11 Creative Pizza Toppings to Elevate Your Next Homemade Pie

Bring on the pickles!

Pizza with grilled peaches
Photo: Rudi Sill/Getty Images

Making your own pizza is easier than it sounds (we promise!) and it's the perfect meal to tailor to your own taste and make use of whatever you have on hand. Craving some meat? Top your homemade pie with pepperoni and sausage. Eager to use the last of your healthy bell peppers before it's too late? Slice up the healthy veggie and toss it on your pizza.

While all of those toppings are tasty in their own right, sometimes you want to give the old favorites a break and change things up a bit. The good news is that there are plenty of foods that taste delicious when sprinkled on top of a pile of dough, tomato sauce, and cheese, and you likely have many of them at home already. Keep reading for a list of creative pizza toppings that will take your next homemade pie to a whole new level. And feel free to mix and match toppings as you like!

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Lemon Zest

Grating some lemon zest over a finished pizza pie is a great way to brighten typical pizza ingredients such as tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese, as well as popular toppings like mushrooms, broccoli, and grilled chicken. Pro tip: Lemon zest also works great on white pizzas, which are typically made with more than one type of cheese. Pair the zest with anything from cruciferous vegetables to sausage crumbles, and you won't be disappointed.

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Plant-Based Meat

Topping a pizza with meat is certainly nothing new, but if you follow a vegan diet or are simply trying to cut down on your meat consumption, opt for plant-based meat instead. Companies like Impossible and Beyond Meat make alternative sausage and beef crumbles you can purchase and sprinkle on a pie, but if you prefer the DIY method you can always top your pizza with some homemade walnut meat. This version is great for tacos, but would work on pizza as well. You can also adjust the spices to your liking.

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Banana Peppers

While bell peppers and jalapeños are popular pizza toppings, banana peppers—the aforementioned veggies' capsicum cousin—aren't as well known, but they should be. They're slightly sweeter than jalapeños and have a much more mild taste, making them a good option for people who don't like spicy foods. The tangy sweetness of banana peppers pairs well with salty meats like pepperoni and bacon.

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You know that jar of honey you use to sweeten a cup of tea or a yogurt parfait? Grab it the next time you make or order some pizza and drizzle it directly on top of the cooked pie. Believe it or not, the sticky substance goes great with savory, creamy cheese, and perfectly complements salty pizza toppings like jalapeño slices, pepperoni, and soppressata. If you like spice, opt for hot honey instead. Try this honey-topped pizza recipe to test this trendy topping for yourself!

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Brussels Sprouts

If you love veggies on your pizza, give shaved Brussels sprouts a try. Though not as common as broccoli or bell peppers, shaved sprouts are just as capable of adding a satisfying crunch to your pie. Just make sure you top your pizza with thin pieces so they get cooked all the way through. Pair these shaved veggies with anything from pancetta to onions, and prepare to be amazed.

RELATED: Our 17 Best Brussels Sprouts Recipes for Any Occasion

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To highlight the subtle sweetness of fresh tomato sauce, toss some capers on your pizza. Though small, capers pack a briny punch that you really can't miss, and their salty flavor works well with the aforementioned sauce, as well as toppings like sliced onions and meaty mushrooms.

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A Fried Egg

It's no secret that eggs are versatile, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that a fried egg makes for a photogenic and tasty pizza topper. Whip up a breakfast pizza with the fried egg and bacon (or ham), and cheese, or top a nearly done margarita pizza with a fried egg before popping the pie back into the oven for another three minutes. Once you cut into the pizza, mop up any of the runaway yolk with some of the crust.

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Butternut Squash

Once fall rolls around it's hard not to see this popular gourd everywhere, and while it's delicious when cooked on its own or transformed into a bowl of soup, we're here to tell you that it shines on pizza as well. Give butternut squash its due by using it to top a white pizza and pairing it with ingredients such as caramelized onions and/or prosciutto. The creaminess of the squash is hard to miss, and will definitely have you reaching for seconds.

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Believe it or not, pickles on pizza taste pretty darn good. To try this topping, start with your favorite variety of pickle and thinly slice it. Use a paper towel to remove any excess moisture, and then place the pickle slices on top of a standard white pizza before you pop it into the oven. Feel free to add a drizzle of ranch dressing or some fresh dill to complement the pickle slices. Not a fan of pickles? Try pickling some more traditional pizza toppings like onions, peppers, and jalapeños, which work well on white pizzas and pies with tomato sauce.

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Grilled Peach Slices

Though we wouldn't pair fruit with a pizza made with tomato sauce, sliced sweet fruits—think peaches, apples, or pears—work well with savory and creamy cheeses like mozzarella and asiago. Grilled peach slices, which you can add to a finished pizza, provide a bit of a smokey flavor that pairs well with prosciutto and/or peppery arugula, but the grilling step isn't necessary. If you opt not to grill your fresh peach slices, simply arrange them on your uncooked pizza before you put it in the oven. Drizzle the finished pie with a rich balsamic glaze and you're good to go!

RELATED: 19 Surprising Foods You Didn't Know You Could Grill

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Sliced Almonds

Looking to add an extra crunch to your pizza? Sprinkle some sliced almonds on the pie before you pop it in the oven. They'll add a mild nutty flavor to your meal and complement other toppings such as ricotta and leafy greens, like escarole and broccolini. On a white pie, pair almonds with honey and apple slices. If you don't have almonds on hand, crushed walnuts or hazelnuts will also get the job done.

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