I thought there were many ways one could bake a Chicago-style pizza. So, I picked up my old cake pan to create a thick-crust pie for my weekend average-size pizza party. It was savory and flavorful. However, it lacked most characteristics of a Chicago-style deep dish pizza. Well, except for its round shape and buttery taste.
Later that month, I discovered that there’s ONLY one way to achieve that signature flaky-crust and crunchy-edge Chicago-style pizza. A deep dish pizza pan!
This specialty pizza pan is designed to deliver intense heat and bake evenly from bottom to edge to ensure your exquisite masterpiece comes out golden brown and crispy without burning.
So, if you want to make a TRUE Chicago-style pizza, here are the best deep dish pizza pans recommended by top pizzaiolo.
🥇Best Deep Dish Pizza Pans
- Best Overall [Chef Pomodoro Chicago Deep Dish Pizza Pan]
- Best For Beginners [LloydPans Chicago Style Deep Dish Stacking Pizza Pans]
- Best for Skillet Pan [Bruntmor | 12 Inch Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet Pan]
- Best For Professional Non-Stick [Chicago Metallic 16124 Professional Non-Stick]
- Durable Around [American Metalcraft A90161.5 A9000 Series Pan]
Type Of Deep Dish Pizza Pan
Deep dish pizza pans are characterized by their tall metal side walls. This unique attribute offers enough depth to create extra thick pies with loads of ingredients. They are made with different materials to ensure each pizza pan matches specific consumer needs. That includes price, durability, versatility, and low maintenance, among many others.
This bakeware comes in two shapes: square and round. The shape determines the style of pizza you get. If you have a specific taste for a light, airy center and crispy crust, then you want the Detroit Style Deep Dish Pizza Pan. This is the square version of the deep dish pizza pan.
On the other hand, the Chicago Deep-Dish Pizza Pan is the round alternative. It’s incredibly sturdy to hold up the weight of your hearty masterpiece. You can add pepperoni, chicken, ham, sausage with no worries.
These two types of deep dish pans are similar in every other way except for their shape.
However, this product also comes in a set of mini pans. This way, it’s easier to create mini versions of the Chicago or Detroit-style pizza to suit everyone’s palates.
When it comes to pizza, everyone has their preference. However, the plethora of options this stable exists in can be slightly confusing. Understanding what stuffed and deep-dish pizzas are, helps determine what tickles your appetite.
The deep dish pizza, or Chicago deep dish pizza, has a signature cooking technique and construction. It’s made with deep round metal bakeware that looks similar to your pie or cake pan.
This style of pizza requires creating a deep basin by pressing the dough against the pan’s bottom and edges. The center hole is later filled with the preferred cheese, sauce, and toppings. The thickness is not the only distinguishing characteristic of deep dish pizza. The crust has a crunchy edge, which is possible by oiling the pan’s wall. This helps fry the crust edges and easily release it.
Construction-wise, the toppings are inverted. The cheese goes in first before the meat and vegetables topping. The tomato sauce comes last on top to complement your masterpiece. Hence, they have a rich flavor and taste of sauce and cheese. If that’s what you are looking for, deep-dish pizza is the perfect dish.
This style of pizza is similar to deep-dish pizza in terms of construction. It’s also made by pressing the dough to the pizza pan’s edges. The cheese and toppings fill the dough afterward. But I prefer this layering option: cheese first, followed by toppings, then cheese again.
This is where the stuffed pizza stands out. Another dough layer is introduced to the top part of the stuffing. The upper layer of this newly-introduced dough receives a thin sauce layer. Next, a hole is created to add marinara sauce to improve the pizza’s taste and act as a vent. This guarantees your layers of ingredients and stuffing cooks evenly.
Thus, stuffed pizzas are deeper than others, with a slightly sweeter and smoother dough. So, if you’re a big fan of cheesy pie, the stuffed pizza would get you licking your fingers.
Everything about the deep-dish pizza is so unique.
For starters, this staple looks different from the typical thin-crust pizzas. However, it has a peculiar assembling order. The usual arrangement for a regular pizza is crust, sauce, and cheese. Deep-dish pizza requires an inverted form of that arrangement layer. The Chicago-style pizza has cheese directly on the crust, followed by the topping and the sauce.
This unique arrangement allows a massive amount of sliced or shredded mozzarella. So, it has this delightful cheesy taste and flavor for a mouth-watering dish. On top of that, the crust is thin, buttery, and crunchy—a fantastic cuisine.
Above all, it’s thicker than regular pizza because of the hearty layers of sauce and cheese. Hence, you might want to eat the deep-dish pizza with a fork to prevent mess.
How I Picked The Best Deep Dish Pizza Pan?
The size of a deep-dish pizza pan is an essential factor to weigh before making a choice. This bakeware comes in a wide range of size options. There are mini pans to create small-sized deep-dish pizzas to satisfy everyone’s palate. These mini versions are less than 10 inches and suitable for two servings.
However, there are much larger pizza pans to meet the demands of your hungry friends and family. But before you go ahead with the purchase, consider your oven’s capacity. You don’t want to purchase an oversized pan that won’t fit into your pizza oven.
Like most bakeware, deep-dish pizza pans are made differently. The carbon steel pizza pans are known for their even heating and notorious maintenance to avoid rusting. The robust stainless steel deep dish pizza pan is perfect for a more budget-friendly option. However, it would be best if you bake with caution, as they tend to burn the crust more easily.
An aluminum pizza pan is a great choice if you don’t want to break the bank. It has an amazingly short heat time and natural rust-resistant properties. Still, it’s prone to corrosion and demands careful handling.
Even better, the cast-iron deep-dish pizza pan is a heavy-duty option. It absorbs pizza flavor to improve the taste and quality of subsequent ones. Keep in mind cast-iron pans require maintenance for a rust-free experience.
Another vital factor to weigh is the thickness of the pan. A thin pan cooks fast and increases your chance of burning the crust.
On the other hand, thicker models retain heat better and cook for longer. Hence, the latter is mainly used for baking deep-dish pizza or other pies that require extended cooking time. There’s a wide thickness selection range from 12 – 26 gauge (a measure of its thickness). An 18-gauge pizza pan won’t require much of a learning curve for beginners.
Not all pizza pans are coated. The uncoated model requires seasoning and breaking in, which can be time-consuming. However, anodized hard-coated or silicone-glazed counterparts offer impressive non-stick performance. It minimizes the amount of oil, cheese, and ghee needed to guarantee a stick-free baking experience. And, of course, cleaning them is a cinch.
In addition, they sport a dark coating, which is responsible for better heat retention. This is a must-have feature for a deep-dish pizza pan to ensure a perfectly baked pizza crust.
1. Bruntmor Pre Seasoned Cast Iron 16 inch Pizza Pan
This wouldn’t be a list of the deep dish pizza pan without the Bruntmor Pre Seasoned Cast Iron Pizza Pan. It has a 16-inch cooking space and a 2-inch depth. This is plenty of room to bake a crispy Chicago-style pizza with loads of cheese and toppings.
Furthermore, it’s a cast iron pizza pan, which makes it a real kitchen workhorse. This material is well known for its incredible heat performance and durability. It allows you to bake your perfectly constructed pizza a little longer for that crispy base and gooey cheese.
Another thing I love about this champ is its smooth cooking surface. It helps create a layer of seasoning with each use. Hence, your thick-crust pizza will taste better than the last one. What a foolproof way of recreating pizzeria-grade Chicago-style pizza!
On top of that;
This unit delivers superior, versatile cooking performance. You don’t have to bake pizza alone in this pan. It’s perfect for cooking eggs, bacon, searing pork, and much more. If you want to build a decent cookware collection, the Bruntmor Pre Seasoned Cast Iron Pizza Pan should come first. It definitely will save you a bundle of money.
Also, it’s suitable for a wide range of heat options: oven, gas range, etc. This heirloom is oven-safe up to 500 degrees F. Plus, its two helper handles make handling this pan on the range a breeze.
However, there’s a minor concern. The manufacturer advertises this pan as “pre-seasoned,” so it’s best to season it before use. Its non-stick performance gets better with each use. It’s super easy to take out your beautifully-baked deep dish pizza. This pan requires constant maintenance. Once you get the hang of it, it quickly becomes second nature.
This pan has lifetime durability, top-notch baking performance, and unrivaled versatility at a lower price point. This is the best deal out there – at least at the time of writing.
2. Chef Pomodoro Chicago 12 Inch Deep Dish Pizza Pan
The Chef Pomodoro Chicago Deep Dish Pizza Pan earns a place on my list, not for its big brand name. Its baking performance, sturdy construction, and competitive price point make it the best chicago deep dish pizza pan.
Unlike the Bruntmor Pre Seasoned Cast Iron Pizza Pan, this bakeware is made of hard anodized aluminum. Its heavy-duty construction equally guarantees that the cheaper specialty pizza pan handles the rigors of a busy kitchen.
The Chef Pomodoro Chicago Pizza Pan has a 2-inch depth with a generous 12-inch cooking space. This pan encourages making authentic baked goods. It cooks stuffed pizza, casseroles, and cinnamon rolls that got my taste-bud dancing without a worry. While it’s not as versatile as the Bruntmor Pre Seasoned Cast Iron Pizza Pan, it cooks a wide range of deep-dish desserts to perfection.
This product can be used straight out of the box. It comes-seasoned and offers best-in-class non-stick performance. Nothing sticks, no matter how much I load the dough with cheese, toppings, and sauce. The best bit? It’s easier to clean with warm water, mild detergent, and a soft sponge.
Want a special pan that handles all baking tasks with utmost excellence? The Chef Pomodoro Chicago 12 Inch Deep Dish Pizza Pan is second to none, and you don’t have to break the bank for this one.
3. LloydPans Chicago Style Deep Dish Stacking Pizza Pans
Coming from the revolutionary manufacturer, LloydPans, this model has several perks to keep ahead of its competitors.
This model comes in three different size options ー8, 12, and 14 inches. Each pan offers more depth than the two previous models I’ve reviewed. Its 2.25-inch round walls make it arguably the best pan for deep-dish pizza. For me, the extra space means more shredded mozzarella cheese, sliced pepperoni, and cooked and crumbled bacon.
Made from hard anodized aluminum, this unit offers unparalleled heat conduction and distribution. There is a slimmer chance of burning the crust when you need to bake longer. Hence, it remains my go-to for making deep dishes if I want that iconic flaky texture and yummy buttery flavor. It never misses!
That’s NOT all;
The industry-best LloydPans Deep Dish Pizza Pans do not come with any handles. However, it sports the most innovative stackable design. This space-saving feature makes it super easy to transport a dozen of them. Worth mentioning, this pan features solid rolled rims making it so DU-RA-BLE!
If you don’t take a gamble on a pizza pan, the LloydPans Pizza Pans are surefire. And that’s if you don’t mind paying a high price for a premium pan.
4. Chicago Metallic Deep Dish Pizza pan
The Chicago Metallic Deep Dish Pizza Pan is the most affordable option. However, don’t be quick to overlook this high performer. It bakes one of the most authentic-tasting Chicago deep-dish pizzas. Yes, crunchy edges, buttery flavor, and flaky crust.
This pan features a cutting-edge carbon steel construction with many promising benefits. For starters, it’s nearly as durable as the cast-iron Bruntmor pizza pan. It’s strong enough for heavy-duty use and holds all your hearty ingredients without a worry.
Additionally, it delivers high heat performance to ensure the thick crust is cooked perfectly up to the center. Hence, it’s an excellent choice for cooking sweet, savory foods: stuffed pizza, cookie pie, or deep-dish pizza.
However, it’s not as deep as its competitors. It’s only 1.5 inches deep but still tall enough to accommodate a substantial amount of ingredients. Well, it’s spacious enough to bake a finger-licking 14-inch deep-dish pizza.
Lest I forget, its advanced silicone-based non-stick surface offers the best food release performance. By extension, this unit is zero-stress to clean. Even better, it lends this professional-grade pan a dark silver color to ensure your pizza is well-baked and not burnt.
5. American Metalcraft A-9016-1 16 Inch Deep Dish Pizza Pan
The American Metalcraft A-9016-1 is the best deep-dish pizza pan for home chefs. This beginner-friendly bakeware is made of standard 18-gauge aluminum. It bakes fast and delivers the signature crunchy-edged, flaky crust of Chicago-style pizzas.
This model has a super wide 16-inch diameter and 1.5-inch depth, which generously bakes a thick pie for a hungry crowd. This unit weighs about 1.06 pounds, making the lightest deep-dish pizza pan.
Unlike the heavyweight Bruntmor pan that requires hulk-like strength to handle, this model requires no extra effort. Being light does not equal feeble; this pan can still hold a lightly-topped pizza without bowing.
While it might not be as versatile as others, this unit allows you to cook mouth-watering dishes half the time others require. So, if you are not looking to shell out more on a pan, you won’t miss out on the American Metalcraft A-9016-1.
Deep Dish Pizza Pan Alternative
If you can’t get your hands on a deep dish pizza pan, there are other bakeware you can trust to deliver that signature chewy, crisp crust.
A cake pan shares some physical attributes with the deep dish pizza pan. You can have this bakeware in the same size as your deep-dish pizza pan.
In most cases, you can use these pans interchangeably. Cake pans also have tall walls to make thick-crust pizza with generous toppings.
Most home chefs love to bake pizza in a cast iron skillet. This pan is well known for its high heat retention and uniform dispersion. Hence, it helps bake your thick crust all the way to the middle for a crunch, crispy base, and chewy inner.
Besides, it comes with a handle which helps improve handling. Also, it makes it easier to pull out your masterpiece from the oven.
The best way to clean your pizza pan depends on the material and manufacturer’s instructions. Pizza pans with a non-stick coating should never be tossed into the dishwasher. It’s tempting, but you’ll destroy the coating.
These pans are a breeze to clean with soapy water and a sponge.
On the other hand, stainless steel pans are dishwasher-safe. But I suggest hand washing these pans to avoid taking unnecessary risks. Pan made of cast iron or come pre-seasoned do not require washing under running water.
They are easy to wipe clean with a paper towel. If there are any stuck-on crumbs, use a scraper.
How to season your pizza pan?
To season a pizza pan, follow these steps:
- Preheat your oven to 350-400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Wash the pan with warm, soapy water and dry it thoroughly.
- Rub the pan with a thin layer of vegetable oil, using a paper towel or cloth to evenly distribute the oil over the entire surface of the pan.
- Place the pan upside down on the middle rack of the preheated oven and bake for one hour.
- Turn off the oven and let the pan cool inside the oven for at least an hour.
- Repeat the oiling and baking process one or two more times until the surface of the pan has a dark, non-stick coating.
After seasoning, your pizza pan should be ready to use. Be sure to avoid using metal utensils on the pan, as they can scratch the non-stick coating and reduce its effectiveness. Also, avoid washing the pan with soap, as this can remove the seasoning and cause the pan to rust. Instead, simply wipe the pan clean with a damp cloth or sponge.
When shopping for a pizza pan for thick-crust pie, it’s paramount that you choose one that caters to your needs. And, most importantly, it fits into your oven. The right one should be made of high-quality materials to serve you for many years.
I’ve reviewed the best pan to make deep dish pizza from a broad perspective, from build quality to price. Hence, I’m confident that there’s a product that would match your expectations.
If unsure, put your money on the multifunction Bruntmor Pre-Seasoned Skillet. It’s designed to be your sous chef for consistent well-cooked meals, whether Chicago-style pizza or seared pork.
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