Detroit Style Pizza

By Jeri Mobley-Arias
December 8, 2021 | Updated on October 28, 2023

Are you ready for the best Detroit-style pizza recipe made in the comfort of your own kitchen? Known for its thick, chewy crust, hearty sauce, and cheese pull, this amazing pizza recipe hits all the marks!

If you are in the mood for more another pizza recipe, try my French Bread Pizza, next!

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Detroit Style Pizza Pan

Ah, yes. The delicious, soft, chewy, crunchy-cornered Detroit-style pizza. In its many iterations this recipe calls for a cheese blend that promises major cheese-pull, a delicious homemade sauce and a blanket of pepperoni. This recipe is perfect for a fun weekend project or date-night at home!

While I don’t discriminate on styles of pizza, D-style has to be my favorite. Thick, golden crust, crunchy and cheesy edges, and a rich tomato sauce. My husband and I can’t get enough of this golden, chewy, cheesy goodness!

detroit style pizza whole

What is Detroit-Style Pizza?

Detroit-style pizza is a thick crust pizza, whose crust is well-know for its chewy and soft texture and exterior having the perfect amount of crunch. Tracing its roots to Buddy’s, the granddaddy of Detroit-style pizza, these cheesy squares are traditionally topped with tomato sauce, Wisconsin brick cheese and pepperoni, but this version has a twist (making it Detroit-style inspired) on the type of cheese used as brick cheese can be cumbersome to find in California.

Another detail to note is that typically, pepperoni are layered on the dough before topping with cheese, but I prefer the reverse.

Similar to Sicilian (sfincione) pizza, a few a few distinguishing features of D-stlye pizza include:

  • Shape: Rectangular or square in shape, that is then cut into squares. Which is different than conventional circular pizzas.
  • Crust: The crust is thick, chewy, soft, almost bread-like, with crunchy cheesy corners.
  • Toppings: Detroit-style calls for topping the pizza with sauce after spreading with cheese. Its signature look will have two or three tomato sauce stripes (based on its rectangular or square shape).
  • Pan: The pie is cooked in a dark–typically anodized–pan, which aids in creating that perfectly crispy + crunchy texture.

If you have yet to to try Detroit-style pizza, then you are in for a treat! This recipe calls for some time dedicated to making the dough, but don’t worry, this pizza delivers BIG on flavor and is well worth the wait.

detroit style pizza sliced

The Dough

When making Detroit-style pizza, it’s all about the golden, crispy crust. It’s unique thick crust, which, in this recipe, is similar to focaccia bread, is baked with a generous amount of olive oil. The addition of olive oil lends to the crust’s golden, crunchy exterior and chewy, soft center.

Now, I know some of you are thinking, “Can I use all-purpose flour?” Technically, yes. But, you won’t get the same chewy texture as you would if you were to use bread flour.

Tools You’ll Need

Ingredients for Dough

Simple ingredients for the dough–where talking 5 ingredients, folks!

  • Flour – Bread flour is used for that beautiful chewy texture.
  • Yeast – Packet should read “Instant Yeast”.
  • Salt – Kosher salt–I use Diamond Crystal brand–and don’t be afraid to use it.
  • Water – Warm water 115°-120°F.
  • Sugar – Helps activate the instant yeast.
detroit style pizza dough stretched

How to Make Detroit-Style Pizza

  • Step 1: Make the dough. This involves a process of mixing ingredients, kneading the dough, rest, knead, rest, place in pan, rest, rise, top with ingredients, bake. It’s a lot more simple than it sounds, trust me.
  • Step 2: Make the sauce. Go for homemade sauce; it’s easy to make and tastes better. Recipe below!
  • Step 3: Shred cheese. Go for the a block of cheese and shred at home. Pre-shredded cheese simply won’t cut it.
  • Step 4: Toppings. Once dough rises, top with cheese, sauce, then pepperoni.
  • Step 5: Bake at 500°F for 15-17 minutes, turning once at the halfway point.
detroit style dough stretched and with cheese

What Type of Cheese Should You Use?

Traditionally, Detroit-style pizza calls for Wisconson brick cheese(known for its higher fat content). Since that can be hard to get ahold of, use a blend of 7 ounces shredded low-moisture mozzarella and 4 ounces cubed monterey jack cheese. I love to use monterey jack for its major cheese pull capability.

Another good option is a blend of 7 ounces shredded low-moisture mozzarella and 4 ounces cubed provolone cheese.

Toppings

What’s great about making this D-style pizza in the comfort of your home is that you can top it with whatever your heart desires. I keep it simple, topping it with cheese and thick-cut pepperoni. Thicker cuts of pepperoni will cause them to curl up, giving you that signature D-style look.

When shopping for pepperoni, ask the deli to cut pepperoni ⅛-inch thick. Or, you can go for a whole stick and cut it yourself.

detroit style pizza with sauce and pepperoni

How to Reheat

I find it hard to believe you will have leftover because this pizza is THAT good. But if you find yourself with a few extra slices, simply place in a preheated 350°F oven for 10-15 minutes or until warmed throughout. Leftover slices will keep in the refrigerator for 4 days.

detroit style pizza cooked

Tips and Tricks

  • Skip the pre-shredded bag of cheese and go for the block. Pre-shredded cheese contains anti-caking agents and does not taste as good as block cheese that is then shredded or cubed.
  • For that perfectly chewy and soft crust, go for bread flour. While you can use all-purpose flour, it won’t the same chewy texture.
  • Detroit-style pizza calls for using a dark 13 x 9 pan. A darker pan will get hotter, faster and aid in the crispy outer crust. I’ve shared the pan I use and HIGHLY recommend it as this pan as it is vital to the baking process.
  • Be sure to line the edges with cheese for signature crunchy cheesy edges.
  • This recipe calls for adding 2½ tablespoons olive oil to the pan before adding dough. Do not be scant on the oil as this also adds to the flavor of the dough.

Looking for More Good Eats?

I’ll make searching for your next meal easy for you. These are a few of my favorites:

detroit style pizza 3 slices

Loving This Recipe?

We hope you love this crispy, chewy, cheesy pizza as much as we do! Leave a comment below and share your love for this recipe on Instagram and Pinterest. We love to see you get down in the kitchen. Happy eating!

detroit style pizza

Detroit Styled Pizza

5 from 5 votes
Are you ready for the best Detroit-style pizza recipe made in the comfort of your own kitchen? Known for its thick, chewy crust, hearty sauce, and cheese pull, this amazing pizza recipe hits all the marks!
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Proof 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 25 minutes
Servings 4
Author Jeri Mobley-Arias
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine American, Italian

Ingredients

Dough

  • cups bread flour, spooned and leveled
  • 1 cup warm water (120°F)
  • teaspoons sugar
  • teaspoons  instant yeast
  • teaspoons kosher salt, Diamond Crystal brand
  • tablespoons quality olive oil for the pan

Sauce

  • tablespoons quality olive oil, plus extra
  • 1 28-ounce can crush San Marzano tomatoes
  • 6 large cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • teaspoons kosher salt, Diamond Crystal brand
  • teaspoons sugar
  • 2 sprigs fresh basil

Pizza

  • 7 ounces low-moisture mozzarella block, hand grated (do not use pre-shredded)
  • 4 ounces monterey jack cheese block, cut into ¼-inch cubes
  • ¼ pound pepperoni cut into ⅛-inch thick slices.

Instructions

  • Gently spoon flour into a measuring cup, sweeping of excess with the back of a knife. Add flour, sugar, instant yeast and kosher salt to a stand mixer bowl and mix with a whisk. Using a standing mixer with the dough hook, turn setting on low (speed 2) and slowly add warm water. Mix just until the ingredients come together (1-2 mins).  Dough will be very sticky, that's okay. Cover with saran wrap and allow to rest for 5 minutes, then knead for 9 minutes. Dough should come together and not stick to the sides of the mixing bowl. 
  • Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface. Place flour on your hands and work dough so that it comes together in a ball and doesn't stick to the work surface. Add 2½ tablespoons olive oil to a 13×9 pan and make sure surface and sides are covered in oil. Place dough in the center and cover with saran wrap. Leave to rest for 15 minutes. This will allow the gluten in the flour to relax so you can stretch it in the pan. 
  • Grease your fingertips with olive oil and begin to evenly stretch dough, pushing from the center to the corners of the pan. Try your best to make the dough touch each corner. If the dough keeps shrinking as you stretch it. Cover pan with saran wrap, rest for 10 minutes, and repeat the stretching process. Also, as the dough rises, it will fill to each corner, so don't worry about getting it perfect. While waiting for dough to rise, see below for sauce instructions.
  • Rise. Cover pan with saran wrap and place in a warm area or in your oven under "proof" setting for 1½-2 hours.
  • Preheat oven to 500°F and move oven rack to lowest level. Once dough rises triple in volume, top with shredded mozzarella and monterey jack cheese. Be sure to line cheese along the edges as this will yield crispy and crunchy edges.
  • Next, divide 1⅓ cups prepared tomato sauce to make 3 lines across the pan (lengthwise). See above photo for example.
  • Lastly, top pizza with pepperoni. Place pizza on the lowest rack and cook for 15-17 minutes, turning once at the halfway point. Once cheese is golden brown, remove from oven. Let stand for 5 minutes before slicing. 
  • Slice into 8 pieces. Enjoy!

Sauce

  • In a saucepan over medium heat, add olive oil and garlic. Cook for 3 minutes to infuse olive oil with garlic. If garlic begins to brown, reduce heat. 
  • Add crushed tomatoes , oregano, red pepper flakes, kosher salt, basil sprigs, sugar and stir. Once mixture comes to a boil, lower heat to medium-low, cover and cook for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally.  
  • Discard basil sprigs and garlic. Set sauce aside for later use.

NOTES

 
Did you make this recipe?Leave a comment below and tag @whisperofyum on Instagram and hashtag it #whisperofyum!
detroit style pizza

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jeri-mobley

Hey, I'm Jeri!

At Whisper of Yum, we explore ALL cuisines - comfort foods, classics, elevated originals. If you love food like me, I invite you to settle in to this place, where swoon-worthy food is attainable + inspo for your next meal awaits.

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