Detroit Pizza

published Mar 1, 2022
Detroit Pizza Recipe

Detroit-style pie layers the toppings and cheese directly over the crust and then finishes with the sauce on top.  

Serves6 to 8

Prep2 hours 40 minutes

Cook35 minutes to 40 minutes

Jump to Recipe
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
deep dish pizza
Credit: Photo: Eric Kleinberg; Food Stylist: Kristina Vanni

It’s possible to experience a taste of the trendy Detroit-style pizza without a trip to the Motor City. Lately, there has been a boom in demand for this deep-dish, square-cut pizza, but, in fact, this style dates back to at least the 1940s. That’s when a bar owner and his wife decided to use a Sicilian-style pizza dough and bake it into a rectangular steel pan normally used to carry auto parts. They layered it with cheese and sauce, and a trend was born. The pizza came out of the oven with blackened edges from the pan and a perfectly crispy crust. It was an immediate hit, and pizza aficionados have been enjoying it ever since.

While you might not have a Detroit-style pizza pan, or even something for auto parts sitting around your kitchen, it is possible to recreate this style at home using a 9×13-inch pan. Then it’s just a matter of making your own pizza dough and sourcing the best possible ingredients for the toppings.

How Is Detroit-Style Pizza Different?

There are several key factors that make Detroit-style different from other kinds of pizza.

Dough: The signature of any Detroit-style pizza is the crust. The dough is wetter than other pizza doughs, which creates a fluffy, chewy center with a crusty exterior.

Pan: This deep-dish style rectangular pizza is typically prepared in a black steel pan with sides angled outwards to make the surface area at the top of the pan greater than the area at the bottom. The pan is usually 10×14-inches. Since many people might not own this unique Detroit-style pizza pan, this recipe has been created to work in a traditional 9×13-inch pan.

Cheese: Traditionally, this pizza is made using Wisconsin brick cheese instead of mozzarella. This mildly flavored semi-soft cheese has a high fat content and a buttery flavor. In addition, instead of being shredded, the cheese is cut into cubes and scattered over the entire surface of the crust, giving a distinct look of burnt cheese around the edges of the pan. If you have trouble finding brick cheese in your local grocery store, try a combination of cubed mozzarella and Monterey Jack cheese instead.

Layering toppings: Unlike other styles of pizza, a Detroit-style pie layers the toppings and cheese directly over the dough then finishes with the sauce on top.  

Cut: Detroit-style pizza is cut into squares. Because these squares are served piping hot from the oven, it’s more than acceptable to enjoy this style of pizza with a knife and fork.

Chicago Versus Detroit-Style Pizza

While Chicago and Detroit-style are both types of deep-dish pizza with the sauce on top, a Detroit pizza differs because the crust is soft on the inside and crispy on the outside, almost like a focaccia. Chicago pizza tends to have a flakier crust, is cooked in a round pizza pan, and is cut into wedges to serve.

Credit: Photo: Eric Kleinberg; Food Stylist: Kristina Vanni

Detroit Versus Sicilian Pizza

Detroit-style pizza is different from Sicilian pizza because the cheese is placed on the crust first, with the sauce on top.

Detroit Pizza Recipe

Detroit-style pie layers the toppings and cheese directly over the crust and then finishes with the sauce on top.  

Prep time 2 hours 40 minutes

Cook time 35 minutes to 40 minutes

Serves 6 to 8

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups

    bread flour

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons

    rapid rise or instant dry yeast

  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1 cup

    lukewarm water

  • 3 cloves

    garlic

  • 2 tablespoons

    olive oil, plus more for the bowl and pan

  • 1 tablespoon

    Italian seasoning

  • 1 (28-ounce) can

    crushed tomatoes

  • 1 tablespoon

    granulated sugar

  • 12 ounces

    brick cheese

  • 8 ounces

    pepperoni

Instructions

  1. Place 2 1/2 cups bread flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons rapid rise instant yeast, and 1 teaspoon kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment. Add 1 cup lukewarm water. Mix with the dough hook attachment and on the lowest speed until the dough comes together into a shaggy ball, about 1 minute. Scrape down the flour from the sides of the bowl as needed. Let the dough rest in the bowl for 10 minutes.

  2. Turn the mixer onto the lowest speed again and knead until the dough forms a smooth ball, about 10 minutes. Remove the dough from the bowl and form into a ball. Lightly coat the bowl with olive oil. Place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat in oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until the dough has doubled in volume, 1 to 2 hours.

  3. Coat the bottom of a 9x13-inch baking pan with olive oil. Add the dough and gently stretch it to the edges of the pan as best you can; the dough will start to shrink back. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and let it rest for 20 minutes.

  4. Stretch the dough again until it stays at the edges of the pan without shrinking back. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until puffed, about 20 minutes more. Meanwhile, arrange a rack in the lowest position of the oven and heat the oven to 500°F. Prepare the sauce and toppings.

  5. Mince 3 garlic cloves. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium saucepan until shimmering. Add the garlic and 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning blend and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes and 1 tablespoon granulated sugar. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low to maintain a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the juices have reduced and there is about 3 cups of sauce remaining, about 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.

  6. Cut 12 ounces brick cheese into 1/2-inch cubes (about 3 cups). If needed, slice 8 ounces pepperoni 1/8-inch-thick (about 2 1/2 cups).

  7. When the dough is ready and stretches all the way to the edges of the pan without shrinking back, assemble the pizza. Gently press the dough to release any air bubbles that have formed under the surface. Arrange the pepperoni evenly to completely cover the surface of the dough, overlapping them slightly. Top evenly with the cheese, going all the way to the edges of the pan. Spoon all of the sauce evenly over the pizza. The pepperoni will be completely covered, but some of the cheese will still be seen.

  8. Bake until the cheese is bubbly and the edges are blackened, 15 to 20 minutes. Immediately run a butter knife along the edges to loosen it from the pan. Let the pizza cool for 10 minutes. Transfer the pizza to a cutting board, slice into squares, and serve.

Recipe Notes

Brick cheese substitute: If you can’t find brick cheese, use 6 ounces low-moisture mozzarella cheese plus 6 ounces Monterey Jack cheese.

Storage: Leftover pizza can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Reheat in a 350ºF oven until warmed through, 10 to 15 minutes.