The History of the Hawaiian Pizza - blog - the pizza oven shop uk

The History of the Hawaiian Pizza

The controversy of the Hawaiian pizza has sparked debates among pizza lovers for decades…

Featuring tomato sauce, cheese, ham, and pineapple, this combination of sweet and savoury pizza inspires love from some and hate from others. Regardless of your opinion on Hawaiian Pizza, the history of its inception is an interesting story. Moreover, Hawaiian pizza does not originate from either Hawaii or the birthplace of modern pizza, Italy!

The Hawaiian pizza was invented in 1962 by a man named Sam Panopoulos.

He was born in Greece but emigrated to Canada. Together with his brothers, he opened a restaurant in Chatham, Ontario serving commonplace food such as burgers and pancakes. Panopoulos was an adventurous chef and had already introduced Americanisations of Chinese food such as sweet and sour chicken, so the use of pineapple was not a great leap. At the same time, canned pineapple chunks were being exported in bulk and had risen in popularity after Hawaii was admitted as a state in 1952.

Growing interest in Hawaiian island life and Tiki culture inspired Panopolous’s invention, after he returned from a trip to Naples which is considered the home of modern day pizza that we know and love today. Before this, the origins of pizza can be traced back to Roman times where bread was grilled with passata sauce.

Panopoulos thought that combining sweet and savoury flavours would be an interesting twist on the traditional pizza.

He experimented with various fruit toppings, including bananas and canned peaches, before finally settling on pineapple. He also added ham to the pizza to balance the sweetness and acidity of the pineapple. Before this pizza in North America was usually topped with mushrooms, bacon and/or pepperoni. The result was that the pizza was an immediate hit among customers, and Panopoulos decided to name it the “Hawaiian pizza” in honour of the brand of canned pineapple he used. It quickly gained popularity across Canada and eventually spread to the United States and other countries.

However, not everyone was a fan of Hawaiian pizza. In fact, it sparked a heated debate among pizza purists who believed that pineapple had no place on a pizza. The debate continues to this day, with some people insisting that the Hawaiian pizza is an abomination, while others swear by its deliciousness.

Despite the controversy, the Hawaiian pizza remains a popular pizza topping around the world and can be seen adorning the menus of even the most traditional Italian pizzerias. It has even inspired other fruit-topped pizzas, such as the California pizza, which features toppings like avocado and chicken. Love it or hate it, there’s no denying that Hawaiian pizza has made its mark on the pizza world and continues to be a popular choice among pizza lovers everywhere.

Inspired to try the Hawaiian pizza in your pizza oven? Follow this recipe!
The History of the Hawaiian Pizza - blog - the pizza oven shop uk

You will need:

  •  Pizza dough
  •  Tomato base sauce
  •  Mozzarella cheese
  •  Ham
  •  A can of pineapple chunks
  •  1 Red onion
  •  1 tbsp of Olive oil
  •  Any preparatory materials you would usually use for your pizza oven


  1.  Preheat your pizza oven to the desired temperature.
  2.  Roll out the pizza dough to the desired size and shape, and place it on a pizza peel.that has been lightly dusted with flour or semolina.
  3.  Spoon pizza sauce onto the dough and spread it out evenly, leaving a small border around the edge.
  4.  Shred your mozzarella cheese before sprinkling over the top of the sauce, making sure to distribute it evenly.
  5.  Slice your ham to your desired thickness. Thin works well to ensure a nice crispness of the meat.
  6.  If you’re feeling like adding a touch more of a crunch, chop up a red onion thinly and sprinkle the slices of ham, pineapple chunks and red onion on top of the cheese.
  7.  Drizzle a little olive oil over the pizza.
  8.  Use the pizza peel to slide the pizza into the preheated pizza oven.
  9.  Cook the pizza until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is melted and bubbling.
  10.  Remove the pizza from the oven using the pizza peel, slice and serve. Enjoy our adaptation of a charred wood fired, sweet and savoury Hawaiian pizza!

Thanks for reading!

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