Get Stuffed! How to Build A Stuffed Pizza


Stuffed Pizza – (two crusts with a “ton” of cheese, sausage, etc. between the crusts, and tomato sauce on top);
This style was invented in 1971 at Nancy’s Pizza.
 A variant of deep dish pizza, based on Rocco Palese’s Italian family recipe for “scarciedda, Stuffed pizza has both a top and bottom crust with a substantial amount of cheese and other ingredients in-between, and the sauce going not inside, but on top of the top crust. The dough used for this style of pizza is closer to a regular pizza dough than that of original Deep Dish. Connie’s, Edwardo’s & Giordano’s are also famous for this style of pizza.


Here is a set of instructions on how to build a stuffed pizza.

It is one of the more complicated styles and my least favorite, so for now,
this is a basic template for you intermediate pizza bakers out there who want to play around with the style:

People familiar with the stuffed style of deep dish (it’s not the original deep dish), may be aware of the layered/laminated dough that is often used for the style. I haven’t developed a home version of that dough, but you should be able to get something useable with the instructions below.

  • Make a double batch of Thin Crust Dough or RDD Quick Dough.
  • Split dough into 2/3 and 1/3, then fold over and roll each batch several times to get some layers and then roll them out into thin discs to about the same diameter as your pizza pan. (If your dough is springing back, you may need to let the dough rest for a bit after this step as you just gave the gluten in the dough a real workout.)
    Then roll the larger dough out a few inches more so you’ll be able to bring up the sides, and drape into the deep dish pan without pressing.
  • Gently bring up the sides of the dough over the top pan edge.
  • Fill the pizza with lots of cheese (you can use shredded this time if you want) and whatever toppings you want. Stuffed pizza gets sausage pieces, not patty.
    Do NOT put the sauce in yet.
  • Top with the second dough.
  • Crimp the top and bottom dough edges together all the way around.
  • Tear or cut a few vent holes in the top center of the pizza dough so steam can escape.
  • Ladle on a thin layer of sauce over the top dough to cover.
  • Bake in a preheated oven at a time and temp TBD – I’m thinking 450-460 F for about 45 minutes,
    but you should probably check after 40.
  • If the outside looks done, but you want to be sure, for safety,
    stick an instant-read thermometer into the center of the pie (don’t hit the bottom of the pan with the thermometer – you’ll get a false reading) and make sure the pizza’s internal temp (the fillings, not the crust) is at least 165 degrees F.

If you’re looking for a basic demo, this video from the Chicago Tribune, featuring Fred Besch of Nancy’s Pizza, who is practically ‘giving away the farm’ on the whole process, right next to Nancy Palese:

CORNMEAL ALERT: You will notice that Fred uses a small amount of cornmeal essentially as ball bearings for his dough sheeter. There’s no evidence that the dough itself contains any.

 Here are some photos from one of my own attempts at stuffed pizza:

You can tell by these photos that I’m still working on the sauce amount.
Gonna need more sauce here! 
I’m going to guess somewhere between 8 and 10 fluid ounces of sauce for a 12 inch stuffed pizza.

2015620-RDD-Stuffed-Test1-001 2015620-RDD-Stuffed-Test1-002 2015620-RDD-Stuffed-Test1-003 2015620-RDD-Stuffed-Test1-004 2015620-RDD-Stuffed-Test1-005 2015620-RDD-Stuffed-Test1-006 2015620-RDD-Stuffed-Test1-007 2015620-RDD-Stuffed-Test1-008 2015620-RDD-Stuffed-Test1-009 2015620-RDD-Stuffed-Test1-010 2015620-RDD-Stuffed-Test1-011 2015620-RDD-Stuffed-Test1-012 2015620-RDD-Stuffed-Test1-013 2015620-RDD-Stuffed-Test1-014 2015620-RDD-Stuffed-Test1-015 2015620-RDD-Stuffed-Test1-016 2015620-RDD-Stuffed-Test1-017 2015620-RDD-Stuffed-Test1-018 2015620-RDD-Stuffed-Test1-019 2015620-RDD-Stuffed-Test1-020 2015620-RDD-Stuffed-Test1-021 2015620-RDD-Stuffed-Test1-022 2015620-RDD-Stuffed-Test1-0232015620-RDD-Stuffed-Test1-024 2015620-RDD-Stuffed-Test1-025 2015620-RDD-Stuffed-Test1-026 2015620-RDD-Stuffed-Test1-028

Did you need a sauce recipe? Here’s one I swiped from the Thin Crust recipe :

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17 thoughts on “Get Stuffed! How to Build A Stuffed Pizza”

  1. You will not find a stuffed pizza in Chicago with a top crust. You’re making calzone in a pan. Please change the name of this website from REAL DEEP DISH to something else. This is done wrong. My guess is you never even been to Chicago.

      1. In the video Fred appears to have smeared the pan with butter? before putting down the dough. Am I right and how does that work?

    1. Craig, you quite literally don’t know what you’re talking about. Giordano’s, Nancy’s, Edwardo’s, Bacino’s…these are just a FEW of the pizza restaurants in Chicago that use a top dough on a stuffed pizza. Internet ignorance and fake news with Craig here, folks. Please ignore.

      Thanks for this recipe, since tomorrow is Easter I’m making a stuffed pie tonight based on this recipe. I really appreciate the work you’ve done with this site, making these deep dish pies has become a passion!

    2. I’m a little late to this comment but I’d like to clarify for any future readers. A deep dish pizza has only a bottom crust and toppings/sauce. A stuffed pizza has a top crust with sauce over it… hence why it’s called ‘stuffed’. Think about it, what have you ever stuffed that didn’t have a top? Deep dish means deep and filled while stuffed means, well, stuffed. This is exactly how a true Chicago style stuffed pizza is made.

  2. Hey, I see it’s been a few years, any chance you did get around to perfecting the recipe as far as a more definitive cooking time and temperature?

    1. Hi, Brad. Thanks for checking in. An official recipe won’t happen any time soon, but the general guidelines on the page should get you in the ballpark. Everyone’s oven is different, so it’s possible your oven may bake faster or slower. I still recommend checking the internal temp of your stuffed pizza until you have baked a few of them, to get an idea of when they will be fully baked.
      If you are looking for some more insight on the style, I recommend checking in with the pizza enthusiasts over at the Chicago Style forum of Pizzamaking dot com. They have a few discussion threads on stuffed pizza that may help.

  3. I would like to add….tuck in the dough really good on the bottom inside corners of the pan. If the dough doesn’t make contact with the pan in that bottom corner curve you’ll get a soft area.

    1. I haven’t really had a problem with that, but I haven’t made many stuffed pizzas.
      I prefer not to tuck too hard because so you get that rounded edge that is typical of the style.
      The important thing, though, is to tuck – do not press. 🙂

  4. Made the deep dish for the second time last night and just as good as the first time, though I couldn’t find Muir Glen this time but didn’t notice any difference. Just curious if you’re close to perfecting the Giordano’s/stuffed one yet? Pics above love fantastic and pretty close to perfection. No rush! 🙂

    1. Stuffed pizza tests are on the “back burner” until I can get more $ for R&D (Thanks to everyone buying deep dish equipment).
      Until then, the general guidelines on this article should get you close.
      If you want to tinker with the dough for stuffed pizza, I’d consider increasing the oil and/or folding and rolling the dough several times to build up layers.

  5. Can you give an estimate about when the recipe will be ready? Will it be so different from the chicago thin crust one?

    1. I have to research and do testing, so it’s not going to be any time soon.
      Some restaurants use the same dough for thin and stuffed, so you can probably make a decent pie with the thin crust dough and sauce recipes, though you may want to thin out the sauce just a bit with some more tomato puree due to the longer baking time.

  6. Arrenellos makes one of the most unique and best stuffed pies in Chicago. It features a sweet, zesty sauce that’s nearly a paste. You’ll either love or hate it. My favorite stuffed pie!

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