How to Make Deep-Dish Pizza for Pizzeria Flavors at Home

One easy deep-dish pizza recipe is all you need to re-create this Chicago-style meal at home. Master the basics, then change up the toppings any way you like.

A rich, gooey, cheesy slice of pizza always hits the spot, and when you're in the mood for a true feast, nothing satisfies quite like deep dish. There's no need to travel to taste this Chicago classic once you learn how to make deep-dish pizza at home. The trick to creating a pillowy, puffy crust is using the right pan and making the dough from scratch (but frozen dough is also delish if you're trying to cook up a pizza quicker than delivery). Traditional Chicago-style deep-dish also tucks the cheese under the tomato sauce, but there are no rules when you're making deep-dish pizza at home.

Deep-Dish Pizza
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What Is Deep-Dish Pizza?

Traditional pizza starts with a thin- to medium-thick crust spread in a large flat pan topped with a thin layer of sauce, then a thin layer of your choice of toppings and a sprinkle of mozzarella cheese. Like its name, deep-dish has a much thicker crust—usually about two inches high. It starts with a layer of dough like regular pizza, but after that, things get more extreme.

For a deep-dish pizza, the crust goes on the bottom as well as up the sides. Deep-dish is sometimes called an upside-down pizza because the cheese is the first layer on the bottom crust rather than the final layer. The usual toppings follow, including pizza sauce, Italian sausage or pepperoni, and veggies such as green peppers and onions, though you can also find versions that are vegetarian or made with chicken and other proteins. When you make a deep-dish pizza at home, plan extra time for fully baking the thick crust (it usually takes about 40 minutes).

Also known as Chicago-style pizza, the deep-dish pizza was invented at Pizzeria Uno in Chicago in 1943. In the mid-1970s, two Chicago chains, Nancy's Pizza and Giordano's Pizzeria, experimented with deep-dish concoctions and created the stuffed pizza. Piled even higher with toppings, the stuffed pizza has an additional layer of dough on top. Another variation, Detroit deep-dish pizza, is usually rectangular with the cheese on top of the sauce and browned around the edges.

The Best Deep-Dish Pizza Pan

Choose a 10x2-inch heavy round cake pan to make deep-dish pizza. A 10-inch springform pan works well, too; when you remove the side of the pan, it's easy to cut and serve the pizza. You can also make a cast-iron deep-dish pizza (it also might cook a little quicker if you preheat the pan before baking). Generously grease the pan with vegetable oil. Sprinkle the bottom of the pan with cornmeal; set aside.

making homemade deep dish pizza crust
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How to Make Deep-Dish Pizza from Scratch

Use this recipe to make pillowy, delicious dough for a deep-dish pizza. After making the dough, you can customize your pizza with as many toppings as you want. Making your own dough also lets you change it up if you'd prefer gluten-free pizza dough or whole wheat dough.

In a large bowl, combine the warm water and active dry yeast, stirring to dissolve yeast. Let stand for 5 minutes. Then stir in the flour, vegetable oil, and salt.

Beat with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds, scraping the sides of the bowl constantly. Beat on high speed for two minutes. Using a wooden spoon, stir in most of the flour.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead in extra flour to make a moderately stiff dough that is smooth and elastic (six to eight minutes total).

Test Kitchen Tip: To tell if the dough is elastic, gently poke it with a finger. If the dough bounces back and the hole (for the most part) fills in, it is ready.

Shape the dough into a ball. Place in a lightly greased bowl, turning once to the grease surface of the dough. Cover and let it rise in a warm place until double in size (50 to 60 minutes). Punch dough down. Cover and let rest for five minutes.

Test Kitchen Tip: To see if the dough has doubled in size and is ready to be shaped, press two fingers ½-inch into the center. If the indentation remains, the dough is ready to be punched down.Place the dough in the prepared pan. Using oiled hands, press and spread the dough evenly over the bottom and 1½ inches up the sides of the pan. Cover and let rise in a warm place until nearly double in size (30 to 35 minutes.)

How to Make Deep-Dish Pizza Filling

Keep it traditional by making pizza filling with sausage, onions, mushrooms, and pepperoni, or make the recipe your own with ingredients of your choice.

Use our deep-dish pizza recipe as a guide. In a large skillet, cook your desired meats and veggies; drain. Pat the meat with paper towels to soak up any excess fat. Stir in pizza sauce; more fruit, veggies, and/or meats that don't need pre-cooking; and desired herbs, such as oregano and basil.

Test Kitchen Tip: When adding dried herbs, rub them between your fingers before adding to release the oils and flavors.

How to Bake Deep-Dish Pizza

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Arrange mozzarella cheese over the dough. Spoon the filling over the mozzarella cheese and sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese.

Bake 45 to 55 minutes or until the edge of the crust is crisp and golden and the filling is heated through. If necessary to prevent overbrowning, cover the edge of the crust with foil for the last 10 minutes of baking.

Cool pizza on a wire rack for 10 minutes. If you're using a springform pan, remove the sides of the pan. If desired, sprinkle pizza with additional Parmesan cheese and fresh basil leaves. Cut pizza into wedges. Makes six to eight servings.

How to Make Deep-Dish Pizza Using Frozen Dough

Frozen bread or pizza dough results in a quicker meal. If you prefer homemade dough but don't have time to make it from scratch in one day, make a big batch in advance and freeze your dough to use later.

To use purchased frozen dough, thaw a 16-ounce loaf of frozen whole wheat or white bread dough as directed on the package. Preheat the oven to 375°F.

On a lightly floured surface, roll two-thirds of the dough into a 12-inch circle. (If the dough keeps shrinking up, let the dough rest for a few minutes once or twice during rolling.) Place the circle in the prepared pan, pressing the dough 1½ inches up the sides. Add desired pizza fillings. Roll remaining dough into a 10-inch circle and cut into eight wedges. Arrange wedges over pizza fillings, slightly overlapping edges and sealing edges to bottom crust along edge of pan. Brush top with melted butter and grated Parmesan or Romano cheese. Bake, uncovered, for 40 to 45 minutes or until the filling is hot and the crust is done. If necessary, cover with foil the last 10 minutes of baking to prevent overbrowning.

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