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The Best and Worst Menu Items at Papa John’s Pizza

Pizza night won't cost your waistline inches if you know exactly what to order at Papa John's.
The Best and Worst Menu Items at Papa John’s Pizza

Papa John’s famously boasts its better ingredients and better pizza, but with its multitude of menu options, it can be hard sifting the good from the bad. While the Papa John’s menu is riddled with pizza pies that boast more fat than a McDonald’s Big Mac, it also has plenty of healthier options to choose from. That’s where we come in. We parsed through the entire Papa John’s menu to find the best and worst orders at the restaurant. From the specialty pies to the sides, desserts, and dipping sauces, we’ve got the options to choose and the ones to skip below. Don’t forget to consult our guide before hitting up PJ’s for pizza night!

Now, here are the best and worst items from the Papa John’s menu.

Specialty Pizzas

Best: Cheese Pizza

Papa johns cheese pizza Courtesy of Papa John's
per medium slice, original crust: 210 calories, 7 g fat (3.5 g saturated fat), 520 mg sodium, 27 g carbs (1 g fiber, 3 g sugar), 8 g protein

Keep it classic with PJ’s original Cheese Pizza. Golden brown crust meets mozzarella and fresh pizza sauce for a simple yet timeless option. One slice houses just 210 calories and a respectable 8 grams of protein, so opting for seconds won’t do too much damage.

Best: Garden Fresh Pizza

per medium slice, original crust: 200 calories, 7 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 480 mg sodium, 27 g carbs (1 g fiber, 4 g sugar), 7 g protein

Out of all the signature pies at Papa John’s, we love the Garden Fresh Pizza because it’s loaded with crisp green peppers, onions, Crimini mushrooms, and ripe black olives for a boatload of flavor without a belly-busting amount of calories. We also love the Mediterranean Veggie pizza, which boasts 180 calories per slice, thanks to a smaller portion of cheese.

Best: Chicken & Veggie Pizza

chicken veggie pizza Courtesy of Papa John's
per medium slice, original crust: 180 calories, 5 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 430 mg sodium, 27 g carbs (1 g fiber, 4 g sugar), 7 g protein

Papa John’s takes pride in “trimming the calories, not the taste” with this pie. It’s got a lighter portion of cheese, as well as grilled chicken and a garden of veggies such as onions, Roma tomatoes, green peppers, Crimini mushrooms, and black olives. While the fiber content is lacking, it’s got a slew of vitamins from the veggies and lean protein from the white chicken breast.

Best: Tropical Luau Pizza

tropical luau pizza Courtesy of Papa John's
per medium slice, original crust: 180 calories, 4.5 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 470 mg sodium, 27 g carbs (1 g fiber, 4 g sugar), 7 g protein

Hawaiian pizza is quite the divisive pie, but we here at Eat This, Not That! deem it one of the healthiest choices at Papa John’s. This rendition packs Canadian bacon, juicy pineapple chunks, green peppers, and a lighter portion of mozzarella, which saves you some fat and calories.

Worst: Spicy Italian Pizza

spicy italian pizza Courtesy of Papa John's
per medium slice, original crust: 270 calories, 13 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 660 mg sodium, 27 g carbs (1 g fiber, 3 g sugar), 10 g protein

PJ’s Italian-meat-inspired pizza holds pepperoni and a double portion of spicy Italian sausage, which explains the high sodium and fat contents. Gobble up a slice, and you’ll get the fat equivalent of about four slices of thick bacon!

RELATED: The easy way to make healthier comfort foods.

Worst: Pepperoni, Sausage & Six Cheese Pizza

pepperoni sausage six cheese pizza Courtesy of Papa John's
per medium slice, original crust: 280 calories, 14 g fat (6 g saturated fat), 650 mg sodium, 25 g carbs (1 g fiber, 2 g sugar), 11 g protein

Loaded with pepperoni, sausage, parmesan, Romano, asiago, fontina, provolone, and mozzarella, this pie is brimming with sodium and saturated fat. If you want extra protein on your pie, go for the Chicken & Veggie Pizza, which packs in 100 fewer calories and 7 grams of protein.

Worst: Bacon Cheddarburger Pizza

per medium slice, original crust: 270 calories, 14 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 650 mg sodium, 27 g carbs (1 g fiber, 3 g sugar), 10 g protein

This pie combines ground beef, hickory-smoked bacon, dill pickle slices, Roma tomatoes, mozzarella, cheddar, and a zesty burger sauce for a calorie-packed meal. Eat two slices, and you’ll take in the calorie and fat equivalent of a McDonald’s Big Mac.

Sides

Best: Bruschetta Cheesesticks

bruschetta cheese sticks Courtesy of Papa John's
1 10-inch stick: 100 calories, 5 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 260 mg sodium, 11 g carbs (1 g fiber, 1 sugar), 4 g protein

These cheesesticks are spiced up with a topping packed with Roma tomatoes, mozzarella, and Special Garlic and Basil Pesto sauces. With only 100 calories and 2 grams of saturated fat per stick, it’s a go-to side dish option at Papa John’s.

Best: Papa’s Garden Salad

garden salad Courtesy of Papa John's
120 calories, 7 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 340 mg sodium, 10 g carbs (2 g fiber, 3 g sugar), 6 g protein

You can’t go wrong with a side salad, and Papa John’s bowl of greens serves up 2 grams of satiating fiber and 6 grams of filling protein for just 120 calories. Fork into salad before grabbing a slice, so that you’re less apt to go for a second or third piece of pizza.

Worst: Bacon Cheddar Stuffed Cheesesticks

bacon cheddar stuffed cheesesticks Courtesy of Papa John's
1 10-inch stick: 210 calories, 9 g fat (3.5 g saturated fat), 460 mg sodium, 24 g carbs (1 g fiber, 2 g sugar), 8 g protein

With the salt equivalent of about 50 Rold Gold Pretzel Sticks, you’ll want to skip the Bacon Cheddar Stuffed Cheesesticks for the sake of your waistline.

Worst: Garlic Parmesan Breadsticks

garlic parmesan breadsticks Courtesy of Papa John's
1 12-inch stick: 160 calories, 5 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 340 mg sodium, 24 g carbs (1 g fiber, 2 g sugar), 4 g protein

Not only are you getting a slew of empty carbs, but the Special Garlic Sauce and parmesan cheese add 30 calories and 3 grams of fat to the original baked breadsticks.

Desserts

Best: Chocolate Chip Cookie

chocolate chip cookie Courtesy of Papa John's
1 slice: 190 calories, 9 g fat (4.5 g saturated fat), 105 mg sodium, 26 g carbs (1 g fiber, 18 g sugar), 2 g protein

Papa John’s makes a mean family-sized Chocolate Chip Cookie that’s sliced into eight pieces so you can share with your whole crew. If you’re really craving something sweet post-pizza, this fresh-baked cookie is the way to go. It packs in 50 fewer calories and 5 fewer grams of sugar than the family-sized Double Chocolate Chip Brownie.

Worst: Cinnamon Pullaparts

cinnamon pull aparts Courtesy of Papa John's
1 tray: 1,960 calories, 94 g fat (36 g saturated fat, 1 g trans fat), 1,660 mg sodium, 264 g carbs (8 g fiber, 150 g sugar), 19 g protein

Papa John’s doesn’t specify how many people an entire tray serves, but if we were going according to the rest of the joint’s dessert serving size (which is 8 to 9 servings per order), this dessert would still make the worst list. Even if you split it with 9 people, each dinner guest will ingest about 217 calories and 10 grams of fat. You’re better off ending dinner with the chocolate chip cookie.

Dipping Sauces

Best: Pizza Sauce

per cup: 20 calories, 1 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 230 mg sodium, 3 g carbs (0 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 0 g protein

If you’re seeking a sauce to dip your breadsticks in, look no further than the original pizza sauce. It’s got just 20 calories per cup and has 670 fewer milligrams of sodium than the lowest-calorie dip, the buffalo sauce.

Worst: Blue Cheese

blue cheese dip Courtesy of Papa John's
per cup: 160 calories, 16 g fat (3.5 g saturated fat), 250 mg sodium, 1 g carbs (0 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 1 g protein

Why add an extra 160 calories and the fat equivalent of a medium order of McDonald’s fries to your meal? The blue cheese sauce is definitely not worth a dip.

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