Skillet Deep Dish Pizza
A few times a month I get emails or questions about what equipment a new home cook should prioritize. Besides having a good knife, I put some sort of cast iron skillet really high on the list. They are economical so you don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars and you can use them for almost any cooking purpose: sautéing, frying, baking, etc.
Today, we are tackling the skillet deep dish pizza! This thing is a delicious beast! I made it from scratch with my favorite deep dish pizza dough (butter laced), but I’ll give you some tips if you want to use store-bought dough also.
1) Add all dry ingredients to a bowl and mix well, then slowly add water and melted butter until the dough ball comes together. Knead this for 8-10 minutes until the dough is glossy and smooth. Alternatively, in a mixer, beat dough for 5-6 minutes with the dough hook on medium.
2) Let ball of dough rise in a lightly oiled bowl for about an hour or until it doubles in size.
4) Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll it out to roughly a 16 by 12 rectangle.
5) Spread on softened butter leaving about 1/2 inch around the edges of the dough.
6) Roll up the dough like a cigar. Fold dough over itself into thirds. Pinch the seams around the dough to form a ball.
7) Let dough rise a second time in your fridge for 60 minutes.
Stir together ingredients in a medium bowl and set aside. Feel free to adjust flavors to your liking.
To make the pizza:
1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2) Roll dough ball into about a 15 inch diameter circle.
3) Add pizza dough to a 12-inch cast iron or carbon steel skillet. Work the dough up the sides and make a crust. Mush the dough into all the corners of the pan and crimp it around the edges.
4) Add sliced mozzarella cheese to the bottom, followed by your marinara sauce. You can add all the sauce for a very saucy pie, or 1/2-2/3 of it if you want a less saucy pizza.
5) Add small chunks of sweet Italian sausage (uncooked), sliced peppers, sliced onions, and grated Asiago cheese. Season the pizza with salt and pepper.
6) Bake at 375 degrees F. for 55-60 minutes. Let cooked pizza rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
Cast Iron Deep Dish Pizza
If you have the time, this pizza dough is one of my favorite dough recipes. It’s really hearty and has some nice touches like melted butter and cornmeal kneaded right into the dough.
When making pizza dough, I always recommend weighing your flour. If you use cups, you might have to adjust the amount of liquid. Usually you’ll have to add more because cups tend to over-measure the flour.
I like to knead my dough by hand in the bowl for 8-10 minutes until it’s really soft, but you can also use a stand mixer (dough hook attachment) to make quick work of it.
Once the dough is ready, let it rise for about an hour.
Now for the fun part, roll out the dough into a large rectangle and smear on a layer of softened butter. Then roll the dough up into a tight cylinder and fold it over itself. This will create lots of layers of dough which end up being light and flaky in the finished pizza. It’s one of my favorite deep dish pizza tricks.
If you want to use store-bought dough, no big deal. I would still do the butter trick with it though. If you skip it, your crust will be dense instead of light and flaky.
I mixed up a quick pizza sauce with tomato sauce, salt, pepper, sugar, and herbs and spices. This is a pretty flexible recipe so I recommend starting with my version, tasting it, and adjusting to your liking. Some might like more herbs or spice. Make it your own!
Finishing the Pizza
When you’re ready to make this bad boy, prep all your ingredients. Slice the peppers, onions, and cheese and get everything ready.
Roll your pizza dough out into a large 15-inch circle and press it down firmly into your skillet. A 12-inch skillet is the perfect size for this pizza.
I used a new 12 inch seasoned carbon steel skillet for my version. This thing is amazing. It’s really light for a steel skillet, but very sturdy. You can use it on the stovetop or in the oven.
I made a crimped crust out of my dough, but you could do something simpler if you want.
In traditional deep dish fashion, I added my sliced cheese (lots of it) first and then my sauce. I used pretty much all of my sauce because I like a saucy deep dish pizza. If you want it less saucy, I’d start with half of the recipe I listed.
After your cheese and sauce are on, pile on the other toppings. I like to use Italian sauce, peppers, and onions. Don’t worry about cooking the sausage ahead of time, it’ll have plenty of time to cook in the oven. Just make sure to add it in small chunks so there aren’t any large pieces.
Then add some asiago cheese to the top of the pizza. Asiago is really flavorful and gives something extra to the finished pie. Plus, who’s going to complain about more cheese?
This guy is ready for the oven!
Bake this beauty at 375 degrees F. for 55-60 minutes. It’s a thick pizza so it needs a lot of time to bake through. Keep an eye on it to make sure it’s cooking evenly, but it’s pretty hard to over-cook it.
When this sucker comes out of the oven, it’ll be bubbling hot and will be a big mess if you cut into it right away. Sort of like how you would treat a steak, it helps to let this pizza rest for 10 minutes before slicing into it.
Also, let me introduce you to my new favorite cast iron skillet accessory: The Magnetic Trivet!
Cast iron skillets get really hot and retain heat forever (a good thing). If you made the mistake of putting this skillet on your table or counter directly, chances are it would ruin the surface. This trivet is so awesome because when you put your skillet on it, it sticks to the skillet! That way you can move your skillet around and know that it always has protection!
Just remember to take it off before you cook again with your skillet!
The only thing that’s left now is to slice up this skillet deep dish pizza into large pieces and serve it up to hungry family and friends!