Detroit Style Pizza Recipe

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Detroit Style Pizza Recipe

Main dish


Prep time

Cooking time

Total time


Detroit-style pizza, a culinary gem that originated in the Motor City, has garnered a passionate following for its crispy, cheesy crust and distinctive square shape. This pizza is characterized by its thick, yet airy crust, brick cheese that’s spread all the way to the edges, and stripes of sauce layered on top of the cheese. The baking process in a square, steel pan ensures the edges become deliciously caramelized, creating a unique texture and flavor profile. Below is a guide to making your own Detroit-style pizza at home.


For the Dough:
2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon (5g) sugar
1 teaspoon (5g) salt
1 teaspoon (3g) instant yeast
3/4 cup (180ml) lukewarm water
2 tablespoons (30ml) olive oil
For the Toppings:
2 cups (about 300g) Wisconsin brick cheese, cubed (substitute with mozzarella if unavailable)
1/2 cup (about 120g) pepperoni slices
1/2 cup (120ml) pizza sauce (store-bought or homemade)
Optional toppings: cooked Italian sausage, sautéed mushrooms, onions, or any of your favorites
For the Pan:
Additional olive oil for greasing the pan
10×14 inch (25×35 cm) Detroit-style pizza pan or a similar sized baking pan


Prepare the Dough

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt, and instant yeast.

Add the lukewarm water and olive oil to the dry ingredients. Mix until a shaggy dough forms.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes, until smooth.

Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover with a damp cloth, and let it rise in a warm place for about 2 hours, or until doubled in size.

Shape the Dough

Lightly oil your Detroit-style pizza pan.

Transfer the risen dough to the pan. Gently stretch and press the dough to fill the pan, making sure it reaches the corners. If the dough springs back, let it rest for a few minutes before continuing.

Let the dough rest in the pan for 15-20 minutes to puff up slightly.

Prepare the Toppings

Preheat your oven to 475°F (245°C).

Evenly distribute the cubed brick cheese over the dough, ensuring to reach the edges of the pan for that signature caramelized crust.

Add the pepperoni slices (and any other toppings you’re using) on top of the cheese.

Bake the Pizza

Spoon stripes of pizza sauce over the top of the cheese and toppings. The sauce goes on last to prevent the dough from getting soggy.

Place the pizza in the preheated oven and bake for about 15-20 minutes, or until the edges are golden and crispy, and the cheese is bubbling.

Remove the pizza from the oven and let it cool in the pan for a few minutes before transferring it to a cutting board.

Serve and Enjoy

Cut the pizza into square slices. Detroit-style pizza is traditionally served with the sauce on top, but feel free to add a little extra sauce on the side if you like your pizza extra saucy.

Enjoy your homemade Detroit-style pizza with family and friends!

Detroit-style pizza is a testament to the city’s rich culinary culture, offering a unique take on the classic Italian dish. By following this recipe, you can bring a taste of Detroit into your own kitchen. The key to success lies in the quality of ingredients, the square steel pan, and the layering of cheese and sauce. Whether you’re a seasoned pizza aficionado or a curious home chef, making Detroit-style pizza is a rewarding and delicious endeavor.

Tips for Perfect Detroit-Style Pizza

Creating the perfect Detroit-style pizza goes beyond simply following a recipe. Here are some insider tips to elevate your pizza-making experience and ensure your creation rivals those of the best pizzerias in Detroit:

Choosing the Right Cheese

Wisconsin Brick Cheese is the traditional choice for authentic Detroit-style pizza. It’s known for its high fat content and excellent melting properties, which contribute to the crispy, caramelized edges. If brick cheese is difficult to find, a good-quality, low-moisture mozzarella is a suitable substitute. Consider blending it with cheddar for a closer flavor match.

The Importance of the Pan

The square steel pan is crucial for achieving the characteristic crispy edges and thick, airy crust. These pans are similar to those used in the automotive industry, which is how this style of pizza got its start. If you don’t have a Detroit-style pan, a similar-sized metal baking dish can work, but make sure to oil it well to prevent sticking and to encourage crisping.

Layering is Key

Unlike most pizzas where cheese tops the sauce, Detroit-style pizzas have cheese directly on the dough, followed by your choice of toppings, and then the sauce is spooned over the top.

This method helps to prevent the dough from becoming soggy and creates a delightful contrast in textures and flavors.

Let It Rest

After baking, letting the pizza rest in the pan for a few minutes allows the cheese to set slightly, making the pizza easier to remove from the pan without losing any of those delicious, crispy cheese edges.

Experiment with Toppings

While pepperoni is a classic topping, Detroit-style pizza lends itself well to a variety of ingredients. Experiment with different meats, vegetables, and even dollops of ricotta or other cheeses for a gourmet twist. Just remember to add any lighter toppings, like fresh herbs or arugula, after baking to preserve their freshness.

Reheating Leftovers

If you have leftovers, reheat them in a hot oven rather than a microwave. This method helps to maintain the crispiness of the crust and edges. Place the pizza slices on a baking sheet and reheat at 375°F (190°C) for about 10 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and the crust crispy.

The Joy of Making Pizza at Home

Making Detroit-style pizza at home is not just about enjoying a delicious meal—it’s also about the joy of creating something special with your own hands. It’s a wonderful way to gather friends and family in the kitchen, experimenting with different toppings and techniques, and sharing in the delight of a homemade pizza night. The process itself is as rewarding as the final product, offering a slice of Detroit’s culinary history in every bite.

Remember, the best pizza comes from a combination of quality ingredients, patience, and a bit of practice. Don’t be afraid to make it your own by tweaking the recipe to suit your taste preferences. Happy pizza making!


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