Cast Iron Skillet Pizza will be the star of your next pizza night! It’s a deep dish pizza that is crisp on the bottom with plenty of room for toppings. Crust lovers will adore this pizza.
Chicagoans have strong opinions about the best deep dish pizza in their city. In my eight years of living here, I’ve tasted enough pizza to form an opinion myself.
My favorite pizza shop is not located in the touristy areas, but in a neighborhood just northwest of downtown. It’s called Pequod’s, and many Chicagoans agree that it has the best deep dish in the city.
The cheese runs over the side and gets toasted in the pan, creating a crunchy crust that’s caramelized in spots. It’s basically a little burnt, but in a good way!
Since I can have deep dish pizza delivered, I rarely make it at home. But sometimes I just don’t want to wait the 60–75 minutes it takes to deliver it.
This Cast Iron Skillet Pizza takes care of those deep dish cravings with its thick, crisp-on-the-bottom crust, hefty layer of Italian sausage, and layers of cheese.
- Fresh pizza dough can be found at Trader Joe’s, your local grocery store, or a local pizzeria.
- Cornmeal and olive oil keeps the pizza from sticking to the cast iron pan (and makes the crust crispy!).
- Marinara is perfect for the sauce. You can make your own or use store-bought.
- Mozzarella cheese is classic for a deep dish pizza.
- Use your favorite toppings, such as hot Italian sausage.
Since Friday night is pizza night at our house, I keep balls of fresh pizza dough (I get it at Trader Joe’s) in the freezer. The pizza dough defrosts nicely in the refrigerator overnight or over an afternoon on the countertop.
It is key to wait until it reaches room temperature so it’s easy to roll out.
How to Make Cast Iron Skillet Pizza
Start by heating a cast iron skillet on the stovetop over medium heat.
Pour in two tablespoons of olive oil, swirl it around, and sprinkle it with cornmeal and sea salt. The cornmeal helps the pizza release easily from the pan. The salt is because I think almost all pizza dough is a little bland. The sea salt on the bottom of the crust hits your tongue first and makes the crisp crust even more delicious.
Then roll out the pizza dough and place it in the cast iron pan. It might not go all the way up the edges, and that’s ok. Just coax the sides up a little bit so it creates a well for the toppings.
Continue cooking the dough over medium heat until it begins to bubble.
Topping a Cast Iron Skillet Pizza
Add the sauce and toppings (I choose cooked and crumbled Italian sausage). I like a good solid layer of sausage on the pizza just like Chicago style pizza places do.
Then add the cheese and bake in the oven until the cheese is golden and bubbly.
Top the pizza with fresh basil torn into pieces, and serve immediately! Thanks to the cornmeal, the pizza will slide right out of the cast iron pan.
Pizza topping ideas
Here are a handful of ideas for toppings for a cast iron skillet pizza. These are all classic Chicago-style pizza topping combinations.
- Pepperoni + Italian sausage
- Sausage, mushrooms, green pepper, and onions
- Spinach, mushrooms, and sliced tomatoes
- Spinach, broccoli, and garlic
- Feta, pesto, and chopped tomatoes (skip the marinara)
How do I prevent the pizza from sticking to the pan?
Start with a clean cast iron skillet. Ideally, the skillet is seasoned and has not come in contact with soap, which ruins it. Follow the steps above, making sure to spread the oil all over the pan (including up the sides). Then, sprinkle in the cornmeal. The cornmeal forms a barrier between the crust and the pan, which helps the pizza slide out.
How do I season a cast iron skillet?
Preheat oven to 400°F. Rub a thin layer of vegetable oil or canola oil into the cast iron skillet using a paper towel or kitchen towel. Place it upside down in the preheat oven, and place a large sheet pan underneath to catch any drips. Bake for 1 hour, then turn the oven off and let the pan cool in the oven. After it cools, the pan is seasoned and ready to use.
How can I get the pizza crust to roll out easier?
If you’re having difficulty rolling out pizza crust, allow the dough to rest at room temperature for another 20 minutes before trying again. Often, the combination of cold dough and tight gluten strands from working the dough make it difficult to roll out. Resting the dough and bringing it to room temperature should remedy the issue.
If you love pizza, don’t miss these Easy Pepperoni Rolls, which are also made with fresh pizza dough!
Cast Iron Skillet Pizza
- 1 lb fresh pizza dough, at room temperature (I used Trader Joe’s)
- 1 tablespoon cornmeal
- Pinch of salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ cup marinara sauce
- 1½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- ½ lb raw Italian sausage (I used hot Italian sausage)
- To serve: fresh basil
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Place the Italian sausage in a medium skillet over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally to break up the clumps, until the sausage in lightly browned and cooked through, about 4–5 minutes.
- Roll out the pizza dough to roughly a 12-inch circle. It doesn’t have to be exact.
- Heat a 9-inch cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil and swirl it around the pan. Sprinkle in the cornmeal and a pinch of salt.
- Carefully place the pizza dough in the hot skillet. Let cook over medium heat until the dough begins to bubble up. Cook for an additional 3 minutes.
- Spread the marinara in an even layer over the dough. Sprinkle the Italian sausage over the marinara, and top with the shredded cheese.
- Use an oven mitt to transfer the skillet to the oven. Bake for 18–20 minutes, or until the cheese is golden and bubbly. Let cool for 5 minutes before sliding out onto a cutting board. Cut with a sharp knife and serve immediately.