Cheese already makes the saturated fat and sodium levels high in pizza, and adding pepperoni or sausage often pushes those numbers way above our guidelines. So we weren't sure how many pizzas we'd have to test. While there weren't as many options as in other categories, the pizzas we did find were great and included toppings like Italian pork sausage, chicken sausage, uncured pepperoni, and barbecue chicken. These are the ones to choose when you can't do without meat on your pizza.

By Carolyn Williams, PhD, RD
December 08, 2016
Illustration: Christina Harrison Text: Daniel Boone

Taste Test Winners:

Simply Honest Chicken Sausage & Peppers Sonoma Flatbreads

Fresh-tasting tomato and crumbles of chicken sausage seasoned with garlic and rosemary are what made this flatbread pizza stand out. Provolone is the main cheese which offers great flavor and compliments the sausage, veggies, and crispy, thin crust nicely. $8.99

Serving size: ½ of pizza

Calories 320; Fat 13g (sat 6g); Protein 18g; Carb 14g; Fiber 3g; Sugars 4g; Chol 30mg; Iron 3mg; Sodium 790mg; Calc 250mg

Newman's Own Supreme Thin & Crispy Pizza

Newman's pizzas have been some of our favorites, and the Supreme didn't disappoint either. Uncured pepperoni and Italian pork sausage top the crispy, multigrain crust along with bell peppers, onions, and plenty of cheese. Our dietitian double-checked the nutrition facts while tasting it because it tasted too "meaty" to be true. $7.99

Serving size: ⅓ of pizza

Calories 320; Fat 15g (sat 5g); Protein 14g; Carb 33g; Fiber 3g; Sugars 3g; Chol 30mg; Iron 2mg; Sodium 750mg; Calc 200mg

Others We Liked:

California Pizza Kitchen Gluten-Free BBQ Chicken Pizza

Using brown rice flour in the crust not only makes it gluten-free, but also whole grain. The crispy crust is topped with barbecue sauce, tender pieces of chicken, Gouda, mozzarella cheese, and a touch of red onion. The sauce is definitely more sweet than tangy, which some testers liked but others didn't. $7.99, gluten-free

Serving size: ½ of pizza

Calories 330; Fat 11g (sat 4.5g); Protein 14g; Carb 45g; Fiber 2g; Sugars 7g; Chol 30mg; Iron 2mg; Sodium 860mg; Calc 200mg

Newman's Own Uncured Pepperoni Thin & Crispy Pizza

The pepperoni slices are thick with a peppery kick of flavor; they're also uncured and nitrate-free. The crust is crispy with a light coating of tomato sauce and an ideal pepperoni-to-cheese ratio. As one tester summed it up, "It tastes like a classic pepperoni pizza from a pizzeria." $7.99

Serving size: ⅓ of pizza

Calories 320; Fat 16g (sat 6g); Protein 15g; Carb 31g; Fiber 2g; Sugars 3g; Chol 35mg; Iron 2mg; Sodium 800mg; Calc 200mg

Things to Look For:

  • Whole Grains: Unfortunately, it’s still rare to find a 100% whole grain crust, but you can find pizzas with some whole grains. Look for the word “whole” in front of the grain or flour and near the top of the list of the ingredients list. Also, check gluten-free options that occasionally use brown rice and other whole grain, gluten-free flour blends in place of refined wheat.
  • Serving Size: The number of slices you get per serving can differ greatly among brands, so check the serving size when checking out the nutrition facts to make sure it’s a realistic amount and worth the calories.
  • Saturated Fat: Plenty of cheese is an absolute must on pizza, but the saturated fat in it can add up quickly. Keep sat fat to a minimum by looking for one with ⪯ 7g saturated fat if divided into 3 servings; aim for ⪯ 5g saturated fat if cut into 4 servings.

​​​​How We Tested

Only frozen foods that met Cooking Light’s nutrition guidelines were tested. Products were eliminated based on the following: lack of calorie and/or protein adequacy, lack of whole grains, presence of trans fat or hydrogenation, presence of significant added sugars, and presence of artificial coloring or sweeteners. All frozen foods were cooked according to package directions and taste tested by a panel of Cooking Light editors and staff. To ensure consistency, Breville microwaves were used to cook all foods.

Advertisement