Chicago-Style Deep Dish Pizza

Spring break my sophomore year of undergrad, my good friend, Lauren, whose dorm room was down the hallway from mine, invited me to vacation at her parents house in a suburb of Chicago with her. Aside from playing with her giant Newfie, one of my favorite memories is the dinner we had at Lou Malnoti’s Pizzeria. I had never had deep dish pizza before, and this establishment definitely set the bar high. No other pizza had come close to Lou’s until I happened across this recipe in an issue of Cook’s Illustrated. The only thing that would complete the Lou Malnoti experience would be a 32-ounce Shirley Temple.

Chicago-Style Sausage and Pepperoni Deep Dish Pizza

Chicago-Style Sausage and Pepperoni Deep Dish Pizza

Grab your forks, because this is not the kind of pizza to eat with your hands. Experiment with your own unique toppings, just make sure the sauce goes on top. The lamination process for the dough is rather involved, but produces a delicious, flaky crust, so make sure that you have some time set aside. Makes two pizzas.


  • 3 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons instant or rapid-rise yeast
  • 1 1/4 cups water, room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted; plus 4 tablespoons, softened
  • 1 teaspoon plus 4 tablespoons olive oil

Fit stand mixer with a dough hook. In the bowl on low speed combine the flour, cornmeal, salt, sugar and yeast. Keeping the machine on low, add the water and melted butter and continue mixing until completely combined. Increase the speed and knead the dough for about 4-5 minutes until dough is glossy and pulls away from the sides of the bowl, while mixer is on. Transfer dough to a large oiled bowl and let rise at room temperature until nearly doubled (45-60 minutes). It is now time to laminate the dough, which will produce a perfectly flaky crust (for images on these steps, see the recipe illustrations on the Cook’s Illustrated website). Turn dough out onto a dry work surface and roll out into a 15- by12-inch rectangle. Evenly spread the softened butter on the dough with an offset spatula, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Roll the dough into a tight cylinder, starting at the short end. Turn dough so that the seam is down, flatten cylinder into an 18- by 4-inch rectangle and then cut this in half. Fold each half into thirds like you would a letter. Pinch the seams together to form two balls, return to the oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in the fridge until doubled (40-50 minutes). In the meantime, coat two 9-inch round cake pans liberally with olive oil (approximately 2 tablespoons per pan). Working with one dough ball at a time, roll into a 13-inch disk about a 1/4-inch thick. Transfer dough to pan, pressing into corners and working up the sides one inch. If dough resists stretching, let it sit for 5 minutes and try again. Repeat with the remaining dough ball.

Pizza Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup onion, grated on the large holes
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt plus more, to taste
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 28 ounces crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Ground black pepper, to taste

While dough is rising the first time, the sauce can be made and then set aside for pizza assembly. Heat butter in a saucepan over medium heat and add the onion, oregano and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook until the liquid has evaporated and the onions have turned golden brown (5 minutes). Add the garlic and cook about 30 seconds, or until fragrant. Then mix in the crushed tomatoes and sugar. Increase heat to bring sauce to a simmer. Lower temperature to medium-low and allow sauce to reduce to 2 1/2 cups (25-30 minutes). Remove the sauce from the heat and stir in the olive oil and basil, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Pizza Toppings

  • 1 pound mozzarella, shredded
  • 1 pound Italian sausage, cooked in small pieces
  • Pepperoni, sliced
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 425°. Divide the mozzarella in half and spread evenly over the dough. Layer pepperoni slices evenly on top of the cheese and then distribute 1/2 pound cooked Italian sausage over the pepperoni. Finally top each pizza with 1 1/4 cups sauce and sprinkle 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan over the top of each pizza. Bake the pizzas on the lower rack until the crust is golden brown (20-30 minutes). Allow pizzas to rest 10 minutes before slicing.


4 Comments Add yours

  1. Danny says:

    I think you have answered my prayers! I love Lou’s but have always wanted to create the crust when I wanted to make homemade pizzas. I just posted about my pizza disaster the other day and here you are! I will try this…thanks so much!

    1. The King says:

      Glad to help you out!

    2. The King says:

      I’m glad I could help bring Lou (or at least one of his close cousins) home!

  2. Some really interesting points you have written. Aided me a lot, just what I was looking for : D.

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