Homemade deep dish pizza is easier than you might think! All you need is a cast iron skillet and some basic ingredients and you’ll be whipping up a Chicago Style Deep Dish pizza in no time.
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Let’s talk about DEEP DISH.
This pizza. It’s awesome. Also, I cooked it in a SKILLET.
I’d never really HAD deep dish until I moved to Illinois for college, but once I started dating Kyle, his born-and-raised Chicago family made sure I tried alllllll the proper deep dish the city had to offer.
Fast forward a few years to when we moved to New York, and I suddenly found myself craving Chicago pizza in a big, big way.
So I started to make my own!
It took a few tries to get our recipe down pat, but I’m happy to say that this version is Kyle-approved (wooo) and is a pretty convincing substitute (in my humble non-Chicagoan opinion, at least) for Chicago’s powerhouse deep-disheries.
Like a classic deep dish at Giordano’s or Uno’s or Gino’s (the aforementioned powerhouses), it’s built with thick layers of cheese and sausage and finished with a layer of crushed tomatoes.
The trick to this pizza is TECHNIQUE more than anything – you want to press the dough evenly into a cast iron skillet and get all those toppings in there so that everything bakes evenly.
I’ve found that thinner dough is better here, so stay away from pizza doughs with a lot of yeast (they’ll rise too much during baking and you’ll end up with a weird deep dish dutch baby situation. Delicious? Yes. But not quite what we’re going for).
My fifteen minute pizza dough works well here, and if you want an even thinner crust, you can even reduce the yeast in that recipe by 1/2 teaspoon or so with good results. Try a sturdy, 10-12″ cast iron skillet like this one from Lodge if you don’t already have one!
Homemade Chicago-style Deep Dish Pizza made in a cast iron skillet!
- 1/2 lb. Spicy Italian Sausage
- 1 recipe of your favorite pizza dough
- 1/2 cup crushed tomatoes (or your favorite pizza sauce)
- 1.5 cups shredded mozzarella
- Fresh sliced basil, for garnish (optional)
- Heat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Cook sausage in a large skillet over medium-high heat, using a wooden spoon to break it up into small pieces as it cooks. Drain away any excess fat and set aside.
- Press pizza dough into a 10-12″ cast iron skillet (I like this one). Flatten dough against the bottom of the pan and press it all the way up the sides of the skillet, like so:
- Spread a thin layer of crushed tomatoes on the bottom of the pizza. Top with half of the mozzarella, then add the cooked sausage and top with the remaining mozzarella cheese.
- Cover the last layer of mozzarella with the remaining crushed tomatoes.
- Bake pizza at 375 for 35-45 minutes or until crust is golden brown and cheese is melted. Garnish with fresh basil (optional), slice, and serve immediately.
If you don’t have a large cast iron skillet, use a deep pan or pot with very thick sides. The pizza has to bake for a long time so you want the heat to distribute very evenly. A ceramic casserole dish, cake pan, or dutch oven would also do the trick. A too-thin pan will burn the crust – you want it soft and chewy!
Use your favorite pizza sauce or tomato sauce here if you like. I love the simplicity of crushed tomatoes or homemade tomato sauce. Whatever you use, just make sure that it’s THICK – runny tomato sauce will result in a soggy pizza crust. If you’re using homemade tomato sauce, you may want to simmer it on the stove for a bit before adding it to your pizza to give the excess water a chance to cook off.
Use whatever pizza toppings you like here – peppers, onions, black olives, pepperoni, spinach, chicken, you name it!
If your crust starts to get too brown in the oven, cover your pizza with foil or an oven-safe lid for the remainder of the cooking time.