Detroit Style Pizza

Detroit Pizza has a thick crisp bottom chewy crust, a sweet and spicy sauce, lots of pepperoni, and the unique and undeniably delicious crisp cheesy edges that it's known for.


Detroit Pepperoni Pizza in an aluminum pizza pan on a wood background with a Stella Artois beer and a crushed red pepper shaker sitting next to it.

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Everyone's got their favorite American-style pizza, right? I would even go as far as to say that there are pizza purists out there who swear that their region's style trumps all the others. I am not one of those people. I do not discriminate against any variety of pizza, ever.

Sometimes I like to go for a thin foldable slice in true New York fashion. And who can deny how good a slice of deep-dish Chicago-style pizza is? Not this girl. Give me a slice of New Haven clam one day and a light fresh California pie the next and I'm a happy lady. I simply love them all.

I am happy to say that I am expanding my regional pizza love to the Detroit area with my newest pizza obsession: pizza Detroit style. It's a thick, rich, saucy, cheesy slice that now tops my list of favorites. Let's just say that Motor City is doing it right. I, unfortunately, don't have the luxury of flying to enjoy Detroit pizza in Detroit on a whim, so I set out to do the necessary reading and research to successfully make an authentic Detroit-style pie at home.

I'm happy to say that this pizza exceeded all of my expectations and will be on regular rotation for our homemade pizza nights from now on. It's truly an unforgettable pie!

Detroit Pepperoni Pizza in an aluminum pizza pan on a wood background with a Stella Artois beer and a bowl of grated parmesan cheese sitting next to it.

What is Detroit Deep Dish Pizza?

Detroit, Michigan is the home of the first Detroit style pizza recipe. This thick pan crust pizza pie originated at Buddy's Rendezvous Pizzeria in Detroit in 1946. It has a light and airy thick crust with a crisp bottom thanks to the rectangular pan that Detroit-style pizzas are cooked in. A true Detroit pizza also gets its signature taste from Wisconsin brick cheese, which is rich and buttery and makes the perfect melty cheesy base for the sauce and Detroit pizza toppings on top.

How To Make Detroit Style Pizza

Detroit pizza starts with a sticky dough stretched in a well-oiled pan. The dough is topped with sliced pepperoni, cubed Wisconsin brick cheese spread all the way to the edges of the baking pan, more pepperoni, and, finally, sauce spooned on top. It's baked in a hot hot oven until the cheesy edges are dark, crisp, and beautifully caramelized. See below for a detailed ingredients list and instructions.

Detroit Pizza ingredients arranged on a light wood cutting board.

Detroit Pan Pizza Recipe Ingredients

This isn't an exhaustive list of ingredients (that's in the recipe card below), but a few important and helpful notes on some key ingredients to make this Detroit pizza recipe the best ever:
  • Bread Flour - During my reading, several sources suggested bread flour as opposed to all-purpose flour for Detroit pizza dough. I went with that and the crust ends up with a great chew, but is still light and almost focaccia-like.
  • Instant Yeast - Make sure you grab the instant yeast, not the active dry yeast for your Detroit pizza dough recipe. Active dry yeast needs to be activated before use, and to simplify that process, the instant yeast does the trick. Just mix in and go.
  • Crushed Tomatoes - I used a can of crushed tomatoes with basil, but a regular can works, too. The tomatoes will be dolled up with herbs and spices, so I buy what's on sale. The pizza sauce goes on top and oozes and mingles with the cheese as it bakes. Perfection.
  • Brick Cheese - The cheese you use for Detroit pizza is key to whether it's going to taste like the real deal. Enter Wisconsin brick cheese. Stores here in Florida don't carry it, so I special ordered from a cheese shop in Wisconsin. You can grab brick cheese from Amazon, too. Brick cheese is a mild, buttery, cow's milk cheese with a high-fat content. If you don't plan ahead and order the brick cheese, a combination of mozzarella and Monterey Jack would be the closest substitute. I highly suggest you go the brick cheese route, though. It is amazing!
  • Pepperoni - I'm loving cupping pepperoni lately. Under the cheese and on top, thank you. The pepperoni makes the pie!

A collage of step-by-step images of Detroit Pizza being made.

Using a Pizza Stone for Detroit Pizza

To get a nice crispy bottom crust on my pizza, I decided to use a pizza stone under my Detroit style pizza pan in the oven to give the bottom of the crust an extra pop of heat. You want to be sure that your stone is in the oven while it is preheating so that when the pizza is placed in the oven, the stone is piping hot. If you don't have a pizza stone, bake your pizza on the very lowest rack or even directly on the bottom of the oven.

What to Serve with Detroit Pizza

While Detroit pizza is definitely hearty enough to enjoy on its own, it's sometimes nice to round out your meal with some tasty apps or sides. Try a slice served with one of these complimentary dishes:

Detroit Pizza crust with a black and caramelized cheesy edge and a saucy top sitting on a cutting board.

What is a Detroit Pizza Pan?

You can't make Detroit pan style pizza in just any old pizza pan. A Detroit-style pizza pan is a dark, rectangular, metal pizza pan that is key for motor city pizza success! This is the pizza pan for Detroit pizza that I ordered and it worked absolutely perfectly.  It's a 10-inch x 14-inch non-stick anodized aluminum pan.

How To Reheat Detroit Pizza

My favorite way to reheat pizza is in my air fryer. I like to put the pizza on a piece of foil for easy cleanup and air fry it at 400 degrees for about five minutes.

Detroit Pepperoni Pizza on a cutting board with a Stella Artois beer and with two cloves of garlic sitting next to it.

More Yummy Pizza Recipes

Looking for more awesome recipes? Check out these popular recipes from the archives:

Detroit Pepperoni Pizza on a cutting board with one square slice cut and slightly separated from the rest.

If you try this recipe, I'd love to know what you think in the comments below. Enjoy!



Detroit Style Pizza

Yield: 8 square slices
Prep Time: 3 HOURS, 20 MINUTES
cook time: 15 MINUTES
total time: 3 HOURS, 35 MINUTES
Detroit Pizza has a thick crisp bottom chewy crust, a sweet and spicy sauce, lots of pepperoni, and the unique and undeniably delicious crisp cheesy edges that it's known for.

Pin
INGREDIENTS

For the Dough
2 1/4 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon instant yeast
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 cup water
olive oil

For the Sauce
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
28 oz can crushed tomatoes with basil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

For the Toppings
16 ounces brick cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
6 ounces thin sliced pepperoni



INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a stand mixer bowl with a dough hook attachment, add the bread flour, yeast, and salt, keeping the salt and yeast on separate sides of the bowl.* Stir to combine. With the stand mixer on medium-low, add the water. Let the mixer run until the dough comes together into a rough ball. Turn the mixer off and let the dough sit for 10 minutes. Turn the mixer on and run for another 10 minutes until the dough begins to have a smooth texture.**
  2. With well-oiled hands, remove the dough hook from the dough and form the dough into a smooth ball. Return the dough to the mixing bowl, cover it with plastic wrap, and let sit on the counter for two hours.
  3. Meanwhile, make the pizza sauce. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, cook the garlic, oregano, and crushed red pepper in the olive oil for 1 minute. Add the crushed tomatoes, garlic powder, onion powder, sugar, and salt to the pan and stir to combine. Simmer over medium heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Set aside to cool.***
  4. Pour 3 tablespoons of olive oil into the bottom of your pizza pan. Transfer the dough to the pan and gently stretch it to the shape of the bottom of the pan. Stretch as far as you can without tearing the dough, let rest for 30 minutes, then finish stretching all the way to the corners.
  5. Preheat your oven to 550 degrees F with your baking stone on the bottom rack of the oven. Top the pizza dough with a layer of pepperoni, then the cubed cheese, making sure that the cheese goes all the way to the edges of the pan. Spoon three rows of sauce down the length of the pizza, using about three-quarters of the sauce. You won't use all of the sauce, so some can be packed away for another meal. Top with the remaining pepperoni.
  6. Place the pan onto the pizza stone in the oven and bake for 15 minutes.****
  7. Remove the pizza from the oven and carefully transfer it to a cutting board. Cut into 8 square slices and serve.


NOTES

*If yeast comes in direct contact with salt, the salt can kill the yeast. Keeping them on separate sides of the bowl will keep them separated enough to keep the yeast alive until incorporated into the flour.

**The dough will be smooth but is very sticky dough to the touch and may be sticking to the bottom of the bowl.

***A splatter screen can really help keep the mess down while simmering your sauce.

****To get a nice crispy bottom crust on my pizza, I decided to use a pizza stone under my pan in the oven to give the bottom of the crust an extra pop of heat. You want to be sure that your stone is in the oven while it is preheating so that when the pizza is placed in the oven, the stone is piping hot. If you don't have a pizza stone, bake your pizza on the very lowest rack or even directly on the bottom of the oven.

Author: Becky Tarala inspired by Serious Eats

Nutrition data should not be considered a guarantee. Please see our full Nutrition Data Disclosure.


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