Forgive the heresy, but I've recently had some pizza delivered. I noticed it was quite oily, and I have seen and heard horror stories of pizza basically drowning in oil.

This does not happen when I make pizza myself, even with salami on top the amount of oil is small, and certainly not soaking through and through.

Is the oil added intentionally? Some (e.g. Asian) delivered foods are put in oil to keep them hot, but that does not seem to be a viable option for pizzas.

  • 4
    It's often a sign of inferior cheese. (or cheddar, which some people might not consider inferior, except in the context of pizza)
    – Joe
    Commented Oct 21, 2014 at 19:21
  • 4
    They are probably using ingredients of lesser quality (i.e. more fat in the cheese and the salami). It should not be soaking.
    – Max
    Commented Oct 21, 2014 at 19:29
  • 1
    No heresy. Pizza is a staple, meant to be obtained and consumed by whatever means necessary. Commented Oct 24, 2014 at 20:31

4 Answers 4


I have had a pizza with a drizzle of olive oil on top (in addition to some basil, pesto, and something else). As best I remember, it did not end up looking, feeling, or tasting particularly "oily", although it was visually apparent (olive-green lines).

However, that was a high-end pizzeria; I've never seen oil on a delivered pizza, at least not any that was intentionally added as a separate ingredient. Oil that is orange or yellow comes out of the cheese (and salami or other fatty ingredients) during cooking. Inexpensive ingredients often have much more grease than higher-quality alternatives.


Delivery pizza is oily because it's been kept hot. You can see this in New York-style lunch counter pizza that's kept under a heat lamp as well.

Melted cheese is primarily a mixture of casein (a protein) and fat. The casein in mozzarella is worked and stretched, like the gluten in bread dough, but is stabilized by being cool and containing congealed fat. Over time, if allowed by sufficiently high temperature and softened fat, it will tighten up, squeezing out the fat.

It'll even happen to your own pizza. Try making a pizza, then keeping it in a 150°F oven for half an hour. Oil will appear and pool on top of the pizza.


Oils can often be emitted from the cheese, pepperoni, meats, etc. Basically anything that is animal-based can have oils that seep out at high temperatures. Better pizza establishments will tend to use higher-quality (or at least more predictable) ingredients to manage the oiliness of their products.


Overly greasy pizza is caused by baking it too hot too quickly. The high heat makes the butter fat in the cheese melt, causing a moist pizza.

  • Neapolitan pizza is cooked from raw to piping hot in less than 2 minutes, and doesn't get oily. Butterfat melts at under 100 degrees Fahrenheit, so by your definition only a raw pizza is not too hot.
    – Sneftel
    Commented Sep 24, 2019 at 7:41

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