When 2021 rolled around and Pizza Hut introduced the Nothing But The Stuffed Crust Pizza it was a weird moment for those of us who still make room in our diets for fast food. Here was a giant of the national pizza space (some might even say the giant) rolling out a new product that was literally just crust filled with cheese. Kind of a letdown.
Sure it was just a marketing gimmick, but it also existed in the real world. Meaning it wasn’t just a gimmick. Resources went into it. Resources that could have gone elsewhere.
In the end, we ate it, enjoyed it, slapped our heads at the wasteful packaging, reviewed it, and then fell into a state of melancholy over how stunts seem to be the default rather than the exception these days. But perhaps we drew that conclusion too soon — because right on those absurdist crust-with-no-pizza heels comes Pizza Hut’s new Detroit Style pizza. Yes, an actual, genuine, new menu item that introduces something fresh to the fast-food pizza space.
Regional pizza heads will know Detroit-style well, but if you’re unfamiliar, we’re talking about an always rectangular pie with crust-to-crust cheese. Another trademark is this layering procedure: sauce on top of the dough, sheets of brick cheese on top of the sauce, toppings, finish with even more cheese. It’s just as distinct a style of pizza as New York Style, Chicago Deep Dish, and the “anything goes” West Coast pies, and it appears that Detroit-style’s nationwide popularity is steadily gaining steam.
But while we welcome a new fast food entry that isn’t just a media and IG thirst trap, the question remains: Can Pizza Hut’s Detroit Style stack up to the real thing? As in, is it actually any good? Let’s find out!
Pizza Hut’s Detroit Style — What It Is And What It Isn’t
Right off the bat let’s get this out of the way, Pizza Hut’s Detroit Style pizza will never live up to the real thing. Period.
It’s built the same, following the Detroit-style layering process, but it uses the more familiar Mozzarella over Wisconsin brick cheese (the two are similar, but brick cheese has a more distinct and buttery flavor), and while it’s cooked in a specially designed rectangular pan, it’s not baked in actual repurposed automotive pans like legit Detroit pies. That doesn’t make it bad — not by any means — but if you have a nostalgic connection to authentic Detroit-style pizza this will probably disappoint you.
For the rest of us though, this is a new pizza form-factor that hasn’t been seen at the big national chains, and that’s exciting. Officially dropping nationwide for a limited time beginning today, Pizza the Hutt’s new Detroit-style drops in four iterations:
- Detroit Double Pepperoni — which sports 80 slices of pepperoni on a single pie.
- Double Cheesy — starring a blend of mozzarella and parmesan (again not brick cheese, but getting closer).
- Meaty Deluxe — topped with bacon, sausage, and crispy cupped pepperoni
- Supremo — featuring Italian sausage, red onions, and green bell peppers.
Each pie is topped with a new blend of Pizza Hut’s tomato sauce and features crust to crust cheese — which will always be better than cheese in the crust. Always.
Detroit Double Pepperoni Taste Test
We ate Pizza Hut’s Double Pepperoni, which features 80 pepperonis on a single pie. Since Pizza Hut was really pushing that selling point, we actually counted the pepperonis on the pie (dorky, but necessary) and were shocked to find that there were exactly 80 lurking beneath the various layers of cheese and sauce. Points for quality control.
For their Detroit-style, Pizza Hut changed things up a bit by introducing cup-style pepperoni. They layer both the cup style and their traditional pepperoni here, but we prefer the cup style — it crisps up on the edges nicely, and its smaller size and curled shape keep it from getting soggy underneath the various layers. The same can’t be said for the traditional pepperonis, unfortunately.
The new tomato sauce blend is also an improvement over Pizza Hut’s original sauce, with a zestier and brighter flavor. It’s less herb-filled than Pizza Hut’s typical sauce, much chunkier, and has a more tomato-forward flavor, which is perfect because (considering the layering of this pizza) the sauce is as much a topping as anything else. Biting into a slice we’re greeted by the brightness of the tomato sauce which gets grounded once our teeth seek into the cheese, layers of pepperoni, and the cushiony crust. The crust’s exterior is crispy and toasty — think Pizza Hut’s pan-style — with a thick, chewy center that satisfies after a single slice.
Our only major gripe with this pizza is that 80 pepperonis are just way just too much. I don’t mean on a personal preference level either. From a definitive factual standpoint. The first layer of pepperonis never really crisped up like the top layer, leaving soggy, flappy pepperonis, which weren’t a problem initially but became much more noticeable once the pizza started to cool.
On that note, this is a pizza that is best eaten as soon as it arrives — it’s not the grab-from-the-fridge variety. Not a problem necessarily, but something to consider if you live for that day-old pizza flavor.
The Bottom Line
So it’s not legit Detroit-style pizza, but with travel shut down, who cares? It’s something new and different from a fast-food space that lacks innovation, and it’s easily Pizza Hut’s best product since their original Pan Pizza. In fact, it just might give the OG pizza a run for its money, flavor-wise.