A Chicago style deep dish pizza, cooked in a cast iron skillet. Filled with cheese and sausage and uses a quick and easy homemade dough, all cooked up in a cast iron skillet!
There's lots to love about this Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza. It has lots of cheese and sausage and its topped off with a great pizza sauce and Parmesan cheese. And there's the easy homemade crust, sturdy enough to hold all the fillings and it cooks up perfectly in the cast iron skillet.
Mozzarella - any block mozzarella will work fine here, though I'm partial to the low-moisture pizza mozzarella, for the best cheese pulls.
Pizza Sauce - I have included a recipe for a homemade sauce, which is delicious for this pizza. That said, if you are in a hurry, you can replace it with a nice, store-bought pizza sauce. Just note that you will need a good bit, so count on about 2 cups worth.
Sausage - I generally use Mild Italian Sausage, but you can use Hot, if you like a spicy pizza. Or, maybe a mixture of both. As you like.
- The amount of dough in the recipe below is perfect for a 10-inch top diameter skillet. If your skillet is larger, it will still work, but will be a little thinner, so cooking time may be a bit less.
- The crust on this deep dish pizza is a special, thick, almost bread-like crust, so it isn't your typical pizza dough. It's perfect with the hearty fillings and part of what makes this dish sliceable :) As such, while you could use a ready-made pizza dough in place of this one, it will cook and taste differently and may not hold up as well with all the fillings.
- Be sure to cut your mozzarella cheese in thick slices - 1/2 inch or so - to get the full, ooey-gooey, melted cheese experience. Likewise, cover the entire bottom of the pizza with cheese, for the best pizza experience :)
- If you'd like even more meat, add a layer of pepperoni slices or cooked, crumbled bacon above the sausage.
- Think of this one as an upside down pizza, as the cheese is on the bottom, followed by the meat and then topped with the sauce. While you may be tempted to put mozzarella on the top, trust me, a dusting of Parmesan is all you need, as there is plenty of cheese inside this one.
- The crust on this one is different from my usual pizza crust. First, it has cornmeal in it, with gives it great flavour and texture. It cooks up to a crisp layer on the outside, but soft and a little more bread-like on the inside. As for the sauce, I sometimes use a good store-bought pizza sauce, but I've included a quick, homemade pizza sauce in the recipe card notes, if you need one.
- This dough is also a nice quick-rise dough, so you don't need to start it far ahead. In fact, if you start an hour out, you can cook the sausage while the dough rises. Quickly assemble the pizza once the dough has risen for the hour and pop it in to the oven for 35-40 minutes. Once baked, this pizza is sturdy enough to be able to pop the whole thing nicely and easily out of the skillet and on to a cutting board.
Cast Iron Skillet Deep Dish Pizza
For the dough:
- 3/4 cup lukewarm water
- 1 Tbsp active dry yeast
- 1/4 cup cornmeal
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 Tbsp. honey, or white sugar
For the pizza:
- 10 oz Mozzarella cheese , cut in 1/2-inch thick slices
- 4 8-inch Hot or Mild Italian sausage links, casing removed, crumbled and cooked
- 1/2 cup Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for topping
- 2 cups pizza sauce, store bought or see Note 1 below for an easy homemade pizza sauce recipe
- Combine the yeast and lukewarm water and let sit for 5 minutes.
- In a large bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with a kneading hook, combine 1 cup of the flour and the cornmeal. Add the yeast mixture, olive oil and honey. Stir until moistened. Add more flour in small increments, until you achieve a soft dough that is neither too sticky or too stiff. Remove the dough to a well-oiled large bowl and let rise at room temperature for 1 hour.
- While dough is rising, cook your sausage. If your sausage is links in casing, cut a slit down the casing and remove the sausage from the casing. Discard casing. Cook sausage in a skillet, breaking up into small pieces with a spoon, until cooked and browned. Turn off heat under skillet and set aside until needed.
- Preheat oven to 425° F. Grease the bottom and sides of cast-iron frying pan with olive oil and lightly dust with additional cornmeal.
- When dough is ready, scrape onto a well-floured surface (dough will seem sticky at this point, but will be fine with the additional flour on the counter. With a rolling pin, roll dough into a circle a little bigger than the bottom of your skillet. If it's sticky, dust with more flour as needed. Transfer the dough to prepared cast-iron frying pan and press into bottom and up the sides about 2/3 of the way up. Cover the bottom of pizza completely with a generous layer of mozzarella cheese. Top with cooked sausage. Top with all of the pizza sauce, spreading it to cover the sausage. Sprinkle the top generously with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. *You don't want your crust to extend too much higher than your filling, or the exposed part at the top will overcook. If it extends too high once your filling is in, push or crimp it down to closer to the level of your filling.
- Bake in pre-heated 425° F. oven for about 20 minutes. Check at 20 minutes and if crust is dark enough (it usually is at this point), cover loosely with a sheet of tinfoil and cook about at least 10 minutes longer or better yet, 13-15 minutes more (33-35 minutes total), to be sure the crust is cooked. Remove from oven and allow to cool in the pan for 5-7 minutes. Using a spatula, carefully remove pizza to a cutting board. Allow to stand a couple more minutes before cutting with a sharp knife.
Be sure to read the “Ingredient and Cook's Notes" (above the recipe card!), where I share more detailed tips, variations and substitution suggestions for this recipe!
Nutritional information provided for general guidance only and should not be relied upon to make personal health decisions.