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Chicago-Style Deep Dish Pizza (Skillet Recipe)

Nothing compares to sinking your teeth into a thick saucy cheesy slice of pizza. Our Chicago-Style Deep Dish Pizza recipe is easy to make and the perfect recipe for the family to make together.

A slice of pizza with dripping melted cheese being lifted from a skillet holding the baked deep dish pizza - Hostess At Heart

Follow our simple instructions to make the delicious dough that is perfectly crispy on the outside and soft inside. Add your favorite pizza toppings and be transported back to the last time you had pizza in the Windy City.

Why You’ll Love This Deep Dish Pizza Recipe

  • Thick, perfectly cooked, chewy on the inside, crispy on the bottom Chicago-style crust. Man. That just makes my mouth water!
  • Strong enough to carry your favorite toppings.
  • Deeply satisfying and very filling when you have hungry people to feed.
  • Making pizza together is a fun family activity.
  • Using a cast iron skillet gives the crust a delicious exterior crunch and a soft tender center. 

What is “Chicago-Style” Pizza?

This recipe is true Chicago style meaning that the dough is a different consistency than a usual pizza crust. It is denser and the cornmeal makes the outside of the crust crispier than its usual counterpart. It maintains its softness on the inside of the dough. Deep dish means that the dough is baked in a smaller pan, making a smaller pizza with a beautifully thick crust.

Ingredients you’ll need for the Deep Dish Pizza Recipe

Ingredients required to make Chicago Deep Dish Pizza recipe including Pizza Sauce, Mozarella, parmesan, cornmeal, flour, salt, oil, yeast, water, sausage. Hostess At Heart
Deep Dish Pizza Ingredients
  • Warm Water. Tap water is what we use.
  • Instant Dry Yeast. Check the expiration date on your yeast so you know it’s going to do its job.
  • Cornmeal. We use medium-grind cornmeal in the dough recipe and sprinkle it over the bottom of the pan to keep our pizza from sticking to the pan.
  • All-Purpose Flour.
  • Olive Oil. Vegetable, canola, or corn oil can be used.
  • White Sugar.
  • Ground Sausage. Don’t use breakfast sausage. It has a different flavor profile from ground sausage. Ground beef is an easy substitution or you can leave the meat out altogether for a vegetarian homemade pizza.
  • Fresh Mozzarella. We like the way fresh mozzarella melts as the pizza bakes. You can substitute it with shredded cheese.
  • Pizza Sauce. You can use storebought or make your favorite pizza sauce.
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese.

Please note, that the printable recipe card has ingredient quantities, complete instructions, and nutritional information. The following is a quick overview of the recipe.

How To Make Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza 

We used an electric mixer to make our dough recipe but you can make it in a large bowl just as easily.

Step One. Proof the Yeast.

Top down view of a bowl holding dry yeast and water - Hostess At Heart
Combine yeast with warm water

In a small bowl, mix the yeast with the water together. Let it stand for 5 minutes.

Step Two. Mix the flour and cornmeal.

Fit your stand mixer with the dough hook. In the bowl of a stand mixer, stir together 1 cup of the flour and the cornmeal.

Add flour mixture with liquid ingredients - Hostess At Heart
Combine yeast mixture with flour mixture

Step Three. Add the remaining ingredients for the Chicago Deep Dish Pizza Recipe.

Add the olive oil, sugar, and the yeast mixture. Mix together. Add the remaining flour in tiny increments until you achieve a soft dough. It will be slightly sticky. Let the dough rise in a greased bowl lightly covered in a warm place.

Step Four. Prepare your toppings for Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza.

Ground sausage being cooked in a cast iron skillet

Brown and drain your sausage. Drain excess fat from the pan, reserving 1 teaspoon in the pab. Preheat the oven.

Step Five. Roll out the dough and asemble the pizza.

Roll the dough out on a floured surface into a large circle. Lightly dust the oiled pan with a teaspoon of cornmeal. Fit the dough into the prepared pan pressing it lightly to form it. Be sure it reaches the rim of the pan but does not extend past it.

Place a layer of the mozzarella directly over the dough in the bottom of the pan. Place the cooked sausage directly over the mozzarella. Pour the pizza sauce over the sausage. It should completely cover the sausage and should reach the top of the dough. Sprinkle the grated parmesan over the top of the pizza.

Step Six. Bake your Chicago Style Deep Dish.

Bake until golden brown. If the crust starts to get a little dark, cover loosely with aluminum foil.

Top down view of a Chicago Deep Dish pizza baked in a cast iron skillet - Hostess At Heart

How To Reheat & Store Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza 

Best way to store Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza 

Keep your leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. It can also be kept in a freezer-quality plastic zip bag.

Can I freeze  Cast Iron Deep Dish Pizza  

Yes. Freeze individual slices spread out on a baking sheet and once frozen they can be combined in the same container. Grab the exact number of slices you need to thaw and reheat. You can also freeze the pizza before baking it, then thaw and bake the pizza as described.

How to reheat Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza 

It is best to reheat it in the oven at 350ºF for 20 minutes or in the air fryer on medium heat for 10 minutes. This will maintain the crispness of the crust. You can use an oven if needed, and if you have a convection setting use that.

Sideview of a slice of baked sausage pizza - Hostess At Heart

Variations and Substitutions

While sausage is very traditional, you can also make a deep dish pizza with your favorite pizza toppings.

  • Use pineapple and ham, or pepperoni layers.
  • Try bacon and onion or make a supreme with everything you love.
  • Add your favorite veggies such as mushrooms or bell peppers.

The skies are the limit! It might not be a traditional Chicago Deep-Dish pizza, but the crust will be there, and it still works.

A slice of thick Chicago deep dish pizza being lifted from the pan. - Hostess At Heart

Hostess Tips and Tricks

  • If you do not have a cast iron skillet, use a deep dish pan such as a 10-inch round cake pan, pizza pan, or even a springform pan. You want a pan where you can press the dough up the sides of the pan. You have enough dough for a 10-inch pizza. If the pan is larger you will have a thin crust. Still delicious, however, and your cooking time may be a couple of minutes less.
  • This pizza is meant to be eaten with a fork and knife. 
  • Let the pizza cool for 5 minutes before slicing with a sharp knife.
  • One of my favorite things about Chicago Style Pizza is that the sauce has tomato chunks in it. Add a can of drained petite diced tomatoes to your can of pizza sauce for the perfect marriage! You can also add Italian seasoning to make store-bought taste homemade. We love to sprinkle fresh basil over the top too.
Front view of a slice of this sausage pizza on a plate. Hostess At Heart

If you enjoyed our Chicago Deep Dish Pizza Recipe, I think you’ll enjoy these too!

If you’re a sourdough lover, how about making a pizza with Sourdough Pizza Crust? Make sure to try our Easy Pizza Knots for a fun take on this classic favorite. If it’s cheesy bread you want, make this Cheese Babka. For an interesting variation on the theme, make Pizza Casserole – it’s a family favorite.

I hope you enjoyed this delicious recipe as much as we do. Drop me a comment below, and don’t forget to give it a star rating. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐. Your comments and ratings help others decide if this recipe is for them too.

A slice of pizza dripping with melted cheese being lifted out of a cast-iron pan holding the rest of the pizza - Hostess At Heart

Deep Dish Chicago Pizza Recipe

Author: Julie Menghini
Make your own Chicago-style deep dish pizza at home! Our easy recipe starts with a tender crust layered with layers of cheese, sauce, and sausage.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Course Dinner, Main Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword: Homemade Pizza, Pizza
Servings: 8

Ingredients
 
 

  • 3/4 cup lukewarm water (8 ounces)
  • 1 tbsp instant dry yeast 1 packet
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal plus 1 teaspoon
  • cups all-purpose flour divided (plus a little extra)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp white sugar
  • 1 lb ground sausage
  • 3.5 oz fresh mozzarella sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 2 cups pizza sauce
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Instructions
 

  • In a small bowl, mix together the yeast with the water and let it stand for 5 minutes.
  • Fit your stand mixer with the dough hook. In the bowl of your stand mixer, stir together 1 cup of the flour and the cornmeal.
  • Add the olive oil, white sugar and the yeast mixture. Mix together on Stir Speed until mixed and moistened. Add the remaining flour in tiny increments until you achieve a soft dough. It will be slightly sticky. Place in a bowl that has been sprayed liberally with cooking spray. Cover the bowl and allow it to rise for one hour at room temperature.
  • While the dough is rising, cook the sausage in the 10-inch cast iron skillet on medium heat until browned and cooked through, about 8 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside, reserving approximately 1 teaspoon of the oil in the pan.
  • Preheat the oven to 425 °F.
  • Roll the dough out on a floured surface until it is approximately 13 inches in diameter and 1/4 inch thick.
  • Lightly dust the oiled pan with the teaspoon of cornmeal.
  • Fit the dough into the prepared pan pressing it lightly to form it. Be sure it reaches the rim of the pan but does not extend past it.
  • Place a layer of the mozzarella directly over the dough in the bottom of the pan.
  • Place the cooked sausage directly over the mozzarella.
  • Pour the pizza sauce over the sausage. It should completely cover the sausage and should reach the top of the dough.
  • Sprinkle the grated parmesan over the top of the pizza.
  • Bake for 20 minutes and check it. If the crust starts to get a little dark, cover loosely with tin foil and continue baking for an additional 15 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before slicing with a sharp knife.
  • Enjoy hot!

Notes

  • You can use the same skillet to brown your sausage and bake the pizza.
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. It is best to reheat it in the oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or in the air fryer on medium heat for 10 minutes. This will maintain its crispness in the crust.
  • This pizza can be frozen prior to baking. Assemble the pizza and store in an airtight container for up to 6 months. Allow the pizza to thaw out completely on the counter before baking.

Nutritional Disclaimer

This recipe was calculated using the exact brands and measurements I used to make this recipe. If you are following a strict diet please note changing anything will cause the nutritional info to change. My calculations are intended as a guide only.

Tried this recipe?Let me know how it was!

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An image for pinterest of a slice of thick pizza dripping with melted cheese being lifted out of the pizza pan - Hostess At Heart
5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)
Recipe Rating




Janelle

Tuesday 19th of December 2023

This was absolutely delicious!

Julie Menghini

Wednesday 20th of December 2023

I'm glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for stopping by and letting me know you enjoyed it.

Lynn

Tuesday 19th of December 2023

This is the closest I have ever gotten to my favorite deep dish in Chicago! SO GOOD! Thanks for the recipe!

Julie Menghini

Wednesday 20th of December 2023

Thank you, Lynn. Really glad you enjoyed it!

Debi

Tuesday 19th of December 2023

I made this with my pizza loving husband and (well) he loved it. All that cheesy goodness. All that deep dish pizza ooey gooey - it's just crave worthy!

Julie Menghini

Wednesday 20th of December 2023

It's definitely delicious comfort food. Thanks, Debi.

Laura Ashley Johnson

Monday 18th of December 2023

This is one of the best pizzas I’ve ever had!

Julie Menghini

Monday 18th of December 2023

Thank you, Laura! It's definitely delicious comfort food.

Sue Ringsdorf

Sunday 17th of December 2023

Pizza is our absolute favorite and this deep dish style is right up our alley! DELICIOUS!!

Julie Menghini

Monday 18th of December 2023

Thanks, Sue! We love this one too.

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