If you are traveling to Chicago, the one thing you shouldn’t leave the city without trying is deep-dish pizza. With its thick, buttery crust, tangy tomato sauce, and ooey-gooey cheese, this hefty style of pie offers a scrumptious meal for pizza lovers of all ages. Chicagoans take their pizza seriously, and for good reason: the Windy City is home to some of the most beloved pizzerias in the world. Whether you’re a die-hard fan or a curious newcomer, here’s a guide to some of the best Chicago deep-dish pizza you can find.
If you’re a die-hard pizza fan, there might be good news in store for you. According to a new study conducted by researchers at the University of Bath, you can occasionally indulge in all the pizza you want without having to worry about damaging your health. “Our findings show that the body actually copes remarkably well when faced with a massive and sudden calorie excess,” says lead researcher Aaron Hengist in a university release. “Healthy humans can eat twice as much as ‘full’ and deal effectively with this huge initial energy surplus.”
A personal trainer in Ireland even conducted his own self-study, consuming only pizza for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and still managing to lose roughly 7.7 pounds during the 30-day challenge. He wanted to prove that eating in a calorie deficit would still allow people to lose weight, without restricting what they ate or giving up foods.
Ready to get your hands on some cheesy pizza on your next trip to Chicago? StudyFinds did the research for you and consulted expert websites to find the pizzerias serving up the best Chicago deep-dish pizza. Our recommendations are based on the most recommended locations across these sites. If we missed one of your favorite spots, let us know in the comments below!
The List: Best Chicago Deep-Dish Pizza, According to Experts
Thrillist writes “This ubiquitous chain is best known for its stuffed pizza, a variant of deep dish that includes a very thin layer of dough on top of the cheese—which is then covered in sauce. These slices are what most people imagine when they think of deep-dish, packed with pounds (yes, literal pounds) of cheese.” Giordano’s serves the best kind of deep-dish pizza you won’t want to miss if you’re visiting Chicago the kind drowning in cheese for those perfect cheese-pull videos.
You can also order other types of pizza on the menu, but every patron comes here for the famous deep-dish, which they even sell a frozen version for takeout. “The house specialty here is stuffed deep dish, a style they claim to have invented, which consists of two separate layers of dough surrounding a veritable oil well of piping hot liquid mozzarella,” adds Vice.
According to Serious Eats, “This Chicago-based chain is unapologetic about the quantity of cheese they generously pack into every pie, creating what’s definitely the tallest deep-dish variation on this list.”
2. Pequod’s Pizza
If you’re looking for a casual place to grab a quick but delicious slice for lunch, try Pequod’s. “A local institution Pequod’s Chicago deep-dished pizza is known for its caramelized crust and laid-back atmosphere. The casual ambiance makes this an easy choice for a date. A slice here will surely satisfy you for the rest of the night. You can’t go wrong with the large, generous servings and fresh ingredients,” adds Philly Bite.
This pizzeria is known for their famous caramelized crusts, where mozzarella cheese is cooked along the edge of a cast iron pan, creating a crispy crust that can’t be matched. “First opened in Morton Grove in 1970, the pizzeria’s pan-style pizzas have crispy, blackened edges that form a solid foundation for toppings like Italian beef, sausage, and giardiniera. The crunchy cheese and refreshing tomato sauce you taste in each slice make it an essential deep-dish restaurant in Chicago,” says Hotels Go Guide.
“Come for the old-school ambiance and gut-busting grub, stay for the surprisingly stocked bar (next door’s Whale Tale Chicago Restaurant and Bar will keep you happy while you wait for those pies to rise) and smile-inducing Pequod’s Salad crowned with an adorable whale-shaped slice of provolone,” writes Thrillist.
3. Lou Malnati’s
Lou Malnati’s is a legacy pizzeria that has been around since the 1940’s. They have over 57 locations around Chicago, so you should be able to grab a slice here easily. “Their claim to fame is their Buttercrust™ (yes, it’s really trademarked), a buttery crust similar to that of Italian breadsticks. In accordance with traditional deep-dish, the buttery crust is then filled to the brim with fresh sauce and cheeses of all kind,” writes GoCity.
Vice mentions “We recommend the Malnati Chicago Classic, which comes with sausage, extra cheese, chunky marinara, and the pizzeria’s signature butter crust. The butter crust is key, people: don’t miss it.” Lou Malnati’s also ships their pizza across the country too, if you want to bring some of it home.
“Heaven in a dish is what it should be called. Malnati’s is known for their buttery crispy crust and chunky vine-ripened tomato sauce on top of hot melted cheese. Lou Malnati started making pies in the 1940s in Chicago’s first deep dish pizzeria. He created his own legacy in 1971 with the first Lou Malnati’s pizzeria,” says Delishably.
4. Burt’s Place
Burt’s is a great place to go if you’re particular about what you like on your pizza. Time Out Chicago says “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.”
Burt’s temporarily closed in 2015 but returned better than ever after winning the approval of the late Anthony Bourdain. “Reopened in 2017 under new ownership, Burt’s Place continues to turn out Katz’s renowned pan pie with caramelized crust, a recipe he also introduced at Pequod’s. Katz was known for his commitment to quality ingredients and a focus on small details. This new era of Burt’s continues the legacy,” adds Chicago Eater.
“Today, a new generation helms the ship, yet the iconic pies remain the same: perfectly caramelized rounds ladled with an enormous array of farm-fresh toppings, sauce, and cheese,” writes Thrillist.
5. Gino’s East
Gino’s was first established in 1966 by two taxi drivers who wanted to bring good pizza to the area. “Today, the area is crowded with restaurants and hotels, but the signature recipes that made Gino’s East famous remain unchanged. And if you love the crust, you can thank Alice Mae Redmond,” adds Time Out Chicago.
CityPass writes “Topping off our list is a pizza joint with multiple locations sprinkled around the city, known to locals as the premier spot for Chicago deep dish. Gino’s East prides itself on their creations, ensuring that every single pie features golden crust, red vine-ripened tomatoes, and the freshest ingredients of your choice.”
If you don’t want to order the deep-dish, the thin-crust pizza uses the same famous dough developed by Alice Mae Redmond, who worked for Pizzeria Uno for 17 years. “Their thin crust pizza is perfect if you’re with a lot of people because it’s saucy and crunchy and the cheese is melt-in-your-mouth awesome. With four locations in Chicago, including the iconic Magnificent Mile, there are plenty of locations to choose from,” says Delishably.
You might also be interested in:
- Serious Eats
- Philly Bite
- Hotels Go Guide
- Time Out Chicago
- Chicago Eater
Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This post may contain affiliate links.
Lou Malnati’s should not be on this list! It is NOT good!
Giordano’s is trash
Giordano’s is good if you like spaghetti sauce on your pizza. The “expert” who reviewed these pizzas should have their credentials checked. Lou’s is the best but only at certain locations.
At least this article points out that Giordano’s is a stuffed pizza but I wish they wouldn’t compare it to traditional deep dish pizzas. It’s not apples to apples. Stuffed is its own animal. Should be its own category.
“grab a quick slice” at Pequods. Whoever wrote this (assuming it wasn’t a bit) has clearly never been there, they don’t sell slices, there will probably be a wait to be seated, and a deep dish takes 40ish minutes to come out, there is no such thing as a “quick bite” at Pequods, or any of the places listed here really, pretty sure none of them still by the slice
Giordano’s is stuffed pizza, not deep dish. LOL
This list is a joke. Giordano’s sauce tastes like tomato paste out of a can. Don’t write these articles if aren’t even going to eat at these places.