Neapolitan Fried Pizza: the Most Treasured Street Food in the Entire World and its History!

Explore Neapolitan fried pizza, a fast food born in Naples when pizzaiolos turned to frying due to a lack of woodfire ovens. Classic pizza fritta is filled with ricotta, salame, and crispy pork fat, then deep-fried. This beloved street food has evolved with various fillings and even sweet versions, symbolizing Neapolitan ingenuity and resilience. Celebrated in films and festivals, it's a key part of Italy’s culinary heritage.

By Cookist

The Neapolitan fried pizza, or "pizza fritta" (pronounced "PEET-zah FREET-tah" in English), is a traditional street food from Naples, Italy, that has been delighting locals and tourists alike for centuries. Unlike its oven-baked counterpart, this pizza boasts a crispy, golden exterior encasing a variety of rich and tasty fillings.

The Birth of Pizza Fritta


The origins of pizza fritta can be traced back to the aftermath of World War II. During this period, food shortages and economic hardships made it difficult for many Neapolitans to afford the wood required for baking traditional pizzas. Resourceful pizzaiolos faced this challenge head-on by turning to a more accessible cooking method: frying. This innovation allowed them to bypass the need for specialized ovens, creating pizza fritta—a practical and delicious alternative that quickly became a staple. Pizza fritta holds a unique place in the fast-food scene, embodying the spirit of Neapolitan ingenuity.

What is Classic Neapolitan Fried Pizza Made Of?


The classic Neapolitan fried pizza, or "pizza fritta," is a testament to the simplicity and richness of Italian cooking. It starts with a basic dough made from flour, water, salt, and yeast. The dough is then rolled out and traditionally filled with a hearty combination of ricotta, salame, and cigoli—the latter being crisply cooked pork fat that adds a decadent flavor and texture. This mixture is encased in the dough, which is then folded over and deep-fried until it achieves a golden, crispy exterior. The end result is a savory, indulgent treat that is both satisfying and uniquely Neapolitan.

Popular Variations in Naples

While the classic pizza fritta is beloved, various other versions have also captured the hearts of locals and tourists alike. Some variations include adding mozzarella, mushrooms, or even seafood to cater to different tastes and preferences. There are also simpler versions without fillings, fried to a crispy perfection and enjoyed with a sprinkle of sea salt or a dab of tomato sauce (called "montanara"). In sweet iterations, fried pizza dough becomes a base for spreads like Nutella or a dusting of sugar, demonstrating the versatility of this Neapolitan creation.


Fun Facts About Neapolitan Fried Pizza

Pizza fritta is commonly sold in Naples from small booths and street carts, making it an authentic grab-and-go meal. The dish gained international fame when it was featured in the movie "Eat Pray Love," where Julia Roberts's character savors a pizza fritta on the streets of Naples. Annually, Naples celebrates pizza fritta with festivals and competitions, highlighting the skill and creativity of local chefs. More than just a food item, finally, pizza fritta represents the adaptability and resilience of the Neapolitan people during times of economic hardship.

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