Chicago-Style Deep Dish Pizza

This recipe is a close match to the legendary Gino’s East cornmeal crust.

The Ingredients:

7 ounces (1 1/3 cups) all-purpose flour
3 ounces (1/2 cup) cooked russet potato, grated (or riced) and cooled
2 ounces (1/2 cup) finely ground yellow corn meal
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
1 teaspoon salt
2 ounces (4 tablespoons) vegetable oil
3.5 ounces (1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons) lukewarm water

The Procedure:

Whisk the flour, corn meal, yeast, and salt together. Add the potato, rubbing it into the mixture with your fingers to make sure it’s evenly distributed. Do the same with the vegetable oil. Making a small well in the center of the mixture, add the water, kneading it in gently by hand until the dough is smooth and uniform, about 30 – 45 seconds. Let the dough rise at room temperature for 45 minutes-2 hours depending on how dense or bready you prefer your crust (if less than an hour it may not rise perceceptibly).

Put a pizza stone on a lower rack of your oven and preheat to 400 degrees — a full 45 minutes before you’re planning to bake. When ready, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board and roll thinly, roughly to shape. Press it into a 10″ or 11″ pizza, tart or springform pan, leaving a 1-inch lip around the sides (longer-rising doughs will have excess).

Poke holes all around with a fork and par-bake the crust on the stone for 13-15 minutes. Take the crust out of the oven and turn the heat down to 350. Sprinkle pizza with mozzarella cheese, then desired toppings. Top it with your favorite sauce (recipe below if you need one) by splattering heavy spoonfuls over the fillings (don’t worry if the coverage isn’t perfect, you only need to cover about 80% of the total area with sauce). Sprinkle a little fresh-grated parmesan on to finish. Bake on the stone 20-30 minutes or until the edges are golden and the cheese is bubbly and slightly browned.

Joe’s Pizza Sauce

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1/2 small onion, diced
1/2 teaspoon dried basil (or half a dozen fresh leaves, torn)
1 28-ounce can tomatoes (not San Marzanos)
1-2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tablespoons tomato paste

Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and fry for 1-2 minutes, or until a sudden wave of garlic smell sweeps out of the pan, telling you it’s ready. Add the onion and sauté until soft, about 8 minutes. Add the dried spices and sauté 3-4 minutes more. Put in the tomatoes, crush them with a potato masher, add salt and a couple grindings of pepper, and simmer for 20 minutes. Balance sauce by adding sugar, vinegar, salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the tomato paste and simmer 5 more minutes.

Recipe should make enough sauce for 2 pizzas, depending on how much you like (I usually splatter on about 1 1/2 cups per pizza). It freezes well in tupperware or quart-sized freezer bags.

12 thoughts on “Chicago-Style Deep Dish Pizza”

  1. Joe, I came to your site looking for frosting recipes, and I found so much more. I spent nearly a decade in the Chicagoland area before moving back home to the Northwest. I don’t miss the weather, but I do miss the food – especially the pizza. Thanks so much for the recipe!

    1. Let me know how it turns out! And don’t be afraid to fiddle. Unlike every other Chicago-style pizza recipe I’ve ever found in print or online, this one really does fit nicely in the Gino’s-Uno’s family of crusts. It’s not perfectly “them” but I think you’ll agree it’s a major step in their direction!


      – Joe

  2. Alright Joe, it’s the weekend once again. Going forth with your Chi-town pizza (last weekend was the Neopolitan). I have no doubts it’s going to be excellent! Full review to come.

  3. The pizza has settled as of about an hour ago! It was great! The only changes I had made to the recipe, was I used white corn meal (which I’d bought after making your corn bread) and subbed 1/3 cup of flour for an equal amount of whole wheat flour. We used your sauce recipe as well. When the dough came out, I didn’t let it sit before dressing and baking due to 6 hungry eyes staring at me as the clock was nearing 7pm.

    Great texture in the dough, the cornmeal was a pleasant texture as well as flavor. A nice thick crust all around which paired well with 4oz of cheese, 2 oz sweet sausage, a few pepperoni slices and half of your sauce recipe (I went a little heavy on the sauce as you’ll see – more cheese next time to balance that out!). I’d serve this to guests on special occasions but for a busy household I’m going to fall back on the Neapolitan as one batch will last all week and takes only minutes to cook, a fed family = a happy family, as you know. Here’s a snapshot:

    1. Woohoo! VERY glad to hear you like the pizza, Geoff. I find that pretty much all Chicago-style pizza recipes are just thick, thick bread. That’s not what Chicago deep dish is about. Those crusts aren’t thick as much as they are dense and rich. This crust achieves the density without being impossibly rich. It doesn’t taste exactly like Gino’s East or Lou Malnati’s, but it’s well within the aesthetic. It’s one of the recipes on the site that I really worked on…over a period of months. So I’m glad it has a new adherent (for special occasions at least)! 😉

      Thanks for the note!

      – Joe

  4. I unfortunately just left the Chicago area and was so happy to stumble upon this recipe! The crust is beautiful. Thank you so much for helping me make something I remember so fondly! I just found your site, and it’s beautiful and full of all sorts of good stuff I want to make!

    1. Hi Rachel!

      I feel your pain. I’d been out of Chicago for 9 years now, but we eat a Chicago-style pizza every Friday fight just the same. Makes Louisville feel a little more like home!

      Very glad this is working so well for you.

      – Joe

  5. Just a note, this recipe makes for fantastic stuffed pizza as well. If you make a recipe and a half, and add a tiny bit more water, it’s perfect for a 12×2 inch round pan, with 2/3 for the bottom crust and 1/3 for the top.

    1. Never knew that, Erika! I’ll try that one of these days! Thanks for the ingenuity.

      – Joe

  6. Hey Joe! Just wanted to come back and tell you that I made this pizza for my mother recently when she was visiting me and she loved this pizza! She said that if she closed her eyes, she wouldn’t know that she wasn’t eating pizza in Chicago. The ultimate compliment! Thank you again!

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