Gourmet Pizza Toppings

Linda Johnson Larsen
Brie cheese, pear, and walnut toppings
Brie cheese, pear, and walnut toppings

Everyone loves pizza. But even a devoted pepperoni connoisseur wants to experiment with new and different pizza toppings from time to time. Luckily, there are some wonderful combinations of toppings that will satisfy even the pickiest gourmet.

Gourmet Pizza Topping Combinations

These amounts are for making one 12" pizza. You can easily double these recipes to make more than one pizza. Substitute your own favorite cheeses for these choices if you'd like.

Brie Cheese, Sliced Pears, and Walnuts

If you don't care for walnuts, subsitute pistachios.

  1. For this combination, layer 8 ounces of thinly sliced Brie cheese over the crust.
  2. Top with 2 or 3 pears, peeled or unpeeled, that are sliced about 1/4" thick.
  3. Top with 1/2 cup chopped nuts and bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the pears have softened.

Asparagus Tips, Potatoes, and Camembert Cheese

Asparagus Pizza

You'll need cooked potatoes for this combination.

  1. Boil 1 cup fingerling or small red potatoes for 10 minutes or until tender.
  2. Cool them and slice thinly.
  3. Top a prebaked crust with pesto sauce, 8 ounces of thinly sliced Camembert cheese, and then add the sliced potatoes and asparagus tips. If desired, add mushrooms and top with additional cheese.
  4. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and starts to brown.

Smoked Salmon, Caramelized Onion, and Goat Cheese

Smoked Salmon Pizza

You can use hot or cold smoked salmon for this pizza. You can buy caramelized onions, also known as onion confit, from large grocery stores and online. Or make them yourself!

  1. Place 1 cup caramelized onions on the crust first, then sprinkle with 1 cup grated provolone cheese and with 1 cup of crumbled goat cheese.
  2. Bake for 5 to 10 minutes or until the cheese softens.
  3. Top with the thinly sliced salmon and 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley.

Shrimp, Lemon Zest, Onions, and Garlic

Shrimp pizza

This combination, which is better known as Shrimp Scampi, makes a fabulous pizza.

  1. Start with 1/2 cup of tomato sauce or pizza sauce on the crust.
  2. Top with 1/2 pound of raw medium shrimp.
  3. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest, 1/2 cup chopped red onions, and 2 cloves minced garlic.
  4. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the shrimp curl and turn pink.
  5. Add 2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese and bake for 5 to 10 minutes longer or until the cheese melts.
  6. Sprinkle with some fresh rosemary.

Figs, Havarti Cheese, and Prosciutto

Fig and prosciutto pizza

This pizza can be baked or it can be served cold on a completely baked crust. For the cold pizza:

  1. Bake the crust for 15 to 20 minutes or until it is golden brown.
  2. Top with 4 ounces thinly sliced Havarti cheese, 3 or 4 sliced or quartered fresh figs, 1/4 pound shaved prosciutto, and 1 cup arugula.

For the hot pizza, omit the arugula and bake the pizza for 8 to 12 minutes or until the cheese starts to melt. Top with the arugula.

Lobster, Shrimp, and Clams

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This extravagant pizza is for seafood lovers.

  1. Top the crust with 1 cup of pizza sauce.
  2. Sprinkle with 1-1/2 cups shredded provolone cheese and 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion.
  3. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove the pizza from the oven.
  4. Add 1 cup cooked lobster chunks, 1 cup medium cooked shrimp, and 1 cup cleaned Coquina or littleneck clams.
  5. Return the pizza to the oven and bake until the clams open, about 4 to 8 minutes.
  6. Sprinkle with pepper and 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme.

Ham, Sliced Peaches, and Blue Cheese

Ham cheese and peach pizza

The combination of salty ham and sweet peaches is sublime.

  1. Spread the crust with 1 cup of Alfredo sauce.
  2. Top with 2 peaches that have been sliced 1/4" thick.
  3. Add 4 ounces of thinly sliced ham and sprinkle with 1/4 cup of crumbled blue cheese.
  4. Bake for 12 to 17 minutes or until the peaches are tender.
  5. Sprinkle with 1 cup chopped arugula and serve.

More Topping Combos

Use your imagination when thinking about pizza toppings. Imagine your favorite recipes; for instance, if you love Steak Diane, use steak for the main topping, and mix Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, and some beef broth into an Alfredo sauce. Top this creation with Gruyere cheese. If you think a food combination is good, try it on a pizza! Get started creating your own wonderful gourmet pizzas.

  • Chicken, chutney, curry powder, and Monterey Jack cheese - The sweet spicy flavor of chutney and curry powder is perfect with mild shrimp as well as cooked cubed chicken. Mix the chutney with mayonnaise to taste before topping the crust with it.
  • Avocado, bacon, and Swiss cheese - Bacon goes with everything, but is especially good paired with smooth and rich avocado. Start with pizza sauce, then top with the cooked, crumbled bacon and Swiss. Bake until the Swiss melts, then add chunks of avocado just before serving.
  • Mushroom pizza
    Gourmet mushroom combination - Start with your favorite pizza sauce. Slice some porcini mushrooms and add enokis, morels if you can find them, chanterelles, and oyster mushrooms. Top with shredded Gruyere or baby Swiss cheese and bake until the mushrooms are tender and the cheese starts to brown. Top with Parmesan and parsley. Feel free to add leeks or onions for additional flavor.
  • Steak and potato - This recipe is for meat lovers. Top the crust with 1 cup Alfredo sauce, then add cooked, thinly sliced steak and cooked, thinly sliced red or fingerling potatoes. Top with some sliced mushrooms and add shredded Cheddar cheese. Bake until the cheese melts.
  • Crab, sun-dried tomatoes, and fontina cheese - Use fresh crab from the butcher or canned crab. Start with pizza sauce, then add the crab, chopped sun-dried tomatoes, and the shredded fontina. Bake until the cheese melts and top with some fresh basil.
  • Shrimp, pesto, and grape tomatoes - Spread pesto on the crust and top with cooked shrimp and sliced grape tomatoes. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and bake until the toppings are hot.
  • Banh Mi - This classic Vietnamese sandwich makes a fabulous pizza. Spread some pate on a pizza crust, then add thinly sliced cooked pork, and a drizzle of sriracha sauce. Sprinkle with 1 cup shredded provolone cheese. Bake until hot. Top with a combination of sliced radishes, shredded carrot, sliced pickles, and minced jalapeno peppers.

Crust Considerations

For the crust, you can make your own dough (there are even gluten-free pizza dough recipes and pizza dough recipes without yeast) or buy the dough from the supermarket. You can also use prebaked pizza crusts or focaccia that are found in the ethnic aisle of the supermarket.

The crust should be prebaked or completely baked for most of these topping combinations. That ensures that more delicate toppings, such as smoked salmon or fresh figs, aren't overcooked by the time the crust is crisp and golden. For prebaking, bake the crust at 400°F for about 8 to 12 minutes or until it is light golden brown. A fully baked crust will take 15 to 20 minutes. You don't need to prebake the prepared crusts or focaccia. Then add the toppings.

Enjoy Your Creations

Once you start experimenting with fun and unusual pizza toppings you will get more ideas. Be sure to write down the ingredients you used, the amounts, and how long the pizza was baked so you can replicate your masterpiece. These pizzas are delicious served with cold beer or your favorite wine, iced tea, or just a glass of milk.

Gourmet Pizza Toppings