Chicago’s Favorite: A Step-by-Step Guide to Making a Perfect Deep-Dish Pizza

  • By: Mike
  • Date: January 31, 2023
  • Time to read: 4 min.


Welcome, friends in pizza, to the classiest and cheesiest classic in the American pizza scene: the beloved Chicago-style deep-dish pizza! While the history of this unique pizza style has been somewhat lost to time, it remains one of the most popular types of pizza enjoyed today. Just a glance at the towering bites of gooey cheese and imported Italian tomatoes that sit amidst a deep and buttery crust is enough to make any pizza-lover’s mouth water.

If you’re looking to make your own perfect deep-dish pizza, look no further! We’ll cover the secrets to a crispy and buttery crust, tips for filling your deep-dish with the perfect toppings, and the best practices for baking the ultimate pizza of your dreams. Before we dig into the details, let’s get jacked up on a little pizza history.

Chicago-style deep dish pizza first appeared on the scene in the 1940s, when it was made in the first pizzeria in the city, Pizzeria Uno, by chef Rudy Malnati Sr. The original recipe for the pizza was made with the finest Italian ingredients, including imported canned San Marzano tomatoes and thick slices of gooey mozzarella. These ingredients still form the basis of most deep-dish pizzas today, and are why the pizza is so beloved.

Today, Chicago deep-dish has taken on a life of its own and is now its own type of pizza. There are several variables that make deep-dish pizza special, including its deep and thick crust, thick layer of cheese and toppings (which can be added to your liking!), and the fact that it has to be cooked in a pan. This allows deep-dish to be built up in layers, giving it its signature tall and towering appearance.

Now that the history lesson is out of the way, let’s jump into the first step of how to make the perfect deep-dish pizza. The key to achieving crispy buttered crust is getting the dough just right. Unlike thin-crust pizza, deep-dish has a much thicker and denser dough. This means you have to ensure the dough is well-mixed, only lightly-floured, and kept cold until it’s ready to be used.

To achieve an ultra-crispy crust, another key space involves pre-baking the dough. Pre-baking allows the crust to get its crunch before being filled with all the toppings, so it won’t get soggy. To do this, take an oven-safe skillet or cast-iron pan and lightly spray with cooking spray. Roll out the dough and give it a couple turns in the pan to coat it in the cooking spray. Place it in the oven for about 12 minutes and cook until the edges start to turn golden brown.

With the crust taken care of, it’s time to move on to the filling. Your filling should be as unique as you are, and you can use any type of cheese or topping you’d like. Start by spreading a layer of your favorite pizza sauce on the crust, then layer it with different kinds of cheese (gruyere, gorgonzola, mozzarella, etc), any sliced up toppings, and a base layer of your favorite herbs and spices.

To make baking a deep-dish pizza easier, there are a few tips and tricks you can use. First, be sure to leave a few inches of room between the edge of the crust and the filling. This will prevent the cheese and other toppings from spilling over the sides. Also, to ensure the pizza comes out crisp and golden, be sure to bake it at a high temperature (450-500 Fahrenheit) and only bake it until the cheese is golden and bubbly, usually about 20 to 25 minutes. This will ensure the crust gets nice and crisp!

And, voila! You have now created the perfect deep-dish pizza. There’s nothing quite like the taste of the perfect slice of Chicago-style deep-dish pizza and, with the steps outlined above, you can make it in your own kitchen.

Now that you know the secrets to making an amazing deep-dish pizza, let’s talk pros and cons of the other popular pizza styles. While thin-crust pizza is typically seen as healthier than deep-dish, thin-crust can also become soggy and limp if the toppings are too heavy. On the flip side, deep-dish pizza is loved for its incredible flavor and texture, but it takes a bit longer to bake and can be a little greasier than thin-crust.

So, which one is the best? It really depends on what type of pizza experience you’re looking for! If you’re looking for convenience, thin-crust is a great option since it bakes quickly and is generally on the healthier side. If flavor and texture are more important to you, deep-dish is the way to go. It’s a delicious, indulgent experience that is sure to please the whole family.

Thanks for joining me on this deep-dish pizza journey! Whether you are a pizza enthusiast looking to make your own perfect pie or simply looking for advice on where to find the best pizzerias in your area, I hope that this guide has given you some helpful insight into the deliciousness of deep-dish pizza. From all of us at the Chicago Pizza Academy, happy baking, friends!

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