A delicious Chicago style deep dish pizza, with an easy homemade dough and filled with lots of cheese, sauce and sausage!
There’s lots to love about this Chicago Style Pizza. This deep dish pizza 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.
- No cast iron skillet? No worries, use a 9-inch round baking pan instead!
- 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.
Get the Recipe: Chicago Style 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, or about 1 lb. loose sausage meat
- 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!
I made this last weekend for my husband. He is a true Lou Malnati Chicago Deep Dish pizza guy. He said it was perfect! Made it with sausage and portabella mushrooms. Thanks for the recipe!!!
I’m so glad to hear, Pat! Thanks so much :)
This recipe looks amazing! I don’t have cornmeal, could I just add additional flour instead? Thanks!
Hi Brianna and yes, you can omit the cornmeal in the dough. You probably don’t need to add additional flour (I’m guessing). If the dough seems really sticky, go ahead and add a bit more in the bowl or on the counter after it’s rise, as needed. (The cornmeal is handy in the skillet to prevent sticking, so without it be sure you grease and flour the pan well!). Enjoy!
Thanks Jennifer, made this last month then didn’t have you bookmarked. Looked at several others and think yours is best. Health conscious so trying tonight with whole wheat flour. I buy box store crushed tomatoes which saves money.
Enjoy, Sara! Thanks :)
I’ve always used bread flour for my pizza dough but this is my first attempt at deep dish. Does it matter which one I use for this recipe?
Hi Amy, the dough for this deep dish is different that a regular pizza dough (which benefits from bread flour). All purpose flour is just fine for this one. Enjoy!
This recipe was amazing! I was very pleasantly surprised as I had never made a castiron pizza or deep dish before. Great instructions and although I totally cut into it to fast once it cooled it held together really well.
So glad you enjoyed it, Amanda and yes, it’s hard to wait once it comes out of the oven, I know :) Thanks so much!
This may be a silly question but I am making two of these tonight. Do you double everything including the yeast? Thank you! Can’t wait to try!
Hi Jessika and not a silly question :) Yes, just double up everything including the yeast (it will seem like a lot, but it will be fine). Enjoy!
Hi! I’ve made this recipe several times, my family and I love it. I was wondering if it would be possible to make the pizza maybe a day ahead and bake it later? Would the crust be ruined?
I think it might. I’m thinking the yeasted crust would continue to rise, then probably collapse. To be honest, I find this pizza holds up really well next day/re-heated, so that’s the way I would go if I wanted to make it ahead. Simply bake, cool, cover, refrigerate, then bring to room temperature, cover loosely with foil on top and re-heat in a 350F oven until warmed.
Do you use a cold cast iron skillet or preheat it? Making this tonight.
I use cold. No need to preheat it, as this crust will crisp up nicely without the need to preheat. Enjoy!
Can I substitute the flour with a gluten free flour 1:1 mix or will that mess it up?
Hi Oliver, I have never tried it and I have no experience baking with gluten free flour. That said, I feel like it might just work with this dough. I notice some gluten free pizza doughs add a touch of baking powder to the mix. That might not hurt (maybe just 1/4 tsp-ish), just to make sure the dough doesn’t come out too dense. If you try it, let me know how it works out!
Wow, great re-creation of good Chicago deep dish. We made this tonight and were blown away. Thank you!
So glad you enjoyed it, Matt! Thanks so much!
Delicious and easy. We added some finely diced onions, and Greek olives. Also added a thin layer of pepperoni, and thinly sliced tomato before pouring on the sauce. Left in oven an extra 10 minutes because of additional ingredients. Turned out absolutely amazing. Great recipe. Thank you.
Sounds delicious! So glad you enjoyed it. Thanks :)
I’ve been craving some good deep dish pizza and this is the best I’ve had outside of Chicago (and better than a lot of pizza I’ve had in Chicago). Best part is how easy it was to make. The only thing I screwed up was taking it out of the pan! This will be come a regular at our house.
Glad you enjoyed it, Tim! And getting it out of the pan is much easier the 2nd time :) Thanks!
Nice quick rise, in oven now. Can’t wait
Do enjoy! Wishing I had it in my oven right now, too ;)
I’m planning to make this pizza for dinner. I have 10 and 12 inch cast iron skillet. For the 12 inch skillet what x size of the recipe should I use? X1, x2 or x3? Thank you.
Hi Sue, I think the dough will work fine for the 12-inch. It will just be a touch thinner. It’s really just the fillings that will need to increase slightly to fill the extra space. So just count on a bit more sausage, cheese and pizza sauce. Enjoy!
Thank you! I made this pizza today and it turned out very good. I used a 12 inch cast iron skillet and used the recipe x1. Delicious! I’m saving this recipe to make it again soon. thank you for sharing this delish recipe and for responding to my question.
So glad to hear, Sue! Thanks so much :)
Making Deep Dish is why I asked for a cast iron skillet for Christmas, and this recipe was perfect. Two days later, I’m still excited with how it turned out and can’t wait to make another in a few weeks. I added a little sprinkle of garlic powder with the cornmeal dusting along the skillet before laying down the dough. I’m not sure how much of a difference it made but I could taste the hint of garlic and it was a nice accent.
So glad you enjoyed it, Steve :) You will love your new skillet. It’s easily my most used pan in my kitchen! Thanks.
This was great! I loved the crust, which is primarily what I used this recipe for. I used vegan cheese and meatless meatballs and it came out great! Easy recipe and clear directions. Thanks for sharing!
So glad you enjoyed it :) Thanks!
Can instant (quick-rise) yeast be substituted for active dry yeast in this recipe?
Hi Linda, I haven’t tried quick rise, but my gut says it would work, because of the short rising period. If you try it, let me know how it works!