Detroit-Style Deep Dish Pizza Recipe

It probably isn't an exaggeration to say that pizza is a national obsession. In New York, pizza is so thin, it's folded up like a sandwich, so you get double the sauce and molten cheese in one bite. In Chicago, it's deep-dish pizza with high edges, which allows for even more sauce and cheese. And then there's Detroit-style pizza that's baked in a pan, but the cheese is layered underneath the sauce. "I always LOVED pan-style pizza growing up," recipe developer Stephanie Rapone of Pantry to Plate told us. "And never knew that it was a Detroit thing until recently. I decided I wanted to try it and see if my kids love it as much as I did growing up. And they do!" 

Detroit-style pizza has a few essential elements that make it Detroit-style. It's baked in a rectangular pan, and it has a thick, chewy crust, a generous portion of sliced pepperoni, and stripes of tomato sauce on top. Another delicious feature is that the cheese is layered to the edge of the pan, thus creating a crispy, caramelized, cheesy edge. Is your mouth watering yet? Let's get baking!

Gather the ingredients for your Detroit-style deep dish pizza

If you've ever made homemade pizza dough before, you'll be familiar with the ingredients and the method. If you're a first-time pizza-pie-maker, don't worry: It's easy, but you may not have bread flour in your cupboard.

Bread flour is higher in protein than all-purpose flour and produces more gluten, which gives bread its chewy texture. All pizza doughs have yeast, so make sure that you have the instant yeast (also called rapid-rise or quick-rise), which, according to The Kitchn, dissolves and activates much faster than regular dry active yeast. You'll also need tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, and the usual herbs and spices — basil, oregano, garlic powder, and onion powder — for making an Italian tomato sauce.

For the cheese, you can use either sliced mozzarella or sliced provolone, but Rapone recommends using half and half of both. As for the pepperoni, Rapone told us, "I think pepperoni is an easy thing to skip for personal preference though. I don't really care for just cheese pizza, and this one is still awesome with cheese only."

Make the dough for Detroit-style pizza

Rapone recommends weighing out the ingredients for the dough on a kitchen scale. You can use the metric measurements here if you have one. Start by microwaving 220 grams (about one scant cup) of water in 10- to 15-second increments. Use a probe or instant-read thermometer to make sure the temperature is 108 to 115 degrees Fahrenheit (any hotter, and it will kill the yeast).

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine 300 grams (about two generous cups) of bread flour, five grams (about 1 ¼ teaspoons) of instant yeast, and nine grams (about 1 ½ teaspoons) of table salt. Stir the dry ingredients to combine, then add the water. Stir everything with a silicone spatula until the dough comes together into a shaggy ball. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes has passed, put the bowl on the mixer with the dough hook. Turn the mixer on medium-low to knead the dough into a smooth ball, about 10 minutes. Oil a medium bowl with approximately one tablespoon of olive oil  — and rub your hands with a little oil too — and transfer the dough to the bowl, shaping it into a ball. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap, and set the bowl in a warm place for about two hours until the dough has roughly doubled in volume.

Let the dough rise, then spread it in a baking pan

Once the dough has risen, add one to two tablespoons of olive oil to the bottom of a 9x13-inch baking pan. Use your fingertips to spread the oil toward the edges of the pan. Transfer the dough to the pan, and turn it to coat it with oil. Press down on the dough and spread it toward the edges of the pan. Spread as much of the dough as you can without tearing it, then cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it rest for 30 minutes. This resting period relaxes the gluten and makes the dough easier to manipulate.

Move an oven rack to the lowest position in your oven, and preheat it to 550 degrees Fahrenheit (or as hot as your oven gets). After 30 minutes, the dough should be pliable enough to stretch it out to the edges. If it's resisting, let the dough rest for 15 minutes, and try again. Once you've stretched the dough to all the edges and corners of the pan, cover it with plastic wrap again, and set the pan aside.

Make the sauce for your Detroit-style deep dish pizza

The tomato sauce for Detroit-style pizza is always cooked. In a small or medium saucepan, combine six ounces of tomato paste, a 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes, one tablespoon of dried oregano, two teaspoons of dried basil, one teaspoon of garlic powder, one teaspoon of onion powder, a quarter of a teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper, one teaspoon of kosher salt, and two teaspoons of sugar. Heat the sauce on medium-low heat until it begins to bubble. Keep stirring the sauce to avoid it from burning in the bottom of the saucepan. Once it's bubbling, turn off the heat, and cover the saucepan with a lid.

Lay the pepperoni on the dough and top with cheese

Press out any large air bubbles in the dough with your fingertips. The next couple of steps are what makes a pizza Detroit-style. Normally, the tomato sauce is spread on top of the pizza dough, but in Detroit-style pizza, the pepperoni and cheese go on top of the dough first. Lay out 30 to 40 pieces of sliced pepperoni evenly on the dough. Next, layer the cheese (10 to 12 slices of mozzarella or provolone or six slices of each) evenly, overlapping the crust. Make sure to lay the cheese so it goes over the edges of the dough.

Spoon sauce over the cheese and bake the pizza

Next, spoon the tomato sauce in three even rows that run down the length of the baking pan. You'll probably have leftover sauce, and Rapone recommends freezing it to make another pizza another day. Now pop the baking pan into the oven for 12 to 15 minutes, and bake the pizza until the edges are dark brown and bubbly and the cheese that isn't covered in sauce is starting to turn golden brown.

Take the pizza out of the pan and slice

Allow the pizza to set for about 10 minutes, and then run an offset spatula or a butter knife around the edges of the pizza to loosen it from the pan. Lift the pizza carefully with a spatula out of the pan, and slide it onto a cutting board. Cut the pizza into smaller rectangles or squares, making sure that everybody gets some of the crunchy edges. Rapone likes serving the Detroit-style pizza with small bowls of freshly grated Parmesan and red chili flakes to bump up the heat.

Although it may seem sacrilegious to pizza fanatics, it really is better to eat this beautiful pizza with a fork and knife. Or maybe after a couple of polite bites, toss aside the utensils and just use your hands. However you choose to chomp down on this chewy, cheesy delight, you'll be glad you took the plunge to make a perfect Detroit-style pizza at home.

Detroit-Style Deep Dish Pizza Recipe
5 from 25 ratings
Detroit-style pizza is baked in a rectangular pan, and it has a thick, chewy crust, a generous portion of sliced pepperoni, and stripes of tomato sauce on top.
Prep Time
30
minutes
Cook Time
12
minutes
Servings
4
servings
Detroit style pizza served
Total time: 42 minutes
Ingredients
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 ½ teaspoons table salt
  • Olive oil, for oiling the bowl, hands, and pan
  • 6 ounces tomato paste
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 30 pieces pepperoni
  • 10 slices mozzarella and/or provolone
Optional Ingredients
  • Red chili flakes
  • Grated Parmesan
Directions
  1. Microwave water in 10 to 15 second increments until it reaches 108 to 115 degrees Fahrenheit. In the bowl for your stand mixer, combine 2 generous cups of bread flour, 1 ¼ teaspoons yeast, and 1 ½ teaspoons table salt in the bowl. Stir to combine, then add the water. Stir with a spatula until the dough comes together into a shaggy ball, then let the dough rest for 10 minutes.
  2. After 10 minutes, put the bowl on the mixer, and attach the dough hook. Turn the mixer on medium-low to knead the dough until it forms a smooth ball, about 10 minutes.
  3. Oil a medium bowl with approximately 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Also get some oil on your hands, as the dough is sticky. Remove the dough and gently form it into a ball. Set the dough in the bottom of the oiled bowl, and cover it tightly with plastic wrap. Set the bowl in a warm place until the dough has roughly doubled in volume, about 2 hours.
  4. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil into the bottom of a metal 9x13-inch baking pan. Spread the oil to the edges using your fingertips. Transfer the dough to the pan, and turn it to coat in oil. Press the dough, and spread it toward the edges as much as you can without tearing it. Cover the pan with plastic wrap, and set it aside for 30 minutes to allow the dough to relax.
  5. Adjust an oven rack to the lowest position, and preheat the oven to 550 degrees, or as hot as your oven gets.
  6. After 30 minutes, you should be able to press or stretch the dough to reach the edges. If not, let it rest for an additional 15 minutes and try again. Once the dough is stretched to all the edges and corners, cover the pan again, and set aside while you make the sauce.
  7. Combine 8 ounces of tomato paste, the 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes, 1 tablespoon of dried oregano, 2 teaspoons of dried basil, 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, 1 teaspoon of onion powder, ¼ teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper, 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, and 2 teaspoons of sugar to a small or medium saucepan. Place on the stove over medium-low heat. Bring to a bubble, stirring consistently, so the bottom doesn't burn. Once it's reached a bubble, turn the heat off and cover the saucepan with a lid.
  8. Press out any large air bubbles in the dough with your fingertips. Lay out the pepperoni evenly over the dough. Top with the mozzarella and/or provolone cheese, spreading it evenly and overlapping the crust. Spoon sauce over the cheese in three even rows (going in the direction of the long way of the pan). You will probably have about half the sauce left — freeze it for another pizza.
  9. Bake the pizza until the edges are dark brown and bubbly and the parts of the cheese that aren't covered in the sauce are starting to brown, 12 to 15 minutes.
  10. Let the pizza set for 10 minutes before removing it from the pan. Run a thin metal spatula or a butter knife around the edge of the pan to loosen. Carefully lift the pizza out with a spatula, and slide it onto a cutting board. Slice the pizza into rectangles and serve. Add chili flakes and Parmesan if desired.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 1,728
Total Fat 121.0 g
Saturated Fat 44.7 g
Trans Fat 3.4 g
Cholesterol 268.8 mg
Total Carbohydrates 78.1 g
Dietary Fiber 8.1 g
Total Sugars 16.7 g
Sodium 5,022.3 mg
Protein 80.2 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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