and garlic powder to the herb mixture for that pizzazz!
Combine cheddar cheese, Monterey Jack Cheese, and pepperoni so you can taste heaven melting in your mouth when you take that bite.
Bake it with the correct measurement of ingredients, and we bet the taste will linger on your tongue for a long time. At least now you know how Pizza Hut makes it so delicious!
02. Sicilian Style
Also known as Sfincione in Italy. It has a distinct flavor in each locale.
In the Palermitan variation, the pizza base is a focaccia-style bread with tons of toppings such as tomatoes, onions (make sure they are sweet and yellow), shredded mozzarella cheese, and herbs (basil is a favorite one), anchovies, grilled aubergine, and other options as well. Don’t forget the classic pizza sauce!
Various monarchs left a glorious heritage in the land of Sicily, so the taste of Italy can be found widespread.
Until the mid-16th century, tomatoes weren’t there to make a perfect pizza, so Senza Pomodoro was used instead of tomato sauce. Senza Pomodoro is an eggplant-based sauce with a blend of cheese.
Sfincione was the only pizza in Sicily until the mid-19th century. Its origins are the subject of several legends.
Believe it or not, stories say this pizza is the result of thoughts of a group of nuns from Palermo’s Royal San Vita for the Prince.
03. Chicago Style
Chicago deep dish pizzas, with their distinctively towering crust and pastry-like base, are unsurpassed in terms of flavor and aesthetic appeal.
The name Pizzeria Uno in Chicago, founded by Sewell, is claimed to be the origin (1943) of this favorite comfort food.
Controversies about this pizza exist; Pizza cook Rudy Malnati is also favorite personnel to be debated by historians. There is the Rosati family on the line, too. They opened their Original Chicago Pizza in 1926.
With a bouncy dough recipe, make sure your Chicago-style pan pizza has thick sauce, as that’s the specialty.
For toppings, you should add Provolone cheese, cubed and skimmed mozzarella, Italian sausages, olive oil for the glossy dressing, and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.
What is a Pizza Hut Hand Tossed Pizza?
Much is not found about this favorite pizza style, but a name Riccardo’s is often stated.
Based in Belleview, this restaurant claims that Italian immigrants in America cultivated their love for food (especially pizza)in 1905 by inaugurating the first American Pizza restaurant.
And hand tossed has been a favorite since then, a food heritage brought back by the Italians.
It is often found similar to Neapolitan pizza and New York and Brooklyn-style pizzas. The specialty with it is that it is stretched by tossing via hands.
This method results in a thinner crust than pan pizzas; the texture is crispier, and people find it less oily when served.
There is a slight difference between thin crust pizza and hand-tossed pizza; it all lies in dough handling, which only experts can do.
The science behind tossing is that it crushes the bubbles in the dough vigorously, so air won’t be trapped inside when baked hence the lack of the fluffy texture.
With the preparation of the dough, since opting for a hand-tossed pizza, the dough needs to be thinner and, notably, elastic.
The kneading should be as usual with the usual ingredients (sometimes herbs or grated cheese are added to the dough for some fun modifications), and then the tossing is approached.
Tossing will go on repeat until you get that perfect circle. Pizza Hut offers its own take on the crust under different names.
The dough is paired with a wide range of ingredients like garlic powder, Parmesan, herbs, Honey Sriracha, and even shredded Asiago.
The toppings can be diversified according to taste, but it should be ensured that they are thinly cut and not too heavy on the crust.
Pizza Hut Hand Tossed Vs Pan – Which One is Better?
You may not notice the differences from the first look at the descriptions, but from the aesthetic appearance to the baking, some differences might make you wonder about them!
And not to mention, regular Pizza Hut goers already know them, and that’s why the jargon ‘pizza hut pan vs hand tossed’ exists.
#01. Dough and Crust
Pizza Hut offers both of these classical extravaganzas in two options. Thick crust or thin crust.
Pan Pizza has a thick crust, and hence it is called deep-dish pizza. The crust will be sinewy outwards, where Pizza Hut offers cheese or sausages, with all the good things happening in the middle.
With a thick crust, the advantage is that the pizza can hold more toppings, and the beautiful fluffy shape remains intact through the baking.
With a thinner crust, you will get a crispy texture. The party size for the hand-tossed pizza being so ductile, has 24 slices, while the pan pizza has only 20 cuts for the party size.
#02. Sauce and Cheese
Pizza Hut offers two stunning options for the sauce: the garlic-y Alfredo and the all-time favorite Red one.
If you are a sucker for a thick layer of cheese on your pizza with no sauce disturbing on the top, you should go for the pan pizza.
So, when you take a bite, the ooey-gooey cheese will make you feel like you are in cheese heaven!
For hand-tossed pizzas, you can easily simile it with lasagna because of the layering of the cheese and the sauce (and it’s just one layer of lasagna!).
The arrangement is due to the thin crust as too much sauce underneath the cheese can make the crust quite soggy, which will be very unpleasant.
Even with the comparatively less sauce, the crust absorbs some of it.
#03. Cooking Time and Temperature
With a thicker crust, pan pizzas take longer to be baked. It’s not the same with hand-tossed pizzas. Mind that pan pizzas, when baked, will be increased both in height and width; so much heat is needed.
It is evident that thin crusts will take less time than thick crusts, so you’ll have to hold your horses for a few more minutes if you order pan pizzas!
Some pizzerias price their hand-tossed pizzas more because they require unique technique and precision. Luckily for you, Pizza Hut offers the same price for both types of pizzas.
#05. Toppings and Ingredients
When you try the pizzas at home, you are not restricted by the number of ingredients. But Pizza Hut has some policies.
With pan pizzas, Pizza Hut has a maximum of 4 to 5 toppings. Also, pan pizzas require a bit more oiliness as per the recipe.
Pizza Hut hand-tossed pizzas can only have three limited toppings.
We keep saying this, but it should be kept in mind by the pizza-lovers that hand-tossed pizzas are not able to hold bulky toppings.
Pan pizzas (not just from Pizza Hut) have more bread than hand-tossed pizzas. An informative brochure by Pizza Hut stated that their pan pizzas have around 21% more bread than hand-tossed pizzas.
This means pan pizzas should be avoided by those who are advised to take less carbohydrate, as it can add another extra 13% calories to your daily calory intake.
#07. Cooking Method
In some pizzerias, brick ovens are present to make the experience more immersive. However, only pan pizzas can be placed in these brick ovens, not the hand-tossed ones.
Hand-tossed can be cooked in standard microwave ovens. All this discussion can only lead us to this question…
Comparison of Hand Tossed Vs Pan Pizza Hut
There shouldn’t be any ‘hand tossed vs pan Pizza Hut’ term with just a difference in the crust, yet it still exists. This means that some comparisons persist in consumers’ minds. Why not take a look at them?
The basic dough recipe for both pizzas is the same. It’s in the handling of the dough where the real mystery lies.
Pan pizzas only require dough kneading, and kneading traps the air inside the bubbles formed during fermentation.
When baked, it’s baked with those air bubbles- hence the fluffy texture and the airy, dreamy crust.
Some prefer the higher crust ratio. That’s why they opt for pan pizzas; this ratio is not found in hand-tossed pizzas as the air bubbles burst while throwing the dough in the air.
There is no real ingredient difference between these pizzas. However, you might notice that for hand-tossed pizzas, the toppings are a bit thinly sliced, or there are fewer toppings.
It’s just because of the thin crust (less volume) that can’t contain packed toppings like in pan pizzas.
03. Time Required
Since the crust is thinner, hand-tossed pizzas require comparatively lower temperatures than pan pizzas because the heat is only needed for baking the dough.
Something around 500 degrees Fahrenheit and any time between 12 to 15 minutes will do for a hand-tossed.
Pan pizzas need to be stretched by height and width while baking, so a higher temperature is required (550 degrees) for a good 15 minutes.
Don’t forget to preheat your ovens.
04. Cooking Method
Baking both types of pizzas, baking stones, or ovens can be used.
Both are prepared almost the same way, so it all comes down to the dough. Pan pizzas are usually prepared by cutting dough balls, kneading them to reach a stretch threshold, and then fitting them in the pizza pan.
As for hand-tossed ones, the dough is kneaded to a certain point and then hand-tossed in the air to give that thinner stretch.
A Step By Step Guide To Preparing a Hand Tossed Pizza
If you want to have a try in your home at the hand-tossed pizza or are just interested in how the Pizza Hut hand-tossed vs. pan war started, take a look at this straightforward step-by-step guide.
A) Ingredients of a Hand-Tossed Pizza
It would help if you made your dough ahead of time. For the dough, you’ll need,
– Instant yeast (recommended Platinum Yeast, Red Star)
– Water (you can use warm water for a faster rising time)
– All-purpose flour (use bread flour+ few tablespoons of extra water if you want the dough to be chewy)
– Salt for tasting
– Extra virgin olive oil
For the pizza sauce, these ingredients will give you a classic taste,
– Tomato sauce and paste (yes, both)
– Sugar (you can cut out on this)
If you want sugar-free or vegan versions that cater to your needs, or you simply don’t have enough time to spend on dough or sauce, head out to the store! Your work will be half-done!
For the toppings, these can be your picks, but these are what Pizza Hut uses (according to a former worker)
– Pepperoni (Salami can be used too)
– Red onions and bell peppers
– Chili flakes (optional)
– Mozzarella cheese
B) Time Required For a Hand Tossed Pizza
When it’s all done and ready, a hand-tossed pizza needs only 10 to 15 minutes to be baked.
If the dough is handmade, extra time is required to double in size (approximately 2 hours). Kneading and tossing take a maximum of 10 to 15 minutes.
To save time, you can prepare the dough and the sauce the day before.
Step By Step Guideline
Get your pizza pans ready. Knead your dough, keeping a few extra inches for the toss-after-stretch. Use flour as required when you knead.
Don’t forget to defrost your dough if it’s out of the freezer and let it rest at room temperature (three hours at most). Preheat your oven.
Now for the tossing part. Use both hands to toss the dough in the air; you might use the YouTube video at the very end of this article.
Keep tossing until the dough reaches the pan size. And then place it on the pan.
Now that the dough is placed carefully spread the pizza sauce generously and evenly and give it some resting time.
Yes, this extra one hour will make the after-fermentation process more effective. Also, the sauce will be set appropriately on the dough so the toppings will remain intact.
Now for the toppings! Why not try the Pizza hut flavor combos like BBQ Lover’s or Garden Party, whatever your choices are?
You can choose the ingredients from the above list, or you are free to make your own twist.
Now that the pizza is all set to get in the oven, you can bake it on a heated baking stone or an oven.
The temperatures will be 500 degrees on the bottom rack for an even bake. How to check if your pizza is done? Check for a brown crust after 12 minutes have passed.
Guess what? Now you know how to bake a hand-tossed pizza! It would help if you kept on mastering that tossing.
Frequently Asked Questions
Still, got questions? Let’s see if we can answer them in this section.
Do Hand-Tossed Pizzas Have A Particular Type of Cheese To Get That Extra Burnt-Like Crisp?
It’s no big secret, just a blend of two or three types of cheeses. Pizza Hut uses two classics, cheddar, and mozzarella. Whereas pan pizzas have just mozzarella sprinkled on top.
Why Do I Taste More Condiments on The Pizza Hut Hand-Tossed Pizzas?
Firstly, you have vital flavor receptors because most customers can’t spot the differences between the two types of pizzas.
No, hand-tossed pizzas are not more seasoned than pan pizzas; you taste them more.
If you carefully look at the prep instructions for both types of pizzas, you’ll see the herbs sprinkled on them have different timings.
Hand-tossed pizzas are not seasoned on the last time but prior to that; hence the spices are not exposed to direct heat. All this results in a more robust aroma and taste of the flavors.
When I Try The Pan Pizza At Home, My Crust Gets Too Soggy Because of The Sauce. Any Suggestions?
We’re happy you asked that! You’ll need to make an adhesive with your sauce, so everything sticks together.
Add some flour (or corn flour) with a few amounts of sauce, create a paste, and then add everything to the original sauce mixture.
What is The Difference Between Hand-Tossed and Thin Crust?
A thin crust is just a regular pan pizza prepared so that the crust is more delicate than the usual thickness of the pan pizza.
And hand-tossed is an entirely different pizza because the dough is ready in another way.
Is it True That Hand-Tossed Pizzas Are Healthier Than Pan Pizzas?
Yes, owning a thinner crust means a less carb diet can still be maintained. Hence lower calories consumed.
Hand-tossed pizzas are also claimed to be less oily. Yet making the meal a healthier option.
So, what are you ordering this Saturday? Whether hand tossed or pan, it’s about to get pizzalicious!
We hope this information-packed masterclass got you just in the mood for pizza from your nearest Pizza Hut! Interestingly, there is a classic debate on these two classics.
In this Pizza Hut hand tossed vs pan fight, people often tend to take the side for the first one because of the disliking of the chewy crust and the oiliness.
At the same time, some prefer the pan pizza because they like the higher bread-to-ingredient ratio.
We like them both! And since now you know all the techniques and jargon, why not make a move to try baking one at home, too?