Chicago Deep-Dish Pizza

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Chicago Deep-Dish Pizza

Enjoy a taste of Chicago’s famous deep-dish pizzas vegan-style with this vegan deep-dish pizza that’s fully loaded with vegan cheese and chunky tomato sauce.

If you really want to go all out with this vegan deep-dish pizza recipe, you can pile on additional toppings like vegan sausage, peppers and onions.

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“This dish is simple, but it requires a bit of technique to nail. I promise it will be worth it though. If you’re unfamiliar with this American classic, it’s more pie than pizza, and the pride of Chicago for good reason.” – Shannon Martinez 

Chicago is famous for its signature deep-dish pizzas which are a cross between a pizza and a pie.

Because they are cooked in a pan, deep-dish pizzas have a thick crust with a high edge that allows you to pile on the cheese and toppings.

However, because they have a thicker base you will need to cook your vegan deep-dish pizza for a little longer (20-30 minutes) to ensure it’s cooked all the way through.

The dough takes some time to prepare because you need to let it prove to let the yeast release carbon dioxide so the gluten can stretch.

We promise this vegan deep-dish pizza recipe is well worth the time and effort, and making your own vegan pizza dough is a therapeutic activity.

Total Time: 5 hours 30 minutes

Prep Time: 4 hours (3 hours proving time)

Cook Time: 80 minutes

Servings: 4


Total Time: 5 hours 30 minutes

Servings: 4




(Servings: 4)

  • For the pizza dough:
  • 67.5 67.5 g plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 0.75 0.75 Tbsp fine polenta
  • 0.25 0.25 tsp salt, heaped
  • 0.5 0.5 tsp caster (superfine) sugar
  • 0.25 0.25 tsp dried instant yeast, heaped
  • 31.25 31.25 ml warm water
  • 10 10 g butter, melted, plus 40g cold butter
  • olive oil, for oiling and coating
  • non-stick cooking spray
  • For the pizza sauce:
  • 0.75 0.75 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 5 5 g vegan butter
  • 0.25 0.25 small brown onion, finely chopped
  • 0.5 0.5 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 0.125 0.125 tsp teaspoon chilli flakes
  • 93.75 93.75 ml passata (puréed tomatoes)
  • 0.25 0.25 400g tin good-quality finely chopped tomatoes
  • 0.25 0.25 tsp dried oregano
  • 0.25 0.25 tsp caster (superfine) sugar (optional)
  • For the toppings:
  • 75 75 g shredded mozzarella
  • 62.5 62.5 ml pizza sauce
  • 12.5 12.5 g grated parmesan
  • extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • Optional toppings
  • basil leaves
  • vegan sausage or salami mushrooms
  • sliced onion
  • sliced bell peppers


To make the pasta sauce: 

  1. Warm the oil and butter in a medium saucepan over a medium heat, add the onion and a big pinch of salt and cook for a few minutes until softened. Throw in the garlic and chilli flakes and cook for another minute.
  2. Add the passata and tinned tomatoes, then the oregano, a good pinch each of salt and pepper and the sugar (if you like a slightly sweeter sauce). Stir well to combine, then reduce the heat to low and cook for 30 minutes, stirring often.
  3. Use the sauce straight away or store it for another time. To do this, let it cool completely, then portion it into small containers or zip-lock bags so you have pizza sauce ready to go whenever you need it. It will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for a year!

To make the pizza:

  1. Place the flour, polenta, salt, sugar and yeast in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook. Pour in the warm water and melted butter and mix on low speed to bring the ingredients together. Turn up the speed to somewhere between low and medium and knead the dough for 5 minutes, or until it is smooth and elastic.
  2. Remove the dough from the mixer and shape into a smooth ball. Oil a large bowl with olive oil and drop in the dough. Coat the top of the dough with a little extra oil, then cover with a tea towel (dish towel) and leave to prove in a warm place for 1–2 hours, or until doubled in size.
  3. Give the dough a little punch to remove the air, then place it on a floured bench. Roughly shape the dough into a rectangle, then roll out to 30 cm × 20 cm (12 in × 8 in).
  4. Dot the cold butter over the dough, then spread evenly to cover the surface. Fold the dough from left to right at least five times to create layers, then shape it into a ball. Put it back in the bowl, cover and prove in the fridge for another hour to firm up the butter.
  5. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F), along with a pizza stone or baking tray (this will help to cook the base before the top burns). Spray a 25 cm (10 in) springform cake tin with non-stick spray, or brush with olive oil.
  6. Turn out the dough onto a floured bench and roll into a circle about 1.5 cm (1⁄2 in) thick. You want the dough to be roughly 5 cm (2 in) larger than your cake tin to allow for the high edges.
  7. Carefully place the dough in the cake tin and press with your fist right into the edge, then press the dough against the side, forming a high crust.
  8. To build your pie, start by evenly covering the base with shredded mozzarella. Top with the pizza sauce and finish with a layer of parmesan. Drizzle a little extra-virgin olive oil over the pie and bake for 20–30 minutes, or until golden. Allow to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before removing and slicing. If you are including any of the optional toppings, add them after the mozzarella layer.


If you are including any of the optional toppings, it’s best to cook them before adding them to your pizza pie to avoid excess liquid.

Are you throwing a pizza party?

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Find this delicious recipe and more in the Vegan with Bite cookbook by Shannon Martinez, published by Hardie Grant Books. Image credit: Nikki To and Hardie Grant.

Written by

Shannon Martinez

Shannon has been cooking in kitchens for the past 22 years in Melbourne and is the Owner of Australia's two most prolific plant-based businesses, Smith & Daughters and Smith & Deli. This has led to her becoming the author of best-selling books Smith & Daughters: a cookbook (that happens to be vegan), Smith & DELIcious: Food From Our Deli (that happens to be vegan), and Vegan With Bite.

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