Cast Iron Deep Dish Pizza

With a deep soft crust, creamy cheese and flavorful seasoned tomatoes, this Cast Iron Deep Dish Pizza is worth staying home for!

Cast iron deep dish pizza

Pizza is a staple in many homes–especially those with kids. It’s perfect for sleepovers and a lifesaver during study sessions.  Even better, it’s a family-pleaser for any meal from Sunday supper to Game Day.

Of course serving the same pizza can get old quickly… So what about shaking things up with a Chicago Style Cast Iron Deep Dish Pizza! deep dish pizza served

What is Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza?

Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza has a lot of similarities with regular pizza but there are enough differences to almost feel like a new dish. First, the ingredients are layered in a different order, with the tomato layer on the top. And instead of a smear of pureed sauce, it’s a thick layer of seasoned chopped tomatoes.

The crust is thick and bready, while in between, there is a dense layer of cheese. Additional toppings, if you decide to use them, sit over the cheese and under the sauce. 

And while it doesn’t have to be made in a cast iron skillet (see below for options), it often it, so frequently goes by the name of Cast Iron Deep Dish Pizza.

chicago style deep dish pizza

Why You’ll Love This

This is my favorite homemade pizza and I think it’s just as tasty as one made by a good pizzeria. And because it’s so easy to make, I consider it the pizza equivalent of bar cookies!

Easy press-in crust. No rolling, no tossing. I usually use store bought pizza dough from Trader Jos’s or a local Italian bakery.  Or use my pre-baked pizza crust recipe and just press it in here instead of baking crusts for later.

Super flavorful sauce. One of the hallmarks of the Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza is a sauce that is more like beautifully seasoned crushed tomatoes than a think tomato puree. Mine is adapted from an Emeril recipe and only a little harder than opening a can.

Family pleaser. I can’t explain why pizza night is always such a hit, but I get just as excited! And you can pick and chose your toppings or even go halfsies to give everyone their favorite!

almost finished pizza

What You’ll Need


  • Olive oil.  To sautee the garlic. Olive oil adds some flavor, but you can substitute another oil
  • Fresh Garlic.  This adds flavor.
  • Dried Basil, Oregano, Fennel, Red Pepper Flakes.  These add rich Italian flavor.
  • Salt, pepper.  Enhance flavor.
  • Diced or crushed tomatoes.  Forms the bulk of the sauce.
  • Dry red wine.  Adds flavor but can be omitted.
  • Sugar.  Balances the acidity but can be omitted.
  • Pizza Dough.  You can use pre-made or your favorite recipe.
  • Provolone or mozzarella cheese.  Provides the cheesy goodness.
  • Italian sausage. Adds flavor and protein.  I use bulk Italian sausage or Italian bratwurst that I remove from the casings.  Can be omitted for vegetarian
  • Parmesan.  Provides additional cheese flavor.

Special Tools

  • You’ll need a 12-inch cast iron skillet or similar pan with sides that is oven safe.  See the discussion below.

Step by Step Overview

You start by making the sauce.  Sautee the garlic briefly, add seasonings, then the remaining sauce ingredients.  Simmer until thickened. prepare sauce

Spray your pan with non-stick spray and press in the pizza crust.

press crust into pan

Top with sliced cheese

top with cheese

Add sausage or other toppings (optional)top with sausage

Spread seasoned tomatoes over top.

top with sauce

Top with grated Parmesan.

sprinkle with parmesan

Bake for about 30 minutes until crust is golden and sausage is cooked through.  Let rest for a few minutes, then serve warm.  

What kind of pan can I use for Deep Dish Pizza?

The classic pan for a homemade deep dish pizza is either a special, high-sided pizza pan or a large cast iron skillet.  I have used both a cast iron frying pan and an enamel coated 3 ½ quart (12-inch) Le Creuset braiser!  Both of these are non-stick without being lined with toxic PFAS-type chemicals.

Both worked well but the cast iron is my favorite because you can cut in it without worrying about scratching any enamel.  And cast iron pans are affordably priced and available on Amazon or even at TJ Maxx. 

To avoid damaging the enamel coating, when I used the Le Creuset, I removed the pizza from the pan by sliding some silicon pancake turners underneath then lifting/sliding it out. Then I cut on a cutting board or serving plate.

In the absence of these pan options, I have seen people online using springform pans, rectangular pans, cake pans, and more!  Look for something a couple inches deep with approximately the same total area.  Where there’s a will there’s a way!

cast iron deep dish pizza with wine

How to Serve

While garlic bread is a classic pizza side, I am less inclined to serve it with this given the thickness of the crust,. But a nice green salad is a wonderful addition!  Keep in the Italian spirit with my Spicy Italian Salad or

Happily between the salad and the tomatoes, you are probably getting two servings of vegetables! How nice is that for recipe that I think is as much fun as (maybe more than) junk food!

Cast Iron Deep Dish Pizza Served


While I use sausage in this pizza, feel free to change up the “toppings” to your tastes.  Just place them between the cheese and the sauce.  Consider ingredients like olives, pepperoni and more.  Yum!

But sausage is a favorite and for deep dish pizza, traditional means forming it into a big round disk that covers the whole pizza (though it will shrink as it cooks). But you can go with bite sized sausage pieces if you prefer.

Sausage in bite sized ieces on pizza

As for the selection of sausage, I usually buy mild Italian sausages and remove the casing.  Your butcher may also have bulk Italian sausage available.

And when you want to go back to thin crust for a change consider some fun variations like Garlic Scape Pizza, Taco Pizza, or White Seafood Pizza.  Finally, to make things extra easy, don’t forget my (thin-style) Pre-Baked Pizza Crust!

Or consider these pizzas variations from my friends:

grating cheese on to pizza

Tips and FAQs

If you look at other recipes, you’ll see that olive oil is standard for coating the pan. I used PAM, however, because I love its non-stick properties and this is super flavorful anyway.

One thing I like about this pizza is not having to form a perfect round when you make your crust! But sometimes the dough may still “fight you” as you try to spread it out. If that happens, cover it and give it some resting time to “relax”. But also be aware that when you set the cheese on top, this helps to “anchor” the crust and that helps too.  Or don’t fight at all and go with a Pizza Casserole.

Did you know that you can freeze pizza dough balls? That makes it easy to be ready for spontaneous deep dish pizza any time! How fun is that!

I formed my sausage disk on a piece of wax paper, then inverted it onto the cheese.  This made working with a wobbly sausage disk quite easy!

forming sausage

Cast Iron Deep Dish Pizza

Chicago Deep Dish Pizza Recipe

With a deep soft crust, creamy cheese and flavorful seasoned tomatoes, this Chicago Deep Dish Pizza Recipe is worth staying home for!
Author: Inger
4.67 from 6 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 50 mins
Total Time 1 hr
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 8
Calories 578 kcal


Seasoned Tomato Topping: 

  • 1/2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh garlic
  • 2 teaspoons basil
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 28 ounce diced or crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon dry red wine
  • 1 teaspoon sugar

Remaining Ingredients: 

  • 1 pound Pizza Dough pre-made or your favorite recipe--see note
  • PAM non-stick spray
  • 3/4 pound provolone or mozzarella cheese sliced
  • 1 pound Italian sausage omit for vegetarian
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan


  • In a medium sautee pan, heat the oil. Add the garlic and seasonings then stir for 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes, wine and sugar, then bring to a simmer. Lower the heat and cook, stirring occasionally for 20 to 30 minutes until thickened. Set aside.
  • While the sauce is cooking, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spray the sides of a 12 inch pan with Pam non-stick spray. Press the pizza dough into the pan, pushing about 1 1/2 inches up the sides.
  • Layer the provolone cheese on top of the dough. Top with toppings of your choice (optional).  Spread the sauce evenly on top and sprinkle with grated Parmesan.
  • Bake until the crust is golden brown and sausage is cooked through, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, let cool for a few minutes, then slice and serve hot.  (If you use an enameled pan, remember not to use metal cutting tools in the pan--I find the pizza usually slips out intact with just a little loosening if I have used Pam)


No favorite pizza crust recipe? Try my pre-baked pizza crust recipe--just press it in instead of baking crusts for later.


Serving: 1 sliceCalories: 578kcalCarbohydrates: 37gProtein: 27gFat: 36gSaturated Fat: 16gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4gMonounsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 77mgSodium: 1511mgPotassium: 508mgFiber: 3gSugar: 9gVitamin A: 651IUVitamin C: 11mgCalcium: 446mgIron: 4mg
I am not a health professional and nutrition data is calculated programatically. Accuracy may vary with product selection, calculator accuracy, etc. Consult a professional for the best information.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Updated from 7/18/13 and Aug 28, 2021.

46 thoughts on “Cast Iron Deep Dish Pizza

  1. Christie

    5 stars
    I’m usually on the fence about deep dish pizza, but this one looks super delicious! Now, I just have to get out the cast iron pan to make it!

  2. David Scott Allen

    Somehow, I missed this post the first couple of times around. I remember making a deep dish pizza in college with friends from a recipe we found in GQ magazine. It was so complicated for us then, but yours is so easy and looks so good! I definitely need to try this.

  3. Michaela Kenkel

    My daughter in law is from Chicago — she misses the pizza! I am going to make this and surprise her!

  4. Dan

    This looks delicious! How do you prevent the crust from coming back into the center of the pan when pressing it down?

    1. Inger Post author

      The pizza dough I have been buying from Trader Joe’s spreads quite nicely right out of the package. If a dough is “fighting” you, it can help to leave it alone for a bit to relax and try it again. The biggest problem I have had was sticking when I used olive oil to grease the pan instead of Pam. If you get a chance to try this, I’d love to hear how it goes!

  5. Kathy

    Inger, your pizza looks amazing! My son buys the TJs pizza crust all the time and loves it. Wish I had a TJs closer to me. I have never tried to make a deep dish pizza…maybe the time has come.

    1. Inger Post author

      You should give it a try Kathy! There is an Italian bakery near us that sells pizza crust dough–perhaps if you asked around you might find another source. And if you happen to get to TJs, the crusts freeze well so you could buy more than one.

  6. Karis

    Can’t wait to try this recipe, I’ve never attempted deep-dish pizza. I think a trip to the Le Creuset outlet is in order…after the house sells 🙂

  7. Kathy

    Inger, I never usually think to make deep dish pizza. A good reminder–and it looks like a mouth-watering recipe, too.

  8. grace

    the toppings are always my favorite component of pizza, and when made this way, there’s an ample amount for sure! gorgeous and tasty work!

    1. Inger Post author

      I think the color is spinach–the outlet store has both retired and non-retired colors. With a coupon the current colors are often just as discounted. I had to get my dutch oven in black to get one that came with a high heat knob (they were out of the separate knobs and I wanted to use it for Molly’s bread). I was excited to see you got yours from Le Creuset!

  9. Louise

    Dare i say it, okay I won’t:) But, if I had to eat pizza, Chicago Style is most definitely the way to go! Glad you indulged on that pan:) Happy to know Trader Joe’s dough is good too just in case I should ever get a craving for Pizza, lol…

    Thanks for sharing, Pattie…

    1. Inger Post author

      My kids weren’t sure at first but came right around. I sometimes feel guilty buying my crust but it is soooo easy!

      1. Louise

        Oh Inger, I’m so sorry. I really need to slow down. Please forgive me. If it’s any consolation, I called Pattie, Inger last week, lol…

        I wouldn’t feel guilty buying the crust. That’s one of those things that are pretty close to home made. I feel guilty for not loving Pizza!

        So, so, so sorry, Inger. I really need to get my act together, lol…

        1. Inger Post author

          Oh don’t worry Louise, I just laughed. I wrote “granola” instead of “yogurt” this week on a post about yogurt and had to write a correction. I had just read another post about granola and well… you know how it goes;-) Silly fingers…

          1. Louise

            I have so many things on my mind. I’m glad it’s the fingers and not the brain. I’m trying to help someone get a Pinterest button on their blog so I’m drawing pictures, which I really stink at! Actually, I haven’t had dinner yet. A slice would be GREAT!

  10. CCU

    Your pizza looks utterly beautiful, so delicious and full of flavour 😀


    P.S. I am going to be exam prepping for four weeks so won’t be commenting – see you in a month!

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