Chicago’s signature approach to pizza is unapologetically excessive: We like our crust buttery, our sauce chunky and our thick pies oozing with ribbons of fresh mozzarella. And throw some sausage in there while you're at it, will ya? There's no denying that Chicago deep dish is a truly unique dining experience. Though most locals will turn their noses up at the city's most notorious 'za, we all secretly crave it every once in a while. Whether you're hankering for a gut-busting slice or entertaining out-of-towners, check out our guide to Chicago's best deep dish pies.
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Best deep dish pizza in Chicago
The unofficial reigning champ among locals, Pequod’s has two locations (Morton Grove and Lincoln Park), making it easy to get your fix of its popular pan pizza. With a substantial crust and generous selection of toppings, you really can’t go wrong with any combination of ingredients. The pizza here is known for its caramelized "halo," created by sprinkling cheese edge to edge and baking it until it’s crisp and brown. But our favorite part of this pie is the sauce—refreshingly bright and undoctored, it tastes like fresh tomatoes.
This Lakeview institution offers a stand-out pie, and whether you order an entire 12-inch pizza to go or stop in for a stacked slice, you’re bound to get the authentic Chicago experience. The Art of Pizza's cracker-like crust is typical of many deep dish joints, but with the crisped golden crust you can only get from a well-seasoned pan, they do it best here.
Tucked in a cozy basement space in Lincoln Park, this pizzeria has only a handful of tables and a large tourist draw, so you may want to avoid the wait at peak hours. Instead of the traditional deep dish or pan, these pizzas are actually pot pies, built bottom-up in a ramekin and baked with the crust on top. Served tableside, the pie is flipped upside-down and the fillings slide into the resulting bread bowl crust. Overflowing with a sausage-laced bolognese sauce and lava-like cheese filling, this is pizza to the extreme. You can’t provide a better spectacle for out of town guests requesting a Chicago pizza.
After closing a few years back, this iconic pizza parlor reopened in 2017, much to the delight of its longtime fans. Burt’s still takes phone orders ahead of time (highly recommended), but it has done a gut rehab of the building, adding a bar with several draft taps. Fill your pie with a hodge-podge of ingredients including sausage, onions, mushrooms, banana peppers and fresh spinach. From the city, a relatively quick Metra ride will get you there in a jiffy, making Burt’s a must on any pizza lover’s deep dish checklist.
Lou Malnati's has dozens of locations across the city and suburbs, and it's one of Chicago’s classic choices for deep dish. It’s easy to see why Lou's stands out among its competitors. The trademark buttery crust (literally trademarked, they call it Buttercrust™) is somewhat reminiscent of crispy Italian breadsticks and holds in the cheese and toppings. Like most traditional deep dish pizzas, the bright red sauce is applied liberally to the top of the cheese. We recommend adding sausage, a thin patty of seasoned meat that covers the entire pizza, ensuring that every bite contains the perfect balance of crust, cheese and toppings.
Boasting a crazy number of outposts, Giordano's is one of the easiest spots to grab deep dish in the city. And it works—it's been around since 1974 serving deep dish pies you really don't need more than one slice or two of. With a sweeter leaning crust and mounds of stringy melty mozzarella, whatever you stuff inside this beauty is sure to satisfy.
Founder Dan Bacin owned a radio station and a magazine before putting both businesses up for sale to go all in on a pizza shop. The resulting endeavor showcases fresh ingredients and a from-scratch sauce that's downright bellissimo. We're particularly fond of the spinach supreme pie, which is filled to the brim with leafy greens, cheese, herbs and optional mushrooms (get 'em).
Uno’s pizzeria is one of the quintessential choices for deep dish and a contender for originator of the style (no one can pin down the exact creator of the ubiquitous pie). The original location has been at the corner of Ohio Street and Wabash Avenue since it was founded in 1943. The crust at Uno’s is curiously different, with a dense and crumbly texture that lacks the crunch found at other pizzerias. Otherwise, these pies are textbook Chicago deep dish, from the thick piles of sliced mozzarella to the crushed tomato sauce on top.
This Chicago institution pizzeria/brewery serves up cornmeal crust, making it a tad less greasy, but the tangy tomato sauce makes up for what you'd be missing in the crust. We're fans of the margherita, but the spicy "Chi-talian Stallion," with Italian beef, roasted sweet peppers and giardiniera is a solid pick, too. Throw it back with one of the spot’s house-brewed beers.
Pizza sauce must run in Rudy Malnati Jr.'s blood; his father, Rudy Malnati Sr. opened Pizzeria Uno in 1943, putting the deep dish style on the map. In 1991, Rudy Jr. opened Pizano's, which now boasts six locations across the Chicagoland area. Diners are treated to a roster of traditional ingredients and a few funky options, like the Uncle John's Hawaiian with Canadian bacon and tender, caramelized hunks of pineapple.
This by-the-slice spot melded with a deli makes for a great speedy stop when you just want a single slice. It's thinner than many of the pies on this list, but the two rotating daily specials are always a good pick and they're filling nonetheless. Seating is limited, but if you're just looking for a quick slice, this is an excellent place to go.
Busy families flock to this North Side pizza joint for its no-frills, BYOB-friendly, TV-equipped atmosphere. Pies take about 30 minutes to prep and bake, but an order of Badger-style fried cheeseballs should hold you over. What's their secret? The flaky crust is rolled with a bit of the cheese inside for an extra bite of mozzarella after you've gotten through the bulk of the pie.