Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Total Time
Prep: 35 min. + rising Bake: 40 min. + resting
Learn how to make deep-dish pizza in a cast-iron skillet at home. This recipe makes a thick crust topped with a no-cook sauce, savory toppings and plenty of melty cheese.

Updated: Mar. 04, 2024

Deep-dish pizza is unique as it is delicious. This isn’t the type of pizza you nonchalantly fold up and eat as you stroll down the street! Nope, this is a pull-up-a-chair-and-tie-on-a-bib type of meal.

Several regional pizza styles do deep-dish well. Detroit-style pizza does a caramelized, cheesy-edged pizza. Then there’s the Sicilian-style pizza with a thick, spongy crust. This recipe, however, is more like a Chicago-style deep-dish pizza. The pizza dough rides up the sides of a cast-iron skillet, creating a deep cavern that traps all the melty cheese inside. It’s more like a pizza pie, and you’ll know you did it right if you have to eat it with a fork.

While this recipe is pretty close to Chicago-style deep-dish, it isn’t authentic. The ingredients are layered a bit differently, and the dough is slightly different. The hardest thing about making authentic Chicago deep-dish pizza is getting the dough just right. Most recipes contain butter and involve a complicated series of folds known as laminating. This process, used when making croissants, involves rolling and folding together layers of dough and butter. The result is a buttery, flaky crust. But, honestly, who has the time for that? So, we make this deep-dish pizza dough with olive oil instead. It creates a thick crust that’s still rich and flaky, but with minimal effort.

How to Make Deep-Dish Pizza

This homemade deep-dish pizza is just as easy to make as your other favorite pizza recipes. First, prepare the dough, and let it rise for 30 minutes. Then divide the dough in half to create two portions. Roll each portion out on a lightly floured work surface, and transfer each to a greased cast-iron skillet. Using your fingers, form the dough, pressing it into the skillet’s corners and up the sides of the skillet. From there, add your toppings, and pop it in the oven until it’s golden brown and delicious.

How to Give This Recipe a Chicago Deep-Dish Pizza Twist

To make this pizza more closely resemble a Chicago deep-dish pizza, simply layer the toppings in the reverse order. Start with the shredded cheese on the bottom. Then add the meat and vegetable toppings. Finish by spooning the sauce on top. The chunky tomato coating should be so thick that it hides all the cheese and toppings. Even without a proper laminated pizza dough base, this version will be pretty close to the real deal!

Deep-Dish Pizza Ingredients

  • Deep-dish pizza dough: We make this homemade dough with all-purpose flour, cornmeal, quick-rise yeast, sugar, salt, water and olive oil. Authentic Chicago-style pizza doesn’t always use cornmeal, but we add it to our dough to create slightly sweet notes and a crunchy texture. The recipe makes enough dough for two 10-inch cast-iron skillets.
  • Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses: Mozzarella cheese is essential in deep-dish pizza. It melts perfectly into the dough, making every bite rich and creamy. We like adding Parmesan to the mix to incorporate its sharp, nutty flavor.
  • Homemade tomato sauce: We make a simple, no-cook tomato sauce with diced tomatoes, tomato sauce and tomato paste. A few seasonings—garlic powder, dried oregano, dried basil and pepper—make the sauce rich and flavorful.
  • Pizza toppings: We use the classics here: Italian sausage, pepperoni and sliced mushrooms. Feel free to customize the pizza toppings to your liking. Just make sure to fully cook any meats before adding them to the pizza!

Directions

Step 1: Prepare the dough

All dry ingredients in a large bowl.TMB Studio

In a large bowl, whisk together 1-1/2 cups flour, cornmeal, quick-rise yeast, sugar and salt.

Boiling the water in a sauce pan TMB Studio

In a saucepan, heat the water and oil to 120° to 130°F.

Adding boiled the liquid into dry ingredientsTMB Studio

Add the heated liquid to the flour mixture. Beat just until moistened.

Adding the remaining dough in the mixtureTMB Studio

Add the remaining flour, beating to form a stiff dough.

Editor’s Tip: If you substitute active dry yeast, you’ll need to proof the yeast first. Also, reduce the heated water temperature to 110°. Mix the yeast, warm water and sugar in a small bowl until frothy, about five minutes. Then add the proofed yeast and oil to the flour mixture.

Step 2: Knead the dough

Kneading the dough with handsTMB Studio

Turn the dough onto a floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, six to eight minutes. (Here’s how to tell if you’ve kneaded your dough enough.)

Step 3: Rest the dough

Putting dough in a glass bowl to rest TMB Studio

Place the dough in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 30 minutes.

Editor’s Tip: If your pizza dough isn’t rising, here’s how to fix it.

Step 4: Shape the dough

Rolling the dough with rolling pinTMB Studio

Punch the dough down. Divide it in half. Roll each portion into an 11-inch circle.

Pressing the dough on the edges of the skilletTMB Studio

Press each dough portion into the bottom and up the sides of a greased 10-inch cast-iron or other ovenproof skillets.

Editor’s Tip: Two 9-inch springform pans may be used instead of the skillets. Place the pans on baking sheets. After baking the pizza, run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the crust. Then remove the sides of the springform pan.

Step 5: Prepare the pizza sauce

Preparing the sauce in a large bowlTMB Studio

In a large bowl, stir together the tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, salt, garlic powder, dried oregano, dried basil and pepper.

Step 6: Top the pizza

Cheese on doughTMB Studio

Sprinkle each pizza dough with 2 cups mozzarella cheese.

Adding tomato sauce over cheese sprinkled dough on skilletsTMB Studio

Spoon 1-1/2 cups sauce onto each pizza.

Layering the unbaked pizzas with mushrooms and pepperonis TMB Studio

Layer pizzas evenly with the cooked sausage, pepperoni and sliced mushrooms.

Topping off the toppings with sprinkling more mozzarella cheeseTMB Studio

Sprinkle each pizza with 1 cup mozzarella and 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese.

Editor’s Tip: To make this pizza more like an authentic Chicago deep-dish pizza, use all the cheese in the initial layer, then layer with the toppings. Finish with the sauce on top.

Step 7: Bake the deep-dish pizza

Cover the pizza, and bake at 450° for 35 minutes. Uncover. Continue baking until slightly browned, about five minutes longer.

Editor’s Tip: Let the pizza rest for a few minutes, then slice it directly in the cast-iron skillet, and serve it like pie. Be sure to support the bottom crust with a spatula or pie server. It’s full of cheese and toppings, so it’s heavy enough to fold over and bust!

Recipe Variations

  • Grease the pan with butter: Give the pizza a buttery flavor by generously greasing the cast-iron skillets with butter before filling.
  • Use premade sauce: Thaw a jar of homemade pizza sauce stashed away in your freezer, or use your favorite store-bought pizza sauce.
  • Customize the toppings: Turn this into a cheese pizza, or add other cooked meats, such as ground beef, bacon or meatballs. Or turn this recipe into a supreme pizza by adding onions, peppers and olives.

Can you make deep-dish pizza ahead of time?

You can prepare several elements of this deep-dish pizza ahead of time. You can make the dough up to two days in advance. Divide the dough into two pieces as instructed, and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Yeast doughs continue to rise as they sit—even in the fridge—so leave room in the container for the dough to expand. Let the dough sit on the counter for 30 minutes to warm up, which will make the dough easier to roll out.

You can also prepare the tomato sauce up to five days beforehand. Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It’s best to store tomato sauce in glass jars or containers. The acidic tomatoes tend to stain plastic containers.

How to Store Deep-Dish Pizza

Leftover deep-dish pizza is good for up to four days. Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. The best way to reheat pizza is on a preheated baking sheet in the oven or a skillet on the stovetop.

Can you freeze deep-dish pizza?

We don’t recommend freezing cooked deep-dish pizza because the flavor and texture don’t hold up well. However, you can freeze the pizza dough. Store it in an airtight container, and freeze it for up to one month. To use, thaw the dough in the refrigerator overnight, then assemble and bake the pizza as directed.

Deep-Dish Pizza Tips

Baked Deep Dish Pizza on skillet and a slice on plateTMB Studio

What is deep-dish pizza?

Deep-dish pizza is a style characterized by a thick crust. It’s often cooked in a deep or tall-sided cooking vessel (such as a cast-iron skillet). This allows the pizza to hold more cheese, toppings and sauce.

Is deep-dish pizza dough different from regular pizza dough?

Deep-dish pizza dough usually contains more fat (typically olive oil or butter) than regular pizza dough. Some deep-dish doughs can also contain cornmeal, which gives the crust a unique color, flavor and texture.

What is the best deep-dish pizza pan?

A cast-iron skillet is our favorite pan to make deep-dish pizza. You can also use a 9-inch springform pan. For Detroit-style pizza, use a square or rectangular pan with high edges. Sicilian-style pizza is best baked on a rimmed baking sheet.

Picking up a slice of Deep Dish Pizza SliceTMB Studio

Watch how to Make Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza

Homemade Deep-Dish Pizza

Prep Time 35 min
Cook Time 40 min
Yield 2 pizzas (8 pieces each)

Ingredients

  • 3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal
  • 1 package (1/4 ounce) quick-rise yeast
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • TOPPINGS:
  • 6 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes, well drained
  • 1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon each garlic powder, dried oregano, dried basil and pepper
  • 1 pound bulk Italian sausage
  • 48 slices pepperoni
  • 1/2 pound sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, combine 1-1/2 cups flour, cornmeal, yeast, sugar and salt. In a saucepan, heat water and oil to 120°-130°. Add to dry ingredients; beat just until moistened. Add remaining flour to form a stiff dough.
  2. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in warm place until doubled, about 30 minutes.
  3. Punch dough down; divide in half. Roll each portion into an 11-in. circle. Press dough onto the bottoms and up the sides of 2 greased 10-in. cast-iron or other ovenproof skillets. Sprinkle each with 2 cups mozzarella cheese.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste and seasonings. Spoon 1-1/2 cups over each pizza. Layer each with half each of the sausage, pepperoni and mushrooms, and 1 cup mozzarella. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese.
  5. Cover and bake at 450° for 35 minutes. Uncover; bake until lightly browned, about 5 minutes longer.

Nutrition Facts

1 piece: 407 calories, 23g fat (9g saturated fat), 49mg cholesterol, 872mg sodium, 32g carbohydrate (4g sugars, 2g fiber), 20g protein.

My husband and I tried to duplicate the deep-dish pizza recipe from a popular restaurant, and I think our Chicago-style deep-dish pizza turned out even better. The secret is baking it in a cast-iron skillet! —Lynn Hamilton, Naperville, Illinois
Recipe Creator