Detroit Style Pizza
Detroit Style Pizza
5 from 1 vote
Discover the world of homemade Detroit-style pizza, an easy yet delicious recipe perfect for home cooks. This guide covers all you need to make this cheesy, crusty delight in your kitchen.
Detroit Style Pizza

Detroit-style pizza, a rectangular pizza with a thick crust, crispy edges, and a unique reverse layering of cheese and sauce, has its roots deeply embedded in the Motor City’s rich culinary history.

Originally served at Buddy’s Rendezvous in Detroit in the 1940s, this dish has evolved from a local favourite to a nationwide sensation.

The recipe’s heart lies in its simplicity and the harmonious blend of flavours. Unlike traditional pizzas, Detroit-style pizza is known for its thick, airy crust, similar to focaccia, and its characteristic crispy cheese edges.

What sets it apart is the layering technique – cheese directly on the dough, followed by dollops of sauce on top. This creates a deliciously unique texture and taste, contrasting the crunchy crust with the soft, melted cheese.

Making Detroit-style pizza is an adventure in itself. Its preparation is straightforward, making it a fantastic choice for beginners wanting to explore more elaborate recipes.

The dough, with its focaccia-like quality, is forgiving and easy to handle. The baking process, although precise, is not as daunting as it might seem, making it an enjoyable experience for any home cook.

The versatility of this recipe allows for various adaptations. While the traditional recipe calls for a combination of mozzarella and cheddar, experimenting with different cheeses can lead to delightful discoveries.

Similarly, while the classic toppings are minimal, they pave the way for creativity. From pepperoni to a medley of vegetables, the Detroit-style pizza can be a canvas for your culinary creativity.

This recipe’s ease and flexibility make it an excellent choice for those looking to expand their cooking repertoire. Whether it’s a family dinner or a gathering with friends, this pizza is sure to impress.

Its rich history and unique preparation method make it more than just a meal – it’s a foray into the heart of Detroit’s culinary tradition.

Embarking on this pizza-making journey, you’ll appreciate the nuances of this regional dish. From the selection of the right cheese blend to achieving the perfect crust texture, each step brings you closer to mastering a piece of culinary art.

The joy of watching the dough rise, the aroma of the baking pizza, and the first bite of the crispy, cheesy crust are experiences that make cooking Detroit-style pizza a true pleasure.

So, why not try your hand at this iconic dish? With its roots in Detroit’s vibrant history and its place in the hearts of pizza lovers everywhere, Detroit-style pizza is more than just a recipe – it’s a testament to the joy of cooking and the magic of simple ingredients coming together.

Expert Tip: To ensure your dough rises perfectly, knead it until smooth and elastic. A well-kneaded dough leads to a light, airy crust. If the dough springs back when poked, it’s ready.

What Ingredients to Use & Why

It’s essential to understand that each component plays a crucial role in creating the dish’s iconic taste and texture. The right ingredients not only ensure authenticity but also enhance the overall experience of this classic dish.

Strong White Bread Flour: Bold and robust, strong white bread flour is ideal for Detroit-style pizza due to its high protein content, which contributes to the dough’s elasticity and structure.

This flour type is key in achieving the thick, airy crust that is a hallmark of this pizza. As an alternative, bread flour with a similar protein content can be used for similar results.

Salt: A modest yet crucial player, salt enhances the flavours of the dough and helps control yeast fermentation. Without it, the dough lacks depth and character. In its absence, a small amount of sea salt or even kosher salt can be used, adjusting the quantity to suit different salt types.

Dried Yeast: Dried yeast is a miracle worker, responsible for the dough’s rise and airy texture. It’s essential for that characteristic Detroit-style crust. For those who can’t find dried yeast, fresh yeast or even instant yeast can serve as substitutes, though the quantities might vary.

Olive Oil: Olive oil adds richness and moisture to the dough, contributing to its tender crumb and golden crust. It’s a subtle touch that makes a significant difference. In its absence, other oils like canola or vegetable oil can be used, but the distinct flavour of olive oil will be missed.

Mozzarella Cheese: Mozzarella is the soul of Detroit-style pizza, providing the creamy, melty texture that we all love. Its mild flavour balances the robust sauce and crust. For a twist, try using provolone or gouda for a different flavour profile.

Cheddar Cheese: Cheddar introduces a slightly sharp, tangy element, contrasting beautifully with the mozzarella. This combination creates the pizza’s signature cheesy taste. Alternatives like Colby or Monterey Jack can offer a similar texture with a mild flavour variation.

Tomato Sauce: The backbone of any good pizza, tomato sauce adds acidity and sweetness, cutting through the richness of the cheese. A homemade sauce or a good quality store-bought one works wonders. For a different taste, consider adding herbs or spices to the sauce.

Spices: These seasonings add depth and complexity to the pizza. Each brings its own character – oregano offers earthiness, garlic and onion powders contribute a subtle pungency, and red pepper flakes introduce a hint of heat.

Feel free to adjust the quantities to suit your taste or experiment with other herbs and spices.

Vegetable Oil: Used for greasing, vegetable oil ensures the dough doesn’t stick to the pan and helps achieve that crispy crust. Alternatives like canola oil or even a non-stick baking spray can be used for similar results.

Expert Tip: For the crispiest cheese edges, make sure the cheese touches the sides of the pan. This contact is crucial for achieving that characteristic caramelized crust Detroit-style pizza is famous for.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Make Detroit-Style Pizza Without a Special Pan?

Absolutely! While a traditional Detroit-style pizza is baked in a specific rectangular steel pan, you can use a similar-sized baking dish or a rectangular cake pan as an alternative. The key is to ensure your pan allows for a thick, airy crust with enough surface area for the cheese to caramelize along the edges.

How Do I Achieve the Perfect Crispy Cheese Edges?

The crispy cheese edges, a signature feature of Detroit-style pizza, are achieved by sprinkling cheese all the way to the edges of the pan, right against the sides.

As the pizza bakes, the cheese melts and caramelizes, forming those deliciously crispy edges. Using a combination of mozzarella and cheddar cheese helps in creating the perfect texture and flavour.

Can I Prepare the Dough in Advance?

Yes, you can! The dough for Detroit-style pizza can be prepared ahead of time. Once kneaded, place it in an oiled bowl, cover, and refrigerate. It can be left in the fridge for up to 24 hours. Before using, allow the dough to come to room temperature and proceed with the rest of the recipe.

What If I Don’t Have Dried Yeast?

If dried yeast is not available, you can substitute it with fresh yeast or instant yeast. Keep in mind that the quantities may differ. Generally, one part of dried yeast equals three parts of fresh yeast. Make sure to activate it in warm water, as with dried yeast, to ensure your dough rises properly.

Is It Necessary to Use Both Mozzarella and Cheddar Cheese?

While the classic Detroit-style pizza uses a blend of mozzarella and cheddar, you can experiment with different cheeses. The mozzarella offers a creamy, melty texture, while the cheddar adds a slightly sharp, tangy flavour. Feel free to try other melting cheeses that you enjoy.

Can I Add Other Toppings to My Detroit-Style Pizza?

Certainly! While the traditional Detroit-style pizza is relatively simple in terms of toppings, you’re free to add your favourite ingredients. Common additions include pepperoni, sausage, or a variety of vegetables. Just remember to add them on top of the cheese layer before baking.

Expert Tip: Experiment with the layering of toppings. Traditional Detroit-style pizza has cheese first, then sauce. However, adding some toppings like pepperoni under the cheese can add extra flavour and texture to your pizza.

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Detroit Style Pizza

Detroit Style Pizza

by Nabeela Kauser
Discover the world of homemade Detroit-style pizza, an easy yet delicious recipe perfect for home cooks. This guide covers all you need to make this cheesy, crusty delight in your kitchen.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Proof Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 844 kcal


  • 500 g White Bread Flour Strong
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Dried Yeast
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 300 ml Warm Water
  • 200 g Mozzarella Cheese Grated
  • 100 g Cheddar Cheese Grated
  • 200 g Tomato Sauce
  • 1 tsp Dried Oregano
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp Onion Powder
  • 1 tsp Red Chilli Flakes Optional
  • 2 tbsp Vegetable Oil For greasing


  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour and salt. In a separate small bowl, dissolve the yeast in warm water. Let it sit for 5 minutes until it becomes frothy.
  • Pour the yeast mixture and olive oil into the flour mixture. Stir well until a dough forms.
  • Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for about 5 minutes until it’s smooth and elastic. Form it into a ball.
  • Grease another bowl with vegetable oil and place the dough in it. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let it proof for 1 hour or until it has doubled in size.
  • Preheat your oven to 220°C (430°F) and grease a rectangular baking dish (around 9×13 inches) with vegetable oil.
  • Gently stretch and press the dough into the greased baking dish, making sure it covers the bottom evenly. Let it rest for 10 minutes.
  • Spread the tomato sauce evenly over the dough, leaving a small border around the edges.
  • Sprinkle the grated mozzarella and cheddar cheese evenly over the sauce. Then, sprinkle the dried oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, and red pepper flakes (if using) over the cheese.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is bubbly and slightly caramelized.
  • Remove the pizza from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes before slicing it into squares. Serve hot and enjoy your homemade Detroit-style pizza!


Detroit-style pizza is known for its square shape and crispy edges, so make sure to press the dough all the way to the edges of the pan.
Feel free to customise your toppings with your favourite ingredients like pepperoni, mushrooms, or bell peppers.
This pizza pairs wonderfully with a side of garlic butter dipping sauce or a fresh salad.
Nutritional facts:
The provision of nutritional information is done so merely as a courtesy and should not be taken as a guarantee.


Calories: 844kcalCarbohydrates: 98gProtein: 33gFat: 35gSaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 65mgSodium: 1312mgPotassium: 362mgFibre: 4gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 956IUVitamin C: 4mgVitamin D: 0.3µgCalcium: 460mgIron: 2mg
Keyword Cheese, Comfort Food, Food, Homemade Pizza, Mozzarella, Pizza, Recipe, Tomato
Tried this recipe?Mention @CookwithNabeela or tag #CookwithNabeela!



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Cook with Nabeela

Hi, I'm Nabeela!

I love to cook! I want to share with you my favourite, delicious family-friendly recipes. I want to inspire you to create fantastic food for your family every day.

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