Homemade pizza makes always feels like a special meal, but this deep dish pizza with Cornmeal Pizza Dough might be a new favorite. This recipe makes two 8-inch deep dish pizzas that can be customized with any toppings you’d like. The pizza crust takes an hour to make, and is easy to freeze and reheat for a DIY pizza night anytime.
We had to do it. We’ve been making homemade pizzas for 10 years. We love making them with the girls on a DIY pizza night, serving them to guests, and stashing a few frozen crusts in the freezer for a random weeknight. But we’ve always used a thin crust recipe. We had to add deep dish crust to the routine. This version has soft, buttery, slightly crumbly texture thanks to the addition of cornmeal and butter.
For the Pizza Dough:
- All-Purpose Flour - Use all-purpose here for classic, deep dish pizza texture.
- Cornmeal - Yellow or white cornmeal adds a really unique twist to this dough. It gives it a subtle crumbly texture and a bit of extra flavor.
- Instant / Fast Acting Yeast - Be sure to get yeast that is labeled as “instant” or “fast-acting”. These varieties of yeast work faster than regular yeast and mean that this pizza dough will rise in just one hour.
- Olive Oil - You’ll need 4 tablespoon for the dough, plus extra for greasing the pan.
- Melted Butter - Melted butter gives the dough a rich, savory flavor and tender texture.
For a Quick and Easy Classic Pizza Sauce:
- Garlic - Finely chop garlic for a savory flavor in the sauce.
- Dried Oregano - In a sauce this simple, a bit of dried herbs helps to build a lot of flavor. If you have fresh oregano available, that works too, but use half as much.
- Tomato Paste - Tomato paste has just the right balance of pure tomato flavor. Its thick texture is great for sauce when combined with a bit with water.
- Sugar - A pinch of sugar helps to balance the tart and tangy flavors of the tomato paste.
Pizza Topping Ideas
Surely you have your favorites, but if you need some more ideas:
- Black Olives
- Sliced Bell Peppers
- Cherry Tomatoes
- Caramelized Onions
- Pineapple + Ham
- Buffalo Chicken + Blue Cheese
- Shrimp + Sweet Peppers
- Ricotta + Sausage
Freeze This Meal
For best results, pre-bake the crust for 10 minutes before wrapping it tightly and stacking in the freezer. Freeze the pizza crust (without toppings) for up to 6 months. I like to pre-bake the crusts in 8x8 aluminum pans so they can be transferred right to the oven after thawing.
Print the recipe below for a cut-out label with reheating instructions. Just tape it to the top of the dish before you freeze it.
How to Deliver This Meal To Someone Else
This would be a fun meal to deliver to someone who could use a little extra TLC because it can be completely customizable.
Deliver a homemade deep-dish pizza night in to someone by dropping off:
- 2 Deep Dish Pizza Crusts (pre-bake them for 10 minutes and cool completely to make sure they will hold up to any toppings that get added)
- Pizza sauce (store-bought or homemade)
Don’t forget to print the recipe below for a recipe label / reheating instructions that can be attached to the top of the meal!
More Favorite Pizza Recipes
- Greek Pizza with Feta, Spinach and Olives
- Pizza Bianca with Caramelized Onions and Gruyere
- No-Knead Sheet Pan Pizza
- Brussels Sprouts, Bacon, and Goat Cheese Pizza
- Grilled Summer Vegetable and Pesto Pizza
- Sweet Corn, Pesto, and Goat Cheese Pizza
- Lodge Cast Iron Skillet - A thick-bottom cast iron skillet is perfect for cooking this pizza.
- Pizza Cutter
Cornmeal Pizza Dough
- 8” pans (square bakers, round cake pans, or cast iron skillets will work; you can also make one large pizza in a 14” deep dish pizza pan or skillet)
Cornmeal Pizza Dough
- 4 cups All-Purpose Flour
- 3 Tablespoon Cornmeal
- 2 ¼ teaspoon Instant or Fast Acting Yeast
- 4 Tablespoon Olive Oil
- 4 Tablespoon Melted Butter, cooled to room temperature
- 1 cup + 2 Tbsp Water, room temperature
Quick and Easy Pizza Sauce
- 2 cloves Garlic, chopped (optional)
- 2 4-ounce cans Tomato Paste
- ½ cup Water
- 1 teaspoon Oregano, dried
- ½ teaspoon Sugar
- 8 ounces Fresh Mozzarella, thinly sliced
- Black Olives
- Sliced Bell Peppers
Make the Dough
- Combine all of the pizza dough ingredients - flour, cornmeal, yeast, olive oil, butter, and 1 cup + 2 tablespoon water in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook.
- Mix on medium until the dough comes together in a smooth ball, 6 to 8 minutes. (You can also mix the dough ingredients in a bowl and knead them by hand.) (Note: The dough will be sticky at first but try to resist adding more flour. If necessary, add additional flour 1 tablespoon at a time, kneading well between additions.)
- Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl.
- Cover with a dish towel and let rise at room temperature until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
- Whisk together tomato paste, ½ cup water, oregano, and sugar in a small saucepan.
- Place the pan over medium heat and bring to a simmer.
- Place a lid on the top, slightly ajar, so that the sauce can thicken but won’t splatter everywhere.
- Simmer until sauce is thick and spreadable, 3 to 5 minutes.
- Taste and season with some salt and some additional sugar if you’d like it a bit sweeter. Set aside.
- Set out two 8” pans (square bakers, round cake pans, or cast iron skillets will work; you can also make one large pizza in a 14” deep dish pizza pan or skillet).
- Pour a generous amount of olive oil (2 to 3 tablespoon per pan) into the dish and swirl it around to coat the bottom and sides.
- Divide the dough in two and, working with one section of dough at a time, stretch it out with your palms to roughly the size of the plan.
- Transfer the dough to the pan and again use your palms to stretch it out to the sides of the pan.
- Cover with a dishtowel and let the dough rest for another 15 minutes while the oven heats.
- Heat oven to 425°F.
- When oven is heated, bake the crust for 10 minutes until starting to brown around the edges. (At this point, you can cool the crust and freeze it for topping and baking later.)
- Add sauce, mozzarella, and toppings to pizza.
- Return pizza to oven and bake until cheese is bubbly and the crust is golden brown, about 25 minutes.
- Allow pizza to cool for 5 minutes before transferring it to a cutting board.
- Allow it to cool for 5 minutes more (this will make it easier to slice). Slice and serve!
Is it weird to comment on your own blog!? Jessica testing made my day. I quickly became obsessed with this pizza crust. It was good hot and cold out of the fridge. I couldn't stop eating it. #carbsforlife
Hi Jess, thank you for the fast acting yeast dough recipe. I've been scouring the internet for the best deep dish dough. I noticed you call for 4 C of flour. This amount is double what most recipes call for. I'm curious how does this affect the dough?
Hi Devi - this dough has a lower moisture percentage than other doughs, but it bakes up light and tender! It's the dough I've used for years!
In the ingredient list for the sauce it says 1 3/4 cups water but in the recipe it says 1/2 cup of water, which is correct?
It should be 1/2 cup - this is a thick sauce. We've updated the recipe - thank you for letting us know!