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A Slice of Chicago: Homemade Deep Dish Pizza

Calling all pizza enthusiasts! This recipe takes you on a journey to Chicago with a guide to creating your own Homemade Deep Dish Pizza. Imagine a buttery, flaky crust cradling layers of gooey cheese, tangy tomato sauce, and your favorite toppings – all baked to golden perfection. It's a showstopper that's surprisingly achievable in your own kitchen.


  • The Foundation: The Dough

    • 3 ¼ cups all-purpose flour (whisking adds air for a lighter crust)
    • ½ cup yellow cornmeal (adds a unique textural contrast)
    • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
    • 2 teaspoons sugar (a touch of sweetness to balance the savory flavors)
    • 2 ¼ teaspoons instant yeast (for quick dough rising)
    • 1 ¼ cups water, room temperature (activates the yeast)
    • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted (adds richness and flavor)
    • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened (for laminating the dough)
    • 1 teaspoon + 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided (for coating and lubrication)
  • The Sauce Symphony:

    • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
    • ¼ cup grated onion (aromatic base)
    • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano (Italian herb for depth)
    • ½ teaspoon salt (to enhance flavors)
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced (adds pungency)
    • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes (the base of the sauce)
    • ¼ teaspoon sugar (balances the acidity of the tomatoes)
    • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh basil (bright and herbaceous flavor)
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • Freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
  • The Cheesy Goodness:

    • 1 pound mozzarella cheese, shredded (about 4 cups) – You can use part low-moisture mozzarella for a less greasy result.
    • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese (adds a salty and nutty complexity)
  • Optional Toppings:

    • Pepperoni (the classic Chicago-style topping)
    • Feel free to get creative with your favorite vegetables, meats, or other toppings!


  1. Crafting the Dough: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, salt, sugar, and yeast. These dry ingredients form the base of your flavorful crust.

  2. Bringing the Dough Together: Add the room temperature water and melted butter to the dry ingredients. Using a dough hook on low speed, mix until just combined. Then, increase the speed to medium and knead for 4-5 minutes until the dough becomes smooth and elastic, pulling away from the sides of the bowl. Alternatively, you can mix and knead the dough by hand.

  3. Dough Rest and Rise: Coat a large bowl with 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Transfer the kneaded dough to the oiled bowl, turning it to coat. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let the dough rise at room temperature for 45-60 minutes, or until nearly doubled in volume.

  4. Simmering the Sauce: While the dough rises, prepare the sauce. In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the grated onion, oregano, and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid evaporates and the onion is golden brown (about 5 minutes). Then, add the minced garlic and cook for another 30 seconds to release its fragrance.

  5. Building the Tomato Base: Stir in the crushed tomatoes and sugar. Increase the heat to high and bring the mixture to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 25-30 minutes, or until the sauce thickens and reduces to about 2 ½ cups.

  6. Flavor Boost for the Sauce: Once the sauce is simmered, remove it from the heat. Stir in the chopped fresh basil and olive oil. Season with freshly ground black pepper to taste.

  7. Laminating the Dough (Optional for Extra Flaky Layers): On a lightly floured surface, roll out the risen dough into a 15x12-inch rectangle. Spread the softened butter over the dough, leaving a ½-inch border around the edges. Using an offset spatula helps with even spreading. Starting from the short end, tightly roll the dough into a cylinder. Pinch the seam closed and flatten the cylinder into an 18x4-inch rectangle.

  8. Shaping the Dough Balls: Cut the rectangle in half crosswise. Take one half and fold it into thirds like a business letter. Pinch the seams to form a ball. Repeat with the remaining dough.