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

pizza hut papa johns dominos review 22Katie Canales/Business Insider

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

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

... a garlic bread side order, ...

... a garlic bread side order, ...

... an 8-piece order of wings, ...

... an 8-piece order of wings, ...

... and a chocolate dessert.

... and a chocolate dessert.

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 ...

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 ...

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

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

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

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

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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

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

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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

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

Now on to the main course!

Now on to the main course!

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

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

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

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

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 ...

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 ...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cheers to that!

Cheers to that!

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.

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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

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

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

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

Source: AdAge

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