Deep Dish Vs. Stuffed Pizza- The Differences

Deep Dish and Stuffed crust Pizzas are a dream, and anyone who has had either of them or both know what I’m talking about!

These pizzas are a favorite to many for reasons such as the crispy crust, the delicious pizza sauce, cheese, or the different toppings that go into it.

Even though both the pizzas have a lot of similarities, knowing the differences will make it easy to recreate any of these pizzas at home.

Deep-dish pizza is one of the best pizzas; it tastes amazing, is big, and is very filling. It is thick and has layers of cheese, sauce, and toppings.

Stuffed pizza also has a lot of toppings/stuffing making it similar to the Deep Dish pizza. A single stuffed pizza can be enough for two or three people as a meal.

These pizzas are quite similar, so what are the differences that set them apart? 

What Is Deep Dish Pizza?

Chicago Deep-dish Pizza, commonly known as deep-dish pizza, is a pizza made in Chicago with different pizza layering and cooking techniques.

The name ‘Deep Dish’ Pizza comes from the steel pan used to cook this type of pizza. It is a deep, round pan that almost looks like a cake or pie pan.

By pressing the dough against the edges and bottom of the pan, you create a deep basin made out of dough that can be filled with different toppings, sauces, and cheese.

Deep Dish Cheese Pizza

One distinct feature of the deep-dish pizza aside from its thickness is the crunchy edges of the crust.

This is created by oiling the sides of the pan, so it sort of fries the crust. The oil also helps in removing the pizza easily after it is cooked.

The toppings in a deep-dish pizza are also inverted. The cheese goes at the bottom, followed by the vegetable and meat toppings, and then finished with the tomato sauce on top.

This layering of toppings is to prevent the cheese from burning.

History Of Deep Dish Pizza and more…

During the late 1800s to early 1900s, Italian immigrants from Naples came to the U.S. and introduced the Italian delicacy, pizza, to the Americans.

Not long after, Chicago became the home to many Italian immigrants, and in 1943, Ike Sewell and Ric Riccardo tried to make something new out of the pizza. 

The idea behind the deep-dish pizza is a mix of the thin pizza from Italy and the deep pies in America.

The two businessmen opened Pizzeria Uno, which is believed to be the birthplace of the now-iconic Chicago deep-dish pizza.

Debates started to surface when the Malnati family claimed they made the first deep-dish pizza.

Adolpho Malnati Sr. was once an employee of Pizzeria Uno, and he claims that he was the one who came up with the idea of making deep-dish pizza.

To this day, it is unclear exactly who made the first Chicago deep-dish pizza, but there is little debate that Pizzeria Uno is the birthplace of this type of pizza.

To read more on the history of deep-dish pizza, you can check out this post here. This history is quite interesting, but I wanted to add it briefly here to keep things interesting.

What Is Stuffed Pizza?

Stuffed pizza is made by pressing the dough on the edges of a deep pan. So as you can see, this part is similar to the Chicago deep-dish pizza.

The dough is then filled with toppings and cheese, and you can layer the toppings and cheese as you like, but I would say cheese, toppings, and cheese.

The sauce is not added yet to the base of the pizza, unlike it normally happens with Neapolitan pizza or a Domino’s pizza.

 This pizza is unique because there is another layer of dough on top of the stuffing.

Stuffed Crust Pizza

After covering the stuffing, the dough’s upper layer is glazed with a thin layer of sauce and poked to create a hole. 

This is where the marinara sauce is added, giving the pizza its final touch.

The hole serves as a vent so that the stuffed pizza will cook evenly, including the vegetables and stuffing underneath the pizza dough.

The hole’s purpose is to allow air to escape from the stuffed pizza so as not to rip the layer of dough on top.

Stuffed pizzas are deep and have a somewhat smoother and slightly sweeter dough. 

So unlike the “stuffed pizza” from Pizza Hut, a true Stuffed Pizza does not have its stuffing only on the edges of the crust. Instead, it has all the stuffing between two separate dough layers.

History Of Stuffed Pizza

In the 1970s, Nancy’s Pizza and Giordano’s Pizzeria started experimenting with deep-dish pizza and created the stuffed crust pizza.

There is no clear indication of who first made the Stuffed Pizza, but these two pizzerias are on top of the list when you look for the history of the pizza.

Stuffed pizza was created a little later than the Chicago deep-dish pizza, and there are also claims that Stuffed Pizza was first created in a pizza chain called Patroni in 1986.

The stuffed pizza from Pizza Hut was introduced in 1995, but again, their stuffed pizza is only stuffed in the edges of the crust and does not have a deep crust.

Check out more of Stuffed Pizza’s history here.

Similarities And Differences Between Deep-dish Pizza And Stuffed Pizza

Deep Dish Pizza Vs. Stuffed Pizza

Difference Between Stuffed Pizza And Deep Dish Pizza

Here, we will be looking deeper into the differences between stuffed pizza and deep-dish pizza to understand how these two differ from each other.


The crust of the deep-dish pizza is buttery and has a crumbly texture. The crust has the right balance between crunchy but not hard and crumbly but still solid.

It has a crust that is buttery in flavor. The crust of the deep-dish pizza is also not too thick and not too thin.

You can check out this video where you can see deep dish pizza in the making-

The outer crust of the deep-dish pizza is rougher and smooth on your palate with its thin inner layer and buttery crust.

Stuffed pizza has a dry and solid crust that is a bit sweeter than deep-dish pizza crust. 

The outer crust of a stuffed pizza is rougher than a deep-dish pizza crust and is thicker, making it possible to hold more stuffing inside.

Deep Dish Pizza

But when you eat the stuffed crust pizza, the roughness of the dough and cheesiness of all that cheese balance out the overall texture and flavor in your mouth.

Pizza Sauce

Deep-dish pizza has a thick pizza sauce resembling crushed or stewed tomatoes. The pizza sauce tends to be thick to prevent the cheese from browning or burning.

Tip: If you do not like your pizza sauce too thick, you can order “easy sauce” the next time you get a deep-dish pizza.

Stuffed pizza is also finished with the pizza sauce on top. The sauce on a stuffed pizza is thinner, almost looking like a pureed type of pizza sauce.


The toppings for deep-dish pizzas are placed on top of the cheese. The toppings are dense and loaded, so you will see a lot of the toppings when you slice the pizza.

Veggies are also dense when cooked, so the deep-dish pizza will look like a pie of cooked vegetables when you dig into it. 

Meat toppings like sausage and pepperoni can be easily distinguishable as they are stacked on top of each other in a deep-dish pizza.

Stuffed pizza toppings or stuffings are a little harder to distinguish as they appear to be “mixed” with the cheese.

There is no definite answer about which goes first in a stuffed pizza. Does the cheese go first, then toppings? Vice versa? Or just mixed?

You can layer it any way you like as long as you layer cheese. First, you can then layer toppings and then more cheese if you like.

Stuffed pizza also has a dense stuffing and typically uses crumbled meat like sausages instead of the patty-like sausage cuts in the deep-dish pizza.


Cheese is the next layer after the dough on a deep-dish pizza. A deep-dish pizza uses slices of cheese instead of crumbled or grated.

The cheese on a deep-dish pizza is also melted perfectly without burning it, and this results in the gooey goodness of cheese-loaded pizza that you will surely love.

Stuffed pizzas do not have layers of toppings. Instead, the cheese and toppings are more mixed together, which really blends their flavors together.

Cooking Them

There are some similarities to how these two pizzas are cooked, both in a deep pan and at a lower temperature than you would with Neapolitan pizzas.

Neapolitan Pizzas are cooked at a very high temperature, and there is more to that in our post where we discuss the right temperature to cook Neapolitan Pizza.

The deep-dish pizza and stuffed pizza are both cooked in an oven at 420 degrees Fahrenheit.

It is important to cook them in an oven that is not too hot, like the pizza ovens that go over 1000 degrees F, so that the thick toppings and stuffings will cook evenly with the outer parts of the pizza.

The only difference between the deep-dish pizza and stuffed pizza when it comes to cooking them is the cooking time.

Deep-dish pizza will finish cooking at 420 degrees Fahrenheit in just 25-35 minutes, while stuffed pizza will take 50-55 minutes to cook at the same temperature.

Is Stuffed Pizza And Deep Dish Pizza The Same?

No, deep-dish pizza and stuffed pizza are not the same types of pizza, and they do have the same place of origin (Chicago) but have some distinct features that differ from each other.

For instance, the stuffed pizza uses two layers of dough, while the deep-dish pizza uses only one. Check out the video below to see the making of stuffed crust pizza in action.

Deep-dish pizza was also invented before stuffed pizza. They are both deep pizzas but are prepared differently and cooked at different cooking times.

The similarities between the two are also worth noting and are most likely why some people struggle to distinguish the two.

Similarities Between The Deep Dish and Stuffed Crust Pizza

Again, the stuffed pizza and deep-dish pizza are unclear as to who first made them, but we know they are both first made in Chicago.

Aside from that, there are also other similarities that you might be interested in.

1. The Topping Arrangement

The toppings or stuffings in these pizzas are arranged in a way that is different from regular pizzas. The most notable being the sauce placed last or on top of the toppings and cheese.

The cheese on the deep-dish pizza is placed right after pushing the dough against the sides of the pan.

2. Cooking Time

Unlike regular pizza that cooks in just minutes, stuffed pizza and deep-dish pizza take at least 25 minutes to cook deep-dish, and 50 minutes for stuffed pizza.

This is to ensure that the thick and dense toppings are cooked evenly.

3. How They Are Served And Eaten

Both the stuffed pizza and deep-dish pizza are thick, so they are served right out of the oven and in a deep pan instead of a board or flat dish.

They are also the two types of pizza that you can eat with a knife and fork without anyone batting an eye or judging you. 

Stuffed pizza and deep-dish pizza are more of a meal than a snack, and these deep pizzas are better shared with family and friends.

Which Pizza Type Is Deeper?

Despite its name, the deep-dish pizza is NOT the deeper type of pizza between the two, and the stuffed pizza is deeper than the deep-dish pizza.

This is mainly because the stuffed pizza uses an extra layer of dough to cover the toppings and cheese.

Deep-dish pizza only has a single layer of dough pressed against the pan, while stuffed pizza has another layer of dough on top that serves as a cover for the stuffing.

So the stuffed pizza is deeper than the deep-dish pizza despite its name.

Which Is The Better Pizza?

It is quite hard to judge which pizza is better between the stuffed pizza and the deep-dish pizza but overall, I go with the Chicago deep-dish as I am more used to the buttery crust.

I also love the strong cheese flavor from loads of cheese that are melted at the bottom of the toppings.

The stuffed pizza is for you if you prefer a more balanced mix of flavors. The cheese and meat toppings are mixed before covering them with another layer of dough.

This makes the flavors cook and mix for a burst of flavor in your mouth.

I recommend Pizzeria Uno and Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria if you are in Chicago and you want a deep-dish pizza.

If you want to try the stuffed pizzas from Chicago, I recommend Giordano’s or Nancy’s Pizza.

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