An Iltaco pizza puff
An Iltaco pizza puff
A pizza puff made from scratch at a restaurant
A pizza puff made from scratch at a restaurant

A pizza puff is a deep-fried dough pocket filled with cheese, tomato sauce, and other pizza ingredients such as sausage or pepperoni.[1] Indigenous to Chicago, pizza puffs can be found at many casual dining restaurants there.[2][3][4][5]

Pizza puffs are similar to panzerotti. They are also somewhat like calzones, but calzones are baked instead of fried, and do not always include tomato sauce.[2]

Some Italian restaurants and casual dining establishments make their own pizza puffs from scratch. These pizza puffs feature a pizza dough wrapper, and tend to be somewhat larger than the pre-made ones.[6][7][8]

Commercial varieties

Some hot dog stands in the Chicago area serve mass-produced pizza puffs that they purchase from the Iltaco company. The frozen pizza puffs are deep-fried before serving. The dough wrapper of these pizza puffs is similar to a flour tortilla. Iltaco was founded in 1927 and was originally called the Illinois Tamale Company ("Il-Ta-Co"). It has been suggested that Iltaco invented the pizza puff.[1] Iltaco pizza puffs are also sold in the frozen food section of some local area grocery stores.[2][3][5][9]

Arco Frozen Foods is another company that mass-produced pizza puffs, and introduced a retail pizza puff circa 1968.[10]

See also


  1. ^ a b Bizzarri, A. (2016). Iconic Chicago Dishes, Drinks and Desserts. American Palate. Arcadia Publishing Incorporated. pp. 101–102. ISBN 978-1-62585-810-8. Retrieved March 20, 2018.
  2. ^ a b c Kindelsperger, Nick (December 7, 2017). "Where Did the Pizza Puff Come From? Can It Even Be Considered a Chicago Classic?". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
  3. ^ a b "Pizza Puff: Your New Favorite Fried Pizza Product". American Fun Fact of the Day. July 2, 2015. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
  4. ^ Kuban, Adam (December 15, 2010). "What Is a Pizza Puff?". Serious Eats. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
  5. ^ a b Pirnia, Garin (January 26, 2016). "15 Foods Invented in Chicago Besides Deep Dish Pizza". Mental Floss. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
  6. ^ Zemans, Daniel (August 12, 2009). "Albano's Pizzeria in Cicero: The Biggest and Best Pizza Puff in Chicago". Serious Eats. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
  7. ^ Chicago's Best (May 19, 2014). "Chicago's Best Pizza Puff: Grassano's". WGN TV. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
  8. ^ Chicago's Best (August 14, 2017). "Chicago's Best Pizza Puff: Terry's Place". WGN TV. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
  9. ^ "Iltaco Pizza Puff Review". Burgers, Dogs, & Pizza, Oh My!. July 16, 2015. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
  10. ^ Quick Frozen Foods. E.W. Williams Publications. 1968. Retrieved March 20, 2018.