Chicago-Style Deep Dish Pizza


Authentic recipe for Chicago-Style Deep Dish Pizza made just like you would have in Chicago with a thick, buttery crust, homemade tomato sauce, and loaded with cheese!

Authentic recipe for Chicago-Style Deep Dish Pizza made just like you would have in Chicago with a thick, buttery crust, homemade tomato sauce, and loaded with cheese!

Today is a hard day for me, my friends.  This day marks the one year anniversary of my father passing away.  How it has been a whole year I have no idea!  The feelings I felt that day and the things myself and everyone around me said or did resonate with me as if it all just happened yesterday.  Things have gotten a bit easier over time, but there are certain days that are just as difficult as the day he died.  I think it was tough having all of the important holidays, New Year, my birthday and now the one year anniversary all packed into about a month and a half. On this first anniversary, all I can think about is how I did what I never thought was possible right after it all happened: I survived an entire year without someone who was very important to me and so dearly loved.

Alas, I keep on trucking and keep this little ol’ blog going because this is something that made him so proud.  In fact, a couple of months before he died, he laughed at the fact that I had a food blog since I was always the worst cook in the universe (AKA I just didn’t ever try).  We shared a love for good food – especially pizza and pasta!

Step by Step photos on how to make an authentic Chicago style deep dish pizza.

Authentic recipe for Chicago-Style Deep Dish Pizza with a thick, buttery crust, sweet homemade tomato sauce, and plenty of mozzarella cheese!

Deep dish pizza is something you will see a lot of if you ever get the chance to visit Chicago.  I tagged along last year on a work trip that Mr. Wishes had to go on – exploring new cities is pretty much my jam.  Of course we researched to death what the best deep dish pizza was in Chicago and ended up at Chicago’s most famous pizza spot: Lou Malnati’s.  This pizza is life-changing!  I did feel disgusting afterward but just because of the fact I ate way too much of this pizza and way too close to bedtime.  YOLO.

Chicago-Style Deep Dish Pizza is an authentic Italian dinner or snack recipe with a thick, buttery crust, sweet homemade tomato sauce, and plenty of melted mozzarella cheese!

In Chicago-Style Deep Dish Pizza,  a deep layer of dough forms a bowl in a high-sided pan and the toppings and cheese are added on top.  An additional layer of dough goes on top of all of that and is pressed to the sides of the crust.  If you have never tried it before, there is no better time than now!  This Chicago-Style Deep Dish Pizza recipe is a bit of a time investment but makes for an unforgettable dinner your whole family will love.

Note:  If your family is small, freeze half of the dough or prepare the pizza without baking, wrap well, and freeze to heat up for dinner at a later time.

Chicago-Style Deep Dish Pizza is an authentic recipe with a thick, buttery crust, sweet homemade tomato sauce, and plenty of melted mozzarella cheese!

Chicago-Style Deep Dish Pizza
Recipe type: dinner
Cuisine: Italian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: two 9-inch deep dish pizzas
Authentic recipe for Chicago-Style Deep Dish Pizza made just like you would have in Chicago with a thick, buttery crust, homemade tomato sauce, and loaded with cheese!
Pizza Crust (makes 2)
  • 3 and ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 and ¼ teaspoons salt
  • 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 and ¼ teaspoons yeast (1 standard packet)
  • 1 and ¼ cups warm water (not hot)
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, divided (1/4 cup melted, ¼ cup softened)
  • olive oil for coating
Tomato Sauce (for 2 pizzas)
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 small onion, grated (about ⅓ cup)
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, optional
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • one 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • ¼ teaspoon granulated sugar
Toppings (for 2 pizzas)
  • 4 cups shredded good-quality mozzarella cheese
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • optional toppings: pepperoni, cooked and crumbled bacon, cooked and crumbled sausage, green peppers. onions, mushrooms, etc.
For best results, read through the recipe completely before beginning. You need two 9x2 inch round cake pans if you are making both pizzas at the same time. Nine inch springform pans would also work.
For the crust:
  1. Combine the flour, cornmeal, salt, sugar, and yeast in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment. If you do not have a stand mixer, use a hand mixer and LARGE bowl.
  2. Give the above ingredients a fast mix on low speed.
  3. Add the warm water and ¼ cup of melted butter (once butter is cooled to room temperature). Make sure both the water and the butter are not too hot or it will kill the yeast. On low speed, beat the dough ingredients until everything is moistened. Continuing on low speed, beat the dough until it is soft and supple and gently pulls away from the sides of the bowl and falls off of the dough hook- approximately 4-5 minutes.
  4. Take the dough and form into a ball with your hands. Lightly grease a large mixing bowl with olive oil and place the dough inside, turning it all around so that all sides of the dough ball are coated in the oil. Cover the bowl tightly with aluminum foil and allow to rise in a warm environment for 1-2 hours or until ball has doubled in size.
  5. When the dough has doubled in size, take it out of bowl, set bowl and foil aside, and lightly flour a large work surface. Take dough and gently punch it down to remove any air bubbles and roll the dough using a rolling pin into a large 15x12 rectangle.
  6. Spread ¼ cup of softened butter on top of the dough (this is called laminating the dough). Roll it up lengthwise (I have a photo of this step above). Cut the dough log in half. Form the two pieces of dough into balls and place back into your greased bowl. Cover with aluminum foil and allow to rise in the refrigerator for 1 hour until they are puffy. Make the sauce while you are waiting for that step.
For the sauce:
  1. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Watch so it doesn't burn. Once completely melted, add the grated onion, salt, oregano, and red pepper flakes (if using). Once the onion has slightly browned (this will take about 5 minutes), add the garlic, tomatoes, and sugar. Turn the heat down to medium-low heat and allow it to simmer until it thickens a bit- about 30 minutes. You should have around 2 or 2 and ½ cups of sauce by this step. If you have more than that, keep simmering until the amount has reduced to what it should be. Remove sauce from heat and set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Assemble the pizzas:
  1. Remove one of the (now puffy) dough balls from the refrigerator. Keep the other one in the refrigerator so it stays cold. Roll it out on your lightly floured work surface, making it into about a 12-inch circle. Place over a 9x2 inch cake pan and press it tightly into the pan using your fingers. At this point, trim any excess dough off the edges carefully with a knife. Repeat this whole process with the 2nd dough ball if you are making both pizzas at this time.
  2. Brush the top edges of the dough with olive oil (this will make the crust glow/shine). Fill each pizza with ½ of the cheese (about 2 cups per pizza) and your toppings of choice.
  3. Pour sauce (approximately 1 and ¼ cups) on top of each. You can use less if you prefer less sauce and discard the excess sauce. Sprinkle each pizza with ¼ cup of grated Parmesan cheese.
  4. Bake the cake pans on top of a large baking sheet to prevent the spilling of any sauce over the sides of the pans. This didn't happen to me, but better to be on the safe side and prevent a big mess. Bake for 20-28 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Optional: loosely cover the pizzas with aluminum foil after 15 minutes of baking to prevent too much browning on the crust (some ovens bake unevenly).
  5. Remove the pizzas from the oven and allow to cool in the pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Slice and serve. Place any leftover pizza in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 5 days. Reheat leftovers in a 300 degree oven for 16-20 minutes or until hot.
To make ahead:
  1. Pizza dough may be prepared as usual. In the step where the dough needs to rise in the refrigerator for 1 hour, you may leave it in the refrigerator for up to 1 day, then punch it down to remove any air bubbles before rolling out. You may freeze the pizza doughs after preparing them and instead of allowing to rise in the refrigerator, freeze for up to 2 months. To bake, allow the doughs to thaw overnight in the refrigerator and allow to rise at room temperature for 1 hour before continuing.

Chicago-Style Deep Dish Pizza is an authentic Italian main course or appetizer recipe with a thick, buttery crust, sweet homemade tomato sauce, and plenty of melted mozzarella cheese!

Recipe source:  adapted from,, and

Recipe for Chicago-Style Deep Dish Pizza is an authentic Italian main course or appetizer recipe with a buttery crust, homemade tomato sauce, and plenty of melted mozzarella cheese! Your whole family will go crazy for this.

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These are a few of my favorite things: cooking, baking, Broadway musicals, cruises, Disney World, Christmas, thunderstorms, 80's and country music, and my favorite pastime has ALWAYS been baseball. Go Yankees!

16 Responses to “Chicago-Style Deep Dish Pizza”

  1. Teresa
    January 14, 2016 at 8:09 AM #

    HI Ashley, I’m so so sorry to hear about your father passing. I know and feel your pain. I lost my dad in 2009 due to his health and bad heart. he passed away a month after his 75th birthday. He passed 3 months before the Holidays. I miss him terribly! I feel the same way when it comes to the Holidays and his birthday and my birthday.
    But I know in my heart he’s always with me in spirit and I will get to see him again in Heaven.
    I hope I didn’t upset you by talking about my dad and letting you know that I know how your feeling and what your going through.
    Hugs, Teresa
    I love your blog so much!
    Thank you for sharing your deep dish pizza recipe!! You always have great recipes in your blog!!

  2. January 14, 2016 at 8:55 AM #

    Hugs, Ashley. I know how difficult it is to lose a family member, and I know that your dad is smiling upon you right now. I’d be happy to come over and share your deep dish pizza – even if it’s too close too bedtime! 🙂

  3. January 14, 2016 at 9:17 AM #

    Ashley…keep trekking along, keep that chin up, and keep cooking and making your dad proud. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us here. And thanks for sharing delicious recipes. I was surprised by how good deep dish pizza was in Chicago when we went last year. This is bringing back great memories. Looks amazing!

  4. January 14, 2016 at 11:07 AM #

    What a beautiful way to remember your dad – this looks amazing!

  5. January 14, 2016 at 1:40 PM #

    I hope you continue to heal from your father’s death. I’m sure the holidays are very difficult, but hopefully they will become easier. I’m sure your dad is watching over you, and I know he would love a slice of this pizza!

  6. January 14, 2016 at 2:48 PM #

    So sorry for you loss, my dad is getting very old and I think about how I will deal with losing him all the time…and as for the pizza, I’m a dyed in the wool New Yorker, but this is making me question my pizza loyalties 😉

  7. January 14, 2016 at 8:16 PM #

    Oh Ashley, I wish I could give you a big hug! I know today is very difficult for you. This pizza looks incredible! Big hugs! XO

  8. January 14, 2016 at 8:56 PM #

    I’m so very sorry about your Dad, and my heart truly aches for you. I bet he’s so proud of you for writing this, and honouring him this way. I think that’s the interesting thing about food, it can bond us and evoke such powerful memories.

    I lost my Dad in 2007, he had cancer. I took care of him for almost a year before he passed. I don’t know how else to describe it but to say it was the best and worst experience of my life. Getting to know him better over that year was worth all the pain and heartache. I miss him and my mom every single day.

    I think it’s great you wrote about this. Helps us get to know you better. Plus you brought pizza which is always the best thing to eat when you’re feeling blue or nostalgic. Big hugs to you. You’re Dad would be so proud of you. xx

  9. January 15, 2016 at 6:47 AM #

    Dear Ashley, This looks wonderful!! I have never made a deep dish pie before, but I am inspired to try it. A wonderful tribute to your father…wishing you a wonderful weekend ahead. xo, Catherine

  10. January 15, 2016 at 11:04 AM #

    I know you must miss your dad terribly. Sounds like he had a very profound influence on your life.
    I’ve always wanted to try making a deep-dish pizza. It looks amazing!

  11. January 15, 2016 at 11:41 AM #

    What a great post remembering and honoring your father. I can’t even imagine how difficult this past year must have been for you! And I love that you made deep dish pizza for this post. It looks delicious and I know what you mean with feeling disgusting after eating too much afterwards. It’s so, so hard not to overeat!

  12. January 15, 2016 at 2:04 PM #

    Oh Ashley I’m SO sorry for what you’re going through…. my heart breaks for YOU! 🙁 Hold on to those special memories you have…… Xo

    ps. I’ve been wanting to make deep dish pizza for a long time, now I have a reason to 🙂

  13. January 15, 2016 at 2:21 PM #

    I’m sorry to hear about your Dad. I’m sure he would have loved a big ol’ slice of this one. My dad passed 10 years ago and it never really goes away. It gets better, but never gone.

    Also, I am DROOLING over this pizza. I had some of the best deep dish pizza in Northern Arizona when I was in college. The crust was amazing and they would give you a bottle of honey to drizzle on the crust when you were done.

  14. January 15, 2016 at 2:26 PM #

    It looks wonderful, Ashley and I will tell you that the love does not diminish, the ‘missing’ of someone does not change, but the pain is lightened with time.
    God bless!

  15. January 15, 2016 at 3:47 PM #

    The first anniversary is so hard – I remember when your dad passed, Ashley – this is such a lovely tribute to keep his memory alive.

  16. February 7, 2016 at 8:36 PM #

    Dear Ashley,

    After living in Chicago for twenty-five years we’ve moved to New Mexico…not the home of fabulous pizza.
    I just made your deep dish pizza recipe (only change I made was turkey pepperoni).
    Thank you so much. It turned out amazing…so much better than anything we can find here and deep dish…forget about it.

    We love living in New Mexico and now we needn’t miss our favorite pizza. Can’t wait to make it again.

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