Deep Dish vs. Thin Crust: Unveiling the Great Pizza Debate in Chicago

Chicago, the Windy City, is renowned for its culinary scene, particularly its pizza. The city is a battleground for one of the most heated food debates: deep dish vs. thin crust pizza. Both styles have their loyalists and detractors, but what exactly sets these two apart? Let’s delve into the great pizza debate in Chicago and explore the differences between American-style deep dish pizza and regular thin crust pizza.

The Deep Dish Pizza

Deep dish pizza, also known as Chicago-style pizza, is a city icon. It was invented in 1943 by Ike Sewell, the owner of Pizzeria Uno. This pizza style is characterized by its thick, buttery crust, which can be up to three inches tall at the edge. The crust acts as a deep “dish,” holding a chunky tomato sauce, large amounts of cheese, and various toppings.

  • Crust: The crust is thick and buttery, often compared to a pie crust. It’s cooked in a deep round pan, which gives it its characteristic high edges.
  • Sauce: The sauce is made from crushed tomatoes or tomato chunks, making it thicker and chunkier than the sauce used on thin crust pizzas.
  • Cheese and Toppings: Deep dish pizzas are loaded with cheese and toppings, which are layered in reverse order from what you’d find on a thin crust pizza. The cheese goes directly on the crust, followed by the toppings, and finally, the sauce.

The Thin Crust Pizza

Contrary to popular belief, thin crust pizza is also a Chicago favorite. It’s often referred to as “tavern-style” pizza because it’s commonly served in bars across the city. This pizza style features a thin and crispy crust, cut into squares, or “party cut,” rather than the traditional pie slices.

  • Crust: The crust is thin, crispy, and firm enough to hold the weight of the cheese, sauce, and toppings. It’s not as thin as, say, a New York-style pizza crust, but it’s not thick like the deep dish.
  • Sauce: The sauce is typically smoother and less chunky than the one used on deep dish pizzas. It’s spread thinly across the crust.
  • Cheese and Toppings: Thin crust pizzas have a balanced ratio of cheese, sauce, and toppings. Unlike deep dish pizzas, the sauce goes on the crust first, followed by the cheese and then the toppings.


Whether you’re a fan of the deep dish or the thin crust, there’s no denying that both styles have their unique charm and place in Chicago’s culinary scene. The best way to decide which one you prefer? Try them both in their hometown and join the great pizza debate!