Does Blotting Grease Off Your Pizza Really Reduce Calories?

The age-old art of pizza blotting–soaking up the pools of grease atop your pizza with a napkin–is a disgusting one. But does it elimate enough calories to make it worth holding that yellow, translucent, grease-stained napkin in front your face?

To find out, Washingtonian got in touch with local registered dietitian and nutrition consultant Rima Kleiner, to get her expert insights.

“‘Pizza blotting’ may save a few calories, but there’s no hard and fast rule (or science) to back it up. Oil tends to soak into pizza, so if it is oil you are actually sopping up, versus just moisture, with a paper towel, you may be saving yourself around 20 calories or so,” says Kleiner. “That’s not a lot when you consider that there are about 250 to 350 calories in one slice of most restaurant pizzas, and most of us don’t stop at one slice.”

To put that number in perspective, if you blot your pizza, you’ve saved enough calories to eat one Hershey’s Kiss for dessert–or about seven M&M’s.

A better way to cut calories and still enjoy your pizza, Kleiner says, is to opt for a thin crust instead of thick crust pizza, a choice which can cut back as many as 100 calories per slice.

At the end of the day, though, pizza blotting isn’t going to hurt you, and it may even help elimate a small number of calories.

“If it makes you feel better, go for it,” says Kleiner.

Associate Editor

Caroline Cunningham joined Washingtonian in 2014 after moving to the DC area from Cincinnati, where she interned and freelanced for Cincinnati Magazine and worked in content marketing. She currently resides in College Park.