Pan pizza pizza is a treat! It’s also super easy to make yourself at home. Learn how to make deep dish pizza with all your favorite toppings.
I’ve eaten many tasty pizzas in my time on many different crusts. Thin crust, thick crust, cracker crust. Pizza on a pita bread, pizza on a bagel, pizza on a tortilla, French bread pizza. Whole wheat pizza dough. Sourdough pizza crust.
But the one that takes me back in time (circa 1985, to be exact) and the one that feels like a special, indulgent treat is the pan pizza.
This thick, breadline pizza served in a pan was a hit during my childhood, particularly the one at Pizza Hut. Served in a rugged, cast-iron-looking deep dish, it had the best crust ever, thick and rich with olive oil, crispy on the outside yet tender on the inside. It makes me happy just thinking about it!
Thankfully, we can make this kind of pizza at home!
Two of my favorite Italian breads to make are pizza and focaccia. A pan pizza is really just a combination of the two: a thick crust, drenched in olive oil and topped with all kinds of pizza goodness.
If you’re looking for a fun way to do up pizza night, this is it!
Is Pan Pizza the same as Deep Dish Pizza?
Pan Pizza is a type of pizza baked in a deep dish pan. Its crust soaks up the oil that lines the pan and develops a very crispy, almost fried texture.
Chicago-style and Detroit-style are types of pan pizzas. Read more here.
What dough should you use for pan pizza?
I’ve tested this method with various dough recipes and come to the conclusion that any pizza dough should work. You can make your own or purchase a commercial dough.
The trick to the gorgeous crust is the oil that you line the pan with.
In this recipe, I’ve used the pizza dough from my cookbook, Good Cheap Eats. It’s very similar to my Whole Wheat Pizza Dough Recipe, but made with all-purpose flour and the addition of cornmeal for some added crunch in the dough.
Do I need to buy deep dish pizza pans to make this recipe?
You do not need to buy special pans for baking pan pizza. I’ve tested this with different kinds of pans and found that metal, nonstick pans will work the best. You want the crust to brown well while still being able to get it out of the pan without mangling it.
My favorite pans for this are metal pie pans. I have two, one from Granite Ware and one from USA. Both worked really well in recent testing. Keep in mind that USA pans cannot be baked higher than 450 so you’ll have to adjust for this recipe.
I plan to make this again soon in one big half sheet pan and see how it works. If you want to test with me, skip the dividing the dough step and press it into the oiled pan as one very large pizza.
How do you make pan pizza?
This recipe is super simple, probably simpler than making regular homemade pizza since you don’t have to stretch the dough thin.
- Assemble the dough ingredients.
- Place the warm water in the bowl of a stand mixer. Stir in the sugar to dissolve. Sprinkle the yeast over the sugar water and allow it to rest five minutes. It should foam and bubble.
- Add the oil, flour, cornmeal, and salt. Add the dough hook and knead the dough until a smooth, elastic dough ball forms.
- Transfer the dough ball to a greased bowl and cover. Allow it to double in bulk, about 60 to 90 minutes.
- Once the dough is done, turn it out onto a greased surface. Divide the dough into four portions and form each portion into a smooth round.
- Gather together four 8- or 9-inch cake or pie pans. Spray them with nonstick cooking spray and add at least a tablespoon of oil, to coat the bottom of each pan.
- Place a dough ball in each pan and stretch to fill the pan. You may need to let the dough rest for a few minutes during this process to get it to fill the bottom of the pan. Allow the dough to rise another 15 minutes while you preheat the oven.
- Assemble your pizza toppings and top each pizza with sauce, toppings, and cheese.
- Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until the crust is crisp and the cheese is melted and browned in spots. Loosen the edges of the pizza with a spatula and remove it to a cutting board to slice. Serve immediately.
Toppings for pan pizza
You can keep it simple or feel free to have some fun and creative with your toppings. Here are a few fun ways to do just that:
- Supreme pizza – Add some olives, peppers, onions, and pepperoni
- Meatball – Make a big batch of meatballs and then slice some up and add them to your pizza.
- Thai Chicken pizza – Add some Thai sauce, carrots, celery, cilantro, and cooked chicken.
- Roasted Veggies – Keep it simple and healthy and some veggies to your pizza!
- Bacon and pineapple – Add some pineapple and easy oven baked bacon for a classic flavor.
- Ham and pineapple – Have any leftover slow cooked ham from the holidays? Add some to your pizza with pineapple for an easy pan pizza idea.
How much does it cost to make pan pizza?
You know me, it matters that my recipes count as good cheap eats, so let’s see the price breakdown at a mid-range grocery store, shopping non-sale prices.
- sugar – $0.02 ($1.97/4#)
- yeast – $0.33 ($0.99/pack of three)
- olive oil – $1.60 ($6.49/16 oz)
- flour – $0.60 ($2.69/5#)
- cornmeal – $0.06 ($3.99/40oz)
- salt – $0.03 ($2.99/26 oz)
- pizza sauce – $0.50 ($1.00/16 oz)
- pizza toppings – price may vary
- mozzarella cheese – $2.82 ($1.88/8 oz)
Total cost for a round of cheese pan pizzas is $5.96, or $1.49 per pizza!
How does this price compare to what you can buy elsewhere?
- frozen pan pizza from the grocery store – $7.99 (6 slices, about 1 ½ times the size of our homemade one)
- personal pan pizza from Pizza Hut – $4.50
Making homemade is by far the better bet, for premium ingredients and better pricing!
How can you save even more?
There are always methods for cutting grocery costs, even when you think you’ve exhausted all possibilities. The bulk of the cost in this recipe comes from the olive oil and the cheese.
Here’s how you can reduce the cost of your pan pizzas:
- Shop the cheapest store. Remember these prices are factored from a mid-range grocery store in Southern California. Your mileage may vary. Be sure to shop at the store with the best prices for the things you buy. Who has the best price on olive oil and cheese? For me that would be Costco.
- Shop the sales. Always stock up on your regular kitchen staples when you see them at their lowest price. Having a grocery staples checklist will help you keep an eye on what those items are.
- Buy in bulk. A large container of olive oil or bag of cheese will likely cost less per ounce than a small one. If budget and storage space allow, go big.
- Use less. You can always dial back the olive oil and cheese in this recipe to trim costs. Will it be as decadent? No, but it will still be super tasty.
- Use what you have. Make sure to use up the bits of sauce, cheese, or cooked veg and meat that you have on hand. Preventing waste is a great way to save money!
Deep Dish Pizzas or Pan Pizzas
- 1 ½ cup water , warmed
- 2 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
- ½ cup olive oil
- 4 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour (18 ounces)
- 2 tablespoon cornmeal
- 1 ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup pizza sauce
- toppings for pizza , such as pepperoni, sausage, olives, mushrooms, onions, peppers, pineapple, etc.
- 3 cup mozzarella cheese (shredded)
- Place the warm water in the bowl of a stand mixer. Stir in the sugar to dissolve. Sprinkle the yeast over the sugar water and allow it to rest five minutes. It should foam and bubble.1 ½ cup water, 2 tablespoon granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
- Add ¼ cup of the olive oil, flour, cornmeal, and salt. Place the bowl on the mixer and stir with the bread hook until a dough ball forms around the hook, scraping down the sides. (Alternatively, you can stir in the flour with a wooden spoon.)½ cup olive oil, 4 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour, 2 tablespoon cornmeal, 1 ½ teaspoon salt
- Knead the dough ball for several minutes, either with the dough hook or by hand on a lightly floured surface.
- Once the dough ball is smooth and elastic, grease the bowl and place the dough ball in the center. Cover and allow the dough to rise until doubled in bulk, about 60 to 90 minutes.
- When the dough is ready, remove it to a greased surface and cut into four portions. Shape each portion into a round ball. Allow the dough to rest for a few minutes while you prepare the pans.
- Grease four 9-inch cake or pie pans with nonstick cooking spray. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to the bottom of each pan and spread to coat.
- Place a dough ball into each pan and stretch to fit. If the dough is resistant, let it rest a few minutes and continue. Once the dough fills the pan, allow it to rise 15 minutes while you preheat the oven to 475 degrees.
- Top each round with sauce and toppings, ending in cheese, and bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until the crust is very crisp and the cheese is melted and browned in spots. Loosen the edges of the pizza with a spatula and remove it to a cutting board to slice. Serve immediately.1 cup pizza sauce, toppings for pizza, 3 cup mozzarella cheese (shredded)
This post was originally published on August 23, 2012. It has been updated for content and clarity.