Lightened Up Deep Dish Pizza Recipe

Enjoy this lightened-up deep dish pizza recipe for all the taste with none of the guilt!

Lightened Up Deep Dish Pizza

For some reason, I got a hankering for deep dish pizza this week. I don’t know why since I’ve only had Chicago-style deep dish pizza maybe twice ever. Honestly though, who needs a reason for wanting a 3″ tall slice of pizza? Since I’m not an expert on the subject, I read lots of recipes for deep dish crust.  You know why it’s so good? Butter, and lots of it! I definitely don’t have a problem cooking with butter, but I’m not getting any younger or thinner. I can’t bring myself to put 1-2 sticks of butter into a deep dish pizza recipe.  But what about my deep dish craving?

Never fear! I came up with this lighter version that is still plenty delicious! This deep dish pizza recipe uses less oil in the crust, 2% milk mozzarella, and cooking spray instead of oil for all of your nonsticking needs. It might not qualify as health food, but it’s definitely not too bad where pizza is concerned. This is not what I would call a quick recipe, but it actually is pretty easy if you have a stand mixer. The times listed  are very approximate. I couldn’t write things like, “Cover dough with a towel while your bathe your kids, then come back to preheat the oven during bedtime stories.” I wasn’t watching the clock while I made this, and if it rises a little longer than written, it will still turn out great. You can also use whatever you like for the filling. This is pizza for heaven’s sake, so it’s a blank canvas for your favorite combination!

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Lightened Up Deep Dish Pizza by @wearychef

Lightened-Up Deep Dish Pizza

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You can reduce the fat in deep dish crust and still make a delicious pizza pie!

  • Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x


Units Scale


  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoon yellow cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoon highly active yeast
  • 3 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter melted
  • 1 cup lukewarm water


  • 2 cups 2% milk shredded mozzarella cheese divided
  • 1 pound uncooked ground turkey sausage sweet or hot, casings removed
  • 1/2 red onion roughly chopped
  • 1 bell pepper diced
  • 2 teaspoons garlic cloves minced or crushed, or 1/2garlic powder
  • 14 ounces canned petite diced tomatoes drained
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil


  1. Combine all crust ingredients in the bowl of your stand mixer. Using the dough hook attachment, stir on lowest setting to combine, then mix on medium speed for 7 minutes.
  2. Spray a large (2 qt.) glass bowl with cooking spray, and transfer dough to the bowl.
  3. Deep dish dough before rising
  4. Cover with a towel, and allow to sit at room temperature for an hour or two. Dough will get large and puffy during this time.
  5. Deep dish crust dough after rising
  6. Spray a 10″ or 12″ iron skillet or deep pizza pan with cooking spray. Stretch your dough into a circle, and lay it in the bottom of your prepared pan. Press the dough to the edges and up the sides of the pan. Cover dough with a towel to rest during the next steps.
  7. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  8. While oven is preheating, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Saute sausage, bell pepper, onion, and garlic until sausage is cooked through, 7-10 minutes. Turn off heat, and drain off excess liquid.
  9. We’re almost there, friends! Remove the towel from the dough, and push the crust up the sides of the pan again if it has slipped down. Prick a few holes in the bottom with a fork, then bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes.
  10. Baked deep dish crust
  11. Remove baked crust from the oven. Sprinkle 1 cup of mozzarella evenly over the bottom of the crust. Fill crust with sausage mixture. Evenly spread drained tomatoes over the sausage. Sprinkle Italian seasoning and parmesan cheese over the tomatoes. Spread remaining mozzarella over the top.
  12. Use a basting brush to coat the exposed pizza crust with olive oil. Bake your glorious pizza for 25-30 minutes in the 425 degree oven, until the cheese is melted and starting to brown.
  13. Remove pizza from oven, and allow to stand for about 10 minutes before cutting.


  • Have a couple paper towels handy when you cut this pizza because some juices might drain out.
  • The thing about 2% milk cheese is that it doesn’t melt quite right. For a meltier cheese, throw caution to the wind and use full-fat mozzarella.

Adapted from Chicago-Style Deep Dish Pizza from King Arthur Flour.

  • Author: Andi
  • Prep Time: 60
  • Cook Time: 40
  • Category: Main
  • Cuisine: Italian

Here are more ways to satisfy your pizza cravings in a healthier way:

Andi Gleeson, food blogger

Andi Gleeson

Andi Gleeson is a passionate blogger and mom based in San Francisco who focuses on easy and delicious dinner recipes.


Gloria Phillips
11 years ago

I’m embarrassed to admit that I have never tried a deep dish…can’t blame me…I’m in Utah! Now, I’m totally motivated to make this!

11 years ago

I haven’t tried it that many times either, Gloria! It was fun to make though, and even more fun to eat ;)

Julie @ this Gal Cooks
11 years ago

That’s definitely a deep dish pizza! It looks so delicious, Andi. Also, you’re freaking awesome because you used your cast iron skillet for this! :)

The Weary Chef
11 years ago

My taste is probably just not as good as yours, so I couldn’t tell my skillet needed to be seasoned ;) I want to make this again with more sauce next time. It was really good!

Lisa@ Cooking with Curls
11 years ago

I have never made deep dish pizza, so I had no clue it had butter in the crust! I will have to give it a try to change things up :)

The Weary Chef
11 years ago

I had never made it either, but the crust was easy and fun!

11 years ago

mmm this looks so good…i need this in my life ASAP!

The Weary Chef
11 years ago

Thanks, Haley! I hope you like it!

11 years ago

I love deep dish pizza Andi! I’ve never tried making one though. Your recipe looks easy and delicious! Will try this when my hankering hits!

The Weary Chef
11 years ago

Thanks, Tanya! The only thing I might change about the recipe is to use pizza sauce or marinara instead of diced tomatoes next time because I like my pizza with lots of sauce. It was tasty this way too though.

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