This Detroit Style Pizza recipe has a perfect, chewy crust, pizza sauce, melty cheese galore, and an abundance of pepperoni cups. You’ll love this classic, deep-pan pizza that you can fully customize to your stomach’s content with endless toppings. No fancy tools or wood-fired oven needed to whip up this irresistible pizza at home!

Detroit style pizza on parchment paper with basil leaves and red pepper on the side

Friends, this recipe has been a longtime coming and I’m so hype to finally share it with you! I’ve been slowly chipping away at dialing in the bones of this iconic pizza. Have you ever had Detroit-style pizza before? Gahhh, there is nothing like it, baby! I don’t develop pizza recipes that often but you just cannot resist this specific version, yummo! It’s been popularized for a reason, let’s discuss!

Detroit Style Pizza!!! 🍕

What is Detroit style pizza exactly? First, this pizza gets its name due to a method or style of pizza affiliated with Detroit. Spots like Buddy’s, Jet’s, and other delicious pizzerias across the city that serve as the origination. Interestingly enough, this is just called pizza in Detroit (haha), but the term serves as a way to identify this pizza in other parts of the world.

⇢ & For all intense purposes, this is a deep-pan pizza to put it plainly.

Many cities around the nation have put their spin on this famed pizza, too. You’ll find versions in New York City, Austin, DC, and even California. It’s important to note that Detroit style pizza is a variation of the Sicilian pizza. It has distinctive characteristics in that it’s rectangular/square-shaped pizza, has a thick crust, and tons of melted cheese that extend to the pizza crusts’ edges.

Other recipes you might enjoy: red beans and rice, one-pan sausage kale pasta, easy weeknight dinners like baked ziti, my fave skillet lasagna, and this lemon herb butter ravioli…and don’t miss this loaded olive cheese bread, too!

close up of Detroit style pizza on parchment paper with basil leaves on the side

What You’ll Need To Make This Pizza

(Note: the full ingredients list, including measurements, is provided in the recipe card directly below.)

  • FOR THE PIZZA CRUST: I use both all-purpose flour and bread flour. Bread flour contains a higher protein content than traditional all-purpose flour and a higher protein content helps to create more gluten in the crust. More gluten yields a chewier texture in the pizza crust which is ideal here. In addition, you’ll also need yeast, salt, warm water, and olive oil (lotsss).
  • FOR THE PIZZA ASSEMBLY: Just a few ingredients such as pizza sauce, mozzarella + fontina cheese, and sliced pepperoni. Finish this beauty with some freshly chopped basil, red pepper flakes, and/or hot honey, if desired.

This Detroit style pizza recipe is not one to sweat over, peeps. You’ll love how the entire thing comes together with a quickness. It’ll have you feelin’ like you just ordered in; it has that pizza restaurant-quality, beyonddd damn good!

Fun fact: Wisconsin brick cheese is typically used on authentic Detroit style pizzas. This is a type of cheese that is high in fat (with a buttery flavor) giving amazing melting properties. Unfortunately, it’s also a cheese that can be hard to come by since it’s not widely available. Nevertheless, in comes mozzarella and fontina cheese which are excellent alternatives that melt like a dream!

Equipment Needed For Deep-Pan Pizza

What I love about this recipe is that it’s no fuss involved and you really do not need special equipment. The pizza dough can come together inside of your stand mixer or you can knead by hand in a large bowl. Boom.

To bake the pizza, you’ll need a 9×13-inch baking pan, the darker the better. In addition, make sure the pan is cast aluminum. These types of pans do a great job at conducting heat (hello ultra crispy af crust!) for baking amazing pizzas.

I have an authentic, Detroit style pizza pan (this is the one I own) and I truly love it…we use it for making focaccia and other things as well. If you make a lot of pizzas at home, it’s a great piece to invest in, but not entirely needed!

How to Make Detroit Style Pizza: Part I

(Note: please see the recipe card directly below for the complete written instructions.)

  1. Prep the pizza dough. Bring the dough together in a stand mixer or using a large bowl. Then knead the dough until it becomes a cohesive mass.
  2. Cold fermentation. Put the pizza dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover. Place the dough in the refrigerator to ferment for at least 12 hours or up to 3 days. The process of allowing the dough to ferment/rest allows for the dough to develop more flavor/gluten; and yields a better texture and taste.
  3. Dimple & rest the dough. After chilling the dough, place it into your generously-oiled pan. Over the course of two hours, in 30-minute intervals, you’ll dimple and rest the dough. After 4 rounds of going back to the pan to do this, the dough will have relaxed enough to cover the entire bottom pan.

⇢ The key is to do this in intervals because when you first put the dough in the pan, it will not stretch the surface of the pan. At this stage, the pizza dough is still rising/proofing and slowly doing this ensures that the dough does not rip!

ingredients for Detroit style pizza on top of wooden surface

How to Make Detroit Style Pizza: Part II

Listen, after you’ve got the pizza dough resting in the pan, the rest of this recipe is an absolute breeze. The most time consuming part is over, rejoice! 🙌🏾

  1. Preheat the oven. Crank the oven up to 500°F (or a bit higher if your oven can do it). Then move an oven rack to the lowest position it can reach, near the oven floor. This helps to achieve a deep, crispy pizza bottom, swoon.
  2. Gather your pizza ingredients. Set up a mise en place station by having the pizza sauce, cheeses, and pepperoni slices ready to go.
  3. Build the pizza. Top the dough with sauce, follow it up by adding the cheese, and then the sliced pepperoni. Switch the order of the 3 if you’d like!
  4. Bake away. Place the pizza in the oven to bake (and wait patiently, ugh).
  5. Cool & serve. Let the pizza cool a bit, take out of pan, and slice/serve.

⇢ Top your Detroit style pizza with some freshly chopped basil, a sprinkling of red pepper flakes, and/or a drizzle of hot honey…so delicious, y’all!

Let’s Talk About Pizza Toppings

The most popular order of Detroit style pizza is cheese and pepperoni. It’s a classic and honestly one that will always be my personal favorite as well. However, you can surely spin the block if you want to try something different. Here are some flavor combinations to inspire you ♡:

  • Supreme-style: pizza sauce, low-moisture mozzarella, pepperoni, cooked Italian sausage, green bell peppers, onions, and black olives/mushrooms.
  • Meat lover’s-style: pizza sauce, low-moisture mozzarella, pepperoni, cooked Italian sausage, ham, and bacon.
  • All things veggiestyle: pizza sauce, low-moisture mozzarella, mushrooms, onions, green bell peppers, and black olives.
  • The grown up-style: burrata, low-moisture mozzarella, sliced prosciutto (placed on after baking), arugula (topped after baking), and parmesan cheese, to garnish…a drizzle of balsamic glaze would also be epic here!

⇢ For all my pepperoni fans, let’s gather together for a moment. The roni cups are of critical importance, yes? I love me some cup-and-char pepperonis, these are ones used at many pizzerias across the world. You know them, they have that unique “pop/curl” that get extra crispy and hold in all the juices, drool.

While I like them, I’ve also used sliced pepperoni from Hormel, too!

Detroit style pizza

Detroit Style Pizza: The Cheesy Details

As I mentioned earlier, Wisconsin brick (or just brick) cheese has the closest association to Detroit style pizza. While it is not readily available at most markets, there are many other perfect substitutions. Cheese is often a matter of personal preference and you should feel free to swap if you’d like.

I really dig the low-moisture mozzarella + fontina cheese combo listed in the recipe card. Both are great pizza cheeses with excellent melting capabilities. Obviously, if you choose to deviate, just be sure that the cheeses you use are great at melting with a flavor profile to match your pizza toppings.

*The best cheeses for pizza: Mozzarella (fresh or low-moisture), Fontina, Gouda, Muenster, Provolone, Cheddar, Gruyère, and Jack.

Why cube the cheese? Really great question! Cutting the cheese into small cubes is all about the pizza cooking at an even rate. Cubed cheese will take a little longer to melt as opposed to shredded/grated cheese. Since we’re working with a deep-pan pizza, the delayed melting of the cubed cheese gives time for the pizza dough to bake without a burnt cheese situation occurring.

black hand reaching for Detroit style pizza slice

Tips + Tricks, FAQs, & More For The Best Detroit Style Pizza You Will Ever Have 😛

  • Use fresh yeast! Double check that expiration date!
  • Chill the pizza dough: This pizza dough needs at least 12 hours of chilling time for the dough to really work delicious magic, friends.
  • Dimpling the dough? This means to gently press the dough using your fingertips to massage/stretch the dough, filling the pan.
  • Be patient: Panning the dough will take at least 2 hours. This is the resting period for the dough to prevent it from shrinking/being overworked, and gives the dough time to relax; 30-minute intervals of dimpling, perfection.
  • Reheating pizza leftovers: Leftovers of this Detroit style pizza? Hard to imagine, but okay lol. I am an avid believer in reheating pizza in the oven (about 10 minutes at 350°F) or on the stove in a cast iron pan over medium-low heat until warmed through. Both methods help retain pizza crispiness!

What To Serve With Detroit Style Pizza?

We love serving this pizza right alongside Caesar salad (whew!), but any side salad will be great. Also, peep my loaded olive cheese bread and these lemon pepper chicken wings for extra indulgence if you must, you won’t regret it.

Detroit style pizza slices on parchment paper with basil leaves on the side

Don’t sleep on this Detroit Style Pizza recipe, y’all. This one right here will for sure be a crowd favorite, it’s so good! Be sure to tag @butterbeready in your BBR recipe creations, I sure love to see it when you do. Until next time! 🤟🏾

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Detroit style pizza on parchment paper with basil leaves and red pepper on the side

Detroit Style Pizza

  • Author: Quin Liburd
  • Prep Time: 2hrs 20m
  • ferment time: 12hrs
  • Cook Time: 15m
  • Total Time: 14hrs 35m
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: Main Entree
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This Detroit Style Pizza recipe has a perfect, chewy crust, pizza sauce, melty cheese galore, and an abundance of pepperoni cups. You’ll love this classic, deep-pan pizza that you can fully customize to your stomach’s content with endless toppings. No fancy tools or wood-fired oven needed to whip up this irresistible pizza at home!


Ingredients

Scale

For the pizza dough:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon active dry or instant yeast
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 cup warm water 
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for the pan & as needed

For the pizza toppings/assembly:

  • 3/4 cups pizza sauce (we love using Rao’s!)
  • 8-ounce brick, low-moisture mozzarella cheese, cut into cubes
  • 4-ounce brick, fontina cheese, cut into cubes
  • 5 ounces sliced pepperoni
  • freshly chopped basil, for garnish- optional
  • crushed red pepper and/or hot honey, for serving- optional

Instructions

For the pizza dough:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large mixing bowl, combine both flours, yeast, and salt, and whisk together. Then pour in the warm water. Mix on the lowest speed for 30 seconds or stir the mixture with a rubber utensil until the mixture resembles a coarse, shaggy dough.
  2. Once the dough comes together, remove the paddle attachment and replace with the dough hook attachment. Add the 1 tablespoon of olive oil, increase the speed to medium, and mix for another 30-60 seconds until the dough is smooth, supple, and slightly sticky to the touch. Alternatively, if making the dough by hand, add the oil, then turn dough out onto a clean surface and knead until the dough is smooth and supple.
  3. Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic, and refrigerate the pizza dough for at least 12 hours (or up to 3 days). Note: I usually make the pizza dough a day in advance, letting the dough chill in the fridge overnight- with pizza assembly on the following day.
  4. Two hours before baking the pizza, generously oil a dark, aluminum 9×13-inch baking pan. Be sure to coat the entire bottom and a bit of the sides. Add the refrigerated dough into the pan, dip your fingers into the oil, if needed, and gently dimple the dough using your fingers. The dough will not stretch the entire surface of the pan just yet, don’t force it or it will cause the dough to rip.
  5. Working in 30-minute intervals, go back to the pan and dimple the dough (as illustrated in the images). After four rounds of dimpling and resting the dough over the course of two hours; the dough will have relaxed enough to cover the whole pan and reach the edges.

For the pizza assembly & baking:

  1. Preheat the oven to 500°F (or the highest your oven can go!). Move an oven rack to the lowest position you can get it near the oven floor.
  2. Evenly spread the pizza sauce onto the dough to cover the entire surface. Top the sauce with the cubed pieces of cheese, covering the surface and up to the edges. Then followed by a covering of the sliced pepperoni, overlapping, if needed- it may seem like a lot of pepperonis but they will shrink and shrivel up. 
  3. Place the pan into the oven and bake the pizza for 15 minutes- or until the cheese is super bubbly with golden brown edges, and the pepperoni slices are slightly charred and crispy.
  4. Let the pizza cool for 5 minutes. Then carefully maneuver the pizza out of the pan onto a large cutting board. Use a pizza cutter or sharp knife to slice. Garnish and top the pizza with fresh chopped basil, crushed red pepper, and/or a drizzle of hot honey, if desired. Enjoy!

Notes

  1. Please read the blog post in its entirety for more tips + tricks.

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