If you’re a pizza lover, this crazy-delicious, super-easy, deep dish pepperoni pizza is the stuff dreams are made of. It never fails to bring rave reviews!
“This may be one of the hardest photo shoots we’ve ever done”, I said to Scott towards the end of taking pictures of this Deep Dish Pepperoni Pizza.
“Why? he replied, “I think we got some great shots”.
“I know, we did. But I don’t think it’s ever been so difficult to wait till the end of the photoshoot to indulge.”
Minutes after we shot the last picture we were enjoying deep dish pepperoni pizza. For breakfast. And it did not disappoint!
I feel like I already let the cat out of the bag with this deep dish pepperoni pizza in my last two posts. I shared the recipe for the deep dish pizza dough several days ago.
And before that, my incredibly easy pizza sauce. I shared the sauce and crust separately because they’re both so versatile and I’ll be referring back to them in future recipes.
Some of you eager chefs have already put the recipes together and made a pizza. It’s been so fun hearing from you via comments or emails like this one:
This was SO delicious and a fun way to switch up our regular pizza night! The pizza sauce was delicious, too! I only have a 12 inch cast iron skillet, so I made 1 and 1/4 of the recipe (if that makes sense). I have instant yeast, and I treated it like regular yeast and it worked great! Thanks for a winner!
I thought it still might be good to share the whole recipe as well as a few extra tips and tricks for making this wonderful, classic pizza. So here we go; and since it’s a deep dish pepperoni pizza, let’s start with the pepperoni!
What’s the best pepperoni to use for this deep dish pepperoni pizza?
It’s difficult to know the exact origins of pepperoni. Some resources, like Cook’s Illustrated, say that pepperoni dates back to ancient Rome where it was a convenience food for soldiers on the march. Others (Liguria Foods, makers of Giovanni’s frozen pizza) claim that it’s a purely an American invention that began in New York Italian delis and pizzerias in the early 1900s.
So who knows? But what is certain, is that pepperoni is beloved by many and is definitely America’s preferred pizza topping. What’s the best pepperoni? Glad you asked! I checked two of my favorite foodie resources to find out their opinions.
Cook’s Illustrated did a taste-testing of sliced pepperoni with twenty-one cooks and editors from America Test Kitchen. Their favorite? Margherita Italian Style Sliced Pepperoni. In similar tests, Serious Eats gave Homel their highest stamp of approval in the sliced category while Boar’s Head Natural Casings was the winner in the stick pepperoni category.
Our favorite? We’re in agreement with Serious Eats and love Boar’s Head Whole Pepperoni. It has delicious Italian-deli flavor and just the right amount of heat. I like to purchase it in the stick form, as it seems to stay fresher than the sliced variety and I can cut it to whatever thickness I want.
A word about Mozzarella
The experts from Wisconsin, America’s dairy state say that “mozzarella is considered the best cheese for pizza for a few reasons: its delicate, milky flavor, its smooth, elastic texture, and its fabulous meltability. Of course, that’s a matter of taste, but I tend to also really like mozzarella for pizza; especially this deep dish pepperoni pizza. It’s got a creamy, near perfect texture, mild flavor that doesn’t overtake the other ingredients and I love how it gets all melty and stringy.
There are two main options for mozzarella cheese, fresh and low-moisture. Fresh mozzarella is delicious but not great for pizza since it has a high water content and you end up with pools of moisture on top of the pizza (or worse, sinking down into the crust, which you want to be nice and crisp).
So you definitely want low moisture mozzarella, but then there’s another choice! Low moisture mozzarella comes in whole and skim (or part-skim) milk options. My choice is always whole milk mozzarella, if it’s available.
Why? Just like whole milk has a higher fat content than skim milk, the same is true with mozzarella cheese. And the higher the fat content, the better the cheese will melt (and taste).
The actual calorie difference isn’t that much, with whole milk mozzarella having 86 calories per ounce compared to skim with 73. If I’m watching calories, I’d rather have a smaller piece that tastes fantastic vs a large piece with less flavor.
So are you ready to make pizza? Just writing about this pizza makes me want to run to the kitchen and throw another one together! And, yippee! We don’t have to take any more pictures so we can enjoy this one, fresh from the oven!
Café Tips for making this Deep Dish Pepperoni Pizza
- I really like to make a double or triple batch of the Super Easy Pizza sauce and freeze it in generous ½ cup portions. That way, when the pizza urge strikes, it doesn’t take long to throw one together.
- Low-moisture whole milk mozzarella isn’t as readily available as the part skim option. You might have to look a bit, but most stores carry it in at least one brand. If you can find it in a block, it’s even better than the shredded option. I just think it melts better. I slice it fairly thin and layer it on top of the sauce.
- I really like to make this pizza in my 10-inch cast iron pan. The crust comes out beautifully golden brown and super crisp. A cast iron pan is a wonderful investment, as they aren’t expensive and will last a lifetime. I am still using Scott’s grandmother’s 10-inch cast iron pan that was passed on to me, although I’ve bought another so I can make pizza for a crowd. Lodge is the gold standard in cast iron and their pans come pre-seasoned, which is a wonderful bonus.
- If you don’t have a cast iron pan and you don’t want to purchase one, you can also make this pizza in a 9-inch cake pan. The oven temperature needs to be adjusted a bit as well as where it’s placed in the oven. I’ve explained all that in the recipe directions below. I love my OXO Good Grips baking pans. They’re non-stick, really sturdy and great, even conductors of heat.
Prepare Easy Deep Dish Pizza Dough as instructed in the recipe through step 5.
- For the toppings, cover the dough with the Super Easy Pizza Sauce to within a half inch of the edges. Cover the sauce with the cheese, again keeping a 1/2 inch border (so the cheese doesn't burn because of the heat from the edge of the pan). Top cheese with pepperoni. Space the pepperoni fairly close together as they will shrink in the oven. Sprinkle with fresh basil leaves, if desired. If basil leaves are large, cut them into smaller pieces.
- Preheat oven to 450˚F with a rack on the lowest level. (if using a cake pan preheat to 425˚F with a rack in the center of the oven).
- When ready to bake, cover with foil (see Café Tips in pizza dough post) and bake for 15 minutes on the lowest rack of the oven. Remove foil and bake another 5-8 minutes or until cheese is melty and edges are light golden brown. Run a knife around the edge of the crust and transfer pizza to a cutting board with a spatula. Sprinkle with Italian seasoning and more fresh basil, if desired. Slice and enjoy!
See Café Tips above for further instructions and detailed tips.
The estimated time for this recipe assumes that the sauce has already been made.
The nutritional information does not include the crust or sauce. See those individual posts for their nutritional info.
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