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This classic deep dish pizza is perfect, beautiful, and oh-so-delicious. We show you how to make the best Chicago Deep Dish Pizza in this authentic, step-by-step recipe.

Get your tastebuds ready for this epic pizza journey. We focus in on Chicago-style pizza with this authentic recipe you can make today.

Chicago Deep Dish Pizza on a white table and a dish of cheese to the side.
There is not much that is tastier than a slice of classic Chicago Deep Dish pizza!

🍕 What makes this recipe special?

Can we make the perfect Chicago deep dish pizza at home? YES. I love pizza, and Chicago-style pizza is one of my favorites. Of course, I love a thin slice of New York style pizza, but I have a soft spot for a big, meaty, hardy deep dish.

This recipe is special because it really walks you through making an authentic, special Chicago-style pizza. No gimmicks or fake recipes, and take it from a person who went to Chicago to binge on some of the classics! From Lou Malnati to Genos East to Pizzaria Uno… I have been working on trying them all! 

We love other pizza recipes, though. You can also check out another favorite, Detroit style pizza recipe or our Grilled Weber Pizza recipe. Whatever you make, make sure to treat yourself!

🍖 Ingredients

There are many ingredients in this recipe, but this is a from-scratch recipe that will have your family asking for more. You can find the exact ingredients’ amounts in the recipe card below, but here are the basics:

Ingredients for making Chicago Deep Dish pizza.
Pizza dough, mozzarella cheese, Chicago pizza sauce, Parmesan Cheese, and Italian sausage.
  • bread flour
  • warm water
  • peanut oil
  • dry yeast
  • salt
  • sugar
  • whole milk low-moisture mozzarella
  • Italian Sausage
  • Chicago deep dish sauce
  • freshly grated parmesan cheese

See the recipe card for quantities.

🍲 Instructions

One of the defining characteristics of a Chicago deep dish is that the cheese is not on top. It is constructed with the crust, then the mozzarella cheese, THEN the ingredients, and then the sauce. You might find parmesan cheese on top or some high-moisture elements on top, but most of the cheese is on the bottom.

The pizza dough

I really struggled with the dough on this one. I made several pizzas trying to get this down (the struggles of a food blogger, right?). When you look into it, it seems there are so many opinions on the Chicago deep dish dough and what makes it great.

Some claim the Chicago deep dish pizza should be bready and huge, but this is wrong. This pizza has some bulk, but the crust should not feel like a loaf of bread. We build the pizza dough to be a perfect combination of flakey, buttery, sturdy, and tasty.

It should be a thin, flaky pizza crust and strong enough to hold the ingredients of this deep dish ‘za. There is a debate on whether a Chicago deep dish should contain cornmeal or semolina flour. I chose to make my best Chicago deep dish without either.

A great Chicago deep dish dough should be thin but able to carry quite a bit of ingredients. It should be golden brown like it has been fried just a tad. The edges should not be loaves of bread but have a crisp, golden-brown flakiness.

We tried many recipes and tweaked them in so many ways, but we just couldn’t get it right. Then, I found inspiration. It was getting really frustrating until I found Real Deep Dish and deep dish 101. My best Chicago deep dish is a modified version of this recipe.

If you have gotten serious about bread baking before, you know that measurements matter. One thing I really appreciate about Deep Dish 101 is that he gives exact measurements. That can really make a difference.

Just a few tablespoons of water or flour can really impact the dough rise and the final product. So, I have to give credit to Deep Dish 101 on the dough recipe in helping me make the best Chicago deep dish.

Making pizza dough and spreading in the Chicago Deep Dish pan.
This is deep dish, but the crust is not as thick as some would lead you to believe! Gently form the bottom of the crust to cover the bottom and then form up along the side with a finger and thumb.

The pizza sauce

The pizza sauce for this style is super simple. I used a simple 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes, garlic, and herbs. VIOLA! Unlike the other pizza sauce that I cook in a pot and simmer to reduce, this is baked right on the pizza.

I had tried some other crushed tomatoes and crushed my own from San Marzano canned whole tomatoes. The Cento crushed tomatoes worked best for me.

Finally, it is important to strain the tomatoes. We want as little loose liquid floating around in here as possible. I discovered early on that too much moisture can result in liquid pooling in your pizza when baking. That is no fun.

The cheese

Whole milk, low-moisture mozzarella is the cheese to use. Do yourself a favor and get it sliced from the deli or slice your own. I am sure shredded will work, but it is not in the tradition of this style.

We are trying to keep in the tradition of making a GREAT dish, so I recommend going au natural rather than pre-bought shredded cheese.

No, you should not use fresh mozzarella. It might be tempting to purchase those round balls floating in the liquid, but that is not appropriate for this recipe. Get the block of cheese.

Toppings

Well, this is entirely up to you. I am going to keep in Chicago tradition and make this a sausage pizza. For any ingredients that are high in moisture, I drain them.

For example, my wife likes pepperoncini and pineapple. Of course, I try to cook to her taste. I will throw these high moisture ingredients in a strainer for a while to get as much of the moisture out as possible.

For the sausage, we add this as a raw sausage. Make sure that you are separating the ground sausage into small pieces. This will cook to a safe 160° Fahrenheit, but check out some food safety tips from the USDA and ensure everything is safe for you.

Adding ingredients to Chicago Deep Dish.
Spread your cheese on, then the Italian Sausage, and then the sauce and cheese.

The bake

This is not cooked at medium heat. We heat up a pizza stone at 500° Fahrenheit and then bake our pizza in the deep dish pan on the stone. This helps create a nice crisp bottom and helps bake our pizza pie from all sides.

Cutting and serving

The deep dish can be a little tricky to cut and serve. What I did was cut the best I could using my pizza cutter. Then, using a knife, I cut the small corners to ensure that the pieces were separated before I tried removing the slices.

When everything was cut, I used my pie server to move the pieces to the plate. Remember, this is a bulky pizza best served on a plate.

🔪 Equipment

The other element that Deep Dish 101 used and helped level up my deep dish pizza abilities was the use of a pizza stone. I had initially wondered why I would need a pizza stone, as I am not cooking directly on the stone like other pizza styles.

When I cook a Neapolitan, it goes directly on the stone, but Chicago deep dishes are already cooked in a pan. For this recipe, the pan goes directly on the stone. It turns out that this helps create a nice golden brown pizza crust on the bottom and contributes to the baking of the whole pie. Make sure to give your stone enough time to warm up!

Originally, I was using my 14-inch cast iron for cooking my pizzas. I think this would continue to work, but I decided to splurge and get a 12-inch pizza pan. 

I was also thinking about getting a spring pan, as that could make slicing much easier, but most had a rough bottom and I did not want that.

Near the recipe card, I have a full list of equipment I like and recommend for this recipe.

🤷 Substitutions and variations

There are a few ways that this can be changed up.

  • This recipe calls for sausage, but you really could add or substitute any kind of ingredients you want. The options are endless, as long as you make sure to keep food safety in mind. From green pepper to red onions to whatever you can imagine. 
  • In a pinch, you can use store-bought grated parmesan cheese. This is not my favorite for a great pizza, but it will work.
  • While I use crushed tomatoes for this dish, you could also use petite diced tomatoes.
  • Also, for the pizza sauce, I call for one teaspoon of dried Italian seasoning. You can totally use fresh ingredients for this. I like to combine the leaves from two sprigs of thyme, two teaspoons of chopped oregano, ½ teaspoon of chopped sage, and ½ teaspoon of chopped rosemary. Add this herbaceous mix to the can of tomato and you have a nice, fresh sauce.
  • I use peanut oil, but olive oil would work well. 

📦 Storage

Store this pizza in your refrigerator for up to 4 days. I tend to reheat right in the microwave, but you will get some great results if you heat the pizza back up at 350° Fahrenheit for 20 or so minutes.

Freezing can help extend the shelf life of this pizza, but it may affect the texture and taste of the pizza after thawing. To freeze the pizza, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and place it in an airtight container. When you are ready to eat it, let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating in the oven or microwave.

🎓 History Tidbit

I wrote a whole article about the history of the Chicago Deep Dish Pizza, so forget the ‘tidbits’ and head over to the article to learn more. The spoiler is that Uno’s was the first Chicago Deep Dish joint in Chicago. It is all over the nation now and feels a bit corporate, but the story starts there! 

❓ FAQ

What makes Chicago Deep Dish different than other pizza?

One of the most unique features of Chicago Deep Dish is that the cheese is placed on the bottom, then ingredients, then the sauce is on top. The order matters with this pizza!

Is deep dish pizza the only unique style from Chicago?

No. There is a popular thin-crust Chicago-Style pizza whose characteristics are a thin, cracker-like crust.

What is the original deep dish pizza place in Chicago?

Pizzaria Uno in Chicago, now known as Uno’s.

📝 Tips and tricks

  • You could have your deli slice cheese for you, but I slice a one pound block on the short end and try to evenly place across the entire bottom.
  • While you can use the grated parmesean in the green containers, get some fancy parmesan for this recipe.
  • The sauce recipe calls for dried Italian seasoning, but you can also use fresh ingredients.
  • Do not overload with toppings if you are using raw sausage. If you do, ensure that you temp the sausage to a safe 160° Fahrenheit.
  • Make sure that your sausage is evenly spread and only in small clumps.
Slice of Chicago Deep Dish on a white plate.
Make yourself happy and bake up this deep dish today.

😋 Did you make this recipe?

That is awesome, and thank you so much for giving this Chicago Deep Dish recipe a try. If you could leave a rating in the comment area below, it would be greatly appreciated. This lets me know how I am doing and also helps others decide if they want to make this recipe. Most of all, thanks for visiting Ramshackle Pantry.

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Chicago Deep Dish Pizza on a white table and a dish of cheese to the side.

The best Chicago Deep Dish Pizza

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 4.8 from 6 reviews
  • Author: Ben Myhre
  • Prep Time: 2 Hours 30 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 Minutes
  • Total Time: 3 Hours
  • Yield: 8 Slices 1x
  • Category: Pizza
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Chicago
Save Recipe

Description

This Chicago Deep Dish is the best recipe there is and it is easy. So, make your family happy today and make this pizza!


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 283 grams bread flour
  • 170 grams lukewarm water
  • 54 grams peanut oil
  • 2 grams active dry yeast
  • 2 grams salt
  • 1 gram sugar
  • 1 pound of whole milk low-moisture mozzarella, sliced
  • 14 ounces of Italian Sausage, uncooked
  • Other Toppings (Optional)
  • 1 batch of the best Chicago deep dish sauce
  • 1/4 cup of freshly grated parmesan

For Sauce:

  • 28 ounces Cento crushed tomatoes
  • 2 Cloves of garlic
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 Teaspoon dried Italian seasoning

Instructions

  1. In large mixing bowl, add water, sugar and salt
  2. Mix
  3. Sprinkle yeast on top and let sit for 5 minutes
  4. Add ¼ cup of flour and oil to the bowl with yeast mixture.
  5. Mix
  6. Continue adding ¼ cup of flour and mixing until it is of batter consistency
  7. Add rest of flour and mix until combined
  8. Use your mixer and dough hook to mix on medium low for 1 minute OR knead by hand for 2-3 minutes
  9. Form into ball and place in bowl
  10. Lightly cover ball with oil
  11. Place plastic wrap over bowl and place in warm place for 1-2 hours OR until dough size has doubled
  12. While dough is rising, place pizza stone on bottom rack and heat oven to 500° Fahrenheit
  13. Allow stone to heat appropriately (40 minutes to 1 hour)
  14. Once dough has doubled, place dough into lightly oiled 12 inch deep dish pizza pan
  15. Spread dough to cover bottom. It should be flat and even all along the bottom.
  16. Using your pointer finger and thumb pinch up along the sides of the entirety of the pizza, creating the side crust of your pizza
  17. Add sliced mozzarella to the cover the bottom of the crust
  18. Add Italian sausage and any other ingredients you may want. Spread evenly
  19. Add deep dish pizza sauce and spread evenly
  20. Sprinkle parmesan cheese over top
  21. Place pie in oven and cook for 35 minutes
  22. Remove and let rest for 5 minutes
  23. Enjoy!

For Sauce:

  1. Open can and strain tomatoes
  2. In large bowl, add rest of ingredients

Notes

  • You could have your deli slice cheese for you, but I slice a one pound block ont he short end and try to evenly place across the entire bottom.
  • While you can use the grated parmesean in the green containers, get some fancy parmesan for this recipe.
  • The sauce recipe calls for dried Italian seasoning, but you can also use fresh ingredients.
  • Do not overload with toppings if you are using raw sausage. If you do, make sure that you temp the sausage to a safe 160° Fahrenheit.
  • Make sure that your sausage is evenly spread and only in small clumps. 

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30 Comments

  1. I haven’t had deep dish pizza in a long time. I’m like your wife – I like Pinapple on my pizza – but usually with mushrooms. I’ve never had it with pepperoncini. That sounds interesting. My husband would love your sausage version, though.

  2. Chicago Deep dish pizza is one of my favorites!! I simply adore sausage in my deep dish pizza! Your recipe looks perfect! Simply perfect!!

  3. This looks SOOOO good! I lived in WI about 1 1/2 hours from Chicago for many years and loved getting pizzas like this when I’d visit. I’m going to have to try this one at home – my stomach is growling over here!

  4. I agree with you about the crust. It shouldn’t be thicker than it needs to be. The deep dishes I’ve had here in Chi-town use a crust that seem biscuit-like to me. I think that’s what you’re referring to when you say “flaky,” but I usually find them to be heavier than what I’d think flaky would describe. (Flaky would be fantastic!) I also agree with you about the plate, although I tend to carve away at a slice with a knife and fork until I’ve whittled it down to the point that I can finish it off by hand.

  5. Ben, I would pity you for all of the pizza you’ve had to eat to achieve this perfect recipe, but…..It’s PIZZA! I think you’re right about the crust, and I love those slices of whole milk mozzarella in the bottom, too. I’m seriously drooling. Excellent recipe.

  6. We love Chicago Deep Dish! Its so great, and I love that the cheese is hidden inside! Love how you break down the steps into easy and manageable parts!

  7. on that note, its time to invest in a pizza stone. i love making homemade pizza and your version looks too good not to try it.

  8. One of the toughest parts of being a food blogger is being forced to try so many variations of a recipe like deep dish pizza. It’s taxing, I tell you. But thanks for taking one for the pizza-loving team and sharing your secrets!

  9. Yeeeeessss! We make pizza every Friday night but I’ve never made deep dish. I’m going to try this recipe this weekend. Thanks for sharing!