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Detroit Style Pizza vs Chicago Style Pizza: What’s the Difference?

Detroit style pizza is a thing. Chicago style too. Both pack a punch in the flavor department.

We love them both. Yet, they’re worlds apart. Detroit’s square, deep-dish delight, with its crispy, cheesy crust, stands in contrast to Chicago’s deep, pie-like creation, loaded with sauce on top.

I once made the mistake of calling a Chicago pizza “thin crust” at a party. The silence was deafening.

Every bite tells a story of its city. Cheesy, saucy, bready bliss.

We’ve ventured far and wide, forks in hand, to bring these tales to your table.

What is Detroit Style Pizza?

Detroit Style Pizza is unique and delicious.

It’s known for its square shape, thick crust, and topping order that is backward compared to other pizzas.

The crust is light and airy, with a caramelized cheese edge.

This style originated in the mid-1940s at a Detroit bar called Buddy’s Rendezvous.

The dough was spread into rectangular pans originally used for parts trays in automotive factories.

Cheese was placed first, followed by pepperoni or vegetables, and it was topped with homemade tomato sauce.

Unlike other pizzas, Detroit Style Pizza is baked directly in the pan, creating a crispy golden crust bottom.

What makes it different? Toppings are placed on top of the cheese instead of under it, which keeps the dough from becoming soggy and adds an explosion of flavors in each bite.

Plus, it’s generous with toppings, making each slice a hearty indulgence.

Detroit Style Pizza is now popular all across the U.S. because of its irresistible flavors and textures.

What is Chicago Style Pizza?

Chicago style pizza is an iconic deep-dish delight from the Windy City.

The crust is thick and buttery, made by pressing the dough into the pan and allowing it to rise in the oven.

This results in a crunchy outer layer and a soft, chewy interior.

Cheese is spread on top of the crust followed by toppings like sausage, veggies, and pepperoni.

The sauce is usually chunky, made from whole tomatoes giving it a rich flavor.

This pizza is known for its hearty and filling nature, making it a favorite.

When it comes to Chicago style pizza, customization is key.

There are endless topping combinations to suit any preference.

From classic sausage and green peppers to something more adventurous like spinach and feta cheese.

The baking process is also unique.

Unlike traditional pizzas that are quickly cooked at high heat, Chicago style pizzas require more time in the oven due to their thickness.

This allows the flavors to meld together for a pizza with layers of deliciousness.

For a true Chicago style pizza experience, there are many pizzerias in the city that specialize in this dish.

They take pride in their craftsmanship and make sure every slice of pizza is a taste sensation.

In conclusion, Chicago style pizza stands out with its deep-dish crust, generous toppings, chunky sauce, and longer baking time.

It’s a mouthwatering treat that satisfies both hunger and cravings.

Origins and History of Detroit Style Pizza and Chicago Style Pizza

Detroit Style Pizza and Chicago Style Pizza have their own unique stories.

Both have deep ties to the cities they are named after.

But, these two pizzas have their own unique characteristics.

Detroit Style Pizza was first served at a local bar called Buddy’s Rendezvous in the mid-1940s.

It is known for its square shape.

The crust is crispy due to the blue steel pans used, which were originally from automotive factories.

A thick layer of cheese is spread all the way to the edges to create a caramelized cheesy crust.

Chicago Style Pizza dates back to the early 20th century.

Italian immigrants in Chicago added their own twist to traditional pizza.

Pizzeria Uno’s recipe from the 1940s made the deep-dish style popular.

The crust is thick like a pie and it is loaded with toppings like sausage, peppers, and onions.

Plus, a generous layer of tomato sauce is added.

Detroit Style Pizza stands out with its rectangular shape and assembly order.

Cheese and toppings go on top of the dough before baking.

This makes the cheese gooey and the edges crunchy.

Whereas, Chicago-style pizzas have toppings underneath the cheese and sauce.

Both styles have grown in popularity.

Detroit Style Pizza is more regional, but now it is becoming popular across the US because people want to recreate its unique taste.

Differences Between Detroit Style Pizza and Chicago Style Pizza

Detroit and Chicago style pizza may look similar, but there are key differences.

Detroit style has a thick, rectangular crust that’s light and airy inside, with a crispy outside.

Chicago style has a deep-dish, buttery and flaky crust.

The way the sauce is placed also sets them apart.

Detroit style has the sauce spread over the cheese, creating a unique flavor as it bakes in.

Chicago style has a layer of cheese, followed by a generous amount of chunky tomato sauce.

Toppings are different too.

Detroit style has traditional toppings like pepperoni or sausage under the cheese, for flavorful bites.

Chicago style often has hearty toppings like sausage, onions, and green peppers on top of the cheese.

Cooking methods differ too.

Detroit style is typically baked in oiled square pans, giving it a deep golden brown color and caramelized edges.

Chicago style is baked in round pans with tall sides for its deep-dish crust.


The crust is key in distinguishing Detroit and Chicago style pizza.

Detroit style has a thick, rectangular crust, like Sicilian pizza.

The dough is fluffy inside and crunchy outside, making a delicious contrast in texture.

Baking the pizza in a greased, square or rectangular pan gives it caramelized cheese around the edges.

Chicago style has a deep-dish crust, which is thick and buttery.

It’s almost like a pie, compared to traditional pizza.

The dough is pressed up the sides of a round pan, creating a tall edge, known as the “pizza wall”.

This strong crust holds layers of sauce, cheese, and toppings.

Each style has its own take on crust.

Detroit style is light and crispy, while Chicago style is rich and indulgent.

Whatever your preference, these iconic pizzas offer a world of pizza diversity.

A deep-dish delight or a flavorful rectangular slice is sure to hit the spot.


Detroit style pizza has distinct toppings placed underneath the cheese.

These toppings include pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, onions, and green peppers.

Plus, Wisconsin brick cheese is generously spread over all these ingredients, giving a gooey and crispy taste.

In contrast, Chicago style pizza has a deep-dish base.

Its toppings are usually sausage and other classics like green peppers, onions, mushrooms, and black olives.

It’s topped with chunky tomato sauce and lots of cheese.

The difference between these two pizzas is not just the toppings but also their arrangement.

Detroit style pizza toppings are spread evenly and then covered with cheese.

Whereas, Chicago style pizza has a layered approach.

The sausage or meat is placed first, followed by vegetables like onions and peppers.

Lastly, cheese and tomato sauce finish it off.

Cheese and Sauce Placement

Cheese and sauce are important in Detroit style pizza.

The cheese goes to the edges, making a crispy layer.

On top, the sauce forms a red blanket. Chicago style pizza is different.

The deep-dish crust is the base. It holds thick sauce and is topped with cheese.

This arrangement makes flavors pop. Both styles are distinct.

It’s the cheese and sauce placement that sets them apart.

Baking Method

Detroit style pizza has a unique baking method.

The dough is stretched out and baked in an oiled pan.

This gives it a crispy, golden crust. Chicago style pizza is different.

The dough is pressed in a deep pan, then the cheese and toppings are added.

This gives the pizza a thick, hearty texture.

The baking time for Detroit style pizza is shorter than Chicago.

Both styles have their own special qualities that make them popular.

Similarities Between Detroit Style Pizza and Chicago Style Pizza

Detroit Style Pizza and Chicago Style Pizza have a lot in common.

Both have thick, crispy crusts made from high-hydration dough, giving them a light and airy texture.

The order of toppings is also similar, with cheese on top of the dough to prevent sogginess.

However, these pizzas are unique in their own way.

Detroit Style Pizza is rectangular, resulting in slightly thicker edges.

Chicago Style Pizza has a signature “Chicago Deep Dish” style, which is like a pie with tall edges filled with delicious tomato sauce, cheese, and toppings.

Distinctive Characteristics of Detroit Style Pizza

Detroit Style Pizza is one-of-a-kind.

It has a square shape and thick, crispy crust.

Unlike round pizzas, Detroit’s is rectangular and baked in seasoned pans.

This makes the cheese crust caramelized and yummy.

The ingredients are also layered differently.

Cheese is spread to the edges before topping with sauce and other toppings.

This creates a unique flavor.

For toppings, Detroit Style Pizza has a wide selection.

From pepperoni and sausage to BBQ chicken or artisanal veggies, there’s something for everyone.

Plus, the generous amount of toppings ensures every bite is full of flavor.

In conclusion, Detroit Style Pizza stands out.

It has a deep-dish structure, different layers, and lots of toppings.

Whether you love traditional pizzas or want something new, Detroit Style Pizza is worth a try.

Distinctive Characteristics of Chicago Style Pizza

Chicago style pizza is famous for its unique traits.

The deep dish crust is thick and buttery, providing a great base for the topping overload.

An order of ingredients is followed – cheese, toppings, sauce – to make sure each bite is flavourful.

It needs extra time in the oven for a crispy crust and gooey cheese.

Lastly, its iconic shape – rectangular or square – adds to its beauty and gives more servings per pizza.

Popularity and Regional Variations

Popularity and regional variations make Detroit style pizza different from Chicago style.

Both have big fan bases, but their unique traits set them apart.

Detroit style pizza began in the Motor City in the 1940s.

It is famous for its rectangular shape, thick crust, and crunchy outside.

The dough is usually proofed in steel pans, making the inside airy and the outside caramelized – a unique baking process that gives the pizza its signature crunch.

Chicago style pizza, or deep-dish pizza, is from the Windy City.

It has a buttery, flaky crust that is two to three inches tall.

The cheese is above the sauce, so it won’t burn during the long baking time.

Each style has regional variations.

For example, Detroit style pizza may have the sauce on top or bottom of the cheese.

Also, toppings can differ because of personal taste or local traditions.

Chicago style pizza also has regional variations.

One is the ‘stuffed’ deep-dish pizza, where extra dough is added on top before baking.

This allows for even more toppings between layers of cheese and sauce.


After all of the information shared above, it’s easy to see why Detroit-style pizza and Chicago-style pizza stand out in comparison to each other.

While both styles offer unique ingredients resulting in distinct flavors and textures, at the end of the day only you can decide which one suits your personal tastes more.

Even though they come from different regions, one thing that both Michigan and Illinois can agree on is that those pizzas are delicious!

If you’re ever in either state, make sure to stop by a local pizza shop and give one—or both—a try. You won’t regret it!

Detroit Style Pizza vs Chicago Style Pizza: What’s the Difference?

Andrew Gray
Interested in understanding the differences between Detroit Style Pizza and Chicago Style Pizza? Check out our comprehensive comparison to discover the distinctions in crust, toppings, and more.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course This vs That
Servings 1 Serving


  • Detroit Style Pizza
  • Chicago Style Pizza


  • Choose between Detroit Style Pizza and Chicago Style Pizza based on your preference.
  • Follow the specific cooking instructions for your selected style of pizza.
  • Prepare the pizza dough and toppings according to the recipe or guidelines provided.
  • Shape and assemble the pizza, ensuring the characteristic features of the chosen style are represented.
  • Bake the pizza in the recommended oven temperature and duration, until the crust is golden and toppings are cooked.
  • Remove from the oven and let it cool slightly before slicing and serving.
  • Enjoy the unique flavors and textures of either Detroit Style Pizza or Chicago Style Pizza, savoring the regional specialties of each.
Keyword Detroit Style Pizza vs Chicago Style Pizza
Did you make this recipe?Mention @AmericasRestaurant or tag #americasrestaurant!
5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

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