What is St. Louis-Style Pizza, and What Makes it Special?

Tim Parry


If you've traveled to Missouri, you've probably heard of St. Louis-style pizza. It's a local favorite sold in many restaurants in the area. But what is St. Louis-style pizza, what is it made of, and how can you make your variation of it at home?

This post will answer these questions and give you everything you need to know about St. Louis-style pizza.

Let's get started!

What is St. Louis-Style Pizza?

St. Louis pizza is a style of pizza that is a favorite of residents of St. Louis, Missouri, and its environs. Everything from the composition to the appearance of this pizza is unique. It features a cracker-thin crust, Provel cheese, and square, pie-like cuts.

St. Louis-style pizza dates back to 1945 when Amedeo Fiore opened the first pizzeria in Chicago after World War II. Pizza hadn't gained popularity in the US like it has today. Amedeo began by making classic Italian pizza and later made the St. Louis variation which was the signature meal of his Italian restaurant.

Not long after setting up the pizzeria, the demand for pizza grew, allowing Amedeo to cook three styles of pizza. These styles included tomato cheese, tomato sausage, and tomato-anchovies pizzas. He still used the thin crust and provolone cheese for the pizzas.

Over time, more pizzerias emerged in St. Louis, and the St. Louis-style pizza was at the center of them all. Since its mass adoption, the pizza style has become a must-have for residents and visitors of the Missourian city. You can get a taste of this pizza from popular local chains like Imo's Pizza.

If you are passing through St. Louis and want something new and flavorful to try, be sure to order a St. Louis-style pizza.

What Makes St. Louis Style Pizza Different?

St. Louis-style pizza is among the most unique and delicious pizza variations in existence. Why do we say so? Let's break down what makes St. Louis Pizza such a treat.

1. Crust

This pizza style features a cracker thin crust much lighter than what you usually get with regular pizza recipes. The thin nature of the crust is no accident. The crust is made using unleavened dough, which contains no yeast.

The yeast-free dough doesn't rise. Instead, it creates a thin crust necessary for St. Louis-style pizzas. Fortunately, a thin pizza crust packs fewer calories than a regular crust.

Can a thin crust still support additional layers of toppings and cheese? Yes, it can. The pizza crust is thin but strong enough to hold up your favorite toppings without losing shape.

2. Sauce

The sauce on St. Louis-style pizza is not too light or heavy. You can easily spread it over the thin crust right to the edge.

A combination of tomato sauce and oregano packs a mean punch when put on this pizza. The sauce adds a sweet, savory taste to the pizza and is suitable for various toppings.

3. Cheese

The Provel cheese on St. Louis pizza is made by combining several types of cheese. Some pizzas work well with one kind of cheese, but St. Louis-style pizza was initially made using three types of cheese, including:

  • Swiss cheese
  • Provolone cheese
  • Cheddar cheese

Today, you don't have to use all three kinds of cheese separately since you can use Provel cheese. This cheese product blends the three types of cheese into one, making it easier to prepare St. Louis-style pizza. It also helps cut costs since you won't have to buy one of each cheese type.

4. Toppings

Originally, St. Louis-style pizza featured Neapolitan-style toppings. This means you'd get the toppings you see in a traditional Italian pizza. The common toppings for this pizza include tomatoes, anchovies, mozzarella cheese, and basil.

Nowadays, you can have any food included as toppings on your pizza as long as it's cut into small chunks. There is no limit to the type of toppings you can get on your St. Louis pizza today.

5. The Cut

Another unique aspect of St. Louis-style pizzas is the cut. Unlike traditional pizza, which is cut into wedges, St. Louis pizza is cut into squares. This means you'll get about 16 square slices of pizza instead of a few long slices.

Additionally, this cut makes it easier to eat piles of toppings on your pizza than if you were eating wedge slices.

6. Shelflife

We can't talk about St. Louis pizza without talking about its shelf life. If, for some reason, you can't finish the entire pizza and have some leftovers, don't fret. You'll be glad to know that St. Louis-style pizza has an abnormally long shelf life.

The next morning, your leftover slices will be just as shamefully delicious, eaten a day later as the day before. If you are a fan of eating day-old pizza, you should try St. Louis pizza a day after preparing it. You'll absolutely love it!

Best St. Louis-Style Pizza Recipes

Now that you know what makes a St. Louis-style pizza let's discuss how you can make it from the comfort of your home. It's a great way to bring a different feel to your kitchen, especially if you can't get to Missouri to try the pizza there.

1. Imo's St. Louis-Style Recipe

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Imo's Pizza is among the few pizza joints that have perfected the St. Louis-style recipe. If you'd like to understand how they do it and hopefully replicate it, here is everything you need to know.


  • All-purpose flour
  • Salt
  • Olive oil
  • Baking powder
  • Dark corn syrup
  • Water
  • 8 oz. of sliced tomatoes
  • 3 oz. of tomato paste
  • 1/2 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Basil
  • 1 tablespoon Thyme
  • 1 tablespoon Oregano
  • 1 cup of white cheddar cheese (shredded)
  • 1/2 cup of Swiss cheese (shredded)
  • Your favorite toppings



  1. The first step is to prepare the dough. Take a large mixing bowl and add 2 cups of flour, a teaspoon of baking powder, two teaspoons of olive oil, and half a cup of water. Mix it up until all the ingredients combine into a stiff lump of dough.
  2. Separate the dough into two portions and shape them into balls. Then, roll the dough balls into thin round bases. Sprinkle cornmeal on your pizza peel to ensure the crust doesn't stick.
  3. Next, we'll make the sauce. Blend the tomato paste, tomato slices, and half a tablespoon of salt, sugar, thyme, and basil. You don't need to precook this sauce. Plus, it will be enough to use on two pizza crusts.
  4. Ideally, it would be best if you used Provel cheese, but it might not be available at your local store. You'll have to mix cheddar, Swiss, and provolone cheese to make your own.
  5. If you have meat toppings like bacon or Italian sausage, you should precook it before we proceed.


  1. Spread the sauce on the base of the pizza and then add the cheese mixture. Place the toppings on the final layer and add some thyme or basil.
  2. We recommend using a pizza stone over a pan for homemade St. Louis-style pizza. Set your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit and put the pizza in for about 10 to 12 minutes.
  3. Once the cheese melts and the crust is brown, your pizza is ready. Remove it from the oven, slice it into squares, and voila!

2. Smoky Cheese St. Louis Style Pizza

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This second recipe is for anyone who wants a St. Louis-style pizza in less than 20 minutes. It's much faster than the first option since it cuts the cooking time in half.


  • Pizza dough
  • 2/3 cup of pizza sauce
  • 1 cup shredded white cheddar
  • 1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded Provolone cheese
  • Liquid smoke flavoring
  • Fresh herbs
  • Favorite toppings


  • You can get premade standard pizza dough from the store, but you can also prepare it from scratch. In a mixing bowl, add two cups of all-purpose flour and two tablespoons of olive oil, and a half cup of water.
  • Thoroughly mix the ingredients until the dough forms. Divide the dough into two balls that you'll roll to make the pizza crust. If you aren't in a hurry, let the dough rest for about 10 minutes before rolling it.
  • Roll the dough to a thickness of 1/8 an inch and place each crust on a pan. Mix the cheese and add a teaspoon of liquid smoke flavoring to create a smoky cheese taste.
  • Pour half the sauce on each pizza base and then add the cheese mixture. Place the herbs and any toppings you have on the top layer.
  • Bake the pizza for about ten minutes while watching it closely. You'll know your pizza is ready when the cheese melts and the crust has a golden brown edge.
  • Remove it from the oven, slice it into squares, and serve while hot.

3. St. Louis-Style Chicken Pizza

This one is for chicken pizza lovers. You can add chicken to a St. Louis-style pizza for exquisite results. Here's what you'll need.


  • 1 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1 cup white cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup provolone
  • 1/2 cup Swiss cheese
  • 1/3 cup of pizza sauce
  • Chicken breast sliced and baked
  • Herbs for garnish


  1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit and at the same time, start prepping your dough. Mix the flour, baking powder, olive oil, and water in a bowl. Knead the dough, shape it into a ball, and then roll it into a thin crust.
  2. Apply the sauce on the pizza base, ensuring it doesn't go over the edge. Mix the different kinds of cheese and then add them to the crust.
  3. Spread the slices of chicken breast all over the crust, along with any other toppings you have. Put the pizza in the oven and wait for the cheese to turn golden and the crust to brown. This should take 12 to 15 minutes.
  4. Remove it from the oven, wait 3 minutes for the pizza to cool and finally slice it into squares and serve.

4. Ground Pork St. Louis Style Pizza Recipe

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This last recipe takes about 45 minutes to prepare if you don't have dough and pizza sauce ready. You could use the instructions in the previous recipes to prepare your dough and sauce and then return to this one for the procedure.


  • 8 oz. ground pork (pre-cooked)
  • 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar
  • 4 oz. white cheddar cheese
  • 2 oz. Swiss cheese
  • 2 oz. provolone cheese
  • 1/2 tablespoon basil, oregano, and salt
  • 1/2 cup of sliced olives


  1. Preheat your oven to 475 degrees Fahrenheit and oil your pizza stone/pan.
  2. Take a bowl and put all your toppings inside. Mix the ground pork, oregano, basil, and salt, but don't include the cheese or olive slices.
  3. Mix the Swiss, provolone, and white cheddar in a separate bowl to create your homemade Provel cheese.
  4. Roll the dough into a thin base for your pizza. Put the rolled dough into the preheated oven for five minutes and then remove it.
  5. Pour the sauce on the crust, follow it up with the cheese, and finally, top it up with the pork toppings.
  6. Put the pizza in the oven and wait for an additional 12 minutes. Check the cheese to ensure it has melted and that the crust is brown.
  7. Remove it from the oven, place it on a cutting board, and slice it into squares.


What is St. Louis-style pizza? It's a pizza variation that originated in Missouri more than half a century ago. This pizza style features unique characteristics like a cracker thin crust, Provel cheese, and square cuts. You can give the recipes in this post a try to make a homemade variation of St. Louis-style pizza.

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Tim Parry

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