Friday night is pizza night, right? And this time I’m sharing one of my absolute favorite recipes for deep-dish pizza as part of my new Indulge! series on Ambitious Kitchen. We all have those moments in life where we want to make something rich, delicious and one-of-a-kind. The recipes in this series will be exactly that.
Over the past year, I’ve consumed more pizza than I ever thought I would in my life. Part of that is due to my move to Chicago (home of the deep-dish) and the other is probably because I’m dating a self-proclaimed pizza connoisseur.
What makes deep dish pizza special
If you haven’t had Chicago-style deep dish pizza, it’s like no other in the world. There are a few favorites in town — Lou Malnati’s, Gino’s East, and Pequod’s to name a few. However, you might be wondering what the criteria for traditional deep dish pizza truly is, so I put together a few unique attributes that define what makes up a deep dish pizza and how it stands out from the rest:
- Deep dish pizza traditionally has a very thick crust that resembles a pie.
- It’s usually baked in a round cake or pie pan, that often times creates caramelized crusts and edges.
- The pizza crust stands out from the rest because often times it includes butter or cornmeal, depending on where you go of course. Some say that cornmeal doesn’t belong in pizza crust. I politely disagree.
- The pizza is assembled in opposite order, meaning cheese goes first, then meat, veggies and finally sauce. This is so the cheese does not burn due to longer cooking times.
How to make deep dish pizza from scratch
- First you’ll make your deep dish pizza crust: In a large bowl of an electric mixer, mix flour, cornmeal, salt, yeast, olive oil, melted butter and water together with a wooden spoon. Once dough begins to form, place dough hook on mixer and knead dough on medium speed for 8 minutes. Dough should form into a nice ball and be slightly sticky.
- Next place the dough in a medium bowl lightly oiled with olive oil. Cover with plastic wrap and a towel and let rise for 1 hour or until dough has doubled.
- After dough has doubled, preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Generously oil a 9-inch cake pan, 9-inch springform pan or a 9-inch skillet. Make sure you coat the sides of the pan with oil too to ensure that dough doesn’t stick.
- Stretch out dough with your hands to form a large circle, place in pan and stretch dough up the sides a bit. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise again for 15 minutes.
- After dough has rested, stretch the dough again and push it up the sides of the pan to form your crust. Bake for 10 minutes until it turns barely golden brown on the crust. Allow crust to cool a bit before placing toppings and sauce on top.
- Cover the bottom of the crust with sliced mozzarella. Next add the onions, green peppers, jalapenos and meat (if using). Spread pizza sauce over the top of veggies and meat. TRUST ME, you will not need more than 1/2 cup of pizza sauce, other wise the sauce will get watery once baked and you’ll have a soggy mess.
- Sprinkle parmesan cheese and shredded mozzarella over the top. Bake pizza for 20-25 minutes or until sauce is bubbly and crust is a nice golden brown. Serves 4-6 depending on how hungry you are.
Deep dish pizza flavors to try
Feel free to get creative with your toppings! Here are some ideas:
- Veggie lovers: add mushrooms, green bell pepper, broccoli, spinach, and onion
- Meat lovers: add your favorite combo of pepperoni, sausage, bacon and salami
- Hawaiian: get wild with some Canadian or regular bacon + plenty of juicy pineapple chunks
- Greek: add green bell pepper, olives, red onion and feta crumbles
- BBQ Chicken: add BBQ sauce (instead of regular sauce!), cooked chicken and red onion
I started creating this recipe for Tony last year. He had requested deep dish pizza for his birthday and I couldn’t turn his puppy dog blue eyes down. I found a recipe from the wonderful King Arthur Flour and adapted it ever so slightly.
Thankfully it turned out to be fantastic and the perfect birthday treat — better than I ever imagined it would. The mixture of olive oil and butter in the crust creates a perfectly crispy, chewy, and flavorful pizza that you can’t stop eating. If you’re making deep-dish pizza at home, you’re going to love this version.
If you make this deep dish pizza recipe, be sure to leave a comment below letting me know how it turned out. You can also snap a photo, upload it to Instagram and tag #ambitiouskitchen. I love seeing your creations!
My Favorite Deep Dish Pizza Recipe
A homemade, Chicago-style deep dish pizza recipe with ooey-gooey cheese and a beautiful, butter-cornmeal crust. This easy deep dish pizza recipe is a must make and you can use any toppings you like. A delicious, indulgent recipe that's perfect for special occasions!
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1/2 cup warm water (110-115 degrees F)
- 8 oz fresh mozzarella, sliced
- 1/2 cup pizza sauce (I love Muir Glen)
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 1 green pepper, diced
- Optional: 1 jalapeno, thinly sliced
- 20 pepperoni slices
- 1/2 pound cooked spicy italian sausage
- omit meat
- 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella
First start by making the crust: In a large bowl of an electric mixer, mix flour, cornmeal, salt, yeast, olive oil, melted butter and water together with a wooden spoon. Once dough begins to form, place dough hook on mixer and knead dough on medium speed for 8 minutes. Dough should form into a nice ball and be slightly sticky.
Next place dough in a medium bowl lightly oiled with olive oil. Cover with plastic wrap and a towel and let rise for 1 hour or until dough has doubled.
After dough has doubled, preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Generously oil a 9-inch cake pan, 9-inch springform pan or a 9-inch skillet. Make sure you coat the sides of the pan with oil too to ensure that dough doesn't stick.
Stretch out dough with your hands to form a large circle, place in pan and stretch dough up the sides a bit. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise again for 15 minutes.
After dough has rested, stretch the dough again and push it up the sides of the pan to form your crust. Bake for 10 minutes until it turns barely golden brown on the crust.
Allow crust to cool a bit before placing toppings and sauce on top.
Cover the bottom of the crust with sliced mozzarella. Next add the onions, green peppers, jalapenos and meat (if using). Spread pizza sauce over the top of veggies and meat. TRUST ME, you will not need more than 1/2 cup of pizza sauce, other wise the sauce will get watery once baked and you'll have a soggy mess.
Sprinkle parmesan cheese and shredded mozzarella over the top. Bake pizza for 20-25 minutes or until sauce is bubbly and crust is a nice golden brown. Serves 4-6 depending on how hungry you are.
The photos above are of crust that I doubled below and baked in a springform pan. The crust ingredients were the only ones that I ended up doubling and this was simply to create a pizza pie look. My recipe is for the traditional deep-dish pizza, which is the same ingredients but with a slightly less thick crust. Trust me when I say that you only need to make the version that I have above.
Feel free to use any veggies that you like. Switch it up and have fun!
Recipe by: Monique Volz // Ambitious Kitchen
Photography by: Sarah Fennel // Broma Bakery
When my brother used to live in Chicago we’d get Giordano’s every time we visited. There is something magical about that thick pie-like crust. I’ve never attempted making my own at home – I think I’ll need to give it a try!
Oh my, oh my. I can’t resist! My husband and I have our regular pizza recipe down to a tea… I think its time to switch things up. Every time I’m in Chicago I make sure I get my deep dish fix, now I’m in Houston I need to take matters into my own hands!
Holy smokes girl!! Amazing looking recipe! I definitely need to hop on this deep dish train – fantastic 🙂
My kids like to eat pizza (of course) but probably wouldn’t eat deep dish. I love to try new dough recipes – do you suppose this would work as a regular pizza crust? I’m intrigued by the butter and cornmeal addition!!
I think it would work well! All you’ll need to do is spread it out and bake it on a pan of some sort. Make sure you grease the pan before putting on the dough!
When making a flat pizza, a pan will work, but nothing beats a pizza baked quickly on a properly heated (500 degrees F or higher for an hour) very thick pizza stone, using a peel to put the pie on and remove it. Works for any crust thickness.
Ever since moving from Chicago to Minneapolis I’ve been missing deep dish SO MUCH. So I’m v happy to know I can make a version at home! This looks beyond amazing.
Mmm I’ve never had deep dish pizza before! It looks yummy!
You need to come to Chicago then!
Wow, this looks like the perfect indulgent Friday night dinner after a long week! I live about 4 hours from Chicago and keep meaning to make a trip out there and (among other things) try some deep dish pizza. Until then, I’ll just have to make some at home!
omg this pizza looks so delicious, I am trying to eat healthy recently but this pizza is really tempting! x
Ariadna || RAWR BOWS
I made this for dinner tonight & it scored 2 thumbs up from the kids and the hubs. My husband said it was comparable to Lou’s (our favorite) & we felt much healthier eating it (more spinach, less cheese, more veggies). Thanks for the recipe; we’ll be trying more!
Did you double the crust or make it as written?
If you are ever in St. Louis, you definitely need to go to Pi pizza! They are one of the best pizza restaurants in the city, and are known for making amazing deep dish with a cornmeal crust! I definitely recommend it.
pizza might be my fav after guacamole and salsa and this has seriously caught my attention! all that cheese! Ah, so good!!
Pizza is probably my all time favorite flood and this deep dish looks amazing! Pinned 🙂
Looks Delish! Love Good Deep Dish Pizza.
I will legit fly to Chicago to faceplant this.
OMG love this recipe! I’m going to make this for my boyfriends birthday next week! I’ll definitely link to you once I post my results – bites fingers lol –
This looks amaaaaaaaazing! Will have to test out this deep dish Chicago style pizza in my tiny New York kitchen. So glad I stumbled on your blog via feedfeed! – Caitlin | back2spain
Thanks for sharing this fantastic deep dish pizza recipe! My family has a tradition of having a pizza night every Friday, and I like to try out new types to change things up. I’m very excited to use this recipe, and I’m sure my family will devour it! Thanks again for sharing!
Love your pizza..
Is there a way to make it on a stove top and not in the oven???
I’ve always wanted to try deep dish pizza, and after a little searching, I settled on your recipe. I’m an experienced cook, so I just tend to take some of the most important data and then use my own ingredients. I keep batches of sourdough pizza crust in the freezer, so I just used one of those. As for what I had on hand, green hatch chili smoked sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms, thinly sliced onions sauteed in butter (I made a quiche this morning), jalapeno rings, mozz, and silician jack cheese that was part of a Harry and David gift pack my sister sent for Christmas. For sauce, I used Ragu Four Cheese (third of a cup rather than half), and made it in a cast iron pan. I baked it at 500 so my baking stone would get revved up, and I slid the pizza on there when all the toppings were sizzling and golden. I can’t stand mushy crust.
Mmmm. Just finished the fourth slice. Thanks for helping make my first deep dish pizza a succulent treat. Just the right mix of crunchy bottom and spongy cheesy goodness on top.
What exactly was the “important data” that you used from this recipe? You used your own frozen sour dough (and Ragu?). The crust here is what makes the deep dish fantastic – the cornmeal, butter and oil is super important. Do that next time!
It really just sounds like you just wanted to pontificate for a bit there.
Amazing pie! I have tried to make deep dish in the past, and this is the best I’ve ever made. The pre-cooking made all the difference and kept it from getting soggy. I used crushed tomatoes with herbs and garlic instead of sauce. I also used shredded mozzarella and provolone instead of fresh mozzarella. There is plenty of room to play with this recipe!
Five stars! Great instructions.
Hey girlfriend, maybe buy me dinner next time before you fuck me like that. I went through the directions as written until I got to the little note about how you “doubled the dough recipe” to achieve the pie as seen in the picture. Now my husband and brat kids are screaming at me that it doesn’t look like an Uno’s pizza pie! Maybe bump that little caveat up to the top?
Tastes great though, five stars.
Maybe you should read the complete recipe first, before you start cooking.
No need to use curse words because you are incompetent. It just exposes your ignorance and lack of class.
I’ve moved from Chicago to Australia about 3 years ago and have been missing deep dish like CRAZY! Waiting to visit Chicago for my deep dish fix isn’t cutting it anymore so I was relieved when I found your recipe! I made it tonight and it was AWESOME! I cooked the onion, green pepper and sausage together before adding it to the crust. This will definitely be my go-to recipe for when I’m feeling a bit homesick-Thanks a bunch!
I’m so jealous of your move! That sounds amazing. But so glad you found this recipe while you’re there – it’s my absolute go-to indulgent pizza. Glad you could find a piece of home here, Olivia!
My husband loves Lou Malnati’s so I made this last night. He (and the kids) loved the pizza, said it was one of my best dinners. Thanks for a healthy deep dish that we can eat outside of Chicago.
Amazing! I’m so happy to hear that. It’s the perfect homemade version of a favorite 🙂
I’m going to give this a try on the weekend. I’m a pizza lover. It was one of the reasons we bought our current house, it has a wood fired pizza oven in the backyard
That’s amazing! Hope you loved this recipe!
Can this dough be made the night before?j
I haven’t tried it but from what I’ve read, I think that should be fine!
Thanks for the great recipe!
I wrote a full review of it on my blog here–>
Can I use whole wheat pastry flour instead of the all purpose??
Yes! It will just be a little more dense.
Made this tonight in BC, Canada! The crust is absolutely delicious. It turned out perfectly – Thank you!
Made this for the second time tonight and had to come back to say thank you and rate it again with some minor tweaks for those who are interested – we made 1.5x the recipe and used a super deep 12″ cast iron skillet. We were confident enough this time to pull the lovely puffy extra amount of dough nice and high up the sides and made sure no air bubbles were left underneath the dough after rising, before baking. This gave us a really deep cavern to fill with delicious toppings/fillings (including extra cheese). We also added 1 tbsp sugar to the dry ingredients when making the dough and the recipe handled the adjustment well, adding just a touch of sweetness. This recipe makes us confident enough to customize so that’s saying something. Thank you so much again!
Amazing! So happy to hear that, Veronica 🙂 Great tips!
I liked this recipe but I’d like to give my honest opinion.
I made it, doubled the crust as you suggested. I was a bit worried about not letting it proof overnight
The crust was super dense for me. I rather prefer a pillowy, lighter crust. I’m a chef at a vineyard and always looking to change things up a bit. We don’t get large crowds so I get to play with my menus.
All of the other instructions were spot on. Crust just wasn’t what I was looking for but ai do appreciate your posting it. Fun to give it a whirl.
Thanks for your notes! I just made this on Easter and had zero issues! Sorry to hear it wasn’t what you were looking for.
5 stars, hands down (it won’t let me select stars.?)! I’ve made this loads of times and had great success doubling for a huge cast iron skillet to feed my family of 4. The Muir Glen sauce she recommends is delicious and I warm the extra to dip the crust in. Question: How would you make regular style crusted, flat pizza on a pizza stone out of this recipe? Would you skip the second rise? Thank you so much for this, and all your, wonderful recipes!
I haven’t tried making this as a regular crust, let me know if you give it a shot!
I have a question regarding your deep dish pizza. don’t you have to mix the yeast and warm water first to make it bloom then add it to the mixer?
If you use active dry yeast you actually don’t need to “proof” it!
One of the best homemade pizzas I have made. I wish I would have made two pizzas the first time so I could eat more the next day 🙂
So happy to hear that!
Please tell me if “instant yeast” is the same as “active dry yeast” I am from Chgo. and this receipe sounds so so wonderful! I can’t wait to make it! I remember the pizza having diced tomatoes in it, so I will add some. I hope I don’t make it soggy?? Thanks
It’s not quite the same! I’d recommend instant yeast if you can find it. Active dry yeast will need to be “proofed” for a few minutes in the warm water + the honey that are in the ingredients list before mixing it with the rest of the ingredients. As for the diced tomatoes, it might make it slightly soggy because of the water content, so just don’t add too many, or add them on top at the end!
Ciao!! This is one of the best deep dish recipes yet!! Reminds me of my nonna’s pizza recipe. Thank you very much for sharing it with us!! Grazie!
Yay!! I’m so happy you loved it 🥰
I’ve always made my pizza dough and sauce from scratch, but I had never attempted a deep dish before. I decided to try this one since I love so many of your other recipes and this did not disappoint. I did double the dough as per the note at the bottom of the recipe because I wanted it to look like the photos. Since I doubled the dough I also added more sauce and it did not end up soggy. It was pure perfection. SO SO good. It’s not something we’ll make all the time, but when we’re craving indulgent deep dish I will most definitely turn to this recipe.