Homemade Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza

Embarking on a Culinary Journey: The Deep Dish Pizza

Nestled within the bustling streets of Chicago lies the heart of a culinary legend—the deep dish pizza. This isn’t just any pizza; it’s a bold reinterpretation of an Italian classic, transformed by the hands of innovative chefs into something uniquely American, uniquely Chicagoan. The deep dish pizza, with its thick crust, inverted layers of cheese, toppings, and sauce, is more than a meal; it’s a reflection of the city’s rich history, its blend of cultures, and its indomitable spirit.

The Crust: The Foundation of Flavor

The journey begins with the crust, the foundation upon which the deep dish pizza builds its legacy. Unlike the thin, crisp bases found in traditional Italian pizzas, the Chicago-style crust is thick, flaky, and buttery, with a hint of cornmeal for that signature crunch. Crafting this crust requires patience and precision, as it must be strong enough to hold the generous layers of fillings yet tender enough to melt in your mouth. The process of kneading and allowing the dough to rise is not merely a step in the recipe; it’s a labor of love, a testament to the dedication required to create something truly magnificent.

The Filling: A Symphony of Flavors

With the crust prepared, we delve into the heart of the pizza—the filling. Here, the deep dish pizza sets itself apart with its generous, layered approach. Mozzarella cheese, traditionally placed atop pizzas, instead forms the first layer above the crust, creating a gooey, stretchy base that envelops the subsequent ingredients. The choice of fillings, from the robust Italian sausage to the sautéed vegetables, is a nod to the pizza’s Italian roots, reimagined through the lens of American abundance and diversity.

The sauce, rich, hearty, and tomato-based, crowns the pizza, a bold move that defies convention and elevates the dish to new heights. This inversion of the traditional pizza assembly isn’t just for show; it serves a purpose, preventing the crust from becoming soggy and allowing each flavor to shine individually yet harmoniously.

The Baking: Where Magic Happens

Baking the deep dish pizza is where the magic truly happens. The high heat of the oven transforms the assembled ingredients into a bubbling cauldron of flavors, melding them together while the crust turns golden and flaky. This step is a waiting game, a period of anticipation that builds as the aromas fill the kitchen, heralding the completion of a culinary masterpiece.

The Experience: More Than Just Eating

But the story of the deep dish pizza doesn’t end with its preparation. This dish is meant to be shared, to bring people together in a communal experience that’s as much about conversation and connection as it is about eating. Serving the pizza straight from the pan, slicing into the thick layers and revealing the rich tapestry of ingredients within, is an act of communal joy, a celebration of the effort and love that went into its creation.

The Legacy: Chicago’s Gift to the Culinary World

The deep dish pizza is more than just a regional specialty; it’s Chicago’s gift to the culinary world, a dish that speaks to the city’s history, its cultural melting pot, and its spirit of innovation. In creating and sharing this pizza, we participate in a tradition that spans decades, a ritual that is both deeply personal and universally relatable.

Conclusion: A Culinary Adventure at Home

Making Homemade Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza is not just about following a recipe; it’s about embarking on a culinary adventure, exploring the depths of flavor, texture, and history that this dish embodies. It’s an invitation to experiment, to customize, to make the recipe your own, and to share the fruits of your labor with loved ones. In this way, the deep dish pizza becomes a bridge between past and present, tradition and innovation, individual and community.

FAQs for Homemade Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza

Can I use store-bought dough for the deep dish pizza?

While homemade dough is recommended for authentic flavor and texture, you can use store-bought pizza dough in a pinch. Ensure it’s at room temperature for easier handling and try to choose a high-quality dough for the best results.

What type of pan is best for making deep dish pizza?

A deep-dish pizza pan or a cast-iron skillet is ideal for making Chicago-style pizza. These pans provide the depth needed for the thick layers of toppings and help achieve a crispy, golden crust.

Can I add different toppings to my deep dish pizza?

Absolutely! While traditional toppings include Italian sausage, mozzarella cheese, and tomato sauce, feel free to customize your pizza with your favorite ingredients. Just remember to layer the cheese directly on the dough, followed by your chosen toppings, and then cover everything with sauce.

How do I prevent the crust from becoming soggy?

The key to preventing a soggy crust is to pre-cook the dough for a few minutes before adding the toppings. Additionally, layering the cheese right on top of the dough creates a barrier that helps keep the crust crisp.

How thick should the crust be for a Chicago-style deep dish pizza?

The crust should be thick enough to support the weight of the toppings but not so thick that it becomes doughy. Aim for a crust that’s about ¼ to ½ inch thick on the sides and bottom.

Can I make deep dish pizza ahead of time?

You can prepare the dough and cook the toppings ahead of time, but it’s best to assemble and bake the pizza just before serving to maintain the best texture and flavor. If you must prepare it ahead, assemble the pizza, cover it tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for a few hours before baking.

How long can I store leftover deep dish pizza?

Leftover deep dish pizza can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in a 350°F (175°C) oven until warm throughout.

Is it necessary to sauté the vegetables before adding them to the pizza?

Sautéing vegetables like mushrooms, onions, and bell peppers before adding them to the pizza helps to remove excess moisture and concentrate their flavors, preventing a soggy pizza and adding depth to the overall taste.

Can deep dish pizza be frozen?

Yes, you can freeze baked deep dish pizza. Cool it completely, slice it, and wrap each slice individually in plastic wrap, then foil. Freeze for up to 3 months. Reheat slices in the oven at 375°F (190°C) until heated through.

What’s the best way to slice deep dish pizza?

Use a sharp knife or pizza wheel to slice through the thick layers of the deep dish pizza. It may help to make a small incision with a knife before cutting with the pizza wheel for cleaner slices.

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Homemade Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza

  • Author: Chef Emy


Homemade Chicago-Style Deep Dish Pizza is a culinary adventure that brings the Windy City’s iconic dish right into your kitchen. Known for its thick, buttery crust that lines a deep pan, creating a generous edge to hold a hearty layer of cheese , toppings, and a chunky tomato sauce, this pizza is a meal in itself. Here’s how to create this delicious deep-dish masterpiece from scratch:



For the Dough:

  • 4 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons of cornmeal
  • 1 ¾ teaspoons of salt
  • 2 ¾ teaspoons of instant yeast
  • 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 ¾ cups of lukewarm water

For the Filling:

  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 lb of mozzarella cheese, sliced
  • 1 lb of Italian sausage, cooked and crumbled (optional)
  • 1 large onion, diced and sautéed (optional)
  • 2 cups of mushrooms, sliced and sautéed (optional)
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced and sautéed (optional)
  • 3 cups of marinara sauce
  • ½ cup of grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 teaspoons of dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste


1. Prepare the Dough:

  • In a large bowl, mix the flour, cornmeal, salt, and instant yeast.
  • Add the melted butter, olive oil, and lukewarm water to the dry ingredients. Stir until everything is well combined.
  • Knead the dough on a floured surface until it’s smooth and elastic, about 7 minutes.
  • Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover it with a damp cloth, and let it rise until doubled in size, about 60 minutes.

2. Preheat the Oven:

  • Preheat your oven to 475°F (245°C). If you have a pizza stone, place it in the oven to preheat as well.

3. Prepare the Filling:

  • While the dough is rising, prepare your filling. Cook and crumble the Italian sausage, and sauté the onion, mushrooms, and green bell pepper in olive oil until they are soft and slightly caramelized.

4. Assemble the Pizza:

  • Once the dough has risen, punch it down and roll it out on a floured surface to about ½ inch thick. Transfer it to a deep-dish pizza pan or a cast-iron skillet, making sure to press it up the sides of the pan.
  • Layer the mozzarella cheese slices on the bottom of the dough.
  • Add the cooked sausage, sautéed vegetables, or any other toppings of your choice.
  • Pour the marinara sauce over the top of the fillings. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese, dried oregano, salt, and pepper.

5. Bake the Pizza:

  • Place the pizza in the preheated oven on the pizza stone or directly on the rack.
  • Bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is bubbly.
  • Let the pizza cool for a few minutes before slicing and serving.



  • For an authentic Chicago-style experience, make sure the sauce is on top of the cheese and fillings, not beneath. This unique layering is what sets Chicago deep-dish pizza apart from other styles.
  • Feel free to customize the fillings according to your preferences. Traditional Chicago deep-dish pizza often includes layers of mozzarella cheese, Italian sausage, pepperoni, and vegetables, but the possibilities are endless.

Enjoy your Homemade Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza with family and friends for a taste of Chicago no matter where you are!