How Deep Is A Chicago Deep-Dish Pizza? 

If you want a pizza pie that literally looks like a pie, then you have to try Chicago deep-dish pizza. Flatbread fans may never claim deep-dish pizza is delicious, but there's a reason this style of pizza remains popular. If you're new to making a deep-dish pizza, you may be wondering if there's a limit to this pizza's famous depth. Is there any point where a deep-dish pizza is too deep? We did the research to bring you the answer.

Chicago deep-dish pizzas are usually between 1.5 and 3 inches deep. While there are many ways to make deep-dish pizzas, most home chefs prefer using pans with a diameter of 12 to 14 inches.

Making a classic Chicago deep-dish pizza could be as daunting as baking an authentic New York slice. However, if you follow the tips in this post, you should be on your way to making a pie that Chicagoans would admire. If you have more questions about the process, don't worry. In this post, we'll discuss the topic in more detail. Without further ado, let's get into it.

Sliced Chicago style deep dish pizza closeup on a plate on the table. How Deep Is A Chicago Deep-Dish Pizza 

How Deep Is A Chicago Deep-Dish Pizza?

Honestly, a deep-dish pizza could be considered a glorified lasagna. While that doesn't mean these pizzas are as deep as a birthday cake, they should be at least 1.5 inches deep.

A large and delicious deep dish pizza pie ready to be sliced

Heck, many Chicago deep-dish pizzas go well below 1.5 inches. For more adventurous home chefs, go ahead and try pans with 2- or 3-inch depth for a soupier experience.

For more details on making a Chicago deep-dish pizza, you've got to check out this recipe:

How Big Is A Large Deep-Dish Pizza?

Just as the depth could vary between deep-dish recipes, so could the diameter. Indeed, when you visit most Chicago pizzerias, you'll find pies available in the standard sizes: 

  • Small
  • Medium
  • Large

There's no scientific way to measure these sizes. Indeed, most restaurants have different standards for their pies. However, the general diameter of these pizzas is as follows:

  • 10 inches for small 
  • 12 inches for medium 
  • 14 inches for large 

For a visual explanation of just how big an average deep-dish pizza is, be sure to watch this video:

What Makes A Chicago Deep-Dish Pizza Different?

Like "flatbread pizza," Chicago "deep-dish" pizza has its defining difference in its name. The most significant difference between deep-dish and flatbread pizza is that deep-dish pizza is thicker. 

But the distinctions don't stop there. Interestingly, there's a particular order of operation when making a Chicago deep-dish pizza. 

Interestingly, Chicago deep-dish flips flatbread on its head! Instead of putting sauce on the bottom and cheese on the top, Chicago deep-dish puts cheese on the bottom and sauce on the top. 

Slice of Chicago deep dish pizza macro on a plate on the table

Also, authentic Chicago-style deep-dish should always have some type of meat mixed into the middle. While this isn't "necessary" if you've got vegetarians at home, most deep-dish pizzas have Italian sausage. 

Lastly, since deep-dish pizzas are bigger than flatbread varieties, you'll need to bake them in your oven for longer. 

Most recipes claim you need to bake deep-dish pizza for at least 25 minutes, while flatbread pizzas only take about 12-15 minutes. 

How Deep Is A New York Style Pizza?

pizza chef inside his kitchen infront of a large oven

The most prominent contrast between Chicago and New York pizza is that the latter is paper thin. In fact, foodies claim a real NY slice should never be more than 1/4 of an inch thick. 

In addition to a New York pizza's thin depth, this pizza has cheese on top of tomato sauce. Most people eat NY pizza slices with their hands, while Chicago pizzas often require utensils. 

However, there is a debate over whether to put toppings over or below a flatbread pizza's cheese. 

In brief, where you put your topping largely depends on what it is. For instance, chefs usually put meat toppings over cheese, but veggies go under the cheese. 

For more info on this pressing pizza issue, be sure to read this post: Should Pizza Toppings Go On Top Of Cheese Or Under?

What Should You Bake A Chicago Deep-Dish Pizza In? 

photo of a Chicago-Style Deep Dish Pizza on a dinner table

Most people who cook Chicago deep-dish pizzas use circular pans that measure 12 or 14 inches in diameter. 

Click here to see this round pizza pan on Amazon.

While a few companies make pans specifically for deep-dish pizza, you could use any oven-safe, circular container. 

There are also plenty of people who like using a round cast-iron skillet to make their Chicago deep-dish pizza. 

If you're thinking of using this piece of cooking equipment, you should check out this guide: How Often Do You Season A Cast Iron Pan?

Click here to see this cast-iron skillet on Amazon.

Speaking of seasoning, it's imperative to coat your deep-dish pan with plenty of oil or butter. This not only helps you remove your pizza slices but it also helps create the flaky crust deep-dish fans love. 

By the way, if you're wondering whether to grease a standard pizza tray, you've got to check out this post: Do You Need To Grease A Pizza Tray? [Tips On How To Prepare One]

When Is A Deep-Dish Pizza Done In The Oven? 

In most recipes, you'll leave your deep-dish pizza in a 350-400 degree oven for about 25 minutes before checking it. 

Typically, you'll know your deep-dish pizza is done when it starts bubbling. Be sure to keep a close eye on your pie for this crucial feature. 

However, the most accurate way to test your deep-dish pizza's "doneness" is to use a standard meat thermometer. Once your timer goes off, stick the thermometer's tip into the center of the pie and wait for a result.

According to baking experts, your thermometer should read approximately 190 degrees Fahrenheit when your pizza is ready to eat. 

Who Is Famous For Deep-Dish Pizza?

people at Giordano's restaurant in the Loop District, Chicago, USA. The restaurant is famous for the Chicago style deep dish pizza

Uno's remains "numero uno" when it comes to deep-dish pizzas. Most accounts of this recipe's history go back to the 1940s at Chicago's Uno's Pizzeria. Of course, now that Uno's is a national chain, it's easier for non-Chicagoans to taste this slice of history. 

However, Uno's isn't the only ristorante famous for deep-dish pizza. Just like flatbread in New York City, you could find many Chicago pizzerias offering authentic deep-dish pizza.

A few other iconic Chicago restaurants and chains associated with deep-dish pizza include:

  • Lou Malnati's
  • Giordano's
  • Pizano's
  • Gino's East
  • Nancy's Pizzeria

If you're heading to the Windy City, you should look up a travel website for the best local deep-dish pizza restaurants. 

Since restaurants are always coming and going, it's good to get the most up-to-date information before your trip to Chicago. 

What Is The Difference Between Deep-Dish And Stuffed Pizza?

Woman hands cutting Chicago style deep dish Italian cheese pizza with tomato sauce and beef meet inside

Stuffed pizza is another Chicago delicacy, but it's not the same as deep-dish pizza. Although these pizzas share many traits, stuffed pizza has a layer of dough on the top.

But the differences don't stop there. For instance, stuffed pizzas have way more cheese and less sauce than a deep-dish pizza. 

In fact, most stuffed pizzas only have a tiny layer of tomato sauce over the top of the dough. This is a far cry from the globs of tomato sauce in Chicago deep-dish pizza. 

Also, most stuffed pizzas are a bit deeper than deep-dish pizzas. 

To see how Chicagoans make their stuffed pizza, be sure to watch this video:

Is Detroit Deep-Dish Pizza The Same As Chicago Deep-Dish Pizza?

Detroit style pepperoni pizza

Detroit-style pizza is often conflated with Chicago deep-dish pizza, but there are a few distinguishing features.

True, both Detroit and Chicago-style pizzas are deep, but Detroit-style pizza tends to have a chewy and doughy texture. In part, this has to do with how you use cheese in a Detroit pizza.

Instead of layering cheese on the bottom like a Chicago pie, Detroit pizzas encourage chefs to let fresh Wisconsin cheese overflow. These ooey-gooey curds get into the crust and on the bottom, which creates a super cheesy texture and flavor.

Also, unlike Chicago-style pizza, Detroit pizza is always baked in a rectangular pan. 

Click here to see this Detroit pizza pan on Amazon.

Although toppings on Detroit pizzas can vary, most people prefer using pepperoni. So, if you're not a fan of the flaky crust on Chicago deep-dish pizza, you may want to give Detroit-style pizza a try.

If you'd like to learn more about how to make a Detroit-style deep-dish pizza, be sure to watch this video:

Chow Down On A Slice Of Chicago's Finest Deep-Dish Pizza! 

We're not sure how most Chicagoans would define a "deep-dish pizza," but most recipes recommend aiming for a depth of 1.5 to 3 inches.

Also, please don't forget to layer your pizza in the reverse order (i.e., cheese, meat toppings, then sauce). Once you see the sauce is bubbling, it's likely time to try your Chicago deep-dish pie! 

If you follow these tips, you should be well on your way to making a fine rendition of this Midwestern and Italian-American classic. 

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