This recipe for Detroit style pizza couldn't be easier . . . or more delicious. The crust is thick and fluffy, just oily enough, and full of flavor. And each bite is a perfect balance of pepperoni, cheese, and red sauce.
As you can see in the photo above, Detroit style pizza is similar to other square-slice slabs like Grandma pizza and tomato pie. (That's because, like those other styles, Detroit pizza starts with thick, focaccia-like Sicilian-style sheet pan dough.) But what makes Detroit pizza unique? According to the experts, there are three things that set this style of pizza apart:
- It's baked in a high-sided rectangular (10 x 14-inch) pan made of steel or hard-anodized aluminum [this is the one I use*].
- Its toppings are arranged upside-down: first cheese, then veggies and/or meat(s), and then sauce spread on top in long horizontal lines.
- The cheese (traditionally Wisconsin brick cheese, or a mix of buttery-tasting melters like cheddar, low-moisture mozzarella, Havarti, Colby, and/or Monterey jack) is either cubed or shredded and spread all the way to the edges, touching the metal pan. As the pizza bakes, the cheese melts against the pan, then transforms into a delicious, blackened border around the edges of the pizza. (I know, I know. Burnt cheese doesn't sound like a good thing, but just trust me on this one, okay?)
How to Make Detroit Style Pizza
1. Make the dough.
First, whip up a batch of my Sheet Pan Pizza Dough. When the dough has finished rising, divide it in half. (Freeze the extra piece of dough in an airtight container for your next Detroit style pizza night.)
2. Press out the dough in the pan.
Put a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a 10 x 14-inch dark metal baking pan or other similar baking pan, place the dough in the pan, and use your fingertips to press it out to the corners. Then, if you have the time, cover your pan with plastic wrap and let the dough puff up a little for 20 to 30 minutes. (Feel free to skip that step if you're feeling impatient; the dough will be a little less fluffy, but the pizza will still turn out great.)
3. Add toppings.
Next, it's topping time! Spread 1½ to 2 cups of shredded buttery, melty "block" cheese (I like the combo of mild cheddar and Havarti) all the way to the edges of your dough, making sure that the cheese touches the edges of the baking pan. Top the cheese with other toppings (thinly sliced veggies, cured meats, cooked sausage crumbles, etc.), and slather long horizontal lines of marinara sauce on top.
4. Bake and eat!
Finally, bake your pizza at 500°F for 15 minutes, rotating it halfway though the baking time. It's done when the cheese has blackened around the edges and the crust is evenly browned on the bottom. (Use an offset spatula* to lift up one corner of the pizza so you can peek underneath.)
Slide your Detroit pizza out of its pan and onto a cutting board. After a few minutes, cut it into squares and serve warm.
Detroit Style Pizza with Pepperoni
- Cutting board and knife
- Box grater
- Metal (10 x 14-inch) Detroit-style pizza pan or other 9 x 13-inch baking pan
- ½ recipe Sheet Pan Pizza Dough (Follow the dough recipe through step 3, let it rise until doubled, and then divide it in half. If you're only making one pizza, store the other half of dough in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months)
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- ¾ to 1 cup shredded mild cheddar cheese
- ¾ to 1 cup shredded Havarti cheese
- 8 to 10 ounces pepperoni, cut into ⅛-inch-thick slices
- 1½ cups Super-Easy Marinara Sauce (or your favorite pizza sauce)
- ¼ cup finely shredded parmesan cheese (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 500°F with a rack in the bottom position.
- Grease a metal (10 x 14-inch) Detroit-style pizza pan or 9 x 13-inch baking pan with the olive oil. Place the dough in the pan, then press it out with your fingertips until it fills the pan all the way to the edges. If it keeps shrinking back, let the dough rest for another 15 to 20 minutes and try again. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and let the dough rest for 20 to 30 minutes, until it puffs up a bit and you see a few bubbles on the surface.
- Using your fingertips, press dimples all over the surface of the dough to release any large air bubbles. Scatter on the cheddar and Havarti cheeses, making sure to get them all the way to the edges, touching the sides of the pan. (This will give your Detroit style pizza that characteristic dark-brown caramelized crust.) Tile the pepperoni on top of the cheese, and spread the sauce in long lines on top of the pepperoni. Sprinkle on the parmesan, if using.
- Place the pan in the oven and bake for 15 minutes, turning once at the halfway mark, until the cheese is golden and the edges of the pizza are almost black. To double check for doneness, use a long spatula to carefully lift the pizza from the pan; it's finished cooking when the crust is evenly browned on the bottom.
- Remove the pizza from the oven. Let it cool for about 5 minutes, then slide the pizza out of the pan and onto a cutting board. Cut into squares and serve.
Looking for more pan pizza recipes? Give some of these a try:
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