The (Deep) Dish

So remember last month when you were all clamoring for Mike’s cast iron skillet pizza recipe? Here it is in all its glory, brought to you by the man himself. Enjoy!

Cast Iron Skillet Pizza

NOTE: The original recipe says this makes two 9-inch pizzas. We have a used a modification of this recipe several times in a 12-inch iron skillet and have finally decided that it’s too much dough, even for a 12-incher. When next we make this, we’ll reduce the flour from 4 cups to 3, and we’ll reduce the amounts of other ingredients accordingly. When we do, we’ll post the revised recipe. For now, though, our original version:


1 package (1/4-ounce) active yeast
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 1/4 cups warm water (about 110°F)
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, more for oiling the bowl and skillet, divided


1 recipe Mike’s Pizza Sauce
1 lb. hot Italian sausage
1/2 to 1 ball fresh mozzarella
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmagiano Reggiano
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, chiffonade

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the yeast, sugar and water and let stand 5 minutes until foamy. Add the butter, flour and salt and combine well, using the paddle attachment. Knead, using a dough hook, until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and crawls up the dough hook. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons water if dough is dry and not coming together. If dough is too wet, add 1 to 2 tablespoons flour. Remove the dough from the bowl. Grease the bowl with olive oil and return the dough to the bowl. Cover and let the dough rise until it doubles in bulk, about an hour. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and divide in half. Shape the dough into two balls, cover and let rest for 15 to 20 minutes.

(This recipe calls for letting the dough rise at room temp for about an hour. For this latest pizza, however, we made the dough a day before and allowed it to rise overnight. Heidi Swanson has a great explanation of this process, if you want to know more. We did find that it makes a better crust.)

Heat a cast-iron skillet on the stove top over medium heat and add 2 tablespoons olive oil; crumble 1 pound of Italian sausage into the skillet and brown. Remove the sausage to a plate lined with paper towels. Do not remove the oil and fat from the iron skillet. (If your sausage is on the fatty side, you might remove some of the fat, but be sure to leave the skillet well greased.)
Preheat oven to 400°F. Pat or roll dough into a circle and transfer it to the skillet. Press dough down into bottom of skillets and up the sides. Drizzle a little olive oil over the crust then layer the sauce, sausage and mozzarella. Bake on bottom rack of oven for 30 minutes. Start checking the pizza for doneness; you’ll want the pizza crust to be golden brown, and the toppings to be just starting to brown. Remove pizza from oven and top with grated parm and basil.

Mike’s Pizza Sauce:

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic
Half of a 28 oz. can of imported San Marzano tomatoes (tomatoes and juice)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon red chile flakes
2 tablespoons tomato paste

Add olive oil to a small saucepan and warm over medium heat. Chop garlic and add to the pan, sautéing until golden and fragrant. Add the tomatoes with their juice, crushing lightly. Add salt, oregano and chile flakes, stirring well. Make a hot spot in the bottom of the pan and add tomato paste, allowing it to caramelize a bit before stirring through. Reduce heat to low and cook, uncovered, until the sauce thickens.

27 thoughts on “The (Deep) Dish

  1. SallyBR says:


    This is great, you know how much I was looking forward to this recipe!

    I will send you an email when I make it!

  2. lady d says:

    just curious – the ingredient list doesn’t call for corn flour, but the first paragraph of the recipe mentions adding it along with the flour, butter, etc… help!

  3. Jennifer Hess says:

    michelle – Yeah, I really like it with the sausage, but I’m sure it would be great with all sorts of toppings. I’ve been bugging Mike to do a spinach and cheese version. 🙂

    SallyBR and Mary – You’re welcome!

    lady d – Whoops! I don’t think we even have corn flour at home, so I think it’s just a typo (which I have fixed).

  4. Oh, yum. Given the terrible luck we’ve had getting a homemade thin-crust pizza to work for us, I think our next pie will be you deep-dish version. Besides, isn’t everything better when it’s cooked in a cast0iron skillet?

  5. i gotta do it
    i gotta…

    but one more time for the dummies
    does the above recipe make enough for 2 crusts?
    what do you do with the other ball of dough?
    my pan is 14″ so will one ball work?
    can i freeze the other?

  6. That’s brilliant Jennifer. for some reason I never thought of making a pizza in the cast iron skillet, even though I regularly make flat breads in there!

  7. Claudia,

    The dough recipe makes enough for two 9-inch crusts, but since we have a 12-inch pan, I thought one dough ball wouldn’t be enough. So I’ve been using the entire recipe for a single crust.

    However, it makes a pie that’s too crusty. Next time, I’m going to reduce the recipe by 25% and see what happens.

    The pie is still very tasty with all the dough, and the crust cooks through, but it seems too bready. If you have a 14-inch pan, I’d recommend trying it with the full recipe first; I suspect it’ll work perfectly.

    As for the remaining dough, if you do have leftovers, you can indeed freeze it. In fact, it freezes very well.

  8. That looks really great. My girlfriend and I wage a continual thin-crust vs. deep dish battle. I usually use a skillet to make deep dish but usually tear the dough. Nice job!

  9. Jennifer – I must say your dough and Mike’s sauce are absolutely wonderful. I am so glad that I found it! It is a brilliant idea!

  10. Jeane says:

    I literally will be making this in a few hours. A friend of mine in China made one and was so impressed that I have to try it myself. I use my cast iron for my Yorkshire pudding so what else can be better to use!

  11. Ellen says:

    I came across this recipe on a search for deep dish pizza in a cast iron skillet and thought it sounded pretty good, so I made it for dinner. It turned out GREAT!!! My husband loved it! The only change I made was to use bacon in place of the sausage and my cast iron isnt a skillet but the base of a dutch oven. Thank you for posting it!

  12. Walter says:

    I just found this website/blog while searching for cast iron skillet pizza. Was this recipe ever revised? The first paragraph says there will be a revised recipe posted. Its been almost 2 years. I haven’t found anything more recent.

    • Jennifer Hess says:

      Hi Walter – my husband, who is the pizza-maker in our household, has actually been working hard to fine-tune this for a while now. He’s hoping to get another post up about it later this week, in fact. Thanks and welcome!

  13. Emily says:

    I just stumbled across your blog while looking for a cast iron skillet pizza recipe!! We just purchased our skillet and I had some recipes for homemade pizza. I wasn’t sure if I would need to par bake the dough though, I always have problems when I try to bake it flat on my stone. It never bakes through in the middle. It’s always doughy. I am excited to find this recipe and now I can’t wait to make the sauce too. It sounds delicious!! Thanks!!

  14. Victoria says:

    This is literally the best recipe ever. The sauce is incredible!!! goes good with just about anything – even pasta! lol love it.

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