Detroit vs Chicago Pizza

Pizza has been around for decades and is considered a comfort to some people. There are different kinds of pizza and the Neapolitan is probably the most popular, but this time we will be talking about Detroit vs Chicago pizza. 

Detroit and Chicago-style pizzas are two different pizzas but both are very filling. 

Chicago-style pizza has a deeper crust, almost like a pie, while a Detroit-style pizza also has a thick crust but is like a flatbread with its rectangular shape. Both of these pizzas are cooked with cheese on top of the dough and with tomato sauce on top of the cheese, which is the reverse of how a pizza is usually made.

If you are wondering how else these two pizzas differ from each other, look no further as we will be talking about the characteristics of both Detroit and Chicago pizzas. 

What Is Detroit-style Pizza?

The pizza we know is usually round in shape but, a Detroit pizza is rectangular with a crispy and chewy texture. The Detroit-style pizza gets its shape because of the rectangular pan that it is baked in.

It is a thick-crust pizza that is traditionally topped with Wisconsin brick cheese, which is mild-flavored, semi-soft cheese. Its thick crust is almost like the consistency of focaccia bread, which is also a spongy bread.

Detroit pizza is also sometimes called the “Detroit Red Top.” It is because of how the pizza is constructed. Unlike other pizzas where the sauce goes on top of the dough, the Detroit pizza is made in reverse. The cubed Wisconsin brick cheese is put on top of the dough followed by the tomato sauce and the topping, most commonly pepperoni slices.

What Is Chicago-style Pizza?

A Chicago-style pizza, also commonly known as the Chicago deep dish pizza, has a thicker crust. The crust is usually 2 to 3 inches taller and is slightly deep-fried in oil before being baked in a round pan.

Because of its thick crust, this pizza style is a lot more similar to a pie rather than a regular thick-crust pizza. The crust also has a flaky texture and buttery taste to it as well. Since the crust is very thick, a Chicago pizza is loaded with sauce and toppings. The dough can handle the amount of sauce and toppings that are put on top of it.

The Chicago deep dish pizza is also generally eaten with a knife and fork as it can get really messy if you eat it by hand. 

And, like the Detroit pizza, the cheese is also put first before the sauce and toppings.

Detroit vs Chicago Pizza

While both are considered pizzas, they still have their differences. It is also easy to tell both pizzas apart.


As we have talked about earlier, Chicago-style pizza has a deeper crust that is about two to three inches tall. It resembles more of a pie than a pizza. While a Detroit pizza also has a thick crust but it looks more like a flatbread in appearance. It also has a rectangular shape, unlike most round pizzas.


While bread flour and 00 flour are usually used to make pizza dough, the Chicago-style pizza uses all-purpose flour to have less chewiness in the crust. And, unlike other pizza doughs that can be made with just flour, water, salt, and yeast, the Chicago pizza uses butter as an additional ingredient. This makes for a flaky crust, much like a pie.

The Detroit-style pizza uses bread flour which produces the chewy and airy texture this style of pizza has. Since bread flour is high in protein, it also has more gluten in it making it more elastic and light when shaped into pizza dough. This pizza style is more like a flatbread or focaccia bread with its crust.


The Detroit-style pizza usually uses Wisconsin brick cheese or any cheese that is mild but high in fat. For the sauce, cooked tomato sauce is commonly used and is topped with pepperoni slices.

The Chicago-style pizza generally uses mozzarella cheese, cooked tomato sauce, pepperoni, and sausages, as well as vegetables for toppings.

But, if you are making your own version of a Detroit or Chicago-style pizza, you can probably put any toppings you like.

Baking Time

Since the Chicago-style pizza has a thicker and deeper crust than the Detroit-style pizza, the cooking time is much longer. Chicago deep-dish pizzas usually take about 25 to 35 minutes of cooking time at 425 degrees Fahrenheit. This ensures that the crust is cooked all throughout.

The Detroit-style pizza only needs to cook for about 12 to 15 minutes at 500 degrees Fahrenheit because the crust is thinner than a Chicago-style pizza.

How To Make A Detroit-style pizza

To prepare a Detroit pizza, bread flour, instant yeast, salt, water, and extra virgin olive oil are mixed together. Knead the dough until it forms a rough ball, either by hand or with the help of a stand mixer. After it has been formed into a ball, the dough needs to resist for about 2 hours or until its size has doubled.

After the dough has rested, it is transferred into an oiled Detroit-style anodized aluminum pan. The dough is then stretched without being torn and rested for another 30 minutes.

Once the 30-minute resting period is over, the dough is continued to be stretched until it reaches the edge of the pan. If it does not, the dough needs to rest a little bit more. Once the dough has filled the pan, it is ready to be filled with the cheese, sauce, and toppings, then baked.

When baking pizza, the oven should be preheated, in this case at 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Detroit-styled pizzas are usually cooked for 12 to 15 minutes.

How To Make A Chicago-style Deep Dish Pizza

To prepare a Chicago-style pizza, all-purpose flour, yellow cornmeal, granulated sugar, unsalted butter (melted), instant yeast, warm water, and salt are mixed together.

Once the ingredients are combined, the dough is mixed to form a rough ball. It is then left to rise for about 1 to 2 hours or until it doubles in size. After the resting period, the dough is transferred to a floured surface and punched down to remove the air bubbles. The dough is then rolled into a rectangular shape.

Softened butter is put on top of the dough and then rolled lengthwise (like how a cinnamon roll is made), and then the dough is cut in half and formed into dough balls.

The dough balls are put in the refrigerator to rise for an additional hour. After the dough has rested, it is ready to be shaped and transferred into a deep dish, put on the toppings, and then baked.

This dough can be kneaded by hand or mixed with a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment. The oven is preheated to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and the pizza is baked for 25 to 35 minutes.

Other Styles of Pizza

Aside from Detroit and Chicago pizzas, there are other styles of pizzas such as Neapolitan pizza, New York-style pizza, and Sicilian pizza. These pizzas have their own unique characteristics. Some pizzas like the Neapolitan is a thin crust pizza while the Sicilian pizza has a thick crust.


Do you have a preferred pizza style? On your next visit to a pizzeria, why don’t you see if they have a Detroit or Chicago-style pizza? A Detroit pizza definitely has a thinner crust than a Chicago deep-dish pizza but, both pizzas offer cheesy and tomato-y goodness that will definitely fill your stomach.

We hope this article made it clear how Detroit vs Chicago pizza differs from one another.