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Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza Recipe

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Nothing says love like a Chicago-style deep-dish pizza! That’s right—pizza is its own love language. This recipe shows how to make pan pizza, in easy step-by-step detail! An incredible and easy butter crust pizza is filled with cheese, your favorite toppings, and a rich, zesty chunky tomato sauce, it can even be frozen for later!

October is National Pizza Month and I am thrilled to be joining other bloggers for Perfect Pizzas Week.

Top down shot of Chicago Style deep dish pizza in pan with parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes nearby.

I enjoy giving precise details in my recipe posts to lead my readers through any questions. If you’re just here for the printable recipe, feel free to click “Jump to Recipe” right under the title of this post, and you’ll head straight there!

When the weekend comes, a Chicago-style deep dish pizza recipe hits the spot. It’s time for delicious cheesy goodness, pepperoni, sausage, and favorite toppings. Take this deep dish to the park, a ball game picnic, or a potluck, or eat it in front of your favorite show.

Butter Crust Pizza Dough

This butter crust pizza dough recipe makes you look like a pizzeria chef! We’re all busy, and if you need to make your time in the kitchen count, this is the recipe for you. It’s two meals: eat one now and save the other for later! And this recipe is easy enough for a beginner!

Deep Dish Pizza Dough Ingredients

Every deep-dish pizza dough recipe is going to include basics like flour and yeast, but this one is like a true Chicago-Style deep-dish pizza crust. The butter makes it absolutely silky and delicious!

Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza Dough ingredients, l-r butter, sugar, salt, all purpose flour, warm water, cornmeal, melted butter, yeast.
  • All-purpose flour | I use organic all-purpose flour in my recipe.
  • Cornmeal | Chicago-style butter crust pizza is a unique dough, the cornmeal is the signature ingredient!
  • Active dry yeast | Yeast is a living organism, but it stays fresh stored in the fridge or freezer.
  • Butter | Butter adds the best flavor, so use the good stuff!
  • Olive oil | Here’s a tip: pure olive oils congeal in the fridge.

Chicago-Style Deep Dish Pizza Ingredients

Here are some suggested ingredients; our family usually does one pretty basic pepperoni pizza as shown in the video. But the second pizza, I usually go all out on; with caramelized peppers and onions, artichoke hearts, olives, and pepperoni or sausage, or both! And whatever else I can find in my fridge!

  • Cheese | It would hardly be pizza without cheese and as true traditional Chicago-Style deep dish pizza, with a melting layer of mozzarella cheese on the bottom and a little parmesan sprinkled on the top.
  • Pepperoni | I use uncured meats, to our family this is the quintessential ingredient!
  • Italian sausage | You can mix it up with anything from mild to hot!
  • Veggies | I’ve suggested artichoke hearts, peppers, onions, mushrooms, and olives, but you can go wild, adding whatever strikes your fancy!
  • Chunky Tomato Sauce | I didn’t leave you hanging without a recipe for thick, chunky pizza sauce, included in the recipe!
Chicago style deep dish pizza in pan with a slice removed and melting cheese and pepperoni oozing from slice.

What is Chicago-Style Pizza

Originally invented in the ‘40s, the Chicago deep-dish pizza is typically characterized by a tall, butter crust that caramelizes as it bakes, holding a thick layer of mozzarella cheese and robust chunky tomato sauce.

A thick, almost casserole style pizza too rich to eat with your hands and a shameless amount of gooey cheese, best eaten with a fork and knife, it might not be for everyday, but special occasions are perfect for deep dish pan pizza! And by special occasions I mean, Friday or Saturday!

I have eaten many authentic Chicago Deep-Dish pizza’s in Chicago (drool), this recipe mimics Lou Malnati’s pizzas, which you can actually have shipped frozen right to your door. Lou’s signature butter crust pizza is what makes this the best Chicago-style deep dish pizza recipe!

How to Make Pan Pizza

Start with making the dough for this recipe for deep dish pizza, it’s so easy, read on and see!

In a stand mixer bowl, add the flour, cornmeal, kosher salt, sugar, and yeast.

Slowly add the butter and warm water, with mixer on low and fitted with “J” hook.

Beat the dough until it pulls away from the sides of the bowl—it only takes a few minutes. The dough should be smooth and stretch without breaking.

Form the dough into a ball and place it into a large bowl greased with olive oil, coating the dough entirely. Cover and let it rise in a warm space until doubled for 1-2 hours.

I turn my oven to 150 degrees, let preheat, then TURN OFF and place dough in the warm oven to rise.

After rising, punch down the dough (my favorite step). Knead on a floured surface.

Spread remaining butter onto the dough and roll up into a log. Shape and return the dough ball into a greased bowl. Rise inside the fridge this time for about an hour, covered.

Deep Dish Pizza Dough Balls placed inside baggies for freezing.

Fresh Tip

  • At this point, the dough may be frozen for future use. Simply place the dough ball(s) inside a freeze baggie sprayed with oil.

Best Chicago Deep Dish Pizza

For a deep dish pizza, roll out the dough ball into a 12″ circle, this dough is really easy to work with!

Place it over the cake pan, pressing it into the sides and bottom. If there is a lot of overhang, trim, but I like a little irregularity for a more rustic pizza dough.

If not using the rolled-out dough right away, cover it with a damp tea towel or damp paper towel until ready to use.

Start by filling pizza dough lined pan with 2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese, then layer with your favorite toppings and sprinkle with a little Italian Seasoning and/or red pepper flakes. I used uncured pepperoni, see variations below for all sorts of ideas.

Then evenly spread deep dish pizza pan with 1 ¼ cups of chunky tomato sauce, topping with ¼ cup of grated parmesan cheese. Bake at 425F degrees for about 25-28 minutes until bubbly and crust is golden brown. If crust is browning too quickly, cover with a little foil.


  • Deep Dish Veggie Pizza | Use any veggies you like! Think outside the pizza box! Try asparagus or cauliflower and all the other veggies topped with a sprinkling of balsamic vinegar. Presto! You might want to pre-roast the veggies to ensure they are cooked.
  • Individual deep dish | Half the fun is choosing your toppings. Try these mini deep dish pizza pans so everyone can personalize their dinner! This is great for teens and kids!
  • Make It Yours | use your favorite toppings! Like a Hawaiian deep dish pizza, go for it. Or maybe you are more of a meat lovers deep dish kinda person, load it up with Italian sausage, Canadian bacon, pepperoni.
  • Deep Dish Cheese Pizza | Or maybe you are more simple and just want a deep dish cheese pizza! Add some unique cheese like, smoked gouda, maybe a little fresh mozzarella along with the shredded!
Chicago-Style Deep Dish Pizza in pan after baking with golden crust.

When you’re ready for an Italian week, check out Grandpa Frank’s Spaghetti Sauce. Next, try the Best Italian Pasta Salad with Sun Dried Tomatoes, yummy with artichoke hearts and a simple balsamic vinaigrette! Then you have got to try my “souper” easy Easy Italian Wedding Soup with savory meatball. And don’t forget dessert; try this traditional (and easy) Tiramisu.

Expert Tips

  • Don’t skimp on the sugar | Yeast is alive, and it feeds off the sugar to rise. This is essential for success. 
  • Bake it HOT! | Professional pizza ovens are 800 degrees Fahrenheit, so make sure your oven is fully preheated to the full temperature to improve your deep dish pizza. 
  • Store your extra dough | You can keep your pizza dough in the fridge for one or two days or in the freezer for about 3 months.
  • Kneading the dough | If you have a stand mixer, let it do the work for you, but if you are all about getting an arm work-out, then check out this kneading mat for pies and pizza. This is also great for rolling out dough.
Pulling out slice of deep dish pan pizza.

Recipe adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I store my pizza dough in the freezer?

It’s easy! Just coat with olive oil and put the dough balls into freezer bags. When ready to use, remove from freezer preferably overnight in the fridge, then remove to counter an hour before rolling.

Can I freeze my dish deep pizza with all the ingredients on it?

Yes! Pizza lovers will love this method. Flash freeze assembled deep dish pizza in the pan for 1-2 hours in the freezer, remove from pan and wrap well in plastic wrap or foil and then place in an airtight baggie. Freeze for 3-4 months.

How to bake frozen deep dish pizza?

For an assembled Chicago Style deep dish pizza, when ready to bake, bake frozen pizza in a preheated 425°F (218°C) oven for 25-30 minutes for a cheese pizza, 30-35 for a veggie pizza, and 30-40 minutes for a meat pizza—covering with foil if the crust starts getting too brown. 

Why is the second rise done in the fridge?

The cooler temperature slows the process, giving the final product more flavor, you can keep in the refrigerator for up to 48 hours. 

Best Ways to Store Deep Dish Pizza

Store leftover recipe for deep dish pizza wrapped tightly in aluminum foil and then placed in an airtight container in the fridge, 5-7 days. 

Reheating Deep Dish Pizza (3 Easy Ways)

Pizza should never be reheated in the microwave oven; ew, it makes it super chewy, with the crust and toppings turning into a soggy mess. Please take a few minutes and do it right!

1. Reheating Pizza in a Skillet (Best Method)

In my opinion the skillet method will give you the best results. In a cast iron skillet is the best way to reheat one or two small leftover slices of pizza. Oil skillet and place skillet over medium-high heat, add slice or slices of pizza if room, cover, reduce to medium heat, and heat for 4-5 minutes until crust is crispy and cheese is melted and hot. 

2. How to Reheat Leftover Deep Dish Pizza in Oven

The second best way to reheat leftover pizza is in a conventional oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil. The lower temperature will give you better results. Rub or spray with a little oil or cooking spray, this will give you a crispy crust. Place slices of cold pizza or whole pizza if desired onto the prepared cookie sheet. Brush or sprinkle crust with a little water, then cover with aluminum foil and bake until cheese is hot about 15-20 minutes. 

3. How to Reheat Pizza in an Air Fryer

Depending on your air fryer model, you can reheat 1-2 pieces of pizza in a bucket-style air fryer, for a toaster oven air fryer style, then it will fit a lot more slices of pizza.

Line the basket with a sheet of aluminum foil poking a few holes for air circulation, and spray with a little spray oil. Set slices of pizza into the air fryer basket, without overlapping and spritz with a little water to aid against moisture loss. 

  • Thin Crust Pizza | Place in preheated 350° F air fryer and air fry for 3-4 minutes.
  • Thick Pizza | Do the same thing, it might need to heat for another minute longer.
  • Deep Dish Pizza Slices | It can be heated at the same temperature, for 3- 5 minutes.
Image of slice of deep dish Chicago style pan pizza on plate with a fork and hot honey behind.

What to Serve with this Recipe for Deep Dish Pizza

This Chicago-style deep-dish pizza recipe is a meal all by itself, but here are some suggestions.

  • A simple crisp green salad is my personal favorite! A little chopped romaine, parm cheese, maybe some tomatoes and your favorite dressing!
  • Caesar or a wedge salad, or try this amazing 1905 salad.
  • We love dunking our crust in homemade Ranch dressing or blue cheese! YUMMY!
  • Get on the HOT HONEY craze and drizzle some of the top of your pizza!
  • Also try garlic knots and mozzarella sticks, because…more bread and cheese!

Don’t want all the fuss of a deep-dish pizza, then try my 10 minute Pizza Dough recipe and How to Bake Homemade Pizza!

More Italian Recipes

Give these other authentic Italian recipes a try, you won’t be sorry! I know you will love my Italian sauces too – try my nut-free pesto, 10-minute Alfredo sauce and this easy Marinara sauce (doubles as a pizza sauce).

Stuffed shells on plate, drizzled with Alfredo sauce and some crunch breadcrumbs.

Giant Cheese Stuffed Shells Recipe (Olive Garden)

Giant Cheese Stuffed Shells Recipe are filled with Italian cheeses, in marinara sauce and topped with Alfredo and crunchy breadcrumbs! A copycat Olive Garden stuffed shells recipe.

Hand dipping slice of stromboli into marinara dipping sauce.

Easy Homemade Authentic Italian Stromboli Recipe

A fun and easy authentic Italian Stromboli recipe! This recipe has yummy ingredients like thinly sliced salami, pepperoni, capicola, and a blend of Italian cheeses. It's a family favorite and will remind you of your favorite local pizzeria.

Italian Pizza Rustica Easter Pie Recipe with slice on place with fresh basil.

Italian Pizza Rustica Recipe (Easter Pie)

A traditional Italian Pizza Rustica is like a pastry, pie, and pizza all baked into one flaky, flavorful, tender dish. And it’s amazing! Stuffed with cheese, eggs, meats, and vegetables. A traditional Italian Easter pie.

Chicago style deep dish pizza recipe pin with top image of full deep dish pizza pie and bottom image of pizza before baking filled with cheese.

I hope you loved this recipe for deep dish pizza — if you did, would you share your creation on InstagramFacebook and Pinterest? And be sure to comment below!

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Don’t forget to give it a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ star rating and comment below the recipe!

Chicago-Style Deep dish pizza in pan with condiments fresh out of the oven.

Chicago-Style Deep Dish Pizza & Dough Recipe

Author: Kathleen Pope
4.88 from 8 votes
This recipe shows how to make deep dish pan pizza, in easy step-by-step detail! An incredible and easy butter crust pizza is filled with cheese, your favorite toppings, and a rich, zesty chunky tomato sauce, it can even be frozen for later! Crust, Sauce and pizza recipe included.
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Inactive (Rise) Time 3 hours
Total Time 4 hours 10 minutes
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American, Italian
Servings 12 Slices, 2 9-inch pizzas
Calories 492 kcal


Deep Dish Pizza Dough (makes two)

  • 3 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast, instant yeast may be used (1 standard packet)
  • 1 ¼ cups slightly warm water, not hot, but warm to the touch
  • ½ cup butter, divided (¼ cup softened to room temp ¼ cup melted and cooled slightly) (Salted or unsalted butter, if using unsalted, increase salt to 1 ¼-1 ½ teaspoons)
  • Olive oil for coating the bowl

Deep Dish Pizza Ingredients (divided between two pizzas)

  • 4 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese, grated (also try Asiago or Quatro Frommagi)

Pizza Sauce (or favorite marinara sauce, but make the sauce!)

  • 2 tablespoons butter, regular or unsalted
  • 1 small onion, grated on a cheese grater, about ⅓ of a cup
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¾- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, optional, but so good
  • 1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes*
  • ¼ teaspoon brown sugar, or granulated sugar, optional

Optional Topping Suggestions

  • 6 ounces pepperoni, Uncured or regular, try turkey pepperoni
  • 1-2 teaspoons Italian Seasoning blend
  • 6 ounces Italian sausage, mild or hot, cooked, crumbled
  • Canadian bacon
  • Artichoke Hearts, diced in large chunks
  • Sliced bell peppers, any color
  • Sliced sweet or red onions
  • Sliced mushrooms
  • Sliced Olives


Deep Dish Butter Pizza Crust

  • Make dough at least 3 hours ahead of time! You will need two deep dish round pans, 9” x 2” for this recipe, or you may use a 9” inch springform pan. I have also made this in a 10” cast iron skillet.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer* fitted with a dough hook (J hook) combine flour, cornmeal, kosher salt, sugar and yeast. With mixer on low speed mix the above ingredients, then slowly add the ¼ cup of slightly cooled melted butter and the warm water. If the water is too hot, it will kill the yeast, you just want it warm. 
  • With the mixer on low speed, beat or stir the dough until everything begins to moisten, beat the dough until it is soft and elastic and pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 4-5 minutes.
  • If the dough is too stiff (hard) , beat in an additional teaspoon of warm water, or if it’s too soft and sticky, add in additional tablespoon of flour. 
  • Remove dough from bowl and form into a ball and place in a large bowl greased with some olive oil, place the dough ball inside, turning to coat both sides. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and allow to rise in a warm place for 1-2 hours, until doubled in size. If you have a proofing setting on your oven, turn it to proof and place bowl in a warm oven. If you do not have a proofing setting, preheat oven to 150 degrees F, once it is heated, TURN OFF OVEN. Place covered dough inside oven; close oven and turn on lights, the residual heat will help dough rise. 
  • Once the dough has risen, gently punch down dough and place dough ball on lightly floured surface and knead gently a couple times to remove any air bubbles. Roll dough into 15×12 inch rectangle, it will be very easy to work with, almost like play-doh. 
  • Spread remaining ¼ cup softened butter on top of dough. Roll up dough from 12” side (shorter) the length of the dough, cut the dough log in half using a bench scraper or sharp knife. Gently shape the dough logs into two dough balls and return to greased bowl, cover again with plastic wrap or foil and this time allow to rise in the refrigerator for one hour (not a warm place). This is a great time to make your pizza sauce. 

Pizza Sauce

  • Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Then add grated onion, oregano, salt, and red pepper flakes, stirring occasionally until lightly browned/golden, about 5 minutes. During the last 2 minutes, add minced garlic and stir until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.
  • Add the tomatoes and sugar if using, stirring to combine. Reduce heat to simmer or low and allow to simmer until the sauce is thick, fragrant and rich in color, about 30 minutes. The sauce should reduce to about 2 ½ cups at this point, if it looks like more, continue simmering until it reduces further. Remove from heat and set aside until ready to use. 
  • Spread on pizza crust and build pizza as desired. This pizza sauce works great on deep dish pizzas, thin crust, regular crust, even on french bread or store bought pizza crust. Note: allow to cool 15-20 minutes before using on thinner unbaked crusts, to avoid soggy crusts.
  • If not using sauce immediately, cool completely and store in airtight container or freezer baggie until ready to use. Refrigerated keeps 4-6 days, frozen up to 3 months. 

Assemble Deep Dish Pizza

  • Preheat oven to 425° F (218°C).
  • After the dough has risen in the fridge for an hour, remove dough balls one at a time and roll out on a lightly floured surface into a 12-inch round. Place dough over a 9×2” cake pan, using hands to press into the sides and bottom of the pan, fold edges over, or trim if desired, repeat with second dough ball if desired. Brush the edges of dough with a little olive oil, optional.
  • Spread 2 cups of mozzarella cheese into bottom of pizza in pan, then add desired toppings, sprinkle with Italian seasoning blend, next spoon on about 1 ¼ cups of pizza sauce spreading to cover the toppings. Sprinkle sauce with ¼ cup of parmesan cheese. Repeat with second pan if making both. Place pan(s) on large cookie sheet and bake for about 25-28 minutes (we like ours a little longer). If crust is browning too quickly, loosely cover edges with foil. Allow to cool on wire rack for 10 minutes before slicing. 


✱ Kathleen’s Tips

*If you do not have a mixer with a dough hook, mix in mixer until just combined, then knead on a floured surface for 7-8 minutes until elastic and soft. Or using a large bowl and a wooden spoon mix everything until combined, then turn out onto floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic about 7-8 minutes (a great arm workout!)
Storage: Dough will keep in fridge for up to 1 day, I recommend freezing if storing for longer. This dough is freezer friendly, place each dough ball in separate quart sized freezer baggies with a little spray oil or olive oil. Place in refrigerator overnight to thaw and then use as directed. 
To Freeze Assembled Deep Dish Pizza
Pre-bake the crust for 10 minutes in the pan, allow to cool completely then wrap pizza dough tightly in aluminum foil, then plastic wrap and freeze up to 6 months. I recommend measuring out the cheese, sauce and toppings needed for the pizza freezing in separate containers, then assembling as directed below.
To assemble from frozen:
Thaw overnight in fridge or 3 hours at room temperature, fill with (thawed) cheese, toppings and sauce, then bake in preheated 425 degree F oven for 25 minutes. Allow to cool 10 minutes before slicing.
Recipe adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction


Serving: 1 slice Calories: 492 kcal Carbohydrates: 34 g Protein: 19 g Fat: 31 g Saturated Fat: 16 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 2 g Monounsaturated Fat: 10 g Trans Fat: 1 g Cholesterol: 82 mg Sodium: 1239 mg Potassium: 187 mg Fiber: 2 g Sugar: 2 g Vitamin A: 583 IU Vitamin C: 1 mg Calcium: 257 mg Iron: 2 mg

Nutrition Disclaimer

The Fresh Cooky is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is only an estimate. We recommend running the ingredients through an online nutritional calculator if you need to verify any information.

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Kathleen Pope, The Fresh Cooky.

About Kathleen Pope

Recipe Innovator | Food Photographer | Food Writer

Hi, I’m Kathleen Pope. Here at The Fresh Cooky you will find easy, mostly from-scratch, trusted recipes for all occasions. From speedy dinners to tasty desserts, with easy step-by-step instructions. I am here to help teach you how to make mouthwatering recipes without spending hours in the kitchen. Read more about Kathleen here.

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  1. I was drooling when I saw this recipe and had to give it a try. My family absolutely loved it and it was so filling. I can’t wait to eat the leftovers!

  2. 5 stars
    You really outdid yourself with this amazing pizza dough for deep dish pizza! We’re big fans of Lou Malnati’s as well, and let me tell you, your recipe is just as good!

  3. I tend to like my pizza with a thin crust, but I think I NEED to try this deep dish pizza!! It looks so perfect for a cold fall evening.

  4. I’m a huge Chicago Style Pizza lover. I use pre-made dough but have always wanted to try the cornmeal crust. On the calendar for the game this weekend!

  5. Wow! Love it! I love the way you spread butter on the dough, folded and made pizza. Melt in the mouth – yum! This is a delicious pizza that my family would love anytime.