Cornicione Pizza | What Is It? How To Make It?


If you are into your pizza then you will no doubt have come across this phrase. I know the first time I heard it I was curious to know exactly what it meant and how it was related to pizza making. A pizza cornicione pacifically relates to the Neapolitan style pizza. We are going to cover off the meaning and mostly commonly asked questions about it below.

Cornicione is an Italian noun that means edge or rim. You will often hear the base of a pizza called a crust but in Italy the crust only refers to the very bottom of the pizza. A true Neapolitan pizza will have a thick cornicione (outer rim or edge) that has crunchy outside texture and an airy chewy inside.

Obivously its an Italian word and the literal translation to english doesn’t really evoke images of your favourite pizzerias. In english it basically means cornice.

I love a Neapolitan style pizza and if you want to call yourself a proper pizza chef then you definitely want to read below about how make your own cornicione.

What Is A Cornicione?

Cornicione is an Italian word with a number of meanings. Its most often used in reference to pizza or the building trade! The literal translation of the word cornicione into English is cornice or moulding. Lost in translation is a phrase that springs to mind on this one.

Cornice and moulding are terms used more with regards to architecture. When used in reference to pizza it is specifically talking about the Italian Neapolitan style pizza and it means the edge or the rim of the pizza. The outside of the cornicione should be crispy while the inside should be chewy.

What Is The Edge Of A Pizza Called?

In the USA you will most often hear the edge of a pizza called the crust. In Italy though (specifically Naples) they would only refer to the crust as the very bottom base of the pizza. The outer rim of the pizza (Neapolitan style pizza) the Italians will use the word cornicione.

How Do You Pronounce Cornicione?

Always tricky in english but the Italian pronunciation of the word Cornicione is as follows:-

Cor – ni – cione

Difficult to relay in print but you can hear the word said in its native language in this article. The English translation is also on that article.

What Are The Parts Of A Pizza?

Pizza is made up of four main parts. See information list below

  • The base
  • Tomato sauce
  • Cheese
  • Toppings

The base, the tomato sauce, cheese and the toppings. The base though can be broken down into two main areas. The flat middle of the base and the outer rim or edge.

In the western world we often refer to the outer edge of a round pizza as the crust but as we have seen here a Neapolitan pizza features a cornicione rim.

How To Make A Pizza Cornicione

It is not that difficult to create your own Cornicione if you follow the right recipes. One thing to consider is the amount of time it takes though.

Pizza dough is a key aspect here and in particular using the right type of flour (I love Blue Caputo 00). A key part of the process in my experience is to hand knead your dough. Using your hand instead of a machine allows you to create a better structure to your dough.

In addition make sure you ball the dough and allow it enough time to proof properly. This should be at least 24 hours but I often go for 48 hours.

Once risen the next part is all about the technique you use to shape your base. I use three fingers on each hand to gently press in the middle of the dough ball leaving the rim more pronounced. People often try and use a rolling pin but this will flatten the dough and the chance of getting a proper cornicione will be gone. Its one of the things to avoid.

Add the sauce, cheese and toppings and pop it into a pre heated home pizza oven or place on a pizza stone and into your home oven. Try and heat a residential oven to as high as it will go (preheat for at least 20 minutes). The pizza wont take long in proper pizza oven.

Final Thoughts

You will find Neapolitan pizza on the menu of virtually every pizzeria in Italy. I don’t know what it is but when I see a cooked Neapolitan style pizza I get excited. I just think it looks fantastic and so appetizing.

A top pizza needs to feature a proper cornicione. It is key to the look, taste and texture of this style of pizza.

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