Chicago style deep dish pizza is one of my favorite kinds of pizza, it’s so unique that it brings it’s own ambience to the meal. It’s not just another pizza Chicago style deep dish pizza is an experience, a mood, a sought-after desire that we can now create at home any night of the week!
It’s an easy weeknight dinner, the pizza dough can be homemade days before, the morning of or you can buy it store bought. You’ll use your favorite jarred sauce, canned tomatoes, dry herbs and frozen store-bought meatballs, the hardest part about this Chicago style deep dish recipe is waiting while it’s in the oven for 45 minutes.
My Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza Truths
You’re right I’m not going to lead you on with a story about how I’m rooted in Chicago with family that dates back generations. In fact it’s the exact opposite. I have very rarely visited the mid-west in general and I’ve only been to Chicago for a mere maybe 48 hours total. I was there for a work conference we saw nothing but the inside of the hotel conference room.
The most touristy thing I did was walk in awe through Chicago O’Hare International Airport reminiscing about the movie Home Alone. I did not eat pizza on this trip. I have a trip planned there next March and I’m currently taking suggestions on where to go and what to eat, feel free to comment, email, or message me on social media if you have any recommendations – especially for a true Chicago style deep dish pizza!
So, with that said, where do I get my credibility for this Chicago style deep dish pizza recipe? I’m starting to wonder that myself…
All I have to go on are these three things. The first one, I use to frequent a Chicago style deep dish restaurant here in DC, it was right around the corner from work and a great place to take a leisure lunch, happy hour or meet friends for dinner. The second thing is my husband, he would visit his then girlfriend in college in Chicago so naturally I leaned on his memories from 15+ years ago. Third, over the years, I’ve made other deep dish recipes from other food bloggers.
With these three things combined I came up with an amazingly irresistible meatball deep dish pizza – Chicago style including the must-have fennel flavor.
Your Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza Crust
I love making homemade pizza dough, it’s so incredibly easy and you can make it days ahead of time or keep it stocked in the freezer for when you want pizza on a whim. If you wake up feeling like making pizza, you can make my homemade dough recipe in under 10 minutes and it only needs at least an hour to rise. If you want a more tangy flavor, a slow rise in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours and up to 72 hours is the way to go (and my preferred way).
If you want to buy store-bought pizza dough, you will need want to get the ball of dough usually made in-store and sold by the deli section, most large grocery stores have this option. I love this alternative, it’s the next best thing to homemade.
Here’s the catch you will need 1 and 1/2 dough balls. When I make my homemade dough recipe I usually get two pizzas from the recipe, for this Chicago style deep dish pizza, I rolled out the entire recipe without splitting into two, after measuring it for my 9 inch cake pan, I trimmed and had enough left over for one small kid-size personal pan pizza.
Let’s Talk about Frozen Meatballs
If you’ve read other recipes, you will know that I have an obsession with store-bought frozen meatballs. I love my homemade meatballs for dishes like spaghetti and meatballs, but I never have homemade meatballs frozen in the freezer and ready to go which is why I turn to the next best thing!
Frozen meatballs stand up in dishes and soups when they are cooking a long time, they help speed up any weeknight meal and let’s face it – they are delicious. I love love love the brand “Cooked Perfect” and they have so many options to choose from to meet a lot of different dietary restrictions. For this Chicago style deep dish pizza I used a bag of their organic Italian style.
Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza
- 1½ Pizza Dough Crusts see blog notes
- ¼ cup Corn Meal
- 2 TBSP Olive Oil
- 2 cups Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
- 1 cup Shredded Italian Blend Cheese
- 14 oz Jar of your Favorite Pizza Sauce
- 1 tsp Dry Italian Herbs
- ½ tsp Dry Fennel Seeds
- 12 oz Bag of Frozen Meatballs (about 16 meatballs) see blog notes
- 14.5 oz Canned Diced Tomatoes
- Preheat your oven to 400F and get out a 9 inch circle cake pan, sprinkle the bottom with a little corn meal and set aside.
- Sprinkle your counter top with some corn meal and roll out your pizza dough into a circle larger than your cake pan.
- Place your pizza dough inside of your cake pan, making sure the crust is pressed around the bottom and hanging over the edges of the pan. Once you add the topping you can trim any excess dough.
- Drizzle the bottom with your olive oil.
- Add your mozzarella cheese as your first layer, then add your Italian cheese blend, keeping a pinch or two for the top of the pizza.
- Top your cheese with your pizza sauce, sprinkle your Italian herb blend and fennel seed, keeping some to sprinkle on the top of the pizza.
- Top your pizza sauce with the meatballs and add on your can of diced tomatoes so that they fall between the meatballs, you can scoop out with a spoon to make it less watery, I used all but a ¼ of the juice in the can.
- Top with remaining sprinkles of Italian cheese and herbs.
- Bake at 400F for 40-45 minutes. On a rack, let it cool slightly before serving.