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!

Prep Time
1 hr 15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
1 hour 45 min

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.

homemade Chicago-style deep dish pizza on a cutting board

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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. 
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

serving a slice of homemade deep dish pizza

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

5 from 10 votes
serving slice of homemade deep dish pizza
Course Dinner, Pizza, Vegetarian
Cuisine American
Keyword Chicago-style deep dish pizza, deep dish pizza recipe, homemade deep dish pizza, traditional deep dish pizza recipe
Prep Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Serves 8

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!

Ingredients

  • 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
  • OR
  • 1/2 pound cooked spicy italian sausage
  • OR
  • omit meat
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella

Instructions

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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. 

  5. 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.

  6. Allow crust to cool a bit before placing toppings and sauce on top.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

Recipe Notes

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

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