Mar 19, 2020

Chicago-Style Deep Dish Pizza with Sausage & Pepperoni

Prep Time: 1 hr 30 mins
Cook Time: 40 mins
Deep-dish pizza is layered in reverse order of NY pies. The thick dough is pressed into a pan (or a seasoned cast-iron skillet) followed by the toppings (in this case the pepperoni and sausage), then the chunky tomato sauce.

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Back in in my college days my dad would send me six packs of Lou Malnoti’s pizzas. They come frozen and were the perfect meal for any college student. Lou Malnoti’s pizzas made dinner at my house very popular!

I visited Chicago for a wedding a few years ago and took the opportunity to get a taste of the real thing. Like any popular food in a city there is controversy over the best deep-dish pizza. From the chains – Gino’s, Lou Malnoti’s and Uno Pizzeria – to smaller one-off locations, everyone has their favorite. My friend kept calling it “illuminati” pizza.

Chicago-Style Deep Dish Pizza with Sausage & Pepperoni

What is Deep Dish Pizza?

Deep-dish pizza is layered in reverse order of NY pies. The thick dough is pressed into a pan (or a seasoned cast-iron skillet) followed by the toppings (in this case the pepperoni and sausage), then the chunky tomato sauce.

I finish mine with a dusting of Parmesan cheese just before serving. It’s layered this way to prevent the cheese from burning due to the extended cooking time needed to fully cook the thicker pizza dough.

How is This Pizza Layered?

  • Dough pressed into a pan
  • Cheese
  • Pepperoni
  • Sausage
  • Sauce
  • Parmesan

Key Ingredients in This Recipe

  • Dough – This pizza dough is different than the dough I use for my thin crust pizza. Instead it’s made with the addition of a bit of cornmeal. Adding cornmeal creates a crunch in this thick crust, pressed into a pan and layered with the ingredients.
  • Yeast – This recipe calls for active dry yeast (different from instant yeast) – meaning it needs to be activated before use.
  • Sausage –  I use both mild and hot Italian sausage with the casings removed in this recipe for meat lovers pizza. I use a wooden spoon to break up the sausage as it cooks in the pan.
  • Pepperoni – I use pre-sliced pepperoni for this pizza so that it’s cut evenly and as thin as possible. You can typically get larger slices of pepperoni from the deli-counter.
  • Mozzarella – I use deli-sliced part-skim mozzarella cheese for this pizza. I find the deli-slices make it easy to layer the bottom of the pie though shredded works well too! Part skim melts the best and is the best way to attain the perfect cheese pull!
  • Parmesan – Parmesan-Reggiano is definitely one of my favorite cheeses and is used to sprinkle over the top of the sauce in this Chicago-style pizza. It’s a hard cow’s milk cheese aged for different lengths of time. I’d recommend buying a roughly cut piece of wrapped cheese from the grocery store – it’s typically a higher quality cheese.
Chicago-style deep-dish pizza is layered in reverse order of NY pies. The dough is cooked in a pan or cast iron layered with the toppings.

How to Make Chicago-Style Deep Dish Pizza

For the dough:

  1. Bloom the yeast. Add the yeast to a small bowl then stir in 1½ cup lukewarm (110ºF to 115ºF) water until the yeast is dissolved. Let sit for 10 minutes.
  2. Combine the dough. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the flour, yellow cornmeal, salt, and vegetable oil then add the water and yeast mixture and turn the mixer on medium speed, until the dough comes together and becomes smooth and elastic, about 5 to 6 minutes.
  3. Let the dough rise. Place the dough in a bowl lightly oiled with the olive oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit until the dough doubles in size, at least 1 hour or refrigerate overnight. When ready to make the pizzas, punch down the dough.

For the deep dish pizza:

  1. Bring the dough to room temperature if needed. Let the dough come to room temperature.
  2. Make the sauce. To make the sauce heat a medium saucepan over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and heat through. Add the onion and sauté until soft, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for an additional 30 seconds then stir in the tomatoes, basil, oregano and pepper flakes. Cook until sauce becomes slightly dry and chunky, about 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat oven. Heat oven to 400ºF.
  4. Add the dough to the pan. First, rub a 12-inch cake pan or cast-iron frying pan with the remaining olive oil then, spread out the pizza dough. Next, use your hands to push the pizza dough in the pan so that the dough reaches about 1½-inches up the side of the pan.
  5. Cook the sausage. Heat a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat and add the sausage to the pan, using a spatula to break it up into small pieces. Sauté until cooked through, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.
  6. Assemble the deep dish pizza. Start by arranging the slices of mozzarella into the bottom of the crust. Next, arrange the pepperonis in an even single layer over the cheese. Finally, add sausage on top followed by the tomato sauce.
  7. Cook the pizza. Bake until crust is golden brown, about an additional 25 minutes. Let cool for about 5 minutes then top with Parmesan and cut into slices.

Tips and Tricks for This Recipe

Substitutions and Swaps
  • Omit the pepperoni and sausage for a vegetarian pizza.
  • Try adding sautéed mushrooms and onions or green peppers.
  • Chopped crispy bacon and garlic also makes a great pizza topping.

Other Recipes to Try

If you enjoy this Chicago-style deep dish recipe, I recommend checking out some of these:

Chicago-Style Deep Dish Pizza with Sausage & Pepperoni

Print Pin
Prep Time 1 hr 30 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Serves 6

Ingredients:

For the dough:

  • 2 ¼ teaspoons (1 package) active dry yeast
  • cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • ½ teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

For the deep dish pizza:

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 cup diced yellow onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (28-ounce) can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt, as needed
  • Freshly ground black pepper, as needed
  • ¼ pound hot Italian sausage, casings removed
  • ¼ pound mild Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 1 pound deli sliced part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 2 ounces thinly sliced Pepperoni
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan

Instructions:

For the dough:

  • Add the yeast to a small bowl then stir in 1½ cup lukewarm (110ºF to 115ºF/ 43ºC – 46ºC) water until the yeast is dissolved. Let sit for 10 minutes.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the flour, cornmeal, salt, and vegetable oil then add the water and yeast mixture and turn the mixer on medium speed, until the dough comes together and becomes smooth and elastic, about 5 to 6 minutes.
  • Place the dough in a bowl lightly oiled with the olive oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit until the dough doubles in size, at least 1 hour or refrigerate overnight. When ready to make the pizzas, punch down the dough.

For the deep dish pizza:

  • Let the dough come to room temperature.
  • To make the sauce heat a medium saucepan over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and heat through. Add the onion and sauté until soft, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for an additional 30 seconds then stir in the tomatoes, basil, oregano and pepper flakes. Cook until sauce becomes slightly dry and chunky, about 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Heat oven to 400ºF (200ºC).
  • Rub a 12-inch cake pan (deep dish pan) or cast-iron frying pan with the remaining olive oil then spread out the pizza dough. Use your hands to push the pizza dough in the pan so that the dough reaches about 1½-inches up the side of the pan.
  • Heat a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat and add the sausage to the pan, using a spatula to break it up into small pieces. Sauté until cooked through, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.
  • Arrange the slices of mozzarella into the bottom of the crust. Arrange the pepperonis in an even single layer over the cheese. Add sausage on top followed by the tomato sauce.
  • Bake until crust is golden brown, about an additional 25 minutes. Let cool for about 5 minutes then top with Parmesan and cut into slices.

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  1. 5 stars
    Thanks For Sharing this Amazing Recipe. My Family Loved It. I will be sharing this Recipe with my Friends. Hope They will like it.

  2. I’ve made this twice now and it is just delicious. The crust recipe is perfect. Made the recipe as is and one with just cheese and sauce. The consistency was best with recipe as is but the plain one was tasty too.