Breads & Doughs

Detroit Style Pizza Recipe

4.60 from 20 votes
This recipe guarantees you classic scrumptious Detroit Style Pizza with signature thick and airy crust, caramelized edges and ample toppings.
A classic Detroit Style Pizza is baked in a rectangular metal pan, with thick and airy crust, crunchy caramelized edges, an ample amount of gooey and slightly toasted cheese and covered with crispy thin pepperoni.

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my full disclosure for details.

Hi Bold Bakers!

WHY YOU’LL LOVE THIS RECIPE: Detroit-Style Pizza Recipe is a rectangular, notably thick and airy deep-dish pizza with a caramelized crust and a focaccia-like chewiness and softness. It’s loaded with toasty cheese, savory pepperoni, and tangy tomato sauce with a touch of sweetness. It doesn’t matter if you’re nowhere near Detroit—with my step-by-step instructions, you’ll whip up this mouthwatering recipe with ease.

I adore pizza, especially the crispy, toasted bits. Clever twists like layering the cheese right over the crust and under the tomato sauce to ensure crispiness, and baking the pizza in a rectangular steel pan so that the cheese and pepperoni come in contact with the hot sides and get caramelized make Detroit-Style pizza a tempting upgrade from regular flat-crust style pizza!

A classic Detroit Style Pizza is baked in a rectangular metal pan, with crunchy caramelized edges, an ample amount of gooey and slightly toasted cheese and covered with crispy thin pepperoni.

Table of Contents

What is Detroit-Style Pizza?

  • Detroit-Style is a unique version of pizza that originated in 1946 when Detroit, Michigan bar owner Gus Guerra used his Sicilian mother-in-law’s recipe.
  • Legend has it that the first pizzas were baked in heavy-steel, rectangular pans that were originally used as trays for parts in a Detroit auto factory.
  • The oiled steel pan gives Detroit-Style pizza its signature crunchy, cheesy, crust with a tender interior. The corner slices are everyone’s favorite!

Tools You’ll Need

Key Ingredients and Why

For the Dough

  • Bread flour
    • Bread flour has a protein content of 12%-14% to yield a more elastic dough with a satisfying chewier bite.
    • Moreover, bread flour also contributes to a deep sturdy structure to hold more various toppings.
  • Salt
    • Salt adds flavor to the dough.
    • It strengthens the gluten structure to make the dough more elastic, which makes it able to hold on to more water.
  • Instant yeast
    • Instant yeast can be put directly into the dry ingredients. Avoid direct contact with salt by mixing it with flour first so it won’t get deactivated.
    • If you use active dry yeast, use double the amount for instant yeast.
  • Olive oil
    • Detroit-Style pizza is baked in a well-oiled pan to create its dark-edged crispy crusty and caramelized cheese edges.
    • The olive oil helps prevent the dough from sticking to the pan.
    • Olive oil not only enhances the flavor but also tenderizes the dough.

For the Topping

  • Diced Monterey Jack cheese and diced mozzarella cheese
    • Traditionally Detroit-style pizza makers use Wisconsin brick cheese. We use a mixture of mozzarella and Monterey Jack cheese which is a close substitute and more easily found. You can find brick cheese online if you would like to try the real deal.
    • Diced cheese makes a thicker layer that makes a barrier between the crust and sauce, keeping the crust from getting soggy.
    • Scatter the cheese all the way to the edges of the pan for a crispy cheese crust around the pizza.
    • Really take it up a notch by using my easy recipe, How to Make Homemade Mozzarella.
  • Five-Minute Pizza Sauce

Ladle this thick, rich sauce made from crushed tomatoes on top of the cheese.

  • Sliced pepperoni
    • Lay the pepperoni on top to ensure it gets crispy. Scatter the pepperoni all the way to the sides of the pan. The pepperoni will infuse the rest of the pizza with its salty flavor as it cooks.

How to Make Detroit-Style Pizza

Make the Dough

  • In a stand mixer with a dough hook, combine the bread flour, instant yeast, and salt, and then add the water gradually until the dough forms a ball.
  • Put the dough in an oiled bowl, cover, and proof for about 2 hours.
  • Then transfer the dough to an oiled pan. Stretch to the edges, cover, and proof for about 30 minutes.
  • Each time proof the dough until it doubles in size.

Step-by-step instructions on how to make a Detroit style pizza--put the proofed dough in an oiled rectangular baking pan. Stretch the dough to the pan's edges and rest for 30 minutes to relax gluten before baking.

Add the Toppings

  • Preheat the oven to 500°F (260°C).
  • Stretch the dough beyond the edges of the pan so it won’t shrink while cooking.
  • Sprinkle the diced cheese all the way to the edges of the pan.
  • Top with spoonfuls of 5 Minute Pizza Sauce, and lay the pepperoni over, spreading it to the edges.
  • Bake for 15 minutes until the edges are dark and the cheese turns golden brown.
  • Cut into squares and serve.

Assembling toppings for the pizza before baking. Start with cheese cubes sprinkled all the way to edges, then topped with pizza sauce and followed by thin pepperonis. It's baked until the edges are dark and caramelized and the cheese has browned.

Can I Make a Detroit-Style Pizza Recipe in Advance?

  • You can make the dough up to 3 days in advance and store in the refrigerator.
  • Alternatively, you can freeze the dough for up to four weeks. Defrost at room temperature and then bake off per the recipe.

How to Store Detroit-Style Pizza

  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
  • Reheat in a 350°F (180°C) oven for 10 minutes.

FAQs

  • Can I substitute all-purpose flour for bread flour?

    • You can substitute all-purpose flour (AP) for bread flour (BF). AP has around 11% protein, less than around 13% in bread flour, which means AP absorbs less water and creates less gluten strand structure with less open crumb so it doesn’t hold as much air as bread flour does. The result won’t be so stretchy, chewy, or elastic.
    • A good rule of thumb to keep in mind while alternating the recipe: hold back some liquid by using up to three-quarters of the amount called for at first, and then adjust it accordingly to get the same consistency as the recipe.
  • What’s the difference between Detroit-Style Pizza and Chicago-Style Pizza?

    • Detroit-Style Pizza has a thick crispy crust similar to focaccia. It’s baked in an oiled, rectangular pan.
      • The diced cheese goes directly on top of the crust to form a layer to keep the crust crispy. The sauce goes on top of the cheese, followed by pepperoni.
      • The toppings go all the way to the edges of the pan so they get caramelized and crispy.
    • Chicago-Style pizza is baked in a deep, round pan and has a tender, buttery crust. It’s almost casserole-like and is packed with fillings like sausage, peppers, and mozzarella cheese.

A slice of heavenly delicious pizza is cut and being lifted from the pan, with thick sand airy crust, crunchy caramelized edges, gooey toasted cheese, and thin crispy pepperoni.

Gemma’s Pro Chef Tips

  • You can knead the dough by hand if you don’t have a stand mixer: first mix the flour, salt, yeast, and water together with a wooden spoon. Let rest for 10 minutes, then transfer to a lightly floured work surface and knead for 15 minutes, adding water as necessary to create a smooth, silky dough.
  • The order of the topping is important to achieve the correct flavor and texture.
  • If you don’t have a Detroit-style pizza pan you can use a 9×9-inch square (23×23 cm) or 10-inch round (25 ½ cm) cake pan.
  • Although the cheese and sauce should remain the same, instead of pepperoni, you can use other pizza toppings of your choice, like Italian sausage, and sliced onions and peppers.

A slice of Detroit Style pizza is served on a white plat next to the remaining pizza in a black metal baking pan. It's featuring thick and airy crust, crunchy edges, gooey melted cheese and crispy pepperoni.

More Pizza Recipes

Watch The Recipe Video!

Detroit Style Pizza Recipe

4.60 from 20 votes
This recipe guarantees you classic scrumptious Detroit Style Pizza with signature thick and airy crust, caramelized edges and ample toppings.
Author: Gemma Stafford
Servings: 8 servings
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Proofing Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 10 minutes
This recipe guarantees you classic scrumptious Detroit Style Pizza with signature thick and airy crust, caramelized edges and ample toppings.
Author: Gemma Stafford
Servings: 8 servings

Ingredients

For the Dough

  • cups (11¼ oz/319 g) bread flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon instant yeast
  • ¾ cup (6 fl oz/170 ml) warm water, lukewarm
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

For the Topping

  • 6 oz (170 g) Jack cheese, cut into a ½ inch (1 cm) dice
  • 6 oz (170 g) mozzarella cheese, cut into a ½ inch (1 cm) dice
  • 6 oz (170 g) sliced pepperoni
  • cups (12 fl oz/360 ml) 5 Minute Pizza Sauce

Instructions

Make the Dough

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix the flour, salt, and yeast together until combined.
  • Add water and knead on medium/low speed until the dough comes together to form a ball, about 8-10 minutes.
  • Transfer the dough to a large, oiled bowl, cover, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 2 hours.
  • Spread 2 tablespoons of oil into a Detroit-style pizza pan and transfer the dough into it.
  • Stretch the dough to the edges of the pan, cover with plastic wrap, and let rest for at least 30 minutes to let the gluten relax.
  • While the dough is relaxing, preheat the oven to 500°F (260°C).
  • Stretch the dough a bit beyond the edges of the pan so that it doesn’t shrink back from the corners,

Top the Pizza

  • First sprinkle on the cheese all the way to the edges of the pan, next dollop the sauce on top in spoonfuls before lastly laying pepperoni all over. (note: in the video above I gave the wrong order to add toppings. Please follow this written recipe)
  • Bake for about 15 minutes, until the edges are very dark (almost black) and caramelized and any exposed cheese is starting to brown.
  • Carefully loosen the pizza from the edges of the pan, transfer to a cutting board and serve.
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Reheat in a 350°F (180°C) oven for 10 minutes.

 

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

30 Comments
most useful
newest oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Porter Diana
Porter Diana
9 months ago

I am from Detroit. You have missed a major issue in Detroit style pizza. The sauce goes On the very top of the pizza after baking, Not before it goes in The oven. I see many recipes who do it your way. Those people are not from Detroit.

Kae
Kae
1 month ago

Dough was bland.

Megan
Megan
4 months ago

I messed it up because I weighed 319grams of flour like the recipe states. Unfortunately 2 1/4 cups of flour is 270 grams. So how much flour should it be? I think it should be 270g not 319g

Rebecca Lowe
4 months ago

I made the pizza and it is incredible. I use jalapeno Monterey Jack cheese, mozzarella, pepperoni, hot Italian sausage, hot peppers, hot honey, crispy chilis in oil, pineapple and ricotta cheese dollops on top!! I do not buy pizza anymore because it just doesn’t measure up!!

Rebecca Lowe
4 months ago

When you make the pizza dough in advance, do you just pop it in the fridge before or after letting it rise?

Rebecca
Rebecca
6 months ago

Never mind I found it 😂 – when I printed out the recipe it didn’t have that info….

Rebecca
Rebecca
7 months ago

What size pan does this fit into? Or should be used?

Linda
Linda
7 months ago

hello,
Do I put the pan on the bottom rack in my oven?

Witchescastle
8 months ago

Gemma, this was absolutely amazing! It was my first time trying this type of pizza (I’m from New England). I followed the recipe exactly, except for pepperoni as I’m a vegetarian. It was one of the best homemade pizzas my family has tried. Thank you for sharing with us!

Susan
Susan
9 months ago

Hi Gemma, I made this for supper tonight, its beyond good! I don’t have the pan you used, but I put the crust in a 9×13 dish and it turned out wonderfully! Such a terrific recipe and we enjoyed it alot! Many thanks from Canada 🇨🇦 🙏🏽 😊

About Us

Meet Gemma

About Us

Meet Gemma

Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, a cookbook author, and the creator of Bigger Bolder Baking. I want to help you bake with confidence anytime, anywhere with my trusted and tested recipes and baking tips. You may have seen one of my 500+ videos on YouTube & TikTok or as a guest judge on Nailed It! on Netflix or the Best Baker in America on Food Network. No matter your skills, my Bold Baking Team & I want to be your #1 go-to baking authority.

 

Weeknight Family Favorites Chapter from the Bigger Bolder Baking Every Day Cookbook

Gemma's
10th Anniversary Cookbook

FREE EMAIL BONUS

 Recipes that have been loved by millions of real bakers!