Recipe Corner: Light & Crispy Deep Dish Pizza

 This is a recipe I have tweaked over the years, and now I want to share it with all of you!

This dough is light and fluffy, but comes with all the buttery-flaky goodness of classic deep-dish pizza.  Give it a try and let me know what you think!


Pizza Crust Ingredients (makes two 9”x2” round deep-dish pizzas)

 3 ¼ cups all-purpose flour

½ cup yellow cornmeal (I use finely ground for the dough)

1 ¼ teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon sugar

2 ¼ teaspoons Fleishmann's Active Dry yeast (1 standard packet) 

1 ¼ cups slightly warm water (between 90-95 degrees F)

4 tablespoons butter, melted (between 90-95 degrees F)

4 tablespoons butter, softened (use in step 10)

Olive oil or non-stick cooking spray


Tomato Sauce

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 small onion, grated or diced small, need about 1/3 cup

¾ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon oregano

½ teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon basil

2 garlic cloves, minced

¼ teaspoon sugar

1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes (I use petite diced, unsalted)

8 oz. tomato sauce  



4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

½ cup grated parmesan cheese 



  1. Spray a large (wide) cooking pot or oven-safe bowl with non-stick spray, or coat with olive oil. Cover bottom and sides. Set aside.
  2. Turn oven on bake to 250 degrees.
  3. In stand mixer, combine flour, cornmeal, salt, sugar, yeast using dough hook attachment. Give these ingredients a quick stir on low. Add warm water and melted butter. Both should be as close to 90 degrees as you can, so you don’t kill the yeast.

On low speed, mix ingredients until combines well, and dough is in one ball. It’s ready to remove when it gently falls off the hook.  If it is too sticky, add more flour (1/8 cup at a time). If it is too hard, add in a teaspoon of water.

  1. Gently remove the dough from the hook and form into a ball. Place dough inside the large cooking pot, and tightly cover with aluminum foil.
  2. Turn off oven once temp is reached (250 degrees). Place covered pot with dough inside oven.  Leave for 1-2 hours. The residual heat as the oven cools down will allow the dough to rise.  Remove once the dough has doubled in size.
  3. Lightly flour a large cutting board or work surface.
  4. Remove dough from pot or bowl, and set on cutting board. Keep the bowl and aluminum foil as you will use again.
  5. Gently punch down the dough to remove any air bubbles.
  6. Hand stretch (gently) dough to a rectangle shape about 15” x 12”
  7. Use spatula to carefully spread softened butter over the entire dough.  Leave ½ or so around outside edges un-buttered.
  8. Roll up the dough starting with either 12” end (similar to cinnamon rolls).
  9. Cut dough in half lengthwise to create two doughs. Hand-shape each section into a dough ball again. (I pinch the edges together before I shape them to make sure butter stays on the inside)
  10. Sprinkle a little flour over the top of each.
  11. Placed doughs back into greased pot or bowl (I usually re-spray the pot lightly, and spray lightly over top of the dough so they don’t stick). Cover tightly with aluminum foil.
  12. Place pot or bowl in fridge for at least 1 hour until the doughs start to puff up.
  1. For the Sauce, place 2 tablespoons butter in saucepan over medium heat. (I use the remaining softened butter and maybe a little extra). Once melted, add in grated/diced onion, salt, oregano, basil, and peppers. Once the onion has slightly browned after about 5 minutes, add in the garlic, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce and sugar. Turn the heat down to low-medium and allow to simmer until desired consistency is reached, about 20-25 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.


Assemble the pizzas

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. After the dough balls have risen in the fridge, roll them out one at a time on a floured cutting board or work surface, working into a 12-inch circle shape.
  3. Prepare your two round cake pans (9” wide x 2” deep size) by lightly coating in olive oil or non-stick cooking spray.
  4. Place your rolled out dough over the top of the pan and press gently starting from middle to cover bottom and up sides of pan (make sure your dough is centered over the pan or you’ll have crust on one side and none on the other. Crust should reach top edge of sides. Once dough is formed to pan, you can cut excess dough away from around the top edges of pan. Repeat with second dough. *optional: brush a little olive oil to the top edges of dough for extra crisp.
  5. Fill each pizza with 2 cups of mozzarella cheese. Spread out evenly. Add any additional toppings you like.
  6. Using a large spoon, add sauce over the top of cheese (to your liking).
  7. Sprinkle grated parmesan cheese over sauce. (I add a few shreds of mozzarella to create the bubbly brown cheese effect on top once cooked).
  8. Place pans side by side on middle rack in oven and bake 25-30 minutes, until crust in golden brown.
  9. Remove from oven, and allow pans to cool on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes. (I take pizzas out of pan and place directly on rack to cool).
  10. Slice, serve, and enjoy!

*If you only want to cook one dough, you can refrigerate the other for 1 day, or freeze for up to 2 months.  Stop after step 15, punch down any air bubbles before wrapping and freezing.  

*Variation:  You can make traditional flat crust pizza with this dough. Simply roll out into larger circle or oval in step 18.  Sprinkle cornmeal on whatever pan you use to cook the pizza, then place dough on top. Top the dough traditionally, sauce then cheese. 



Dough hand-stretched out to 15" x 12" shape


Add butter over top of dough


Roll it up...


Rolled up and cut into two doughs


Dough ready for some fridge time


Dough after fridge time


Simmered sauce







Andrea Russell

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