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The Slice Test: Breaking Down New York’s Favorite Pizza

When it comes to New York pizza, it’s all about the slice. Buying pizza by the (giant) slice is as New York as the Statue of Liberty. It’s a rite of passage that every visitor should try – but how do you figure out which slice to try? There are literally hundreds of pizza shops in Manhattan alone. Even as a local, there are so many choices it can be difficult to know whether your local slice is as good as it should be.

The pizza experts at Made in New York Pizza have your back. Our name is a clue: we’re masters of the New York pizza slice. A basic pizza is pretty easy to make – anyone can put tomato sauce and cheese on some dough – but basic is all most of them will be. And not every pizza made in New York is a real New York-style slice. Our chefs have done the work to understand exactly what makes for the ultimate New York pizza experience.

Step 1: It’s All About the Perfect Thin Base

The crust makes a real New York-style pizza. Most pizza styles are defined by their crust – consider the Neopolitan, the Sicilian, the grandma, the deep-dish. In New York, we like our pizza thin, but not too thin. 

New York is known as the city that never sleeps, and its residents always keep moving, constantly hustling and making moves. A slice bought on the go must be sturdy enough to hold its own weight and any toppings when held in one hand – but not so thick that it can’t be easily folded for easier one-handed eating. The ideal is thin enough to be crisp but still chewy. 

The dough is a feature all on its own, with a distinct flavor ready to play a supporting role to your chosen toppings. Many people say that it comes from the minerals in the water; some restaurants outside of the state go as far as importing New York tap water for their dough. For others, high-gluten flour or the pizza oven is the key to the signature New York crust. Traditionally, a coal-fired oven was used, but today, many New York pizzerias swear by their gas or wood-fired pizza ovens.

Step 2: Let’s Get (Tomato) Saucy

Once you have a great base, the next step is to sauce it up. A good pizza sauce is like the background in a movie: it sets the scene. Every pizza place in New York claims to have its own unique recipe, of course, but the authentic New York-style pizza sauce has a few standards.

Unlike the raw tomato approach of the Neopolitan pizza, the sauce for a New York-style pizza is simmered until the sweet and savory notes of the tomato come to the fore. It’s usually kept simple, combining tomatoes, Italian spices, and only a few other ingredients. A great sauce is tasty while still allowing the toppings to take center stage.

The key to saucing your pizza is moderation. There’s no need to drown it: a true New York-style pizza uses only as much sauce as is required to cover the base. A great sauce doesn’t need a heavy hand to prove its point. It provides a layer of moisture and rich tomato flavor to perfectly complement the base and (you guessed it!) the cheese.

Step 3: Time to Say Cheese!

The right cheese should bring a smile to anyone’s face. For the perfect New York pizza, only one type of cheese will do: the classic mozzarella. Low-moisture mozzarella, to be specific. Not only is it saltier and denser than regular mozzarella, but it also melts better, the ideal for creating the picture-perfect cheese pull without making everything soggy.

That said, the New York-style pizza slice shouldn’t be drowning in cheese. In fact, many of the best pizzas in the city come out looking a little patchy. It’s all about achieving the perfect cheese-to-base ratio. The grated cheese should be sprinkled over the top of the pizza in a single generous but not overpowering layer. Some add a little grated parmesan or other cheeses to the mix for a little taste twist, but mozzarella on its own is enough to steal the show or work harmoniously with your favorite toppings.

There you have it: the perfect plain slice, the classic cheese pizza. Sprinkled with a little oregano or fresh basil leaves, it’s ready to be enjoyed.

Set The Slice Benchmark at Made In New York Pizza

The ideal slice of New York-style pizza is a perfect merging of textures. The crisp-yet-chewy base, the zesty tomato sauce, and the creamy melted cheese… delicious.  If your mouth isn’t watering already, it soon will be. Once you bite into an authentic New York pizza, you’ll understand why it’s so iconic.

As one of the top pizza places in New York, the proof is in the slice. We stand by our plain cheese slice – taste it, and you’ll soon see why some call us the best pizza in New York City. It’s delicious on its own or provides the delicious foundation of our topped slices and pies. Check out our menus and order online or treat yourself to a slice at any of our locations today.