What to Drink with Pizza: Enhance Your Meal Experience with Perfect Pairings

Pizza. Just the word can evoke memories of laughter-filled gatherings, comforting nights in, or the jubilation of a late-night snack. Universally cherished, pizza transcends borders and has found a special place in the hearts (and stomachs) of many.

But while savoring that mouth-watering slice, have you ever paused to ponder the symphony of flavors playing on your palate or how a specific drink can elevate that experience? Scrolls down just a bit for a table full of pizza drink pairings for you.

This guide will not only deepen your appreciation for this iconic dish but also unveil the art of perfect pairings, ensuring every bite is a harmonious blend of taste and texture.

A cold beer sitting next to a fresh wood-fired pizza with various meat and veggie toppings.

Understanding the flavors of pizza

Finding the perfect drink pair for your pizza means understanding the flavors not just of the drink but of the pizza itself. Different pizza flavor profiles match better (and worse) with different styles of pizza.

Let’s get into some of these pairings, but first, here’s a helpful reference table to help you get started:

Pizza FlavorCharacteristicsRecommended Drink Pairings
Classic cheeseSimple, versatileLight lagers (e.g., Bud Light), Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Cola
Meat loversRich, savoryHoppy IPAs (e.g., Sierra Nevada Torpedo), Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Lemon-lime soda
MargheritaLight, refreshingLight lagers, Chardonnay, Vermentino, Dry rosé, Prosecco
Vegetarian or veggieEarthy, vibrantWheat beers (e.g., Blue Moon), Pinot Noir, Merlot, Herbal tea, Fruit juices
PepperoniSpicy, savoryHoppy IPAs, Zinfandel, Dry rosé, Cola, Ginger beer
HawaiianSweet, tangyBlonde ales, Riesling, Fruit juices, Pineapple soda
BBQ ChickenSweet, smokyAmber ales, Malbec, Cola, Iced tea
SeafoodLight, brinyPilsners, Chardonnay, Vermentino, Sparkling wines, Lemon-lime soda
White pizza (no tomato)Creamy, richWheat beers, Chardonnay, Prosecco, Infused water
MushroomEarthy, umamiStout or porter beers, Pinot Noir, Herbal tea, Mushroom tea

Classic cheese pizza

Let’s start with the classic cheese pizza. This timeless combination of gooey cheese and tangy tomato sauce is a crowd favorite. The flavors are simple yet delicious, making it a versatile option for pairing with various drinks. You can never go wrong with a classic cheese pizza!

Meat lovers pizza

Next up, we have the meat lovers pizza. Packed with savory meats like pepperoni, sausage, and bacon, this pizza is a meat lover’s dream. The richness and umami flavors of the meats call for a drink that can stand up to their boldness. Think about something with a little hoppy bitterness to balance out the flavors.

Margherita pizza

For a lighter and more refreshing option, there’s the Margherita pizza. Topped with fresh tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and fragrant basil leaves, this pizza is a celebration of simplicity. The vibrant flavors of the ingredients shine through, making it a perfect match for a crisp and clean drink that won’t overpower the delicate flavors.

Vegetarian or veggie pizza

If you prefer a pizza that’s loaded with delicious veggies, then a vegetarian or veggie pizza is the way to go. With toppings like bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, and olives, this pizza is bursting with flavor. To complement the earthy and vibrant taste of the vegetables, opt for a drink that has a touch of acidity to bring out the freshness of the toppings.

Flavors of pizza and their characteristics

Pizza FlavorCharacteristics
Classic cheeseSimple, versatile
Meat loversRich, savory
MargheritaLight, refreshing
Vegetarian or veggieEarthy, vibrant

Factors to consider when choosing a drink

When it comes to pairing drinks with pizza, there are a few important factors to consider. These factors can greatly impact how well a drink complements the flavors of your pizza. Let’s dive into some of the key considerations:

Acidity level

The acidity level of your pizza plays a crucial role in determining the best drink pairing. If your pizza has acidic elements like tomatoes or vinegar-based dressings, it’s important to choose a drink that can balance out the acidity. A crisp and refreshing beverage like a sparkling water or a citrusy soda can be a great choice in this case.


If your pizza toppings lean towards the saltier side, such as cured meats or salty cheeses, you’ll want to opt for a drink that can help counterbalance the saltiness. A light beer or a dry white wine can work well in this situation, as they can cleanse your palate and refresh your taste buds between bites.


For those who enjoy a little heat on their pizza, it’s crucial to choose a drink that can complement the spiciness. A cold beer, particularly one with a hoppy and bitter profile, can help cool down the spice and provide a refreshing contrast. If you prefer wine, a slightly sweet Riesling or a fruity red wine can also work well to balance the heat.


Creamy and rich pizza toppings, such as creamy sauces or melted cheese, call for a drink that can cut through the richness and cleanse your palate. A light and effervescent beer, like a pilsner or a wheat beer, can help cleanse your palate and provide a contrast to the creaminess. Alternatively, a crisp and unoaked white wine can also work well with these types of toppings.

Important factors to consider when selecting a drink

  • Acidity level of the pizza
  • Saltiness of the toppings
  • Spiciness of the pizza
  • Creaminess of the toppings

Beer pairings with pizza

Beer and pizza make one of the most iconic and cherished pairings in culinary circles. Here’s why they complement each other so harmoniously:

  1. Complementary Flavors: The malty sweetness of many beers balances out the tangy acidity found in tomato sauce. Additionally, the roasted flavors in some beers can pair beautifully with the caramelized crust and charred toppings on a pizza.
  2. Carbonation: The carbonation in beer acts as a palate cleanser. It helps to cut through the richness of the cheese and refreshes the palate between bites, allowing each mouthful of pizza to be as flavorful as the first.
  3. Contrasting Elements: Beers with hoppy bitterness, such as IPAs, can contrast and balance the rich, savory flavors of certain pizza toppings, especially meats.
  4. Versatility: Just as there’s a wide variety of pizzas, there’s an expansive world of beer styles. This means there’s almost always a beer that can match or contrast with any pizza, whether it’s a classic Margherita or a spicy pepperoni.
  5. Temperature Contrast: Pizza is typically enjoyed hot, while beer is served cold. This temperature contrast can be delightful on the palate, enhancing the overall dining experience.
  6. Social and Cultural Aspects: Both beer and pizza have communal and casual aspects to them. They’re often enjoyed in social settings, reinforcing the idea of them being consumed together.
  7. Historical Proximity: Both beer and pizza have roots in ancient civilizations and have been staples for the working class in various cultures. Over time, they naturally became paired together, especially in American culture after World War II.

In essence, beer and pizza together create a balance of flavors, textures, and temperatures that lead to a satisfying and enjoyable eating experience.

Here are some specific suggestions to get started:

Pizza StyleRecommended Beer Pairings
Classic cheeseLight Lager (e.g., Corona, Bud Light, Modelo Especial), Pilsner
MargheritaLight Lager (e.g., Corona, Bud Light, Modelo Especial), Kolsch
Meat lovers (e.g., pepperoni or sausage)Hoppy IPAs (e.g., Sierra Nevada Torpedo, Stone IPA, Lagunitas IPA), Stout, Porter
Vegetarian or veggieWheat Beers (e.g., Blue Moon, Hoegaarden, Shock Top), Saison
White pizza (no tomato)Belgian Witbier, Blonde Ale
MushroomBrown Ale, Porter, Stout
Seafood (e.g., shrimp, clams)Pilsner, Blonde Ale, Belgian Witbier
BBQ ChickenAmber Ale, Smoked Beer, Dark Lager
Hawaiian (ham & pineapple)Fruit Beer, Wheat Beer, Amber Ale
Spicy (e.g., jalapeños)Hoppy IPAs, Saison, Belgian Tripel
TruffleStout, Belgian Dubbel, Dark Lager

Light lagers

When it comes to enjoying a classic cheese pizza or a simple Margherita, you can’t go wrong with a refreshing light lager. The light and crisp flavors of a lager complement the mild and creamy flavors of the cheese, allowing them to shine. The carbonation in the beer also helps to cut through the richness, leaving you with a clean and satisfying taste.

Some popular light lager options to consider are Corona, Bud Light, and Modelo Especial. These beers provide a smooth and refreshing experience that won’t overpower the delicate flavors of the pizza. So go ahead, crack open a cold one and let the flavors of the pizza and the light lager dance on your taste buds.

Hoppy IPAs

If you’re a fan of meat lovers pizza or a pizza that packs a punch of flavor and spice, then hoppy IPAs are the way to go. The hoppy bitterness in these beers helps to cut through the richness of the meat and balance out the flavors. The bold and citrusy notes in IPAs also enhance the savory and smoky flavors of the toppings, creating a harmonious combination.

Some popular hoppy IPA options to consider are Sierra Nevada Torpedo, Stone IPA, and Lagunitas IPA. These beers provide a perfect balance of bitterness and hoppy flavors that elevate the meaty goodness of your pizza. So grab a hoppy IPA, take a bite of that meat lovers pizza, and let the flavors sing together in perfect harmony.

Wheat beers

If you prefer a vegetarian or veggie pizza with lots of fresh and vibrant toppings, then wheat beers are a fantastic choice. Wheat beers have a light and crisp character that complements the freshness and earthiness of vegetarian pizzas. The subtle flavors of wheat and citrus in these beers enhance the flavors of the vegetables, creating a delightful combination.

Some popular wheat beer options to consider are Blue Moon, Hoegaarden, and Shock Top. These beers provide a refreshing and slightly fruity taste that pairs perfectly with the garden-fresh toppings of your veggie pizza. So kick back, enjoy a wheat beer, and savor the natural flavors of your delicious pizza creation.

Stout or porter beers

For those who love the bold and intense flavors of pizzas with rich and hearty toppings like sausage, mushrooms, or caramelized onions, stout or porter beers are the way to go. These dark and robust beers have roasted chocolate and coffee notes that complement the savory and smoky flavors of the toppings. The malty sweetness of stouts and porters also balances out the saltiness and adds depth to the overall taste.

Some popular stout and porter options to consider are Guinness Draught, Samuel Smith’s Oatmeal Stout, and Founders Porter. These beers provide a velvety and full-bodied experience that pairs beautifully with your favorite savory toppings. So pour yourself a glass of stout or porter, take a bite of that flavorful pizza, and let the complex flavors intertwine on your palate.

Wine pairings with pizza

Pizza and wine, is there a more perfect match? Check out some of the best pairing ideas below:

Pizza StyleRecommended Wine Pairings
Classic cheeseChianti, Sangiovese, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Dry rosé, Prosecco
Meat lovers (e.g., pepperoni or sausage)Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Off-dry rosé, Zinfandel
MargheritaChardonnay, Vermentino, Dry rosé, Prosecco
Vegetarian or veggiePinot Noir, Grenache, Dry Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc
White pizza (no tomato)Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Prosecco, Viognier
MushroomPinot Noir, Merlot, Barbera, Nebbiolo
Seafood (e.g., shrimp, clams)Dry Riesling, Chablis, Sauvignon Blanc, Albariño
BBQ ChickenZinfandel, Syrah, Gewürztraminer, Tempranillo
Hawaiian (ham & pineapple)Off-dry Riesling, Moscato, Gewürztraminer, Chenin Blanc
Spicy (e.g., jalapeños)Off-dry rosé, Gewürztraminer, Lambrusco, Grenache
TruffleNebbiolo, Barolo, Chardonnay, Prosecco

Red wines

When it comes to pairing red wine with pizza, you want to find a robust wine that can hold its own against the flavors of the toppings. A classic choice is a Chianti or Sangiovese, which both have a nice acidity that cuts through the richness of the cheese and meat.

If you’re a fan of pepperoni or sausage pizza, consider a bold Cabernet Sauvignon or Malbec. These wines have enough structure and depth to stand up to the intense flavors. And if you’re in the mood for a pizza with mushrooms or earthy ingredients, a Pinot Noir or Merlot will complement the earthiness of the toppings.

White wines

While red wine is often the go-to choice for pizza, don’t overlook the potential of white wines. A light and crisp white wine can provide a refreshing contrast to the richness of the cheese and meats. For a classic cheese pizza, opt for a Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc.

These wines have a bright acidity that pairs beautifully with the creaminess of the cheese. If you’re enjoying a Margherita pizza with its fresh tomatoes and basil, a chilled glass of Chardonnay or Vermentino can enhance the herbal notes of the dish.

And if you’re indulging in a seafood pizza, such as one topped with shrimp or clams, consider a dry Riesling or a mineral-driven Chablis.

Rosé wines

Rosé wines are incredibly versatile and can be a great choice for pizza. Their light and fruity nature make them an excellent match for a variety of flavors. For a classic cheese pizza or a Margherita pizza, go for a dry rosé with hints of strawberry and citrus.

The crispness of the wine will cut through the richness of the cheese and elevate the overall experience. If you’re going for something a little spicier, like a pizza with jalapeños or pepperoni, a slightly off-dry rosé with a touch of sweetness can help balance out the heat.

Sparkling wines

Who says you can’t celebrate with pizza? Sparkling wines can add a touch of elegance and effervescence to your pizza night. Opt for a dry Prosecco or Champagne to complement a variety of pizza flavors. The bubbles in the wine help cleanse your palate between bites, allowing you to fully savor each mouthful.

Whether you’re enjoying a classic cheese pizza, a spicy pepperoni, or a vegetable-packed pizza, a glass of bubbly can take your pizza experience to the next level.

Soda pairings for pizza

When it comes to enjoying pizza, you don’t always need an alcoholic drink to complement it. Sometimes, a refreshing non-alcoholic beverage can be just as satisfying.

So, if you’re looking for some soft drink options to pair with your pizza, here are a few suggestions that will quench your thirst and enhance your pizza experience.

Soft DrinkDescription
ColaThe effervescent nature and sweet caramel undertones of cola cut through the pizza’s richness, making it a favorite for cheese and meaty pizzas.
Lemon-lime sodaA lighter, bubbly option with zesty citrus flavors, this soda contrasts well with greasier pizzas, refreshing the palate between bites.
Fruit juicesWhether it’s orange, apple, or pineapple, fruit juices offer a natural sweetness and acidity that enhance and complement the savory flavors of most pizzas.
Iced teaA versatile option, from the robustness of black tea that pairs with hearty toppings to the sweet nuances of herbal teas like hibiscus that can provide a sweet contrast to a spicy or tangy pizza.
Root BeerIts unique sassafras flavor and creamy carbonation make it a delightful choice with classic cheese pizzas or even BBQ chicken pizzas.
Ginger AleThe spiciness of ginger ale can enhance pizzas with a little kick, like those with spicy sausage or jalapeños. Its crispness can also be refreshing with veggie toppings.
Cream SodaThe vanilla and creamy notes in cream soda can complement richer pizzas, especially those with a white sauce base or caramelized toppings.
Sparkling WaterFor those who want the effervescence without the sweetness, sparkling water can cleanse the palate between slices, especially when garnished with a lemon or lime wedge, adding a slight tang that complements many pizza flavors.


There’s nothing quite like a cold cola to wash down a delicious slice of pizza. The fizzy bubbles and sweet taste of cola can cut through the richness of the pizza, providing a contrast that is both refreshing and satisfying.

Plus, the caramel notes in cola can complement the flavors of a cheese or meat lovers pizza, adding an extra layer of deliciousness to every bite.

Lemon-lime soda

If you’re looking for a lighter, more citrusy option, lemon-lime soda might be the perfect choice.

The bright and tangy flavors of lemon and lime can balance out the savory and sometimes greasy flavors of pizza. The carbonation also adds a nice effervescence that can cleanse your palate between bites, making each mouthful taste as good as the first.

Fruit juices

For those who prefer something a little more fruity, consider reaching for a glass of fruit juice to accompany your pizza. Orange juice, apple juice, or even pineapple juice can provide a burst of natural sweetness that complements the salty and savory flavors of pizza.

The natural acidity in fruit juices can also cut through the richness of the cheese and meats, making each bite more enjoyable.

Iced tea

If you’re a fan of tea, why not try enjoying your pizza with a glass of iced tea? The cold and refreshing nature of iced tea can be incredibly satisfying, especially on a hot day. Opt for a classic black tea for a robust and slightly bitter flavor that can complement the richness of the pizza.

Alternatively, a fruity herbal tea like hibiscus or berry can add a touch of sweetness to your pizza experience.

Non-alcoholic and specialty drinks for pizza

When it comes to enjoying pizza, you don’t always need an alcoholic beverage to accompany your slice. There are plenty of non-alcoholic and specialty drinks that can add a refreshing twist to your pizza experience.

Infused water

If you’re looking for a hydrating and flavor-packed drink, infused water is the way to go. Simply add your favorite fruits, herbs, or spices to a pitcher of water and let it sit in the fridge for a few hours. The result is a refreshing beverage with a hint of natural flavor that complements the flavors of your pizza.

Herbal tea

If you’re in the mood for something warm and comforting, a cup of herbal tea can be the perfect choice. Whether it’s chamomile, mint, or a blend of various herbs, the herbal flavors can provide a soothing and calming sensation while enjoying your pizza.

Specialty craft sodas

If you’re craving bubbles but want to skip the alcohol, specialty craft sodas offer a wide range of unique and flavorful options. From ginger beer to fruity concoctions, these artisanal sodas provide a delightful burst of taste that can elevate your pizza experience.

Fruit smoothies

For those who prefer a drink with a thicker consistency, a fruit smoothie can be a fantastic choice. Blend your favorite fruits with yogurt or milk for a creamy and refreshing beverage that complements the savory flavors of pizza.

Final Thoughts

Understanding the perfect drink pairing for pizza can greatly enhance your overall dining experience. Throughout this article, we have delved into the flavors of different types of pizza, discussed factors to consider when choosing a drink, explored beer and wine pairings, and provided non-alcoholic options as well.

Whether you prefer a classic cheese pizza, meat lovers, Margherita, or vegetarian, there is a drink out there that will perfectly complement the flavors. From light lagers to hoppy IPAs, and from red wines to sparkling, the options are vast and exciting.

If you’re not a fan of alcohol or prefer a non-alcoholic drink, fear not! There are plenty of soft drink options available, such as cola, lemon-lime soda, fruit juices, and iced tea, that can provide a refreshing accompaniment to your pizza. And for those looking for something unique and special, infused water, herbal tea, craft sodas, and fruit smoothies offer a delightful and flavorful alternative.

No matter your preference, there is no denying that the right drink can take your pizza enjoyment to the next level. So, next time you sit down to indulge in a slice, be sure to grab the perfect beverage to complement your chosen pizza flavor. Cheers to finding the ideal pairing for your next pizza experience!

Related Questions

Q: Can I pair wine with meat lovers pizza?

A: Absolutely! When it comes to pairing wine with meat lovers pizza, opt for a bold red wine like a Cabernet Sauvignon or a Syrah. These wines have enough richness and tannins to complement the savory flavors of the meats.

Q: What non-alcoholic drink goes well with vegetarian pizza?

A: For a non-alcoholic option to enjoy with vegetarian pizza, try a sparkling water infused with citrus or herbs. It will provide a refreshing contrast to the flavors of the veggies.

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