Why Pizza is Round and Box is Square?

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You must have eaten pizza at least once in your life, but there is one question that must have come up to your mind. Why is pizza round and box square? Even if you never thought about it, then you must be puzzled now about the shape of the pizza and box. So, let’s see what the reasons behind the tradition that has been in place for nearly centuries are. 

pizza in a box

According to experts in Domino’s, pizza is usually made in a round shape as the dough is distributed evenly and equal slices can be cut. They also make pizza boxes in square shape as they can be made only from one piece of cardboard and take less space to stack. Thus, it saves a lot of money for pizza chains. 

There have been attempts by many companies to make round pizza boxes, but they weren’t very successful. In 2004, John Harvey invented a round box called pressed, and in 2010, Apple also filed a patent for a round box for use in their offices. But, still, square boxes have been dominating the market and let’s see the reason behind it.

Why Are Pizzas Made Round?

people sharing pizza

Pizzas are made round due to the fact that it is easier to shape, stretch, cut and eat them. Another reason that the shape of the pizza is round is that it has been the tradition to give it that shape for many centuries. Mostly big party-sized pizzas are made rectangular or square in shape.

The history of the pizza can be dated back to the Neolithic age. Pizza started to evolve in the early 19th century in Naples, Italy. Fast food was introduced to the US by Italian immigrants. Now, let’s not dwell much on history. It’s time to see the exciting reasons why big pizza chains make round pizzas.

Round Pizzas Are Easier to Make

rolling pin and dough

Pizza is easier to make when it is made in a round shape. But, how? For that, first, understand how pizza dough is made. 

To make pizza dough, first chefs knead it as a whole. Then, it is split into smaller doughs and allowed to rise. At last, they are stretched and baked. 

Now, think for a second, what will be the easiest shape that the dough can be made in such a way that it gets distributed evenly and doesn’t have thicker parts left. Round shape, right? Still not getting the point, let’s take an example to simplify it even more.

To make round pizza, you simply have to stretch it outward from the center, and it will automatically be distributed evenly, and a round shape will be created. Now, think if you were to make a square or rectangular pizza, how difficult it would have been to make the even sides and distribute the dough properly. 

Some chefs also give a round shape by tossing and spinning it in the air. They don’t do it to impress their customers, but there is a scientific reason behind it. When they toss and spin it, the centrifugal force comes into play and activates the gluten. This results in a bigger and thinner crust. It also removes the lumps. 

According to Brandon Landers, who worked at Domino’s for more than 6 years, he has made both round and rectangular pizzas. But it was easier and faster to shape-round pizzas than the others. The reason he cited why other shaped pizzas are difficult to make was that it is difficult to distribute the dough evenly and give it a uniform shape.

There are some people who find it easier to make rectangular pizzas than round ones. But if you ask me, then I always make round pizzas as they are always efficient. Here are some of the pizza dough recipes that you should definitely try making once at your home:

Equal Portions Can be Divided In Round Pizzas

sharing pizza and coca cola

It is very easy to divide round-shaped foods such as pies, cakes, and others. The same rules also apply to pizzas. Round-shaped pizzas can be easily cut into equal portions using a pizza cutter.

Square or rectangular pizzas can be a little difficult to divide into equal portions. Most people love to eat triangular slices, and in this case, it would have been difficult to do so.

Round Pizzas Are The Traditional Way

Sometimes it’s better to follow and continue the old traditions. The same goes for the pizza. It has got its origins in Napoli, Italy. A true Neapolitan pizza has certain rules and one of them is the round shape of the pizza.

There is also a psychological factor to the shape as the look of the pizza is only recognized by the round shape. It is really iconic and looks appealing. So, why change the shape? Let it be the way it is. 

Pizzas Are Ease to Eat When Round

There was a survey conducted and it revealed that the easiest way to eat pizzas was by cutting them into triangular slices. When you cut them into triangles, then you can easily fold the slices and eat them anywhere with ease. 

But if a pizza was in a rectangular or square shape, then it won’t be convenient to cut them into triangular shapes as it can cause a lot of wastage and unequal distribution of toppings. 

There are also some pizza outlets where pizza is sold in slices only. So, it’s best to make the pizzas in a round shape. 

Why Are Pizza Boxes Made Square? 

Pizza boxes are made square as only one piece is required to make the box. Square-shaped boxes are also easy to store, and shipping them is very easy. Whereas round pizza boxes require multiple pieces of cardboard and take a lot of storage during stacking. 

The below table will easily compare the difference between square and round pizza boxes. 

Square Pizza BoxesRound Pizza Boxes
Easier & cheaperDifficult & expensive
Requires one piece of cardboardRequires multiple pieces of cardboard
Can be folded and takes less spaceCan’t be folded and takes more space
Fit neatly when stacked as it has equal edgesDoesn’t fit neatly as it doesn’t have equal edges
Easy to hold as the grip is tighterDifficult to hold as the grip is not strong

Now, let’s check out some more detailed reasons behind the square shape of the box. 

Square Boxes Easier & Cheaper to Manufacture

pizza boxes

Square boxes are much easier and cheaper to manufacture compared to a round or any other shaped pizza boxes. To manufacture a square box, only single cardboard and sheet are required. Just a few cuts and the pizza box is ready. 

In the case of circular boxes, more than one sheet of cardboard and special machinery is required. A lot of work has to be done to make these boxes as the edges are round. If the box is completely round, then two separate lids will also be required. 

I contacted some pizza box manufacturers online and got a pretty good idea about the average prices of square and round pizza boxes.

Size of pizzaPrice of a square boxPrice of round box
Personal (7”)$0.11$0.49
Small (10”)$0.19$0.74
Medium (12”)$0.26$0.98
Large (14”)$0.35$1.09

Square Boxes Require Less Storage Space

To stack and store square boxes, less storage space is required. The boxes can be easily flattened and transported. They also have equal edges that enable them to fit neatly and provide support for each other.

In the case of circular pizza boxes, more space is required, and they don’t have uneven edges. This causes less stability when storing them.

Sqaure Pizza Boxes Are More Spacious

I have eaten pizza both in square and round boxes. But in the square box, there is a lot of space left in the four corners. This helps to lift the slices of pizza very easily without damaging the structure of the pizza. The toppings and cheese remain intact in their original place. Extras like oregano, dips and chili flakes can also be kept in the extra space.

This isn’t applicable in the case of round pizza boxes. It can be difficult to lift the pizza in circular boxes.

Square Boxes Have Good Grip

Think of two situations: you are holding a pizza in a square box and another in a circular box. Now, when you are eating it in a square box, then you can easily use one hand for holding the box and another for eating. The equal edges provide a good grip to hold the box, and there are fewer chances of damaging the pizza.

When it’s a circular box, the grip or hold is not stronger and there are more chances of damaging the pizza. Check out this video to learn more.

Why Does A Round Pizza Come In A Square Box?
Video By LifesBiggestQuestions

Can We Make Square Pizzas For Square Boxes? 

There are many pizza chains in America using square boxes for square pizzas. The most common square-shaped pizzas are Sicilian and Detroit-style pizza. In the case of Chicago thin-crust pizza, the pizza is round, but it is cut into square-shaped slices.

In 85% of cases, whether the pizza is round or square, a square-shaped pizza box is used. These square pizzas are also referred to as party-sized pizzas. Most pizza chains make square-shaped pizzas for a large gathering as it is very convenient to serve square pizza slices to them. 

A pizza is a pizza, regardless of whether it is square, rectangular, or round-shaped. The main reason round pizzas are very prominent is mainly due to the ease of making it and marketing. You must have also got an idea about why square boxes are used for round pizzas. If you have got some other interesting points, then do mention them in the comment section below. Also, don’t hesitate to ask more questions. 

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