Best Deep Dish Pizza in Chicago
8 mins read

Best Deep Dish Pizza in Chicago

What Is Best Deep Dish Pizza in Chicago?

Best Deep Dish Pizza in Chicago – Chicago deep-dish pizza is very different from other pizza varieties. It is baked in a tall, round pan with a ladled layer of sauce on top, optional toppings in the center, and a thick crust loaded with cheese on the bottom. The tough part is this, though: Not all Chicago-style thick-crusted pizza is a deep dish.

Not to mention the various varieties of thin-crust pizza available in the Windy City, deep dish is actually just one of at least three varieties of thick-crusted pizza. These styles appear so similar that people are confused even if there are actual variances. Each is substantial, with a sizable mound of sauce covering the cheese. Here’s a brief, unofficial guide:

Deep Dish: The first Deep Dish. It has a slightly thick and crumbly crust that is covered with a layer of tomato sauce that is typically chunkier than the rest, lots of mozzarella, and other toppings. Most of the well-known Chicago restaurants, such as Lou Malnati’s, Uno’s, Pizano’s, and Gino’s East, have this kind of food.

Stuffed Pizza: First thing you’ll notice about this stuffed pizza is that, in comparison to deep dish, the ends are really even taller. The crust is flaky rather than crumbly, and individual laminated layers of dough are frequently visible. However, the additional layer of dough beneath the sauce and above the cheese is what really makes filled pizza unique. It’s so thin and the same color as the cheese that most people aren’t even aware it’s there. The most well-known restaurant that serves loaded pizza is Giordano’s, but surprisingly many other locations do as well.

Pan Pizza: A ring of caramelized parmesan cheese that crisps up on the pizza pan is what sets this pizza apart. Additionally, the crust is breadier and more similar to pan pizzas found around the nation.

Those are the distinctions, but what’s the thing? People don’t really care, maybe with the exception of food writers. Visitors to Chicago are primarily interested in experiencing a large, oversized pizza laden with an abundance of toppings; explaining this categorization scheme becomes tiresome quickly. Furthermore, nothing in life is ever entirely clear-cut. A few loaded pies have crumbly crusts, and some deep dish pizzas have flaky ones. Any thick-crusted pizza with sauce on top was acceptable for inclusion on this list.

The Criteria

Pizza that is deep-dish is not meant to be a dainty dish. It’s the kind where the sheer amount of cheese, sauce, and toppings knocks you over the head. It turns out that evaluating a deep-dish pizza is not as difficult as one may believe. It all comes down to permitting yourself to savor each bite. These are my personal standards:

The Crust: I don’t want my crust to taste like bread from an artisan bakery. Rather, I’m searching for something practical that can withstand all that cheese without being mushy. The crust should be crisp on the outside, particularly the bottom and the edge where the cheese and dough meet should be baked without being sticky or doughy—a problem that plagues far too many deep-dish pies.

The fillings: Is there enough cheese, and does it pull away with sufficient yardage of gooey strands? Is the pizza delightfully delicious, or does it feel like it’s missing something? Are the ratios of sauce to cheese and cheese to dough uneven, or are they consistent throughout?

The Sauce: The rug that unites the space is called the sauce. Deep-dish pizzas come in a wide range of sauce variations, from tomato purée to sauce with large fruit chunks to a blend of the two. In order to achieve balance in every bite, the sauce must have both acid and sweetness to cut through the abundance of cheese, meat, and veggies.

The most crucial guideline when it comes to eating deep-dish pizza is to eat it at the restaurant as soon as it comes out of the oven, even though this isn’t really a judgment call. You run the risk of scorching your tongue, but the moment your deep-dish pizza leaves the box, its deliciousness is running out, much like a car loses value the moment it leaves the lot. Within five to ten minutes, you should expect the experience to shift.

Deep-dish just isn’t worth it when it comes to delivery or takeout, but if you have no other option, request that the pizza be left sliced so that the bottom stays relatively intact while traveling. (Leftovers? Deep-dish does in fact reheat pretty well; just be prepared for a slightly soggy-bottomed crust. The oven is a good option, but using a covered, non-stick skillet on medium heat for seven to 10 minutes should do the trick. Whatever you do, don’t microwave it.)

Any variant on the “Chicago special,” which consists of fennel sausage, mushrooms, onions, and green bell peppers, is, without a doubt, the most iconic deep-dish meal. However, I tried the pies that each pizzeria claims to be their specialty for this lineup, which includes anything from traditional cheese slices to some more unusual options like individual spinach pies and chicken pesto.


You’ll get the impression that Giordano’s is a modern take on an authentic Italian restaurant as you walk in: Look at the beautiful old-timey framed portraits on the walls and the checkered red and white tables. This Chicago-based company creates what is unquestionably the tallest deep-dish dish on this list by liberally packing a ton of cheese into every pie.


The Chicago Classic Deep Dish, a vertical architectural marvel of packed crust pizza, is their specialty. You can almost measure the cheese pull in yards instead of inches as soon as you take a slice out of the pan, making it visually appealing in a defiant sense. Its crust, which is crispy on the exterior and pillowy on the interior, is a visual show-stopper. It tastes like pressed and layered white bread, yet it manages to maintain its fluffy appeal while being sturdy enough to support the contents inside. The sauce is slightly sweet to balance out all that cheese, and it leans toward purée.

My Pi

The crust on my Pi is a texture study. The bottom crust is crisp right out of the pan, a much sought-after feature that is uncommon in deep-dish pizzas, and it holds that crispness longer than others. This pizza is quite gratifying because of the sauce’s huge, chunky tomatoes—some of which are almost massive and meaty, bordering on steak-like—and the lighter touch with the cheese.

My Pi

You’re going to want to eat it while the crust is as crunchy as possible, so even though there isn’t much space inside the restaurant, you should absolutely try to get a little counter stool or, even better, a position at one of the picnic tables outside during one of Chicago’s cherished summer months. And as offensive as it may sound coming from a Chicagoan, the chicken pesto pizza is the best; the herbaceous bite of the pesto changes the entire dish.

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