The Difference Between Chicago And Detroit-Style Deep Dish Pizza

Deep dish pizza has taken over America. While many consider this hearty twist on the classic Italian recipe divisive, either loving it or hating it, deep dish pizza eateries have sprung up around the country beyond its place of origin in Chicago. This style has become popular in metropolitan centers such as Austin, Los Angeles, and New York City in more recent times too.

But, while the city of Chicago should be credited for such an ingenious treat, you might find that your go-to spot for deep dish pizza serves its slices Detroit style.These two infamous variants might seem identical at first glance, but the key difference separating the two lies in their dough.

Detroit style pizza dough employs more water in its recipe, resulting in a softer, airier texture that feels similar to the mouthfeel of focaccia bread. Chicago style crusts are more dense by design, as they are meant to hold in a larger quantity of sauce, cheese, and toppings. Therefore, its dough utilizes less water.

Detroit style strays from the norm with its choice of cheese

Midwest pride beams in Detroit style pizza. Its recipe opts for creamy Wisconsin brick cheese instead of the typical mozzarella often used to make pizza, resulting in slices that ooze with just one bite. When layered properly over the bottom, this ingredient also creates those crunchy corners that make people crave Detroit style pizza. Chicago style, on the other hand, relies on the typical mozzarella.

Traditionally, most styles of pizza are layered in the following order: dough, sauce, cheese, and toppings. Both Chicago and Detroit style break this rule, as the two are typically layered down with cheese before the sauce. The reason for this decision lies in deep dish pizza's longer cooking time, as dough has a better probability of getting soggy if sauce lies on top of it. Sometimes, Detroit style pizza calls for pepperoni to snuggle under its cheese in order to create a stronger barrier between the (ideally) crunchy dough and the wet sauce.

They also have different shapes and toppings

Many people argue that Chicago style pizza resembles a pie or casserole — and for good reason. Its recipe calls for a perfectly circular shape and a sky-high crust — the perfect conditions to hold in a sea of cheese and sauce. Detroit style pizza abandons this geometrical idea altogether, opting for a rectangular shape where the top is completely covered up. These deep dish variants are also cut differently, as Chicago slices retain that typical triangular shape and Detroit slices are cut into squares.

As for toppings, small pepperoni slices usually accompany a traditional slice of Detroit style pizza. These tiny bites typically ruffle up during the cooking process, trapping in their savory oil in the process. Chicago style pizza ditches these altogether and normally goes for sausage. But even deep dish pizzas are not immune to creative topping variants. It's not uncommon to see chicken, pineapple, or even jalapeño as garnishes.