The Truth of Chicago Deep-Dish Pizza

Chicago is home to many classic foods, and Chicago-style pizza takes the cake in regards to international pizza fame. Some of the earliest references to pizza can be traced back to The Aeneid in 19 BCE, although it’s evolved more times than a Pokémon since then. If you’re looking for a taste of the history behind Chicago deep-dish pizza, below are the most commonly asked questions about the classic Chicago-style pizza. If you’re looking to discover and taste all the classic Chicago foods in person, we’ve compiled a separate list of the best Chicago food tours in which you can indulge in the classic Chicago-style pizza and other delights of the culinary scene in Chicago!


What is true Chicago-style pizza?

The answer to that question sort of depends on who you’re asking. Outside of Chicago, the answer to what the true Chicago-style pizza is, is deep-dish pizza: that thick, hearty, cheese-and-tomato pie overloaded with toppings to delicious excess. Native Chicagoans, however, tend to order tavern-style pizza, which is basically the opposite of deep-dish: a thin pizza, cut into rectangles for easy sharing, with a crispier crust than New York style pizza. Both deep-dish and tavern-style originated in Chicago, so this question has multiple correct answers. However, one thing is for certain: if you can fold up your pizza like origami, it’s not a Chicago pizza!



When was Chicago deep-dish pizza invented? 

Most accounts say that the original deep-dish pizza in Chicago debuted in 1943, the same year Casablanca went into wide release. And of all the pizza joints in all the towns in all the world, it began at Pizzeria Uno in Chicago. This marked the beginning of a beautiful friendship between Chicago and deep-dish pizza. Now a multitude of pizzerias serve up their own spin on this modern pizza classic. As time goes by, 77+ years later, it’s clear we’ll always have Chicago deep-dish. Here’s looking at you, pizza!

What is the original deep-dish pizza of Chicago?

Chicago has always been a little different from the norm. Nationally, Business Insider reports that pepperoni is the most popular topping at 36%. But in Chicago, a different pig reigns supreme: Italian sausage. The Chicago Tribune does a deep dive into its various iterations and historical popularity. If you’re hunting for the most classic slice and what the original deep-dish pizza is made of, you’ll want to order yours with Italian sausage, lots of cheese, and green peppers! 

What is the best Chicago deep-dish pizza?

Those are fighting words in Chicago, Mr. Chaplinsky! Pizzeria Uno is still alive and strong, but don’t write off its successors as under-baked imitators. Lou Malnati worked at Pizzeria Uno before founding the eponymous Lou Malnati’s, and establishments like Giordano’s took the basic formula, added a second layer of marinated bread on top, and created the stuffed pizza. If you’re looking for the definitive guide to the best Chicago-style and deep-dish pizza, we’ve got you covered with a full guide to the best pizza in Chicago


How do you make a true Chicago-style pizza?

All it takes to make a true Chicago-style pizza is a little bit of yeast, a whole lot of cheese, and a tablespoon of chutzpah! Plus some tomatoes and any additional toppings you desire (like Italian sausage and green peppers). The fun thing about deep-dish pizza is that not all your toppings have to go on top! You can hide them underneath the sauce as a tasty surprise. Speaking of tasty, if you’re looking for an easy-to-follow base recipe, we love the one created by Tasty!

Chicago Deep Dish Pizza Pan

Have any other questions? Ask away in the comment section below! Tired of reading but not tasting? Check out our Chicago Favorites Walking & Food Tour or our Bikes, Bites & Brews- Chicago Signature Dishes Bike Tour!

1 Response
  1. Chitis72

    Whoever wrote this is obviously a Chicago transplant and didn’t grow up here or is very young.