Detroit Style Pizza Recipe – Dough Crust, Toppings, Meat, Cheese, Sauce On Top!

Detroit style pizza is like an upside down cake for pizzas. This delicious pizza is designed so the toppings are actually bottom-ings, the cheese comes on top of the toppings and the sauce goes on top- not bottom. It’s like taking a regular pizza and turning it upside down (Imagine the delicious taste of this mix!).

Each city seems to have their own pizza style and the Detroit style pizza recipe is easy, fun, and unique. Don’t judge it till you taste it- you have no idea what your in for! With the following recipe you can manufacture this delicious Detroit delicacy at home and enjoy how a simple tweak in how you cook pizza changes everything about how it smells, tastes, and looks!

Prep time: 20 Minutes

(depends on what you want on your pizza) If cooking meats you’ll need time to cook and cut them up (chicken, ground beef, sausage etc…)

Cook time:

65 Minutes

Ready in:

About an hour and 20 Minutes

Detroit Style Pizza Ingredients:

Step 1: Collect The Ingredients

Detroit Style Pizza Ingredients

  • 1/3 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/3 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground basil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dill weed
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon cooking oil
  • Meats and vegetables of your choice for the toppings
  • 15 ounces pizza sauce, thicker sauces work best
  • 16 ounces shredded cheese, mozzarella or a mixture of mozzarella and cheddar also work well
  • Cooking oil, for greasing

Step 2: Mixing The Ingredients Into A Master-piece

Detroit Style Pizza Cooking Preparations

You will need a large bowl for mixing ingredients in. The bigger the better.

A wooden spoon will be best and the dough is less likely to stick to it. You will also want a cutting board and good sharp knife for cutting up meat, vegetables, and toppings of your choice. Cut everything into bite sized chunks so they are easy to uniformly spread on the pizza but big enough to still hold flavor and juices as they cook.

You don’t want the vegetables to cook too fast and burn while the meats are cooking- the trick is to get the right sized pieces. For meat the cuts should be smaller and vegetables should be larger but still manageable within each piece of pizza.

Cooking your Detroit style pizza will require a square pan. Experts recommend a cast iron pan (square or rectangular in shape) due to the even way this type of pan cooks and doesn’t scorch the crust easily. The taste of a Detroit style pizza is a bit rugged and meaty. The cast iron pan helps to preserve the signature taste and look of the Detroit style pizza.

Making Detroit-Style Pizza

Pull out your mixing bowl and add the water and mix in the yeast. Let this sit for approximately 5 minutes- look for the mixture to become cloudy and slightly bubbly (frothy). The water activates the yeast which will later help the dough rise.

Once the yeast/water mixture is ready blend in some salt, sugar, oregano, basil, garlic powder and dill weed. Mix thoroughly or until the salt and sugar are dissolved into the mix.

To assure the ingredients blend well and evenly (wet ingredients with the dry ones) slowly stir in the flour. Using your wooden spoon fold the wet dough over through to the middle and scrape as much off the sides as possible. You can do a stirring motion but continuing to fold the dough on itself until the dough is roughly a small ball. Add flour to the dough as you scrape the sides to make it more solid and stable.

Once the dough is in a solid ball kneed it in place slowly until it’s a standalone (not stuck to the sides of the bowl) and cover it with some of the coating/cooking oil. Place the oiled ball of dough onto a pre-oiled surface. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes. You want to knead it until its elastic and a smooth ball.

Rinse out the mixing bowl and put the processed dough back into it. Cover the bowl with foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate till about this time the next day.

The next day take the dough out of the refrigerator and let stand covered so it thaws back down to room temperature (important for consistent and easy to form dough). Once at room temperature knead the dough to freshen it up and put it into a pre-oiled cooking pan. Make sure you press the dough only to the bottom of the bowl not up through to the sides.

Press gently with your fingers throughout the dough to give it a “bumpy” surface.  After “molding” the dough to the pan, cover it with a towel and give it another hour or two to rise again. This will double the volume of your crust.

At this point preheat the oven to 325 degrees (F). If you’ve been checking on the breads rising degree when you see it’s about half way there (1.5 x the size it started at in thickness) then try to time the oven preheating with 15-20 minutes before it’s done “rising”.

Place the crust (in the pan by itself) in the oven and give it a 10-15 minute browning.

Take out when the crust is light golden brown and let sit for 3 minutes.

Add your favorite toppings i.e.:

  • Chicken
  • Mushrooms
  • Tomatoes
  • Sausage
  • Ground Been
  • Canadian Bacon
  • Pineapple
  • Bell Peppers, Red, Green, Orange, Yellow, etc..
  • Spinach
  • Onions
  • Olives
  • Garlic Pieces (pickled garlic?)
  • Etc…

Once you’ve layered your toppings just so add a thick layer of cheese. Mozzarella and Cheddar are popular but you can use whatever cheese you like best- many use a mixture of Mozzarella, Cheddar, and Jack cheeses.

Meat and ground beef should be pre-cooked before adding to the pizza (this shortens the cook time and assures safety from bacteria). Chicken and sausage both must be fully cooked.

Finally the topping of a Detroit style pizza is the pizza sauce. You spoon the sauce uniformly as possible over the pizza giving it a nice Detroit style signature pizza!

Bake the complete pizza in the center-most rack in the oven for about 20-25 more minutes checking on it every 10 minutes. Some cooking times will change if you’re high in the mountains or deep below sea level. Usually only by 5-10 minutes but watch it and gauge the premium completion time (for next time).

Once the pizza is baked, take out and leave on a cooling rack for 5+ minutes to cool. You don’t want to cool it too much- Detroit pizza tastes best hot!

Like any other pizza there are some great ways to change up the recipe. Some ideas are below:

  • Try putting cheese on the crust layer before the toppings
  • Try using different cheeses overall- experiment with hot cheeses (pepper jack) and the various cheese mixtures (packaged and pre-mixed for you).
  • Like a thicker crust? Use whole wheat flour. Adding 1to3 ratio- one part regular flour and 2 parts cornmeal flour
  • Did you know you could add a quarter cup of Mayo to your dough to give it more thickness and an interesting flavor to boot!
  • Butter the dough after the “rising” stage but before putting it in the oven to add a buttery taste to the dough- with an added bonus of caramelized butter (sweet!).
  • Season the pizza dough (after butter is applied) to your liking. The butter helps the seasoning “stick” and the caramelized butter helps the flavor as well)
  • If you roll the dough out about 2-3 inches above the cooking pan you can roll the dough on the edges and stuff it with cheese or anything else you want to add. The baking process will lock the cheese or stuffing in and create a delicious addition to the pizza (integrated cheese bread sticks?)
  • Change out any ingredients that family/other people’s body can’t tolerate such as gluten. Using gluten free ingredients.
  • If you or your guests are vegetarian you can use vegetables (and fishes, chicken, white meats) instead of ground beef or sausage.


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