Are you looking for pizza party ideas for your next event? Curious how to transform this convenience food into a centerpiece your guests will enjoy? We’re pizza lovers too so you’ve come to the right place.
There is something about pizza that makes it the right food for parties. Pizzas are designed to be instantly shareable. Unless they’re frozen from the supermarket, pieces come presented in a box, pre-cut as well, you just open up and dive on in. The crunch of the crust, the drip of tomato sauce down your chin, the toppings… there’s something sensual about pizzas, isn’t there?
Pizzas fit in your hand and are a meal-in-one. Before we dive into our pizza party ideas, there’s one important point about pizzas you need to know about first.
Don’t Be This Type Of Pizza Lover
Like wine, pizza is such a huge category unto itself that it can be hard to decide which type to choose for your event. It’s so hard, you might go for the easy option, an option I think you should avoid. What’s that? Well, according to food delivery provider Foodler, 37% of customers typically order the plain cheese pizza as the pizza. I know, right?
I think a plain cheese pizza does have a place at parties – as general party food, or a cheese-themed party. For these pizza party ideas, I think your guests would appreciate something more adventurous. You don’t want to be the Boring (and Cheap-Looking) Pizza Party.
Types of Pizza
There are typically 8 types of pizza to choose from (some people may beg to differ) and I’ll list some examples of the most well-known here.
Neapolitan is the original pizza, dating back to 18th century Naples, Italy and brought over to the States by Italian immigrants. Italy are so proud of this pizza, they’ve even sought UNESCO heritage protection, something usually associated with historic buuldings.
The California Style came in 1985 and has a similar dough to a Neapolitan, just with more memorable toppings such as ricotta. The Chicago Deep Dish, meanwhile, has a deep crust and is like an “upside pizza”, with vegetables, cheese and meat placed on the top of the crust and then tomato sauce above that. Chicago Thin Crust speaks for itself. The crust here is crunchy and typically the pizza is served as small squares.
Other pizza types include the New York Style, the Sicilian, the St. Louis Crust, the Detroit and Greek Pizza. Each of these vary depending on crust thickness and presentation of toppings.
If you’re worried about dietary requirements, you can get dough varieties and toppings to suit all kinds of eaters these days. As a gluten-free guy, it’s heartwarming to see so much pizza now produced for pie lovers like me.
Of course, the other pizza type not listed is homemade pizza, which can come in any variety or style you like. Growing up as a kid, we often made baguette pizzas where we layered cheese, sauce and meat toppings along one half of a baguette before toasting it. Baguette pizzas are faster to make than regular pizzas, since all you need is a baguette and toppings.
You can buy baguette pizzas frozen at the supermarket or in a bars as part of the menu. If you’re interested in making these, check out this YouTube video that shows you how to make a baguette pizza.
Time For Pizza
Now we’ve talked about the food, let’s get on with a few pizza party ideas to whet your appetite.
Luxury Pizza Dinner
Pizza is often treated as a cheap convenience food, so this party idea is about celebrating its flavours and construction. There used to be a time you chugged down your pizza with a Coke or a beer, and wine was far from seen as the drink to accompany your pie. However, times have changed. The other reason for using wine in this idea is that different pizzas require different wines. You want to choose a wine that complements the crust type and the toppings.
For those of you who love red wines with your burger or steak, why not consider a Cabernet for a meat-topped pizza? You need to consider a wine that balances out heavier meat toppings such as sausage. Pepperoni and cheese pizzas tend to be cheesy heavy with a thin crust. To handle the acidity of the tomato of these pizzas, consider a medium-bodied wine such as Shiraz.
If you’re eating a more vegetable-heavy pizza, think about opting for a crispy white to balance toppings such as the olives, peppers and onions.
Pairing wine with pizza takes trial and error. If you’re feeling stuck on what to choose, focus on the toppings and the amount of tomato sauce. You want to choose a drink that balances the flavours while also allowing you to enjoy the texture of the wine as well.
This pizza party idea’s like the blind date of pizza dinners and it’s simple in idea (but not in execution): ask everyone you’re inviting over to bring their own pie.
Why is a potluck pizza night difficult to pull off? Well, there are a number of factors to consider. Since pizzas are best eaten hot, you will need to think about the number of pizzas you want at your party and when they should arrive, e.g. everything in the first 60 minutes. You might also want to think about a cut-off time; e.g. people need to bring pizza by X time and no more pizzas after that. You don’t want to be left with lots of uneaten pizza piled up in your kitchen.
The other factor is deciding if every guest should bring a pizza or if every group/pairing of guests should bring one. If your party is small, of 5-6 guests, then that’s a good enough number for a pizza potluck. But if you want more than 50 people at your party, you don’t want to end up with 50 pizzas! Even your pizza addict friends will find their bellies maxed out at some point.
Leftover pizza shouldn’t go to waste; at least you’ll have plenty of pizza dinners for the next days after your party is over.
Frozen Pizza Fest
Have you ever looked through a stack of frozen pizzas, frowned, then decided to order in the real thing? Because we’re used to fresh hot pizzas being made directly in front of us, we often overlook what supermarkets have to offer. But frozen pizza does have its merits, most of all its convenience and price. This pizza party idea’s all about those two things.
Before hunting down the right frozen pizza, find out what dietary requirements you might have. If your local supermarket doesn’t sell dietary-specific pizzas, such as gluten-free, ask the friend who listed this requirement if they have any suggestions. Perhaps they shop somewhere that sells these pizzas.
When preparing your dinner party, bear in mind that a frozen pizza can take up to 20-30 minutes to heat up in the oven. Knowing this will help you decide how many pizzas to prepare for the night. While the pizzas are cooking, you can use the time to prepare salad or entertain your guests if preparations have already been done.
Pizza Birthday Party
Given the convenience of pizza, it’s only right that it’s the perfect food for partying. Frozen pizzas don’t take long to heat up, and delivered pizzas don’t take long to be brought over. Pizza is also just a nice easy food to have at birthday parties, so you can reduce food prep time and spend more time on birthday party activities.
Like with any pizza party, you need to know people’s dietary requirements are before making your order. You will also need to time their delivery and think about where to store them, if they arrive earlier than expected. Good pizza has to be hot and fresh. You should think about when you order the pizza, if you do it an hour into your guests arriving or late. Ask yourself as well if pizza comes before or after the birthday cake.
The TV Pizza Parlour
This pizza party idea’s about pizza as comfort food. Who doesn’t love kicking back after getting home from work, warming something up quickly and relaxing in front of the TV? When you’re too tired from the commute, having something delicious and ready in a few minutes is a dream.
In this case, you’re inviting everyone over to watch TV together, which could be the latest Netflix series or a movie night binge watching. Ideally you want all the pizzas at your door before your night’s viewing begins, so everyone can settle in front of the screen without interruption.
Try to provide everyone with a nice variety of pizza, don’t go for the boring kind (looking at you, cheese!) just because it’s convenient. You can present the pizza(s) in different ways: 2-3 slices per plate per guest together with a drink; everything laid out on a table convenient to everyone; or hosting a pizza bar.
Do It Home Made
Last but not least, you can centre your party ideas around making pizza from scratch with friends. You can opt to do this at home or sign everyone up to a local class. Here’s a video by chef Gennaro Contaldo who talks you through step-by-step in pizza-making.
Now you’ve read through this list of pizza party ideas, hopefully your mind is brimming with ways you can use pizza at your next event. Pizza is such a versatile food that is both convenient but also packed full of interesting flavours. Wishing you luck with your next pies.