How to make homemade deep-dish pizza

This homemade deep-dish pizza, made in a Dutch oven, has a thick crust with plenty of pizza sauce and pepperoni. And don’t forget the loads and loads of cheese.

Deep-dish pepperoni pizza

My family loves pizza. We eat it at least once a week, and usually Saturday night is pizza night. A few months ago, I bought a few Dutch ovens and started experimenting with deep-dish pizza. It is now our go-to pizza night recipe, and we love it. This pizza does take some time to make, but it’s well worth the effort. I mean, look at all that saucy and cheesy goodness!

Deep-dish pepperoni pizza

Start off by pouring some olive oil to coat your 12-inch cast iron skillet. Sprinkle some cornmeal on the bottom of the skillet. This will give your crust an authentic feel and taste. Set aside the prepared skillet until the dough is ready to fill it.

Making the dough is pretty simple. You just mix some ingredients together, knead and allow the crust to rise. Quick tip: Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F, turn off the heat, and place the bowl with the dough inside it. Crack the door open a little so it doesn’t get too hot. This helps the crust to rise in a warm environment and will make it thick and full.

Deep-dish pepperoni pizza

Making the sauce is simple too: crushed tomatoes, some butter, spices, olive oil and a little sugar.

Basically everything gets mixed together all at once, and then you can adjust the seasonings to your preference. I like to let the mixture simmer for at least 30 minutes, because I feel the flavors get richer the longer they simmer. You will need to stir it occasionally, though. This sauce will get separated into 2 parts. One part goes right on top of the crust, and then the other part will go on top of the pepperoni.

Deep-dish pepperoni pizza

Once you lay the crust into the prepared skillet, it’s time for some serious cheese. I’m talking a full pound of cheese. I used mozzarella and highly recommend it for this pizza. I also recommend freshly grating your cheese. If you buy cheese that has already been grated, it will make your pizza very greasy because of the waxes they put on the grated cheese to keep it from clumping together.

After the cheese goes 1/2 the sauce, then a layer of pepperoni, and then the remaining sauce on top.

Deep-dish pepperoni pizza

Finally, a little bit of Parmesan cheese to top off the pizza, and it is ready to bake. I preheat the Dutch oven to 400 degrees F for this pizza. I have found that preheating the skillet for at least 30 minutes yields the best results. You want every inch of the skillet to be very hot so the pizza cooks perfectly.

After 18 to 20 minutes, you will have the best deep-dish pizza ever.

Deep-dish pepperoni pizza

Let the pizza sit untouched for about 10 to 15 minutes after removing it from the Dutch oven. (This is the hardest part of the whole recipe!) By letting the pizza sit, it not only cools but sets more.

Then you can slice in and enjoy.

Deep-dish pepperoni pizza

Deep-dish pepperoni pizza recipe

Serves 6-8


For the dough

  • 3-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons cornmeal
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 teaspoons sugar
  • 2-1/4 teaspoons rapid-rise yeast
  • 1-1/4 cups lukewarm water
  • 8 tablespoons butter, separated
  • 3 teaspoons olive oil
  • Extra cornmeal for sprinkling

For the sauce

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 2 teaspoons white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes

For the topping

  • 1 pound mozzarella cheese, freshly grated
  • 1/2 package pepperoni slices, or to taste
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • Fresh basil (optional)


  1. For the dough, combine the first 5 ingredients, and stir. Add in the water and 4 tablespoons of butter that has been melted and cooled. Stir until well combined, and then knead with your hands for 6 to 8 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl brushed with olive oil, place the dough. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and place it in a warm environment to rise for 45 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan over medium heat, combine all the sauce ingredients. Stir and adjust seasonings to taste. Allow to simmer on low for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Pour and rub 3 teaspoons of olive oil along the bottom of the Dutch oven or deep dish skillet (I used a 12-inch Dutch oven). Sprinkle cornmeal over the olive oil until it covers the bottom, and then set the skillet aside. Preheat the Dutch oven to 400 degrees F.
  5. Once the dough has risen, roll it out, and spread the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter across 1 side. Roll up the dough from one end to the other and then back into a ball so no butter is visible. Allow to rise for another 30 minutes.
  6. Roll out the dough, and place it into the skillet. Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese evenly along the bottom of the crust.
  7. Pour 1/2 the sauce over the cheese, and then top with as much pepperoni as desired. I made 1 even layer of pepperoni, but add more or less to preference.
  8. Pour the remaining sauce over the pepperoni, and then sprinkle the Parmesan cheese on top.
  9. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat, and allow the pizza to sit for 10 to 15 minutes before enjoying.

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