Pizza Hut Menu Items You Should Think Twice About, According To Employees

Pizza Hut pizza in box
Pizza Hut pizza in box - HeyDebbie/Shutterstock

If you're in the market for deep-dish pizza with oodles of stringy cheese and so much grease that it actually feels indulgent, not unpleasant, there's really only one place to go. Pizza Hut has made its name as the nation's go-to fast-food pizza joint, doling out no-fuss pies en masse.

As with any fast-food chain, however, Pizza Hut definitely has its haters. For the fussy foodies, it's too unrefined. For others, it's the health factor -- or, to be more accurate, the lack of it -- that's offputting. Then there are those who've eaten their way through the menu enough times to know which items are worth your time and money (and which ones you should avoid).

That latter group is mainly populated by employees. Pizza Hut workers, both past and present, know the restaurant's menu better than anyone -- and know the behind-the-scenes secrets that may influence your next order. From the methods used to prep your toppings to the ingredients in your favorite side, there are a few secrets you may want to know before you next drop by the Hut. These are menu items that the chain's employees don't reach for on their lunch break.

Read more: The Most Overrated Chain Restaurants In The US, According To The Mashed Staff

Stuffed Crust

Cheesy stuffed crust pepperoni pizza
Cheesy stuffed crust pepperoni pizza - Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock

The only thing that can make a cheesy pizza better is even more melted cheese tucked into the crust. Employees aren't overly enthusiastic about Pizza Hut's stuffed crust, though. Several have taken to Reddit to describe how it's made -- and it's a lot less complicated than you probably pictured.

"It's basically just frozen cheese sticks stuffed into the crust of the pizza," explained one employee on Reddit when asked what not to order. That may not sound too bad, but the issue Pizza Hut workers most commonly find is that the cheese doesn't heat up enough while baking, so it stays cold in certain areas.

Even if it does manage to melt, the way the cheese sticks are shaped means it typically won't fill the entire crust. It also doesn't always melt with the consistency that you'd expect, so the texture is variable. This seems to depend on the conditions in which the cheese has been stored or prepped, with one employee claiming that stuffed crust made with frozen cheese that's been left to defrost in the cooler ends up having a texture more like mashed potato (per Reddit).


Pizza with ham
Pizza with ham - Ac_bnphotos/Getty Images

Like all the meat at Pizza Hut, the ham comes sliced and ready to go. The issue for most employees isn't so much the preparation process or the taste (not to be biased, but we'll admit that a Pizza Hut Ham & Pineapple slaps every time) but a mysterious detail that you would only know if you'd personally handled it in the kitchens.

According to an ex-Pizza Hut employee, the ham has a nasty habit of turning a "disgusting gray color" within a day or so of opening the packet. "You just couldn't tell if it had been opened 24 [hours] ago or [two] weeks ago," the Hut alum noted on Reddit. Strangest of all is the fact that the ham allegedly then becomes pink again once cooked.

While that would suggest that it hasn't gone off, other employees have corroborated claims that it's hard to tell what state the ham is in. "All the food [has] a [use-by] date, but some don't have labels," they explained, adding that the now-discontinued hot peppers also often fell foul of expiry date confusion.

Original Pan Pizza

Personal pepperoni pan pizza four slices
Personal pepperoni pan pizza four slices - Jon Osumi/Shutterstock

Let's be real; nobody comes to Pizza Hut expecting an oil-free experience. The chain is renowned for deep-dish pies dripping in grease. What may surprise you, though, is the sheer amount of oil used to prepare an Original Pan Pizza. One Reddit user detailed their husband's experience in the kitchens, where he claimed that the pizzas were overly oily. "They put about half an inch of oil in the bottom of each pan before putting the dough in and baking," they wrote.

Other employees have gone into more detail about the amount of oil involved in turning around one pizza. One claimed that a Personal Original Pan Pizza -- which, for context, is the smallest size possible -- requires "three squirts of their proprietary oil in the bottom of the pan, then rubbing the frozen dough puck all around to make sure it really soaks in," with each squirt the rough equivalent of two tablespoons. Once the dough has risen, two more doses are added pre-toppings. That's roughly 10 tablespoons in a personal pizza alone.

While there's no estimation of how much oil goes into the biggest pizza, another employee has claimed that it requires twice as much as the medium, which likely has twice the amount of the Personal. We'll leave you to do the precise math of the total measurements and just leave it at the fact that's a lot of oil.

Anything Grilled

Grilled chicken on pizza
Grilled chicken on pizza - PHOTOBUAY/Shutterstock

When someone posted a thread on Reddit questioning what fast-food employees would advise never ordering from their restaurants, one Pizza Hut worker had a very definitive answer. "Never order grilled anything, ever," they wrote.

Their reasoning for this is very simple. While the food itself may taste fine, they claimed that the instantly recognizable grilled flavor is anything but authentic. "The grilling flavor [comes] from an aerosol can of grill flavoring sprayed on just before putting it in the oven," they revealed. That means the restaurant can make you think the meat is grilled without having to go through the time or effort of actually doing so.

This secret isn't limited to Pizza Hut, with employees at other fast-food restaurants claiming similar methods of creating a faux-grilled finish for its meat, such as adding fake grill marks. You may also notice "grilled flavor" on the ingredients list of several meats at your local grocery store if you look hard enough.


Big pizza with ham and pineapple
Big pizza with ham and pineapple - Veselovaelena/Getty Images

Some people love it. Some people think it's a crime against humanity. Regardless of where your tastebuds stand on the world's most divisive pizza topping, employees who work the kitchens of your local Pizza Hut will often advise against adding pineapple to your pie -- not because they don't think you should be mixing meat and vegetables with fruit, but because it's notoriously quick to expire.

Several Pizza Hut employees have taken to Reddit to note that pineapple tends to expire first of all the fresh toppings. As they're so divisive, that means each store ends up with plenty of pineapple (which begins to smell bad at a disturbingly rapid rate) to spare.

"I used to work at a Pizza Hut and we were always throwing away pineapples," one worker claimed. "Most people would not order them and after about two days they smelled like alcohol." In an ideal world, the extra pineapple would just be thrown away, but the reality is that in less organized kitchens, these not-so-fresh toppings could easily end up on your order.


Three pastas from Pizza Hut
Three pastas from Pizza Hut - YuniAnggra/Shutterstock

Not satisfied with putting their own spin on one area of Italian cuisine, Pizza Hut first started serving pasta way back in the 1970s. Its offerings have undergone a few revamps since then, with the current lineup offering guests the choice between classics such as Chicken Alfredo, Cheesy Alfredo, and Veggie Pasta. All of these dishes are made in the same trays, which is why a lot of Pizza Hut employees don't recommend giving them a try. "I know for a fact the pasta dishes are not ALWAYS washed correctly," claimed one worker on Reddit. "If you get a pasta dish with some baked cheese on the dish, chances are good [it's] from a previous order."

Taste-wise, they're also not too popular with employees. The new Alfredo varieties introduced in 2022 are particularly unpopular, receiving frequent bashings for being both watery -- which one employee suggested may be down to the fact that adding extra water makes the sauce easier to work with -- and bland (something a handful of workers claim can be marginally improved by adding in either Buffalo or Spicy Garlic sauce).

Alfredo Sauce

Pizza with Alfredo Sauce
Pizza with Alfredo Sauce - eclecticworks/Shutterstock

Pizza Hut employees don't just recommend skipping the Alfredo on pasta but the pizza, too. While this isn't a staple pizza topping, it's popped up in the past and will almost always generate annoyance in the kitchens if it's listed on your order -– as proven by the fact that workers have even made memes about their sheer hatred for the sauce. "Does anybody else hate dealing with Alfredo sauce when working cut?" questioned one worker on Reddit. "It runs everywhere."

Cleanliness isn't the only issue. Employees have explained that if you follow the recommended amounts for the sauce, you'll usually end up with a dish more akin to soup than pizza or a Melt (Pizza Hut's trademark folded pizza, which uses Alfredo in the Chicken Bacon Parmesan variety). If you do opt for something containing Alfredo, you may want to ask for less sauce than usual, "Personal pan amount of Alfredo is more than enough for a Melt," noted one wizened employee. "Even for a large [Melt], a little over half is enough."


Fatty bacon in air fryer basket
Fatty bacon in air fryer basket - Nancy Salmon/Shutterstock

For customers, a common complaint is that there's just not enough bacon on Pizza Hut pizzas. Employees have explained in the past that this is down to the fact that there are different measuring cup sizes to dole out different groups of toppings, and the bacon -- being one of the most expensive ingredients used at the Hut -- goes in the smallest cup.

Judging by the other things employees have to say about the bacon, this may not necessarily be a bad thing. The common consensus is that it's pretty bad quality, especially compared to the bacon offered by rival chains such as Domino's and Papa John's. "I refuse to eat it ever," complained one employee. "It's the worst topping we carry. For being the most expensive topping out store carries, it sure is sh**ty quality."

To back up this point, a different worker shared a picture of their store's bacon delivery, showing how the bits that go on your pizza tend to primarily be fat. That's also why it seems like there's barely any bacon on your pizza. "The fat gets cooked into the cheese," one employee explained. If you've ever noticed a little white sliver on your pizza that looks like it could be onion but isn't, that's probably what you've found -- a tiny piece of hardening fat. Nice.

Chocolate Donut Bites

Chocolate donut holes
Chocolate donut holes - Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock

Pizza Hut's dessert menu is pretty underrated, with the Cinnabon Mini Rolls and Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie a work of art in the eyes of employees and customers alike. A less popular option is the Chocolate Donut Bites -- a tray of eight mini cake donuts, each filled with (theoretically) gooey chocolate and dusted with sugar.

Those who make the Chocolate Donut Bites warned those looking for a post-pizza sweet treat on Reddit that "they're subpar at best." One employee reported it taking a full month to sell the first box at their store, which tells you everything to know. The issue is that the instructions call for them to be deep-fried for five minutes, which robs the filling of their fudgy texture, instead leaving behind "little charcoal chunks"  (via Reddit). There's also the fact that they're cooked in the same oil as the chicken wings and fries, which some believe is evident in the flavor.

Those who found time to experiment have declared that the Chocolate Donut Bites can be salvaged somewhat if they're baked, not fried. Of course, that's not a customer request that's likely to be fulfilled, but it's somewhat promising to know that there is a world out there where Pizza Hut donuts taste good.


Pizza Hut breadsticks
Pizza Hut breadsticks - Shannon O'hara/Getty Images

While you expect to see grease pooling on a deep-dish pizza, you don't picture the same thing happening when you order Pizza Hut breadsticks. Employees have dashed the image of these simply being fresh bread coated in garlicky, buttery goodness and instead made it very clear that there's something a little less appetizing at work: oil. Yes, again.

One Pizza Hut worker took to Reddit to set the record straight about the "butter" used to finish off the breadsticks, clarifying that it's actually just a thick oil. "The thing is cooked in a lake of grease," they explained. "It has to be the greasiest food on earth." (That says a lot, considering they also addressed the amount of grease in the Original Pan Pizzas in the same post). Like the regular and thin-crust pizza dough, the breadsticks are also provided to Pizza Hut stores frozen and defrosted overnight in oil, which means they were already off to a pretty greasy start.

Green Peppers

Green peppers
Green peppers - Xesai/Getty Images

Whether a store sources and slices its own vegetables or receives them pre-sliced on a truck, all the veggies you eat on a Pizza Hut pizza are pretty fresh. As anyone who's worked in a kitchen with veggies will tell you, this comes with one unavoidable downside: bugs. No matter how hard you try, it's inevitable that the odd creepy crawly will find its way into your food from time to time.

As one former Pizza Hut employee explained on Reddit, one veggie seemed to be more prone to unexpected visitors than others. "Green peppers at Pizza Hut had caterpillars very often," they claimed. While you'd assume the obvious solution was to throw out or replace any vegetables with bonus bugs, this doesn't seem to have been the case. "Some employees would cut off the caterpillar-infested parts," they wrote. "Some would not." As if that's not bad enough, they also once witnessed a caterpillar having an unfortunate trip through the veggie slicer. On the plus side, the issue was allegedly limited to the winter and doesn't seem to be a universal issue with all Pizza Hut suppliers.


Pepperoni pizza
Pepperoni pizza - Shannon O'hara/Getty Images

Any pizza joint worth its salt boasts a solid pepperoni pizza. Generally, customers love the greasy, cheesy, carb-laden extravaganza that is one of Pizza Hut's best options, but employees aren't quite as enthusiastic about the quality of the meat itself. As one Pizza Hut worker so eloquently phrased it on Reddit, "Our pepperoni right out of the bag has smelled like straight a** the entire time I've worked at my location."

Several employees have explained that the strange odor seems to only impact the pepperoni when it's fresh from the packet. It's also not limited to the classic pepperoni, with the cupped pepperoni also smelling unusual (like root beer, apparently) when first taken out of the freezer. Nobody knows exactly why this is -- although, as one Reddit user suggested, it's likely due to preservatives used when freezing the meat -- but there's no denying that it's a pretty offputting prologue to any meal.

Chicken Wings

Chicken wings with sauce on them
Chicken wings with sauce on them - Harinnita Detta/Shutterstock

Whether you prefer boneless or bone-in chicken wings, Pizza Hut boasts a long list of flavors -- including Buffalo in Mild, Medium, or Burnin' Hot varieties, Honey BBQ, and Lemon Pepper Dry Rub -- that exceeds anyone's expectations from the "Sides" section of a fast-food restaurant. Despite proving to be a real crowd-pleaser with customers, employees who've witnessed the wings being prepared behind the scenes have shared cautionary tales.

As is always the case, food-handling hygiene needs to be much stricter when you're dealing with chicken than most of the foods prepped in a Pizza Hut kitchen. However, according to one employee on Reddit, the stations are so "messed up" that food handling violations are almost inevitable. In a different thread, another former employee claimed that their general manager would "just let [the] chicken sit out for an entire shift" and that the fryer was never cleaned (and thus looked "like a tar pit"). Yikes.


pizza hut building
pizza hut building - Jetcityimage/Getty Images

Pizza Hut has featured hundreds of menu items over the years. To find out which of these items its employees wouldn't recommend, we turned to Reddit and Quora -- both of which are packed with firsthand accounts of working for the Hut, particularly in specialized threads like r/PizzaHutEmployees where over 12,000 users share the highs, lows, and deep frustrations that bubble up in the restaurant's kitchens.

We weren't looking for complaints stemming from an employee's personal preferences. Instead, we were looking for the menu items with a clear pattern of dislike -- or even hatred -- from Pizza Hut workers, whether that's due to its quality, flavor, texture, or the sheer fact that they're cursed with knowing how exactly it's prepped behind the scenes. While every Pizza Hut's kitchen is different -- especially from franchisee to franchisee -- these were the items that seemed to consistently rile up the most employees.

Read the original article on Mashed