Homemade Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza

Oh nom. Ohhh nom. Nom nom nom nom nom nom nommmmmmmmmslkwoeifjsdfkl!!!!

This. was. everything. Do you read me? Everyyyythingggg.

Homemade Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza

When you take into account that you made this at home without a fancy oven, you might start feeling yourself…(no, not like that lol), but you’ll be very proud. I’m proud of me right now. This pizza is delicious, super easy to make, and the flavor is spot-the-hell-on. The crust is flaky, tender, buttery…you’ve got a creamy gooey layer of cheese…yummy toppings and a delicious sauce on top…aw man. Nom Nomerlo Nomington Jr.!

Sidenote: I’m sitting here watching Black Swan and I’m legit creeped the f*ck out….

Anyway…

I grew up on the east-coast and have always a “thin crust” variation readily available to me. I don’t wanna speak on popular pizza chains, because although I ate them as a kid — growing up and developing somewhat of a responsible palate has made me realize just how truly disgusting they are lol. No offense if you love any of the popular pizza chains, its just that when you learn how to make these things at home and see how they taste so much better — not to mention you know exactly what you’re putting in your mouth, you really put your food on a pedestal above any processed and/or mass-produced crap in a box. I used to love a certain chain’s “pan pizza” as a kid. It was bready, it was greasy, it was laden with globs of lactose-unfriendly plasticky cheese — it was everything a regular kid from Virginia who didn’t know any better could ever want. But now? Oh god, If I hate a slice today, I would probably throw up — no bullshit. It’s just so gross to me.

I won’t get into a NY vs. Chicago pizza debate because it’s just not that deep to me. You can like both, and to keep it real, you can’t even compare the two! They’re not built the same, they don’t have the same ingredients, they don’t bake the same way….they’re just cousins of the same concept. NY style is definitely beneficial for the fast-paced city lifestyle — grab a slice and go. Chicago-style is a bit more “dinner-like”, and requires a knife and fork. It’s seriously a meal, and it’s delicious. Some of you may prefer one over the other and that is totally fine — but me? I’ll take both varieties please!

So that brings us to this deliciously sexy pizza. If you’re a lover of deep-dish pizza, you’ve gotta make this — it’s soooo worth the time and it’s ridiculously easy. You basically make the dough, let it rise, roll it out, laminate it, proof it, roll it out, build it, bake it, and eat it. It makes 2 9″ deep dish pies, but you can keep the second ball of dough in the fridge overnight and make another one the next day. Just make sure you let the dough sit at room temperature a good 10 minutes before you try to roll it, otherwise it’ll snap back and be too difficult to work with, and you absolutely need to get this dough nice and wide because it’ll shrink in the pan while you try to assemble it (trust me on this). This pizza should be cooled a good 15 minutes before you cut into it, or you’ll have it gush out everywhere. I waited about 8 minutes, due to admitted impatience, and saw that my pizza was spilling it’s guts lol. I don’t care though, it was still amazing. Super gooey, uber flavorful homemade perfection.

Is it as good as an actual Chicago Deep-Dish? I wouldn’t know. I’ve never been to Chicago :( But I do know one thing for sure, it’s pretty damn close. I’ve had a few versions of chicago-style pizza in my life (no, not that disgusting excuse for a deep-dish at Uno’s), and this baby here tastes better than all of them — especially since I made it at home.

This recipe is fool proof, easy to follow and incredible to eat. The only “factor” here is time — letting dough rise once or twice is always an eye-rolling yet necessary pain in the ass…but so worth it.

This is a very pic-heavy post. I wanted to take a photo of as many steps as I could so that you guys don’t eff this up haha ;)

Homemade Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza
whisk together all of your dry ingredients…

Homemade Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza
add the water and butter and with a dough hook on low/medium-low speed, bring it together.

Homemade Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza
until a shaggy dough forms…like this.

Homemade Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza
then knead it in the mixer until it is a shiny smooth ball that pulls away from the sides completely. this should only take a few minutes, depending on the humidity of your situation.

Homemade Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza
grease a large bowl with olive oil.

Homemade Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza
plop your dough into the bowl…

Homemade Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza
roll it around in the bowl so that some of the oil gets all over the dough, then form into a ball…

Homemade Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza
cover tightly with plastic wrap and let it double in size, about a good 45-75 minutes.

Homemade Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza
meanwhile, start preparing your pizza sauce…this will take a good half hour to do and its WORTH it! take a small onion, or halve a large one like I did here.

Homemade Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza
melt some butter in a saucepan over medium heat…

Homemade Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza
while the butter is getting nice and happy, grate an onion…grating it produces a stronger onion flavor because it opens up the cell walls of the onion. if you don’t have a cheese grater, try to mince the onion as best as you can.

Homemade Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza
that took no time, the butter is foamy and ready to be fed.

Homemade Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza
toss in the onion, oregano, and crushed red pepper flakes (amount is up to you).

Homemade Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza
my onions browned a little too quickly because I hopped on the phone and got distracted (don’t do what I did lol). However, I was able to save it before it burned. You do want the onions to develop a bit of color, but at a reasonable rate. After the onions develop a golden-brown hue, add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds.

Homemade Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza
open a can of crushed tomatoes..

Homemade Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza
add the tomato sauce and bring to a boil on high heat…then reduce to a simmer (uncovered so the runny juices can evaporate).

Homemade Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza
after about a half hour, you should have a thickened sauce like this. Remove it from the heat and add in the basil and olive oil. This is the stage you wanna season the sauce as you see fit. Throw in some salt, pepper, etc.

Homemade Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza
see how nice and thick it is?

Homemade Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza
oh look, our dough has risen quite a bit!

Homemade Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza
because the dough has a good amount of fat in it, we don’t need to flour our work surface. Adding more flour would make the dough tough.

Homemade Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza
because this is Chicago-style, we want to develop a flaky butter crust…so we have to do a bit of trickery here…unroll the dough into a square, just like you would do for cinnamon rolls…

Homemade Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza
add room-temperature butter and spread all over the surface, leaving a good half inch border. Make sure the butter you use isn’t too warm because it’ll become greasy. It should still be cool but spreadable.

Homemade Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza
roll it up.

Homemade Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza
pinch all of the seams together to create a “package”.

Homemade Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza
then roll the log out to encase and trap the butter into the dough…do it gently! You should have something that looks like this above..

Homemade Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza
with a sharp knife or bench scraper, slice the somewhat flattened dough log in half. See what happened here? We have layers! When baked, the butter trapped inside of the dough will expand and create delicious flaky layers — so do not skip this step, it’s essential!

Homemade Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza
take each half of the rolled out dough and fold into thirds, like this…

Homemade Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza
gently pinch together all of the seams so that it forms a tight ball…we’re almost there…

Homemade Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza
ahh, there we are. Place each dough ball side by side into your bowl, cover with plastic wrap and allow the dough to double in size again..but this time in the refrigerator.

Homemade Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza
make sure you bake this in a 9″ cake pan with straight sides that are at least 2″ high. Grease it well with olive oil, and coat the sides. The oil will naturally sink to the bottom, and that’s fine.

Homemade Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza
puffy dough from the fridge and hour later. Pull each ball out and let it rest for a good 10 minutes before you roll it. It’s very cold, so rolling it immediately out of the fridge will make it too difficult to work with.

Homemade Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza
roll it out into a nice 13 inch circle…

Homemade Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza
gently roll the dough up on the rolling pin, and transfer to your prepared pan…

Homemade Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza oops, we’re not quite there yet. Although I rolled mine into a 13″ circle, my dough was still too cold so it was starting to snap back. I left it on top of my cake pan to rest and stretch out a bit. Be patient with it.

Homemade Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza
once the dough is workable, but not too warm…nestle it into the pan and create a crust that’s about a half inch from the rim of the pan…as you can see, mine started snapping back — again, it’s important to let the dough relax a bit before working with it lol. I didn’t care at this point because I knew it would stretch out again once I gently pressed the cheese into it. Make sure you press the dough into the corners of the pain so that no large air bubbles form.

Homemade Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza
if you’re gonna add sausage to this pizza, make sure it’s raw — it will have plenty of time to bake in the oven, so don’t worry. It will also soak up that delicious pizza sauce and become tender bites of sausage. Mmmmmm…

Homemade Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza
I threw in some basil, just because I had it. Put whatever toppings you want on your pizza…just make sure the cheese is the first one in the pool ;)

Homemade Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza
finally, top it off with about a cup of the sauce (or more if you’d like)…

Homemade Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza
spread the sauce to the edge of the crust,and sprinkle it with some grated or shredded parmigiano-reggiano cheese.

Homemade Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza
bake it. Mine stayed in the oven for 35 minutes…but your pizza may take only 20 to 30 minutes. Let the pizza cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then gently remove it to rest an additional 10 minutes before slicing into it. Please remember that the cheese is so super hot under that sauce, and if you cut into it too early, it’ll spread everywhere and get messy. So be patient, it will be worth it in the end ;)

Homemade Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza
she’s beautiful…

Homemade Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza
look at that crust!

Homemade Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza

Homemade Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza

Homemade Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza

Homemade Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza

Homemade Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza

Homemade Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza
that crust is seriously perfect. Oh my God, this was so good…

Homemade Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza

Homemade Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza

I can’t even describe how delicious this truly was. Phenomenal, and totally homemade. Anybody can do this, you don’t have to be a professional (hell, I definitely am not!).

Make this pizza, you guys…I’m serious…

Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
adapted from Cook's Illustrated
Author:
Serves: 2 9-inch pizzas
Ingredients
For the dough:
  • 3¼ cups (16¼ oz.) all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup (2¾ oz.) yellow cornmeal
  • 1½ tsp table salt
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2¼ tsp instant or rapid-rise yeast
  • 1¼ cups water (10 oz.), room temperature
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter , melted, plus 4 tablespoons, softened
  • 1 tsp plus 4 tablespoons olive oil
Sauce
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup grated onion , from 1 medium onion (see note below)
  • ¼ tsp dried oregano
  • Table salt
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1 (28-oz) can crushed tomatoes
  • ¼ tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • Ground black pepper
Toppings:
  • 1 pound whole-milk or part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded (about 4 cups) (see note below)
  • ½ ounce grated Parmesan cheese (about ¼ cup)
  • Hot or mild Italian sausage, casings removed (optional)
Instructions
FOR THE DOUGH:
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix the flour, cornmeal, salt, sugar and yeast together on low until incorporated -- about 1 minute. Use the dough hook attachment. Add the water and melted butter and mix on low speed until fully combined, about 1-2 minutes, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl occasionally. Increase the speed to medium and knead until the dough is glossy and smooth and pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 5 minutes. Keep in mind the dough will only pull away from the sides while the mixer is on, and will fall back to the sides when the mixer is off.
  2. Coat a large bowl with 1 teaspoon of olive oil, using your fingers. Rub any excess oil from fingers onto the blade of a rubber spatula and transfer the dough to a bowl, turning once to oil the top. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until it's nearly doubled in size, about 45-75 minutes.
FOR THE SAUCE:
  1. Heat butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat until melted. Then add the onion, oregano, crushed red pepper and ½ teaspoon of salt, cooking and stirring occasionally until liquid has evaporated and onion is golden brown -- about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant -- about 30 seconds. Stir in the tomatoes and sugar, increase the heat to high and bring to a simmer. Lower the heat to medium-low and continue simmering until the sauce has reduced to 2½ cups, about 35-30 minutes. Remove the sauce from the stove and stir in basil and oil. Season with salt and pepper, taste and adjust as needed.
TO LAMINATE THE DOUGH:
  1. Heat your oven to 425 degrees, and put the oven rack on the lowest position. With a rubber spatula, turn the dough out onto a dry work surface and roll it into a 15 by 12-inch rectangle. Using an offset spatula, spread the softened butter over the dough but leave a ½-inch border along the edges. Starting at either short end, roll the dough into a tight cylinder (like you would cinnamon rolls). With seam side down, flatten the cylinder into a 18 by 4-inch rectangle. Cut the rectangle in half, crosswise. Take one half and fold into thirds (like a business letter), pinching the seams together to form a ball. Repeat with the other half. Place both dough balls into an oiled bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let the dough balls rise in the refrigerator until doubled in size, about 45-60 minutes.
  2. Oil two 9-inch round cake pans with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil each. Place 1 dough ball on a dry work surface and roll out into a 13-inch disk, about ¼-inch thick. Transfer dough to the pan by rolling it loosely around the rolling pin and unrolling it into the pan. Press the dough into the pan lightly, working into the corners and up the sides by 1-inch. If the dough is tough to work with, let it relax about 5 to 10 minutes before trying again. Repeat with the other dough half.
  3. Sprinkle 2 cups of mozzarella over the surface of the dough for each pizza. If using sausage or any topping, scatter it evenly on top of the cheese. Spread about 1¼ cups of tomato sauce over the cheese and toppings, then sprinkle 2 tablespoons of parmesan over the sauce. Bake until the crust is golden brown, about 25-35 minutes. Remove the pizza from the oven to rest for about 15 minutes.
  4. Slice, serve and enjoy!
Notes
Note: Place a damp kitchen towel under the mixer and watch it at all times during kneading to prevent it from wobbling off the counter. If you don't have a stand-mixer, you can do this by hand. Handle the dough with slightly oiled hands, or it might stick. Avoid pre-shredded cheese, it doesn't melt well. Grate the onion on the large holes of a box grater.

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Comments

  1. Mark says

    Great recipe. I made it yesterday on National Deep Dish Pizza Day and the crust and pizza was fantastic. There was far more dough than sauce. I made three 9″ pies and had enough dough for at least one more pie (which we didn’t need) but just enough sauce.

    • says

      LOL I promise it comes right out. I used a Chicago Metallic Non-stick pan, and with the added oil it practically slides right out :)

  2. Tee says

    I never, I mean NEVER comment on sites. But, OMG!!! This pizza was so good that I just had to let you know. I’m so excited about stumbling onto your site & can’t wait to make some of your other recipes as well. Bacon & brown sugar pancakes on deck for tomorrow morning. Thanks so much!

  3. Toni says

    Hiyas! I love love LOVE chicago deep dish pizza and plan on making it tonight, but wanted to find a new dough recipe, or at least to see if anything out here on the internet looked interesting. I’m liking your recipe and will try it out. =)

    There just one little thing I wanted to mention…not a biggie, just an FYI sorta thing. You know how you loved that chain restaurant deep dish pie as a kid? Welp, don’t feel too horrid about it, since that chain is responsible for inventing the flaky buttery crust you’ve come to love.

    No one is quite sure whether it was the owner who came up with the dough recipe or his head chef, but no matter which one thought of it, Pizzeria Uno is the place that gave us chicago deep dish pies.

    I’ve always used semolina flour rather than cornmeal in my dough, so I’ll probably substitute it in your recipe tonight, but I like the idea of laminating the dough…sounds flaky and yummy!

  4. Jorge says

    Hi, I tried this recipe and did all per the instructions, my crust did not rise or looked at all like that. It was somewhat pasty rather than a bread or flaky crust.
    My Pan is a regular cake pan, do I need to use a non stick one?
    One more thing, I live in the beach (Sea Level) do I have to change anything in the recipe to compensate?
    Sauce was excellent by the way, just the crust did not work for me, oh one more thing, I mixed by hand since I don’t have a large mixer, could this also be a factor? any help would be great, I love chicago style pizza and would like to have a nice recipe to always use

    • says

      Hi Jorge,

      I think that because you didn’t have a mixer to help develop the necessary gluten for this recipe, it didn’t work out for you. I know mixers can be expensive but you only need the absolute cheapest model if possible. It takes all the muscle out for you and leaves you with a great crust that would be hard to get by hand. Humidity can play a small factor as far as how much flour you should use — sometimes you’d have to use less or more (by about 1/4 cup most times), but not having a mixer sounds like the major culprit. If you have pics of your dough you can send them to me so I can see what might have gone wrong for you.

      • Jorge Hernandez says

        Thanks for the reply

        I will try with a mixer, I’m sure I can borrow one at first and see how the dough comes out and post the pics just in case. ;)

  5. Sara says

    I stumbled upon your site and recipe when looking for a good crust recipe for Chicago style. Thank you for the step-by-step photos! They were so helpful in the lamination step. The pie just went into the oven – I made a “traditional” spinach and mushroom – and I cannot wait for it to come out and taste the crust!

    I am absolutely not a foodie or cook, but this really made it easy. Maybe I didn’t pay enough attention in the beginning (I was so excited by the “after” photos) but I didn’t realize this made enough for two pizzas. It was a happy surprise!!

    Thank you!

  6. Smapti says

    I’ve never made deep dish before, but I made this recipe tonight and it came out delicious. I used sausage and green peppers for my “toppings”, and instead of making two pies I used the whole batch of dough and sauce in a 9″ springform pan to make one super-deep-dish pie. It must have come out about three inches tall and one slice was more than enough to fill me up.

  7. Karen says

    Has anyone tried to make any part of this ahead of time? Can the crust be partially baked and finished off later? Or could the whole pizza be frozen assembled and baked later?? Any info appreciated! Thanks!!

  8. Dan Gilbert says

    Fantastic recipe! Made this tonight and will definitely do so again in the future, thanks for sharing. I used a springform pan – it has been sitting in a box for years, now it will see the light again. Yum.

  9. Victoria says

    Living in the UK decent Chicago style pizza is super rare – we had deep pizza pie in Giordano’s in Florida in the summer and it was divine – I NEVER COMMENT ON ANYTHING, but, I am making this AMAZING pizza for the 2nd time in 2 weeks!!! Cornmeal is almost impossible to buy here so I substituted it with polenta (for any UK readers) and it was perfect – Thankyou soooooo much for this recipe, a little bit of the USA in the UK!!!

    • Victoria says

      Should like to add….. I had a little dough left over and it made the most perfect “crescent rolls” which we are also unable to buy in the UK – I’ll be rolling out the breakfast casserole!!!!

  10. Afif says

    Thank you for this very very Nice recipe, i love so much Chicago Deep Dish pizza with my wife but I live in French, And I’m sorry I don’t understand something (I’m French so i don’t speak very well English), my question is : the two dough balls are used for the same pizza or for two pizzas?
    Thank you

  11. Debbie says

    Thank you so much for this recipe! I have only found one restaurant that makes true Chicago style pizza in the area & your recipe blows them away! I live in St. Louis & I love my thin crust but I was introduced to this a few years ago & have been craving it ever since. I am so happy that I found this site. I made mine in an iron skillet & I kneaded the dough myself, no mixer ugh but was fine, just took longer.

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