Chicago Pizza: A Delicious Pie for You

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When is a pizza not enough? Well, if it’s not thick enough!

But Chicago has fulfilled our cravings by introducing a pizza that is easily a tavern pie. It’s so rich and big you can’t have enough, more like having a savory pie on a plate.

So, does Chicago-style pizza resembles a pie?

A Chicago-style pizza is made with a pie crust and a deep pan. It allows you to have a lot of space for fillings. So, this pizza can have a wide variety of toppings, mostly Italian sausage, bell peppers, olives, or mushrooms. The crust is topped off with thick sauce and sometimes blistered cheese.

Now how is this pizza made like a pie? Check out the recipes, and learn more about Chicago pizza and other varieties.

Does Chicago-style Pizza Resemble a Pie?

chicago style pizza resembles a pie

Chicago-style pizza is a deep-dish pizza that looks like a pie. Like a pie, there is a crust outside with pizza fillings inside.

Sewell and Ric Riccardo 1943 thought of making something unique about pizzas and later opened their restaurant in Chicago with this recipe. For this reason, deep-dish pizzas all around are called Chicago-style pizzas.

Going for a more American flavor for the pizza, they made the crust crunchy with layers of different popular toppings. The dish is usually served in a 2 or 3-inch tall pan.

Since the sauce is made especially with garlic and herbs, it is also a type of pizza made with tomato sauce and oregano in particular.

Properties of Chicago-Style Pizza

Properties of Chicago-Style Pizza

There is more to Chicago-style pizza than understanding how it is made, including the utensils.

1. Pan

Since it is a deep dish food, we need a pan to cover the whole thing. So, the pan is usually hollow but flat with high edges. The best part is that you don’t need a pizza pan – specifically, a skillet, round metal, or steel pan will work the same. 

2. Crust

The dough is made of flour, salt, and water with a little butter, similar to a pie’s crust. It is cooked in a pan with oil to avoid sticking or burning. But we only cook them partially. Then the crust is taken out to add toppings. The crust isn’t too thick or too thin.

3. Process 

After the crust is ready; you need to add any cheese of your choice on the base. Then you can sprinkle all over any topping, from veggies to meat. Lastly, you will add the tomato sauce.

Since the pizza needs to cook longer, this arrangement won’t burn pizza from the oven’s heat. Your pizza will be crispy but cooked well. 

You have no limitations to toppings since there is more room. Besides, all the variety of toppings will be properly cooked and won’t turn soggy or slide off. You can choose pork, chicken, bell peppers, mushrooms, onions, and many others.

Contrary to traditional pizzas, you need to eat this with a knife and fork. 

Varieties of Chicago-Style Pizza

Varieties of Chicago-Style Pizza

Other pizzas, like pan-style or stuffed pizzas, are also similar to Chicago-style pizza with different making.

1. Pan Pizza

Detroit style or Sicilian pizza is authentic Chicago pizzas made in pans with cheese layers on the dough. They also use a rich and smooth sauce.

Interestingly, the cheese is added on top, so the cooking time is less. 

2. Stuffed Pizza

The pizza is taller than deep-dish pizzas but not very wide. Here, the sauce is added on the base, then a layer of cheese, and the toppings like sausage or other meat. 

3. Deep Dish

This is a thick, delicious pizza popularly called Chicago-style pizza. The crust is crunchy with a rich layer of cheese. Then we can add the toppings.

Lastly, it is the thick sauce, and this order holds everything in place. Since the crust is cooked beforehand, it is quite buttery, more like a pot pie or casserole.

All in all, it’s a heavy and savory pie.

How is a Deep-Dish Pizza Made?

Deep-dish pizza has wheat flour and a little sprinkle of semolina flour for a yellow color. The dough is also given enough butter or oil for greasiness. A cake pan is used to make the pizza. Similar to the Chicago-style pizza, this one is also made into a pie crust by pressing on the sides of the pan.

Detroit-style Pizza

This is also a deep-dish but rectangular pizza. The bottom is the crust which is crispy and golden, like a pie’s crust. It tastes very chewy and crunchy with simple flour and water dough.

On the base is a layer of thick, creamy and gooey cheese. Next comes the thick tomato sauce layer, which is both sweet and tangy. The top has all the toppings, usually pepperoni. Sometimes, there can be a little more cheese sprinkled on top.

Stuffed PizzaDeep-Dish Pizza
Regular pizza crust.Fried and crispy crust.
Uses flour, yeast, and salt.Uses semolina, wheat flour, and salt.
Tall, narrow, and thinner. Wide, thick, and shorter.
The order is a sauce, cheese, and then toppings. The order is cheese, toppings, and then sauce. 
The second layer of dough is placed on top, which is flaky. Only one layer of dough is the bottom part. 
Italian Easter pies. Also called Chicago-style pizza. 

Why Is Chicago-Style Pizza So Popular?

If you have two dishes in one, why won’t you love them? But people can easily think of other reasons to like this type of pizza. 

It is an ideal dish for any event or party for a large number of people. So it gets easier to share the pizza with others. One slice is enough to make you full. 

Of course, all these layers together will offer delicious food. There is a sweet and even tangy taste to the pizza. Besides, the crispiness and dryness from cooking are also satisfying to the tastebuds. Even if the slices stay outside, they won’t become soggy so easily. 

Making Chicago-Style Pizza At Home

Making Chicago-Style Pizza At Home

How about trying it out at home? The recipe isn’t complicated, but you must execute the whole process carefully. Be adventurous with the ingredients!

A wood-fired oven works best for this pizza, but you can also use your conventional oven. 

Oil the pan to create a crispy crust.


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal/semolina
  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • Yeast 
  • ½ cup olive oil 
  • 1 cup tomato sauce 
  • Dried oregano
  • Red pepper flakes 
  • 4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup Italian sausage
  • Bell peppers
  • Mushrooms.


  1. Prepare the dough and press it on the sides of the pan in a thick layer. 
  2. Bake it for around 10 minutes with oil.
  3. Cover the base with mozzarella cheese. 
  4. Now add sausage, bell peppers, and mushrooms. 
  5. Top off with a thick layer of sauce. Spread all over thoroughly. 
  6. Bake the pizza again at 300 F for 20 minutes until the crust is a nice brown color. 


  • What are some of the famous restaurants that have Chicago-Style Pizza?

Not only in Chicago, but these pizzas are popular in various places. Notably, you will find them in Pizzeria Uno, the first one to introduce this new pizza variation. Besides, Louis Pizza and Pasta also offer variations of Chicago-style pizzas on their menu. The ingredients are all taken from local sources, nice and fresh. 

  • How is a true Chicago-style pizza made?

Interestingly, the deep-dish style isn’t authentic Chicago-style pizza. The original one is more like a tavern pie with a thin crust. Usually, the toppings are pinched sausage and Giardiniera peppers. The pizza is also served in square pieces.  

  • What is the difference between New York and Chicago-style pizza?

One is thick and wide, while the other is thin with minimum toppings. New York-style is a thin-crust pizza like Neopolitan pizzas with pepperoni and cheese. Chicago-style pizzas have thicker crusts reaching the top of the pan, like a bowl. In other words, New York style is your typical pizza, while Chicago style is a deep-dish pie. 

  • Which is the best deep-dish pizza in Chicago?

Since Chicago is well known for its deep-dish pizzas, everyone wants to try it out. You will find some delicious deep-dish pizzas at Burt’s Place, George’s Deep Dish, Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria, Giordano’s, and so on. Among the variants of Chicago-style pizza, deep is the most popular one.

  • Is Chicago pizza vegan?

Unfortunately, Chicago-style pizza isn’t vegan since it has meaty toppings and gluten in the crust. But you can visit Dimo’s Pizza for an authentic vegan Chicago pizza. They use dairy-free cheese and vegan or meatless toppings. You can also try one at home with vegan-friendly toppings.

The Bottom Line

So, is Chicago-style pizza like a pie? The answer is yes.

It is made like a pie with a crust pressed on a deep pan with pizza fillings inside. The layering goes in the reverse order to regular pizzas: cheese, then toppings, and lastly, sauce. Since we cook this pizza for longer, it needs this ordering to ensure everything is properly cooked.

The result is a heavy piece of pie for each. It’s very cheesy and filling for everyone in a single slice. Not very healthy, though. But the ideal for big functions at home.

So, why don’t you try a simple recipe at home if you are a pie-lover?