The 5 best gluten-free pizzas in Chicago

As restaurants start paying more attention to gluten-free diners, the pizza options are getting a whole lot better

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Photograph: Martha Williams

Chicago's Pizza is one of our picks for gluten-free pizza.

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Photograph: Martha Williams

Lou Malnati's is one of our picks for gluten-free pizza.

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Photograph: Martha Williams

Marcello's Father and Son is one of our picks for gluten-free pizza.

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Photograph: Martha Williams

Spacca Napoli is one of our picks for gluten-free pizza.

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Photograph: Martha Williams

Tre Soldi is one of our picks for gluten-free pizza.

When you follow a gluten-free diet, for health reasons or trend reasons, you’re going to miss pizza. It’s one of the hardest foods to replicate, since gluten is the protein in wheat that gives dough its elasticity. Creating a quality gluten-free crust requires some chemistry and some magic, along with the usual culinary prowess.

RECOMMENDED: Chicago pizza guide

I've been eating a gluten-free diet for seven years, and in that time the availability of gluten-free pizza has expanded greatly. More often than not, though, the pizza is built on a premade, store-bought crust, the quality of which varies from, “This kind of tastes like real pizza,” to “Is this a Frisbee?” While disappointing, sometimes quality cheeses and toppings can make up for a lackluster crust, and those who don't eat gluten are happy to have the opportunity to hold a slice like a gluten-eater.

But recently, some pizza joints started making gluten-free pizza dough in-house and giving it the same care they give their usual pies. Having the crust isn’t everything, though—a pizza kitchen full of flour can mean the difference between high dining and disaster for gluten-free diners, so cautious customers should always ask their servers about the potential for cross-contamination. These five pizzerias have done a great job and prove that gluten-free pizza can be more than marinara and mozzarella on cardboard.

Chicago's Pizza

Chicago’s Pizza may be the only pizzeria in Chicago to offer gluten-free pizza in three Chicago styles: thin, stuffed and deep-dish. All three are made with this spot's own gluten-free dough, which it's perfected over several years, practically making them pioneers in the field of gluten-free pizza-making. For toppings, you can’t go wrong, but the prosciutto and goat cheese on thin crust is something special. Chicago’s Pizza also offers cheesy garlic bread, pasta and sandwiches on gluten-free focaccia. They’ll even wrap that housemade gluten-free pizza dough up into a calzone. Bonus: They deliver until 5am, so even gluten-free eaters can be late-night pizza gluttons. 

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Ravenswood

Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria

Lou Malnati’s gets bonus points for creativity with its “crustless” deep-dish pizza. The crust is actually a super-thin sausage patty, which makes this deep-dish extra sloppy. It tastes better than it sounds, but we wouldn’t recommend adding any heavy toppings because you might feel like a sausage by the end of it. A personal-size gluten-free thin pizza is also available, but on a prepackaged crust.

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River North

Marcello's Father and Son

Marcello’s also introduced a gluten-free menu way before it was trendy. The staff is well trained on what “gluten free” means, which puts the diner at ease. They offer an 8” pan pizza or a 12” thin crust. They’re both pretty good, but we prefer the chewy, flavorful pan crust over the floppy thin crust. Marcello’s also sells their gluten-free pizzas unbaked, if you want to take it home with you. Grab a dessert pizza to finish the meal.

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Lincoln Park

Spacca Napoli

Critics' pick

Spacca Napoli offers some of the best pizza in the city, so it should come as no surprise that when it ventured into the gluten-free pizza market in 2013, it created something magnificent. The crust is bubbly and blackened on the edges, looking every bit as authentic as its award-winning pies. Add in toppings like pancetta and caramelized onions, and you won’t miss the gluten at all. Worried about cross-contamination? it offers a choice between two cooking methods: on a sheet in the pizza oven with the regular pizzas, or in a separate oven on its own.

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Ravenswood

Tre Soldi

The appeal of Tre Soldi lies in its authenticity. It offers a crispy cracker-crust topped with legitimately Italian combinations like capricciosa (tomato, mozzarella, artichokes, mushroom and ham). Stick to the red pizzas, as the lack of sauce on the white pizzas left the crust a little too crispy. Aside from pizza, the menu doesn’t offer many other gluten-free options. Round out the meal with a Negroni and an affogato, though, and you won’t be disappointed.

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Streeterville

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