Arugula makes a delicious pizza topping!

One of the best things about making pizzas at home is customizing your sauces and pizza toppings. While most restaurants offer specialty pizzas these days, they can get expensive quickly and are usually not very customizable. Choosing pizza toppings when sharing pizzas with your family can inevitably lead to someone being disappointed.

Instead of arguing with one another, why not make pizzas at home?

Then everyone gets to choose their sauces and pizza toppings. 

In our pizza series, we’ve walked you through an easy no-cook pizza sauce and how to make delicious NY-Style Pizza dough at home. Now it’s time to talk about making specialty pizzas and creating customized pizza creations that you can’t get at a pizza restaurant.

From white pizza to BBQ chicken pizza and every other option in between, the choices for pizza toppings are endless (um, dessert pizza, anyone?). Here, we’re going to suggest some choices for pizza sauces, pizza toppings, and pizza garnishes and let you take it from there to create customized 12″ pizzas.

Now no one in your house has to argue over pizza toppings. Everyone can create customized pizzas! 

Pizza Sauce: 

When you build a pizza, you usually start with the sauce. While our no-cook pizza sauce is delicious and classic for pizza, using sauce alternatives can turn regular pizza into a culinary explosion of flavors and textures. 

Alternatives to Tomato Sauce for Pizza Toppings: 

  • White sauce
  • Alfredo sauce
  • BBQ sauce
  • Ranch dressing
  • Pesto
  • Garlic oil
  • Buffalo sauce
  • Salsa
  • Hummus
  • Chimmichurri sauce
  • Balsamic Glaze
  • Curry sauce
  • Peanut sauce
  • Nutella
  • Lemon-garlic sauce
  • Sour cream

Thinking outside the box when it comes to pizza sauce opens you up to many more flavor combinations. These sauces complement various toppings and cheeses, creating so many pizza topping combinations that you will never grow tired of pizza night.

The Cheese: 

Mozzarella cheese is a classic pizza cheese, and most of the time should be the primary cheese on your pizzas. Adding in other cheeses can create various flavors and textures of the melty, gooey, cheese that everyone loves on pizza. One of my favorite things to add to pizza is harissa goat cheese.

If you’re a cheese lover, try some of your favorite unique cheeses the next time you make pizza at home!

Pizza Cheeses: 

  • Shredded Mozzarella
  • Fresh Mozzarella
  • Goat Cheese
  • Feta Cheese
  • Ricotta Cheese
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Gouda Cheese
  • Cheddar Cheese
  • Gruyere Cheese
  • Provolone Cheese
  • Colby Jack Cheese
  • Limburger Cheese (stinky pizza, anyone?)
  • Farmers Cheese
  • Swiss Cheese
  • Brie Cheese
  • Velveeta Cheese
  • Blue Cheese

When making pizza, you usually start with mozzarella and add a sprinkle of your favorite cheeses, or you can go big and substitute out the mozzarella all together. Some surprisingly delicious cheeses on pizza include goat cheese, brie cheese, and Limburger cheese! So the next time you get a little handsy in the cheese department, plan a pizza night to use up all the cheese sitting in your fridge!

Pizza Toppings: 

Here is where your creative culinary wings can really spread. There are hundreds of pizza toppings, and the pizza combinations from there increase exponentially. Don’t be afraid to try non-traditional toppings!

Vegetable Toppings:

  • Onion (any color, even caramelized onions) 
  • Garlic
  • Mushrooms
  • Spinach
  • Arugula
  • Peppers (hot or sweet)
  • Broccoli
  • Shallots
  • Artichoke hearts
  • Beans
  • Corn
  • Capers
  • Olives
  • Tomatoes
  • Eggplant
  • Roasted Butternut Squash
  • Potatoes
  • Roasted Beets
  • Zucchini or Summer Squash
  • Chives
  • Avocado
  • Horseradish
  • Chickpeas

Most of these veggie toppings don’t require pre-cooking before baking your pizza. A few of these should be pre-cooked such as butternut squash, eggplant, and some greens.

Just remember, if you go heavy on veggie toppings, some of them may increase your pizza cooking time to make sure your crust cooks through.

Fruit Toppings:

Fruit can be a great pizza topping!
  • Dried figs
  • Apples (Apple and Brie Pizza, yum!)
  • Pineapple
  • Pears
  • Plantains
  • Peaches
  • Mango

Fruit on pizza can be surprising. If you’re worried about not liking it, top just half your pizza with fruit instead of the whole pizza. Apples and sourcream make a delicious pizza, especially when paired with a bit of mozzarella and brie cheeses.

Meat Toppings: 

Meat lovers pizzas don’t have to be limited to pepperonis and sausage. There are so many meats that go great on pizza. If you have a lot of leftovers in the fridge, it might be time to have a pizza night!

Meat Pizza Toppings: 

  • Pepperoni
  • Ham
  • Ground Beef
  • Sausage
  • Grilled Chicken
  • Bacon
  • Canadian bacon
  • Turkey
  • Roast Beef
  • Prosciutto
  • Salami
  • Smoked Salmon
  • Clams
  • Shrimp
  • Scallops
  • Pulled Pork
  • Jerk Chicken
  • Taco meat
  • Chorizo
  • Ground pork
  • Ground lamb
  • Steak
  • Meatballs
  • Anchovies 

Pizza Garnishes:

These are pizza toppings that go on your pizzas after they finish cooking. Garnishes like fresh herbs, or avocado taste amazing on pizza, but you may not want them baked onto your pizza.


  • Fresh herbs
  • Dried Herbs
  • Avocado
  • Sour Cream
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Hot sauce
  • Pine nuts
  • Lemon zest
  • Lime zest
  • Arugula
  • Lettuce
  • Spices

All these lists individually look pretty ordinary, but when you start mixing and matching your pizza toppings, your pizza night will get exciting.

Try having a pizza night where everyone gathers in the kitchen to choose from different sauces and pizza toppings to create sharable pizzas with varying combinations of toppings! 

Pizza nights are a great way to get rid of leftovers, try new flavors, or even sneak some veggies into your kids. 

Here are a few of our favorite pizza accessories that will make family pizza night amazing! 

What’s the funkiest pizza you’ve ever tried?

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