Home ยป Chicago-Style Deep Dish Pizza

Chicago-Style Deep Dish Pizza

Watching the Pioneer Woman’s pilot for her upcoming show on Food Network made me brave enough to post this recipe. That, and the fact that it had all 5-star reviews. This is not a healthy recipe, it’s a splurge. After watching Ree Drummond put 1 1/2 sticks of butter, a block of cream cheese, and a cup of heavy cream into her 5 lbs of mashed potatoes…well, splurges are meant to happen, and if you can make minor adjustments to cut a few calories/fat and save some cash by cooking at home, I’m all for it.

Plus, I’m from Chicago and deep dish is what we’re known for. While not from Chicago, Mr. Prevention swears Papa Del’s in Champaign on the campus of the University of Illinois has the best deep-dish. And this pizza, he said, compared.

So, this was our Saturday night. Mr. Prevention pretended to help by opening a bottle of wine and pouring me a glass (hey, I’m not complaining!) while I kneaded dough and anxiously watched it rise to a springy pillow of dough heaven.

While I would’ve loved to pile this deep dish high with turkey sausage, onion, green peppers, and mushrooms, we stuck with what we had and what the man wanted: turkey pepperoni.

As the pizza baked at a questionably high 450 F, Mr. Prevention assured me that the center wouldn’t be baked. He was just SURE of this. Of course, he was wrong and admitted that to me through bite after bite of deep dish pizza.


Chicago-Style Deep Dish Pizza adapted from Emeril Lagasse, Food Network

1 1/2 cups warm water (about 110 degrees F)
1 (1/4-ounce) packages active dry yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
1 tsp sugar
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup semolina flour
1/2 cup canola oil, plus 1 teaspoons to grease bowl
1 tsp salt

1 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp fresh basil, chopped
1 tsp fresh oregano, chopped
1/4 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 (28-ounce) can plum tomatoes, coarsely crushed
1 Tbsp dry red wine
1 tsp sugar

1 lb part-skim mozzarella cheese, sliced
1 cup (2 ounces) Parmesan, grated
~70 slices turkey pepperoni


In a large bowl, combine the water, yeast, and sugar and stir to combine. Let sit until the mixture is foamy, about 5 minutes.

Add 1 1/2 cups of the flour, the semolina, 1/2 cup of the oil, and the salt, mixing by hand until it is all incorporated and the mixture is smooth. Continue adding the flour, 1/4 cup at a time, working the dough after each addition, until all the flour is incorporated but the dough is still slightly sticky.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth but still slightly tacky, 3 to 5 minutes. Oil a large mixing bowl with the remaining 1 teaspoons oil.

Place the dough in the bowl and turn to oil all sides. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set in a warm, draft-free place until nearly doubled in size, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Divide into 2 equal portions and use as directed.

While the dough is rising, make the tomato sauce. In a medium saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add the herbs, seeds, salt, and black and red peppers, and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes, wine and sugar, and bring to a boil.

Lower the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool completely before using.

Preheat the oven to 475 F.

Spray two 10-to-12-inch round deep-dish pizza pans with cooking spray (I used one springform pan and one 9-inch round and it worked great). Press 1 piece of dough into each pan, pressing to the edge and stretching about 1 1/2 inches up the sides. Let rest for 5 minutes.

Layer the mozzarella cheese all over the bottom of the pies. Top each with half of the pepperoni. Ladle the sauce evenly over each pizza and top with Parmesan.

Bake until the top is golden and the cheese is bubbly and the crust is golden brown, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, slice and serve hot. Yield: 8 LARGE slices prepared.

Nutrition Information (per slice): 617 calories; 31.5 g. fat; 56 mg. cholesterol; 1401 mg. sodium; 53.6 g. carbohydrate; 2 g. fiber; 31.3 g. protein

Result: Sinfully delicious! I am so saddened by the amount of sodium in pizza, it’s heart-breaking. And the fat, my heavens. This is an indulgent treat that Mr. Prevention will likely be requesting (and I will be denying) on a weekly basis. Even with a few healthy modifications, it shocks me to see the totals, especially the salt. M-o-d-e-r-a-t-i-o-n. Sodium is one of those really tricky nutrients that pops up everywhere, as you can see here. Nutrition wise, this is a small step-up from a restaurant pizza, thanks to the reduced-fat cheese. Nutrition aside, this was a huge hit and definitely a keeper, and crowd-pleaser. The only modifications I would make would be slightly less salt in the sauce, veggies in place of pepperoni, and making 1.5x the sauce recipe – I wanted more sauce! Enjoy!


Question: What food is “famous” from your home town?

Have a great day!

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  1. Estela @ Weekly Bite
    August 24, 2011 / 6:10 am

    What a gorgeous looking pizza!!!

  2. Caroline @ chocolate and carrots
    August 24, 2011 / 6:10 am

    Woah…now that’s a deep dish pizza. I’ve never tried one before, but I love pizza…so I don’t think it would be a problem. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Yum!

  3. Jessy
    August 24, 2011 / 6:19 am

    I can not wait to make this! thanks so much for posting, the pictures are fantastic!

    • Nicole
      August 24, 2011 / 9:07 pm

      Thank you! ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Gina (The Candid RD)
    August 24, 2011 / 6:52 am

    Nice!!! I can’t believe I’ve never had a Chicago deep dish pizza! I think that was my goal in Chicago, but I never got around to it for some reason or another. I am much more of a thin crust girl, but I would certainly love trying this.

    What is Columbus known for?/ Schmidts Bahama MAmas?? Buckeyes?! I don’t know!

  5. Amy B @ Second City Randomness
    August 24, 2011 / 7:20 am

    Oh my goodness… I think I’m going to NOT tell my parents how easy it is for them to make their own deep dish! This is dangerous! lol

  6. Chrissy
    August 24, 2011 / 8:08 am

    That pizza looks incredible! Chicago style pizza is actually on my 25 by 25 list, so I NEED to give this a try!

    • Nicole
      August 24, 2011 / 9:07 pm

      I highly recommend this recipe…the sauce was incredible!

  7. Samantha @ Bikini Birthday
    August 24, 2011 / 8:26 am

    Whoa! Where does all the sodium come from?? The cheese and pepperoni?

    Deep-Dish pizza is something that I’ll only have when I’m in Chicago and not even every time I go there. (I go relatively often since my sister lives in that area). It’s a little bit over the top. I actually kinda prefer regular pizza to deep dish.

    • Nicole
      August 24, 2011 / 9:08 pm

      Cheese and pepperoni…and the salt in the crust and sauce. Adds up SO fast!

  8. Krissy@DaintyChef
    August 24, 2011 / 8:53 am

    I need to try deep dish pizza soon! We are known for cheesesteaks ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. katie
    August 24, 2011 / 9:43 am

    That pizza looks amazing and totally worth the splurge! I am from Maryland and blue crab is what the state is most famous for, rightfully so, it is my most favorite food.

  10. Biz
    August 24, 2011 / 10:47 am

    had I not already started a sourdough starter for my sourdough pizza this weekend, I would definitely have this one on my menu – yum! It looks amazing! I am going to try your sauce recipe though – Tony doesn’t like the canned pizza sauce I buy. ๐Ÿ˜€

  11. Anne Marie@New Weigh of Life
    August 24, 2011 / 11:16 am

    Looks delicious!! I’m from Philadelphia, so we’re known for our cheesesteaks ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. Leah @ Why Deprive?
    August 24, 2011 / 11:28 am

    I’ve never had deep dish pizza before. It sounds SO good, but you just cant get it here, and I dont have enough people to feed to justify tackling it myself. Sad. ๐Ÿ™

    I dont really think Vancouver is famous for anything specific. We do have good sushi though.
    My city specifically has REALLY good Indian food. There are a lot of Indian people here, and fortunately, they’ve opened up lots of stores and restaurants. I dont know if we’re famous for it, but I sure like it.

  13. Lindsay @ The Gluten-Free Baker
    August 24, 2011 / 12:07 pm

    That pizza looks incredible!!! Cincinnati is famous for Skyline Chili – I personally am not a fan at all…ick. I just said something about this out loud to the girls in my office and they yelled at me for not liking it haha. We’re also famous for Graeter’s ice cream which I LOVE.

    • Nicole
      August 24, 2011 / 9:09 pm

      I actually love Cincinnati-style chili! And Graeters ๐Ÿ˜‰

  14. Megan (Braise The Roof)
    August 24, 2011 / 1:09 pm

    That pizza is gorgeous! I’m from Chicago, too (and still live here) and deep dish is one of those things that I will only eat with out of town guests! The good news is it’s not that hard to stop yourself at one slice- tough to binge on pounds of cheese! ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. Alida
    August 24, 2011 / 1:51 pm

    Oh yum! This looks amazing…love your photos! I’ve been trying to figure out a splurge meal for post-half marathon, and I think this will do quite nicely. ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. Kristen (swanky dietitian)
    August 24, 2011 / 3:07 pm

    I LOVE deep dish pizza. I think I just might have to try this. Great job!
    I am all for splurge meals once and a while.
    Being from Vegas, I have no clue what food we are known for. I think Vegas is a melting pot of cultures and foods, really.

  17. Kenya
    August 24, 2011 / 3:39 pm

    Great recipe, Nicole! I’ll be adding this to the collection! Being from Chicago as well, it drives me bonkers when we visit other states and the pizza is ‘to be desired’, to say the least! Deep dish pizza is the best! I think I’ll make this in the cast iron skillet like the ‘California Pizza Kitchen’ recipe you shared ๐Ÿ™‚ (That one was a HUGE hit with my family in Michigan, by the way!)

    • Nicole
      August 24, 2011 / 9:09 pm

      I’m so glad, Kenya! Thanks for still reading all this time…you’re the best ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. Sarah
    August 24, 2011 / 6:31 pm

    This looks delicious. Now I want pizza for dinner and I’m stuck at work with frozen lasagna ๐Ÿ™

  19. Heather
    August 24, 2011 / 8:42 pm

    I’ve made deep dish pizza a few times – so delicious!

    I like to fill it with caramelized onions and mushrooms plus lots of mozzarella! I grew up in New Jersey so I would say we are famous for pizza, bagels and DINERS!

  20. Grace@ FoodFitnessFreshair
    August 24, 2011 / 10:25 pm

    I’ve never had a deep dish pizza like this! Can you believe that? Every time I see the deep pies on the Food Network, my mouth starts watering like a waterfall. While I wouldn’t know for sure, I’m almost positive a deep dish pizza would totally be worth the splurge.

    Before even reading the rest of the post, I knew Mr. P was in heaven the night you made this ๐Ÿ™‚ And I’m super jealous of Ree Drummond. How awesome!!!

  21. eatingRD
    August 24, 2011 / 10:54 pm

    Yum! LOVE deep dish pizza for a nice splurge! I wouldn’t complain about the wine either ๐Ÿ˜‰ I didn’t know The Pioneer Woman is having a show on food network, neat! I think Vegas is known for its buffets, but I hate buffets! lol

  22. Krystal R.
    August 25, 2011 / 10:38 am

    Your pictures look fabulous Nicole! Did you submit it to TS or FG? Totally worthy!!! I’m a lover of thin crust pizza though…it might take me a bit to indulge in a deep dish. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Famous food right in my hometown would be Lime Truck – one of the food trucks on the Next Food Truck Race. They happen to be one of my favorite food trucks, they serve awesome food with an always changing menu focusing on fresh natural ingredients. Love them!

    • Nicole
      August 25, 2011 / 11:15 am

      Thanks, Krystal! I didn’t think they were worthy, but a few people have said they were good…which one should I try submitting? Since I’m obviously not a good judge!

      • Krystal R.
        August 25, 2011 / 11:22 am

        Try the first and last one. Crossing my fingers for ya!! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  23. Laura
    August 25, 2011 / 2:04 pm

    I love Papa Dels. It’s on our once a month places we order from.

  24. Dianne
    August 25, 2011 / 2:42 pm

    For deep dish pizza we used to go to Flying Tomatoes on Green St. in Champaign. Mr. P. may remember it. Although I do remember Papa Del’s. We also loved Monical’s! I will have to give this recipe a try.

    • Nicole
      August 25, 2011 / 8:21 pm

      Dianne, I asked him! He said he thinks it was Garcia’s?? We went on a date there MANY years ago…like 8, literally ๐Ÿ™‚ I love Monical’s, as well…excellent pizza!

    • Laura
      August 29, 2011 / 1:21 pm

      Yes I think the Flying Tomato is Garcias. No longer on Green, but still a staple around Champaign.

  25. janetha
    August 25, 2011 / 5:22 pm

    WOW, that looks delicious! I want to try my hand at deep dish. Utah is known for fry sauce–which is just mayo+ketchup. Oh, and jello. Not sure why.

    • Nicole
      August 25, 2011 / 8:20 pm

      Jello!? LOL!

  26. Kerstin
    August 27, 2011 / 10:40 pm

    Mmm, this sounds fabulous – I miss Chicago and deep dish pizza so I really should try making it at home!

  27. Megan D.
    September 19, 2011 / 12:48 pm

    I love deep dish pizza! We have a Pizzeria Uno around here that’s ok, but your pizza looks delicious! I added it on my list of things to try!

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  33. BK
    June 5, 2014 / 10:26 am

    Can confirm that Papa Del’s is the best Chicago Style deep dish I’ve ever had (compared to pizzas in Chicago, IL, and Madison, WI. If this is as good as that, I’ll have to try it. Looking forward to it.

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