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Do pizza and ice cream go together?

There’s an ongoing debate amongst food lovers about whether pizza and ice cream go well together or not. Both foods are beloved comfort classics, but does combining them make sense from a flavor perspective? Let’s take a deeper look at the case for and against pairing pizza and ice cream.

The case for pizza and ice cream

Here are some of the main arguments in favor of enjoying pizza and ice cream together:

  • They’re both indulgent, comforting foods. Pizza and ice cream are quintessential “cheat day” choices that provide satisfaction.
  • The flavors can balance each other out. The richness of pizza can be cut by the cool creaminess of ice cream.
  • The temperature contrast works. Hot pizza and cold ice cream provide sensory variety.
  • The textures complement one another. Crispy, chewy pizza and smooth, creamy ice cream make good partners.
  • It’s all about that sweet and savory blend. The herbs and spices in pizza can pair nicely with the sweet ice cream.
  • They’re often shared together anyway. Pizza and ice cream are popular combo options for parties, game days, etc.
  • Kids love it! What kid wouldn’t be into enjoying two family-friendly favorites at once?

When thoughtfully combined, the argument is that pizza and ice cream can be an indulgent and unexpectedly harmonic pairing. The sweet and savory elements, temperatures, textures, and flavors can beautifully come together – in moderation.

The case against pizza and ice cream

Here are some of the main arguments against serving pizza and ice cream together:

  • The flavors clash. The herbs, spices, cheese, tomato sauce, etc. in pizza don’t necessarily mix well with the creamy sweetness of ice cream.
  • It’s texture overload. Between gooey melted cheese, crust, and dense ice cream – it’s an unwieldy mouthfeel combination.
  • It’s too heavy. Rich, cheesy pizza followed up by heavy, dairy-based ice cream can be hard to digest.
  • It ruins both experiences. Rather than enhancing each food, combining pizza and ice cream detracts from fully enjoying each one.
  • The timing is off. We don’t typically eat hot entrees and frozen desserts together in a formal meal.
  • It seems like an unintelligent pairing. There’s no real flavor rationale for putting pizza and ice cream together.

The argument against revolves around the notion that pizza and ice cream are incompatible – clashing rather than complementing. The flavors, textures, and traditional uses of each food suggest they may be best enjoyed separately.

Popular pairings and dishes

While the compatibility of pizza and ice cream may be up for debate, some popular pairings and dishes suggest people do enjoy them together:

Pizza ice cream

This literally combines pizza and ice cream together into one dessert! Pizza ice cream incorporates flavors like tomato sauce, basil, garlic and oregano into ice cream. Cheese, pepperoni, or crust pieces may be swirled in as well. It delivers the experience of pizza in frozen dessert form.

Pizza topped with ice cream

Instead of serving ice cream on the side, some daring pizza chefs have started topping baked pizzas with scoops of ice cream. The ice cream can melt down into the pizza slices for a fusion of flavors and textures in each bite.

Dip n’ Dots pizza

Dip n’ Dots are small, round beads of freeze-dried ice cream. Pizza places offering them as a topping deliver little bursts of dairy sweetness across the surface of pizza slices.

Root beer floats

The classic ice cream soda float matches the fizzy sweetness of root beer and the velvety richness of vanilla ice cream. Pizza restaurants often sell them as an accompaniment. The flavors and carbonation cut through the richness of pizza.

Fried ice cream

This dessert involves scoops of ice cream quickly fried in a batter coating to give a warm, crunchy exterior. Fried ice cream provides a nice textural contrast to pizza and the sweetness balances out the saltiness.

So while pizza and ice cream together may be debated, there’s certainly creative, tasty ways to enjoy them as a pair!

Expert opinions

To shed further light on how pizza and ice cream work together, here are some thoughts from culinary experts:

“Pizza and ice cream eaten together in moderation can provide flavor and texture variety. The key is balancing the foods properly so the richness isn’t overwhelming. Sticking to just a slice or two of pizza with a small scoop of ice cream is an indulgent way to end a meal.” – Giada De Laurentiis, celebrity chef and author

“I’m not opposed to pizza and ice cream together, but I prefer them as accompaniments vs. eaten simultaneously. Enjoy the ice cream on the side or as dessert – the consecutive flavors are pleasant without overloading the palate.” – Geoffrey Zakarian, Iron Chef and restaurateur

“Typically I would not recommend serving pizza and ice cream together in a formal dining scenario. They don’t adhere to the conventional progression of dishes and flavors in a meal. But in informal settings, I think they absolutely can be paired for enjoyment.” – Nancy Silverton, Chef, author, and founder of La Brea Bakery

The consensus from experts seems to be that pizza and ice cream can work together, but are best enjoyed in moderation rather than huge portions of both at once. They complement each other better when staggered as separate courses. Context and balance are key.

Nutritional profile

If you do choose to pair pizza and ice cream, be mindful of the nutritional profile of eating these foods together:


Pizza and ice cream are both high-calorie foods. Two slices of cheese pizza (around 500 calories) plus half a cup of ice cream (around 250 calories) puts you close to 800 calories. That’s 40% of a 2,000 daily calorie diet.


The combo also packs quite a bit of fat – around 40g total between pizza and ice cream. That’s over half the recommended daily value. The majority comes from saturated fat in cheese and cream.


Pizza contributes a large amount of sodium, often over 1,000mg for two slices. This accounts for nearly half the daily sodium intake limit.


Ice cream has significant sugar, around 24g per half cup. Combined with the crust and sauce in pizza, this pairing leans heavily sweet and salty.


On the positive side, pizza provides protein from the cheese and crust, antioxidants from the sauce, and calcium. Ice cream supplies some protein and calcium as well. But overall nutrient density is low.

So while tasty, pizza and ice cream eaten together make it easy to overdo calories, fat, sodium, and sugar – potentially displacing healthier options. Moderation is key.

Tips for pairing pizza and ice cream

If you want to experience the pizza and ice cream combo, here are some serving tips:

  • Stick to one slice of pizza and 1/2 cup ice cream for balance.
  • Choose veggie or lighter pizzas over meat-heavy options.
  • Opt for low-fat ice cream or Italian ice for less richness.
  • Use napkins to dab excess oil or grease from pizza before eating.
  • Allow time between eating pizza and ice cream to aid digestion.
  • Drink water between pizza and ice cream to cleanse the palate.
  • Consume slowly to savor the flavors and prevent overeating.
  • Share the combo with someone to control portions.

Being intentional with reasonable serving sizes and thoughtful combinations in this pairing can prevent potential pitfalls.

Popular opinions

Pizza and ice cream is certainly a divisive pairing. Here’s a sampling of popular opinions on the topic:

“Pizza and ice cream together is wrong on so many levels. Why would you ruin two perfect foods by combining them?”

“I love both pizza and ice cream, but I don’t want them touching each other or served together. Keep them separate and everyone’s happy!”

“It’s not something I would choose, but I don’t hate pizza and ice cream together. I’d just eat them one after the other, not overlapping.”

“I actually think the combo of hot pizza and cold sweet ice cream is really satisfying! The contrast works for me flavor and texture-wise.”

“Pizza and ice cream paired in excessive amounts would be really heavy to eat. But I could see how a slice or two of pizza followed by some ice cream would hit the spot.”

The views seem to range from complete disgust to openness under the right conditions. Context and moderation are often mentioned as key factors by those more favorable to this unconventional pairing.

Regional preferences

Attitudes towards eating pizza and ice cream together can also vary by region. Here’s an overview of how this pairing is perceived in different areas:

Region Popularity of Pizza + Ice Cream
Northeast US Moderately common, especially among kids
Midwest US Frequently paired at informal gatherings
South US Less common pairing; seen as unwieldy
West Coast US Seen as too heavy/indulgent by most
Italy Very uncommon; seen as ruining the pizza experience
Japan Creative fusion cuisine, specialty pizzas with ice cream toppings have emerged

Preferences appear to break down based on regional cuisine traditions and attitudes towards experimental flavor combinations.

Scenario-based enjoyment

Context plays a major role in how pizza and ice cream pairings are perceived. Here are scenarios where combining them could work or falter:

Birthday parties

Serving pizza and ice cream together at kids birthday parties or adult celebrations is popular. The playfulness and indulgence suits the festive occasion.

Movie nights

Craving comforting pizza and sweet ice cream while watching a movie at home makes this pairing seem like a good couch-friendly choice.

Lunch at work

Bringing leftovers of pizza and ice cream from home to eat together at your office desk may draw some strange looks. The setting isn’t ideal.

Dinner party

Blending pizza and ice cream in a formal multi-course dinner party would likely defy guests’ expectations around proper sequencing of dishes.

Street fair

If you’re grabbing slices of pizza and ice cream cones on the go at a fun street fair, eating them together seems like no problem.

Situational and social factors definitely play into the appropriateness of blending pizza and ice cream.

Food service implications

For restaurants and shops serving pizza and ice cream, there are some considerations around offering them jointly:

Menu placement

List pizza and ice cream separately on menus rather than combining them into one dish to accommodate different preferences.

Dining setup

If customers tend to order pizza and ice cream together, ensure tables have enough space for both dishes.


Time the order of pizza and ice cream appropriately for optimal freshness if customers desire them together.

Pairing guidance

Provide suggestions for pizza and ice cream combinations that best complement each other.


For takeout/delivery, package pizza and ice cream separately unless requested together to avoid messes.

Allergy precautions

Take extra care to avoid cross-contamination of allergens between pizza and ice cream during prep and serving.

Catering to diverse preferences for enjoying pizza and ice cream – together or separately – can create a more positive dining experience.


The debate over eating pizza and ice cream together seems unlikely to be settled conclusively anytime soon. Enthusiasts highlight the indulgence, contrast, and creative fusion of flavors. Skeptics argue the combination overloads the senses and distorts the integrity of each food. Preference divides along regional traditions, flavor principles, and context. While not a conventional pairing, pizza and ice cream can complement each other when balanced appropriately – or simply enjoyed consecutively. At the end of the day, there is no objectively right or wrong answer here. The verdict on this sweet and savory duo comes down to your own personal pizza paradise.