Iron Skillet Pizza

May  5, 2010
3 Ratings
  • Serves 4-8
Author Notes

My best version of a deep-dish pizza, made in an 11-inch cast-iron skillet. This takes some advance planning, if you make it as I prefer to; I like to make the dough a day in advance and let it mature in the fridge overnight as it slowly rises. I find the crust develops more flavor with this method. I love the butter in this crust; it makes the final crust flaky and light, which is important in a deep-dish pizza. The sauce in this recipe makes more than you'll need for a single pie. This pizza is versatile; it adapts well to vegetarian preparations, for example. We love a spinach and mushroom pizza, using this crust, sauce, and cheese. Obviously, you wouldn't be browning pork sausage for a vegetarian pie, but you might still be sauteeing mushrooms; if so, saute them in the iron skillet and retain any remaining olive oil in the pan. If you're not sauteeing anything in the skillet, be sure to coat the bottom with 2 Tbsp. olive oil. I've been trying to perfect a deep-dish pizza for years; this is my best version to date. - adashofbitters —adashofbitters

Test Kitchen Notes

I've never made a deep dish pizza before, but having now made this pizza, we'll be enjoying them a lot more. The instructions are clear. The recipe produces a complex sauce, all tomato-y goodness, enriched with the acidity of wine and the sweetness of the carrot. The pizza dough is silky and a breeze to work with. And the entire pie slid out of the skillet (after cooling for 10 minutes) and made a great presentation. A real winner. - MrsWheelbarrow —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • Pizza crust
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • Sauce and Toppings
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, for sauce
  • 1 tennis ball-sized onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, peeled and sliced
  • 2 tablespoons shredded carrot
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, in their juices, crushed in your hand (or 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes)
  • 1/4 cup red wine or port
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, for toppings
  • 1/4 pound cremini mushrooms
  • 8 ounces sweet Italian sausage
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, torn apart by hand
  • 2 tablespoons Pecorino Romano, freshly grated
  • 2 tablespoons basil, chiffonaded
  1. A day in advance, start the dough.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine yeast, sugar, and water; let sit 5 minutes or until frothy.
  3. Add butter, salt, and 1 1/2 cups of flour.
  4. Combine on low speed until flour is incorporated, about 2 minutes.
  5. Add remaining flour, half cup at a time, until incorporated.
  6. Increase speed to medium and mix until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and crawls up the dough hook, about 1 minute. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons water if dough is dry and not coming together. If dough is too wet, add 1 to 2 tablespoons flour.
  7. Continue kneading on medium 2 more minutes, until dough is silky smooth.
  8. Grease a medium bowl with olive oil and add dough to the bowl. Cover and let the dough rise until it doubles in bulk, about an hour.
  9. Punch down, reshape, and let rise again (covered) in the refrigerator, at least 2 hours or overnight. Bring dough back to room temperature 2 hours before you plan to roll it out.
  10. On day of assembly, start the sauce.
  11. In a medium saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat.
  12. Add onions and a pinch of salt. Sauté onions until soft and golden and then stir in garlic. Cook garlic until soft.
  13. Add carrot and thyme and cook until the carrot is soft.
  14. Add tomatoes (along with their juice) and wine or port. Lower the heat and cook until the sauce is thick, seasoning to taste as you go. It’ll take about half an hour to thicken up appropriately.
  15. Preheat oven to 400ºF.
  16. In a medium saucepan, heat 1 T. olive oil over medium, brown crimini mushrooms, and set aside.
  17. Meanwhile, in the same iron-skillet you'll use for the pizza, heat 1 T. olive oil over medium. Add sausage to skillet and brown.
  18. Using a slotted spoon, remove the sausage to a plate lined with paper towels. You can remove some fat if desired, but leave the skillet well greased.
  19. Pat or roll the room-temperature dough into a circle about 12 inches in diameter. Let rest for 5 minutes to keep the crust from shrinking and then transfer it to the skillet. Press dough down into bottom of skillet and partway up the sides. Dock dough with fork.
  20. Layer sauce, sausage, mushrooms, and cheese. Bake on bottom rack of oven for 30 minutes.
  21. Remove from oven. Grate Romano cheese over top of pizza and garnish with shredded basil.
Contest Entries

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • SunBunny
  • dymnyno
  • monkeymom
  • kaykay
  • adashofbitters
I'm a home bartender/mixologist who also loves to cook!

31 Reviews

SunBunny September 4, 2014
I have the skillet. How do I clean it if it's rusting?
Mark August 25, 2013
What a great find. I needed to use up some shredded broccoli, so swamped it for the carrots. Turned out great.
dymnyno May 21, 2010
Dash, I for one, enjoy Pierino's bursts of sarcasm! It doesn't sound like he is singling out any one in particular...I don't see any comments from him to you about your pizza. His voice is sarcastic, humorous and has a lot of documented knowledge about food. He probably likes to hit some hot buttons (who doesn't once in a while) and it sounds like he sure hit yours!
adashofbitters May 23, 2010
He insulted the entire slate of pizzas that was up against his, and he used a word (sissy) that has homophobic origins. I think he was out of line, and if he's going for humorous sarcasm, he might think about choosing his words more carefully. My comments might read like sour grapes, but his were unnecessarily dismissive of the entire field he was competing against. He used a pejorative term to belittle his competitors. Is that the spirit of Food52? I would like to hope not.
dymnyno May 18, 2010
I make skillet pizza all winter when it is too cold to venture out to the bbq. However, your dough is very unique...butter?...I love butter!!. Will be making this one soon.
adashofbitters May 20, 2010
I think the butter helps the crust achieve a flakiness that lightens it up a bit, which is the opposite of what you'd expect butter to do, but hey. Baking is weird.
monkeymom May 18, 2010
I loved your pizza. It is satisfying in the extreme. The dough is great and thanks for those extra tips. I definitely hope to see more from you!
adashofbitters May 20, 2010
Thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed it.
kaykay May 14, 2010
Your recipe sounds awesome. I don't think anyone with any tastebuds would venture to call this a pizza for lightweights-- ample cast-iron crust, robust red wine/port, heavy on the onions, meaty mushrooms, and rich sausage. I can't wait to try it! I haven't tested any of the pizzas recipes YET, but I'd like to think that the finalist selection is first and foremost about the food...I almost hate to admit it, but poor form does not necessarily mean poor performance. Though unbelievably brutal, my understanding is that Gordon Ramsey is actually a talented chef and Simon Cowell is apparently well respected in the music industry. There are many Paula Abdul's on this site encouraging people do their best.
adashofbitters May 14, 2010
Thank you for your encouragement. I appreciate it.
adashofbitters May 14, 2010
Or. I can decline to participate in a "community" that rewards the degrading and insulting. Sissy! Pansy! Limp-wristed! Girly!
adashofbitters May 13, 2010
I apologize to everyone for my sissy pizza, my girly pizza, my feminine pizza, my c*nty pizza. I think it's appalling that a guy who speaks this way is a finalist. Maybe if I want to up my cred here, I need to insult everyone I'm up against.
Helenthenanny May 21, 2010
adashofbitters! i agree with you wholeheartedly. i was talking about this with the sister of my life. we were saying that while pierino's pizza was beautiful and seemingly authentic in its simplicity, we appreciate this community because of the uniqueness of the dishes. i love that i can learn from home cooks, like you, who have incredible knowledge coupled with new and exciting food. personally, if i want to learn how to make the most plain and simple pizza, i will just refer to lidia bastianich and the like, not some random rude person from arizona. that's why i voted for tastefood's amazing pizza. i think her win was well deserved. but beyond that, i think we all just adore tastefood, and something tells me that her opponent awarded her a landslide victory. i hope so at least! additionally, your pizza looks truly amazing. i especially appreciate your humble expertise, the love is present in your recipe, thank you for sharing it. although, i happen to agree with you, it is quite c*nty ; )
drbabs May 21, 2010
adashofbitters, surely you read through this entire thread:

I don't think there's anyone in this community who supports that level of nastiness--I think what's unique and amazing about us is how we support and appreciate each other. Your pizza sounds amazing and I am looking forward to making it. As for the two finalists, I made both pizzas for a dinner party last weekend, and while pierino's pizza was delicious (really great sauce), tastefood's was interesting, creative, flavorful and wonderful. Like helenthenanny, I think she probably won by a landslide. Figure that in this community at least, love, support and appreciation far outweigh any competitive nastiness. Please stick around--and don't apologize for your creativity. There are obviously a lot of us who appreciate it.
adashofbitters May 23, 2010
I want to thank you both for your comments. I didn't realize there was a setting on my profile that would let me know when new comments were posted to my stuff.

I think whatshisname's a purist who loves to be ranty about it. But as Helen points out, we don't come to food52 for purism. We look for home-cook creativity, not purist rants about this recipe not being Cardini enough or that one not being Napolitan enough. I think he wants to out-Carême Carême. Good luck with that.
monkeymom May 11, 2010
Is it okay to let the dough sit more than one night in the fridge? Also, is freezing and thawing a possibility? Just trying to plan my attack...thank you!
adashofbitters May 11, 2010
You can let the dough set more than one night, yes. Some recipes call for up to three nights. Beyond that, I'd freeze. And yes, this dough freezes well, as does my butterless dough that I used with the Balsamic Caramelized Onion and Gorgonzola Pizza.

If you freeze, be sure to thaw the dough well in advance of making the pizza, though. I'd advise removing it from the freezer the night before you plan to make the pizza. Put it in the fridge to thaw. Remove from fridge 1-2 hours before making the pizza, so it comes up to room temp before you shape the crust.
adashofbitters May 11, 2010
I do not understand the Food52 aversion to paragraph breaks.
monkeymom May 11, 2010
Awesome! Thank you! It's in the fridge right now.
lastnightsdinner May 10, 2010
Since I have reaped the benefit of nearly 7 years now of your quest for the pizza-at-home holy grail, I am clearly biased, but I just have to pipe up and say that I do so very much love this deep dish pie. As much as I love your pizza stone thinner crust onion and blue pie. Okay, I don't know if I love one more than the other, but I hope you never ever stop making either of them for me. This one, though, speaks so clearly to my Detroiter Greek deep dish pie roots (Pizza Papalis holla!), that I might have to give it a wee bit of extra love.
adashofbitters May 10, 2010
what a long, strange trip it's been
WinnieAb May 9, 2010
I didn't have time to submit to the pizza contest or follow any of the recipes as they came in last week, but now that I'm perusing them, this looks amazing!
adashofbitters May 10, 2010
Thank you, Winnie!
I agree with others here - the crust sounds really great. I've bookmarked this for the next time we make pizza so I can try it.
adashofbitters May 10, 2010
Please let me know how it works for you.
this is my favorite pizza to make at home -- great technique, using the skillet.
adashofbitters May 10, 2010
Anita, thanks so much; I know you and Cam are home-pizza geeks, so this is something. Really appreciate your support and your comments. I hope you saw that I tweaked my recipe thanks to your feedback.
monkeymom May 6, 2010
The butter in the crust sounds great! I can't wait to try this as we love deep dish pizzas (which we normally do with a cornmeal crust). Thanks for posting this recipe.
adashofbitters May 10, 2010
Hope you like it!
mrslarkin May 6, 2010
I've been waiting for this one all week! That crust sounds great.
adashofbitters May 10, 2010
Thanks. Blush.