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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!

When it comes to American pizza, we most often hear about New York and Chicago, but 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.

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It’s somewhat like a 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 when making it yourself!

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Detroit-Style Pizza

But First, What Is Detroit-Style Pizza?

Detroit 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, which 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.

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) and layered with toppings in reverse, such that the pepperoni comes first, cheese next, and the sauce last.

Tips & Tricks

  • 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.
  • Feel free to customize your pizza any way you like! You can even use different toppings on one-half of the pizza to cater to the different preferences in your house. That’s what I love about making pizza at home. The possibilities are endless.
  • The key to the crispy on the edges, chewy at the center crust is the flour. It is crucial to use bread flour for this recipe. 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.
  • To achieve that focaccia-Esque crust, here is a simple trick: garnish it with dried oregano before you layer the toppings.
  • Detroit-style pizza uses a specific pan for baking, but 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.
  • If you’re not a fan of spicy food, you can cut down on the pepper flakes in the sauce.
  • If you want to create a truly Detroit-style pizza, you’ll need to use brick cheese. Which 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.
  • But it’s hard to find in stores. Which is why I usually just replace it with a combination of Monterey Jack and mild cheddar cheese. But if you’re looking for a truly authentic experience, you can buy brick cheese on Amazon.
  • Fun Fact: The cheese used in Detroit-style pizza is called brick cheese. They call it such because people use actual bricks to weigh it down as it forms into actual cheese.
  • You can store leftover pizza in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in a 350°F oven until warm throughout, 10 to 15 minutes. Or if your impatient like me I just nuke it in the microwave.

Detroit-Style Pizza Recipe



Prep time


Cooking time






  • For the dough:
  • 1 cup 1 warm water

  • 1 (.25 oz) package active dry yeast

  • 1 teaspoon 1 white sugar

  • 3 teaspoons 3 olive oil (divided)

  • 1 teaspoon 1 kosher salt

  • 2 1/2 cups 2 1/2 bread flour

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

  • For the seasonings:
  • 1 teaspoon 1 red pepper flakes

  • 1 teaspoon 1 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


  • 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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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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