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Why Are Pizzas Round But The Box Is Square, And Then The Pizza Is Cut Into Triangles? Explained

Pizzas are loved all around the world. Whatever country you’re in, pizzas come in different shapes and sizes. Nevertheless, round pizzas tend to be the most commonly eaten just about everywhere.

Opening up that cardboard box to find the golden, cheesy, wondrous delights the pizza has to offer is one of the best sights for a hungry belly.

But, these boxes are usually square. The pizzas are round. And, then we cut the pizza into triangles! If you’re like us, you need to know why this happens!

It is a little bit odd when you think about it. But, there are some reasons behind the round shapes of pizzas and the boxes they fit into. 

We decided to do our own research and find out this peculiarity associated with pizzas.

While it may not be something you should lose sleep over, knowing why pizzas are round, then placed in a square box before being sliced into triangles will be a great bit of trivia for your next get-together with friends. 

In the meantime, sit back and let us explain everything below. In fact, you may as well order a pizza while you’re here. 

Why Are Pizzas Round? 

So, Why Are Round Pizzas Easier To Make 

Pizza is made into a circular shape for various reasons. These include:

  • Before being cooked, the pizza dough is generally formed into a ball in order to rise properly.
  • Dough balls are easier to shape and stretch into an even, thick pizza base.
  • Dough is regularly stretched by throwing and spinning it around which makes it round.
  • Dough balls are usually stretched out from their center so they become circular.
  • Round pizzas are easier to cut into equal portions like pies.
  • Traditional Neapolitan pizzas have set rules and one is that they must always be round.
  • The shape is simply iconic and hugely popular. Try and think of other food that looks like a pizza. See, it’s unique. 

So, Why Are Round Pizzas Easier To Make? 

Pizza dough must be kneaded together in its entire form. Afterward, it is split into separate pieces to form the pizza.

These pieces of dough are then rolled into dough balls and left to rise before being stretched out and baked. 

Dough balls should be neat so when they are stretched out, all parts are equal. There shouldn’t be one part of the ball thicker than the other.

And, guess what the easiest shape to do this with is. That’s right, a ball! It is a lot more difficult to split a larger section of dough into 6 square pieces.

On the other hand, 6 ball-shaped dough pieces can be prepared easily, quickly, and, most importantly, consistently. 

Once the ball has been rolled into shape, it can be stretched out. Yes, this can be stretched into a rectangle but it’s much easier and simpler to stretch it outwards.

When stretching a ball of dough, you must stretch it from its center. This naturally forms a round shape. 

Some pizza makers prefer to stretch the pizza out further by tossing the dough.

When the dough is tossed and then spun in the air, a centrifugal force (the force received when pulling away from the dough’s center as it spins) pulls it outwards resulting in a circular shape.

Therefore, the pizza becomes larger, thinner, and rounder. 

It’s only when you stop and think about food, you realize that a lot of items are rounded. For instance, pies, tarts, and cakes are most commonly round.

This means they are easier to cut into equal portions because you can get a piece from the outer crust straight to the center every time. 

All in all, round pizzas just look right. It’s what we are used to and what we love. A round pizza is instantly recognizable. And, even just thinking of one makes your belly rumble.

A round-shaped pizza is simply iconic. Anything that is made into an emoji has to be iconic, right? 

The presentation of a traditional round pizza is popular and truly appetizing. But, they are just that – a tradition.

Pizza was first created in Napoli, Italy and there are certain rules that come with Neapolitan pizzas. One of the key rules is that the pizza must always be rounded. The shape is that important! 

There are other rules such as products from the Campania region of Italy can only be used (buffalo mozzarella and San Marano tomatoes) but without the famous circular shape, it doesn’t matter what the ingredients are, it just wouldn’t be a traditional pizza. 

Tell Us – Why Is The Pizza Box Square? 

Tell Us - Why Is The Pizza Box Square 

If you’re like us, you’ve probably never seen a round box to hold a pizza in. Here are a few reasons why this is the case:

  • Square boxes are much easier to manufacture and only require one piece of cardboard. Round boxes, on the other hand, need to be made from a few different pieces. 
  • Shipping tends to be cheaper and a lot easier than stacking and flat packing.
  • You can easily unfold one piece of cardboard flat. Therefore, square boxes take up less space when in storage.
  • Square boxes are generally cheaper to produce. And, because they are so common, bespoke production is not required.
  • Pizza boxes need to be stored in freezers and shelves, their flat edges stop the box from falling while a rounded box would not stay secure.
  • Circular boxes take up equal widths and lengths so there is no room for space-saving possibilities. 
  • Square boxes are used for so many reasons. They store many items such as shoes and cereal. 

In other words, square boxes are easier to make, cheaper to make, and are logistically better in most ways when compared with a round box. 

Circular boxes can not be made from just one sheet of cardboard. This is because the round edges cause certain issues.

Therefore, multiple pieces of cardboard are required as well as joining pieces and a more thorough and advanced production technique. This all adds up to more costly production. 

The average prices of square and round pizza boxes are outlined below:

  • Personal 7-inch pizza – Square box: $0.11/Round box: $0.49
  • Small 10-inch pizza – Square box: $0.19/Round box: $0.74
  • Large 14-inch pizza – Square box: $0.35/Round box: $1.09
  • Medium 12-inch pizza – Square box: $0.26/Round box: $0.98

On the other hand, square boxes are made from just one sheet of cardboard.

This is then flattened when not in use meaning there is extra space for storage and transportation. Unfolded boxes take up less space so are cheaper and easier to store and ship.

Furthermore, square boxes boast equal edges and can stack neatly and easily. Circular boxes do not fit together so well and certainly do not stack easily for storage.

Circular boxes have the same length and width so they will always take up the same amount of space.

With no way of improving space, you would not be able to store as many round boxes as square models.

When in grocery stores, pizza boxes are usually stacked on shelves or in freezers.

The square shape helps these fit into place better with more efficiency. Square models can also stand up on shelves without falling over, too. 

Think about most storage cabinets and boxes. The majority are square or rectangular.

We rarely use a box to fit the shape of the content. For example, we place cereal in boxes and shoes (not together). 

It’s simple. Right angles make storage and shipping a lot easier. Therefore, box manufacturers set up their businesses to produce straight edge boxes because one size fits all.

For anything more unique or bespoke, you will have to pay more and so will the manufacturers. 

Pizzas Cut Into Triangles – Why? 

Pizzas Cut Into Triangles - Why 

Now we know why pizzas are round and why their accompanying boxes are square. But, that leaves one final question – why is the pizza then cut into triangles?

Well, pizzas are cut into triangles because it’s the most common, and best, way to divide a circle up equally. Think of a pie chart and a pizza is essentially just this. 

Moreover, you can fold slices which are especially common in New York where pizzas are sold by the slice and are regularly a quick take-out food option.

One triangular slice is therefore easy to fold up and eat when on the go.  

When you slice a pizza from its crust to its center to form a triangular cut, each slice is equal including the toppings and crust. Cut it into other shapes and some unlucky soul will only get the crusts.

Imagine watching your friends enjoy the creamy cheese and all the toppings while you’re left with the burnt, crunchy crusts. Not fair! 

Some Pizzas Are Cut Into Squares 

Yes, the news is true – not all pizzas are cut into their iconic triangular shapes.

Some are cut into squares with the most famous arguably being the Chicago thin-crust pizza, popular throughout the Midwestern states of The U.S.

This type of pizza usually sports a range of toppings that are pushed to the edges meaning there is often little to no crust. Therefore, a portion can contain toppings over the entire square. 

Square cuts are sometimes known as “party-style” slices. This name stems from the fact that they are easier to cut and it is simpler to serve a large pizza in squares rather than triangular slices.

Such slices can become too long to manage from the pizza’s crust to its center with the risk of a cheesy mess more often than not. 

Square pieces of pizzas are a great option for large birthday parties. They are shared in the same way as you would a birthday cake.

Also, there are little to zero crusts involved so every person can enjoy a similar-sized portion. And, once everyone is full from a pizza coma, there will be less waste for them to throw away such as their crusts. 

Can You Make Square Pizzas For Square Pizza Boxes? 

Yes, of course, you can. In fact, many pizza chains throughout the United States use square pizza boxes for their square pizzas. The most common are the Detroit-style pizzas and the Sicilian pizzas.

You may expect Chicago thin-crust pizzas to fall into this category but these are actually made round before being cut into square-shaped slices. 

Nevertheless, approximately 85% of the time, square pizza boxes are used whether the pizza is round or square.

When a square pizza is made, it’s usually for a large gathering as it is a more convenient way of serving square slices to many people. 

Overall, a pizza is a pizza, no matter its shape or size. The main reason we see and eat so many round pizzas is that they are easier to make and market.

Society is used to seeing round pizzas so consumers are more likely to buy a round pie than a square one. But, if you want a square pizza, they are available if you look hard enough. 

In Summary 

Now you know the answer to one of life’s great mysteries. Pizza is simply easier to make in rounded shapes than any others.

Pizza boxes are also easier to make as well as cheaper to produce when square. And, pizzas are cut into triangles because it’s the best way to share a sounded pizza out evenly.

The result – a mismatch of shapes but always a tasty pizza inside the box.