Deep Dish vs Pan Pizza

Deep Dish vs Pan Pizza: What’s the Difference? (Guide)

Last Updated on July 16, 2024 by Shari Mason

Pizza, adored globally, is a renowned dish that provides a diverse selection of delicious toppings. Nevertheless, are you conversant with the well-known controversy of deep dish versus pan pizza?

Come with me as we explore their variances and determine which one deserves center stage at your upcoming house party.

Personally, I purchased and evaluated these mouthwatering alternatives for an unbiased assessment. Prepare yourself for the ultimate pizza battle.

Pan Pizza & Deep Dish Differences

Cheesy Homemade Deep Dish Pizza

One of the most telling differences between pan pizza and deep dish is their appearance. If a pizza has a noticeable depth and height, that’s a deep dish pizza.

On the other hand, if it has a uniform thickness all over, this is an excellent indicator that it’s a pan pizza.

“One out of eight Americans eat pizza every day!”

– US Department of Agriculture

Both are yummy options with a wide variety of toppings, so if you can’t pick which pizza type you like to devour more, that’s totally understandable.

Read: What Does Oil Do In Pizza Dough?

Key Differences


The origins of pan pizza can be traced back to the mid-20th century in America. Brothers Dan and Frank Carney sold them commercially in what would eventually be Pizza Hut.

They started with thin crust (with cheese and pepperoni) and eventually branched out into thicker crust pan pizza. [1]

Other businesses soon followed suit. In 1989, Domino’s rolled out its own version of pan pizza, which was a surprise considering the restaurant chain hadn’t had any additions to its menu for the past 29 years.

Conversely, deep dishes are known as Chicago-style pizza for a reason: it was founded in Chicago at the start of the 1940s.

However, that’s everything we know for sure. We know it was founded in a pizza restaurant called Pizzeria Uno, but the individual (or individuals) who invented it remains a mystery today.

It is said that the best deep-dish pizza is available only in Chicago.

Baking Temperature

There is a huge difference between how pan pizza and deep dish pizza of Pizza Hut are baked to achieve their perfect crusts.

Pan pizza is baked at a high temperature (475 to 500 degrees) for a short time (around 12 to 15 minutes). Since it’s relatively light, a really hot oven is all you need for it to cook quickly.

On the other hand, deep dish pizzas need to spend more time cooking to achieve the perfect texture. Cooking time takes around 28 to 30 minutes at 400 to 425 degrees.

Find out how long it takes to cook a DiGiorno pizza here.



The order of ingredients varies significantly between the two pizza types.

Pan pizzas are set up like the traditional pizza. You get the dough on the pan, followed by sauce, cheese, meat, and vegetable toppings.

Deep dish veers from the traditional way of making pizza. The pizza dough is first put in a deep pan, followed by the toppings in the middle. They are stacked atop each other, usually with the one cooked the longest at the bottom. The sauce goes on top.


The sauce in pan pizzas is a bit more watery than usual. This watered-down consistency helps keep the middle stay soft and leaves the outer crust crunchy.

On the other hand, the deep dish’s sauce is thicker (kind of like crushed tomatoes). The thick sauce prevents the other toppings from burning despite its long cook time.


The cheese used in pan pizzas is often grated/shredded and put before or after the toppings. It has a melted consistency. [2]

On the other hand, sliced cheese is used in deep dishes and layered between the toppings to act as a binder.


Slicing Pan Pizza

Pan pizza takes the size of the shallow pan it’s baked into, which usually ranges from 12 to 14 inches.

A deep dish pizza is made in a round steel pan that measures 9 to 16 inches, with a depth of around 2 to 3 inches.


A deep-dish pizza has a round shape with raised crusts. The pizza is built by pushing the dough up against the sides of the pan to create an outer crust.

Pan pizza takes the shape of the pan it’s cooked in.


Some may mistake a pan for a deep dish because it is thicker than traditional pizza varieties.

One surefire way to tell them apart is if the pizza has a uniform thickness all over, it’s more often than not a pan pizza, while a deep dish pizza crust is extremely thick.


The pan pizza crust is more or less similar to those you get with traditional pizza, but it’s thicker, crispier, and less chewy.

“Dive into the doughy depths or savor the crispy charm.”

– Eat Pallet Restaurant & Food Avice

On the other hand, a deep dish pizza has a thick buttery crust, like pie. You will find that its crust has just the right amount of taste and texture to provide contrast with its indulgent toppings.


Pan pizza is made using a thicker dough than regular pizza.

On the other hand, the one used in deep dish pizza is made with a combination of flour, yeast, baking powder, and water.


Pan pizza has a browned, crispy crust with a soft, chewy interior.

On the other hand, a deep-dish pizza will never be crunchy because of its density.


Deep-dish pizza has a hearty and filling texture. The toppings within the pizza provide a nice bite, and the pie-like crust has a flaky, buttery texture.

Conversely, pan pizza uses thicker flour than regular pizza, so you will notice that it has a slightly-raised, crisp edge.

Do They Share Any Similarities?

Both are variations of thick-crust pizzas and look pretty similar at first glance.

These two also share the same cheese, tomato sauce, veggies, Italian sausage, and meat toppings.


u003cstrongu003eDo Italians consider Deep Dish as pizza?u003c/strongu003e

No, Italians do not consider deep-dish pizza as actual pizza. They have a different term for it: Sfincione, a type of Italian u0022torta salatau0022 (savory pie), which is said to be inspired by the Chicago style.

u003cstrongu003eWhich costs more, Deep Dish or Pan Pizza?u003c/strongu003e

Deep-dish pizza generally costs more than a pan because it uses more ingredients. Its longer cook time and additional preparation are also another reason why it’s more expensive.

Final Say

This is probably one of the hardest decisions we’ve ever made, but between these two pizzas, deep dish wins.

There is just something so fulfilling every time we take a bite out of deep-dish pizza, no matter what flavor we choose.

Each slice is always a fun explosion of flavors in our mouths, and the nice gooey cheese and thick pizza sauce seal everything in.

On the other hand, pan pizza gives you that nice balance between crust and toppings, which is great for people who like more bread in their bite.


Shari Mason

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