We compared the most popular menu items at Papa John’s and Domino’s, and the winner tasted better while costing less

Papa John's brought some savory items to the table, but they were no match for Domino's.

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Papa John’s brought some savory items to the table, but they were no match for Domino’s.
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Katie Canales/Business Insider


We ordered similar items from each store: a medium pepperoni pizza, …

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A medium pepperoni pizza from Domino’s.
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Katie Canales/Business Insider

… a garlic bread side order, …

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Papa John’s Garlic Knots.
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Katie Canales/Business Insider

… an 8-piece order of wings, …

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Katie Canales/Business Insider

… and a chocolate dessert.

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Papa John’s Chocolate Chip Cookie.
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Katie Canales/Business Insider

The prices for each menu item we tried were similar between the two chains, except for the pizzas. Each pizza was divided into the standard eight slices …

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Our Papa John’s order.
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Papa John’s/Business Insider

… and a medium pizza at Papa John’s cost $3 more than at Domino’s.

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On the left is the price of a medium pizza at Domino’s and on the right is the price of a medium pizza at Papa John’s.
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Domino’s/Papa John’s/Business Insider

The dipping sauces were priced similarly — both Domino’s and Papa John’s charged 65¢ for each.

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Katie Canales/Business Insider

We were able to have our orders delivered from Papa John’s but not Domino’s, which we felt was strange since both chains were in close proximity to each other. Domino’s apparently had a shorter delivery range.

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A disclaimer in the Domino’s app alerted us that we couldn’t have our order delivered to our address.
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Domino’s/Business Insider

So we ordered carryout at Domino’s and went to pick it up from the store.

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Katie Canales/Business Insider

Because of that, the bill at Domino’s was just $42.46 versus $56.75 at Papa John’s, since there weren’t any delivery costs.

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On the left is our total from Domino’s and on the right is our total from Papa John’s.
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Domino’s/Papa John’s/Business Insider

But if we had chosen carryout instead of delivery at Papa John’s, the cost would have been closer to $47, so Domino’s still would have cost less.

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Our total at Papa John’s.
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Papa Johns/Business Insider

We could still use Domino’s handy tracker though — our order was ready in no time.

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Domino’s/Business Insider

There was also a nifty tracker in the Papa John’s app that helped us keep tabs on how far out our order was. It took 25 minutes for our order to be delivered, which is what the tracker estimated.

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Papa John’s/Business Insider

Finally, our orders were laid out in front of us — and it was time to feast.

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Katie Canales/Business Insider

First up were the garlic-y side dishes. We ordered Garlic Bread Twists from Domino’s and Garlic Knots from Papa John’s.

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Papa John’s Garlic Knots.
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Katie Canales/Business Insider

Papa John’s garlic bread was good, in a word. The texture of the bread struck a solid balance of doughy and crunchy, but the pizza dipping sauce wasn’t anything too spectacular.

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Papa John’s Garlic Knots.
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Katie Canales/Business Insider

On the other hand, the garlic and marinara dipping sauces from Domino’s (the Garlic Bread Twists come with one sauce free of charge, but we added another for extra) quickly won us over. The marinara specifically was perfectly thick with a hint of rosemary.

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Katie Canales/Business Insider

And Domino’s garlic twists were a perfect match for it. They were doughy, with a more enticing coating of seasoning.

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Domino’s Garlic Bread Twists.
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Katie Canales/Business Insider

Both garlic side orders were good, but Domino’s garlic knots were a bit more difficult to stop eating.

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Domino’s Garlic Bread Twists.
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Katie Canales/Business Insider

Now on to the main course!

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A medium pepperoni pizza from Domino’s.
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Katie Canales/Business Insider

We kept it simple with only pepperoni on all of our pizzas, since you can’t go wrong with the topping.

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A medium pepperoni pizza from Papa John’s.
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Katie Canales/Business Insider

And as it turns out, many Americans feel that way — more than a third of pizzas sold in the US come adorned with pepperoni.

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A medium pepperoni pizza from Papa John’s.
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Katie Canales/Business Insider

Source: Thrillist


We reached for a slice of Papa John’s pizza first. At first glance, the crust looked fluffy, the pepperoni placement was on point, and the cheese seemed generous …

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A medium pepperoni pizza from Papa John’s.
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Katie Canales/Business Insider

… but we soon realized that maybe it was a little too much cheese.

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A medium pepperoni pizza from Papa John’s.
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Katie Canales/Business Insider

Biting into a Papa John’s slice resulted in an overwhelming mouthful of it. The balance of cheese to dough to pepperoni felt off.

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A slice of pepperoni pizza from Papa John’s.
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Katie Canales/Business Insider

Apart from the cheese overload, the pizza was doughy and, for the most part, yummy.

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A medium pepperoni pizza from Papa John’s.
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Katie Canales/Business Insider

The pizza also came with two dipping sauces: buffalo and garlic, which were both tasty.

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A slice of pepperoni pizza from Papa John’s.
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Katie Canales/Business Insider

And the chain’s signature pepperoncini accompaniment was a nice touch.

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A medium pepperoni pizza from Papa John’s.
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Katie Canales/Business Insider

But overall, we concluded that we weren’t jumping at the opportunity to order another Papa John’s pizza in the future.

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Katie Canales/Business Insider

But then we sunk our teeth into Domino’s, which was the culinary equivalent of a breath of fresh air.

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A medium pepperoni pizza from Domino’s.
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Katie Canales/Business Insider

It was doughy and yummy, with just the right amount of cheese.

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Katie Canales/Business Insider

And the crust was exquisite: fluffy yet crunchy and flawlessly toasted.

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A medium pepperoni pizza from Domino’s.
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Katie Canales/Business Insider

So Domino’s took home the trophy for this round.

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A medium pepperoni pizza from Domino’s.
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Katie Canales/Business Insider

Cheers to that!

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Katie Canales/Business Insider

We somehow still had enough room to taste test the next category: the wings. We ordered plain boneless wings from Domino’s and unsauced roasted bone-in wings from Papa John’s.

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Domino’s wings.
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Katie Canales/Business Insider

Papa John’s immediately stuck out for its presentation — the wings were nestled snuggly in its foil wrapping within its cardboard box.

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Papa John’s wings.
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Katie Canales/Business Insider

They also tasted superb. They looked like they were a bit fatty, but their roasted flavor made up for it.

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Katie Canales/Business Insider

The wings category was the closest race out of all four courses. Domino’s and Papa John’s wings were neck-and-neck …

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Domino’s wings.
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Katie Canales/Business Insider

… but the reason Domino’s wings were better was because of its distinct smoky flavor.

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Domino’s wings.
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Katie Canales/Business Insider

We would absolutely order wings from both Papa John’s and Domino’s again because both were mouthwateringly tender and delicious, but the wings from Domino’s were just slightly more memorable.

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What used to be Papa John’s wings.
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Katie Canales/Business Insider

And last but certainly not least, we turned to our chocolate desserts: the Papa John’s Chocolate Chip Cookie and the Domino’s Marbled Cookie Brownie.

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Domino’s Marbled Cookie Brownie.
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Katie Canales/Business Insider

Domino’s Marbled Cookie Brownie was good, but nothing that stood out against, say, a bag of brownie mix that you could find at the grocery store and make yourself.

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Domino’s Marbled Cookie Brownie.
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Katie Canales/Business Insider

And the same actually goes for the Papa John’s cookie dish. It was good, but it wasn’t anything noteworthy.

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Papa John’s Chocolate Chip Cookie.
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Katie Canales/Business Insider

But the gooey chocolate chips in Papa John’s cookie cake gave the dish an edge over Domino’s brownie dessert, which was the closest thing to a cookie cake that the chain offers. So Papa Jon’s wins this round.

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Papa John’s Chocolate Chip Cookie.
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Katie Canales/Business Insider

It was a good way to wrap up our taste test.

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Katie Canales/Business Insider

In each category, there was a clear winner. The Domino’s garlic twists, pizza, and wings were knock-outs, while the dessert from Papa John’s was hard to ignore.

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A medium pepperoni pizza from Domino’s.
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Katie Canales/Business Insider

Ultimately, Papa John’s was no match for Domino’s. The final count — Domino’s: 3 and Papa John’s: 1.

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Katie Canales/Business Insider

It’s not that all of the Papa John’s items we tried were bad — they just weren’t as good as what Domino’s had to offer.

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Katie Canales/Business Insider

On top of that, Domino’s cost the least out of the two chains, without sacrificing quality.

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A medium pepperoni pizza from Domino’s.
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Katie Canales/Business Insider

It’s easy to see why Domino’s has become the largest pizza seller in the world.

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Katie Canales/Business Insider

Source: AdAge