What is Chicago-Style Pizza?

Whole Chicago-style pizza

What is Chicago pizza? It’s no secret that the crust is king, but what else is Chicago-style pizza known for? The most unique and recognizable element of Chicago pizza, deep-dish crust is at least an inch deep, allowing room for extra sauce and toppings. With its even higher crust, stuffed pizza resembles a pot pie or casserole dish more than a New York-style thin-crust pie! Keep reading to learn more about Chicago-style pizza, plus the best spots to give it try yourself.


Chicago-style Pizza: Style Points

What can you expect when you order Chicago-style pizza? Grab a fork and check out these Chicago pizza facts:

  • The extra-high crust makes space for lots more cheese, tomato sauce, and toppings than pan pies. With a name that references onions, it’s no wonder that Chicagoans like their pizza with plenty of flavor. 
  • Tomato sauce is much thicker than the sauce on pan pizzas.
  • You may need a knife and fork. Enjoying real deep-dish Chicago pizza can be more of a sit-down meal with a fork, knife, and napkins.
  • This is not grab-and-go. You can try it, but deep dish is not the ideal pizza for eating with your hands!
  • Along with white flour, the crust can include cornmeal and semolina flour.
Chicago-style deep dish pizza

How Do You Make Chicago-Style Pizza?

Now that you know what the expect from Chicago pizza, how do you make it? If you’ve baked pizza at home on a pizza stone, making deep-dish is completely different! First, you’ll need an iron skillet or a round, steel pan similar to a cake or pie pan. Then follow these steps:

  1. Oil the pan to create a crispy crust.
  2. Press a thick layer of dough up onto the sides of the pan.
  3. Cover the crust with sliced mozzarella cheese. Why cheese first? Because Chicago-style pizza takes extra-long to bake, the cheese would burn if it were added last on top. To prevent that, Chicago pizzas are assembled “upside-down.”
  4. Add various meat options like pepperoni or sausage.
  5. Add other toppings like bell peppers, mushrooms, olives, and anything else you like.
  6. Make a thick sauce from crushed canned tomatoes and spread on top.
  7. Fold in a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese for extra flavor.

Legendary Chicago Pizza Landmarks

  • Giordano’sGiordano’s consistently tops best-pizza lists, and is probably the single best-known place to get quality Chicago pizza. In fact, you can be served Giordano’s if you dine at Skydeck!
  • Pizzeria UnoPizzeria Uno helped establish the classic deep-dish style in the 40s, when owner Ike Sewell combined Italian traditional recipes with impressive amounts of the finest cheeses, meats, and vegetables to make a hearty meal version of light thin-crust pizza pies.
  • Lou Malnati’sLou Malnati’s can also claim a piece of Chicago deep-dish history. Lou Malnati worked in Chicago’s first deep-dish pizzeria and then took his knowledge to open his own restaurant in 1971. They still make every pizza from scratch with the finest ingredients, including mozzarella from the same small dairy they’ve sourced from for the past 40 years.

Enjoy Chicago-Style Pizza and More With Skydeck!

Looking for more family fun and dining around Chicago? Check out our events calendar for exciting upcoming programming at the Skydeck.

Important Notice Regarding COVID-19

Willis Tower and Skydeck Chicago have implemented measures consistent with CDC and local and federal guidance to try to reduce the spread of COVID-19 on the premises, including enhanced cleaning protocols. Even with these procedures in place, PLEASE BE ADVISED that building occupants, building and Skydeck visitors, or others currently or previously present upon this property and/or the Skydeck MAY HAVE CONTRACTED OR BEEN EXPOSED TO COVID-19 or other infectious diseases, and may expose you. By accessing and using building common areas, the Skydeck, and their associated amenities, you and your party voluntarily assume all risks of your use—INCLUDING THE RISK OF EXPOSURE TO INFECTIOUS DISEASE—and you waive all claims, including claims for negligence, against Willis Tower, Skydeck Chicago, and their respective owners, managers, affiliates, agents and representatives, arising out of such use. The above parties hereby disclaim all liability for any injuries arising out of your use of this property and the Skydeck, including exposure to infectious disease.

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