Hey Look! A Real Chicago Deep Dish Pizza Recipe : How to Make Chicago Style Deep Dish PIzza

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43 comments on “Hey Look! A Real Chicago Deep Dish Pizza Recipe : How to Make Chicago Style Deep Dish PIzza
  1. Jeff B. says:

    Thank you for sharing this hard-earned info!! I\’ve been making your recipe for years, or at least I thought I was. Did the ratios change at some point? I\’ve always made the 14\” pie and I\’ve been using 342g of flour and 171g of water but I was browsing here again tonight and see that it\’s 382g/229g. Have I had it wrong all this time or did you tweak it? I just made one tonight but now I feel like I need to make another one tomorrow just to see if I can tell a difference LOL

    One other thing… there is a really good deep dish pizza place outside of Branson called Mr. Gilberti\’s. He says his grandma was one of the original Chicago deep dish creators and he migrated to the area from Chicago years later and opened this restaurant. Anyway, he claims his secret to great crust is using olive oil instead of corn oil. I tried using straight olive oil once in your recipe and didn\’t like it as much so I\’ve been using 50/50 olive/corn as a compromise. Any thoughts on the oil type?

    • realdeep realdeep says:

      Hi, Jeff. Thanks for coming back to the website!
      Yes, I’ve tweaked the recipe a few times, attempting to make the dough easier to work with, but I have links to earlier versions if you liked one of those better:

      I’ve commented on oil before on other posts and comment threads:
      I prefer to use 100% corn oil, but I have used all kinds of oil combinations, including bacon grease, lard, and butter. Butter also contains water, so maybe reduce the water amount in your dough slightly to compensate.
      When using olive oil, I prefer to use it 3 to 1, corn oil to olive oil.
      It’s best to stay clear of using too many unrefined oils, i.e.: use regular or light olive oil instead of extra virgin.

  2. Bryan & Sara says:

    Today we made our very first Chicago Style deep dish pizza and oh my gosh it turned out almost perfect!!! We were so impressed by the way it looked and tasted.
    We followed exact recipe you mentioned here, we bought the same products you mentioned and we think it made a big difference.
    We were so surprised that our pizza taste better than Chicago fire restaurant (Sacramento)deep dish pizza we die for!
    The only thing I thought went wrong was all the crushed tomatoes and jalapenos moved 2 inches from the crust to the center, but I think that was because the dough was slightly thicker near the crust. Even that was only cosmetic as the pie was A1. Thanks again for all the help!

    • realdeep realdeep says:

      Hi, Bryan & Sara!
      Glad to hear you were able to bake up a tasty pie!

      Sometimes my ingredients migrate toward the center, though usually it’s when from a sausage deep dish when the sausage shrinks and takes all to the sauce with it. It’s not an uncommon occurrence.

  3. Sam says:

    I just wanted to thank you so much for this site. We moved away from Chicago, and after trying the atrocious “deep dish” in small town America, we felt depressed. This site is a God-send. I’ve made your recipe now 4 times and it really tastes excellent! I hope everyone coming tries this. Your instructions are very clear. In fact, I have 4 mini deep dishes in the freezer right now, for emergencies! You have improved our lives and morale greatly!

  4. Mark says:

    As someone who loves authentic Chicago style pizza but can’t find it anywhere due to where I live, I am glad I’ve found your site. I am going to try your recipe some time this week, but was curious about the sausage. While I love it in my deep dish, my wife doesn’t. I don’t want to screw up this recipe. I know that i don’t need to stray from the directions, but if I leave out the sausage, other than missing that flavor, should I still be OK? Add more pepperoni in place of the missing sausage?

    • realdeep realdeep says:

      You don’t need to use sausage in your deep dish. It’s just the classic variety. You can use whatever combination of ingredients you want. Sometimes I just make an all cheese deep dish, which is amazing if you haven’t tried it. As for pepperoni, use as much pepperoni as you like, but keep it under the sauce if you don’t want it to burn (or add it half way thru baking if you like a little char) & be prepared for grease puddles. I like to dust my pepperoni with a little flour or cornstarch, which will help to soak up the grease.
      Thanks for visiting RealDeepDish.com and good luck!

      • Mark says:

        Awesome, thank you. Definitely will keep it under the sauce, because that’s certainly my definition of authentic Chicago for sure.

  5. Jessica says:

    Hi, a friend told me that traditional Chicago Deep Dish pizza consists of cream cheese. Does it? Is that common?
    Love your site, it’s delicious!

    • realdeep realdeep says:

      Cream cheese? Um, no. Not a traditional ingredient.
      Your friend is probably messing with you, and should take some time and read the articles on the site.

      Thanks for visiting.

  6. Kaththee says:

    Hello, I am trying to learn to make deep dish pizza. I am pretty good at making bread but not an expert. I understand Bakers math and even have a digital scale that helps me out with percentages. Last night I used someone’s formula that is very close to yours but my crust turned out kind of mealy and oily tasting. My kitchen is very dry, I am almost never able to use all the flour that I measure out for bread but since pizza seems to be exact with the percentages of flour to moisture I just dumped all the flour into the bowl and as soon as I got to the shaggy mass stage I stopped mixing as per the other guys directions. Even under mixed the dough was very easy to handle with all that oil. I proofed the dough in a warming tray set on the lowest setting which is probably somewhere around 80 degrees for 3 hours. The dough spread out quite a bit in the pan by the time I got back to it. I used a 15 inch. I might need to invest in a 14 inch pan just to keep things simple. The pizza was really good because of the ingredients inside but I didn’t really like the crust. It tasted mealy to me. I could understand why someone would think there was cornmeal in a crust that mealy but it was APF and nothing else. I think I added too much oil to the pan as well. My husband loved it and even ate it for breakfast this morning. I just know I somehow went wrong with the crust though-this was my first attempt and for my first from scratch pizza it was very good. I will try your method which is a little different and calls for 2 minutes of kneading tomorrow. Does an extremely dry kitchen affect the amount of flour that should be added to liquids to get a desired result? Is pizza dough unique from bread dough in that you don’t need to be flexible with the amount of flour used? I fear that is where I went wrong. Thank you for your help. Oh I used a preheated stone but didn’t “pizzafy” my oven per your directions.

    • realdeep realdeep says:

      Hi. Thanks for visiting RealDeepDish.com.

      I think you already know this, but humidity levels can definitely affect how your dough reacts.
      I’m not entirely sure what you’re encountering when you say “mealy”, but deep dish crust should lean more toward crumbly and/or flaky, and not like bread at all. If your pizza crust is turning out bready, something is wrong.

      As you used a different dough recipe and followed someone else’s instructions, I can’t say exactly where your difficulty is, but in general, deep dish dough is pretty forgiving, as long as you don’t stray too far from the recipe. A little extra flour (or water) shouldn’t hurt your recipe, but try not to over-compensate. Flour can take a little while to absorb liquid, so you may just need to be a little patient.

      Where do you live? High altitudes can also affect your baking.
      Have you ever eaten deep dish pizza before? If so, from where? What are your expectations of deep dish crust?

      You may benefit from reading more of the articles from Deep Dish 101, as I have tried to explain how deep dish dough differs from other pizza doughs, and have addressed a few of the more common troubleshooting dilemmas.

      Good luck with your next pizza! :-)

      • Kaththee says:

        Thank you so much. Part of my problem is I have never had “real” Chicago deep dish pizza. Sadly I have never visited Chicago. I should order a par-baked Malnati’s pizza online, so I know what I am trying to achieve. I know I got it wrong because it wasn’t delicious. It wasn’t bready though. There wasn’t enough gluten development to be bready. I think I put too much oil in the pan. I think I undercooked it. I was trying to keep it light the way the photos look online.

        My latest obsession is to learn how to make pizza which is spin-off of my 3 year obsession with all things bread. It is too cold to cook outside and try my newest toy- a cheap outdoor propane pizza oven. So I am starting with deep dish- the one I know least. I read quite a bit before I even started. My goal is to learn how to make a deep dish pizza, a New York pizza, Neapolitan pizza and how to make a Pizza Hut 80s dish called the Priazzo which was a stuffed pizza/ pizza rustica bastardization that was surprisingly wonderful no matter how crazy that sounds. The Florentine was my favorite. Thank you for the pointers and I will keep reading and trying. At least I can eat my mistakes. I really appreciate the help. :))

      • Kaththee says:

        And I am in the ATL area.

  7. josh says:

    Love your site. Thank you for all the info. Have you ever added honey to the deep dish dough?

    • realdeep realdeep says:

      Hi. Thanks for visiting RealDeepDish.com.

      I have used honey in place of sugar to feed the yeast, but haven’t added additional honey to my dough. You can, but keep in mind that the yeast will be more active if they have more sugar to eat, so you may need to punch down the dough an extra time, as your dough may get more puffy than usual.

  8. Mkmom says:

    I love your recipe. The only problem I have is burning. I only cook the 12″ pizza for 20 minutes at the most. I’ve tried with my pampered chef pizza stone on the bottom and can’t remember how it turned out. I usually forget to put the pan in at 500 for about an hour. Will this lessen my chance for burning pizza? What brand of tomatoes do you use? I use the Nina brand from costco because I can’t find 6-1 here in memphis. Thanks again for your recipe. I only get to Lou’s about once a year and this helps my cravings. You wouldn’t by chance have a good recipe for Portillos would you?

    • realdeep realdeep says:

      Thanks for trying the recipe.
      I’m not sure what you’re doing, but it sounds like you are forgetting to turn down the oven temp after preheating your stone/oven. If you’re preheating your pizza pan… DON’T.
      I don’t actually care for 6-in-1 tomatoes, but many in the pizzamaking.com forum like them. I like Muir Glen crushed w basil.
      PORTILLOS? Do they have pizza now? I know them for italian beef and hot dogs. :-)

  9. Bryan says:

    Hey there!! I’ve been searching EVERYWHERE for a true deep dish pizza formula, and as a result have never made one. Looks like I finally found the real deal, so with that in mind I’m inspired like never before to crank out a few of these bodacious pies.

    I noticed that you have included additional measurements for pans of different sizes, which is especially convenient. Just yesterday I bought a 15″ Nordic Ware deep dish pan with a 1-1/2″ depth to it, but found that the largest dough formula you provide falls just an inch short of what I have to work with. Looking to give it a go anyway, aware that I may possibly end up with a slightly thinner (and shorter) pizza than is typical, which is OK by me. My question is, have you tested out the measurements to make a larger batch of dough than for a 14″ pie? Curious to find out what modifications are necessary before I begin.

    Thank you!!

    • realdeep realdeep says:

      Hi, Bryan. Thanks for visiting RealDeepDish.com!
      In general, a 14″ deep dish dough should be fine for a 15″ pizza, but I’ll give you the approximate up-conversion :

      — 15″ Deep Dish Dough Conversion —
      All Purpose Flour: (437g) – 3.5 cups ,
      Water: (262g) – 9.25 oz ,
      Active Dry Yeast: (3g) – about 1 teaspoon ,
      Salt: (2g) – about 1/3 of a teaspoon (about 1/4 plus 1/8 teaspoon),
      Corn Oil: (83 g) – about 3oz or 6 tablespoons ,
      Sugar: (1.6g) – about 0.4 teaspoons (a bit less than half a teaspoon)

      total dough weight: about 790 grams.

      Pizza dough is pretty forgiving. If your measurements aren’t exact, it’s probably close enough.

      If you want to do the conversions yourself for other sizes:
      I use the deep dish dough calculator at pizzamaking.com for my size conversions:
      If you look near the top of page 1 of my recipe, you’ll see “pm-dd-dough-calc-TF = 0.15; HFUTS = 0.44in” When you get to the dough calc page, you’ll see where to plug in those numbers. Then just add in the bakers percentages on the recipe and enter your pizza diameter.

      They work with bakers percentages and measure ingredients by weight, so if you’re working without a scale, you might need to convert weights of certain ingredients to cup and tablespoon/teaspoon measurements.
      Websites like this can help you do the conversions: http://convert-to.com/flour-types-volume-weight-amounts-conversion
      (some websites have slightly different conversions for some ingredients)

      • Bryan says:

        Thanks a lot!!! I actually have a username on the website you provided and have taken part in the general discussion threads a few years ago. Learned quite a bit about calculating recipes into baker’s formulae but do not own a baker’s scale and therefore have not bothered making dough for some time. That’s about to change though.

  10. Bruce says:

    Your directions indicate using Active Dry yeast, but there is no mention of allowing the yeast to proof before adding the rest of the ingredients. Does this mean you’re using Quick Rise or Instant Yeast?

    • realdeep realdeep says:

      Other than the first 30 seconds of swirling the yeast around in the hot water, I’ve never waited for the yeast to bloom, and have no problems with the dough rising. You can certainly give your yeast a head start if you like, but it’s not really necessary. I’ve also tested with “quick-rise” yeast, and it works fine too. The main difference between active dry and “quick rise” is that they add vitamin C to the “quick rise” to help the yeast out.

  11. austin says:

    can i do this in an iron skillet? i assume the cook time will be different

    • realdeep realdeep says:

      I don’t recommend it because it’s a much heavier pan and you might be more likely to burn your crust before the rest of the pizza is cooked.
      That said, IT CAN BE DONE. If you check out the Pizzamaking.com discussion forums, they have a Chicago Style section where there is a discussion thread about the use of cast iron pans to make deep dish, where you may find some advice on how to bake pizzas in cast iron.

      My position is : HAVE THE RIGHT TOOL FOR THE RIGHT JOB. Get yourself a good 12″ deep dish pan. It’s worth the 20 bucks you plunk down for one.
      If you don’t have a deep dish pan at home, a cake pan is more likely to give you the results you’re looking for.

  12. FtLaudBob says:


    I only get home to Chicago once a year now and I sometimes need a deep dish fix. The frozen pies they ship from Lou Malnati’s kinda suck. I tried your the recipe last night and and I loved it! (I’m a Gino’s East fan BTW)

    One thing I wanted to mention, the oil for the 8″ crust is WAY off. I calculated it should be about 1 Tablesoon, not 5.3!
    Thanks for a great recipe

  13. kelly says:

    I tried the real deep dish recipe using 50% water and 20% oil. It was a soggy mess of dough with oil oozing out. I knew the 60% and 20% with a total hydration of 80% would be way too wet of a dough. Maybe I am reading something wrong but I know a fairly common hydration for dough is around 60%, that includes water, oil or any other liquids. 70% or 80% seems way to wet for me. Please write me if I am missing something here.

    • realdeep realdeep says:

      Kelly, I don’t have enough information to know why you’re having difficulties.
      Is your “soggy mess” before or after you’ve baked your pizza?
      Are you following the directions or did you change something?
      Are you kneading it until it forms a ball? How long are you letting your dough rise? Did you measure the flour properly?
      The latest version of the recipe has 19% oil (not 20%), but I’m not sure that is enough of a difference to give you dough problems. What kind of oil are you using? When are you adding it?

      If you are finding you’ve followed the directions and your dough is still not coming together, you could add a bit more flour, a little at a time, and knead until your dough comes together.

      • kelly says:

        yes I weighted out all the Flour, I did use 9 lbs all purpose flour and 1 lb of cornmeal. I do like the cornmeal in my dough, may try using semolina and see how that turns out. So 10 lbs of flour, 9 lbs all purpose and 1 lb cornmeal. I mixed for 3 or 4 minutes until it came together, put it in a bad to poof for 3 or 4 hours. When I came back the dough had oil oozing out of it and sitting on top of the dough and the bag had oil sitting in it. Dough was very wet and very oily. At a moisture content of 70% I would expect it to be very wet or soggy and it was. I made some today using 40% water and between 15 to 20% oil, it was much easier to work with.

        • realdeep realdeep says:

          If you are using cornmeal in your dough, I can’t help you.
          Are you my first website troll? I’m honored.

          NINE POUNDS OF FLOUR? If you’re seriously making that large of a batch of dough,
          I don’t know what kind of results you’ll get, as this website is geared for the home baker.

        • Brian says:

          Corn meal doesn’t really absorb moisture properly, it’s not a substitute for semolina or All purpose flour. Your dough was over hydrated.

          If you’re going to play with the recipe though, don’t scale it so much.

          • realdeep realdeep says:

            This is not a pro-cornmeal site anyway.
            If anyone needs advice about substituting corn meal in their dough, please take your questions to the Pizzamaking.com Chicago Style forum, where at least half of the members will joyfully ridicule your ingredient choice, but at some later point might help you make adjustments.

  14. Mr Mike says:

    Hi Ed, I see that you have at least 3 versions of the recipe. The another one comes up through either Google on your website with your name or through older links on pizzamaking.com That one has 45% water and a blend of corn oil and vegetable oil. This one has 60% water and just corn oil. Yet another version connected to this site, shows the blended oil and 50% water. Which is the final one that you prefer? The 50% water is amazingly close to the one that I have used for years. I worked for Lou Malnatis, Giordanos, Gino’s East, and Leona’s. I can tell you that you are pretty close to the real thing.There is no cornmeal, semolina, corn flour or other widely speculated ingredients. It is fairly simple but all dependent on time temperature and proportions as usual. BTW, raw sausage is always on the bottom below the sliced cheese and toppings are below the sauce. Except for an occasional request for charred pepperoni on top. No part-skim – whole milk mozzarella only -you only save yourself a few calories and you do taste the difference! High quality crushed tomatoes like 6 in 1 (used a long time and great) or 7/11 (fantastic and I switched from 6 in 1). That’s all I can disclose without to get you closer without the possibility of a lawsuit! :)

    • Mr Mike says:

      I forgot to mention that the better crushed tomatoes do NOT need to be drained.

    • realdeep realdeep says:

      Thanks for the info, Mike. The latest version of the recipe is the one I prefer, but you should have good results with the older recipes (barring any typos). My current hydration level was an effort to make the dough easier to work with at home. As I’ve said in the past, people can make their own oil-to-water adjustments to make their own version of the “ultimate deep dish dough.” I have seen a few videos and thousands of pictures that would dispute your claim that the sausage goes down before the cheese. For deep dish, it cannot be true. It is true that most pizzerias use whole milk mozz, and some pizzerias will let you order “low-fat” mozzerella, which I assume is the low-moisture part skim. Sliced low moisture part skim mozzarella is more widely available to the public. You can sometimes find the whole milk variety at some grocery store deli counters, or in large 5lb blocks at a wholesale club. I’ve tried the 6-in-1 and don’t like it as much as the tomatoes I currently use, although some in the Pizzamaking.com Chicago Style forum swear by it. If you haven’t yet, please read through the other articles on the site. You may see that I’ve spent a little time doing testing and research on this.
      Again, thanks for the info and please come back soon. :-)

      • Mr Mike says:

        I came back to your site after further testing: 1) I stand corrected – I now would agree with the sausage laid down over the cheese. I actually came across a video of Marc Malnati making it that way and I had thought they built them the opposite way. At least 2 of the pizza places I worked for many years ago did put the sausage on the bottom for supposedly better cooking closer to the heat source but I now tested no difference and it looks better. And, the cheese down first sets the basis for all pizzas regardless if you decide to use sausage or not. 2) I still like the 6 in 1’s and the 7/11 but I did try the organic Muir Glen and while they are more expensive, they are also excellent. But, they are harder to find in bulk for pizzerias, probably because of the price. For the home cook, they can find the Muir Glen at Whole foods and other stores but the 6-1 and 7/11 are much harder to find. They are stocked at Restaurant Depot in large #10 cans. They may stock them at Gordon Foodservice locations in the suburbs that are open to the public. I still do not drain the tomatoes and have not had any soggy pizzas, but I will start to drain to see if there is much of a difference. I use quite a bit at 12 oz for a 9″ pizza. 3) Restaurant Depot is also now stocking Anichini Brothers sausage. It is about 90% lean and very high quality for the price of about $22/10 lb bulk package. If you can buy it or ask someone in the store to buy it for you, please try it! 4) I agree that your 60% hydration recipe is the best and closest. If people follow your instructions, they will be very pleased – especially those who no longer live in Chicago. Funny, some so called experts suggests only 1-2% oil and this DD recipe calls for almost 20% ! But it is necessary for authentic taste! 5) I have found that oil on the pan fries the crust and makes it crispier and good, but sometimes the dough is difficult to press up the sides. For those that experience this problem, try a small amount of Crisco shortening (they now also have butter flavored) or real butter on the pan or at least the sides – it help the dough to stick instead of contracting and slipping back down off the sides and adds flavor. Like you, I also use 2″ pans but, I build them at 1.75″ unless it is just plain cheese and maybe 1 ingredient in which case I make them only 1.5″ high. Thank you for all your efforts and sharing of information.

  15. realdeep realdeep says:

    Yeah, when you use fresh mozzarella and don’t drain your tomatoes, you’re pretty much setting yourself up for deep-dish-soup. I’m sure it will still taste good though.

    If you just found this recipe and haven’t read anything else on the website, it’s best to stick as close to ingredient recommendations as you can. When you substitute ingredients that contain more water, you have to compensate for that by using less or draining the water when you can.

  16. Steve says:

    do you prefer using the 1 1/2 or 2 pans?

    • realdeep realdeep says:

      I like the 2″ high pans because I like to press the dough for the outer crust to about 1-1/2″ high and it gives the top of your crust a little extra protection.

  17. Henry Wire says:

    Do you have a whole wheat version? There is a pizzeria in town that has an amazing whole wheat Chicago pizza that is amazing. The crust looks like your pizza except whole wheat.

2 Pings/Trackbacks for "Hey Look! A Real Chicago Deep Dish Pizza Recipe : How to Make Chicago Style Deep Dish PIzza"
  1. […] recipe he used for his pizza came from the Real Deep Dish Website.  Click here to link to the recipe.  The author of the recipe bakes his pizza in a conventional oven, not a Big […]

  2. […] watery tomato sauce, and the perfect sausage though it wasn’t italian.). lesson learned. this website is very informative in case you are interested. i probably should have read it more thoroughly […]

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