For the Love of Deep Dish, MAKE A PIZZA ALREADY!

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If this is your first time making deep dish pizza and you’re looking to get started right away,
go ahead and download one of the recipes below;
then keep reading this page for first time tips and advice.

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Hello! If you haven’t had the opportunity to read the other articles on the website, but are just itching to make a deep dish pizza, do yourself a favor and…

If you do have the time,
I highly recommend checking out
Deep Dish 101 for a brain-load of info on the history of pizza, where Deep Dish came in, and the basics on making deep dish pizza at home, along with some tips and additional info. 
You’ll also want to check out all the links in the expanded menu.

You can make deep dish pizza dough that’s ready to use in as little as 2 hours (90 minutes if you use the force).
If you’re really in a hurry to get that dough ready, try the
RDD “QUICK DOUGH” all purpose Chicago Pizza Dough recipe

Here’s a few basics:

  • Deep dish pizza was invented in 1943. It’s delightful. Get all that “casserole” talk out of your system now. Any pan pizza is technically a casserole too. Deep dish can be two things! We’re over it. How about you? Good? Good. Let’s continue. 
  • Yes, there’s actually 4 distinct styles of Chicago pizza, and one of them is Tavern Style thin crust, which the locals just call thin crust.
  • Before you make your deep dish pizza, you must first do the ancient chant of the Sewellian Deep Dish Druids – 
    Repeat after me… OOWAH, TAH DEE, LEE SHUSS, PEET ZAH!

    Nah, I’m just messing with you.
  • Have all of your ingredients and equipment ready to go.
    If you’re just getting started on the dough, you can keep the toppings in the fridge until you’re ready to build your pizza.
    It doesn’t take very long to make deep dish, but don’t set yourself up for failure by trying to grab all the stuff at the very last second. You can Lougle ‘Mise en place’ later. Keep reading… 
  • Make sure you aren’t working with old yeast. Check the dates on those yeast packets. If you’re past the expiration date, the yeast might still work, but you should check to see if the yeast is alive first.
  • Don’t over-knead your deep dish dough. Too much kneading will build up too much gluten and then your crust will get bready/chewy. That’s not what we’re going for here. We will not be tossing this dough.
  • Pay attention to your dough. If it’s not fully risen in 2 hours, give it more time. If you have time, your dough will be even better if you let it do it’s magic overnight (or up to 48 hrs) in a zip-top bag in the fridge. Just make sure it’s back up to room temp before you use it.
  • While the dough finishes rising, pizzafy and preheat your oven.
    These links will bring you to a page that will help you set up your home oven to simulate a pizza oven.
  • While your oven is preheating, get out your hardware:
    a deep dish pizza pan, serving spatula, pan gripper (or potholders/kitchen towel, if you don’t have a gripper), and a trivet, cooling rack, or extra potholder (or kitchen towel) to go under your hot pizza pan.
  • Are your tomatoes on the watery side? Now would be a good time to drain them.
  • It’s also a good time to cut up any veggies or slice up your cheese, if yours isn’t pre-sliced. 
  • With cooking spray or a little oil, grease the bottom only of your pizza pan; then press out your dough
    Why not spray the sides? You need the dough to stick to the sides when you press up the outer edge. Don’t worry, it won’t be stuck to your pan at the end of the bake. 

Once the dough has been pressed out, this is the general method for deep dish assembly: 

  • Cover the bottom of your pressed-out dough with overlapping slices of mozzarella,
    dot the pizza with bits of raw Italian sausage (and/or pepperoni) to cover;
    then cover completely (but not too heavily) with crushed tomatoes. 
    Take about 1/8th cup grated romano / parmesan into your hand, raise it up about 12 inches above the pizza, and sprinkle the cheese over the top like snow. You don’t need much. 
    Now your pizza is ready to go into the oven. 

Baking your deep dish: 

  • You preheated to at least 500 degrees F, but turn the oven down to about 425-450 about 10 minutes after you put the pizza in. 
    You want that high heat in the beginning to help bake the crust, but you want the rest of the pizza to bake through without burning.
  • Baking time will vary, but check your pizza after 30 to 35 minutes for a 12 inch deep dish. It could take 5 minutes more. If you’re baking a larger pizza, it will take more time to bake. A smaller pizza could take less time. 
  • When your pizza is ready, let it rest for about 5 minutes before cutting into it so the liquids don’t go spilling out all over. If your pizza does weep a bit after that first slice, there’s a solution for that too (fun with paper towels!)

So now you have some tips and you’ve got the recipe

For the love of deep dish,

School yourself on Chicago Pizza! 

Deep Dish 101: 



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18 thoughts on “For the Love of Deep Dish, MAKE A PIZZA ALREADY!”

    1. I think you’re asking if you have to let the pizza stone cool after preheating it. NO.
      When baking, you want the stone to be hot. The whole reason for preheating the oven with the stone in,
      is to heat the stone, so when the stone gets to 500 degrees F, it will stay hot to help bake the crust for the first few minutes even though you’ve turned the oven down for the rest of the pizza to bake at a lower temp.
      The stone will eventually cool down to match the oven temp during the bake time.

      If you are having problems with the crust not getting crisp enough on the bottom, you could wait to turn down the oven temp until after the pizza has baked for 5-10 minutes, and then turn the oven temp down to somewhere between 425 and 450.

  1. My best memory of Chicago pizza, where I grew up, was a place in Roselle, Illinois, called the Pizza Cottage. It’s long gone, now. It happened to be my first job bussing tables, the running the grill, later. Back then, we didn’t even know there was a thing called “deep dish” or pan pizza, if you will. The place was family run and their crust was cracker crisp on the edge that held up all the way to the center. I’ve been trying to recreate it at home and have run out of options, except for pre-baking. I have a similar issue with my deep dish, which is crispy around the edge, but more moisture accumulates in the mid-crust, and it’s a soggy mess. With all the steels and stones, and bricks for home ovens, there must be something in commercial ovens that people are trying to copy. I’ve surfed the forums, and there’s not a lot of talk about how to get a consistently crispy center on your crust at home. I’ve tried higher heat, longer cooks, different pans, stones, or even grilling ( a miserably experience ). No joy.
    My recipe uses all purpose flour. My DD adds a bit of semolina, for texture and flavor. I vary the moisture, coat my pans with a reasonable layer of olive oil or crisco. But the crisp crust, with a bit of chew, remains an elusive target. I’ll try anything. Thanks

  2. Thank you for the fantastic recipe! Me and my partner absolutely love it and were amazed at how close it was to the real deal! Have you tried this recipe using a gluten-free flour? I was thinking of trying to gluten-free-ify this recipe as I’ve come to realize that I don’t tolerate gluten that well… I’m thinking it may be okay since the dough doesn’t require that much kneading and the dough is “shorter” than other types of pizza crusts.

    1. You’re correct. The short knead time makes the gluten-free baking mixes provide pretty decent results. Just keep an eye on the baking times, and you might need to adjust your dough recipe with additional water and/or oil to keep the crust from getting overbaked.

  3. Just want to say I used your recipe to my husband a deep dish pizza for Father’s Day. He loves Chicago style deep dish, but I am born and bred New Yorker, so prefer a thinner crust, and was a bit nervous about attempting this – however, I followed the recipe exactly and it came out great! He really loved it. It was easy enough that I could add this to our regular meals if it wouldn’t also add so much to our waistlines. I look at SO many recipes and I’m so glad I found yours. Thank you for your informative site!

  4. I made a double size batch, I thought I was making 2 I needed only 1… If refrigerated can I bring it back up to room temperature and re-rise it in a day or so?

    1. Hi, Joe. An extra day or 2 in the fridge will give the dough more flavor also.
      You don’t have to proof the dough again – you just need to get it to room temperature.
      If you need to warm your dough up faster, you can put the dough in a sealed zip top bag (it might already be in one), and float it in some lukewarm water.

  5. Thanks for the detail you provide on your site. I have loved pizza in the pan every since I first tasted Ginos, Uno’s and Lou Malnati’s back in the 70s. My personal favorite is Lou’s. I have been making DDP for about 30 years. Question on the tomatoes. Lou’s canned tomatoes are just peeled tomatoes in juice, not diced or crushed. So I use canned San Marzano tomatoes for my recipe, separating them gently with my hands. This gives me a taste and feel more closely related to the Malnati style. What are your thoughts on this variation for the sauce?

    1. Hi, Howard, and thanks for visiting the website. Yes, the most authentic version of of sauce for deep dish pizza would be almost whole peeled tomatoes in heavy puree. Big chunky tomatoes are certainly a hallmark of authentic deep dish. For a short time, Lou Malnati’s sold their tomatoes in stores, and some grocery stores carry brands that say “Special Cut”, “Kitchen-Ready” or “Random Cut” tomatoes in heavy puree, which are the closest thing I have found to deep dish tomatoes. To keep it a little easier for the home baker, I recommend using your favorite brand of crushed tomatoes (I like Cento or Muir Glen Crushed w/Basil), and if you like your sauce on the chunky side, add some diced, or break up some whole tomatoes (just like you did).
      Happy Pizza Baking! 🙂

  6. I’ve been making solid chicago style deep dish pizzas lately thanks to this site. Theyve been coming out GREAT! Getting the oven temp and timing right has been unusually tough, but when its right its really right. Been using about 10% semolina, whole milk mozzarella (cant believe this isnt a requirement to some), and putting a lot of effort into getting the methods correct for each step. Using cento peeled tomatoes for the sauce, cutting the tomato chunks down to the right size, simmering to lower water amount, straining to remove water as well, and adding honey and a bit of shaved onion. Wish i could upload pics

  7. Hi! Thanks for you site, it is yummy.

    I will say an heresy… I have never eaten a Chicago style pizza (never been to Chicago at all actually, I’m Italian), the only one was a frozen “Chicago” got ages ago which I really doubt was something similar to the real one.
    So I am trying to follow your advices to taste something I have no idea what should taste like…

    Yesterday I did my first try… and I have some doubts:
    1) In videos I have seen the dough looks more like a shortcrust than a traditional pizza, it almost falls apart. Mine was looking quite elastic instead: have I over-kneed?
    2) The crust has risen quite a bit while baking resulting in a quite tick crust (1/2 inch or so), is that expected? (or maybe I had too much yeast)
    3) how much should be the layers of topping tick? The total was quite thick, probably 1/2 inch or a bit more with the sausage alone counting for half of it.

    It was super tasty anyway!

    1. Hi, Simone. Thanks for visiting the site!

      1) Deep dish dough can vary. Some days the dough is more crumbly, other days, it’s a little closer to a typical pizza dough. Odds are good that you may have over-kneaded if you’re trying to get the crumblier version of deep dish crust.
      If you are going that way, consider mixing and handling your dough more like pie dough.
      Go light on the water to start, mix your ingredients together until mostly incorporated, then before you start kneading, let the dough sit for a minute so the flour has a chance to hydrate. Then knead gently into a ball, it doesn’t need to be completely smooth, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and put in a warm place to rise.
      If you’re still not getting what you like, try increasing the oil a bit.
      2) A half inch thick crust is normal. My pizzas are usually between 1/4 and 1/2 inch thick.
      3) It sounds like you got pretty close, and if it tasted good, then that’s the most important thing. You can use any topping amounts that like – Some people put a solid patty of sausage on their pizzas, but you don’t have to use that much, or any at all. Some of the best deep dish pizzas I’ve eaten were just a layer of cheese covered with a healthy amount of chunky crushed tomatoes and sprinkle of grated romano on top.
      If you’ve got any pictures, please head over to the facebook page and post them so we can see. You’ll also see some photos of recent pizzas I’ve baked so you can compare.

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