Pizza Hut just revamped a nearly 40-year-old menu item for the first time ever — here’s the verdict

Irene Jiang / Business InsiderWe tried Pizza Hut’s new pan pizza recipe to see if it lived up to the hype.

Pizza Hut’s Original Pan Pizza recipe carried the brand through the birth of the internet, the rise of delivery, and the reign of Instagram.

But no further – the chain has finally updated its nearly 40-year-old menu item.

In recent years, Pizza Hut has faced competition from a surging Domino’s and younger, sleeker competitors like Blaze and Mod Pizza, which deliver a more personalised experience and more customisation options. Newer fast-casual pizza chains also cater to evolving customer tastes with their chic branding, artisanal ingredients, and healthy options.

Pizza Hut’s new recipe, which was unveiled on Tuesday, is the culmination of three years of research and a welcome change for an otherwise relatively stagnant brand.

According to a press release from the company, the new recipe is cooked in a “newly engineered” pan that makes for a crispier crust. The sauce and cheese have also been revamped to complement the dough.

To test those claims, I decided to head to one of the few Pizza Huts in Manhattan to give the new recipe a try. Here’s what it was like:

I ordered a large Supreme Pan Pizza. It was not a bad-looking pizza, and it was generously adorned with pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, onions, and peppers. However, the toppings weren’t important — I was there to test the chain’s claims about the new sauce, cheese, and crust.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

The new crust was a pleasant light gold and had a touch of oily translucence.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

The cheese was soft and very, very elastic. Photogenic for a perfect cheese pull.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

Upon first pull, the slice revealed itself to be both thick and floppy.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

The flavours did complement each other. The tomato sauce was tart and sweet, while the cheese was mild and served as a soft, stretchy bed for the toppings.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

However, the crust was definitely undercooked in the middle, if not all around.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

The outer crust was definitely crispier, but it was also so buttery it made me wonder if it was worth clogging my arteries. Plus, once I got through the initial joy of the bite, the sauce, cheese, and toppings quickly capitulated to the dominant flavour and texture: undercooked dough.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

It made me wonder whether Pizza Hut couldn’t have achieved a crispier crust and better texture simply by baking a slightly thinner crust for slightly longer.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

Overall, Pizza Hut’s new recipe is a solid, inoffensive slice, and it’s definitely a filling one. There’s plenty of cheese and sauce — maybe a little too much. But it’s all overshadowed by the thick, doughy crust. The result is a pizza that’s halfway between a thin crust and a deep-dish.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

From memory, the new pan pizza is definitely an improvement upon the old recipe, but not a significant one. And it may not be a big enough move for Pizza Hut to stay afloat in the fast-moving world of chain pizza.

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