Pizza Fritta, or “fried pizza,” is a traditional Neapolitan street food that has been warming the hearts and palates of Italians long before the classic oven-baked pizza gained worldwide fame. This delightful dish has its roots deeply embedded in the culinary traditions of Naples, Italy, a city renowned for its rich food heritage. The origin of Pizza Fritta dates back to the aftermath of World War II. During this period, the scarcity of wood and the damage inflicted on traditional pizza ovens led resourceful Neapolitans to invent an alternative method of preparing pizza.

Pizza Fritta

By frying the dough, they were able to achieve a quick, economical, and utterly delicious meal that could be made with minimal resources.The basic premise of Pizza Fritta involves taking a round of pizza dough, stuffing it with various fillings such as ricotta cheese, salami, mozzarella, and tomato sauce, then folding it over to enclose the fillings and frying it until it becomes golden and crispy. The result is a delectable pocket of gooey, melted cheese and rich flavors, encased in a light, airy dough. Over the years, Pizza Fritta has evolved, with variations including a simpler, unfilled version that is enjoyed with a sprinkle of salt and perhaps a dab of sauce on top.

Today, it continues to be a popular choice among street food vendors and traditional pizzerias in Naples, offering a taste of history and innovation in every bite. Its popularity has also spread beyond Italy’s borders, captivating food enthusiasts worldwide who seek to experience the authentic flavors of Neapolitan cuisine.

Prep time2 hours (includes dough rising time)
Cook time20 minutes
CourseMain course
Servings4 persons

Kitchen Tools Needed for Pizza Fritta

  • Deep Fryer or a Large, Heavy-Bottomed Pot
  • Slotted Spoon or Spider Strainer
  • Rolling Pin
  • Kitchen Scale
  • Measuring Cups and Spoons
  • Mixing Bowls
  • Dough Scraper
  • Kitchen Thermometer
  • Paper Towels (for draining)
  • Cutting Board
  • Knife
Pizza Fritta

Ingredients for Pizza Fritta


  • 500g (4 cups) All-purpose Flour
  • 7g (1 packet) Instant Yeast
  • 1 tsp Sugar
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 300ml (1 1/4 cups) Warm Water
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil


  • 200g (1 cup) Ricotta Cheese
  • 150g (1 cup) Mozzarella, diced
  • 100g (1/2 cup) Salami, diced
  • 4 tbsp Tomato Sauce
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Fresh Basil Leaves (optional)
  • Olive Oil for frying

How to make Pizza Fritta?

Prepare the Dough

  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together 500g of all-purpose flour, 7g of instant yeast, 1 tsp of sugar, and 1 tsp of salt. Gradually pour in 300ml of warm water and 2 tbsp of olive oil, mixing until a dough begins to form.
  • Transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes, or until it is smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a clean kitchen towel, and let it rise in a warm place for about 1.5 hours, or until it has doubled in size.

Prepare the Filling

  • In a bowl, combine 200g of ricotta cheese, 150g of diced mozzarella, and 100g of diced salami. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add chopped fresh basil leaves if desired. Mix well to ensure the filling is evenly distributed.

Shape and Fill the Dough

  • Once the dough has risen, punch it down gently to release any air bubbles. Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces.
  • On a lightly floured surface, roll out each piece of dough into a circle about 1/4 inch thick. Spread a tablespoon of tomato sauce over half of each dough circle, leaving a small margin around the edge.
  • Distribute the cheese and salami mixture evenly among the dough circles, placing it on top of the tomato sauce. Fold the dough over to cover the filling, creating a half-moon shape. Press the edges together firmly to seal, ensuring no filling can leak out.

Fry the Pizza

  • Heat a large amount of olive oil in a deep fryer or a heavy-bottomed pot to 180°C (356°F). Carefully slide the filled and sealed pizzas into the hot oil. Fry them for about 4 minutes on each side, or until they are golden brown and crispy.
  • Use a slotted spoon or spider strainer to carefully remove the fried pizzas from the oil. Drain them on a plate lined with paper towels to remove any excess oil.


  • Once drained, the Pizza Frittas are ready to be served. They can be cut into halves or quarters depending on preference. Serve hot for the best taste, allowing the crispy exterior to complement the gooey, flavorful filling inside.
Pizza Fritta

What To Serve With Pizza Fritta?

Zesty Arugula Salad

A simple arugula salad dressed with lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, shaved Parmesan, and cracked black pepper offers a peppery and refreshing counterpoint to the richness of the Pizza Fritta. The lemon’s acidity cuts through the fried dough’s heaviness, cleansing the palate.

Marinated Cherry Tomatoes

Toss cherry tomatoes with basil, garlic, balsamic vinegar, and a touch of honey for a marinated side that brings a burst of sweetness and acidity. This side dish adds a light, juicy component that balances the fried texture of the pizza.

Black Garlic Mayo

Prepare a creamy Black Garlic Mayo as a dipping sauce to add a smooth, garlicky element to each bite. The aioli’s richness complements the fried crust while its garlic flavor enhances the pizza’s toppings.

Grilled Vegetables

Grilled zucchini, bell peppers, and eggplant seasoned with herbs and olive oil make a smoky, savory side that pairs wonderfully with Pizza Fritta. The charred edges and tender textures of the vegetables offer a nice contrast to the crispy pizza.

Antipasto Platter

Create an antipasto platter with an assortment of olives, artichokes, cured meats, and cheeses. This allows guests to enjoy a variety of flavors and textures alongside their Pizza Fritta, turning the meal into a festive Italian feast.

Sweet and Spicy Pickled Vegetables

Quick-pickled vegetables like cucumbers, carrots, and radishes with a hint of chili add a crunchy, vinegary element with a touch of heat. This side dish is perfect for cutting through the fried dough’s richness and refreshing the palate between bites.

Citrus-Fennel Salad

A salad made from thinly sliced fennel and orange segments, dressed with olive oil, lemon juice, and a sprinkle of sea salt, offers a crunchy, refreshing, and slightly sweet side that contrasts beautifully with the savory, fried pizza.

Homemade Basil Pesto

Serve a side of homemade basil pesto for dipping or drizzling over the Pizza Fritta. The fresh, aromatic flavors of basil, garlic, pine nuts, and Parmesan cheese add a vibrant, herby dimension to the dish.

How to store leftover Pizza Fritta?

  • Cool Down: Allow the Pizza Fritta to cool to room temperature. Avoid covering it during this time to prevent steam from making the crust soggy.
  • Use Paper Towels: Place a layer of paper towels on the bottom of an airtight container. This will absorb any excess oil and help keep the crust crispy.
  • Arrange the Pizza: Place the leftover Pizza Fritta in a single layer inside the container. If you have multiple pieces, separate them with additional paper towels to avoid them sticking together or becoming soggy.
  • Seal Tightly: Ensure the container is sealed tightly to prevent air from entering, which can dry out the pizza.
  • Refrigerate: Store the container in the refrigerator. Properly stored, Pizza Fritta can last for up to 3 days.
  • Reheating: When ready to eat, reheat the Pizza Fritta in an oven or toaster oven at 375°F (190°C) for about 10 minutes, or until heated through and crispy. Avoid using a microwave, as it can make the crust chewy and soggy.
  • Optional Freezing: If you won’t be eating the leftovers within a few days, you can freeze them. Wrap each piece of Pizza Fritta individually in plastic wrap, then place them in a freezer bag or airtight container. Freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and reheat as recommended above.
Pizza Fritta

Health benefits of Pizza Fritta

  • Moderate Protein Source: By incorporating cheese and meats such as salami or ham, Pizza Fritta can provide a good source of protein, essential for muscle repair and growth.
  • Calcium Boost: The cheese used in Pizza Fritta contributes to your daily calcium intake, which is crucial for bone health and maintaining dental strength.
  • Customizable with Vegetables: Adding a variety of vegetables as toppings before frying can increase the fiber content and provide essential vitamins and minerals. Ingredients like spinach, bell peppers, or mushrooms can enhance the nutritional profile.
  • Herbs for Antioxidants: Incorporating fresh herbs such as basil or oregano not only adds flavor but also provides antioxidants, which are important for fighting free radicals and reducing inflammation in the body.
  • Whole Grain Option: Opting for whole wheat flour in the dough can increase the fiber content, aiding in digestion and providing a slower release of energy, which helps in maintaining blood sugar levels.
  • Olive Oil Benefits: Using olive oil for frying or in the dough can offer heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, which are known to improve cholesterol levels and have anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Portion Control for Weight Management: Enjoying Pizza Fritta in moderation as part of a balanced diet, especially when mindful of portion size, can satisfy cravings without overindulging.
  • Mental Satisfaction: Occasionally indulging in comfort foods like Pizza Fritta can bring joy and satisfaction, contributing positively to mental health and wellbeing.

Variations of Pizza Fritta

Vegan Pizza Fritta: Swap out traditional dairy cheese for vegan cheese alternatives and use plant-based meats instead of salami or ham. You can also increase the variety of vegetable fillings, like adding sun-dried tomatoes, olives, and capers for an extra flavor punch.

Seafood Delight: Incorporate seafood into your Pizza Fritta by adding ingredients like cooked shrimp, anchovies, or even lump crab meat. Combine with a light tomato sauce and a sprinkle of fresh herbs for a maritime twist.

Breakfast Pizza Fritta: For a morning version, fill the dough with scrambled eggs, cheese, and breakfast meats such as bacon or sausage. Serve with a side of salsa or hot sauce for a spicy kick.

Sweet Pizza Fritta: For a dessert version, fill the dough with sweetened ricotta cheese, bits of chocolate, or fruit like sliced apples or berries. Dust the fried pizzas with powdered sugar and serve with a drizzle of honey or chocolate sauce.

Gluten-Free Pizza Fritta: Use a gluten-free flour blend to make the dough, ensuring that all other ingredients are also gluten-free. This allows those with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease to enjoy Pizza Fritta without worry.

Substitutions for Pizza Fritta

Flour Substitutions: For those looking to avoid traditional white flour, whole wheat flour, spelt flour, or a gluten-free flour blend can be used as substitutes. Each will alter the texture slightly but still produce a satisfying result.

Dairy-Free Cheese: If lactose intolerance is a concern, there are numerous dairy-free cheese options available that melt well and can mimic the texture and taste of traditional cheese in your Pizza Fritta.

Meat Alternatives: For a vegetarian or vegan Pizza Fritta, replace meats with grilled vegetables, tempeh, or mock meats. These provide protein and texture that closely resembles the original filling.

Cooking Oil Options: While olive oil is traditional, other oils like avocado oil or vegetable oil can be used for frying. Each has a high smoke point, making them suitable for frying, but may impart a slightly different flavor.

Tomato Sauce Alternatives: Instead of tomato sauce, consider pesto, béchamel, or even a simple olive oil and garlic spread as the base for your fillings. These can offer a unique taste profile and diversify your Pizza Fritta experience.

Pizza Fritta

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Frequently Asked Questions – FAQ’s

Pizza Fritta, often referred to as fried pizza, is a traditional Neapolitan dish that consists of pizza dough stuffed with various fillings, folded over, and then deep-fried until golden and crispy. It’s a popular street food in Naples, Italy, offering a delicious twist on the classic pizza.

The main difference lies in the cooking method. Traditional pizza is baked in an oven, typically at very high temperatures, resulting in a crispy crust with a slightly chewy interior. Pizza Fritta, on the other hand, is deep-fried, which gives it a unique texture that’s crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Additionally, Pizza Fritta is often filled and folded, resembling a calzone, whereas regular pizza is usually flat with toppings.

Absolutely! Making Pizza Fritta at home is quite straightforward. You’ll need a basic pizza dough (homemade or store-bought), your choice of fillings (such as mozzarella, ricotta, tomato sauce, and salami), and a pot or deep fryer for frying. After stuffing and sealing the dough, it’s fried until golden. With a few simple tools and ingredients, you can enjoy this delicious dish in the comfort of your home.

Yes, Pizza Fritta is incredibly versatile and can easily be adapted for a vegetarian diet. Fillings can include a variety of cheeses, tomato sauce, and an array of vegetables like spinach, mushrooms, bell peppers, and onions. For a vegan version, use dairy-free cheese and skip any meat substitutes or opt for plant-based alternatives.

Leftover Pizza Fritta should be cooled to room temperature, then stored in an airtight container with paper towels to absorb any excess oil. It can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. For reheating, it’s best to use an oven or toaster oven set at 375°F (190°C) for about 10 minutes or until heated through. This method helps to maintain the crispy texture. Avoid using a microwave, as it can make the crust soggy.


Pizza Fritta stands as a testament to the ingenuity and culinary creativity that can emerge from challenging times. Originating from the streets of Naples, this delightful twist on traditional pizza captures the essence of Italian comfort food with its crispy exterior, gooey cheese, and savory fillings. Its versatility allows for endless variations, catering to all dietary preferences, from meat-lovers to vegetarians and even those with gluten sensitivities.

Perfect for gatherings, a quick snack, or a unique main course, Pizza Fritta offers a taste of Neapolitan tradition that continues to enchant food enthusiasts around the globe. Whether made at home or enjoyed from a street vendor, it remains a beloved dish that brings people together, one crispy bite at a time.

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