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 the best deep dish pizza in Chicago 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. It's one of those local staples you just have to experience for yourself, alongside Malört and the best Italian beef in Chicago. Not all pies are created equal—the best deep dish pizza in Chicago is worth venturing outside of downtown for. Whether you're hankering for a gut-busting slice or you're showing your out-of-town visitors the best things to do in Chicago, consult our guide to the best deep dish pizza in Chicago. If you've still got room after that, wash it down with a cold one from one of our favorite Chicago breweries.
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What makes Art Shabez's slices stand out in a bona fide pizza town like Chicago? Sure, the gooey mozzarella, fennel-flecked Italian sausage and market-fresh veggies are all stellar, but the real star of the show is the fan-favorite red sauce, which bursts with vine-ripened tomatoes, fresh oregano and basil, and a faint hint of red pepper. Luckily for us, the stuff is slathered all over every pie served at the pizzeria's Time Out Market Chicago stand. The Art of Pizza has elevated itself to the status of an institution, making it an essential for anyone who claims to be a pizza aficionado or for anyone who loves pizza, which is everyone.
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.
After temporarily closing in 2015, this conic 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 the building's interior has undergone a gut rehab, 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.
Boasting more than 50 locations across the city and suburbs, it's not hard to see why Lou Malnati's stands out among its competitors. The trademark buttery crust (literally trademarked, they call it Buttercrust™) is reminiscent of crispy Italian breadsticks and holds in the cheese and toppings. 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. Pro tip: The namesake Malnati salad—with tomatoes, black olives, 'shrooms, salami and gorgonzola—is positively unmissable and pairs perfectly with a slice.
Boasting a crazy number of outposts, Giordano's traces its roots back to Torino, Italy, where Mama Giordano's famous "Italian Easter Pie" was born. These days, it's 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.
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.
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). This spot's claim to fame is "America's 1st Heart Healthy Pizza," though we're not sure anyone could survive a deep dish diet.
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.
Uno’s pizzeria is one of the quintessential choices for deep dish and a contender for the 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 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.
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.
Busy families flock to this North Side pizza joint for its no-frills, BYOB-friendly, TV-equipped atmosphere. Pies take about 30 minutes to prepare 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.