Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza Dough

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

Ever since Diane tasted her first deep-dish in 1978 at Pizzeria Uno in Chicago, she set herself the goal of figuring out the recipe for the crust After years of experimentation and hundreds of deep-dish pizzas, we think this is as authentic a recipe for deep-dish pizza crust as you will find. Of course, use Lake Michigan water if you can (!), but, otherwise, regular tap water will do just fine. It is the combination of the flour and crunchy cornmeal and the addition of oil that gives this crust its signature qualities both light and crispy at the edges Unlike New York- or California-style pizzas, this dough is never rolled Use lightly oiled fingertips to gently press the dough into the pan. If the dough springs back, let it rest for a few minutes and then gently press again without pulling and stretching. This pressing technique allows the dough to develop a delicate biscuitlike structure.

Makes30 Ounces Dough, Enough for One 14-Inch Deep-Dish Pizza or One 9-Inch Stuffed Pizza


Total Timeunder 4 hours

Make Ahead RecipeYes

Kid FriendlyYes

One Pot MealYes

OccasionCooking for a date, Family Get-together, game day

Dietary Considerationegg-free, low saturated fat, vegan, vegetarian

Equipmentelectric mixer

Five Ingredients or LessYes

Mealdinner, lunch


Taste and Texturechewy

Type of Dishpizza


  • 1 package (2¼ teaspoons) active dry yeast
  • 1¼ cups lukewarm water 90° to 100°F)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3¼ cups unbleached bread flour, plus more for dusting
  • ½ cup medium-grind yellow cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon table salt or 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • ¼ cup olive oil, plus more for oiling bowl and pan


  1. 1 To make the dough by hand: Begin by making a sponge. In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in ¼ cup of the warm water. Add the sugar and ¼ cup of the flour and stir with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to combine. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 20 minutes. Add the remaining 1 cup warm water and 3 cups flour, the cornmeal, salt, and ¼ cup olive oil. Using a wooden spoon, mix the dough, incorporating as much of the flour as possible. Turn the dough out on a lightly floured work surface and knead until soft and elastic, 10 to 12 minutes. It will still be a little sticky but shouldn’t stick to your hands. Add only a minimum amount of flour to the work surface to keep the dough from sticking. Lightly oil a large bowl. Add the dough and turn to coat on all sides. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place a clean, damp kitchen towel over the top.

  2. To make the dough using a mixer: Begin by making a sponge. Fit a heavy-duty stand mixer with the dough hook attachment. In the mixer bowl, combine the yeast with ¼ cup of the warm water, then add the sugar and ¼ cup of the flour. Mix on low speed until combined. Place a clean, damp kitchen towel over the mixer to cover the bowl and let the sponge rise for 20 minutes. Add the remaining 1 cup warm water and 3 cups flour, the cornmeal, salt, and ¼ cup olive oil. Mix on low speed until the flour is incorporated and the dough gathers together to form a coarse ball, about 4 minutes. Let rest for 2 minutes, then mix on medium-low speed until the dough is smooth and slightly sticky, about 3 minutes longer. Even if the dough seems too sticky, turn the dough out on a well-floured work surface and knead for a minute or two until it forms a smooth ball, adding up to ¼ cup of additional flour, if necessary. Lightly oil a large bowl (or use the mixer bowl), add the dough, and turn to coat on all sides.

  3. 2 Set the bowl in a warm spot (a pilot-heated oven is a good spot, or an electric oven turned to 150°F for 5 minutes and then turned off). Let the dough rise until doubled in volume, 1½ to 2 hours. (For a slow rise, place the covered bowl in the refrigerator and let the dough rise for 10 to 12 hours. Bring the dough to room temperature before completing the final rise.)

  4. 3 When the dough has doubled in volume, punch it down and knead it for 2 to 3 minutes. Press the dough evenly into the bottom of an oiled 14-inch round deep-dish pizza pan (see recipe introduction). Let the dough rise in the pan for 15 to 20 minutes. Press the dough until it comes 2 inches up the sides and is even on the bottom and at the corners of the pan. Proceed with any deep-dish pizza recipe.


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The recipe is wrong, I'm sorry to report! Chicago deep dish pizza has a biscuit-like consistency which is achieved in two ways: lots of oil and a very short mix/knead time (just like a biscuit). You need at least 3 Tablespoons of oil (Chicago deep dish pizzerias use cheap, more-or-less tasteless oils like corn or canola (mostly corn) per every cup of flour. So your recipe would need about 10 TBS oil instead of the 4 in the specified 1/4 cup. Mix for 30 seconds to a minute (just to bring the ingredients together), then knead for 1-2 minutes. Then give it a nice long rise--around 6 hours or so. A lot of places refrigerate their dough for a overnight rise, then let it slowly warm up to room temperature as it keeps on rising. Also, there never has been any use of cornmeal in Chicago deep dish pizza--the golden yellow color in some of the brands comes from food coloring. Use all-purpose flour--bread flour has too much protein for the desired biscuit-like texture. Some pizzerias use a 00-type of flour, which is similar to a cake flour (very soft). If you can find them, use 6-in-1 ground tomatoes (a lot of grocery stores and deli-type stores carry them). Stella cheese is good to use, too (make a blend of part-skim and whole milk). Add about an 1/8 of a teaspoon of cream of tartar to the dough to improve rolling/stretching. You don't need to use a sponge.

Ok, very good recipe overall. Consistency of dough is very good. Taste is good but the olive oil over whelms the dough. I reduced the amount of OO and added butter in its place. Added about an extra 1/2 t of sugar, next time I might try a touch of honey. Good starting point!!!! Thanks for the guidance!!


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