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Detroit-Style Pizza Recipe

This Detroit-style pizza recipe has a soft and airy crust, a crunchy exterior, a sweet and savory sauce with cheesy, crusty edges.

If you haven’t yet experienced the Detroit-style deep dish, you’re in for a treat!

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Detroit-Style Pizza
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When it comes to American pizza, we most often hear about New York and Chicago. Not Detroit-style pizza.

Such a shame, because it is arguably the best kind among the three. In fact, many people would argue that Detroit-style pizza is the best of ANY kind.

It’s similar to deep-dish pizza but with a charred, thin rectangular crust.

If you haven’t heard of Detroit pizza before, you’ve come to the right place.

Not only will I tell you all about this unique dish, but I’ll also give you the best tips and tricks for making it yourself!

But First, What Is Detroit-Style Pizza?

Detroit-style pizza is a thick and rectangular-shaped pizza that uniquely has the sauce layered on top of the cheese.

The cheesy, crusty edges and square slices set it apart from the crowd. While the savory sauce and ooey-gooey cheese create a literal explosion in your mouth.

Detroit pizza was invented post-war (1946) by Gus Guerra and his wife Anna. Gus was the owner of a neighborhood bar called Buddy’s Rendezvous.

One day he decided he needed to add something new and enticing to the menu. With the help of his wife Anna, they came up with a new and innovative pizza.

Anna borrowed the dough recipe from her Sicilian mother. The Sicilian dough, topped with cheese and tomato sauce, became the de facto standard for pizza in Detroit.

But the real secret here was the deep-dish pan.

It created the soft and airy crust, a crunchy exterior, and cheesy, crusty edges. A true Detroit-style pizza pan is more like a cast iron skillet than a cake pan.

The restaurant later changed its name to Buddy’s Pizza. And after 70 long years, the business still exists today.

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Apart from the interesting shape, Detroit-style pizza is also famous for its cheesy corner slices. It has a double proofed dough (dough that’s stretched twice).

Plus, it’s layered with toppings in reverse, such that the pepperoni comes first, cheese next, and the sauce on top.

Ingredients

The ingredients for this recipe will vary, depending on which toppings you want to add. For this particular recipe, here’s what you’ll need:

For the crust:

  • Warm water
  • Active dry yeast
  • White sugar
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Bread flour

These things guarantee the thin, tasty crust for which Detroit pizza is so famous.

For the sauce:

  • Marinara sauce

Pick whichever brand you like best.

For the seasonings:

  • Red pepper flakes
  • Oregano
  • Garlic powder

These give the pizza a garlicky finish and a touch of heat.

For the toppings:

  • Monterey Jack cheese
  • Mild cheddar
  • Thick pepperoni

These toppings will give you the typical pepperoni pizza. Add veggies, other meats, etc., to suit your tastes.

How to Make Detroit-Style Pizza

1. Make the dough.

You can make the dough by hand or using a stand mixer. Jump down to the recipe card to see detailed instructions for each method.

2. Spread the dough.

Grease a 10 x 14-inch Detroit-style pizza pan with olive oil and spread it evenly. Then, place the dough ball in the center of the pan and start stretching it into a rectangular shape.

Once the dough is shaped, cover it and set it aside to rise. It’ll need about an hour.

3. Prepare the sauce.

Combine the marinara, oregano, red pepper flakes, and garlic in a saucepan. Simmer over medium-low heat for 15 minutes.

4. Preheat and prepare the cheese.

Set the oven to between 500 and 550 degrees Fahrenheit.

Then, cut the cheese into small cubes. Transfer the cubes to a bowl and toss them lightly to mix.

5. Assemble the pizza.

Once the dough has fully risen, stretch it up the sides of the pan. To do this, coat your fingers in olive oil and gently pull the dough.

Press gently as you pull, extending the dough about 1/2 an inch up the sides of the pan.

Then, add a layer of pepperoni. (Save a little for later.) Place the cheese cubes on top of the pepperoni. Then, pour the sauce in three long strips on top.

Use the remaining pepperoni to top the sauce.

6. Bake.

Bake the pizza for about 15 minutes or until the crust becomes golden brown. Then, remove it from the oven and let it cool in the pan for about 5 minutes.

7. Slice and serve.

Transfer the pizza onto a cutting board. Slice it into squares, and serve!

Tips & Tricks

  • Vary the toppings. The recipe only calls for cheese and pepperoni as the toppings, but you can add whatever ingredients you want. Sausage, ham, mushrooms, olives, bell peppers, and dare I say it: pineapple. You can also add Mozzarella cheese for more gooey goodness. You can even do a half-and-half pizza!
  • Use bread flour if at all possible. It’s the key to the crispy on the edges, chewy at the center crust is the flour. Sure, you can use all-purpose flour to make pizza dough, but it will not be as good! Bread flour is high in gluten, which is responsible for that perfectly textured crust a Detroit-style pizza has.
  • Garnish the crust with dried oregano. Do this before adding the toppings. It’ll help you achieve that focaccia-Esque crust.
  • No Detroit pizza pan? No problem! Any 9×13 baking pan will do. But keep in mind that darker pans will cook your pizza faster than lighter pans, so you must adjust the baking time accordingly.
  • Reduce the heat. If you’re not a fan of spicy food, cut down on the pepper flakes.
  • Brick cheese is best. It’s imperative for an authentic Detroit-style pizza. Brick cheese is a high-fat aged cheese from Wisconsin. It has a buttery flavor and browns incredibly well. It’s one of the ingredients that gives Detroit pizza its distinct flavor.
  • Store leftovers properly. You can store leftover pizza in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in a 350-degree Fahrenheit oven until warm through, 10 to 15 minutes. Or if you’re impatient like me, nuke it in the microwave.

Detroit-Style Pizza Recipe

Servings

12

servings
Prep time

15

minutes
Cooking time

15

minutes
Calories

354

kcal

Ingredients

  • For the dough:
  • 1 cup warm water

  • 1 (.25 oz) package active dry yeast

  • 1 teaspoon white sugar

  • 3 teaspoons olive oil (divided)

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 2 1/2 cups bread flour

  • For the sauce:
  • 1 (24 oz) jar marinara sauce

  • For the seasonings:
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

  • Toppings:
  • 1 (8 oz) package shredded Monterey Jack cheese

  • 1/2 (8 oz) package mild Cheddar cheese

  • 1 (8 oz) package thick pepperoni slices

Instructions

  • To Make the Dough in a Stand Mixer: Pour warm water into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment. Stir in yeast and sugar and let dissolve. Add 2 teaspoons olive oil, salt, and bread flour. Mix together with a dough hook attachment until the dough becomes a smooth, silky ball.
  • To Make the Dough by Hand: Pour warm water into a large bowl. Stir in yeast and sugar and let dissolve. Add 2 teaspoons olive oil, salt, and bread flour. Stir with a wooden spoon until a rough ball of dough forms. Allow dough to relax for 10 minutes. Turn dough out onto a countertop and knead until the dough becomes a smooth, silky ball.
  • Pour the remaining olive oil onto the bottom of a 10×14-inch Detroit-style pizza pan. Spread the oil around evenly with your fingers. Place the dough in the center of the pan. Gradually pull and stretch into a rectangular shape with oiled fingers. Cover. Set aside in a warm place until the dough has roughly doubled in size. About 1 hour. In the meantime, prepare sauce and cheese.
  • In a medium saucepan, combine marinara sauce, oregano, red pepper flakes, and garlic powder. Simmer over medium-low heat for about 15 minutes. This allows the oregano and garlic to fully hydrate.
  • Preheat the oven to 500 to 550 degrees F (260 to 288 degrees C).
  • Cut Monterey Jack and Cheddar cheese into small cubes. Place in a bowl and toss lightly to mix together.
  • Rub your fingertips with some olive oil from the pan. Press down on the dough and spread it toward the edges. This will also help remove any air bubbles. Continue to stretch the dough up the sides about 1/2 inch.
  • Place a layer of pepperoni on top of the dough. Use most but not all of the pepperoni as we’ll be saving some for an additional layer. Place cheese cubes evenly on top. Be sure to cover to the very edge of the pan. Pour sauce on top in 3 long strips. Place another layer of pepperoni over the sauce.
  • Bake in preheated over until pizza become golden brown, about 15 minutes. Allow it to cool for 5 minutes.
  • Using a spatula, carefully slide the pizza onto a cutting board. Cut into squares.
  • Enjoy!
Detroit-Style Pizza (Close-Up)

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INSANELYGOOD

Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

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