What Is Chicago Style Pizza? Unique Taste & Helpful Guides

Chicago style pizza has become a beloved classic around the world, and its reputation as one of the most delicious styles of pizza is well-deserved. From deep dish to “cracker thin” pies, discover what is Chicago style pizzas apart from their Italian counterparts and learn why they have become such an iconic staple in both traditional and casual dining establishments. No matter your preference—thick or thin crust, extra cheese or sauce-heavy—there’s something special about this diverse take on everyone’s favorite comfort food that will keep you coming back for more.

What Is Chicago Style Pizza?

What Is Chicago Style Pizza?

Chicago style pizza is a unique culinary creation that challenges the traditional concept of pizza. While it retains the basic elements of a pizza, such as tomato sauce, cheese, and occasionally meat toppings like pepperoni, it diverges in several key aspects. One notable difference lies in its crust, which is thick and almost pastry-like, reaching the very top of the dish it is baked in. This substantial crust is necessary to contain the overwhelming amount of fillings inside.

Speaking of fillings, Chicago style pizza defies expectations by featuring an extraordinary quantity of sauce and cheese on every slice. Each piece is generously smothered in a large cup of sauce and topped with an abundance of stringy cheese. This abundance of toppings transforms the pizza into more of a casserole-like experience.

Furthermore, the order in which the fillings are layered is unconventional. In Chicago style pizza, the cheese is placed directly on the crust, followed by the mountain of sauce. The subsequent toppings are then added to complete the pie. This peculiar arrangement deviates from the common practice of placing the sauce and cheese on top of the toppings.

When Was Chicago Style Pizza Invented?

Chicago-style deep-dish pizza is commonly attributed to its invention at Pizzeria Uno in Chicago in 1943 by Ike Sewell, the founder of Uno’s.

What Makes Chicago Style Pizza Unique?

Chicago-style pizza stands out due to its distinct and iconic characteristics. The deep-dish crust, measuring at least an inch deep, provides ample space for additional sauce and toppings. Furthermore, stuffed pizza, featuring an even higher crust, bears a resemblance to a pot pie or casserole dish rather than a traditional New York-style thin-crust pie. Continue reading to discover more about the uniqueness of Chicago-style pizza and explore the finest locations to indulge in this delectable delicacy.

How Do You Make Chicago Style Pizza?

Making Chicago style pizza requires a few key elements to achieve its signature taste and texture. First, you will need a deep-dish pizza pan or cast iron skillet with high sides to contain the thick crust and generous fillings. Then, you will need to prepare the dough, which is typically made from flour, cornmeal, yeast, butter, and water. The dough is then pressed into the bottom and sides of the pan, forming a crust.

Next comes the layering process. The cheese is placed directly on top of the crust, followed by toppings such as sausage or vegetables. Finally, a generous amount of sauce is poured over the top, completing the pizza. It is then baked in the oven until golden brown and served hot.

Tips For Making The Perfect Chicago Style Pizza

  • Use a deep-dish pan or cast iron skillet to contain the thick crust and generous toppings.
  • Allow the dough to rise before pressing it into the pan for a light and airy crust.
  • Opt for high-quality ingredients, particularly in regards to the sauce and cheese, as they play an essential role in creating the signature flavors of Chicago style pizza.
  • Experiment with different toppings and combinations to create your unique twist on this classic dish.

How To Eat Chicago-Style Pizza?

How To Eat Chicago-Style Pizza?

Eating Chicago-style pizza is a unique experience in itself. Instead of the traditional approach of picking up and folding a slice, this pizza is best enjoyed with a knife and fork due to its abundance of toppings and thick crust. The first bite should include all the layers – crust, cheese, sauce, and toppings – to fully appreciate the complex flavors and textures. Each subsequent bite can be customized with different toppings to create a diverse and enjoyable dining experience.

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Legendary Chicago Pizza Landmarks

Pizzeria Uno And Pizzeria Due

Pizzeria Uno, located at Wabash Avenue and Ohio Street, is credited as the birthplace of deep dish pizza. As the first location of a now nationwide chain, it remains a legendary Chicago pizza landmark. Pizzeria Due, meaning “two” in Italian, is the sister restaurant with its own unique menu.

Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria

Lou Malnati, son of Rudy Malnati Sr., managed Pizzeria Due before opening his own restaurant in Lincolnwood. This iconic pizza place opened on March 17, 1971, in a Jewish neighborhood on St. Patrick’s Day, creating an interesting twist. After Lou’s passing, his sons Marc and Rick continue to run the business successfully.

Pizano’s Pizza

Rudy Malnati Jr., another son of Rudy Malnati Sr., established Pizano’s Pizza in 1991. With six locations across the city, Pizano’s offers a unique pizza experience with a shallower crust and a more balanced combination of butter crust, sausage, and tart crushed tomatoes. Donna Marie Malnati, Rudy Sr.’s widow and Rudy Jr.’s mother, makes the pizza dough for all the Malnati’s locations each day.

Chicago Pizza And Oven Grinder

Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder, located across from the infamous site of the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, offers a meal intertwined with mob-related history. Originally serving as a lookout post for Al Capone’s mobsters, the building was later restored by Albert Beaver and transformed into the renowned restaurant.

Gino’s East

Gino’s East, born out of a traffic-induced brainstorming session among cab drivers, has become a legendary Chicago pizza destination. Founded in 1966, this deep-dish pizza spot has expanded to include 16 locations.

Giordano’s Restaurant And Pizzeria

Giordano’s Restaurant and Pizzeria was established in 1974 by Italian immigrants Efren and Joseph Boglio. Inspired by their mother’s “Italian Easter pie,” Giordano’s proudly presents their own version of deep-dish pizza, bringing a taste of northern Italy to the South Side of Chicago.

6 thoughts on “What Is Chicago Style Pizza? Unique Taste & Helpful Guides”

  1. When I went to Orlando I had one at Giordanos and only got a small pizza and I got full off the first slice. I was able to make 3 more meals out of it for the next couple of days. It made the $45 I paid for it easier to swallow.

  2. You should come to Buenos Aires, every pizza even a plain one has an obscene amount of cheese, we love it. Also we have a double decker like the one OP posted but with onions instead of sauce, called fugazzeta

    • Thin crust tavern style is every day pizza. And it’s some of the best thin crust in the world. I’m a major advocate for the awareness of Chicago style thin crust.

      Deep dish is special occasion pizza and is glorious, but is almost a different beast.

      The one unifying truth: both are better than giant floppy greasy slices from other cities.


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